Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
Show: Murder Is a Merry-Go-Round
Date: Mar 11 1949

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
JOHNNY DOLLAR, America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator
"SHANTY" BRENNAN, strong-arm general manager of carnival
LOUISA PEPPER, slurring, weatherbeaten owner of carnival
CARTER LACEY, menacing ex-con
MYRTLE PEPPER, tough-as-nails snake charmer
MECHANIC (1 line)
SCOOTER JOE (1 line)
OPERATOR (1 line)
CARNIVAL CROWD

MFX:

OMINOUS INTRO ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

The Columbia Broadcasting System presents -- YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR.

MFX:

SLOW BLUES THEME ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

The next half hour has its baggage packed to take a trip with America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator, Johnny Dollar. [X] At insurance investigation, he's just an expert -- at making out his expense account, he is an absolute genius.

MFX:

WHIMSICAL INTRO ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account, submitted by Special Investigator Johnny Dollar, to Home Office, Nutmeg State Casualty and Bonding Company, Hartford, Connecticut. The following is an accounting of my expenditures during investigation of series of accidents affecting your policy holder, The Fun Fair and Weatherly Carnival Shows, or how I went for a spin on a case we might refer to as "Murder Is a Merry-Go-Round."

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item One -- twenty-five cents. Purchase of Billboard, theatrical magazine, to check the route of Fun Fair and Weatherly Carnival Shows.

Expense Account Item Two -- sixty-eight dollars. Air and train fares to Talladega, Alabama.

Item Three -- a dollar ten. Cab fare in what was only a fair imitation of a cab, from Talladega Depot to the dusty vacant lot which had overnight found itself wearing theatrical make-up.

MFX:

FOR A CARNIVAL ... CALLIOPE ... THEN IN BG, FADE OUT OUT BY [X]

SFX:

CARNIVAL CROWD WALLA ... SHOOTING GALLERY NOISES ... GUNSHOTS, BELLS RING

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Brightly as the hot sun beat down on the midway, it couldn't help the layout of canvas and slats from looking beat up. A perspiring mechanic shot sparks of profanity back at an obstinate motor as he tried to get it to roll the giant hoop of a Ferris Wheel.

SFX:

MOTOR GRINDS, IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) I asked him what he knew about the accident [X] of a week before when a car dropped off this same Ferris wheel, badly injuring three. He was charming.

MECHANIC:

Listen, pretty boy, don't go gettin' nosy around here!

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) The joe in charge of the electric scooter concession was just as sweet. On the subject of how come one of his scooters blew up a few nights back, sending a citizen to the hospital, he just didn't feel like talking. [X]

SFX:

ELECTRIC SCOOTERS BUZZ, IN BG

SCOOTER JOE:

If you ain't a cop, start moving. If ya are, where's your warrant?

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) I was just asking the pilot of the Giant Airplane Spin who he thought might have cut the cables the night one of his war board gliders took off across the carnival crowd, crashing and busting up a few more customers, when I got a canvasman's version of a sharp answer. A tent stake--

SFX:

SMACK! WOODEN TENT STAKE ON DOLLAR'S HEAD

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) --right behind my ear!

MFX:

BRIDGE ... THEN OUT

DOLLAR:

(WAKES, GROGGY) Ohhh.

BRENNAN:

Well, so Sleeping Beauty's wakin' up, huh?

DOLLAR:

(IN PAIN) Who are you?

BRENNAN:

I thought maybe you'd be sick of askin' questions. First, maybe you'd better answer a few. (A WARNING) Ah ah. Before ya get up. Number one, who are you?

DOLLAR:

A pilgrim from Hartford.

BRENNAN:

Never mind the doubletalk, wise guy. What's your name?

DOLLAR:

My name is Johnny Dollar, but right now, I feel like two cents.

BRENNAN:

What's your big interest in those accidents you were askin' questions about?

DOLLAR:

Strictly academic. I'm only representing the insurance company that's paying off on those accidents. Now, maybe you'll tell me who you are. And where I am.

BRENNAN:

Oh. Thought you guys were smarter. Dollar, I'll let you in on a little secret. Next time you want to find somethin' out on a travelin' show, get to the boss first. Askin' a lot of questions around a circus or carnival lot is unhealthy.

DOLLAR:

Where is the boss? Miss Pepper?

BRENNAN:

Ah, Louise is in the other end of this trailer. She'll be right out. Ah, okay. You can get up on your feet.

DOLLAR:

Oh, thanks.

SFX:

DOLLAR GETS UP ON HIS FEET

DOLLAR:

I hope you don't mind if I don't stay up on 'em. I feel more like sitting down.

BRENNAN:

Ah, go ahead.

SFX:

DOLLAR SITS DOWN

DOLLAR:

You still haven't told me who you are.

BRENNAN:

My name's Brennan.

DOLLAR:

(REMEMBERS) Oh, yeah. "Shanty" Brennan. Yeah, you're the general manager of the show. They told me all about you. Louisa Pepper's right arm. And strong arm. How long will she be?

BRENNAN:

Ah, she's gettin' dressed. Just finished takin' a nap. We drove all night to get here. How 'bout havin' a flask with me while you're waitin'?

DOLLAR:

No, thanks. I haven't enjoyed a noon bottle since I was two. But don't let me stop you.

BRENNAN:

Thanks.

SFX:

POP! FLASK OPENED, DRUNK

BRENNAN:

(EXHALES, SHIVERS, COUGHS) Ooh. You sure you won't have one?

DOLLAR:

I'm sure. Brennan, the insurance company's been checking up on your show. The police chiefs in the last ten towns you've played say it's a clean one.

BRENNAN:

Ah, we haven't got a pickpocket or a grifter in the lot.

DOLLAR:

But plenty of trouble, huh, during those past ten stops?

BRENNAN:

At least once a night, somebody's got hurt. But never any of us. It's always one or two of the townies, the citizens. Last night, a car on the Whip cut loose. That sent four to the hospital.

DOLLAR:

Uh huh. Four more insurance claims for Nutmeg State Casualty and Bonding, huh?

BRENNAN:

Yeah. And one more town, we won't be able to play again for a couple of years. It's a wonder we didn't travel out of that town last night by rail -- tarred and feathered.

DOLLAR:

For ten straight nights now, you've had at least one big accident every night. What's your guess, Brennan? Has Fate taken a steady job on your show? Or is somebody out to get you?

BRENNAN:

Somebody's out to get us.

DOLLAR:

Okay. Well, do you have any idea--?

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS

LOUISA:

Hello-- (SEES DOLLAR, LIKES HIM) Oh! Why didn't you tell me we were entertainin' a gentleman, Shanty? I'd've put on some more clothes.

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) It would have taken a lot more clothes to cover all there was of Louisa Pepper. She looked like an aging Kewpie doll. But, even in a carnival, she was no prize. I didn't like the look in her eye. Looked much too friendly. So right away I decided to change the unspoken subject. [X] (TO LOUISA) Uh, Miss Pepper, I'm here on business, insurance.

LOUISA:

Sorry, we're not buyin' any.

DOLLAR:

And I'm not selling any. The way things have been going, the insurance company I represent would probably like to buy some of yours back.

LOUISA:

Oh?

DOLLAR:

Yeah. I'm from the Nutmeg State Casualty, investigating the accidents.

LOUISA:

Huh. Hope you find out more than we've been able to. And fast. Before we go broke. The word's travelin' one town ahead of us. They got us pegged for a dangerous midway.

DOLLAR:

Have you been using police protection?

LOUISA:

Twenty extra cops a night, at ten dollars a cop. So, night before last, a guy winds up with a hammer to try and ring the bell and win a cigar. The top of the hammer flies off and almost brains a cop. Heh! Around this show, the police need protection.

DOLLAR:

I see what you mean. How are you fixed for people who don't like you? We got many to choose from?

BRENNAN:

Dollar, we treat our help fair and square. We know them all and trust them all.

DOLLAR:

Fire anybody lately?

LOUISA:

Nobody. The only ones who left were floaters. But none of them had a beef.

DOLLAR:

Okay, Miss Pepper. Now, think back. In all your life, who do you who'd most like to see you have a real bad time?

LOUISA:

Only one guy. And he's not around.

DOLLAR:

Dead?

LOUISA:

As good as. He's in jail. Has been for the last eight and a half years.

DOLLAR:

That's a long time. How long did he go up for?

LOUISA:

Ten years.

DOLLAR:

Huh.

BRENNAN:

(BEAT) What are you thinkin', Dollar?

DOLLAR:

I'm thinking that, with time off for good behavior, maybe he's not in jail.

LOUISA:

(STARTS TO PANIC, SHRILL) Not in jail? Shanty, he's gotta be in jail! He's gotta be, I tell you! You told me you were keeping an eye--

BRENNAN:

All right! Break it up, Louisa. If Carter Lacey had a voice as sharp as yours, he could saw his way out of jail. Okay, Dollar, you made a guess. How 'bout seein' how good it is?

DOLLAR:

Sure. I'll find out if your bogeyman is still in jail. Ah, but I didn't catch that name.

LOUISA:

Lacey, Carter Lacey.

DOLLAR:

And where's he been in the pokey?

BRENNAN:

Massachusetts State Prison, at Charleston.

DOLLAR:

What'd he go up for?

LOUISA:

What's that to you?!

BRENNAN:

Cut it, Louisa! Dollar, we sent Carter Lacey to jail - for attempted murder. He tried to kill Louisa's niece, Myrtle.

DOLLAR:

Is she around?

LOUISA:

She's runnin' the Snake Show on the midway. Dollar, how soon can you check whether Carter got out?

DOLLAR:

Soon as I can make a telephone call. But, Shanty, before I do, I'd like to elaborate on that guess I made. Now I'd not only guess that Carter Lacey is out of jail but I'd also guess that he's been out a little over ten days.

MFX:

BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item Four -- three dollars. Telephone call to Massachusetts State Prison confirming both of my guesses. Carter Lacey had checked out of the Bay State's Hotel Graystone for Bad Boys two weeks previously.

Item Five -- thirty-two dollars. Telephone calls to various hotels in the last ten towns the Fun Fair and Weatherly Carnival Shows had played.

Item Six -- ten cents. Two nickels spent calling two hotels right here in Talladega. Then I dropped one more nickel in the telephone, got the lucky number--

OPERATOR:

(SOUTHERN ACCENT) Yes, sir. We do have a Mr. Carter Lacey registered. Room Three-Twelve. Shall I call--?

SFX:

RECEIVER DOWN

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) --and hit the jackpot!

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item Seven -- sixty-five cents. Cab fare to Sunshine Hotel. Tip to driver, one dollar. From the lobby, I called Room Three-Twelve. He invited me up. I invited him down. I knew I'd feel better talking to Carter Lacey with a lot of people around. They'd make nice witnesses if he suddenly got homesick for prison life and, er, used me as his ticket back. I waited in the coffee shop. The waitress brought me a cup of coffee and my palate went to work refereeing a one-sided bout between the strong java and the weak cream. [X]

LACEY:

Hello? Dollar?

DOLLAR:

Oh, right. Sit down.

LACEY:

Thanks.

DOLLAR:

So you're Carter Lacey, hm? Have some coffee?

LACEY:

No, thanks. It keeps me awake nights.

DOLLAR:

How 'bout your conscience? Having the same trouble with that?

LACEY:

My conscience deserves an eight-and-a-half-year rest. But it can't start its vacation until I even up a few scores.

DOLLAR:

Busting up carnivals?

LACEY:

Child's play. Look, Dollar, over the phone, you told me you're an insurance investigator. You can save your company a lot of money.

DOLLAR:

How?

LACEY:

Call 'em up and tell 'em not to insure the lives of three people. Because, any minute now, two of 'em are gonna be dead.

DOLLAR:

Mmmm. Louisa Pepper, her niece Myrtle, and, er, "Shanty" Brennan?

LACEY:

Yeah, Dollar. I'm gonna kill two of those people. The other one who's still my friend is gonna help me do it. In case you don't know your law, Dollar, don't bother calling the cops. I can't be held for making a threat unless I put it in writing.

DOLLAR:

Well, Lacey, I don't know what your beef is against the people running that carnival but those accidents have been hurting a lot of innocent bystanders.

LACEY:

Dollar, you're talking to a guy who really knows what it means - getting hurt as an innocent bystander.

MFX:

BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item Eight -- twenty-five dollars. Retainer to local detective agency, hiring shadow for Mr. Carter Lacey. Explanation? An ounce of crime prevention is worth a ton of trials.

Item Nine -- a dollar twenty. Cab fare back for the evening's festivities at the Fun Fair and Weatherly Carnival, which was rapidly becoming more and more of a thrill show.

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item Ten -- thirty cents. Down payment on ulcer eating supper at what the carny people call a "grease joint." I made my way among the trailers that were lined up behind the midway and, as I looked for the one housing Louisa Pepper's snake-charming niece Myrtle, the burning sensation around my heart wasn't all caused by the hot dogs I'd just eaten.

MFX:

CHANGES TO CARNIVAL CALLIOPE, IN BG

SFX:

DOLLAR'S FOOTSTEPS ON CARNIVAL GROUNDS ... KNOCK AT TRAILER DOOR ... NO ANSWER ... KNOCK AGAIN

MYRTLE:

(BEHIND DOOR) Who is it?

DOLLAR:

I've got a message from Carter Lacey.

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS

MYRTLE:

What did you say?

DOLLAR:

I said I've got a message from Carter Lacey. For you and your Aunt Louisa, and Shanty Brennan. You're the only one I haven't met yet so I thought I'd deliver it to you first.

MYRTLE:

Where is he?

DOLLAR:

In town. Got any snakes in the trailer?

MYRTLE:

No, of course not.

DOLLAR:

All right, then, how about inviting me in?

MYRTLE:

Are you the insurance guy they told me about?

DOLLAR:

Yeah, that's right.

MYRTLE:

Okay, come in.

SFX:

DOLLAR CLIMBS INTO TRAILER ... DOOR SHUTS

MFX:

CALLIOPE OUT

MYRTLE:

What did Lacey say?

DOLLAR:

He said that he's gonna kill two of the three of you.

MYRTLE:

Which two? Didn't he say?

DOLLAR:

No, he didn't. He just said that two of you are gonna get it. And that his one friend among you, the remaining one, is gonna help him do it.

MYRTLE:

He'll do it. He hates us. I know he'll kill us. You say Louisa and Shanty don't know yet?

DOLLAR:

No, they don't. You're the first to know.

MYRTLE:

Well, then, wait here, I'll run and tell 'em. I'll stop back here before I go into the tent to do my next show.

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS

MYRTLE:

(OFF) Grab yourself a drink. I'll be right back!

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR SHUTS

MFX:

IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) But she wasn't right back, and it's just as well she wasn't. She might have interrupted me while taking a sightseeing trip through the drawers of her trailer's built-in bureau. The piles of silky nothings that give gals that certain something didn't tell me anything I hadn't known about women before. But a little black book stashed among them did.

I needn't have rushed my search, though, because Myrtle Pepper was still gone after ten minutes. That's about the time I headed back to her Aunt Louisa's trailer, pulled open the door--

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) --and walked in. [X]

LOUISA:

(STARTLED, GASPS) Oh! You scared me, Dollar, bargin' in like that.

MYRTLE:

(ANNOYED) Mr. Dollar, I told you I'd be right back.

DOLLAR:

Did Myrtle here deliver Mr. Lacey's little love letters?

LOUISA:

(UNNERVED) Yes, the fool. He - he always was a fool. He can't kill us!

DOLLAR:

It's against the law?

LOUISA:

I mean - I mean -- It's impossible, that's all.

DOLLAR:

Look, Miss Pepper, you and your niece here are both plenty scared. Why, you're out-shaking those cooch dancers you got working over on the midway. Myrtle, have you told Shanty about Lacey's threat?

MYRTLE:

Yeah, I - met him on the way over here. Asked him if he'd feed my snakes before showtime. They're dangerous to work with if they're hungry. Yeah, I told him. Said he'd join us here.

DOLLAR:

Well, what did he say when you told him?

MYRTLE:

He said - if Lacey had one of us helpin' him, then the three of us had better stick together so we could at least watch each other.

DOLLAR:

Smart man. He had a good idea. I'd say the three of you had better stick close to each other, beginning right now. Come on.

LOUISA:

Where we goin'?

DOLLAR:

Over to the snake tent. And when we get there, Myrtle, you'll be the only one of us who'll be among friends.

MFX:

IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) The three of us left Louisa's trailer. We walked past the back of the shooting gallery concession right in the front of it--

SFX:

GUN SHOTS

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) --and along the back of the line of canvas shanties. We stopped at one. Myrtle pulled back the canvas flap and I stepped in -- ready for anything. With the ladies not far behind me, I edged slowly over to the square, redboard fence set up in the center of the tent. There were danger signs splashed in white paint along the outside walls of the pit. I clenched my teeth and looked down through the wire-mesh top at a slithering tangle of writhing, angry reptiles.

MYRTLE:

(SCREAMS)

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) And there, lying among them, with a vicious red welt splashing his forehead was "Shanty" Brennan! ---- He was feeding the snakes all right.

MFX:

UP FOR A BIG FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

In just a moment, we'll return to the second act of YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR but, first, here is some news.

Thirty minutes of new thrills will be added to CBS' ten great Sunday night entertainments this coming Sunday. At six-thirty p.m., Eastern Standard Time, where you formerly heard Spike Jones, CBS will bring you screen star John Lund in an adventure-packed tale of a ship filled with terror and horror. This story, "A Shipment of Mute Fate," starring John Lund, is the first of three special broadcasts from CBS' famous ESCAPE series. It will be heard over most of these stations immediately preceding a familar show which brings you a different kind of escape, THE JACK BENNY SHOW.

And now back to YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR.

MFX:

AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) I'd just seen a murder mystery where the actors have been hissing instead of the audience. The lead character in that snake pit wasn't going to win any Academy Award. The scene of the crime was no place for a man, let alone a woman, so I herded Auntie Louisa and her niece Myrtle out of the tent and back into the trailer. [X]

MYRTLE:

(CRYING) Poor Shanty! How horrible! (CONTINUES TO CRY IN BG)

LOUISA:

(GRIM) Guess I was wrong, Dollar, when I said Carter Lacey couldn't do it.

MYRTLE:

Oh, what's gonna happen to us?

DOLLAR:

According to what Lacey told me, Myrtle, what's supposed to happen is only gonna happen to one of you.

MYRTLE:

What do you mean?

DOLLAR:

Well, he claims that one of you is in this with him. And that one knows she's safe. This may turn out to be an acting contest between you two.

LOUISA:

What's that crack supposed to mean?

DOLLAR:

(INSINUATING) Well, the one who's safe wouldn't want anybody to know she feels safe, huh?

LOUISA:

(REALIZES) Ah! (AMUSED) Huh. I wish I had learned to cry.

MYRTLE:

(A PAUSE IN HER CRYING) Louisa! You don't think it's me?!

LOUISA:

(SAVAGE) Well, I know it ain't me!

DOLLAR:

Now, ladies, ladies. How about observing a moment of silence, in memory of the deceased, while I give you a few instructions?

MYRTLE:

(STOPS CRYING)

DOLLAR:

Okay. Have you got a gun in here, Louisa?

LOUISA:

Yes. And a license to carry it.

DOLLAR:

Good. Where is it? The gun, not the license.

LOUISA:

I won't give it to ya.

DOLLAR:

Well, if you don't, people might get to thinking that you're Carter Lacey's girlfriend and accomplice. Anyway, I don't want the gun to take with me. I want to leave it here. Where is it?

LOUISA:

In that drawer, right over there.

SFX:

DOLLAR'S FOOTSTEPS TO DRAWER WHICH OPENS ... PAUSE

DOLLAR:

Which end of the drawer?

LOUISA:

(OFF) What's the matter with ya? Blind? You'll see it.

DOLLAR:

Uh uh. I'm not turning my back on you. Which end?

LOUISA:

(OFF) You'd make a lousy trapeze artist, Dollar -- you don't take any chances. This end, toward me.

DOLLAR:

Thanks.

SFX:

DOLLAR RIFLES THROUGH PAPERS, PULLS OUT HANDGUN, CRACKS IT OPEN, RETURNS TO LADIES

DOLLAR:

Hm, well-- Now where are the keys to the car hitched to the front of this land yacht?

LOUISA:

What are they for, Dollar?

DOLLAR:

Just another chance I'm not taking. With those keys in my pocket, this trailer won't be joyriding anybody off into the night. Where are they?

MYRTLE:

I'll get 'em for ya.

SFX:

MYRTLE TAKES A STEP, BUT THEN--

DOLLAR:

Wait a minute, Myrtle. How come you know where Louisa's keys are?

LOUISA:

(SUSPICIOUS) Yeah, Myrtle. How come?

MYRTLE:

Why-- Well, they're layin' right there in plain sight.

DOLLAR:

Oh. Thanks. Now I'm going out and call the police. Louisa, I want you to get into that chair down at the other end of the trailer.

LOUISA:

Okay, General. You've got the gun.

SFX:

LOUISA'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

DOLLAR:

And you, Myrtle -- get in that bunk down at the other end.

MYRTLE:

I don't understand all this.

SFX:

MYRTLE'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

DOLLAR:

And now, ladies, while I'm gone, I don't want one of you gals to be knocking off the other. But, on the other hand, I can't leave you here without protection. So I'm leaving the gun. Right here--

SFX:

GUN PLACED ON WOODEN TABLE

DOLLAR:

--on this table in the middle of the trailer. And, if Carter Lacey comes knocking at your door, you can have yourselves a race for the gun!

MFX:

BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item Eleven -- five cents. Telephone call to the local police. Plus another nickel, spent calling a taxi. The cops arrived in four minutes; the cab in fifteen. Its driver had no siren to take him through the traffic lights.

Item Twelve -- a dollar ten. Cab fare on an exceedingly slow and torturous trip to the Sunshine Hotel. Tip to his kind of a driver -- a nickel.

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) I went up to the third floor and headed down the hall to Carter Lacey's room, Three-Twelve. I rapped for an entrance but all that came back was an echo. The lock on the door was the soft-touch type, known to the trade as "the burglar's friend." So I went in.

SFX:

HOTEL ROOM DOOR OPENS ... DOLLAR'S FOOTSTEPS IN

MFX:

HUGE ACCENT ... THEN OUT

DOLLAR:

(TO HIMSELF) "Stars Fell on Alabama"? Mm. Stiffs fell in Alabama tonight.

SFX:

DOLLAR'S FOOTSTEPS TO PHONE ... RECEIVER UP

DOLLAR:

Hello, Operator? Operator, this is an emergency call. Let me have the Talladega police, will ya? (PAUSE, EXHALES) Hello? Police department? This is the same guy who just called you from the carnival to report a murder. (BEAT) Yeah, well, you can send in the second team. I've got another one for you over here at the Sunshine Hotel. Room Three-Twelve. A party's just been strangled. (BEAT) Yes, I'm sure. Lots of bruises and deep-set fingernail marks on the throat. (BEAT) Sure, I know who it is. The name of the deceased -- is Myrtle Pepper.

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Myrtle Pepper certainly has been a fast worker. She not only has beat me down to the hotel, she's managed to get herself killed in the bargain. I dusted the room for information -- which was obviously more than the floor maid had done for dirt -- and came up with the kind of an eye-opener you don't drink. A pint-size surprise in the form of some old newspaper clippings, and Carter Lacey's prison release form. And what let him out, let me in on something. I got out of the room, into the elevator, and when I hit the lobby, wondering where to start looking for him, I found him sitting there looking at me. [X]

LACEY:

Hi.

DOLLAR:

Where do you wanna talk, Lacey?

LACEY:

I don't wanna. But if you want to try and make me, what's the matter with right here?

DOLLAR:

Okay. I supplied you with an alibi today. I don't see him in the lobby.

LACEY:

That detective? He had stomach trouble. He got kicked in it. You can reach him at the city hospital. You know, in prison, I was a trusty; I get out -- nobody trusts me.

DOLLAR:

Well, with that forecast you gave me this morning, what else?

LACEY:

Forecast?

DOLLAR:

Yeah. You predicted that you'll kill two people. Well, tonight, the two people are dead -- Shanty, out at the carnival, and now Myrtle, up in your room. What does that make you?

LACEY:

A good forecaster.

DOLLAR:

Or the killer maybe?

LACEY:

(CHUCKLES) Thanks for the "maybe." Look, Dollar, I came to this town to take care of something; I took care of it. You want to yell "Cop!" -- go ahead. From now on, nothing bothers me.

DOLLAR:

Well, then, stop chewing your nails. You told me this morning that one of those three people was working with you. There's only one left. And, suddenly, Lacey, I don't believe your story.

LACEY:

Suddenly, I don't care.

DOLLAR:

"Shanty" Brennan lied to me this morning. He said that you went to prison on a charge of attempted murder. Your prison release papers say you went up for grand larceny.

LACEY:

You see what happens to bad little boys who tell lies?

DOLLAR:

I'm not through yet. I fished a bank book out of Myrtle Pepper's trailer -- a three-way joint account -- Myrtle, Shanty and Louisa. The first deposit? Sixty thousand dollars. The date? The same year you were thrown into the can for stealing sixty thousand dollars. To me, that spells a three-way split for them -- and a frame for you. Also, to you, it spells a motive for hating all three of them.

LACEY:

So I lied to ya. What are ya gonna do? Wash my mouth out with soap?

DOLLAR:

From now on, I don't need answers from you. Including smart ones. But, look, you'd better stick around. If the cops don't pick you up for murder, maybe the hotel will want to press charges against you for having an extra unregistered person occupying your room.

MFX:

WHIMSICAL BRIDGE ... THEN OUT

SFX:

DOLLAR'S FOOTSTEPS TO TRAILER DOOR ... KNOCK ON DOOR

LOUISA:

(BEHIND DOOR) Who is it?

DOLLAR:

Johnny Dollar.

LOUISA:

(BEHIND DOOR) Oh. Wait a minute.

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS

LOUISA:

Where's Carter? They arrested him?

SFX:

DOLLAR CLIMBS INTO TRAILER ... DOOR SHUTS

LOUISA:

Tell me! Did he escape?

DOLLAR:

He's at the hotel, and the cops are on their way down there right now. I hope he's more talkative with them than he was with me.

LOUISA:

You talked to him?

DOLLAR:

Yeah, I had a long one-sided conversation with him. There's one thing I still can't quite figure out -- whether he really intended to kill Shanty and Myrtle or not.

LOUISA:

(SURPRISED) Myrtle?

DOLLAR:

Yeah. Strangled.

LOUISA:

(SADLY) Myrtle. Oh, the poor little angel. (SHARPLY) Of course he meant to kill 'em! He hated 'em! He hated us all!

DOLLAR:

Well, you can hardly blame a fella for being annoyed -- framed on a grand larceny charge by three old chums. But you've got the wrong idea, Louisa. What I meant was, did he ever really intend to kill 'em himself? Or did he just intend to set off the greatest chain reaction since the atom bomb -- and just sit back and watch the three of you try to beat each other to it?

LOUISA:

Why, that's crazy talk.

DOLLAR:

Yeah, like a fox maybe. He made his threat to me, knowing I'd carry it back to you. I say "you," because you're the only one left. You see, he set himself up as a patsy. He'd been framed by you once before. To me, it looks like Carter Lacey learned a few things about wrong people during that eight-year stretch -- namely, that they never trust each other.

LOUISA:

You're absolutely nuts, Dollar. Think you'd better get out of here. Go peddle your insurance. The cops'll take care of Mr. Lacey.

DOLLAR:

I don't think they will, Louisa.

LOUISA:

Why not?

DOLLAR:

Myrtle was strangled. That's the kind of murder a man would commit.

LOUISA:

Well--?

DOLLAR:

But there was a set of deep fingernail marks on her throat. And Carter Lacey bites his nails. So maybe you'd better get yourself a manicure before the police arrive.

LOUISA:

Thanks for the advice.

SFX:

LOUISA SNATCHES UP GUN FROM WOODEN TABLE

LOUISA:

Stand right there, Dollar. This time, I got the gun.

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS

LACEY:

(OFF) Hold everything, Louisa.

LOUISA:

Carter?!

SFX:

LACEY CLIMBS INTO TRAILER

LACEY:

(APPROACHES) This is a stand-off, Louisa. Point that thing someplace else before I point mine up your snoot. Okay, Dollar, get out!

DOLLAR:

What's the matter with you, Lacey? Are you cracking up? Your plan was going along fine. First, Myrtle tossed Shanty to her snakes. Then Louisa took care of Myrtle. There's only one left and the state will take care of her for ya.

LACEY:

That's not enough. There's one satisfaction I haven't enjoyed so far. That's hearing one of these pigs squeal.

LOUISA:

(PLEADS) Carter! We can still split the money and the show and get out of here.

LACEY:

The only one that's gonna get out of here is Dollar. (SAVAGE, TO DOLLAR) Beat it!

MFX:

IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) I beat it all right; I was the only one in the trailer without a gun.

SFX:

TRAILER DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES, RAPID) I plunged into the darkness looking for something and came up with a tent rope, dashed back to the trailer door and lashed the knob to the guide rail. I didn't want those gun-happy birds flying the coop. Just then, the season opened.

SFX:

THREE NOISY GUNSHOTS

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) I didn't know who was gonna come out the worst in there, the hunter or the hunted. The only key I had to the situation was the key to the car, the one I'd pick up earlier in the day.

SFX:

CAR DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS ... ENGINE ROARS ... CAR IN GEAR ... TRAILER HEAVES AND ROLLS THROUGH MUD

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) The car churned the trailer through the carnival backlot and out into the highway. When I hit the cement, I started spinning the rubber.

SFX:

CAR AND TRAILER ACCELERATES DOWN HIGHWAY

MFX:

FASTER AND FASTER ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

SFX:

CAR AND TRAILER BUZZ SMOOTHLY DOWN HIGHWAY ... CONTINUES IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Just as we hit the streets of the sleeping city, things woke up.

SFX:

BANG! OF GUNSHOT ALMOST SIMULTANEOUS WITH SMASH! OF WINDOW GLASS

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Whoever was left back there, snapped a shot at me through the trailer's front window.

SFX:

GUNSHOT

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Second shot was my cue to try and ruin their aim by playing "rock-a-bye trailer"--

SFX:

TIRES SQUEAL AS CAR AND TRAILER WEAVE VIOLENTLY BACK AND FORTH

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) --swinging the car from one side of the street to the other.

SFX:

THREE GUNSHOTS

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Just as the not-so-sharpshooter made another try, I picked up just what I was looking for!

SFX:

POLICE SIREN ... CONTINUES, GROWS LOUDER, IN BG

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) A game of tag -- with a police patrol car!

SFX:

POLICE SIREN AT ITS LOUDEST ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

MFX:

ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

DOLLAR:

(NARRATES) Expense Account Item Thirteen -- fifteen cents. Bicarbonate of soda. Those midway hot dogs I'd had for supper were no thoroughbreds.

Item Fourteen -- thirty-five dollars. Cigars for night shift, Talladega Police, for whom I had started things smoking.

Item Fifteen -- three dollars. Hotel bill. Oh, but, uh, never let it be said that I ever turned in a measly three-dollar hotel bill for myself. This was to check out of the Sunshine Hotel the man who had checked out in the trailer, at the hands of Louisa Pepper.

Louisa Pepper, the only one who was a good bet to catch up with Brennan, who had been murdered by Myrtle; and Myrtle, who had been loused up by Louisa; and Carter, whom she'd also carted out of this world -- proving that when you start any kind of chain reaction, you should be careful because you never can be sure where it's going to stop.

Expense Account Total--

What? Only six hundred and ninety-two dollars and eighteen cents?! [X]

I must be slipping.

Yours truly, Johnny Dollar.

MFX:

TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

The Mad Man of Music is moving! Yes, Spike Jones, formerly heard on CBS on Sunday is already unpacking his famous collection of flit guns, dish pans, and other instruments, ready for tomorrow night's premiere broadcast as a CBS Saturday star. Hear THE SPIKE JONES SHOW on most of these same stations tomorrow night at seven o'clock, Eastern Standard Time, when it joins Vaughn Monroe, Gene Autry, GANG BUSTERS and SING IT AGAIN as a regular Saturday night CBS feature.

MFX:

SLOW BLUES THEME ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Listen in again next week when CBS brings you YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR with Charles Russell as Johnny. YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR is written by Paul Dudley and Gil Doud, with music by Mark Warnow, and is produced and directed by Richard Sanville for CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

MFX:

CONTINUES TILL END