Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Dragnet
Show: The Big Filth
Date: Feb 27 1954

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
SGT. JOE FRIDAY
POLICEWOMAN IRENE GARDNER
MRS. CRYSTAL EGGERS
PAMELA TELFORD
STEVE TELFORD
MR. WILLIS THATCHER
MRS. ROWENA TELFORD

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE

FENN:

(EASILY) Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

MUSIC:

DRUM ROLL UNDER

GIBNEY:

Dragnet is brought to you by Chesterfield, made by Liggett and Myers, first major tobacco company to bring you a complete line of quality cigarettes.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE FOR--

FENN:

(EASILY) You're a detective sergeant. You're assigned to Juvenile Detail. Four children in your city have apparently been abandoned by their mother. There's no trace of the woman's whereabouts. There's a possibility of foul play. Your job .... investigate.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE FOR--

FENN:

Today you hear these three words everywhere. "Chesterfields for me." The cigarette tested and approved by thirty years of scientific tobacco research. "Chesterfields for me." The cigarette with a proven good record with smokers. And first cigarette to have such a record. "Chesterfields for me." Chesterfield gives you proof of highest quality - low nicotine - the taste you want - the mildness you want. The Chesterfield you smoke today is the best cigarette ever made....And best for you.

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN BEHIND--

GIBNEY:

Dragnet, the documented drama of an actual crime. For the next thirty minutes, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department, you will travel step-by-step on the side of the law through an actual case transcribed from official police files. From beginning to end, from crime to punishment, Dragnet is the story of your police force in action.

MUSIC:

UP TO SEMI BUTTON AND FADE ON SUSTAINED CHORD.

SOUND:

JOE'S STEPS ON CORRIDOR...SLIGHT ECHO...CORRIDOR B.G.

JOE:

It was Friday, February eighth. It was raining in Los Angeles. We were working the night watch out of Juvenile Detail. My partner's Frank Smith. The boss is Captain Powers. My name's Friday. I was on my way back from Juvenile Hall and it was seven forty-six P.M. when I got to Thirteen Thirty-Five Georgia Street....(SOUND: DOOR OPEN)...the office.

SOUND:

JOE ENTERS THE OFFICE...B.G. CHANGE..COUPLE OF STEPS INTO THE ROOM ... JOE WALKS TO IRENE BEHIND--

IRENE:

(LITTLE OFF) Joe?

JOE:

Yeah, Irene?

IRENE:

You talked to Captain Powers?

JOE:

Yeah. Way it looks, Frank's gonna be tied up in court for a couple of days. Goin' kinda hard.

IRENE:

Gang war, isn't it?

JOE:

Yeah. Seems like everybody in town's climbed on this one. Really making a big thing out of it.

IRENE:

Uh huh.

JOE:

Well, the skipper said I was supposed to give you a hand on anything that might come up.

IRENE:

Then you just made it.

JOE:

Hm?

IRENE:

Woman in the next office. You better talk to her.

JOE:

What's it about?

IRENE:

Be better if you got it straight from her.

JOE:

Who is she? A crank?

IRENE:

I don't think so. See what you can figure.

JOE:

All right.

SOUND:

THE TWO OF THEM WALK TO THE DOOR AND OPEN IT...INTO THE OFFICE AND DOOR CLOSE UNDER

IRENE:

Mrs. Eggers?

CRYSTAL:

(LITTLE OFF) Yes, Miss Gardner? You ready to do something about this?

IRENE:

Yes, ma'am. I'd like you to meet Sergeant Friday. Joe...this is Mrs. Eggers.

CRYSTAL:

How d'ya do?

JOE:

Mrs. Eggers.

IRENE:

If you'd give him the story the way you told it to me.

CRYSTAL:

You bet I will. Sit down, young man. I'll tell you all about it.

JOE:

All right.

SOUND:

JOE PULLS UP A CHAIR AND SITS DOWN

CRYSTAL:

Get your book out.

JOE:

I beg your pardon?

CRYSTAL:

Your book. Y're gonna take some notations, aren't you?

JOE:

Well, if you'll just tell us what this is all about.

CRYSTAL: (BEAT) Yeah. Well, I don't want you to get the idea that I'm the nosey type. I'm not. It's just that I take an interest in the things that go on around me. Civil minded's the way they put it in the papers.

JOE:

Uh huh.

CRYSTAL:

Course there are people who say that I pay too much mind to their business....but it isn't true. Not a bit of it.

IRENE:

If you'd tell the sergeant what happened.

CRYSTAL:

Oh, yeah. Well, these people moved into the house 'bout six months ago. The five of 'em.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am.

CRYSTAL:

Stevie...Pamela...Carol...Martin...and the mother, Rowena. Four kids and the mother.

JOE:

(BEAT) All right...would you like to go on?

CRYSTAL:

Well, now right off...I could spot this woman. Seen a lot of 'em.

JOE:

How do you mean that, Mrs. Eggers?

CRYSTAL:

You can make it Crystal if it's any easier.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. What did you mean...that you'd seen a lot of 'em?

CRYSTAL:

Alky's. Y'know...(LOWERS HER VOICE) Drunks.

JOE:

Mm hm.

CRYSTAL:

Well, she's one. I could spot it right off. Her and those four beautiful children.

JOE:

Yeah.

CRYSTAL:

First few months they lived there, I'd maybe see her a couple times a week. Y'know...goin' in the house or comin' out. Just a couple of times a week.

JOE:

I see.

CRYSTAL:

Last week...ten days...I haven't seen her at all. Not even a little sight. [Now right after they moved in, little Stevie...he's eleven...he'd come around to the back door and ask if they was anything he could do for me. Y'know...sweep up the leaves on the lawn...empty out the garbage...little things like that. Whenever I had somethin' I always let him do it. Used to pay him a nickel or a dime.

JOE:

Yeah.

CRYSTAL:

The last week I been givin' him a kinda little plate of lunch, too. That's what really told me they was somethin' wrong. That plate of lunch.

JOE:

I don't understand.

CRYSTAL:

Well, I don't have any children of my own. But my sister...she's got five of 'em and once in a while...a couple of 'em will come to visit with their aunt Crystal. And young man...I know kids. Isn't enough? food in the world to fill 'em up. None of 'em. Except Stevie. He never ate the food at my house. Always took the plate over to his place. Brought back the dish. He never took a mouthful of food at my place.]

JOE:

Mm hm.

CRYSTAL:

So right off I figured that something was wrong. That's the way it looks to me.

IRENE:

[What about the children's father, where's he?

CRYSTAL:

I ain't never seen him. I think he either died or him and Rowena got a divorce or somethin'. Never seen him. Matter of fact, I ain't seen the other three kids last week. I guess they just stay in the house all the time. Never see 'em out in the yard playin' or actin' like kids.]

JOE:

All right, thank you, Mrs. Eggers. We'll check on the house right away.

CRYSTAL:

That's what I wanted this policewoman to do. Told her I'd go right along with you.

JOE:

Well, that won't be necessary.

CRYSTAL:

Now listen, young man. If there's anything wrong with them kids, I wanna know about it. Wanna do my part. The whole neighborhood's talkin'.

JOE:

Is that right?

CRYSTAL:

Sure. Little Stevie's been to all the houses lookin' for something to do. Askin' for work. It just seems to me that there's something wrong about the whole kiboodle of 'em. Not seein' the mother....and the way the boy don't eat the lunch plate...not seein' the other kids. There's something that don't fit over there.

JOE:

All right, ma'am, we'll look right into it.

CRYSTAL:

You just do that. You'll see what I say is true.

IRENE:

Thank you, Mrs. Eggers.

CRYSTAL:

Don't go thankin' me. Just trying to be civil minded, that's all.

JOE:

Mm hm.

CRYSTAL:

Just seems that there isn't anybody who cares about those kids.

JOE:

Well, that's not true, Mrs. Eggers.

CRYSTAL:

What?

JOE:

We do.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND JOE--

JOE:

Eight fourteen P.M. Policewoman Irene Gardner and I left the office and drove over to the address the Eggers woman had given us. The house was a small, one-story clapboard building located on the rear of the lot. The front yard was overgrown with weeds and there were neighborhood advertising papers lying around. When we arrived, there was a faint light on, in one of the
front rooms. Irene and I went up to the front door and we knocked. We got no answer. I tried the door, but we found it locked. There was no sound from inside the place. The shades were drawn over the windows so that it was impossible for us to see into the house. We walked around to the rear and tried the back door.

SOUND:

NIGHT B.G. SLIGHT RAIN. SOUND OF IRENE TURNING THE DOORKNOB.

IRENE:

Locked.

JOE:

Yeah. Doesn't look like there's anybody hone.

IRENE:

Mm hm.

JOE:

Well, let's talk to that Eggers woman again, huh?

IRENE:

All right.

SOUND:

THEY WALK OFF THE BACK PORCH AND ONTO A CEMENT PATH.

JOE:

Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? From the story she gave us, the kids should be at home.

IRENE:

Well, she might be seeing things, Joe. Y'know...tryin' to figure out some way to get attention.

JOE:

Yeah, might be. Didn't seem like that to me, though.

SOUND:

STEPS STOPS DURING FOLLOWING--

IRENE:

(SLIGHT INTAKE OF BREATH) Joe?

JOE:

What? What do you got there?

IRENE:

Front window. There...see it?

JOE:

(BEAT) Yeah. There's somebody in there. Come on, let's go.

SOUND:

THE TWO OFFICERS WALK TO THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE. UP THREE WOODEN STAIRS AND ONTO THE PORCH. COUPLA STEPS AND STOP. DOOR KNOCK. BEAT.

JOE:

I'll try it again.

IRENE:

Yeah.

SOUND:

DOOR KNOCK.

IRENE:

(BEAT) Not answering.

SOUND:

DOOR KNOCK.

JOE:

(UP) Come on, open up in there! We know you're in there! Come on! Open the door!

PAMELA:

(BEAT; OFF - INSIDE THE HOUSE) What d'ya want?

JOE:

Police officers. Let us in.

PAMELA:

There's nothin' wrong. Go away.

JOE:

No, we can't do that. Now, come on...open up.

PAMELA:

Who you gonna arrest?

JOE:

Nobody. We just want to talk to you.

PAMELA:

You sure that's all?

JOE:

That's right.

PAMELA:

Okay...just a minute.

SOUND:

DOOR UNLOCKED FROM THE INSIDE...THEN CHAIN LATCH TAKEN FROM DOOR. DOOR OPENS.

PAMELA:

(ON) What d'ya want?

JOE:

You Pamela Telford?

PAMELA:

I haven't done anything wrong.

JOE:

We didn't say you did.

PAMELA:

Then what're you doin' around here? What're you lookin' for?

IRENE:

Your mother in?

PAMELA:

What?

IRENE:

Is your mother home?

PAMELA:

Well...yeah. She's here.

JOE:

Well, we'd like to see her, if it's all right.

PAMELA:

Y'can't. Y'can't see her.

JOE:

Well, afraid we're gonna have to.

PAMELA:

She's lyin' down. Asleep. That's why you can't talk to her.

JOE:

Well, what's the matter, little girl?

PAMELA:

Nothin'. Why d'you ask something like that?

JOE:

Don't you think you better let us in? We're gonna have to talk to your mother.

PAMELA:

But she's asleep. She's tired. Y'can't talk to her. Y'can't.

JOE:

Now, come on...you want to go and wake her up? There's some things we've got to talk to her about.

IRENE:

I wonder if we could come in. It's kinda wet out here. (NO RESPONSE) Hm? How about it?

JOE:

And then you can get your mother and we can have our talk, huh?

PAMELA:

I guess you can come in. I guess it's all right.

SOUND:

PAMELA BACKS INTO THE HOUSE ... JOE AND IRENE FOLLOW.

IRENE:

Come on in, Joe.

JOE:

Yeah.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES.

MUSIC:

SOMBER ... BEHIND JOE'S NARRATION--

JOE:

The front room was about twelve feet square. The only light in the room came from a candle in a jelly glass on a table. The only furniture in the place was the table that held the candle, and a torn artificial leather and chrome couch. The floor was covered with paper, rain-soaked cardboard boxes, and dirty clothes. At a half a dozen different places, drops of dirty water were seeping through the roof. The water was being caught in empty tin cans that had been placed around the room. To the left, was a door to a bedroom. In it, in a wooden crib, were two children. From the descriptions we'd gotten from the Eggers woman, we recognized them as Martin Telford, aged four, and his sister Carol, aged two. As soon as the children saw Irene and me, they hid their heads under the dirty blanket that covered the crib. There was nothing else in the room except a dirty mattress lying on the floor in one corner. From the appearance of the bedding, it hadn't been laundered or changed in at least three weeks. On the other side of the house, a small kitchen was piled high with dirty dishes, pieces of rotting food and empty tin cans. The plumbing in the house had apparently been out of order for several weeks. While Irene and I looked over the house, the girl who'd met us at the door, Pamela Telford, followed us. When we got back to the front room, she started to cry.

SOUND:

DRIPPING OF WATER THROUGH THE ROOF INTO TIN CANS. SOUND OF RAIN, OFF.

PAMELA:

(CRYING)

JOE:

All right, you wanna tell us where she is? (NO ANSWER) Come on, Pamela...it's not as bad as all that, is it? Here...here's a handkerchief. Here ya are.

SOUND:

PAMELA BLOWS HER NOSE.

JOE:

Now, where's your mother?

PAMELA:

She's out looking for a job.

IRENE:

It's kinda late for that, isn't it?

PAMELA:

I dunno. That's what she's doin', though...out lookin' for a job.

JOE:

Well, now, why'd you tell us that she was here tonight?

PAMELA:

'Cause I didn't know what you wanted. I thought you were trying to arrest her.

JOE:

Why'd you think that?

PAMELA:

Because that's what she said.

JOE:

Your mother said that?

PAMELA:

Yes...she told us that policemen arrested people. She told us about it...how you did it once to her.

IRENE:

Your mother's been arrested?

PAMELA:

Yes.

JOE:

Do you know why?

PAMELA:

'Cause she was.

JOE:

Well, what for? Do you know?

PAMELA:

She got sick. She got sick and they put her in jail.

JOE:

Mm hm.

PAMELA:

That's why I told you she was asleep. I thought that you'd go away and leave us alone.

IRENE:

Sure cold in here.

JOE:

Yeah.

IRENE:

Do you have any heat in the house, Pamela?

PAMELA:

There's a heater in the bedroom.

IRENE:

(MOVING OFF, TO JOE) I'll turn it on.

JOE:

Good.

PAMELA:

It doesn't work.

IRENE:

(OFF) What?

PAMELA:

The heater doesn't work. Marty was playing one day and he broke the little rods in it. It doesn't work any more.

IRENE:

Well, we should be able to get some heat out of it.

PAMELA:

No, you won't. There isn't any gas. They turned it off.

JOE:

Mm hm. Well, I think maybe you youngsters better came downtown with us, don't ya think?

PAMELA:

Why?

JOE:

Well, it'll be warm down there; lot more comfortable for you.

PAMELA:

We can't go. We gotta wait here.

JOE:

That's all right, Pamela. We'll leave word for your mother where you are.

PAMELA:

[We still can't go. We gotta be here when she comes home. She'll be pretty mad if we aren't here. We gotta stay.

JOE:

We'll explain it to her. (TO IRENE) Irene?

IRENE:

Yeah?

JOE:

You wanna call the crime lab...have 'em come out and get some pictures of the place?

IRENE:

Right.

SOUND:

IRENE LEAVES AND WE HEAR THE DOOR OPEN AND CLOSE. RAIN UP WITH DOOR OPEN.

JOE:

You want get your brother and sister ready?

PAMELA:

We're not goin'.

JOE:

I'm sorry, honey, but there's not much you can do about it.]

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS, OFF.

JOE:

Maybe that's your mother now, huh?

PAMELA:

No...it's Steve.

SOUND: DOOR SHUTS. STEVE'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

STEVE:

(COMING IN) Who're you?

PAMELA:

He's a policeman.

STEVE:

What d'ya want? There's nothin' wrong here. Nothin' for you to come buttin' in for.

JOE:

We want to see your mother, son.

STEVE:

She hasn't done anything. Why don't you cops leave her alone? All the time you're after her. Never leave her alone. [Why don't you leave her alone?

PAMELA:

You bring something to eat, Steve?

STEVE:

Mister?

JOE:

What's that, son?

STEVE:

You better get outta here. And don't call me son.

JOE:

What's the matter, Steve? Why're ya actin' like this?

STEVE:

'Cause I don't like cops, that's why. You've got no right to come in here like this. No right at all. We ain't done
nothin'. We're not botherin' nobody. We're not causin' any trouble. Now leave us alone.

PAMELA:

They're lookin' for Ma, Steve.

STEVE:

I figured that. She's not here. Now get out.

SOUND:

THE FRONT DOOR OPENS OFF AND IRENE COMES IN.

IRENE:

Crime lab is on the way, Joe. (SHE SEES STEVE) Hi...you're Steve, aren't you?

STEVE:

You a cop, too?

IRENE:

I'm a policewoman, yes.

STEVE:

I just told your friend here to get out. You can put the same thing on.]

IRENE:

You're kinda rough for a little guy, aren't you?

STEVE:

That's none of your business. I know my rights. I know 'em good.

JOE:

Well, look here, son. We're gonna take you downtown, give you a good meal. Just until we can talk to your mother, that's all.

STEVE:

Then you're gonna bring us back?

JOE:

Well, we'll see.

STEVE:

How 'bout Marty and Carol? You takin' them, too?

JOE:

Yeah.

STEVE:

Gonna give them somethin' to eat?

JOE:

Yes, that's right.

STEVE:

(BEAT) Okay, we'll go with ya. Just for tonight, though, that's all! Just for tonight. Y'understand?

JOE:

Yeah.

STEVE:

Oh, and another thing.

JOE:

Yes, what's that?

STEVE:

We're payin' our own way. I've got money. Anything you give us, we're gonna pay for.

JOE:

Well, you won't have to do that, son.

STEVE:

Well, I'm goin' to. We don't need charity. We're gettin' along all right. Everybody has a little rough luck now and then. Everybody. Mom tries. She really does. She's been lookin' for a job for a long time.

JOE:

Uh huh. All right, Steve, you want to help the others get ready to leave?

STEVE:

I'm not sure we can go.

JOE:

Well, I'm afraid you're gonna have to, son.

STEVE:

(BEAT) All right, but just for tonight. But the only reason is that I want Marty and Carol and Pamela to have something hot to eat. There's somethin' wrong with the stove, so's we can't cook on it. That's the only reason we're goin'! Just because there's something wrong with the stove.

PAMELA:

The gas is turned off.

STEVE:

No, it isn't. It just don't work. But whatever we eat...whatever we get....we're gonna pay for. I've got the money.

JOE:

Well, now, I told you once before that won't be necessary.

STEVE:

It is, too. We're not takin' any charity. We've never taken any and we're not goin' to start now, either. Anything that's done for us, is gonna be paid for.

JOE:

Yeah, I guess that's right, Steve.

STEVE:

Huh?

JOE:

It'll be paid for.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND JOE--

JOE:

Eight fifty-six P.M. Men from the crime lab arrived and photographed the entire house; the pictures were held for evidence. A search of the house showed that there was no food for the children. In a cardboard box in the bedroom, under a pile of toilet articles, we found a photograph of a man and a woman taken at what appeared to be a beach photographer's. Irene and I checked through the rest of the house but we found nothing that would indicate where the mother of the four Telford children had gone. The youngsters were taken to juvenile hall, bathed, given clean clothes, and fed. At first, Steve Telford refused to eat anything until he was assured that his two sisters and his brother were being given the same kind of food. After the boy had finished eating, Irene and I talked to him. His previous uncooperative attitude had changed and he seemed anxious to help us find his mother.

STEVE:

This is the longest she's ever been gone. I'm beginning to think that there might be something wrong.

JOE:

Well, when'd you see her last, Steve?

STEVE:

This is Friday, isn't it?

IRENE:

Yes. February eighth.

STEVE:

Uh huh...it was last Tuesday then.

JOE:

Y'mean this week, son?

STEVE:

No, a week ago. A week ago Tuesday.

JOE:

Well, what'd she say when she left?

STEVE:

Just like always. She said she wasn't feelin' very good and she was goin' out and try to look for work.

IRENE:

What kind of work does she do?

STEVE:

She's a waitress. Good one, too.

JOE:

Mm hm.

STEVE:

That's the trouble, I guess -- she's so good.

IRENE:

What d'ya mean?

STEVE:

Well, there are only a couple of places that Mom says are any good. Well, you know...where she'd want to work.

JOE:

I don't believe I understand what you mean, Steve.

STEVE:

Well, Mom always said that she wasn't just a hash slinger. That's what she called it.

JOE:

Oh, I see.

STEVE:

She said that she was a waitress and she couldn't go to work just anyplace.

JOE:

Mm hm. Where'd she work last?

STEVE:

Big place out in Beverly Hills. Forget the name right now. But when she got the job...before she went to work, Mom took us out there. We didn't go right in, but we stood in front and looked at it. Big place. Real nice. Y'know..all kinda glass in front. You could see the people inside havin' a good time. We didn't go in, but we could see it good.

JOE:

How long did your mother work there?

STEVE:

Well, she had some trouble, and she had to quit.

IRENE:

What d'ya mean, trouble?

STEVE:

She got sick, and the man who was her boss got mad at her and I guess he said a lot of things that Mom didn't like. So Mom told him that he couldn't talk to her like that and then she quit.

JOE:

Your mother ever tell you what was wrong with her? (NO ANSWER) Steve?

STEVE:

No...she didn't.

IRENE:

Did she see a doctor about it?

STEVE:

(BEAT) Y'might as well know it. You're gonna find out anyway.

JOE:

What's that, son?

STEVE:

Well, Mom drank a lot. Sometimes she'd drink too much and then she'd get sick. That's what was wrong.

JOE:

Mm hm. Where's your father, Steve?

STEVE:

He died before Carol was born. Right before.

JOE:

I want you to take a look at a picture for us, will ya? Look at it and tell us if you know who the man in it is.

STEVE:

All right.

JOE:

Here ya are.

SOUND:

JOE HANDS STEVE A PICTURE. BEAT.

STEVE:

That's Mom.

JOE:

Mm hm.

IRENE:

(BEAT) You know who the man is?

STEVE:

No...I don't think I ever saw him before.

JOE:

Your mother have any men friends?

STEVE:

No, I don't think so. Least, she never told me about 'em. She always said that the kids were enough for her. That we were all that mattered. She used to say that when she got a steady job, we were all gonna live good. She used to tell us how one day the phone'd ring and all our troubles would be over. Just like that. One day we'd have a little trouble and the next, everything was gonna be all right.

JOE:

Mm hm.

STEVE:

She really believed it, too. Just all of a sudden, the phone was gonna ring and all our troubles would be over.

IRENE:

Mm hm.

STEVE:

I didn't know how to tell her.

JOE:

Tell her what, son?

STEVE:

That they turned the phone off.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND JOE--

JOE:

We had the name Rowena Telford checked through R. and I. and we found that the boy's story was true. The woman had been arrested once on a charge of Forty-One Twenty-Seven-A [4127-A] L.A.M.C., being drunk in a public place. Irene put in a call to the waitress' union and asked them to check to see if the woman was working anyplace in town. They came back with the information that the last job she'd held had been six months before, and that she'd been fired for insubordination and for being drunk. We showed the picture of the man and woman that we'd found at the Telford home around the department in the hopes that one of the officers might recognize the place where it was taken. None of them did. The next morning, we had several copies made and we began a search of the bars along Fifth Street. We asked each bartender if he'd ever seen the man or the woman. In the first four places we checked, we got "yes" answers to the query about the woman, but none of the people we talked to could tell us anything about the man in the picture. Two more days passed without results. In the meantime, a warrant had been issued ordering the arrest of Rowena Telford, charging her with child neglect. A local and an A.P.B. were gotten out on her. On the third day after we'd started our search for the missing woman, we talked with a bartender who was able to give us the name of the man in the picture. He described the man as a fry cook in one of the smaller restaurants down on Fifth Street. We checked the restaurant but we found that he'd been fired on Monday, the twenty-eighth of January. A check of his home address gave us no indication as to where he might be. Irene and I went back to the office and checked the name through R. and I.

SOUND:

SQUAD ROOM B.G....DOOR OPEN AND CLOSE

IRENE:

Joe?

JOE:

Yeah? You come up with anything?

IRENE:

Checked the name. He's registered as an ex-convict.

JOE:

Uh huh. Where'd he fall?

IRENE:

Back in Pennsylvania. Did time for A.D.W.

JOE:

Well, we better talk to him, huh?

IRENE:

Right now, he looks awful good.

JOE:

Why do you say that?

IRENE:

What he was arrested for.

JOE:

Yeah?

IRENE:

He tried to beat a woman to death.

MUSIC:

FOR END OF ACT 1

GIBNEY:

You are listening to Dragnet, the authentic story of your police force in action.

FENN:

Meet Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy - America's favorite husband and wife comedy team. They are typical of smokers everywhere who are saying - "Chesterfields for me." Mary says........

MARY:

I've smoked regular-size Chesterfields for about seven years. Guess that ought to prove how I feel about Chesterfield's taste and mildness.

FENN:

Peter says - "Chesterfields for me," too.....

PETER:

Far as I'm concerned, king is the only size ... and like Mary says ... Chesterfield is the only cigarette.

MARY:

Either way you like them...I'll bet you'll find Chesterfield is best for you.

FENN:

Yes - smoke America's most popular two-way cigarette....regular and king-size Chesterfield. The best cigarette ever made...and best for you.

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE ... THEN BEHIND JOE--

JOE:

An immediate search was started for the man in the picture with Rowena Telford. From friends of his, we found that we might be able to locate him at a hamburger stand down at Santa Monica. Tuesday, February twelfth, Policewoman Irene Gardner and I drove down to the beach.

SOUND:

BOARDWALK B.G. STEPS ON CONCRETE. RAIN IN B.G.

IRENE:

Should be it up there, huh?

JOE:

Yeah.

SOUND:

STEPS TO DOOR, OPEN AND CLOSE.

JOE:

(AS HE OPENS THE DOOR) Go ahead.

IRENE:

Thanks.

SOUND:

THEY WALK INTO THE RESTAURANT. AS THEY DO, WE HEAR THE SOUND OF HAMBURGERS FRYING. DOOR CLOSE AND B.G. OUT.

IRENE:

It's warm in here.

JOE:

Yeah.

SOUND:

THEY WALK TO THE COUNTER, STOP.

WILLIS:

(LITTLE OFF) Yeah?

JOE:

We'd like to see Willis Thatcher.

WILLIS:

What for?

IRENE:

Police officers. You're Thatcher, aren't you?

WILLIS:

Yeah. What d'ya want with me?

JOE:

Couple of questions we'd like to ask ya.

WILLIS:

Sure. I got nothin' to hide. No reason to give you any trouble. What d'ya want to know?

JOE:

You know a woman named Rowena Telford?

WILLIS: (BEAT, UNHAPPY) Why d'ya ask that?

JOE:

It's a simple question, Thatcher. Can you give us the right kind of an answer? (NO ANSWER) How 'bout it?

WILLIS:

Yeah, I know her. Why? What's she done now?

JOE:

When'd you see her last?

WILLIS:

I don't know, couple of weeks ago.

JOE:

Narrow that down, will ya?

WILLIS:

Why? Listen, anything she did, I had no part of.

IRENE:

We understand you were pretty friendly with her.

WILLIS:

That's not true. Sure, maybe I had a couple of dates with her. Not more than a couple. That's it. Isn't anybody in the world could put up with her for more than that.

JOE:

Why d'ya say a thing like that?

WILLIS:

You ever know her?

JOE:

No. We're lookin' for her.

WILLIS:

(TO IRENE) You?

IRENE:

No. I've never met her.

WILLIS:

That's how come you can ask that kinda question then. If you knew her, if you spent any time with her, you had to know what I mean.

JOE:

Well, suppose you tell us.

WILLIS:

She's a lush. A real lush. All the time boozin' it up. Wasn't so bad that she got loaded but she was real loud when she was tanked up. Real loud.

JOE:

Is that right?

WIILIS:

Sure. Check around. Ask her friends. Talk to 'em. They'll all tell you the same story. Everyone of 'em. First off, she'd have a couple of drinks...next thing you know, any fella with her'd be tryin' to get out of a place without gettin' his head knocked off. She was always startin' trouble. Sit down, order a drink, and the next thing you know, some guy was askin' you outside. Well, I ain't built to go outside too often. I get hurt bad when I fight.

JOE:

Uh huh. She have any other boyfriends?

WILLIS:

You don't listen very good, do you?

JOE:

What's that?

WILLIS:

I told you. Isn't anybody around here'd have much to do with her. Far as I know, there wasn't nobody who went with her.

IRENE:

How'd she seem the last time you saw her?

WILLIS:

All right. She had a little hangover....she always had one of those.

JOE:

Seem depressed about anything?

WILLIS:

Not that she talked about.

JOE:

Mm hm. She say anything about leaving town?

WILLIS:

Not to me. Listen, how about givin' me a break and tellin' me what this is all about? What're you after Rowena for?

JOE:

These fights you told us about, you ever have any arguments with Mrs. Telford?

WILLIS:

I don't think that's any of your business.

JOE:

We're writing it down that it is. Now how 'bout an answer?

WILLIS:

We had a couple of beefs. I told you...you couldn't go around with her and not have a little trouble.

IRENE:

Did you ever hit her?

WILLIS:

We're back to that, huh?

IRENE:

What d'ya mean?

WILLIE:

You know the record. The time I did. You figure maybe I did something to Rowena. Isn't that it? You think I hurt her.

JOE:

We're asking you.

WILLIS:

Well, you're way off the road. I ain't gonna try to con you. Sure, maybe I had a lotta reasons to want to belt her. I used to think a lot of Rowena. A awful lot. But that's all over. All I wanted her to do was to leave me alone. Stay away from me. (BEAT) I didn't ever hit her. I didn't hurt her...no matter what you think.

JOE:

All right.

WILLIS:

You gotta believe that. I guess it sounds funny....I ain't tryin' to fool anybody. I'm ready to admit it. I'm a bum.

JOE:

Mm hm.

WILLIS:

But she didn't have to keep tellin' me. Not all the time. I knew it.

JOE:

Yeah.

WILLIS:

Nobody likes to be called a bum.

JOE:

Mm hm.

WILLIS:

Even if you know it's true.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND JOE--

JOE:

One forty-seven P.M. We drove the suspect over to his rooming house and we checked the premises. We found nothing that would definitely tie him in with the disappearance of the Telford woman. After leaving his room, we took him downtown where he was held for further investigation on a charge of suspicion of murder. We checked communications but we found that there'd been no word on the missing woman. Her name and description had been checked through the files in Missing Persons Bureau without results. Three-forty P.M. Frank came by the office and said that the trial he was attending was dragging on and that it would be a couple more days before he'd be back on duty with me. A petition was filed on behalf of the children, charging violation of Section Two-Seven-Three-Ay Pee-Cee [273A-P.C.], unfit home, asking that they be made wards of the Juvenile court. Policewoman Irene Gardner put in a call to the next door neighbor of the Telford woman but we found that there'd been no trace of the missing woman since we'd removed the children. Five-twelve P.M. We finished up the log for the day and we were leaving the office.

SOUND:

SQUAD ROOM B.G. PHONE RING

JOE:

I got it.

SOUND:

HE WALKS TO THE PHONE...PUNCHES BUTTON AND LIFTS RECEIVER.

JOE:

(INTO PHONE) Juvenile, Friday. ... Yeah, that's right. ... Yeah, what's that address? ... Yeah. Mm hm. ... Yes, sir, we'll be right there. ... Right. Thank you.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN.

IRENE:

What d'you got?

JOE:

Bar over on East Sixth...

IRENE:

Yeah?

JOE:

Rowena Telford just walked in.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND JOE--

JOE:

The bartender was one of those that we'd questioned when we first started our investigation. At the time, he knew the Telford woman but he said that he hadn't seen her for several weeks. On the phone he'd told me that she'd just walked into his bar. Irene Gardner and I left the office and drove over to the East Sixth Street address but the woman had just left. We had her description, and a description of the clothes she was wearing, and we put that out to all cars in the area, but she was not picked up. Irene Gardner and I went back to the office and we put out a supplementary bulletin on the woman. At eight-fourteen P.M. we got a call from the woman who'd made the original complaint, Mrs. Crystal Eggers. She told us that the Telford woman had just walked into her own home. Irene and I left the office and we drove out to the house on Vallejo Street.

SOUND:

STEPS ON SIDEWALK UP PORCH AND STOP.

IRENE:

Light on...she must still be home.

JOE:

Yeah.

SOUND:

DOOR KNOCK.

ROWENA:

(OFF...INSIDE THE HOUSE) Who is it?

JOE:

Police officers...we'd like to talk to you.

ROWENA:

(OFF) Just a minute.

SOUND:

ROWENA WALKS TO DOOR. UNLOCKED AND OPENED.

ROWENA:

(ON, A LITTLE DRUNK) It's about time you got here. You got 'em yet?

JOE:

I beg your pardon?

ROWENA:

You got the little brats? They all run off. All of 'em. I get my hands on 'em and they're gonna get what for. (SHE LOOKS FOR THE KIDS) Where are they?

JOE:

We have 'em downtown, Mrs. Telford.

ROWENA:

Whyn'tcha bring 'em home? This is where they belong. When I get my hands on 'em....oh, what I'm gonna give that little Steve.

JOE:

You mind if we come in?

ROWENA:

No..come right ahead.

SOUND:

THE TWO OFFICERS WALK INTO THE HOUSE.

ROWENA:

(AS THEY ENTER) You gotta kinda excuse the way the house looks. I been away for a couple of days. You can see how the kids can mess the place up.

JOE:

I'm Sergeant Friday...this is Miss Gardner.

ROWENA:

Oh, how do you do? Would you like to sit down?

IRENE:

No, that's all right.

ROWENA:

How come you didn't bring 'em back?

JOE:

They're being held in Juvenile Hall, Mrs. Telford.

ROWENA:

For what?

JOE:

Well, when we found 'em, they were suffering from malnutrition. And this place here...it's not fit for youngsters.

ROWENA:

Oh, so you just took 'em out and put 'em in a home. Is that the way it is?

JOE:

Yes, ma'am. That's the way it is.

ROWENA:

Well, you've got your nerve. You really have.

IRENE:

What?

ROWENA:

You - comin' in here and breakin' up a home like this. You oughta be ashamed of yourself.

JOE:

We have a warrant for your arrest.

ROWENA:

Me?

JOE:

Yes, ma'am.

ROWENA:

Now you listen to me, cop. You've got no right to come in here and break up my home. I know all about you cops. All about you. Pussyfootin' around...tryin' to make everybody think you're so good. I know you for what you are. And I tell you this.

JOE:

Yes, ma'am? What's that?

ROWENA:

You better get those kids back here fast, do you hear me? You get 'em back here fast, 'cause if you don't, I'm gonna sue you..and her..and the city for every dime it's got. I'll take this to any court in the country I have to...but I'm gonna get my kids back! You ain't half as good as you think you are. You want it plain? Real plain so's you can understand it? You stink! That's what. All of ya - stink!.

JOE:

All right, ma'am, I think that's enough of that. Where've you been for the last two weeks?

ROWENA:

(SELF-PITYING) It was the most terrible thing that ever happened to me. To anybody. He told me he loved me. Said we was gonna get married. I thought it'd be nice for the kids. That's what I thought. For the kids. We was gonna drive down to Mexico and get married. All nice.

JOE:

Uh huh.

ROWENA:

And everything was goin' nice. I gave Stevie a couple of dollars and told him to take care of things. Then we left and drove all the way to San Diego without stopping. Then we had some lunch. On the way to get married. We had a couple of drinks. Just to make the food taste better. That's all. Then all of a sudden I got sick again. And he walked out on me. Left me right there in the bar, all by myself. All the promises he made to me. All the things we was gonna have. And all of it just a lot of lies. Soon as I get a little sick. We just had a couple of drinks. He walked out on me. Left me right there, all by myself, y'know.

JOE:

Mm hm.

ROWENA:

All by myself. I didn't have no money. No way to get back. What was I gonna do? I believed him. I really thought he was gonna marry me. I believed all he said...how things were gonna be better. I believed it all. The dirtiest trick I ever heard of, walkin' out on a girl like that. The dirtiest trick.

JOE:

I got one to beat it.

ROWENA:

Huh?

JOE:

The one you pulled on your children.

MUSIC:

SIGNATURE ... THEN BEHIND FENN--

FENN:

(EASILY) The story you have just heard is true. The names were changed to protect the innocent.

GIBNEY:

On June fourth, trial was held in Department Ninety-Seven [97], Superior Court of the state of California, in and for the County of Los Angeles. In a moment the results of that trial.

FENN:

Now here is our star, Jack Webb.

WEBB:

Thank you, George Fenneman. Friends, we've tried very hard to set a Dragnet standard. Now, to put that in just a few words, we try to make each program the kind of entertainment that you want. Well, we're gonna keep working real hard at that. And, you know, the people who make Chesterfields feel the same way about their cigarette. To sell a product you have to make it good and keep it good. And the latest reports from our research lab shows Chesterfield is highest in quality.....highest in quality.....low in nicotine. Smoke America's most popular two-way cigarette. Chesterfield - regular or king-size.....they're milder...they're satisfying.....they're best for me. Best for you.

GIBNEY:

Rowena Esther Telford was tried and convicted of violation of Section Two Seventy-Three-Ay---Pee-Cee [273A-P.C.], endangering the life and safety of a minor, which is punishable by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than one year. The four Telford children were made wards of the Juvenile Court and were placed in foster homes.

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN UNDER--

GIBNEY:

You have just heard Dragnet -- a series of authentic cases from official files. Technical advice comes from the office of Chief of Police, W. H. Parker, Los Angeles Police Department. Technical advisors, Captain Jack Donohoe, Sgt. Marty Wynn, Sgt. Vance Brasher. Heard tonight were June Whitley, Sammy Ogg, Virginia Gregg. Script by John Robinson. Music by Walter Schumann. Hal Gibney speaking.

FENN:

Watch an entirely different Dragnet case history each week on your local NBC Television station. Please check your newspapers for the day and time. (BEAT) Chesterfield has brought you Dragnet, transcribed, from Los Angeles.

MUSIC:

THEME FADES OUT

ANNCR:

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MUSIC:

CLOSING MARCH ... OUT BEHIND--

NBC ANNCR:

Hear JOHN CAMERON SWAYZE AND THE NEWS next on the NBC Radio network.

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES