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Heads You Lose

Suspense

Heads You Lose

Mar 11 1962






CAST:


The Suspense Team:

ANNOUNCER

2ND ANNCR

SINGERS


Dramatis Personae:

STEVE KIMBERLY, detective; very dry

ROLLO COLLINS, his partner; a poor man's Nero Wolfe

SECRETARY

HARRISON WARD, the dignified lawyer

PROFESSOR GREEN, the emotional scientist

JOSHUA FRANKLIN, an eerie, suffering voice







ANNOUNCER: And now -- a tale well-calculated to keep you in--


MUSIC: CHORD


ANNOUNCER: --SUSPENSE! We live in an age of wonders. What was yesterday's impossibility is today's miracle and tomorrow's fact. So perhaps our story today isn't just a story. We only say perhaps, but it might be worth asking yourself, "Is it just a story?"


In a moment, Act One of "Heads You Lose," starring William Redfield as Steve Kimberly and written especially for SUSPENSE by Robert Arthur.


The first portion of SUSPENSE is brought to you by the makers of Alpine Cigarettes.


MUSIC: MELLOW ... FOR A COMMERCIAL ... THEN IN BG--


2ND ANNCR: What's it like to smoke an Alpine? Well, it's like many fresh, lighthearted things you enjoy. It's like the splash of an oar on a quiet lake. Like the sight of a flag rippling in the wind. The way the air suddenly cools during a summer rain. That's what it's like to smoke an Alpine. It's nothing at all like the sort of smoking you may be used to. Alpine gives you a fresh, high-spirited sort of smoke -- a hearty, even exhilarating, kind of taste. If this sounds good to you, try Alpine filter cigarettes.


SINGERS: There's something more to smoking with an Alpine Cigarette.


MUSIC: COMMERCIAL OUT ... THEN A LIGHT INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) It was a nice, chilly morning in October and Rollo Collins and I were sitting in Rollo's office wondering where our next dollar was coming from. Rollo didn't look hungry since he weighs about three hundreds pounds and has the appearance of a dishonest cherub, but I knew he was. As for me, Steve Kimberly, I felt like a walking skeleton. 


Rollo and I were private detectives. Now, I won't try to whitewash us. Let me just say, nobody ever actually proved anything against us. But we were, let's face it, a firm people came to in desperation with cases more reputable firms wouldn't handle. And when the intercom buzzed, Rollo and I jumped.


SOUND: INTERCOM BUZZES ... CLICK! OF SWITCH


ROLLO: (INTO COM) Yes, my dear?


SECRETARY: (FILTER) A gentleman by the name of Harrison Ward to see you, Mr. Collins.


ROLLO: Mr. Ward?


SECRETARY: (FILTER) That's right, sir. He's an attorney.


ROLLO: Oh. By all means, show him right in.


SECRETARY: (FILTER) Yes, sir.


SOUND: CLICK! OF SWITCH


MUSIC: IN BG


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) Harrison Ward was a tall thin guy with a tall thin face. And as he closed the office door and looked at us, his Adam's apple jumped up and down nervously.


WARD: My name is Ward. Uh, Harrison Ward. I'm an attorney. I wish to engage you to find someone for me.


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) Uh huh. Butter wouldn't have melted in Rollo's mouth as he waved Ward to a chair.


MUSIC: OUT


ROLLO: You've come to the right place, Mr. Ward. We find people; that's our business.


WARD: Well, this is an unusual case. I want you to find-- His name is Joshua Franklin.


ROLLO: Joshua Franklin? Surely you're not serious? Joshua Franklin's disappearance is one of the great mysteries of the century.


KIMBERLY: Isn't he the Wall Street financier who walked out of his office one day with a hundred thousand in cash?


WARD: That's the man.


KIMBERLY: Ah. And was never seen again?


WARD: Precisely.


KIMBERLY: Hmm.


WARD: Not the slightest clue to his fate has ever been discovered. I told you it was an unusual case.


ROLLO: But, my dear Mr. Ward, according to my recollection, even when he vanished, Joshua Franklin was a dying man.


WARD: Yes. Yes, that's true. His body was riddled with disease. Doctors gave him six months at the outside. It was such a pity. That brilliant financial mind that was keen as ever, and a body that no miracle of science could keep going.


KIMBERLY: In that case, Mr. Ward, no matter where he went, Joshua Franklin must have died at least six years ago.


WARD: Oh, yes. A dozen specialists assure me he cannot possibly still be alive.


ROLLO: And yet you wish us to find him? My dear Mr. Ward, on occasion, we do the impossible. But we cannot work miracles.


KIMBERLY: What you need, Mr. Ward, is a spirit medium.


WARD: Please, gentlemen, I assure you, I've come to you in desperation. I know that Mr. Franklin must be dead. And yet--


ROLLO: (BEAT) Yes? Please go on.


WARD: Three weeks ago, Joshua Franklin spoke to me on the telephone.


KIMBERLY: Oh, come on now. You can hardly expect us to believe that.


WARD: Well, it couldn't have been anybody else. He identified himself by a secret code.


ROLLO: Did you recognize his voice?


WARD: Well, no. It - it did seem changed. But it may have been a bad connection.


ROLLO: Mr. Ward, you're certain it was Joshua Franklin?


WARD: I'd swear to it. The things he reminded me of-- Well, no one else knew about them -- living or dead.


KIMBERLY: Oh, I'll bet. Especially dead.


ROLLO: Tell me, just why did Joshua Franklin phone you?


WARD: He instructed me to sell ten thousand shares of Universal Mining stock which he owned.


ROLLO: Did he say why?


WARD: He promised to explain later. But he never called again.


KIMBERLY: Probably St. Peter wouldn't let him slip out to use the telephone.


ROLLO: (ADMONISHES) Uh, Steve-- (TO WARD) Uh, Mr. Ward, think carefully. Was it a long distance call?


KIMBERLY: What else could it have been, Rollo? Very long distance.


WARD: I think it was a local call. But with this new direct dialing it's so hard to tell.


ROLLO: Mr. Ward, we are forced to believe that Joshua Franklin is still alive in or near this city. We, uh, will take the case. Our fee is one hundred dollars a day.


WARD: That's quite all right.


ROLLO: In addition, we will expect to collect the reward originally offered. One hundred thousand dollars if we find him alive and fifty thousand if we find him dead.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) So at last we had a case -- finding a missing millionaire who had been dead seven years. Harrison Ward gave us a five hundred dollar advance and left. My own starting point was that mysterious phone call and the order to sell ten thousand shares of Universal Mining stock. I went to a stockbroker friend. He told me the unexpected sale had created a small panic in Universal Mining. Somebody usually makes money off such panics. My friend came up with a name -- the name of an individual who had sold Universal Mining short just before the panic and made about twenty thousand dollars. The man was an amateur, not an experienced Wall Street operator. I did some checking on the fellow and then reported back to Rollo Collins.


ROLLO: You say his name is Green? Lawson Green?


KIMBERLY: Mm hm.


ROLLO: Don't place it. But somehow it's familiar.


KIMBERLY: Professor Lawson Green, Ph.D., FRCS, and a lot of other initials. About ten years ago, he was a professor of neurosurgery at a big medical college.


ROLLO: Hmm. You say he was? What happened?


KIMBERLY: Well, he got mixed up in some kind of scandal -- something to do with some rather radical experiments he was making -- and he resigned. Since then, he's been living all alone out in the suburbs.


ROLLO: And you think he made that telephone call and hoaxed our legal friend Harrison Ward?


KIMBERLY: Oh, Rollo, I think he did. He's the only one who cashed in on the deal.


ROLLO: Curious, Steve. Curious. I wonder where he got that confidential stuff he told Ward.


KIMBERLY: Maybe he knew Joshua Franklin once. Anyway, I'm gonna find out. Sit tight, Rollo, while I go out and have words with the mysterious Professor Green.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) Professor Green's place turned out to be a big stone house set back in a grove of trees and surrounded by a heavy wire fence. Obviously, he liked solitude. I drove into the local village and asked some questions. It turned out the professor had bought the place seven years before and put in a lot of curious machinery. With him, he'd had a white-haired man he called his brother. Only, the brother had never been seen again. Yeah. And just seven years earlier, Joshua Franklin had disappeared, too. A connection? (CHUCKLES) I'd have bet my life on it. So I telephoned Professor Green.


GREEN: (FILTER, IMPATIENTLY) Hello? Hello? What do you want?


KIMBERLY: Umm, is this Professor Green?


GREEN: (FILTER) Yes, yes. Who are you? Why are you calling me?


KIMBERLY: My name is Steve Kimberly. I'd like to talk to you about an old friend of yours -- Joshua Franklin.


GREEN: (FILTER, INHALES SHARPLY) About who?


KIMBERLY: Whom is the correct usage, professor.


GREEN: (FILTER) I don't know what you're talking about. Goodbye.


KIMBERLY: (QUICKLY) Ah, not so fast, professor. I'm just a fella who's interested in Joshua Franklin. I'm working alone, but, if you insist, I can call in the cops.


GREEN: (FILTER) Police?!


KIMBERLY: Only, I hate crowds. Don't you?


GREEN: (FILTER, EXHALES) Very well. Come out to my house. I'll see you. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) You see? Sometimes the easy way is the best way. I drove back; the gate was open. I drove up to the front door. A little white-haired man with bright nervous eyes and shaking fingers let me in.


GREEN: Well, come in, come in.


KIMBERLY: Thank you, professor. 


SOUND: KIMBERLY'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES ... A FEW MORE STEPS


KIMBERLY: I'm glad you agreed to see me, er, alone.


GREEN: I haven't any idea what you want. I agreed to see you just to stop this insufferable nuisance.


KIMBERLY: Well, I'd hardly call one phone call insufferable. However, I'll get down to business. Where is Joshua Franklin? What became of him?


GREEN: I don't know. I never heard of Joshua Franklin. Now, young man, goodbye.


KIMBERLY: Nuh nuh nuh. You're not getting rid of me that easily, professor, so let's start over. (DELIBERATELY) Where is Joshua Franklin? 


GREEN: (AGITATED) What do you want? Why have you come here? I won't let you ruin my experiment! It's my whole life! And now you're trying to destroy what I've done. Take away everything that I've accomplished, after I've given up my career -- everything! -- to - to-- (SPLUTTERS)


KIMBERLY: Oh, professor, professor, easy, easy. You're gonna blow your top here. Now, believe me, I'm not here to destroy anything. I'm here as a friend. I want to help you.


GREEN: (BEAT, CALMER) What - what brought you here anyway?


KIMBERLY: That little transaction in Universal Mining stock.


GREEN: So that's it.


KIMBERLY: Mm hm.


GREEN: I was afraid, but he told me to do it.


KIMBERLY: He? You mean -- Joshua Franklin?


GREEN: (BEAT, CONCEDES) Yes. I mean Joshua Franklin.


KIMBERLY: (SLOWLY) Ahhhhhh. You've got him here in this house? You've kept him a prisoner all these years?


GREEN: No! I only saved his life. I'm the one who's been the prisoner.


KIMBERLY: (AMAZED) You saved his life? In - in spite of what the doctors said? Well, man, why all the secrecy? You could have been famous!


GREEN: You'll see. Yes! I'll take you to Joshua Franklin himself. And then you'll understand.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) The little professor led me down a long corridor to a heavy metal door and, as we went, my brain was clicking like an adding machine. I was busy trying to figure out my next step when Green led me down a flight of stairs into a pitch black room. There was some kind of pump going.


SOUND: EERIE ELECTRONIC PULSATING PUMP NOISE ... CONTINUES IN BG


GREEN: Here we are. Joshua Franklin is in this room.


KIMBERLY: Uh huh. Well, turn on the light.


GREEN: No, no. Not yet. I'll speak to him first. Now, don't be surprised if his voice is, uh, odd. 


SOUND: CLICK! OF SWITCH


GREEN: (CALLS GENTLY) Mr. Franklin, I'm here. How are you this morning?


FRANKLIN: I'm tired. Tired beyond human endurance.


GREEN: I know. But I'm working on the problem. Soon you'll be a new man again.


FRANKLIN: Don't bother to lie to me. I know the truth.


GREEN: You must be patient. It takes time and money.


FRANKLIN: You'll never succeed. Never. I was a fool ever to think you could. I should have died as nature intended. Finish me now and let me have peace.


GREEN: Please, you must be patient. I'll return later. Now rest.


SOUND: CLICK! OF SWITCH


GREEN: (TO KIMBERLY) Now he can no longer hear us. I shall turn on the light.


SOUND: CLICK! OF LIGHT SWITCH


KIMBERLY: (SUSPICIOUSLY) Hey! This is a laboratory. Nothing in here but apparatus. Wha--? Where's Franklin?


GREEN: He's in here. He was speaking to us through this loudspeaker.


KIMBERLY: Well, okay. Then where is he?


GREEN: Over there. In the far corner.


KIMBERLY: In the--? (SKEPTICAL LAUGH) Now quit kidding. All I see is that pump, a lot of glass tubing with some red liquid bubbling through it, and -- on top -- a black glass ball about eighteen inches in diameter.


GREEN: To save Joshua Franklin, desperate measures were necessary.


KIMBERLY: What do you mean?


GREEN: He's inside that glass ball.


KIMBERLY: What?!


GREEN: The pump keeps him alive.


KIMBERLY: Inside that glass ball? Well, you couldn't get a man in that thing. You could just about get his-- (BEAT, REALIZES) Oh, no.


GREEN: Exactly, Mr. Kimberly. His head.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) I believed him. I had to believe him. We went back upstairs and talked. Green told me how he'd been experimenting with animals, gone too far, and got fired. Then how Joshua Franklin had come to him.


GREEN: You see, he had heard an exaggerated account of my experiments. He offered me a hundred thousand dollars to give him a new body.


KIMBERLY: Put his head on a new body?


GREEN: Exactly. I told him I couldn't do it. He insisted. He was dying and he was frantic. So I agreed.


KIMBERLY: Knowing all the time you couldn't?!


GREEN: Not then, no. But I hoped that someday I could. So we came here and I performed the operation. I discarded the disease-ridden body. I placed the healthy head inside the glass, where it's kept alive by a circulating nutrient fluid. I-- Oh, but the details don't matter. All these years I've struggled in secret, afraid that if the world knew, I'd be called a monster, put in jail. And now it's all for nothing. Nothing. You've found me out; you'll call the police!


KIMBERLY: Now, professor, professor, take it easy. You've got it all wrong. I'm here to help you.


GREEN: Help me? How?


KIMBERLY: (SLOWLY) Well, for one thing, I'm going to be -- your business manager.


GREEN: I - I don't understand.


KIMBERLY: Now, look, you need assistants, a big laboratory. With those, you might succeed yet in learning how to join Franklin's head to another healthy body.


GREEN: (REALIZES) Ohhhh. Yes! Yes, I could! I'm sure of it! Oh, but it would take so much money.


KIMBERLY: That's just it, that's just it. That'll be my job. Now, downstairs in that lab, you have one of the smartest minds that ever operated on Wall Street. We'll use it to plot stock market operations that will net us millions! That Universal Mining deal was just penny ante stuff.


GREEN: Oh, but it won't work. He won't cooperate.


KIMBERLY: Oh, that's all right. Let me argue with him. Maybe I'm more - persuasive than you are. I'll talk to him now. Alone.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) The professor finally agreed. He took me back down into his lab, switched on the apparatus, and left me alone.


SOUND: EERIE ELECTRONIC PULSATING PUMP NOISE ... CONTINUES IN BG


KIMBERLY: Mr. Franklin? Mr. Franklin? Can you hear me?


FRANKLIN: Who's there?


KIMBERLY: My name is Kimberly. Professor Green has called me in to help him with your case.


FRANKLIN: It's too late. I have no hope. If you knew how tired I am, how terribly tired--


KIMBERLY: Now, look, it's only a matter of money. With your help, we can get the money.


FRANKLIN: I'm not interested. I refuse to help you. I've tried to avoid my destiny and I've been punished for it. But I've suffered enough. In the name of Heaven, shut off the pump and let me go.


KIMBERLY: Now, Mr. Franklin, I don't want to do--


FRANKLIN: Listen! Are you interested in money, hm?


KIMBERLY: (CHUCKLES) Well, sure I am. Isn't everybody?


FRANKLIN: If you want money, I'll pay you two hundred thousand dollars. That interest you?


KIMBERLY: It interests me a whole lot. What do I have to do for it?


FRANKLIN: Just one thing. Shut off the pump.


KIMBERLY: Shut off the pump?


FRANKLIN: Let me find peace at last. If you knew how unendurable it is to spend your life in utter blackness, thinking, thinking, always thinking-- Please, Mr. Kimberly, tell me that you agree.


KIMBERLY: Uh huh. Well, why not?


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) Now, maybe you've guessed I hadn't any intention of going through with the deal. But I let him talk, and this is how he explained it to me. His lawyer Ward had the key to a safe deposit box, but didn't know what was in it. We arranged I was to phone Ward, put the phone in front of the speaker, and that way Franklin could talk to him like he had before. So I did it. I set everything up for Joshua Franklin's living head in its glass ball to talk to Harrison Ward. Ward was puzzled, but he agreed to give me the key when I arrived, and I hung up fast.


SOUND: EERIE ELECTRONIC PULSATING PUMP NOISE ... CONTINUES IN BG


KIMBERLY: There, Mr. Franklin. It's all set.


FRANKLIN: Now keep your word. Shut off the pump.


KIMBERLY: Well, sure, Mr. Franklin, sure -- just as soon as I get the money out of the deposit box.


FRANKLIN: You promised to stop the pump.


KIMBERLY: And I will, I will. But I haven't got the money yet. As soon as I have it, I'll turn the pump off.


FRANKLIN: (RELIEVED) Ahhh! Thank you. And, after all these years, I'll be able to have peace. (PLEADS) You're not lying to me. You swear you will stop the pump and let me go?


KIMBERLY: Sure, Mr. Franklin. I - swear it.


MUSIC: QUICK TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND KIMBERLY--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) Of course, I had my fingers crossed when I said it. Shut off that pump and do myself out of a million dollars? Not Mrs. Kimberly's little boy Steve! Only, something happened I hadn't figured on. The door burst open and Professor Green rushed in.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


GREEN: I've been listening! But I won't let you do it! I won't!


KIMBERLY: No, no, professor, listen to me. You're making a mistake. You see--


GREEN: You can't stop the pump! You can't let Franklin die!


KIMBERLY: Professor, listen--


GREEN: It's my whole life's work!


KIMBERLY: I-- Look--


GREEN: I'll stop you! I'll kill you!


SOUND: GUNSHOT!


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) He shot at me and the shot went wild. I ducked and yelled at him-- (TO GREEN, YELLS) Professor, let me tell you something! I wasn't--!


GREEN: I'll kill you, do you hear?! I'll kill you!


SOUND: GUNSHOT! CRASH! OF GLASS BREAKING


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) The second shot went over my head and hit the glass ball which held all that remained alive of Joshua Franklin. I looked up and for just a second I saw the glass ball split open and fall towards me. Then the professor fired again.


SOUND: TWO GUNSHOTS! 


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES, GROANS, WEAKLY) This time, both bullets hit me somewhere in the chest or stomach, and that was the last thing I knew as I dived into a pool of darkness a million miles deep. 


SOUND: EERIE ELECTRONIC PULSATING PUMP NOISE ... SNEAKS IN BRIEFLY DURING ABOVE 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG--


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) How long the darkness lasted, I don't know. A day, a week, a year? But at last, through the darkness that seemed to crush in on me like a ton of black velvet curtains, I heard Rollo's voice.


ROLLO: (FILTER) Steve? Steve, can you hear me? Steve? 


KIMBERLY: (NARRATES) I tried to open my eyes and found they were open -- and it was still pitch dark. I moved my lips -- and words came out.


MUSIC: OUT


KIMBERLY: Rollo? I hear you.


ROLLO: (FILTER) Oh, that's fine, Steve; that's fine. I was worried about you.


KIMBERLY: Where am I? What happened? I remember Green shooting me. Then--


ROLLO: (FILTER) Uh, one question at a time, Steve. As for where you are, you're in Washington, D. C.


KIMBERLY: In - Washington?


ROLLO: (FILTER) In a secret room down in the basement of a certain hospital, Steve my friend. You can expect lots of company. Doctors, scientists. They'll all be here to ask you questions.


KIMBERLY: Oh, you mean about Green, and how he kept Joshua Franklin's head alive.


ROLLO: (FILTER) Er, no, Steve. About you. You see, officially, you're dead.


KIMBERLY: I'm - dead?


ROLLO: (FILTER) You had a very nice funeral -- in Lawnwood Cemetery.


KIMBERLY: What are you talking about? Why does your voice sound so funny?


SOUND: EERIE ELECTRONIC PULSATING PUMP NOISE ... SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE ... CONTINUES IN BG


ROLLO: (FILTER) Because you're hearing it through a special hook-up. You see, Steve, when you didn't come back, I called on Professor Green. After he killed you, he cracked up completely. But, er, not before he'd done one thing. Not before he'd saved your life. The same way he saved Joshua Franklin.


KIMBERLY: (REALIZES, HORRIFIED, SLOWLY) No. It's not true.


ROLLO: (FILTER) I'm afraid it is. Listen.


SOUND: PUMP NOISE FADES UP A LITTLE ... CONTINUES IN BG


ROLLO: (FILTER) That's the pump that keeps you alive. The government is taking care of you now, Steve. You're a Top Secret hush-hush project. But you should feel pretty good. You're immortal now. You're going to live forever -- in your little glass jar. (LAUGHS HEARTILY)


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE ... THEN UP, FOR A CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: SUSPENSE!


MUSIC: CHORD


ANNOUNCER: You've been listening to "Heads You Lose," starring William Redfield as Steve Kimberly, and written especially for SUSPENSE by Robert Arthur.


MUSIC: SUSPENSE THEME ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: SUSPENSE is produced and directed by Bruno Zirato, Jr. Music supervision by Ethel Huber. Featured in tonight's story were Raymond Edward Johnson as Joshua Franklin, Melville Ruick as Professor Green, Santos Ortega as Rollo Collins, Kermit Murdock as Harrison Ward, and Jimsey Somers as the secretary. Listen again next week when we return with "Perchance to Dream," written by Bob Corcoran, another tale well-calculated to keep you in--


MUSIC: CHORD


ANNOUNCER: SUSPENSE!


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