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Night Final

The Whistler

Night Final

Jan 28 1948



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

2ND ANNOUNCER


THE WHISTLER

HELEN CONOVER, cynical reporter

JUDGE (3 lines)

JACKSON, lawyer

MALCOLM, Helen's ex-husband

ED, of the press room

REPORTER (1 line)

ANN, Helen's catty rival, who loves Malcolm

DRIVER (1 line)

OFFICER

PAUL, Helen's lover

BARKER (1 line)

TICKET SELLER

1ST CUSTOMER (1 line)

2ND CUSTOMER (1 line)

3RD CUSTOMER (2 lines)

4TH CUSTOMER (1 line)

2ND DRIVER (1 line)

REWRITE MAN (3 lines)

LT. JACOBS, of the police




ANNOUNCER: The Signal Oil program -- THE WHISTLER.


MUSIC: WHISTLER THEME ... FOLLOWED BY DOUBLE DRUM BEAT


ANNOUNCER: That whistle is your signal for the Signal Oil program, THE WHISTLER.


MUSIC: WHISTLER THEME REPEATED ... THEN ORCHESTRA IN BG


WHISTLER: I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes, I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak.


MUSIC: TYMPANI ACCENT ... THEN ORCHESTRA ... OUT BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: Yes, friends, it's time for the Signal Oil program, THE WHISTLER, rated tops in popularity for a longer period of time than any other west coast program in radio history. And Signal Gasoline is tops, too -- tops in quality. It takes extra quality, you know, to give you extra mileage -- and Signal is the famous "Go Farther" gasoline. So look for the Signal circle sign in yellow and black that identifies friendly dealer-owned Signal stations from Canada to Mexico.


MUSIC: IN BG


ANNOUNCER: And now the Whistler's strange story, "Night Final."


WHISTLER: She was a newspaper woman, and a good one. Words came easily to her -- fresh new interesting ways of saying what she saw, or felt, or heard. Her critics and colleagues agreed that regardless of her shortcomings as a person, Helen Conover was a superlative reporter -- holder of the guild award for on-the-spot reporting, the first woman to win such an honor. Yet now, as she stood in the courtroom, she found it was hard to put her feelings into words, impossible to describe the exhilarating sense of freedom she felt when the judge announced his decision. 


MUSIC: OUT


JUDGE: That's all, Mrs. Delavan?


HELEN: That's all, Your Honor.


JUDGE: Very well.


SOUND: GAVEL BANGS ONCE


JUDGE: Divorce granted.


MUSIC: ACCENT (A WRY "HERE COMES THE BRIDE") ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: As she left the courtroom and started down the hall, she saw her husband's lawyer a few steps ahead.


SOUND: HALLWAY BACKGROUND ... HELEN'S STEPS TO JACKSON


HELEN: (CALLS) Mr. Jackson?


JACKSON: Huh? (UNHAPPY TO SEE HER) Oh. Mrs. Delavan. Oh-- I mean, Miss Conover.


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) Well, you almost got out of the building before I could thank you.


JACKSON: Thank me?


HELEN: Yes, for everything. For the quick, painless way you handled the divorce.


JACKSON: (STIFFLY) Miss Conover, divorce, at best, is never a painless operation.


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) Well, it is the way you handle it. Is Malcolm really out of town?


JACKSON: No, of course not.


HELEN: But then why didn't he--?


JACKSON: It was all arranged beforehand. I convinced Malcolm it'd be wise not to contest the divorce.


HELEN: Oh? Why?


JACKSON: Ah, I'd rather not go into that now. He's at home, I think. You'd probably know better than I.


HELEN: Mal was such an angel about it. You know, somehow I suddenly feel a little tender toward him. He was so gentlemanly and everything.


JACKSON: Considering the circumstances, I'd say he was.


HELEN: What do you mean, Mr. Jackson?


JACKSON: You noted, of course, that Paul Wilson's name wasn't brought into the proceeding.


HELEN: Well?


JACKSON: Didn't that strike you as unusual? Wilson was a full-fledged co-respondent if I ever saw one. Your husband isn't entirely blind, you know.


HELEN: (ANNOYED) See here, if you're implying--


JACKSON: You can take it any way you like. Malcolm's a very generous man, Miss Conover. Had he been otherwise, this divorce proceeding might have had some unfortunate overtones. For you, at least.


HELEN: Well, there was nothing wrong. I made it very clear about Paul and me.


JACKSON: Yes. Yes, of course. Incidentally, Malcolm told me he'd like to see you when it's convenient. You might drop around sometime today.


HELEN: Perhaps I will.


JACKSON: (CURT) Fine. Good day, Miss Conover.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES ... DOOR OPENS


HELEN: Hello, Malcolm.


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--


MALCOLM: (BITTERLY IRONIC) Nice of you to ring the bell, Helen.


HELEN: Oh, now don't be that way. I've come to tell you how nice you were.


MALCOLM: For what?


HELEN: Being such a good sport. We can still be good friends.


MALCOLM: Yes, I suppose that's the fashionable thing for divorced couples -- particularly among your pseudo-intellectual friends.


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) Sorry, darling, I'm not gonna let you draw me into an argument -- especially now.


MALCOLM: With love on the wing, huh?


HELEN: Right. Let's have a drink, Mal, to our - separate futures.


MALCOLM: Well, if you say so.


SOUND: MALCOLM'S STEPS AWAY


MALCOLM: (OFF) What'll it be?


HELEN: Bourbon, dear.


MALCOLM: (OFF) Oh, you, uh-- You might find something on the desk that'll interest you.


HELEN: Oh? Don't tell me, let me guess.


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS TO DESK


HELEN: Oh, here we are. New letter opener, huh? 


SOUND: PICKS UP AND HANDLES KNIFE


HELEN: Oriental sheath knife, isn't it? Fourteen notches on the handle. (MOCK SHIVER) Oooh! Long and bloody history. Mal, why do you ever collect these things?


MALCOLM: (OFF) It isn't Oriental, it's South American; and that's not what I'm talking about. Take another look.


HELEN: Hmm? Nothing else here, just a letter-- (SHARPLY) Mal, where did you get this letter?


MALCOLM: (OFF) In the mail. Perfectly normal routine.


HELEN: It's from Paul. Why is he writing you?


MALCOLM: (OFF) He'll be in town tomorrow night. 


SOUND: MALCOLM'S STEPS TO HELEN BEHIND--


MALCOLM: For some reason or other he wants me to come to his apartment at nine. Here's your drink.


HELEN: But why would he--?


MALCOLM: Oh, maybe at long last he's heard about the divorce. Airline pilots out of touch with things, you know.


HELEN: You're going to see him?


MALCOLM: 'Course. (SOUND: TINKLE OF ICE IN GLASS) Let's drink to him, Helen. To our good friend, that wife-stealer superb, Paul Wilson.


SOUND: HELEN SLAPS KNIFE DOWN ON DESK ANGRILY


HELEN: (EXPLODES) That's not necessary!


MALCOLM: (LAUGHS) You're sore now because you didn't even know he was going to be in town. I knew it and you didn't. (CHUCKLES) That's a great story, "Man Bites Dog."


HELEN: (FURIOUS) Stop it now! I won't have you talking like that!


MALCOLM: (SERIOUS, INTENSE) All right, all right, Helen. You're a great girl, a fine reporter. I resent losing you, I admit it. It's just too bad you didn't take enough time out from your reporting to learn to be a woman. (BEAT) Now you better go.


HELEN: Listen, Mal--


MALCOLM: I said, you better go. He's probably in town now, waiting for you. (NO RESPONSE) Well?


HELEN: All right. (SCREW YOU) Goodbye, Malcolm.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ONTO BUSY NEWSROOM BACKGROUND ... HELEN'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES


ED: (GREETING) Well, Miss Conover!


HELEN: (IN A GOOD MOOD) Hello, Ed. How are things down in the press room?


ED: Ho, ho! An unholy mess, as usual. Still settin' up big headlines for little stories. Now, if you folks was on the ball--


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) You're never satisfied, Eddie. Where's Ann?


ED: Oh, I just saw her go into the office.


HELEN: Thanks.


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS THROUGH NEWSROOM, IN BG


HELEN: Hi, Verne!


REPORTER: What do you say, Helen?


HELEN: Say, your story this morning was great!


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS TO OFFICE DOOR, WHICH OPENS ... ANN'S CLACKING TYPEWRITER IN ... OFFICE DOOR CLOSES, SHUTTING OUT NEWSROOM


HELEN: (IN A BAD MOOD) Ann?


ANN: Hm? (STOPS TYPING WHEN SHE SEES HELEN) Well! Crack out the champagne; I hear you did the trick.


HELEN: Yep, it's all over.


ANN: The old Liberty Bell; let freedom ring, hm?


HELEN: Skip it. Any calls?


ANN: Our dear city editor called; wants to be sure you're covering the circus opening tomorrow night -- though why you do it, I'll never know.


HELEN: Sentiment, Annie. My first assignment was the circus opening. Haven't missed one since. Though I wish I hadn't promised this time.


ANN: Other things on your mind, darling? Paul Wilson maybe?


HELEN: Paul--? He called me here?


ANN: Shouldn't he have?


HELEN: Did you tell him where I was?


ANN: (MOCK INNOCENT) Shouldn't I have?


HELEN: Ann, you can be exasperating.


ANN: Sorry. I guess I'm just jealous of the success type -- a career, lots of men. But, really, did you want me to tell Mr. Wilson you were in court, shedding last year's husband?


HELEN: You didn't?


ANN: No.


HELEN: (TO HERSELF) Hm. Wonder why he's here.


ANN: How did you ever keep it from him, dear? Uh, the divorce, I mean.


HELEN: He's out of town most of the time. I just didn't tell him.


ANN: He'll be surprised.


HELEN: Yeah.


ANN: I suppose you have it all planned to marry him as soon as it's final.


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) Don't rush me. I'm just out of this one. Uh, what did he say?


ANN: He wants to see you at eight tonight. I told him you were tied up tomorrow with the circus.


HELEN: Oh. You'll go with me, won't you?


ANN: (NO) Uh uh, that's your department. Why don't you take Paul? I have another pass you can use. Business and pleasure, and all that sort of thing.


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) I'm afraid he doesn't love me that much, but I might ask him tonight.


ANN: Let me know what he says, will you?


HELEN: Why?


ANN: Oh, I don't know. Just curious.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: For the rest of the afternoon, you try to catch up on your work. But it's hard, Helen, trying to concentrate with your mind on Paul this way; trying to analyze this strange new freedom -- different now, with the thrill gone out of it and a curious unsettled half-bitter feeling in its place. And it hasn't left you hours later as you drive toward Paul's apartment in a taxi. Halfway across town, the driver pulls up at a red flare on the left of the speedway.


SOUND: TAXI BRAKES TO A STOP ... TRAFFIC JAM BACKGROUND


HELEN: What is it, driver?


DRIVER: Accident up ahead. Looks like a tough one.


OFFICER: (DIRECTS TRAFFIC) All right, all right, move on, there. Keep it movin', keep it movin'.


HELEN: Wait a minute, driver.


SOUND: TAXI DOOR OPENS


HELEN: What is it, officer?


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS ON STREET ... TAXI DOOR SHUTS


OFFICER: Get back in that car there, lady! Come on, driver--!


HELEN: (FLASHES PRESS BADGE) Helen Conover, Daily Post.


OFFICER: Huh? Oh, reporter, huh?


HELEN: Yeah. Was it bad?


OFFICER: Yeah. Three people killed. One of 'em was a state senator. Cavanaugh was his name.


HELEN: Senator Cavanaugh?


OFFICER: Yeah.


HELEN: (PAYS DRIVER) Uh, driver, here you are. You go along. I've got a story to file.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: Yes, Helen, on duty or not, you're a reporter above everything else. A state senator killed. The bodies of two high school students in the wreckage of the other car. So it's two hours later, nearly ten o'clock, when you finally arrive at Paul's apartment.


SOUND: APARTMENT DOOR SHUTS ... HELEN'S STEPS IN


PAUL: Well! So you finally decided to show up, darling.


HELEN: (BREATHLESSLY) I'm sorry, Paul, I got here as soon as I could; there was a bad accident and I had to get the story in.


PAUL: You're not supposed to be working this late.


HELEN: I'm a reporter, dear. When a story breaks and I'm there, the Daily Post gets it.


PAUL: Yeah, for God, for country, and the Daily Post, eh?


HELEN: (CHUCKLES, THEN WARMLY AMOROUS) I'm not a reporter now, dear. 


PAUL: Oh?


HELEN: I'm a woman. A single woman.


PAUL: Yeah, I heard about it.


HELEN: Aren't you - glad?


PAUL: Nope.


HELEN: (SURPRISED) Wha--? What did you say?


PAUL: Helen, just because I buy you a few drinks, take you dancing a couple of times, doesn't mean I intend to break up a man's home.


HELEN: (PROTESTS) Paul, I told you about Malcolm--


PAUL: You didn't tell me half of it! Man named Jackson looked me up; your husband's lawyer.


HELEN: Jackson? What did he say?


PAUL: You should have let me in on all these plans of yours, Helen. Malcolm, too.


HELEN: What are you trying to say?


PAUL: I wouldn't have let you go ahead with this divorce.


HELEN: It's all over, Paul. I had my divorce. I did it for you, so I could be free!


PAUL: You made a mistake. A bad one. You see, I'm not getting a divorce.


HELEN: (STUNNED) You--? You're married?!


PAUL: That's right. And Malcolm knew it. I don't know how, but he did.


HELEN: He what?


PAUL: Seems that you, er, got in at the wrong game, baby. Ordinarily, it'd be time to pick up your chips and go home. Now you can't even do that.


HELEN: You - you can't do this to me.


PAUL: It was your own doing, Helen. Don't go blaming me.


HELEN: Why, you rotten, low--!


PAUL: Careful, sweetheart, you'll spoil your make-up.


HELEN: (EXPLODES) You'll never get away with it, Paul, do you hear me?! You'll never get away with it! I'll kill you first!


PAUL: (OVERLAPS WITH ABOVE, LAUGHS) You don't know how funny you look, really.


HELEN: (HYSTERICAL) Did you hear what I said?! I'll kill you!


PAUL: Hey, wait a minute! Wait a minute! Don't! No!


SOUND: CRASH! AS HELEN SMASHES A VASE


PAUL: (IRONIC) Oh -- (CLICKS TONGUE) -- that's a dirty shame. (CHUCKLES) That vase belonged to my favorite aunt. (LAUGHS BEHIND--)


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS STORM OUT OF THE ROOM


PAUL: Don't slam the door.


SOUND: DOOR SLAMS


MUSIC: PROLOGUE CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: With the prologue of "Night Final," the Signal Oil Company is bringing you another strange story - by the Whistler.


But first, a word about some of the convenience features that today's drivers can enjoy. More and more of the new cars are featuring no clutch, no gearshift. Some even have windows that raise or lower automatically at the mere touch of a button. But whether or not your car has these features, there's one convenience that every driver can enjoy. That is a Signal credit card. For instance, instead of paying cash every time you stop for gas, oil, or a lube job, you merely tell the Signal dealer to charge it. And because Signal credit cards are honored at all Signal service stations throughout the six Pacific coast states from Canada to Mexico, you'll find one especially helpful on trips. You're relieved of the necessity of carrying large sums of money, yet you're prepared for those unexpected emergencies that can arise. Moreover at the end of each month when you pay for your driving needs with one check -- just as you now pay your phone, light, or department store bill -- you have a handy record of what it costs to run your car. When you consider how much ease and pleasure all of this adds to your driving, it's no wonder more and more motorists are stopping by their Signal service station to fill out an application blank for a Signal credit card.


And now back to THE WHISTLER.


MUSIC: WHISTLER THEME ... THEN ORCHESTRA BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: The blood rushes to your head as you run out of the apartment, down the stairs to the street, the hatred for Paul boiling up inside you -- twice as powerful now as the love ever was, because it's a helpless hatred, because Paul is up there now, laughing at you, and you're helpless.


MUSIC: UP, FOR ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: Then as the damp fog begins to clear your head, as your heart stops pounding, a cold, curiously logical idea comes home to you. And you realize that the thing you shouted in anger at him back in the apartment -- that you could kill him -- wasn't really hysterical at all. It was a statement of fact. You could kill him, Helen. You aren't helpless at all.


MUSIC: UP, FOR ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: By the time you arrive at the office the next morning, you've decided exactly how it's going to happen. It begins with Ann. There are things you must plant in her mind, and with Ann you have to be careful.


ANN: Congratulations, darling, you scooped the whole town with that crash story last night.


HELEN: (INNOCENTLY) Really?


ANN: Oh, now don't be wide-eyed, dear. It doesn't become you.


HELEN: (DISMISSIVE) Well - well, it was a lucky break, Ann.


ANN: And you did a nice job of covering it, I might add. 


HELEN: (UNCARING) Mm hm.


ANN: Say, what's wrong with you? You're not very enthusiastic.


HELEN: Oh, it's nothing, Ann.


ANN: Oh, cut it out. I know better. Now what is it?


HELEN: It's Malcolm.


ANN: Oh? Malcolm's found out about Paul?


HELEN: Yes, and you know what a temper Malcolm has. Well, he was at his worst; made all sorts of threats.


ANN: Against you?


HELEN: No, that's why I'm worried. He acted as if he might take it out on Paul. You've never seen anyone so jealous, Ann.


ANN: Well, keep them apart until it's over. That's all you can do.


HELEN: It's not so easy.


ANN: You can hide Paul in a crowd tonight.


HELEN: Hm? How do you mean?


ANN: Take him to the circus with you. That's the one place Malcolm won't go. Not in his frame of mind.


HELEN: (CHUCKLES) I'm afraid Paul isn't interested in circuses, either. I still want company, though. How 'bout you? Change your mind?


ANN: Uh uh. The boss won't let me off the rewrite desk. I'll be at it all night.


HELEN: Oh, I'm disappointed.


ANN: I'm not. If you spot any stories, call me, will ya?


HELEN: Sure, sure. Still wish you were going with me. They say it's quite a show. 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: Yes, Helen, quite a show. But you knew all along that Ann would have to decline your invitation, didn't you? That was part of your plan. Part Two takes place at the apartment -- your old apartment, to which you've still got a key.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: From your years as Mrs. Delavan, you know that Malcolm isn't home. At his desk, you pick up Malcolm's long thin letter opener, hide it in your purse. Half an hour later, wearing a conspicuous red bolero jacket, you're standing in line at the ticket booth in front of Seely Brothers' giant show. And there's a reason for not using your pass, isn't there, Helen?


MUSIC &

SOUND: DURING ABOVE, FADE IN CIRCUS BACKGROUND (JAUNTY CIRCUS TUNE ... CROWD MURMURS ... BARKER SHOUTS, "Hurry, hurry, hurry!" ET CETERA)


BARKER: Hurry, hurry, hurry! Jumbo and-- (FADES OUT)


TICKET SELLER: Say, who's next?


1ST CUSTOMER: Right here. Two, please.


TICKET SELLER: Two it is. Okay.


2ND CUSTOMER: Three in the grandstand.


TICKET SELLER: Three grandstand. Thank you.


HELEN: One, please. Grandstand.


TICKET SELLER: Yes, ma'am. One gran-- Oh? Fifty dollar bill? That the smallest you got, lady?


HELEN: I'm sorry.


TICKET SELLER: (IRRITATED) But, for crying out loud, fifty bucks--


HELEN: I said I was sorry.


TICKET SELLER: (UNHAPPY) Okay, okay, I can handle it.


MUSIC: JAUNTY CIRCUS TUNE ... THEN MORE SERIOUS BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: A red bolero jacket and a fifty dollar bill. You know the man in the ticket booth will remember you, don't you, Helen? And inside the main tent, you slip the jacket off, turn it inside out and fold it over your arm; just one of the crowd again. And then a few minutes later, you slip quietly out a side exit and make your way to the street. It'll be a simple matter to reach Paul's apartment unnoticed on the crowded street car.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: You're standing in an alcove in the hall outside Paul's apartment, waiting for Malcolm to complete his visit and leave. It's nearly an hour before you see him come out and start down the stairs. Almost before he's out of sight, you're down the hall, ringing the doorbell.


SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES ... APARTMENT DOOR OPENS


PAUL: (SURPRISED) Helen?


HELEN: (QUIET, CONTRITE) Aren't you going to ask me in, Paul?


PAUL: Should I? (CHUCKLES) There's a vase or two I forgot to nail down.


HELEN: I'm sorry, Paul. I - I won't stay long.


PAUL: Okay.


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES


PAUL: Your timing was perfect. Just missed your husband.


HELEN: Yes, I know.


PAUL: Oh?


HELEN: He showed me your letter, Paul. What did you talk about?


PAUL: Helen, it's all over. Why - why go on talking about it?


HELEN: It meant a great deal to me, Paul.


PAUL: I'm sorry.


HELEN: No, you're not.


PAUL: Helen, please. Why did you come here?


HELEN: I want to say goodbye, Paul.


PAUL: Goodbye?


HELEN: Yes, I - I won't bother you any more. But would you mind too terribly, Paul--? Would you mind - kissing me - goodbye?


PAUL: Course not. Come here.


SOUND: PAUL TAKES A STEP TO HELEN


HELEN: (PAUSE FOR THE KISS, LOVINGLY) Oh, Paul--


PAUL: Helen, I - I never meant-- (SUDDEN GROAN OF PAIN, BEAT, DYING) Helen, you-- 


SOUND: PAUL'S BODY THUDS TO FLOOR


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: It was a kiss of death, wasn't it, Helen? You stand for a moment, looking down at Paul's still face, and then you hurry to the door, cautiously let yourself out of the apartment, hurry back to the circus. The crowd is pouring out of the main tent as you get there. You slip on the red bolero jacket, mingle with the others as they move away from the entrance, babbling excitedly.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, CROWD MURMURS ... THEN IN BG


3RD CUSTOMER: (WORKING CLASS, TO HIS GIRLFRIEND) Yeah, yeah. Hey! Hey, what were their names?


4TH CUSTOMER: (THE GIRLFRIEND) The Flying Carbonis. They've been workin' together for years.


3RD CUSTOMER: I never seen anything like it. (BUMPS INTO HELEN) Excuse me, lady.


HELEN: Certainly. (CALLS) Uh, taxi! Oh, taxi!


SOUND: TAXI PULLS TO CURB AND STOPS ... TAXI DOOR OPENS


2ND DRIVER: Where to, lady?


HELEN: Daily Post. No, wait a minute, I'll call the story in. Take me home, driver. Brockhurst Apartments.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


REWRITE MAN: (FILTER) That about all, Miss Conover?


HELEN: Give me the last paragraph again, will ya?


REWRITE MAN: (FILTER) Sure. (READS) "But while last night's performance followed the sure Brothers formula right down to the waltzing bear and the death-defying acrobatics of the Carboni troupe, its very adherence to circus tradition assures it a profitable engagement--"


HELEN: Mm hm. (DICTATES) Uh, "--profitable engagement in, uh-- in a city which has long since demonstrated its loyalty to tinsel and tanbark." Got that?


REWRITE MAN: (FILTER) Right.


HELEN: Okay, print it.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... THEN IN BG


HELEN: (STEELS HERSELF) Well, this looks like it. (EXHALES BEHIND--)


SOUND: RECEIVER UP


HELEN: (YAWNS AS IF JUST WAKING, SLEEPILY) Hello?


ANN: (FILTER, GRIM) This is Ann, Helen.


HELEN: Well, good heavens, Ann, it's three in the morning. If it's about that review, I-- 


ANN: (FILTER) It isn't about the review, darling. You'd better brace yourself. I have some pretty shocking news.


HELEN: What is it?


ANN: (FILTER) Paul Wilson was murdered tonight.


HELEN: What?


ANN: (FILTER) They're holding Malcolm on suspicion.


HELEN: I'll be right down. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR CLOSES ... HELEN'S STEPS IN


HELEN: Ann, I got here as fast as I-- Ed, what are you doing here?


ED: Oh, I had a little extra work to do in the composing room tonight.


HELEN: Oh.


ANN: I've been talking to Ed about the murder, Helen.


HELEN: Horrible; I just can't believe that Malcolm would--


ANN: That's just it -- neither can we. Pretty crude stuff, you know -- advertising a motive all over town like that, then knocking off your rival with an Oriental curio that a correspondence school detective could trace to you.


HELEN: He must have lost his reason.


ANN: Oh, no. He was pretty jealous, but he wasn't stupid. 


HELEN: Well, that's beside the point now. Suppose they'll want me down at police headquarters.


ANN: You can relax, honey. Police headquarters is coming to you.


HELEN: What's this all about, Ann? Why are you so--?


ANN: Just a minute.


SOUND: ANN'S STEPS AS SHE RISES AND WALKS TO OFFICE DOOR, WHICH OPENS


ANN: (SLIGHTLY OFF) All right, Lieutenant Jacobs.


SOUND: JACOB'S STEPS IN .. DOOR CLOSES


ANN: This is Lieutenant Jacobs, Helen.


HELEN: How do you do?


JACOBS: How do you do?


ANN: He'd like to ask you a few questions.


HELEN: Well, I'd like to ask a few myself.


JACOBS: You'll have a chance in just a moment, Miss Conover. I won't be long. You see, I only have one question.


HELEN: All right.


JACOBS: Where were you at ten-fifteen last night?


HELEN: Well, Ann could have told you that. I was at the circus.


ANN: Are you sure, dear?


HELEN: Why, I phoned the story in to the rewrite man.


ANN: Didn't you stop to wonder why I wasn't on the rewrite desk?


HELEN: Well, no, I--


ANN: You should have! You see, I changed my mind. I went to the circus, too. I used the other pass -- the seat next to the one you were supposed to be using.


HELEN: (INCREDULOUS) Does this mean you actually suspect me of murdering Paul Wilson?


ANN: Well, I admit it gave me pause.


JACOBS: Your ex-husband claims he and Wilson talked things over, that Wilson was giving you the air.


HELEN: That's a ridiculous lie!


ANN: Malcolm is pretty sure of his facts. He suggested -- quite loudly, too -- that you were trying to frame him!


JACOBS: It, uh-- It all depends on that one point, Miss Conover -- where you were at ten-fifteen last night.


HELEN: (CALMLY) I already told you. I was covering the circus. And if you're awfully concerned about that ticket business--


ANN: We are.


HELEN: I'll produce the pass I didn't use. It's home in my tan coat. See, I changed to my red bolero jacket and discovered when I got there I'd left the pass at home. So I bought a ticket in the grandstand.


JACOBS: You can prove that?


HELEN: I think so. All I had was a fifty dollar bill. The man at the ticket window was terribly irritated with me.


JACOBS: I see.


HELEN: I suggest you find out who he is and ask him about the woman in the red bolero jacket. He'll remember me.


JACOBS: (CONSIDERS) Well, that's an angle.


HELEN: Now, let me tell you something, Lieutenant. My good friend Ann over here seems to have engineered this. You might be interested in her reasons.


ANN: Wait a minute, Helen--


HELEN: First off, she's been jealous of me and my position with this paper ever since she came here. She hates me. She'd do anything to ruin me and my career.


ANN: Helen--


HELEN: You'd better tell the truth, Annie. It's all going in the record. (TO JACOBS) And this is the topper, Lieutenant. I introduced her to my former husband at a cocktail party three years ago; she's been in love with him ever since. She'd do anything right now to save him. (BEAT) Ask her if that's true, Lieutenant. Ask her to answer that one -- under oath.


JACOBS: Well? What about it, Miss Stoddard?


ANN: (BEAT, CONCEDES) All right, I - I do love him!


MUSIC: CURTAIN 


ANNOUNCER: The Whistler will return in just a moment with the strange ending to tonight's story. Meantime, two points it'll pay every driver to remember if you want to be sure of the tops in quality when you buy gasoline. One--


2ND ANNCR: (FILTER) In gasoline, it takes extra quality to go farther. 


ANNOUNCER: And two--


2ND ANNCR: (FILTER) Signal is the famous "Go Farther" gasoline.


ANNOUNCER: Yes, it's a fact. Mileage is the best yardstick of gasoline quality. After all, in order to give you quicker starting, faster pick-up, and smoother, knock-free power, Signal gasoline has to help your motor run more efficiently. And when your motor runs more efficiently, naturally you see proof of it on your speedometer, in mileage. That's why we're so proud of Signal's good mileage, which has made Signal gasoline known from Canada to Mexico as the "Go Farther" gasoline. And it's why we say: To be sure of the tops in gasoline quality, there are just two things to remember. One--


2ND ANNCR: (FILTER) In gasoline, it takes extra quality to go farther. 


ANNOUNCER: And two--


2ND ANNCR: (FILTER) Signal is the famous "Go Farther" gasoline.


ANNOUNCER: And now back to THE WHISTLER. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: It's a tense scene, Helen: the three of you -- Ann, Lieutenant Jacobs, and yourself -- grouped around the dingy rewrite desk under the cruel white light in your office at the Daily Post; Ed, the compositor from the press room, sitting quietly on the sidelines. It was an awkward moment, explaining away your absence at the circus, but you're sure now, with the ticket man available to place you at the circus at the time of the crime, with Ann admitting her love for Malcolm, that you're in the clear. It's almost a full minute after her admission that Ann finally speaks.


ANN: Ed?


ED: Yeah?


ANN: Bring me the paper, Ed. The morning edition with the review of the performance last night. You've got it.


ED: Yeah, sure. Right here.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT ... THEN SLAP OF NEWSPAPER ON DESKTOP


ANN: Now, let's get this straight, Lieutenant. We're all agreed everything depends on where my capable colleague was at the time she claims she was at the circus.


HELEN: (CONFIDENT) Why don't you let him check my review, Annie?


JACOBS: I've already read it.


ANN: Yes. You see, it's a rather important piece of evidence. The next time you see that typescript, it'll be marked "Exhibit A."


HELEN: What do you mean?


ANN: You're a top reporter, Helen; never missed a trick. But you did last night. That's why we didn't print your story. We used mine instead.


HELEN: You what?!


ANN: Take a look at that headline.


SOUND: RATTLE AS HELEN PICKS UP NEWSPAPER


HELEN: (STARTLED GASP)


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: The black letters stab into your brain like neon, swim before your eyes. The floor seems to open up and swallow you as the sense of it strikes home.


HELEN: (READS HEADLINE WITH HORROR, ON FILTER) "Flying Carboni Troupe Plunges to Death in Circus Accident"!


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: You're unprepared, off-balance now. No defense for this.


ANN: (IN HELEN'S MIND, ON FILTER) Important piece of evidence, Helen, marked "Exhibit A."


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND WHISTLER--


WHISTLER: And, as you try frantically to think of some excuse, some way out, Lieutenant Jacobs starts bearing in with questions: about Paul, about Malcolm, about the knife, the apartment, the whole thing, Helen -- the whole hideous truth -- until you can't think any more, until you find yourself admitting every word of it.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


HELEN: (HELPLESSLY) And I - I - I - guess that's the whole-- Now, just let me sleep, leave me alone! (OCCASIONAL SOBS, IN BG)


JACOBS: (GRIM) They'll do what they can for you down at headquarters, Miss Conover. Come on, let's go.


SOUND: JACOBS AND HELEN TAKE A FEW STEPS TO DOOR, THEN STOP


JACOBS: (WARMLY) Oh, uh, thanks, Ann.


ANN: It was a pleasure.


JACOBS: (CHUCKLES) And a good idea. You know, we could use a head like yours downtown.


HELEN: (CONFUSED) Wha--? What are you talking about?


JACOBS: That morning edition we had Ed print up especially for you, Miss Conover.


HELEN: What?


JACOBS: You see, the Flying Carbonis didn't fall last night. But you did -- and for a phony headline, at that.


MUSIC: DOUBLE DRUM BEAT ... FOLLOWED BY WHISTLER THEME ... OUT BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: Let that whistle be your signal for the Signal Oil program, THE WHISTLER, each Wednesday night at this same time, brought to you by the Signal Oil Company, marketers of Signal gasoline and motor oil and fine quality automotive accessories. 


Signal has asked me to remind you-- To get the most driving pleasure, drive at sensible speeds, be courteous, and obey traffic regulations. It may save a life -- possibly your own.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN IN BG UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: Featured in tonight's story were Betty Lou Gerson and Joan Banks. THE WHISTLER was produced by George W. Allen, with story by Bob Platt and music by Wilbur Hatch, and was transmitted to our troops overseas by the Armed Forces Radio Service. 


Next Wednesday, for a full hour of mystery over most of these stations, tune in a half-hour earlier. Enjoy THE SAINT as well as THE WHISTLER.


This is Marvin Miller speaking. 


This is CBS -- where ninety-nine million people gather every week -- the Columbia Broadcasting System. 


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