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The Big Complex

Dragnet

The Big Complex

Jan 11 1955



Dramatis Personae:

SERGEANT JOE FRIDAY

OFFICER FRANK SMITH

BETTY WEBLE

JANE RIDLEY

CAPTAIN POWERS

JERRY BECKLE

HENRY BECKLE

LINDA COTTERLY

MABEL BECKLE




DRAGNET  RADIO 

"THE BIG COMPLEX"

N.B.C. #282  CHESTERFIELD #114 (P.B. #  )

FOR BROADCAST: JANUARY 11, 1955


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, brought to you by Chesterfield. This is the best - Chesterfield. And the time to change - today.


MUSIC: UP AND FADE FOR


FENN: You're a detective sergeant. You're assigned to Juvenile detail. In the past six weeks a junior high school has been broken into three times and extensive damage has been done by Vandalism. Your job...investigate. 


MUSIC: UP AND FADE FOR:


(COMMERCIAL INSERT)


FIRST COMMERCIAL


MUSIC: HARP ARPEGGIO 


FENNEMAN: (STEPPING ON LAST NOTE) Put a smile in your smoking! TRY CHESTERFIELD - today! 


MUSIC: STING -- HIT AND TAKE UNDER


FENNEMAN: Instantly, you'll smile your approval of Chesterfield smartness.


MUSIC: STING 


FENNEMAN: The pack is clean, white ... keeps your Chesterfields always fresh ... always tasty. 


MUSIC: STING -- HIT AND TAKE UNDER


FENNEMAN: Instantly, you'll smile your approval of Chesterfield satisfaction


MUSIC: STING OUT 


FENNEMAN: In the whole wide world, no cigarette satisfies like Chesterfield.


MUSIC: HARP ARPEGGIO 


FENNEMAN: Put a smile in your smoking. TRY CHESTERFIELD - today! 


MUSIC: CLOSE UP FULL


MUSIC: THEME


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 AND FRANK'S FOOTSTEPS IN SCHOOL CORRIDOR (ECHO)


JOE: It was Monday, March 9th. It was cold in Los Angeles. We were working the day watch out of Juvenile Detail. My partner's Frank Smith. The boss is Captain Powers. My name's Friday. We were on our way out from the office and it was 8:32 A.M. when we got to the Hillside Junior High School...(DOOR OPENS...OFFICE B.G. IN)..the Vice-Principal's office. 


SOUND: JOE AND FRANK'S FOOTSTEPS INTO ROOM UP TO COUNTER


BETTY: Good morning. May I help you? 


JOE: Police officers. We'd like to see Miss Ridley. 


BETTY: Oh yes. You've been here before, haven't you?


JOE: That's right. 


BETTY: Uh huh. Miss Ridley is expecting you. You can go right in.


JOE AND FRANK AD LIB REPLIES:


SOUND: COUPLE STEPS TO DOOR. DOOR KNOCK 


JANE: (OFF) Come in.


SOUND: DOOR OPEN & ENTER ROOM 


JANE: (OFF) Good morning, officers. Come in, please, and sit down.


JOE: Thank you, Miss Ridley.


SOUND: FRANK CLOSES DOOR, THEN HE AND JOE TAKE COUPLE STEPS OVER TO DESK, AND SIT DOWN UNDER FOLLOWING


JANE: We seem to be getting more than our share of trouble.


JOE: Uh huh. What is it this time, Ma'am? 


JANE: Same as before, little more serious. 


JOE: The cafeteria? 


JANE: Yes. Wait until you see the place. Just downright vandalism. Food thrown all over. On the walls, the floor. 


JOE: Uh huh. 


JANE: But they didn't stop there. 


JOE: Ma'am? 


JANE: The students' supply store was broken into. In fact, that's where the entrance was made. 


FRANK: Yeah. 


JANE: Girl in charge says that a number of items are missing. 


FRANK: What was taken? 


JANE: Things the students use in school...notebooks, pencils...fountain pens. 


FRANK: Uh huh. 


JANE: There were a lot of the transportation books taken, too. 


JOE: Those the kind the kids use on the busses and streetcars? 


JANE: That's right. 


JOE: Well, they have serial numbers, don't they?


JANE: Yes, we keep a record of them in the office.


JOE: You'll be able to give us a list of the numbers on the missing books?


JANE: Oh yes.


JOE: Fine. Now could we take a look at the storeroom?


JANE: Surely. It's right next to the office. 


SOUND: THEY ALL RISE TO THEIR FEET AND WALK OVER TO DOOR UNDER FOLLOWING


JANE: I wasn't so sure the last time, but I am now. 


JOE: What d'ya mean? 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS 


JANE: About who's responsible for this. 


SOUND: THEY ALL WALK INTO STORE ROOM 


JOE: You've an idea who might have done it? 


JANE: Well, I'm pretty sure it must be a student or a former student.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS STOP


FRANK: Why do you say that, Miss Ridley? 


JANE: Well, there's the window they entered. 


JOE: Uh huh.


SOUND: JOE STEPS OVER TO WINDOW. LAST COUPLE OF STEPS ON BROKEN GLASS 


JANE: (OFF SLIGHTLY) Somebody must have known that this window opened into the store room. 


JOE: (LOOKING AT WINDOW) Uh huh. Screen's torn....windows broken. 


SOUND: JOE TAKES COUPLE STEPS OVER TO JANE AND FRANK UNDER FOLLOWING


JOE: Do you have somebody special in mind who might have done this?


JANE: No. Wouldn't be fair to cast suspicion on any boy...or girl without proof. 


JOE: Have you had trouble with any students since we were here last? 


JANE: Yes. 


FRANK: What was wrong, ma'am? 


JANE: During study periods. A group of five boys were causing minor disturbances. 


FRANK: Uh huh.


JANE: But it's all been straightened out. I had a talk with the leader of the group. Found out he wanted to take part in school athletics. His parents didn't want him to. Afraid he might be injured.


JOE: Yeah. 


JANE: So I call them in for a conference. We talked and they finally agreed to let the boy participate in school sports. 


FRANK: Uh huh. 


JANE: That's all there was to it. Haven't had any trouble since. 


JOE: How about the other boys? 


JANE: They weren't really bad. Without a leader they just settled down. I'm sure it wasn't any of them.


JOE: (LOOKING AROUND STORE ROOM) Can you tell us if anything has been moved in here? 


JANE: No. This is just the way we found it. 


FRANK: (GRUNTS) Wonder why they didn't mess this room up too?


JANE: I don't know. (BEAT) I've been teaching for twenty years, and I'm pretty sure of one thing. 


FRANK: What's that, ma'am? 


JANE: Children do wrong, but not because they want to be tough or brave. Usually because they're afraid of something. 


JOE: Uh huh.


JANE: Most of them are pretty frightened kids. They need help. 


JOE: I'll buy that.


JANE: Problem is, what happens to them if they don't get it? 


JOE: They'll still be around. 


JANE: Yes? 


JOE: As frightened adults.


(END SCENE 1) 


JOE: In the cafeteria, we found conditions about the same as we had after the previous acts of vandalism. The refrigerator had been ransacked. Cartons of milk, along with containers of ice cream and frozen foods had been smashed against the walls and floor. Tables had been overturned and chairs had been thrown around. The floor was covered with glass. Frank put in a call to Latent prints and they sent a crew out to go over the store room and cafeteria. Miss Ridley told us that she had already notified School Security. Before we left she furnished us with a complete list of stolen articles and the serial numbers for the missing student transportation books. We returned to Georgia Street and met with Captain Powers.


POWERS: You're pretty sure it's juveniles? 


JOE: Yeah. Kinda' stuff that was taken...the damage done sure points that way. 


POWERS: Any help from Miss Ridley?


FRANK: Couldn't give us any names. 


POWERS: No teacher-pupil problems.


JOE: Mentioned a minor case. Said it had been cleared up. 


POWERS: Uh huh. This is the third time in six weeks for the school, isn't it? 


JOE: Yeah.


POWERS: Kids don't usually travel very far for these deals...Good chance it's some of 'em from the school. 


JOE: Way it looks--if they try to peddle the stuff to the other kids, we might be able to get a lead on 'em. 


POWERS: Uh huh.


JOE: There's a hitch to that, though. 


POWERS: What d'ya mean? 


JOE: Miss Ridley said she was gonna make an announcement to the student body. 


POWERS: Yeah? 


JOE: Gonna tell 'em to be on the look out for the stolen articles. 


POWERS: Yeah. If kids who took the stuff are in school, they might lay low for awhile. 


JOE: That's right.


POWERS: How much was taken? 


FRANK: About five hundred dollars worth of school supplies.


POWERS: (GRUNTS) Pretty good haul. 


JOE: Yeah.


POWERS: What're you gonna do about it?


JOE: If it's all right with you, Frank and I'd like to put a stakeout on the school. 


POWERS: All right. When? 


JOE: We know the janitors work into the early hours on Fridays. 


POWERS: Yeah. 


JOE: So it figures the school must be broken into sometime on Saturday or Sunday.


POWERS: All right. When do you want to start?


JOE: This coming weekend. 


POWERS: Okay, I'll arrange a clearance for you with School Security.


JOE: Right.


POWERS: Any more help you need, let me know.


FRANK: Whoever did it must have something against the cafeteria. Place was a real mess. 


POWERS: Yeah? 


FRANK: Bad enough the first couple of times...Didn't leave anything in the refrigerators this trip...Sure doesn't make much sense. 


POWERS: I don't know. Maybe it does. 


JOE: Huh? 


POWERS: Each time they hit the cafeteria. Right? 


JOE: Yeah.


POWERS: And they didn't tear up the store room.


JOE: Threw a few pencil boxes around. That's about all.


POWERS: But every time food has been destroyed...


JOE: That's right.


POWERS: They got a reason for doing it.


FRANK: Yeah?


POWERS: Somebody that can't resist the urge to eat all the time. Hate being fat. So without knowing why they do it...they destroy food..


JOE: Uh huh. Makes sense.


POWERS: Could be part of it, anyhow. It's only theory, but it might hold water.


JOE: Yeah, but we don't know if it's a gang we're after or one person. Another thing. They've broken in three times. Might have been by different kids.


POWERS: Good questions. All of them.


JOE: Yeah.


POWERS: That's why you get paid.


JOE: Huh?


POWERS: To get the answers.


(END SCENE II)


JOE: We kept in contact with Miss Ridley during the rest of the week, but as far as she knew, none of the stolen articles showed up. Captain Powers talked with the School Security Section of the Board of Education and Frank and I staked out in the school on Saturday and Sunday. There was no disturbance. We went back the following weekend. Saturday passed without any trouble. Sunday, 7:34 P.M. we were sitting in the Vice-Principal's office.


(BEAT)


SOUND: WINDOW BREAKING OFF SOME DISTANCE 


JOE: (SOTO) Frank. 


FRANK: (SOTO) Yeah, I heard it. 


JOE: Let's go. 


FRANK: Yeah. 


SOUND: JOE AND FRANK WALK DOWN CORRIDOR. THERMAL NOISE..AS THEY APPROACH CAFETERIA THEY HEAR THE NOISE OF MILK CARTONS AND ICE CREAM CONTAINERS BEING SMASHED AGAINST THE WALLS AND FLOORS. THEY GET TO JERRY. WE HEAR THE SOUND OF GLASS BREAKING.


JOE: (APPROACHING JERRY FROM BACK) All right, son. Party's over.


JERRY: (TURNS AROUND IN FRIGHT) ...What?


SOUND: JERRY DROPS A TRAY OF GLASSES AND RUNS TOWARD WINDOW HE ENTERED: HIS HARD SOLED SHOES HEARD ON FLOOR WITH ECHO.


JOE: Grab him, Frank.


SOUND: JOE AND FRANK CHASE JERRY SHORT DISTANCE TO WINDOW, AND JOE GRABS HIM AS HE TRIES TO GO THROUGH 


JOE: Take it easy, boy... 


JERRY: (STRUGGLING) Let me go....let me go. 


JOE: Now take it easy...This isn't gonna help. Just hold still. What's your name?


JERRY: (BEAT) Jerry. 


JOE: Last name?


JERRY: Beckle. 


JOE: You've done this before?


(PAUSE) 


JOE: Beckle?


(PAUSE) 


JOE: All right. Let's go.


JERRY: You gonna put me in jail? 


SOUND: JERRY'S SHOES ON CORRIDOR (ECHO) AS THEY WALK 


JOE: We'll see.


JERRY: (BEAT) I'm not afraid of you cops.


JOE: No reason you should be. Why'd you throw all this food around?


JERRY: I don't know. 


JOE: You haven't got a reason? 


JERRY: No. You sure went to a lotta trouble to catch me. 


JOE: Not too much.


JERRY: Huh? 


JOE: You made it easy.


(END SCENE III)


JOE: Before leaving the school, Frank called School Security and notified them of the broken window and the damage done by Jerry Beckle. We drove back to Georgia Street to question the subject further. On the way down, he refused to say anything. At the office he told us he lived at 1206 Walnut Street. Frank went to check Central Juvenile Index. 8:42 P.M.


JERRY: That's all. I'm not going to tell you any more.


JOE: Let's get one thing straight, son. You're in trouble. We'd like to help you, but you've got to play ball with us. We'll level with you, but you've got to play it the same way. You understand? 


JERRY: (BEAT) Yeah. 


JOE: All right. Now, we can't do anything for you unless you want us to. Unless we know why you do these things it'll be pretty hard to find a way out. Is that clear? 


JERRY: I guess so.


JOE: The only way we can find out is if you'll tell us the truth.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS COMING ON:


FRANK: Joe. 


JOE: Yeah.


FRANK: No previous record on him. 


JOE: Uh huh. (TO JERRY) Are you ready to answer our questions now, son?


JERRY: (BEAT) Sure, but it won't do any good.


JOE: Why do you say that? 


JERRY: You can't change my looks, can you? 


JOE: No reason to do that. You look healthy to me. 


JERRY: Sure...I'm healthy. I'm fat and ugly, too. That's why I had the trouble with Miss Ridley. 


JOE: Well, suppose you tell us about it. 


JERRY: She kicked me outta school. 


JOE: Why? 


JERRY: Fighting. 


JOE: Who were you fighting with? 


JERRY: Different guys. 


JOE: Why? 


JERRY: They called me names. 


JOE: Go ahead. 


JERRY: It wasn't my fault. I can't help how I look. 


JOE: You sure that's why you had fights? 


JERRY: They wouldn't let me alone...Suppose you think I'm real good looking.


JOE: I told you we'd level with you. You're not an ugly kid. Seems to me you're imagining a lot. 


JERRY: Sure...I suppose they called me "Lard Barrel" and "Witch Man" because they imagined it too.


JOE: Maybe they got another reason. 


JERRY: Like what? 


JOE: To needle you. If you didn't let 'em know it bothered you, they probably wouldn't have kept it up. They called you names to get you into fights. 


JERRY: That's what you say. 


JOE: That's what we believe, Jerry. 


JERRY: Well, she didn't have to kick me out of school. 


FRANK: How many fights did you have? 


JERRY: I don't know. 


JOE: You must have some idea. 


JERRY: Quite a few. 


FRANK: Did Miss Ridley talk to you? 


JERRY: Yeah.


FRANK: She gave you moren' one chance, didn't she? 


JERRY: (BEAT) Yeah, but the kids kept after me. Wouldn't let me alone. 


JOE: You don't like Miss Ridley, do you? 


JERRY: Why should I? 


JOE: Is that why you broke into the school? 


JERRY: Maybe. 


JOE: How many times did you go in?


JERRY: (BEAT) Three. 


JOE: Did you steal the things from the store room? 


JERRY: Yeah.


JOE: Where are they? 


JERRY: Home. 


JOE: You live with your father and mother? 


JERRY: Yeah. 


JOE: Any brothers or sisters? 


JERRY: Two brothers and three sisters.


JOE: When you had the trouble at Hillside did Miss Ridley talk to your parents? 


JERRY: No.


JOE: She didn't get in touch with 'em? 


JERRY: Sure, she tried but they didn't go in to see her. 


JOE: Any reason why they didn't? 


JERRY: No.....just didn't go, that's all. 


JOE: Well, I guess we'd better go and talk to them this time. 


JERRY: Why? 


JOE: Well, they'll have to know about this trouble you're in. Maybe if we talk to them, we can sorta' work this problem out together. 


JERRY: That won't do any good. 


JOE: No?


JERRY: They think I'm fat and ugly.


(END SCENE IV)


JOE: Jerry Beckle told us that he was now attending the Jansen School, one of the two maintained in the city for juveniles that have difficulty making adjustments in normal school life. He also told us that on all three occasions he had been alone when he broke into the Hillside school. We drove out to his home, a small-frame house badly in need of repair. We met his father, Henry Beckle and told him the reason for our visit.


HENRY: (TO HIS SON) So, you can't stay outta' trouble. First it's fightin' and you get kicked outta' school. Now this mess. What's the matter with you, anyhow?


JERRY: I don't know, dad.


JOE: Excuse me, Mr. Beckle, but this kind of talk isn't gonna' get us anywhere. Your son has a definite problem and he needs help.


HENRY: Sure he's got a problem. He's no good. Never has been, and never will be.


JOE: Frank, you wanna' take the boy outside? 


FRANK: Sure......C'mon, son.


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS FROM ROOM TO KITCHEN. DOOR CLOSES OFF SLIGHTLY


HENRY: Now I suppose you're gonna' give me the answers. You sound like you think it's my fault he got into this trouble. 


JOE: You mighta' helped keep him out of it. 


HENRY: Sure, just follow him around all day and night. Slap his wrist when he stepped outta' line.


JOE: You were asked to go over to his school when he had trouble before. Why didn't you go? 


HENRY: I didn't have the time. I've got to worry about five other kids. They've got to eat......Can't be taking time away from work just because one of 'em can't keep his nose clean. 


JOE: What about your wife?


HENRY: Whatta mean? 


JOE: Couldn't she have gone over to the school?


HENRY: (GRUNTS) Why don't you ask her.


JOE: Is she here now?


HENRY: Nope.....she's gone out. Probably at a movie. Says she has to have some fun, so she leaves me with the kids. 


JOE: Is there any reason why she couldn't go and talk with Miss Ridley about Jerry?


HENRY: Yeah. She figured it was his own problem. Says he has to learn to fight his own battles. 


JOE: That's fine when you know what you're fighting. Jerry doesn't.


HENRY: Nothin' the matter with him.


JOE: That's where you're wrong..... Your son has an inferiority complex about his looks.


HENRY: Big deal.


JOE: That's one of the things wrong with him.


HENRY: Are you tryin' to tell me he gets into trouble because of the way he feels about his looks? 


JOE: Possible that's a good part of it. 


HENRY: He gonna have to go to jail? 


JOE: I'm afraid so. 


HENRY: (BEAT) Don't you put kids on probation sometimes? Let the parents look after 'em?


JOE: Yeah, when they have parents.


HENRY: Well, couldn't you do that for Jerry?


JOE: If you could show the authorities that you'd be responsible for him, might work out.


HENRY: I could do that. 


JOE: There's something more you'd have to do. 


HENRY: Huh? 


JOE: Find time to talk to them.


(END SCENE V)


JOE: We took the subject along with the recovered stolen property to Georgia Street. The next day, Miss Ridley came down and identified the articles as those taken from the school storeroom. She said that Jerry Beckle had been in numerous fights before he was dismissed from school. During her investigation of the disorders, she found that Beckle had provoked several of the fights. She went on to say that the subject had been a below average student, showing little interest in academic work. A petition was filed in Beckle's behalf with the Juvenile Court. The petition was sustained and he was placed on probation with the Los Angeles County Probation Department, and allowed to remain in the custody of his parents. March 31. 8:06 A.M.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS COMING ON: OFFICE B.G. 


FRANK: Just picked up some reports for yesterday.....Wanna' check 'em over? 


JOE: Yeah.


SOUND: RATTLE OF PAPERS AS FRANK HANDS THEM TO JOE:


JOE: Thanks.


SOUND: FRANK MOVES CHAIR AND SITS DOWN AT DESK: JOE READS THROUGH REPORTS.. 


FRANK: Saw the Skipper on the way in. 


JOE: Uh huh.


FRANK: Remember the Austin boy?


JOE: (BEAT) Car theft.....wasn't it?


FRANK: Uh huh....violated his probation. Picked up again last night.


JOE: (GRUNTS) 


SOUND: JOE FLIPS REPORT PAPER:


(BEAT)


JOE: What was that kid's name on the Hillside School case....heavy set boy? 


FRANK: One that thought he was so ugly? 


JOE: Yeah - that's the one. 


FRANK: Beckle, wasn't it?

 

JOE: Uh huh. 


FRANK: What about him?


JOE: Description on this report fits him, and listen to this. Victim states the subject said to her, "Whattya' smilin' for? Because I'm so ugly?" 


FRANK: Might be.......What's the charge?


JOE: Pretty bad this time. Attempted robbery and shooting. 


(END SCENE VI) 


(END ACT I)


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


(COMMERCIAL INSERT)


SECOND COMMERCIAL


MUSIC: HARP ARPEGGIO 


GIRL: (NO BEAT) Put a smile in your smoking. Next time you buy cigarettes, stop... Remember this.....


FENNEMAN: In the whole wide world, no cigarette satisfies like Chesterfield!


GIRL: Try Chesterfield - today ... Put a smile in your smoking! 


FENNEMAN: Instantly, you'll smile your approval of Chesterfield smoothness. You want them mild - we make them mild!


GIRL: Mild and mellow, with the smooth and refreshing taste of the right combination of the world's best tobaccos.


FENNEMAN: You'll smile your approval of Chesterfield quality ... highest quality. Today's Chesterfield is the best cigarette ever made ... and our factory doors are always open to prove it! Come in any time. We're installing the quality detective .... the newest - the most important discovery in cigarette making in over thirty years. The quality detective ... another reason why the Chesterfield you smoke today is highest in quality - low in nicotine ... Best for you!


MUSIC: HARP ARPEGGIO


GIRL: (NO BEAT) Put a smile in your smoking. Next time you buy cigarettes, stop ... Remember this -- 


FENNEMAN: In the whole wide world, no cigarette satisfies like Chesterfield.


MUSIC: CLOSE UP FULL 


JOE: The robbery and shooting had occurred the previous night about 7:30 P.M. We checked with the Georgia Street Receiving Hospital and found the victim Linda Cotterly, had been treated for a minor flesh wound, in the leg. She had been shot with a 22 calibre pistol. The hospital report showed that she had been released and allowed to return home. We contacted the officers working the case and checked the reports that'd been filed. We asked if we could talk to the victim. Frank and I drove out to the address and were admitted by her sister. Linda Cotterly was lying on a couch in the front room. We identified ourselves and asked her if she would mind going over the story for us. 


LINDA: I told the other officers all about it.


JOE: Yes, ma'am. We saw the report, but we'd appreciate your telling us just what happened. 


LINDA: Guess it won't do no harm. Suppose if more of you know about it, you'll have a better chance to catch the little stinker.


FRANK: Yes, ma'am. 


LINDA: I shouldn't have said that.


FRANK: Ma'am?


LINDA: Little stinker....he was a big stinker. 


FRANK: Uh huh.


LINDA: He could have killed me. Gives me cold chills thinkin' about it.


JOE: Yes, ma'am. 


LINDA: (TO FRANK) Wonder if you'd do something for me?


FRANK: Surely. What is it?


LINDA: There's an afghan on the sewing machine in the dining room. Would you get it for me?


SOUND: FRANK GETS TO FEET AND GOES TO DINING ROOM


FRANK: Surely.


LINDA: Thank you.


JOE: Wonder if you'd give us the story. 


LINDA: Sure. Well, you know I was shot. In the leg. Right here (INDICATES) 


JOE: Uh huh.


LINDA: At first I thought it was just some kid playin' a joke. 


SOUND: FRANK'S FOOTSTEPS COMING ON.


FRANK: Here y'are, ma'am. 


LINDA: Thank you, Mr. Smith.. Would you just drape it over me....Gently..now. 


FRANK: (DRAPES AFGHAN OVER LINDA UNDER ABOVE) Uh huh.


LINDA: That's just fine. Thank you.


FRANK: Yes ma'am.


JOE: Now, you said you thought it was a joke when this boy tried to hold you up.


LINDA: Yes...He was so young looking. Couldn't been more'n 15 or 16.


JOE: Uh huh. 


LINDA: And he was sorta' chubby. Didn't look mean at all. I guess I should have been scared. But I wasn't. I just smiled.


JOE: Did he say anything when he approached you?


LINDA: About it being a hold up you mean. 


JOE: Yes ma'am.


LINDA: No...came up to me. Had the gun in his hand. 


JOE: That's when you smiled?


LINDA: That's right. 


JOE: Then what happened? 


LINDA: He got a real mad look on his face. Made him look tough. 


FRANK: Is that when he spoke to you? 


LINDA: How did you know?


FRANK: It was in the report. 


LINDA: That's right, I'd forgotten. Well then I guess I can skip that part about what he said. 


FRANK: We'd like to hear his exact words if you can remember 'em. 


LINDA: He said, "Whatta' smilin' for? Because I'm so ugly?" 


JOE: Uh huh, now did you get a good look at him?


LINDA: (HESITANT) Yes and no.


JOE: Ma'am?


LINDA: Well, I did see him, but I don't remember his face too well. I know he was young. Not too good lookin', but it's hard to say just what he did look like. 


JOE: Do you think you'd know him if you saw him again? 


LINDA: (HESITANT) I might. It was pretty dark. I'm not sure.


JOE: All right, what happened after he spoke to you? 


LINDA: I said no. Meaning I didn't think he was ugly. Then he told me to give him my purse. That's when it happened.


FRANK: Yeah.


LINDA: I got scared. Knew he wasn't foolin'. I screamed and started runnin'. Then I heard the noise.. Gunfire. 


JOE: Go on. 


LINDA: Then I felt a sting in my leg. When the bullet hit me. I kept on runnin'. Went past a vacant lot, I kept screaming and then I saw a man across the street open his front door and look out.. I ran up to him. Told him I'd been shot and he called the police.


JOE: When you said this person was chubby, did you mean he was fat?


LINDA: Well he was kinda' big around the middle and his face was sorta' round like. 


JOE: How about his hair. Was it dark? 


LINDA: Yeah.


JOE: Notice if it was straight or wavy?


LINDA: No...tell me.. You got an idea who the kid was? 


JOE: We're not sure.. 


LINDA: Hah, well, I know one thing. 


FRANK: What's that?


LINDA: That kid should be taught a lesson.


FRANK: (GRUNTS)


LINDA: Only thing to do with 'em.. When they're that rotten. Slap 'em around a little and forget about 'em.


JOE: That's the trouble here.


LINDA: Huh?


JOE: That's what they did to this boy.


(END SCENE VII)


JOE: Frank and I went back to the office and checked the records on the petition and found that the subject's father, Henry Beckle, was employed at a lumber yard. We drove down to the place and found him stacking lumber in the back lot. 


HENRY: What's on your mind, this time?


JOE: How's Jerry been getting along? 


HENRY: All right, I guess. 


JOE: Attending school regularly?


HENRY: Far as I know. Haven't had any bad reports. 


FRANK: What's he been doing nights? 


HENRY: Stays in the house. Goes out once in awhile. Never too late. Why?


JOE: Where was he Monday night? 


HENRY: (BEAT) Home. 


JOE: All night? 


HENRY: Yeah.


JOE: How 'bout Tuesday? 


HENRY: (BEAT) After supper he went out for awhile. Came in early. Whatta' tryin' to prove? 


JOE: How has your son been acting lately?


HENRY: Whatta' mean?


JOE: He had any trouble at school?


HENRY: I told you.....I haven't had any bad reports from 'em.


FRANK: How about at home?


HENRY: No trouble. We're tryin' to help him. 


JOE: Then as far as you know he's been in pretty good spirits? 


HENRY: You know he's no ball of fire, but he seems to be happy enough. 


JOE: Uh huh. 


HENRY: What is all this anyway? 


JOE: Checkin' something out. 


HENRY: Well, the way you ask questions, it sounds like you think Jerry's in trouble again.


JOE: We didn't say that. 


HENRY: You don't have to. I know what you're gettin' at and I don't like it. 


FRANK: No reason to get upset. 


HENRY: That right? Well, how would you feel? Jerry's been released to my custody. You're as much as tellin' me I haven't been doin' the right thing. 


JOE: If you're sure of that in you own mind you don't have anything to worry about, do you? 


HENRY: I've done what I can, but I can't watch him all the time. What's he supposed to have done this time?


JOE: We're not sure he's done anything.


HENRY: You wouldn't be nosin' around if you didn't have some reason.


FRANK: Somethin' we gotta check.


HENRY: All right, but if he got off on the wrong foot again, don't try to pin any tails on me. I've been doin' the right thing. But I don't mind tellin' you. I've never been too sure he would straighten out. 


JOE: Is that right?


HENRY: Yeah, but I'm doin' what I can for him.


JOE: Uh huh.


HENRY: I feed him, put clothes on his back, and put a roof over his head. What more can I give him?


JOE: You own a gun, Mr. Beckle? 


HENRY: What? 


JOE: Do you own a gun? 


HENRY: Yeah, why?


JOE: What kind? 


HENRY: 22 pistol.


(END SCENE VIII)


JOE: We drove over to the Jansen School and talked to the principal. We explained our business and he told us that Beckle hadn't been in school all day. We drove out to the boy's home, and met his Mother. She said he wasn't there, but would probably be home about 5 o'clock. We went back to the car and waited. At 4:30 P.M. Henry Beckle returned from work. He drove into the yard and we met him at the back door.


SOUND: OUTDOOR B.G. 


HENRY: So you're here again.


JOE: That's right. Let's go in the house, Beckle.


HENRY: (BEAT) (GRUNTS) If you want to.


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS ON COUPLE WOODEN STEPS, THEN ON PORCH. OPEN SCREEN DOOR AND THEN BACK DOOR UNDER FOLLOWING


HENRY: Wanna' tell me what this is about now?


JOE: We'd like to talk to Jerry first. 


HENRY: If you want to see him, why didn't you go over to his school?


FRANK: We did. He wasn't there today. 


SOUND: THEY WALK INTO KITCHEN, DOORS CLOSE: B.G. CHANGE.


HENRY: (GRUNTS) Kid's up to his old tricks again...... 


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS COMING ON AS MABEL BECKLE COMES INTO KITCHEN:


MABEL: Oh, they found you. 


HENRY: This is my wife.


MABEL: We've met. What's the trouble? 


HENRY: Jerry again. He wasn't in school today.


MABEL: Is that all?......Wish you'd get outta' the kitchen so I could fix supper.


HENRY: Yeah...you guys wanna C'mon into the other room. 


SOUND: JOE, FRANK AND HENRY WALK INTO DINING ROOM. 


JOE: While we're waiting for your son, wonder if you'd get the gun for us? 


HENRY: I don't know why I should.


JOE: You got no choice. 


HENRY: (BEAT) It's in the closet. 


JOE: Where is it? 


HENRY: Over there.


SOUND: JOE, FRANK AND HENRY WALK TO CLOSET: DOOR OPENS: 


HENRY: It's in that box. The small flat one. 


JOE: This one? 


HENRY: Yeah.


SOUND: JOE TAKES A STEP AND REACHES UP AND TAKES DOWN BOX: JOE REMOVES COVER FROM BOX:


JOE: When's the last time you fired this? 


HENRY: I don't know. Been quite a while.


JOE: (HOLDS BOX AND SMELLS GUN BARREL) Frank, what you think? 


FRANK: (TAKES BOX FROM JOE AND SMELLS BARREL) Smells like it was fired recently. 


JOE: What time does Jerry usually get home, Beckle?


HENRY: We eat at 5:30. He'll be here by then.


FRANK: Uh huh. 


HENRY: You don't have to worry about him not showin' up. He might skip school, but that fat, lazy slob won't miss a meal.


JOE: (GRUNT) 


HENRY: Eats twice as much as the other kids. No wonder he looks like he does...... 


SOUND: BACK DOOR SLAMS, MURMUR OF VOICES FROM KITCHEN: 


JOE: Let's go, Frank. 


SOUND: JOE AND FRANK TAKE FAST STEPS TO KITCHEN: 


JOE: Hello, son.


JERRY: Hi. What do you want? 


JOE: We're gonna' have to take you with us.


(BEAT)


MABEL: Can't he eat first?


HENRY: It won't hurt him any to miss a meal. Look at him. Looks like a fat toad. (BEAT) Why don't you say somethin'?


(BEAT) 


JERRY: (ANGRY) All right, doesn't make any difference. You'd like to be rid of me anyway. 


JOE: Take it easy, son.


JERRY: You all want to hear it. All right, I'll tell you.


JOE: Go on. 


JERRY: I shot her.


(END SCENE X) [END SCENE IX]


JOE: We took Jerry Beckle down to Georgia Street for further questioning. After his outbreak at his home he quieted down and refused to say anything more. We talked to him for an hour and he finally admitted the whole story.


FRANK: Why did you take the gun?


JERRY: To get some money, I guess. 


JOE: Was that the only way you could get it?


JERRY: I don't know. 


JOE: You could have gotten a job. 


JERRY: I tried to. 


FRANK: Yeah? 


JERRY: Nobody wanted me. 


JOE: How many people did you ask for work?


JERRY: (BEAT) Just one place. 


JOE: Then you gave up? 


JERRY: That was enough. I knew I wouldn't get a job. 


JOE: They tell you they wouldn't give you work?


JERRY: Didn't have to. I knew. Just the way they looked at me. 


JOE: Did you ever ask your father for money? 


JERRY: Yeah. Never gave me any. Just read me off. 


JOE: What did he say to you? 


JERRY: What he always does. I'm fat and lazy. Not good for anythin' but to put my feet under the table and eat.


FRANK: So you decided to go out and rob somebody? 


JERRY: (BEAT) Yeah. 


FRANK: Why did you shoot at the woman? 


JERRY: I'm not sure...


JOE: She didn't do you any harm, did she? 


JERRY: No. She made me mad. Laughed at me. Just like all the rest.


JOE: She did, huh?


JERRY: Sure, because I'm fat.


JOE: She tell you that? 


JERRY: No, but I could tell what she was thinkin'. 


JOE: Uh huh.


JERRY: People shouldn't laugh at somebody just because they're fat.


JOE: Yeah.


JERRY: They got no right to do that.


JOE: Maybe, but how much did you have?


JERRY: Huh?


JOE: When you shot her.


MUSIC: SIGNATURE


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


GIBNEY: On July 14th, trial was held in Department 98, Superior Court of the State of California, in and for the County of Los Angeles. In a moment, the results of that trial.


CLOSING COMMERCIAL


FENNEMAN: Now, here is our star - Jack Webb. 


WEBB: Thank you, George Fenneman. Friends, the Chesterfield you light up today is the best cigarette ever made. And that's the best reason I can think of for you to change to Chesterfield. Give 'em a try and see if they don't put a smile in your smoking. Chesterfield .... regular or king-size.


TRIAL PAGE


GIBNEY: Jerome Howard Beckle was remanded to the Juvenile authorities and placed in a foster home where he was assured of 24 hour supervision. One of the conditions of his probation was that he receive psychiatric aid by a doctor appointed by the court.


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