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The Case of the Careworn Cuff

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe

The Case of the Careworn Cuff

Oct 27 1950




CAST:

NBC ANNCR

ANNOUNCER, Don Stanley


ARCHIE GOODWIN

NERO WOLFE

PORTER / WHEELER, sharp quick voice

SGT. PURLEY STEBBINS

DOROTHY SPENCER

INSPECTOR CRAMER

POLICE OFFICER (1 line)

GWEN, the cute, gossipy receptionist





NBC ANNCR: Stay tuned for "Nero Wolfe"! (PAUSE) Saturday night chimes on NBC mean a full hour of fun with Dennis Day and Judy Canova. Dennis always appears perplexed and bewildered, but one thing that doesn't perplex him is how to make a popular ballad come to life in his thrilling tenor voice. And there's music also on "The Judy Canova Show," plus comedy in the mischievous Canova manner. That's Judy Canova and Dennis Day tomorrow night over most NBC stations.


ARCHIE: My boss is the smartest and the stubbornest, the fattest and the laziest, the cleverest and the craziest, the most extravagant detective in the world -- Nero Wolfe.


MUSIC: TRANSITION, THEN OUT FOR--


ANNOUNCER: It's the transcribed adventure of "The Case of the Careworn Cuff," with that brilliant, eccentric private detective, orchid fancier and gargantuan gourmet, Nero Wolfe -- starring Sydney Greenstreet.


MUSIC: ROMANTIC, THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: The place is Nero Wolfe's office. At the moment, the world's greatest motionless detective is sitting in the chair which was built especially to support his three hundred pounds. His eyes are closed. And he's making sounds through his nose.


WOLFE: (SNORES TWICE)


SOUND: PHONE RINGS


WOLFE: (WAKES) Archie?


SOUND: PHONE RINGS


WOLFE: Archie?


SOUND: PHONE RINGS


WOLFE: Archie?!


ARCHIE: (OFF) Yes, Mr. Wolfe? What is it?


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... ARCHIE'S STEPS APPROACH


WOLFE: The phone, if you please, Mr. Goodwin.


SOUND: PHONE RINGS 


ARCHIE: (CLOSER, AMUSED) But it's on your desk, only eight and three-quarter inches from your left elbow.


SOUND: PHONE RINGS 


ARCHIE: All you have to do is lean forward.


WOLFE: Confound it, Archie. What do you think I am, an athlete?


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP


ARCHIE: (INTO PHONE) Hello? -- No, wrong number, mister.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


ARCHIE: (AS IF TO A CHILD) I'm sorry, Mr. Wolfe, if that old phone awakened you.


WOLFE: (WITH DISGUST) Wrong number and I was not asleep. I was merely, um-- Concentrating.


ARCHIE: On what? We're out of work. There's nothing to concentrate on.


WOLFE: It may have escaped your errant attention, Archie, but there are other subjects for thought besides murder.


ARCHIE: (CHUCKLES) Sure. Blondes.


WOLFE: And blondes.


ARCHIE: You're right, at that. Brunettes.


WOLFE: Pfui!


ARCHIE: That's not a nice thing to say about any girl, even if she does happen to be a brunette.


WOLFE: Archie?


ARCHIE: Yes, sir?


WOLFE: Go away. You annoy me.


ARCHIE: Suppose I did. Who'd get your beer for ya?


WOLFE: Fritz.


ARCHIE: Tonight happens to be Fritz's night off. However, you can always get your beer for yourself.


WOLFE: Don't be an idiot.


ARCHIE: There are exactly twenty-three steps between here and the kitchen.


WOLFE: As you very well know, I abominate strenuous physical activity.


ARCHIE: Twenty-three steps times two is forty-six. You could walk very slow.


WOLFE: Nonsense. Now that you mention it-- (CLEARS THROAT) I happen to be mildly thirsty, Archie. Would you--?


ARCHIE: Now that I mention it, you'd better let the beer go for tonight.


WOLFE: Why?


ARCHIE: Our stock is running low.


WOLFE: You've been careless?


ARCHIE: I've been careful, because something else is also running low.


WOLFE: What?


ARCHIE: Money.


WOLFE: Fiddlesticks. There's plenty in the bank.


ARCHIE: Sure, but very little of it is yours. Mr. Wolfe, do you remember that batch of orchids you bought last week?


WOLFE: Course I do. Magnificent and very rare specimens.


ARCHIE: I got a magnificent bill for 'em this morning, too.


WOLFE: It was, er, large?


ARCHIE: It was large. 


WOLFE: Hmm. Confound it, Archie, I shall have to do some work.


ARCHIE: You turned down half a dozen cases in the last few weeks.


WOLFE: One of them may still require me.


ARCHIE: Most of them hired other detectives. However, there is a Mr. Wenceslas who might still be in need.


WOLFE: His problem was what?


ARCHIE: As I remember, he's being followed by midgets. He wanted you to do something about it. Not - not that he minded the midgets so much. It was the elephants they were riding.


WOLFE: The man needs a psychiatrist, not a detective. Anyone else?


ARCHIE: (DOUBTFUL) I can check my files, but I don't think--


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... CONTINUES IN BG


ARCHIE: Ha ha! Saved by the bell!


WOLFE: Another cliché like that and I shall--


ARCHIE: Answer the phone yourself?


WOLFE: Assassinate you. See what it is.


ARCHIE: Okay.


SOUND: RECEIVER UP


ARCHIE: (INTO PHONE) Hello? -- Yes, Mr. Wolfe is in. -- Yes, he'll be in. He always is. ---- What? -- But-- -- Hmmm.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


ARCHIE: That was a Mr. Charles Porter. He was in a hurry. He's on his way over right now; should be here in ten minutes.


WOLFE: Prospective client, I trust?


ARCHIE: A thousand dollars worth of prospective client.


WOLFE: Splendid, Archie! My beer!


ARCHIE: Okay, but, uh-- Look, I'm not sure you're gonna accept his offer.


WOLFE: Indeed? What does he want me to do for his paltry fee?


ARCHIE: That's the point. If I heard him right, he wants you to do -- nothing.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES


WOLFE: The door, Archie.


ARCHIE: Yes, sir. (MOVING OFF) I hear it.


SOUND: ARCHIE'S STEPS TO FRONT DOOR WHICH OPENS


ARCHIE: (OFF) Mr. Porter?


PORTER: (OFF) Naturally I'm Charles Porter. Who else would I be?


ARCHIE: (OFF) It's a large field. Never mind. Come on in.


SOUND: PORTER'S STEPS IN ... FRONT DOOR CLOSES ... THEIR STEPS TO WOLFE IN BG


ARCHIE: (OFF) I'm Archie Goodwin.


PORTER: (OFF) Where is Wolfe?


ARCHIE: (OFF) Mister Wolfe is in here. (BEAT, CLOSER) Mr. Wolfe, this is Mr. Porter.


WOLFE: Good evening.


PORTER: (BEAT) Fat, aren't you?


WOLFE: It's moderately noticeable. Archie, a chair for Mr. Porter.


PORTER: Don't bother, I'm too impatient to sit. When I have business to take care of, I take care of it quickly.


WOLFE: Very well.


PORTER: (BEAT, TO WOLFE) Send him out of the room.


WOLFE: Mr. Goodwin? Nonsense. He's my assistant. He remains.


PORTER: I don't like it.


WOLFE: Archie, show Mr. Porter out.


PORTER: Now wait. There's no need to get temperamental. Perhaps I'm a little abrupt.


WOLFE: (CORRECTS HIM) Rude.


PORTER: I'm a worried man.


WOLFE: And impatient. You're wasting time, Mr. Porter.


PORTER: I suppose I am. The reason I came to you-- (ABRUPT, TO ARCHIE) Young man, what are you doing with that notebook?


ARCHIE: Getting ready to make marks in it.


PORTER: But-- Oh, never mind. (RESUMES) Mr. Wolfe, you have a client named Dorothy Spencer.


WOLFE: Have I?


PORTER: There's no need to be coy about it. I happen to know.


WOLFE: (WITH A SHRUG) Then you know.


PORTER: I want you to drop her.


WOLFE: Drop her?


PORTER: Refuse to handle her case. Close the books on her. You know what I mean.


WOLFE: Why should I?


PORTER: The girl has no money. I have.


WOLFE: That doesn't answer my question.


PORTER: Perhaps this will.


SOUND: WAD OF CASH SLAPPED ON DESKTOP


WOLFE: Appears to be a small package of dollar bills.


PORTER: It happens to be a thousand dollars.


WOLFE: Archie, will you--?


ARCHIE: I will.


SOUND: ARCHIE STEPS UP AND RAPIDLY COUNTS THE BILLS


ARCHIE: (IMPRESSED) It is a thousand dollars.


WOLFE: Thank you. Mr. Porter?


PORTER: Yes?


WOLFE: You're paying me a thousand dollars in order that I refuse to act for Miss Spencer. Nothing more?


PORTER: That's right.


WOLFE: What does she suspect you of?


PORTER: (FLUSTERED) I said nothing about-- Well, that is-- You must know that as well as I do.


WOLFE: Possibly. Nevertheless, what does she suspect you of?


PORTER: Of - of being a blackmailer.


WOLFE: Whereas your occupation really is--?


PORTER: I'm a musician. Pianist. I'm appearing nightly at the Windsor Hotel.


WOLFE: Archie, have you made out a receipt for Mr. Porter?


ARCHIE: Yup.


WOLFE: Give it to him and show him to the door.


ARCHIE: Okay. Mr. Porter?


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, ARCHIE RISES AND TAKES A STEP OR TWO


PORTER: Mr. Wolfe, I want your assurance that the entire affair is definitely finished.


WOLFE: My association with Miss Spencer you mean? You have my assurance that it is -- you'll forgive a classical allusion -- da capo.


PORTER: Thank you.


SOUND: ARCHIE AND PORTER'S STEPS TO FRONT DOOR WHICH OPENS


PORTER: (OFF) Good night.


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS ... ARCHIE'S STEPS RETURN BEHIND--


ARCHIE: (APPROACHES) Mr. Wolfe? I have a secret about Mr. Porter. He - (SNIFF! SNIFF!) - smells.


WOLFE: Some perfume or other. More important, his right coat cuff is more worn than his left cuff. And "da capo" happens to be a musical term meaning "start again from the beginning."


ARCHIE: Oh? Porter thought it meant "finished."


WOLFE: Therefore Mr. Porter is a liar. His ignorance of a common musical term indicates that he's not a musician; the worn right coat cuff, that he is an office worker.


ARCHIE: (SKEPTICAL) That's kind of leaping to a deduction. But even if Porter's a liar, Mr. Wolfe, there is something else. He, uh-- He paid you a thousand dollars to drop a client named Dorothy Spencer. (BEAT) Mr. Wolfe, you never had a client with that name.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ARCHIE: Well, that's that.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


ARCHIE: (TO WOLFE) Dorothy Spencer is not in. Anyway, she's not answering her phone. (NO RESPONSE) Mr. Wolfe, I said--


WOLFE: I know what you said. Bah!


ARCHIE: That a comment?


WOLFE: I'm worried. Mr. Porter may have assumed erroneously that Dorothy Spencer had employed, or was intending to employ, me. That does not explain why he lied about his occupation.


ARCHIE: Maybe he didn't lie. After all, your deductions could be wrong.


WOLFE: Pfui.


SOUND: RECEIVER UP ... PHONE DIALED BEHIND--


ARCHIE: Okay. Take care of that -- right now. I'm phoning a-- (INTO PHONE) Hello? Uh, Windsor Hotel? Get me the manager's office. -- Thank you. -- Ah, could you tell me if a Charles Porter plays the piano at--? -- Uh huh. -- (SOTTO, TO WOLFE) She sounds blonde. (INTO PHONE) I see! Thanks a lot. What do you do after work? -- You--? -- (DISAPPOINTED) Oh. Well, so long.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


ARCHIE: She goes home and beats her husband.


WOLFE: (UNAMUSED) About Porter, Archie?


ARCHIE: Bad news. He does play the piano -- at the Windsor, in the Mauve Room. So where does that leave your deductions?


WOLFE: Untouched, of course. Let me think. (BEAT) Hmmm. (BEAT, INSPIRATION) Yes! Naturally!


ARCHIE: Naturally what?


WOLFE: I came to the conclusion that Mr. Porter was an office worker. We have just discovered that Mr. Porter is not an office worker. Therefore--


ARCHIE: You were wrong.


WOLFE: I am never wrong. Therefore the man who was here is not Charles Porter.


ARCHIE: Mr. Wolfe, do you think a man of your weight should climb out on a limb like that?


WOLFE: Fiddlesticks. Look up Porter in the phone book and call him.


ARCHIE: Okay. Take a second.


SOUND: PAGES FLIPPED


ARCHIE: (MUSES, TO HIMSELF) Mmmmm hm, Archie, the phone company's best friend. (CLEARS THROAT, TO WOLFE) Yup. Here he is. What do I ask him?


WOLFE: (GRUMBLES) There'll be no need to ask Mr. Porter anything. Just phone.


ARCHIE: You're the boss.


SOUND: RECEIVER UP ... PHONE DIALED BEHIND--


ARCHIE: Eh, have to say something to the guy. (BEAT, INTO PHONE) Hello? I'd like to speak to Charles Porter. -- So would you? Who is--? -- Oh, Stebbins, huh? -- Yeah, that's right. Archie. ---- Ohhhhh. ---- No. No, don't - don't bother why I called. A coincidence. Goodbye.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN


ARCHIE: You know who that was?


WOLFE: No.


ARCHIE: That was Sgt. Stebbins -- Sgt. Purley Stebbins. I might add, as though you didn't know, that Stebbins happens to be a sergeant in Homicide.


WOLFE: Indeed.


ARCHIE: You expected this.


WOLFE: I still don't know what your conversation was about.


ARCHIE: It was about Charles Porter, who maybe was a liar, but who isn't gonna tell any more lies -- on account of he was just shot to death.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR, WHICH OPENS ... ARCHIE AND STEBBINS INITIALLY ADOPT A PLAYFUL MOCK FRIENDLINESS


STEBBINS: Well, well, well! If it ain't Archie Goodwin. Come in, Goodwin.


ARCHIE: Thank you, Sgt. Stebbins!


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


STEBBINS: I've been expecting you.


ARCHIE: Oh, that's sweet of you to say that, Purley.


STEBBINS: (LAUGHS, THEN ABRUPTLY SERIOUS) Why did you phone Porter?


ARCHIE: His right coat cuff was more worn out than his left.


STEBBINS: So, for that, you had to kill him?


ARCHIE: No, actually, I killed him because he didn't know his "da capo"-- (SEES THE BODY, DISMAYED) Hey--!


STEBBINS: Yeah, "hey." He don't look good any more, huh? Guys who stop bullets with their face never look good.


ARCHIE: Purley, you've been robbed.


STEBBINS: I-- Hm?


ARCHIE: That corpse is not Porter.


STEBBINS: (CHUCKLES) Now relax, Goodwin, relax. His fingerprints were on file and they check. His girlfriend says he's Porter. If he could get up and talk, he'd tell ya he was Porter. And what makes you think he isn't?


ARCHIE: Well, because when he visited us earlier tonight, he looked different. Not much, but-- You said "girlfriend"?


STEBBINS: Yes, I said "girlfriend." She's in the next room mopping up. She kind of broke down when we brought her here.


ARCHIE: You brought her here? No, don't tell me what her name is.


STEBBINS: Why shouldn't I? It's Spencer -- Dorothy Spencer.


ARCHIE: Ooooooh -- that's what I was afraid of.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


DOROTHY: Sergeant, I-- (SEES ARCHIE) Oh.


STEBBINS: Ignore him. He comes with the woodwork.


ARCHIE: (AN INTRODUCTION) His name is Goodwin, Miss Spencer -- Archie Goodwin. Find what you were looking for?


DOROTHY: What I was look--?


ARCHIE: Somebody's gone through this place like a minor league hurricane. You?


DOROTHY: What business is it of yours?


ARCHIE: Of mine? None, maybe. On the other hand, Nero Wolfe might have other ideas. Matter of fact, I'm sure he'd have. Miss Spencer, why don't you go see him? The address is Six-Oh-One West Thirty-Fifth Street.


DOROTHY: I don't see why--


ARCHIE: You want your boyfriend's murderer found, don't you?


STEBBINS: (ANNOYED) Now, listen, Goodwin, the police are working on this!


ARCHIE: Sure, they'll see to it nobody harms the corpse. Goodbye, Miss Spencer. Don't forget that address -- Six-Oh-One West Thirty-Fifth Street. Believe it or not, you used to be a client of ours.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ARCHIE: Oh, Mr. Wolfe, you're getting to be so brilliant, it's boring.


WOLFE: Pfui. (GRUMBLES, CLEARS THROAT) That is, um--


ARCHIE: (UNDERSTANDS, CHUCKLES) Oh, right. Tonight, you deserve it. (MOVING OFF) I'll get ya another can of beer. (MOVING ON) But this is the last one--


SOUND: ARCHIE'S STEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH ABOVE ... BOTTLE SET DOWN AND OPENED ... BEER POURED BEHIND--


ARCHIE: --unless you promise to do some exercise, like - like maybe standing up and sitting down five minutes a day.


WOLFE: Thank you. (DRINKS, EXHALES CONTENTEDLY, CHUCKLES MILDLY) And I why should I indulge in such idiotic behavior?


ARCHIE: Well, after a while, you might be able to see your shoes.


WOLFE: I've already seen them.


ARCHIE: Oh, that was twenty years ago. Things have changed. No more buttons.


SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES


ARCHIE: (ENTHUSIASTIC) Hey, that must be Dorothy Spencer.


WOLFE: Hmmm, she's undoubtedly young and beautiful.


ARCHIE: You deduced that from the way she pressed the buzzer?


WOLFE: I deduced that from the gleam in your eye. Bah.


ARCHIE: (MOVING OFF) "Bah" all you want; I'm gonna keep that gleam shining.


SOUND: ARCHIE'S STEPS TO FRONT DOOR, WHICH OPENS


ARCHIE: (OFF, WARMLY) Hello, Miss Spencer. Come in.


DOROTHY: (OFF) Thank you.


SOUND: DOROTHY'S STEPS IN ... FRONT DOOR CLOSES ... THEIR STEPS TO WOLFE IN BG


DOROTHY: (OFF, TO ARCHIE) Mr. Wolfe--?


ARCHIE: (MOVING ON) Is the large sitting-down gentleman behind the desk. This is Dorothy Spencer, Mr. Wolfe.


WOLFE: You will forgive me not rising. It is due to a necessary conservation of energy rather than rudeness. Archie, the chair.


ARCHIE: Sure.


SOUND: ARCHIE'S STEPS, MOVEMENT OF CHAIR, ET CETERA


ARCHIE: Here ya are, Miss Spencer.


DOROTHY: (SITS) Thanks.


WOLFE: Now then, Miss Spencer, have the police found anything but dust in Mr. Porter's closet?


DOROTHY: (PUZZLED) Why, no.


WOLFE: You were engaged to Mr. Porter?


DOROTHY: I was.


WOLFE: That ring you're wearing; he gave it to you?


DOROTHY: Yes.


WOLFE: May I see it?


DOROTHY: (SURPRISED) Well-- (GIVES IN) All right. Here.


SOUND: DOROTHY HANDS OVER THE RING


WOLFE: Thank you. (EXAMINES RING) Hmmm. Expensive. (CLICKS TONGUE) Very expensive. You may have it back. (POINTEDLY) Miss Spencer, why were you marrying Charles Porter?


DOROTHY: (UNCONVINCING) I - I loved him.


WOLFE: Pfui. Mr. Porter, according to Archie's description, was twice your age with considerably less than half your attractiveness. Love may perhaps be blind, but it is not astigmatic.


DOROTHY: (UNEASY) I - I don't know what you mean.


WOLFE: What were you searching for under the nose of the police?


DOROTHY: (NERVOUS) Nothing. Nothing at all.


WOLFE: How did your fiancé earn his money?


DOROTHY: He played the piano at the--


WOLFE: Pfui! What he earned there in a year wouldn't begin to pay for the ring he gave you. Would you like to try again?


DOROTHY: (BEAT, DEFIANT) I don't know how he made his money.


WOLFE: I suggest that you do. I suggest that he earned money by the same method that he induced you to consider marrying him -- blackmail.


DOROTHY: Oh, but--


WOLFE: Why was he blackmailing you?


DOROTHY: (EXHALES, GIVES IN RELUCTANTLY) Old letters I'd written when I was too young to know any better.


WOLFE: Your motives for murdering Porter would be twofold then. Recovery of blackmail material and the avoidance of marriage to a man you disliked.


DOROTHY: I didn't kill Charles!


SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES


WOLFE: (URGENT) The doorbell, Archie. Get Miss Spencer into the kitchen at once. Must be the police.


ARCHIE: Yeah. Let's go, Miss Spencer.


SOUND: ARCHIE AND DOROTHY'S HURRIED STEPS TO KITCHEN DOOR


ARCHIE: (OFF, TO DOROTHY) Right through that door.


WOLFE: (TO DOROTHY) And stay there until I call you.


SOUND: KITCHEN DOOR CLOSES ... ARCHIE'S QUICK STEPS TO WOLFE BEHIND--


WOLFE: Front door, Archie.


ARCHIE: Uh, Mr. Wolfe, do I know Dorothy Spencer's here?


WOLFE: You know nothing. (DRY) A simple role for you to play.


ARCHIE: (MOVING OFF) Duh, I haven't got time to resent that insult right now, but wait until the next time you drop a collar button.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, ARCHIE'S STEPS TO FRONT DOOR, WHICH OPENS


ARCHIE: (OFF, MOCK SURPRISE) Well, bless my soul! If it isn't dear old Inspector Cramer. How is the Homicide Department?


CRAMER: (OFF) Where's Wolfe?


ARCHIE: (OFF) Big surprise, he's sitting.


SOUND: CRAMER'S STEPS IN ... FRONT DOOR CLOSES ... ARCHIE AND CRAMER'S STEPS TO WOLFE


CRAMER: Mr. Wolfe?


WOLFE: Good evening, Inspector.


CRAMER: Where's Dorothy Spencer?


WOLFE: This is not the Bureau of Missing Persons.


CRAMER: The District Attorney would like to talk to her.


WOLFE: I shall tell her so the next time we meet.


CRAMER: Yeah, that could be right now. She's in this house.


WOLFE: I don't see her.


CRAMER: Mind if I look around for myself?


WOLFE: You have a search warrant, of course.


CRAMER: It so happens, no, but, er--


WOLFE: Archie, the Inspector's leaving. 


CRAMER: (FRUSTRATED) Okay, I'm leaving. I suppose by the time I get back with a warrant, she'll be in Hoboken.


WOLFE: (MOCK INNOCENT) Hoboken? Where's that?


CRAMER: (ANNOYED) Look, Wolfe, you can go too far! One of these days you won't be able to talk yourself out of a-- I-- (GIVES UP, WITH DISGUST, DISMISSIVE) Ahhhh-- (MOVING OFF, SARCASTIC, TO ARCHIE) Trail me to the door, Goodwin, to show what a good detective you are.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, CRAMER'S STEPS TO FRONT DOOR, WHICH OPENS AND CLOSES AS HE EXITS


ARCHIE: (MOCK SADNESS) Oooh, Inspector Cramer doesn't love us any more.


WOLFE: Unfortunate. Archie, take Miss Spencer to a respectable hotel. Register her under an assumed name. She is to stay there until notified otherwise. Lucky the good Inspector neglected to inform us that she was the leading suspect in a murder case. Hence, we are not accessories after the fact; and I don't want her arrested for murder as yet.


ARCHIE: (IRONIC) Her beauty has won you over.


WOLFE: Phaw! You will then return here immediately.


ARCHIE: Okay. What are you gonna be doing in the meanwhile?


WOLFE: I, Archie, shall be -- thinking.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


WOLFE: (SNORES TWICE)


SOUND: WINDOW SLIDES OPEN


WOLFE: (WAKES IN MID-SNORE)


SOUND: WHEELER'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH


WOLFE: Archie?


WHEELER: (APPROACHES) No. No, not Archie.


WOLFE: Ah! Our impatient and nonmusical friend. Came in through the window. How are you, Mister--? Not Porter, of course.


WHEELER: Where's the girl?


WOLFE: The question is beginning to bore me. I don't know.


WHEELER: I think she's here.


WOLFE: So did the police. I might add that they were slightly closer to the truth. Incidentally, what makes you think she was Porter's accomplice?


WHEELER: (SURPRISED) She must have been.


WOLFE: Nonsense. She wasn't. Porter was blackmailing her, just as he was blackmailing you. In her case, it was letters. In yours, a previous criminal record, perhaps, that your employers might be interested in.


WHEELER: (GRIM) I want to know where she is. (BEAT) Maybe this would help you remember.


WOLFE: (CALM) Good heavens, don't point a pistol at me; it annoys me.


SOUND: DOORBELL BUZZES


WOLFE: Ah! The police, I should think. Open the door for them like a good fellow.


WHEELER: (REFUSES, COOLLY) Oh, no, I'm leaving. (MOVING OFF) But if I don't find that girl, I'll be back.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, WHEELER'S STEPS TO WINDOW, THROUGH WHICH HE EXITS ... DOORBELL BUZZES INSISTENTLY


WOLFE: (YELLS, TO POLICE) Knock the blasted thing down if it isn't open!


SOUND: FRONT DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS AS CRAMER AND A FEW POLICE OFFICERS ENTER ... POLICE MURMUR BEHIND--


CRAMER: (APPROACHES) All right, Wolfe, I've got the search warrant.


WOLFE: Also, no doubt, a fine-tooth comb. Bah. By the way, Inspector--


CRAMER: (INTERRUPTS, TO POLICE) All right, boys, cover the house.


OFFICER: All right, Inspector.


SOUND: POLICE FOOTSTEPS MOVE OFF 


CRAMER: Well? What did you want?

 

WOLFE: As your men go through the house, will you have one of them shut the back window? I've just had a burglar and I suspect he left it open. Unless the matter is attended to, the house might be filled with-- (SHIVERS, WITH DISGUST) --fresh air.


CRAMER: Well, what's the matter with that?


WOLFE: Fresh air? Deadly poison. It clogs the lungs. And may I point out that that warrant you're clutching in your hot little hand is not a lease on the house. Finish your search quickly, if you please, and then-- (CHUCKLES) Why not try Hoboken?


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ARCHIE: So I just missed the Inspector, huh?


WOLFE: You did.


ARCHIE: That I can stand. I'm sorry about the burglar, though.


WOLFE: Perhaps we can arrange to have you meet him in the morning.


ARCHIE: He left his calling card, with name and address on it?


WOLFE: He dropped his handkerchief here on my desk.


ARCHIE: Oh. (EXAMINES HANDKERCHIEF, DISAPPOINTED) Hmm, it's a handkerchief.


WOLFE: It smells.


ARCHIE: (SNIFFS!) So it does. (PUZZLED) But, uh--?


WOLFE: All of our unknown friend's clothes carry the odor. Therefore--


ARCHIE: Yeah?


WOLFE: You will go out immediately to the nearest drugstore; buy a specimen of every cake of soap manufactured in this country.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ARCHIE: (EXASPERATED) Mr. Wolfe--


WOLFE: Be still! (SNIFFS THREE TIMES) No.


SOUND: CAKE OF SOAP DISCARDED


ARCHIE: I never realized just how many different brands of soap were made in this country.


WOLFE: You should listen to the radio more often.


ARCHIE: So far we've sniffed at thirty-seven cakes. None of 'em smell like Porter. Umm, let's see, thirty-eight. (SNIFF, FINALLY! - WHISPERS) Hey!


WOLFE: Let me have it, Archie. (BEAT, SNIFFS TWICE) Yes. The soap. (EXAMINES SOAP) Bah! It's labeled "Orchid Ovals." I should say basely mislabeled. Orchids have no odor. (WITH FINALITY) Our task for the evening is finished.


ARCHIE: Why? All we know is the guy washes with a basely mislabeled soap.


WOLFE: No, the odor would not have been so persistent in that case. Unquestionably, our visitor works for a soap company that makes "Orchid Ovals." Every employee of a plant in which perfume in large quantities is used inevitably carries the odor on his clothes.


ARCHIE: (UNDERSTANDS) Ohhhhh. And you already deduced he works in an office. Uh huh. Ah, I go see him in the morning?


WOLFE: You do.


ARCHIE: You know, Mr. Wolfe, what with hiring rooms for girls and paying visits to a perfume factory, I'm beginning to feel like a maiden aunt.


WOLFE: No one will ever mistake you for a maiden aunt, Archie.


ARCHIE: Thanks. Is that another deduction?


WOLFE: Maiden aunts rarely need a shave. (CHUCKLES)


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS ... BUSY OFFICE BACKGROUND ... ARCHIE'S STEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES 


GWEN: (OFF, INTO PHONE) Orchid Ovals; good morning. -- One moment, please.


SOUND: ARCHIE'S STEPS TO GWEN


GWEN: (CLOSER, AMOROUSLY IMPRESSED) Oh! Can I do anything for you, sir?


ARCHIE: (EQUALLY IMPRESSED) Yeah! (RESTRAINS HIMSELF) That is-- Uh-- Let's postpone that question and slip in another one. I'm - I'm looking for one of your office people. Uh, in his forties, five foot ten, brown hair and eyes, speaks in a sharp quick voice--


GWEN: He owes you money, too?


ARCHIE: Who owes me money?


GWEN: Mr. Wheeler, the man you were describing. He owes everybody money -- in spite of the fact that he's office manager and makes lots and lots of mon-- How much does he owe you?


ARCHIE: Hm? Oh, not an awful lot. It won't break me if I don't get it. Is he in yet?


GWEN: Well, he was, but he went home. He was sort of sick.


ARCHIE: Sort of?


GWEN: Mm hm. He got a phone call from somebody and rushed out.


ARCHIE: Hm, too bad. (MOVING OFF) Well, I better scram.


GWEN: Well, you didn't answer my question yet. (CALLS AFTER HIM) I'm off at five; my name's Gwen!


ARCHIE: (OFF) Goodbye!


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP


WOLFE: Wolfe speaking.


ARCHIE: (FILTER) Archie here. Uh, Unknown's name is Wheeler. He left the office this morning -- sick -- after he got a mysterious phone call.


WOLFE: Bah, probably-- (REALIZES, URGENT) Get to Dorothy Spencer at once and bring her here!


ARCHIE: (FILTER) Right. I'm at Wheeler's house now; thought I'd better check. (SLYLY) His wife's here, too.


WOLFE: Blonde?


ARCHIE: (FILTER) Uh huh. (DOUBLE TAKE) How could you tell?


WOLFE: Fatuous smirk in your voice. Get out of there fast and don't stop to console Mrs. Wheeler.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: ARCHIE'S STEPS DOWN HOTEL HALLWAY ... CONTINUES BEHIND--


ARCHIE: (TO HIMSELF) Nine-oh-eight. Ah! Room Nine-oh-nine. Miss Dorothy Spencer.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, ARCHIE'S STEPS STOP ... ARCHIE KNOCKS ON HOTEL DOOR ... NO ANSWER ... KNOCKS AGAIN


ARCHIE: Hm! Nobody home.


SOUND: KEY IN LOCK ... HOTEL DOOR UNLOCKS AND OPENS ... ARCHIE'S STEPS IN


WHEELER: (OFF) Shut that door behind you, Goodwin!


ARCHIE: (STARTLED) What? Never mind pulling triggers; I'll shut it.


SOUND: HOTEL DOOR SHUTS


DOROTHY: (WORRIED) Oh, Archie--


WHEELER: I would prefer silence. Keep your hands high, Goodwin.


ARCHIE: It's unhealthy. All the blood would run into my head.


DOROTHY: Archie, he murdered Charles.


ARCHIE: He did? Tut, Mr. Wheeler. You really shouldn't have; it's against the law.


WHEELER: Get into the bathroom, both of ya.


ARCHIE: I already shaved.


DOROTHY: I phoned him. I thought maybe he had my letters.


WHEELER: Porter couldn't keep his mouth shut about his other victims.


ARCHIE: He was gonna force Dorothy to marry him. Did ya find his material, Wheeler?


WHEELER: Yes! In an office he rented as a front. It's all burned.


ARCHIE: Then why all the melodrama?


WHEELER: You know about me; so does she. I can't trust anyone. Get into the bathroom, I said.


ARCHIE: Look, let's not lose our heads about this.


WHEELER: Get moving, Goodwin!


ARCHIE: I like it here.


WHEELER: All right then, here is where you'll get it.


SOUND: TWO GUNSHOTS


DOROTHY: (SHRIEKS)


WHEELER: (DEATH GROAN)


SOUND: WHEELER'S BODY SLUMPS TO FLOOR


ARCHIE: Hey! Hey, wai-wai-wait a minute! Something's wrong. I got shot and Wheeler fell down.


STEBBINS: (OFF) I shot him, Goodwin.


ARCHIE: (PLEASED) Stebbins! Dear Sgt. Stebbins! Oh, you little flatfooted angel!


STEBBINS: (CHUCKLES) It's lucky for you my flat feet got staked out here in time.


ARCHIE: Just for that, I'll buy you a pair of arch supports for your next birthday. But I'm beginning not to believe this. You had it all figured out?


STEBBINS: (RELUCTANT TO EXPLAIN) Well, not exactly. Well, that is--


ARCHIE: Ah-ah! Wolfe sent ya here.


STEBBINS: Well, he kind of phoned in and suggested one of us shoot down here and do some rescue work.


ARCHIE: (CHUCKLES) That old devil.


STEBBINS: (CHUCKLES) You're not kidding. (LAUGHS)


ARCHIE: What are you laughing about?


STEBBINS: Wolfe wasn't sure whether you'd need rescuing from Wheeler or-- (CHUCKLES) 


ARCHIE: (ANNOYED) Stop killin' yourself with your own jokes.


STEBBINS: Or whether Miss Spencer would need rescuing from you.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


WOLFE: You've been a very foolish young woman, Miss Spencer. I suggest that in the future you exercise more care in your correspondence.


DOROTHY: Oh, I shall, Mr. Wolfe. But how can I ever thank you?


ARCHIE: Well, one way would be to listen wide-eyed while he explains how he solved the case.


WOLFE: I have no intention--


ARCHIE: Oh, come on, Mr. Wolfe, stop stalling.


DOROTHY: Please, Mr. Wolfe.


WOLFE: (GRUMBLES) Well, er-- (CONCEDES) I'd be very happy to. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see anyone try to stop me.


DOROTHY & ARCHIE: (CHUCKLE)


WOLFE: A man came to me; he offered me a thousand dollars to drop a client I didn't have. Why? 'Cause obviously he wished to direct my attention to that client.


DOROTHY: Me.


WOLFE: You, Miss Spencer. Now then, he identified himself as Charles Porter, a musician. But I tested him and discovered that he knew nothing of music.


ARCHIE: Ha! The "da capo" routine.


WOLFE: Precisely. Therefore he was an impostor. His purpose--


ARCHIE: Yeah?


WOLFE: To indicate -- by no means subtly -- that enmity existed between Porter and Dorothy Spencer.


ARCHIE: Ah?


WOLFE: Thus when Porter was found murdered, I would presumably be convinced that Dorothy Spencer, balked in her effort to enlist my aid against Porter, had resorted to most foul and bloody murder.


ARCHIE: "Most foul and bloody murder" is very fancy, Dorothy. Shows he likes ya.


DOROTHY: (AMUSED) Oh?


WOLFE: I thereupon asked myself why should an unknown seek to convince me that Dorothy Spencer was Porter's murderer.


ARCHIE: And you answered yourself--?


WOLFE: One reason only -- because he himself intended to murder Porter. As he did. For which peccadillo he has -- thanks to Sgt. Stebbins' accuracy with a revolver -- already paid with his own life, quod erat demonstrandum.


ARCHIE: Latin for "that's what you wanted to know."


DOROTHY: I think you're wonderful, Mr. Wolfe, and I'm going to--


WOLFE: Ah, be careful!


DOROTHY: --kiss you. (A GENTLE SMACK!)


WOLFE: (NOT UNPLEASED) Hmmm! Archie, Miss Spencer is a very dangerous young woman.


ARCHIE: Today I feel brave.


DOROTHY: Do you, Archie?


ARCHIE: Very brave. What are you doing tonight?


DOROTHY: Nothing.


ARCHIE: Let's do it together.


WOLFE: Bah.


ARCHIE: What was that, Mr. Wolfe?


WOLFE: I said, "Bah"! Would you very much mind conducting your romance elsewhere?


ARCHIE: I would not.


WOLFE: And do so at once. I have a very important matter to attend to.


DOROTHY: (MOVING OFF) Goodbye, Mr. Wolfe!


WOLFE: Goodbye!


SOUND: FRONT DOOR OPENS


ARCHIE: (OFF) 'Night, sir!


SOUND: ARCHIE AND DOROTHY EXIT ... FRONT DOOR CLOSES


WOLFE: (BEAT, TO HIMSELF, INCREASINGLY SLEEPY) Very important. Very - important. (SNIFFS ... THEN SNORES THREE TIMES)


MUSIC: CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: You have been listening to "The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe," starring Sydney Greenstreet. 


MUSIC: JAUNTY ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER


ANNOUNCER: Tonight's transcribed story was based on the characters created by Rex Stout, produced and directed by J. Donald Wilson. In the cast were Lamont Johnson as Archie Goodwin and Jane Webb, Peter Leeds, Bill Johnstone, and Wilms Herbert. Next week at this same time, Nero Wolfe and Archie will bring you "The Case of the Dear Dead Lady." Don Stanley speaking. 


MUSIC: JAUNTY ... THEN OUT


NBC ANNCR: Three Chimes Mean Good Times on NBC. The NBC Chimes are excited about "The Big Show," an hour and a half every Sunday night with Tallulah Bankhead as "femme-cee," comedy with stars like Jimmy Durante, Fred Allen, Jack Carson, Groucho Marx, and a host of others. Music with Meredith Willson, Mindy Carson, and many more. It presents drama with Mr. José Ferrer and many more leading stars of Broadway and Hollywood. It's "The Big Show"! Starts Sunday, November fifth, on NBC. 


RILEY: This is Chester "William Bendix" Riley. "The Man Called X" follows on NBC.


MUSIC: NBC CHIMES

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