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The Fairley-Bright Caper

The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective

The Fairley-Bright Caper 

Oct 31 1948



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

SINGERS, of jingle

MAN (1 line)


SAM SPADE, detective

EFFIE, his daffy, loyal secretary

THE WITCH, a crazy old rural lady

HOMER LANGDON, attorney

OPHELIA FAIRLEY, Wilma's mother; crazy but sweet upper class lady

HILARY BRIGHT, professional party giver; snooty, fussy

WILMA FAIRLEY, amorous

RALPH KRAMM, sleepy

CHIEF, of police

MONAHAN, police

and party GUESTS




ANNOUNCER: "The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective" brought to you by Wildroot Cream-Oil Hair Tonic, the non-alcoholic hair tonic that contains lanolin. Wildroot Cream-Oil -- again and again the choice of men, and women and children, too.


MUSIC: FANFARE


SOUND: PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP ... SPADE'S VOICE ON FILTER


EFFIE: Sam Spade Detective Agency. 


SPADE: Very important, sweetheart. Write this down. 


EFFIE: Yes, Sam, I have pencil and paper ready. 


SPADE: Ingredients, colon-- 


EFFIE: Punctuation or ingredients, Sam?


SPADE: Both! 


EFFIE: Well, what is it, Sam? 


SPADE: A recipe. One pound of fennel--


EFFIE: Oh, that's liquid measure, Sam. 


SPADE: You put that in later. 


EFFIE: Cross out funnel? 


SPADE: Not funnel, fennel! It is not liquid. It grows in Fairley Pines. 


EFFIE: It's fairly what, Sam?


SPADE: One root of St. John's wort. 


EFFIE: Whose wart? 


SPADE: Not wart, wort


EFFIE: Oh! Wort.


SPADE: Don't interrupt! Some, er, newt's eyes; couple pounds ought to be enough. One ounce of bat's wool. One adder's fork; that is not a utensil. One filet of fenny snake. Some lizards' legs. One hemlock root, digged in the dark. Directions: (MELODRAMATIC) "in the poison'd entrails throw. Toad, that under cold stone days and nights hast thirty-one" -- (CASUAL) and if anyone drops in for trick-or-treat, Effie, leave him have it. 


EFFIE: Oh, Sam! Now I get it! Halloween! It's a witch's brew! Haha, you were only fooling! 


SPADE: That's what you think, sweetheart. Get out your cauldron, your poison pen, and your book of malefactions. I'll be right down to dictate my report on "The Fairley-Bright Caper or -- I Should Have Stood in Bed and Ducked for Apples." 


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: Dashiell Hammett, America's leading detective fiction writer and creator of Sam Spade the hard-boiled private eye, and William Spier, radio's outstanding producer-director of mystery and crime drama, join their talents to make your hair stand on end with "The Adventures of Sam Spade," presented by the makers of Wildroot Cream-Oil for the hair.


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: Are they saying this about you? "There goes somebody who's really well-groomed." And that can go for every member of your family -- if they spruce up each day with Wildroot Cream-Oil, America's favorite hair tonic. Wildroot Cream-Oil grooms hair neatly and naturally, relieves dryness, removes loose dandruff. If your family hasn't tried it, get Wildroot Cream-Oil in the new 25-cent bottle. You'll see why Wildroot Cream-Oil Hair Tonic is again and again, the choice of men, and women and children, too. 


MUSIC: HARP GLISSANDOS ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: And now, with Howard Duff starring as Spade, Wildroot brings to the air the greatest private detective of them all in "The Adventures of Sam Spade."


MUSIC: UP FOR INTRODUCTION


SOUND: SPADE'S OFFICE DOOR OPENS ... SPADE'S STEPS IN


SPADE: (SINISTER LAUGHTER)


EFFIE: (STARTLED SCREAM) Oh! (THEN CHUCKLES BEHIND--)


SPADE: (OMINOUS) "Is that the wind dying? O no; it's only two devils that blow through a murderer's bones, to and fro, in the ghosts' moonshine." (LAUGHS)


EFFIE: (AMUSED) Oh, Sam -- take off that ridiculous mask. 


SPADE: (REMOVES MASK, EXHALES)


EFFIE: You look about as much like a demon--


SPADE: --as a demon. Check. Ah, fly your broom into the adjoining office, sister, and we'll weave a few spells.


EFFIE: (CHUCKLES)


SOUND: THEIR STEPS INTO SAM'S INNER OFFICE ... SAM POURS A DRINK, IN BG


SPADE: Er-- (STARTS TO DICTATE) "Date," er-- (BREAKS OFF, PUZZLED) Effie? 


EFFIE: Yes, Sam? 


SPADE: What is this thing on my desk? Looks like a pumpkin. 


EFFIE: It is a pumpkin. I made it this afternoon. Here, I'll light it.


SOUND: MATCH STRIKES ... PUMPKIN LIT


SPADE: Well, isn't that cute? 


EFFIE: Isn't that cute?


SPADE: Eyes and nose and mouth. Looks like Lieutenant Dundy of homicide. 


EFFIE: (PLEASED) Well, thank you, Sam!


SPADE: Thank you. Well, I guess everyone knows it's Halloween, even if they don't listen to the radio. Shall we?


EFFIE: We shall. 


SPADE: Uh-- (DICTATES) Date: All Hallows' Eve, 1948. To: Hilary Bright, Esquire. Number Thirteen Black Place, City. From: Samuel Spade, license number one-three-seven-five-nine-six. Subject: The Fairley-Bright Caper.


MUSIC: MILDLY EERIE ... IN AND IN BG--


SPADE: (NARRATES) It was a fairly bright afternoon for the fogbound Bay Area. There was no frost upon the pumpkin. In fact, as yet, no pumpkin. But I did see a black cat and several attractive wolf girls in broomstick skirts during the bus ride down the peninsula to your client's ancestral estate, Fairley Pines. 


SOUND: NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND (CRICKETS CHIRP, ET CETERA)


SPADE: (NARRATES) A bat flew out of a hollow tree as I mushed up a road through some pine woods to the house. In the gathering dusk, I also observed a toad, a lizard, and a hooty owl, which, if memory serves, are staple ingredients for a witch's brew. Then I observed, hobbling out of the forest, an authentic hag. 


WITCH: (HOOTS MERRILY ... THEN MOANS OMINOUSLY IN BG)


SPADE: (NARRATES) She was wearing a dusty black robe, a peaked black hat, and her matted gray hair coiled serpentlike around her evil countenance. She leaned on a gnarled staff of hemlock, fixed me with her yellow glittering eyes, and said-- 


MUSIC: OUT


WITCH: (GREGARIOUS) Hello, kiddo! 


SPADE: (POLITE, QUIET) Yes'm?


WITCH: Which way's the house?! 


SPADE: (PUN INTENDED) "Witch" house? 


WITCH: Fairley Pines! Lost muh bearin's I did. I was lookin' fer some fennel! 


SPADE: Oh. 


WITCH: Got my bat's wool, right enough. And newt's legs. Couldn't find no adder's forks, but reckon this here copperhead will do the trick!


SPADE: What are you gonna do with all that stuff?


WITCH: It's fer the brew! I'm the witch they hired for tonight. Name's Gudge. [?] but of course I don't have no Christian name any more since I sold out to Old Scratch! Meet me down in my price he did, too. Look at that wart on my nose!


SPADE: What nose? 


WITCH: Huh? 


SPADE: Uh, the house is up that way. 


WITCH: Mind if I walk along with you, pretty boy? 


SPADE: I don't like girls.


WITCH: Huh? 


SPADE: Er, no, not at all, ma'am.


SOUND: THEIR STEPS ON ROAD, IN BG


WITCH: No need to be afeard. With the scroungy fee they're a-payin' me, they'll be lucky if I give 'em a whiff of brimstone! 


SPADE: Er, not so close, please. 


WITCH: But I did promise one manifestation and the screeeeeam of a soul in torment at the witchin' hour. 


SPADE: Yeah.


WITCH: (COMICAL SCREAM OF SOUL IN TORMENT, THEN CHILDLIKE) Fennel, fennel. I spy fennel. Ready or not, here I come!


SOUND: WITCH SCAMPERS OFF IN SEARCH OF FENNEL, CHATTERING INNOCUOUSLY AS SHE DEPARTS


LANGDON: (OFF) Halt! Halt or I'll shoot! Who is that? (APPROACHES, TO SPADE) What's your hurry, sir? 


SPADE: Er, where do I find Mr. Hilary Bright? 


LANGDON: Oh. You're the detective. Er, Spade? 


SPADE: Right. 


LANGDON: Oh. Well, I'm Homer Langdon, attorney for the Fairley estate. Come along, I'll take you to him. 


SOUND: THEIR STEPS ON ROAD, IN BG


LANGDON: Sorry for that challenge just now. Been hearing strange noises around the grounds. You notice anything peculiar as you came up the road? 


SPADE: Uh, well, there was an old lady -- I use the term loosely.


LANGDON: Looking for fennel?


SPADE: (SURPRISED) Yeah. 


LANGDON: Oh, that's the witch. Mr. Bright hired her for the party tonight. 


SPADE: Takes her work kind of seriously, doesn't she? 


LANGDON: Well, you know how it is. Seasonal work.


SPADE: What does she do between Halloweens? 


LANGDON: Claims she hibernates.


OPHELIA: (CALLS, FROM OFF) Homer!


LANGDON: (DISMAYED) Egad. Ophelia.


OPHELIA: (CALLS, COMING CLOSER) Homer!


SOUND: OPHELIA'S STEPS APPROACH LANGDON AND SPADE, IN BG


LANGDON: (LOW, EXPLAINS) Mrs. Fairley, Spade. She's, er, eccentric. Don't let her know. 


SPADE: Check.


OPHELIA: (IN CLOSE) Oh, here I am, Homer! What was it you wanted? (SEES SPADE) Oh, it's the man from the caterer's! 


LANGDON: (PATIENTLY) No, Ophelia, this is Mr. Spade, the detective that Mr. Bright employed. 


OPHELIA: Oh. Well, about that recipe for the aspic. Cook says she's never heard of putting fennel and lizard's claws in a tomato aspic -- and Mr. Bright says hemlock is poison. 


SPADE: You've got it mixed up, Ophelia. That's the recipe for the witch's brew.


OPHELIA: Well, anyway the grocer says he doesn't stock them, so you'll have to garnish it with parsley. 


LANGDON: Er, Ophelia, he's not the caterer; he's the detective.


OPHELIA: Oh! (CONFIDENTIALLY, TO SPADE) Well, keep your eye on those pumpkins. Mice, you know.


SPADE: Mice?


OPHELIA: (AS IF IT WERE OBVIOUS) You know! Mice. Pumpkins. (ABRUPTLY UP) Where is that witch?! I've got to tell her about the party! (MOVING OFF, CALLS) Oh, witch?! (EAR-PIERCINGLY, OFF) Mrs. Witch?! Where are you?!


LANGDON: (EXHALES HEAVILY) Sad case, but harmless. Shall we go in?


SPADE: Yeah.


SOUND: FRONT DOOR OPENS ... THEIR STEPS INTO HOUSE ... DOOR SHUTS, CUTTING OFF NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND ... HAMMERING OF NAILS, THEN IN BG ... HILARY AND WILMA'S VOICES SLIGHTLY OFF


HILARY: Now watch his jawbone, Wilma! (WITH DISAPPROVAL) Oh, you've already broken his neck.


WILMA: (WEARY, ANNOYED) Oh, why don't you hire an assistant? I don't like hanging him in the house anyway. We - we don't even know who he is! 


LANGDON: (LOW, TO SPADE) What are they up to now? 


SPADE: Halloween comes but once a year.


LANGDON: (REALIZES) Oh, it's a skeleton; part of the decorations. (CALLS) Er, Hilary? 


SOUND: HAMMERING STOPS


HILARY: (OFF) Oh, yes, old man? 


LANGDON: I couldn't find the witch, but here's the detective. 


WILMA: (IMPRESSED, AMOROUS) Ohhhhh. Well! You can have the witch; I'll take him. 


HILARY: Oh, watch what you're doing, Wilma! The ladder!


WILMA: Haha! Sorry! 


SOUND: HILARY CLIMBS DOWN FROM LADDER, JOINS LANGDON AND SPADE


HILARY: (EXHALES) Well, this just about completes the arrangements. Oh, this is Miss Wilma Fairley, for whom I'm managing this nauseous ball. Sam Spade. 


WILMA: Hilary, is that any way to speak about a girl's fifth engagement party?


HILARY: Forgive me if I'm guilty of understatement. Oh, fix that wire, Wilma. The top of Frankenstein's head's caving in. And look at that -- the bolts are coming out of his neck already. Oh, well. Come along, Spade, and I'll tell you how you fit into this mess.


SOUND: HILARY AND SPADE'S STEPS TO THE STUDY DOOR


WILMA: (OFF, SULTRY) See you at the party, Sam. 


SOUND: STUDY DOOR OPENS


HILARY: In here, Spade. Privacy.


SOUND: STEPS IN ... STUDY DOOR CLOSES 


RALPH: (SNORES LOUDLY, THEN IN BG)


SPADE: I, er, don't think we're quite alone, are we? 


HILARY: Ninety-nine percent. This is Fairley fiancé number five. Ralph Kramm by name. Oh, wake up, Ralph! 


SOUND: HILARY WHACKS RALPH 


RALPH: (WAKES WITH A START)


SPADE: Oh, uh, don't bother. He, uh, started the party a little early? 


HILARY: (YES) Mmm, before lunch. But can you blame him? Hm! If I weren't a teetotaler, I'd be out staggering around the woods with - with that witch! 


SPADE: Uh-huh. Now, uh, what exactly is my assignment, Mr. Bright?


HILARY: I want you to be present at this miserable party tonight and pretend to have a good time.


SPADE: Why didn't you hire an actor? 


HILARY: This is a new kind of masquerade ball. Even I have a unique problem here: a Halloween party combined with a party announcing the engagement of a socially prominent young woman. Heh! Well, naturally the press will be on hand. They always are at my parties. But I doubt if any of the invited guests will show up. That's where you come in. You are one of the uninvited guests. 


SPADE: I don't get it.


HILARY: Well, it's very simply this. I have a reputation to maintain. I'm sure you have better things to do than read the society page, so I'll explain. I believe some ill-informed columnists have referred to me as the male Elsa Maxwell; that's not true. She is the male Hilary Bright. Er, female, that is. 


SPADE: Anyway, you're a professional party giver, is that it?


HILARY: Exactly.


SPADE: What's the matter with Wilma? Why won't anybody come to her party?


HILARY: Because everyone on the guest list is either a relative or a friend of some poor swain she has jilted on the very steps of the altar. 


SPADE: Oh, now I get it. 


HILARY: Exactly. Now, as to the party: masquerade, natch. What else can you have on Halloween?


SPADE: Figures. 


HILARY: Yes. If anyone came, they'd probably be dressed as witches or pumpkins, which is dull enough in itself.


SPADE: Quite so.


HILARY: But the Fairleys and their immediate circle will undoubtedly trot out their moth-eaten Beaux Arts costumes: Old Langdon as Louis the Fourteenth; Wilma and her mother trying to look like Greek goddesses in some old drapes from a Fanchon and Marco idea.


SPADE: What about the boyfriend here? 


HILARY: Well, you can see how hideous it's all going to be. And Life Magazine has promised to cover it. Well, I simply had to do something! 


RALPH: (SNORES AGAIN)


SPADE: Well, what about--?


HILARY: I think it's the party idea of the year: twenty uninvited guests who will come as themselves!


SPADE: Er, who's my date? The witch? 


HILARY: Ho ho! Isn't she priceless? You know, I thought of burning her at the stake as the grand climax of the evening. 


SPADE: I've got matches. 


HILARY: No, I decided against it. It's too messy.


SPADE: Well, it sounds like loads of fun, Mr. Bright, but I'm afraid you called the wrong detective. So long.


HILARY: Now, wait a minute, please. Hear me out. Now, there's method in my madness. I believe I mentioned twenty uninvited guests-- 


SPADE: Who are coming as themselves, yes. 


HILARY: Exactly. Well, I've gone to a great deal of trouble and expense getting together a really colorful group. All authentic types. A gangster, a shrimp fisherman, a swami, three bubble dancers--


SPADE: Three? 


HILARY: --a gypsy, hmm, a paroled axe murderer, a sandhog-- (BREAKS OFF) Oh, that reminds me. I must see whether the blubber arrived for that Eskimo they're flying down from Nome. 


SPADE: Yeah, well--


HILARY: What I'm getting at, Spade, is that with a collection of people like that-- Well, anything might happen.


SPADE: Yeah, yeah. Well, why didn't you invite the local police force? 


HILARY: Oh, they're coming. In costume, of course.


SPADE: Good! Then you won't need me! Besides, I get eight hundred dollars a day and expenses. 


HILARY: Mr. Spade, at the last party our local chief of police attended, the guests were held up and robbed of fifty thousand dollars worth of jewels, including the chief's gold badge. So you see, we do need you.


SOUND: ALL HECK BREAKS LOOSE! (SIRENS! TRUMPETING ELEPHANTS! ROARING ENGINES! ET CETERA) ... THEN IN BG


RALPH: (STARTLED AWAKE AGAIN) Hey, what's that?!


HILARY: Oh, go back to sleep, Ralph. It's only the guests arriving. 


SPADE: (ALARMED) I get a thousand dollars a day!


MUSIC: TOPS ALL FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND SPADE--


SPADE: (NARRATES) You were right. You did need a detective. In fact, you could have used several of us. First, the pickpocket you invited lifted the police chief's wallet, the axe murderer chased the witch up a tree, and the gangster and the cowboy tried to shoot it out over one of the bubble dancers. After I foiled a safecracker in the act of blowing the vault in the library, things quieted down and everybody formed a circle around a bonfire.


SOUND: NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND ... MURMUR OF GUESTS, WHO GROW QUIET BEHIND--


HILARY: All right, quiet, please! Quiet, everyone! Quiet, please! Mrs. Fairley has a very important announcement to make. Ophelia?


WILMA: (NO ANSWER) She was here just a few moments ago.


HILARY: Well, have you seen her around, Langdon?


LANGDON: A few minutes ago. She said she had a headache and went upstairs to get some aspirin. 


WILMA: Sam? I'm worried about mother. Would you mind going upstairs to see what she's up to? She's been behaving so strangely tonight.


SPADE: She's been behaving strangely? Er, sure, Wilma, I'll be right back. 


HILARY: Come along, let's get on with it. Oh, witch?


WITCH: (CACKLES)


HILARY: You stand over here.


WITCH: Here? 


HILARY: No, no, no, bring your broom. 


WITCH: (CACKLES MADLY, HIGH-PITCHED)


HILARY: That's it. And don't look so pleasant. You're supposed to be evil.


WITCH: (CACKLES, LOW-PITCHED) Beware! Those not wearing toad bane is subject to warts! There's evil in this place tonight! Blood on the stone! Blood in the [?] (CREEPY WAIL)


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... PICKS UP FROM WAIL ... THEN IN BG


WITCH: (CASTS A HALF-DECIPHERABLE SPELL ["Bubble, bubble!" ET CETERA] BEHIND SPADE--)


SPADE: (NARRATES) I hated to miss the manifestation and I hoped I'd get back in time for the scream of the soul in torment the witch had promised earlier in the evening. I cased the rooms on the second floor. Wilma's fiancé, Ralph Kramm, was in one of them asleep. Ophelia wasn't in any of them. But in one of the bedrooms I found something that puzzled me: a rope, made out of bed sheets, dangled out of the window, but the window was closed. I walked over and opened it.


SOUND: SPADE'S STEPS TO WINDOW, WHICH OPENS ... NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND


WITCH: (LOUDER, BUT STILL INDECIPHERABLE; CACKLES AND KEEPS CASTING HER SPELL)


SPADE: (NARRATES) The witch was still at it. I couldn't see the merry little group around the bonfire, but where the firelight glowed against the tree trunks at the edge of the woods, I saw a white-robed figure crouching in the shadows. Then I heard it.


SOUND: ONE GUNSHOT! THEN TWO MORE GUNSHOTS! ... THE GUESTS REACT ... A BLOODCURDLING SCREAM


MUSIC: UP FOR BIG ACCENT AND OUT


SOUND: GUESTS MURMUR IN CONFUSION AND HORROR, IN BG


CHIEF: (SHOUTS ORDERS) Take 'em all in the house! Monahan, don't let any of 'em get away! 


MONAHAN: Right, chief! (TO GUESTS, MOVING OFF) All right, folks, you'll have to step inside now. Come on, step inside.


LANGDON: It's Wilma, Spade. She's dead. Somebody shot her.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN IN BG


SPADE: (NARRATES) She was sprawled on her face at the foot of a big pine tree at the edge of the clearing. A single slug had entered her body just below her left shoulder blade. If this was part of Mr. Bright's Halloween production, I thought he'd overdone it just a little -- because she was dead. As nearly as I could reconstruct it, Wilma had been standing outside the circle of people grouped around the fire as if somebody in the woods had called to her and she'd left the group to investigate. She'd been facing the fire when she was shot. And what about the two shots that had missed her? If the killer had been aiming at her and missed, he couldn't have avoided hitting somebody else in the crowd. I went back to the house to check the guests. All there -- unwounded and accounted for -- except the witch. According to the local chief of police, who was rapidly turning into a toad, she had flown away on her broom. I checked my nose for warts.


MUSIC: UP FOR FIRST ACT CURTAIN ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: The makers of Wildroot Cream-Oil are presenting the weekly Sunday adventure of Dashiell Hammett's famous private detective, Sam Spade.


MUSIC: UP FOR TAG ... THEN OUT


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MUSIC: THEME ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: And now back to "The Fairley-Bright Caper," tonight's adventure with Sam Spade.


MUSIC: UP FOR SECOND ACT INTRO ... THEN BEHIND SPADE--


SPADE: (NARRATES) By dawn the next morning, Aloysius Becker, boy police chief, still hadn't sweated anything out of his twenty-odd suspects but yawns. The family lawyer, Langdon, had an old gun permit. No gun. Then he canvassed the town for Wilma's eighteen jilted suitors. They were all alibied by their wives and children, which knocked that angle out. She carried no insurance, nobody stood to gain anything financially by her death, and nobody but you, Mr. Bright, actively disliked her. About then, Chief Becker put Ophelia back on the griddle.


SOUND: CHIEF'S STEPS TO OPHELIA


CHIEF: Now look here, Mrs. Fairley. You still aren't comin' clean with us.


OPHELIA: (UNFAILINGLY CHEERFUL) Clean? Oh! The ashtrays. (MOVING OFF) I'll call the maid.


SOUND: OPHELIA'S STEPS AWAY


CHIEF: Come back here!


SOUND: OPHELIA'S STEPS RETURN


OPHELIA: (APPROACHES) Yes, Chief Becker? 


CHIEF: Now, sit down, Mrs. Fairley. Now, let's go over the part of your story where we found the bed sheets hanging out your window.


OPHELIA: Yes? 


CHIEF: Why did you tie the bed sheets together and hang them out the window? 


OPHELIA: For a rope.


CHIEF: So! You admit that you used that rope to sneak out. 


OPHELIA: I did no such thing. I always go out that way at night.


CHIEF: And you admit that, er--! (CLEARS THROAT, EXASPERATED) Oh, I give up. 


SOUND: CHIEF'S STEPS AWAY


SPADE: Uh, Mrs. Fairley--? 


OPHELIA: (PLEASED) Oh, it's you, Mr. Spade! I want to thank you for guarding the pumpkin so well. I didn't see a mouse all evening. 


SPADE: Well, thank you, Mrs. Fairley. I only did what-- 


OPHELIA: (INTERRUPTS) Oh, why is Chief Becker so angry? 


SPADE: I think what's worrying him, Mrs. Fairley, is why you closed the window behind you when you went out on your rope. 


OPHELIA: So no one would know. Wilma worries about me. You won't tell her?


SOUND: CHIEF'S STEPS TO SPADE


CHIEF: (WITH DISGUST) Awwww, it's as plain as the nose on your face what she's doin'! Workin' up to an insanity plea! 


SPADE: Ingenious theory, chief, but look, uh, can I talk to you a minute outside? 


CHIEF: Yeah. Could use a little air. (BARKS AN ORDER) Keep 'em all here, Monahan! 


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, SPADE AND CHIEF'S STEPS TO DOOR, WHICH OPENS ... THEIR STEPS INTO OUTDOOR BACKGROUND (BIRDS CHIRP AND TWEET, ET CETERA) ... DOOR SHUTS


SPADE: Look, er, chief. Why don't you lay off that poor old dame? She's too vague, disorganized. It took a marksman: the way the wound was; no point of exit; just punctured the wall of the heart and stopped; a low-velocity impact.


CHIEF: Sure. (DOUBLE TAKE) A what? 


SPADE: It had been fired from about the maximum range of a .38 pistol. He'd have to figure on a drop in trajectory as the bullet slowed down. It was either a trick shot or one that just connected accidentally.


CHIEF: (SUSPICIOUS) By the way, we only have your word for it that you were upstairs in the house when those shots were fired. You carry a .38, don't you, Spade? 


SPADE: (GENTLY) What kind of gun do you carry, chief?


CHIEF: (AWKWARD) Er, yes. Well, we'd better wait till ballistics sends back the report on the slug. 


WITCH: (APPROACHES, CACKLING AND CHATTERING TO HERSELF)


CHIEF: (TO SPADE) Gosh, if we could only figure out where she hid the gun. 


SPADE: Er, don't look now, chief, but that witch is back again. 


CHIEF: What?


SOUND: WITCH'S STEPS APPROACH

 

WITCH: (APPROACHES, TO SPADE) Pretty boy! Where have you been? I've been lookin' all over for you mortals. 


CHIEF: (STERN) You're gonna have a good deal of explaining to do, lady. Why did you fly away like that last night? 


WITCH: I had to see to my cauldron! A good thing I did, too. Look what I found in it. 


SOUND: WITCH HANDS GUN TO SPADE


WITCH: No wonder my manifestation didn't work. Base metal in my brew.


SPADE: Hmm. Thirty-eight caliber, too. 


SOUND: SPADE BREAKS THE GUN OPEN


SPADE: Three bullets fired.


CHIEF: Gee, that settles it! You're under arrest!


SPADE: Who, me? 


CHIEF: Yes! Er, no. Her


WITCH: Ohhh, no, you don't! I'll put a spell on you, I will. I'll turn you into a toad


SPADE: Look, chief, where's that gun permit you took out of Langdon's room? 


CHIEF: Oh, I forgot. (FUMBLES IN POCKET) Forgot about that. Here, it's in my pocket. 


SOUND: RUSTLE OF PERMIT UNFOLDED


SPADE: Let's see that serial number. 


CHIEF: (BEAT) Well?


SPADE: They match. It's Langdon's gun. 


CHIEF: (EXCITED) Boy, oh, boy! Then it's settled! 


SPADE: That's what you think, "boy oh boy." Don't forget, he's a lawyer. 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN IN BG


SPADE: (NARRATES) I headed for the woods. I found the spot where I'd seen the figure in white crouching just before the shots were fired. A little way back in the woods I found footprints: French heels; short, mincing stride. Following along behind them was another set: flat soles; long, manly stride. The mannish footprints followed the feminine footprints almost to the clearing and then stopped. The feminine footprints went on, straight to the spot where Wilma had fallen. I knew that no woman had been over this trail since the murder, except the witch, who probably had cloven hoofs. Her cauldron had vanished, but the fire was still smoldering. I kicked through the ashes. I didn't know what I was looking for, but I found it. I raked it out with a stick and prodded it. The blackened outer layers crumbled away. It had been a raging bonfire, but there are few things harder to burn than a telephone book. The middle pages were yellowed from the heat and seared around the edges, but they were still intact. There was a hole punched in the middle of each page. (THOUGHTFUL) Feminine footprints right up to the X that marked the spot and a phone book through which a bullet had been fired. I had a hunch the ballistics report would prove that Langdon's gun did not fire the fatal bullet. I was right, but for the wrong reason.


MUSIC: UP FOR BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN OUT


MONAHAN: Yeah, you can't get around it, chief. Ballistics don't lie. You can see here. You don't even need a magnifying glass. Take a look there.


SOUND: BULLETS DROPPED ON DESK 


CHIEF: Er, don't have my glasses.


SPADE: Well, you ought to be able to feel it, too. Big ridges on the test slug. The other one's almost smooth. Rust bits wouldn't make a ridge like that, would they? 


MONAHAN: No. We figure they must have used a faulty cutter at the factory when they rifled the barrel.


CHIEF: Well, that settles it. That and those woman's footprints, and that phone book, all point to Mrs. Fairley.


MONAHAN: (CONFUSED) What's about a phone book?


SPADE: Whoever shot her fired the slug through a phone book to make it look like a long-range job. It was a low-velocity hit, all right, but it was tearing through that phone book that slowed it down.


CHIEF: That proves the killer didn't have to be a marksman. Stood right next to her.


MONAHAN: (HEARTY LAUGHTER) 


CHIEF: Hey, what's so funny?


MONAHAN: (AMUSED) This picture in the morning paper! You and those bubble dancers, chief!


CHIEF: Let me see that.


SOUND: RUSTLE OF NEWSPAPER 


CHIEF: Why, that's libelous! 


SPADE: It's more than that.


CHIEF: Huh? 


SPADE: There, in the background. Langdon and Mrs. Fairley.


CHIEF: What about them? 


SPADE: Their shoes. Langdon's dressed as Louis the Fourteenth: French heels. Mrs. Fairley in that Greek goddess get-up: sandals, flat heels.


CHIEF: (EXASPERATED) It's Langdon's gun, then it's not Langdon's gun. It's a long-range shot, then it's through a seed catalog-- 


SPADE: Phone book.


CHIEF: Now it's a man in woman's shoes! An attorney, at that. (CALLS) Monahan, get me some fingerprints! Something I can work with! 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN IN BG


SPADE: (NARRATES) I didn't blame the chief. My somersaulting clues were getting me dizzy, too. So far Langdon, like the good lawyer he was, had kept his mouth shut, which meant nothing one way or the other. That was smart. But he had disposed of his gun by throwing it in the witch's cauldron, which was stupid: "A," because it was sure to be found and "B," because there was no reason for hiding it anyway. But two stupids sometimes make a smart. If he wanted it to be found, he must have had a story ready in case he had to talk. If I were in that spot, my story would have been that I fired those shots into the woods after the fleeing killer. But I didn't know how I would explain the fact that only three shots were heard, one of which killed Wilma. Then I thought of those two ridges on that test slug. Two ridges, two shots into the woods. This time, I did know what I was looking for. They were buried deep in the soft trunk of a pine tree, near the ground. I dropped to my knees and dug. I got the first one out and was looking at it. It was a misshapen hunk of worthless lead. Something imbedded in the side of it glittered in the sun like a diamond. In fact, it was a diamond. Then it stopped glittering. Something behind me had come between it and the sun. I flopped on my side and rolled over.


SOUND: TWO GUNSHOTS! 


SPADE: (NARRATES) I grabbed his legs and tripped him.


SOUND: BODY FALLS TO GROUND 


LANGDON: (GRUNTS AS HE FALLS)


SPADE: (NARRATES) Then I saw his face. It was Langdon. 


LANGDON: (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT AS HE KICKS)


SPADE: (NARRATES) I was halfway to my feet when his foot caught me where it hurt and my legs doubled up. I tried to keep moving and get my gun out at the same time.


SOUND: TWO GUNSHOTS! 


SPADE: (NARRATES) He was on his feet again before I was, so I fired without aiming from flat on my back.


SOUND: ONE GUNSHOT! 


LANGDON: (EXCLAIMS)


SPADE: (NARRATES) It only scorched his coat, but it stopped him a second. He swung his gun up and I got ready to jump him. But I didn't have to. A pointed black hat--


WITCH: (APPROACHES, IN BG) Hoppy toad! Hoppy toad!


SPADE: (NARRATES) --rose up out of the brush behind him. Something flashed in the sun-- 


SOUND: KLONK!


SPADE: (NARRATES) --and he collapsed.


SOUND: BODY THUDS NOISILY TO GROUND 


WITCH: (CACKLES MERRILY) Put a spell on him, I did -- with this here magic wand! Blunt instrument to you, sonny. 


SPADE: (SLIGHTLY OUT OF BREATH, QUICKLY) Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mrs. Witch. 


WITCH: Gudge is the handle, son. Witch is my profession


SPADE: (EXHALES IN RELIEF)


SOUND: MONAHAN AND CHIEF'S HURRIED STEPS APPROACH


CHIEF: Well! Boy, that was a close call. Put the cuffs on him, Monahan! 


SPADE: (ANNOYED) Hey, what are you doin'? 


CHIEF: No, no, Monahan! Not Spade; Langdon there. Been followin' him since I found out he was wearing women's shoes. Well, that settles it, eh, Spade? 


SPADE: Yeah, but you'll need this.


CHIEF: What is it?


SPADE: A jeweled bullet. A slug with a diamond set in it. It's the master clue of this caper. 


CHIEF: (CLUELESS) Oh, yeah, the master clue. (TO WITCH) Uh, you better come along, too, lady, for questioning.


WITCH: What?


CHIEF: We'll book her for vagrancy if we need it.


WITCH: Oh, no, you don't! I'll turn you into a toad! You don't believe me, do you? (CASTS A SPELL) "Hoppy toad, hoppy toad, warty and green!" (CACKLES) Feel anything? 


CHIEF: (CLEARS THROAT NERVOUSLY) Well, on - on second thought, I reckon she's harmless. Poor old soul.


WITCH: (OFFENDED) Soul indeed! Ain't got any. I sold out to Old Scratch thirty years ago come next Halloween. (CHUCKLES, TO SPADE) See ya then, sonny. 


SPADE: Go home and gargle. 


SOUND: TRANSITION


SPADE: Period. End of report.


EFFIE: But, Sam, what was the significance of the jeweled bullet?


SPADE: Hm? Oh. Well, after he shot Wilma, Langdon fired two shots into the woods, remember?


EFFIE: Yes. 


SPADE: Those two bullets had diamond insets, so placed that they would gouge the inside of the gun barrel. All bullets fired from the gun thereafter would have markings different from the one fired into Wilma's body. 


EFFIE: Ohhhh! He was wrong, of course, but it was noble of him to want to cover up for poor Mrs. Fairley. 


SPADE: What for, Effie?


EFFIE: Well, she killed her daughter, of course, because she was just out of patience with her, getting engaged and un-engaged all the time, till they hadn't a friend in the world. 


SPADE: Is that so?


EFFIE: That was the motive, wasn't it, Sam? 


SPADE: Well, that's fairly bright, sweetheart, except that Mrs. Fairley did not kill her daughter.


EFFIE: (GASPS IN SURPRISE) 


SPADE: Langdon did. 


EFFIE: You mean she was his daughter, too, by a previous marriage? 


SPADE: (AMUSED) Go type that up, sweetheart, before I turn you into a toad.


MUSIC: THEME ... FOR BRIEF CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: And now -- listen to this. For here's a good tip: spruce up right, spruce up now -- with Wildroot Cream-Oil Hair Tonic. Wildroot Cream-Oil grooms your hair neatly and naturally, relieves dryness, removes loose dandruff. Get the 25-cent "Get Acquainted" bottle or the large economy size, and ask your barber for a professional application of Wildroot Cream-Oil Hair Tonic -- again and again the choice of men, and women and children, too. 


SOUND: EFFIE'S HURRIED STEPS TO SPADE


EFFIE: Well, here it is, Sam. Of course you know best, but Mrs. Fairley was the only one with a motive -- unless Mr. Bright was secretly in love with her and - and wanted to marry her himself. 


SPADE: So he killed her? That was fairly bright. 


EFFIE: Or her fiancé. What happened to him? 


SPADE: He woke up and went home.


EFFIE: Oh. Well, I guess he didn't have a motive.


SPADE: (PATIENTLY) Pay attention, sweetheart. Langdon, as trustee of the Fairley estate, had embezzled large sums of money, which he would have to account for under the community property law if she got married. 


EFFIE: If she got married?


SPADE: He had already broken up many of her romances, but when the old lady went soft in the head, he decided to end the danger once and for all. He could explain matters any way he wanted to and there'd be nobody to contradict him. (BEAT) Are you, uh, listening, Eff? 


EFFIE: Hm? (INHALES SHARPLY) Sam, what does she do between Halloweens? 


SPADE: The witch? 


EFFIE: (YES) Mm hm.


SPADE: Oh, she's the squeak in the door on Inner Sanctum. 


EFFIE: (CHUCKLES) Oh, Sam! (AS THE WITCH) You made the joke too small. (CHUCKLES, NORMAL VOICE) Well, good night, Sam! 


SPADE: Good night, sweetheart.


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


ANNOUNCER: "The Adventures of Sam Spade," Dashiell Hammett's famous private detective, are produced and directed by William Spier. Sam Spade is played by Howard Duff. Lurene Tuttle is Effie. 


MUSIC: 1931 SONG "GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART" BY RAY NOBLE, JIMMY CAMPBELL & REG CONNELLY ... BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: "The Adventures of Sam Spade" are written for radio by Bob Tallman and Gil Doud. Musical direction by Lud Gluskin with score composed by René Garriguenc. Join us again next Sunday when author Dashiell Hammett and producer William Spier join forces for another adventure with Sam Spade, brought to you by Wildroot Cream-Oil -- again and again the choice of men, and women and children, too. This is Dick Joy reminding you to-- 


MUSIC: FOR BRISK "WILDROOT CHARLIE" JINGLE--


SINGERS:

Get Wildroot Cream-Oil, Charlie!

It keeps your hair in trim!

You see, it's non-alcoholic, Charlie! 

It's made with soothing lanolin! 

You'd better get Wildroot Cream-Oil, Charlie! 

Start usin' it today! 

You'll find that you will have a tough time, Charlie,

Keepin' all the gals away! 


MAN: (SPOKEN) Hiya, baldy!


SINGERS: Get Wildroot right away! 


MUSIC: "GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART" ... IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: This is CBS, where ninety-nine million people gather every week. The Columbia Broadcasting System.

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