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The Man Without a Body

Suspense

The Man Without a Body

Jun 22 1943



CAST:

NARRATOR, elegantly creepy

CBS ANNCR (1 line)


WOMAN (4 lines)

EDITOR (4 lines)

1ST MALE (3 lines)

2ND MALE (2 lines)

COPY BOY (1 line)

REV. MORLEY

JANICE, Morley's daughter

EMMETT, working class verger

DR. NORWOOD, young medico

ANSMITH, elderly American

WELLMAN

and a working class CROWD




MUSIC: THEME ... KNIFE CHORD ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: "Suspense."


MUSIC: THEME ... FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: This is the Man in Black, here again to introduce Columbia's program, "Suspense." In our starring Hollywood cast tonight are Mr. John Sutton who appears as a young English doctor, Jim Norwood, who knew a great deal more than he admitted concerning the strange events which we are about to relate, and Mr. George Zucco, who plays the village curate, the Reverend Arthur Morley. Our story -- and it bears none but a coincidental resemblance to H. G. Wells' famous short novel, The Invisible Man -- is by John Dickson Carr and is called "The Man Without a Body," tonight's tale of suspense. 


If you have been with us on these Tuesday nights, you will know that "Suspense" is compounded of mystery and suspicion and dangerous adventure. In this series are tales calculated to intrigue you. And so it is with "The Man Without a Body" and the performances of John Sutton and George Zucco, we again hope to keep you in-- 


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD


NARRATOR: --suspense!


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


SOUND: SURF BACKGROUND


NARRATOR: A lonely beach of low white sand hills, edged by the surf of the North Sea.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN


NARRATOR: And back from the beach, drowsing as it has drowsed for ten centuries, lies the village of Aldridge in Suffolk. There is the sea wall, now defaced by air raid shelters, and there are the rolling grain fields; the thatched white cottages; the spire of St. Luke's church above the oak trees. Ancient and bell-haunted, lost among hedgerows, this village could never cause consternation in London newspaper offices. And yet, on that warm night nearly four years ago--


WOMAN: This time it's really happened! A man without a body! Completely invisible!


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


SOUND: NEWSROOM BACKGROUND (TYPEWRITERS, ET CETERA)


EDITOR: (CALLS) Copy boy! Copy boy! (TO OTHERS) Look at this dispatch! (READS) "Reign of Terror in Suffolk Village."


1ST MALE: Has another of H. G. Wells' romances come true?


WOMAN: An invisible man? I can't believe it!


2ND MALE: What's the matter with that village? Have they all gone scatty? 


EDITOR: (READS) "Mr. George Wellman, builder, states that as he was returning home along the main road from Bury St Edmunds--"


WOMAN: (READS) "--he distinctly saw a man's hat, without any head under it, moving towards him about six feet above the ground."


EDITOR: Oh, Lord, he must have been full of beer. We can't use this story! (CALLS) Copy boy!


COPY BOY: (OFF) Coming!


1ST MALE: (READS) "Even more surprising evidence was given by the Reverend Arthur Morley, vicar of St. Luke's church--"


EDITOR: (SURPRISED) Who?! The parson?! 


2ND MALE: You don't think he was full of beer? 


1ST MALE: (READS) "One question above all agitates the village: who is Professor Ansmith? Who is this elderly American, said to be an inventor, who has settled at Aldridge and leased a part of the house belonging to the local doctor? Out of some terrifying workshop, to strike like a maniac where least expected, has there at last emerged--" 


WOMAN: (READS) "--a real invisible man?"


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: The church of St. Luke, Aldridge, on that same Sunday evening. Evening service is over now, though an echo bell still lingers. In the vestry at the rear of the church, where white surplices hang like ghosts, the Reverend Arthur Morley sits with his daughter Janice. It is a stone room of painted windows, now many-colored in the sunset, and here, as the drowsy summer light turns to dusk--


SOUND: CHURCH BELL TOLLS BRIEFLY, IN BG


REV. MORLEY: Janice, I don't believe it. 


JANICE: I know, father. 


REV. MORLEY: I saw it with my own eyes, yet I don't believe it. You don't think we were dreaming, do you? 


JANICE: No, father. We weren't dreaming. 


REV. MORLEY: If this goes on, the whole village will be in a frenzy. But what can I do? 


JANICE: We could go to Professor Ansmith and ask him straight out. 


REV. MORLEY: Ask him whether he's responsible for these--?


JANICE: Yes. 


REV. MORLEY: I wonder, Janice. The man isn't hurting anybody, you know. You couldn't ask for a quieter person or a better neighbor. And yet-- (BEAT) What's that?


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, FOOTSTEPS APPROACH FROM OFF


JANICE: Father, you are upset. It's only Mr. Emmett coming down from the belfry.


REV. MORLEY: Emmett! Oh, yes, of course.


SOUND: CREAKY TOWER DOOR OPENS


REV. MORLEY: Is that you, Mr. Emmett? 


EMMETT: It's me all right, sir, and very much in the flesh. (CHUCKLES) Did you think I was the invisible man? 


REV. MORLEY: Mr. Emmett, I forbid you to mention that subject.


EMMETT: (LIGHTLY) Very good, sir. But there's others, begging your pardon, that do mention it.


REV. MORLEY: Yes, yes. Forgive me; I spoke too sharply.


EMMETT: That's all right, sir. No 'arm done, no bones broken. Mind you, not that I 'old with this talk about invisible men. 'Taint natural, I say. It ain't 'ardly Christian. I'm a greengrocer by trade, and I believe in what I can weigh and feel and-- (STOPS SHORT)


JANICE: (BEAT) What's the matter, Mr. Emmett? Is anything wrong? 


EMMETT: (WARILY) Excuse me, sir, and you too, miss. Do you see anybody in this room, 'cept us? 


JANICE: No. Of course not. Why?


EMMETT: 'Cause I - I could have sworn something brushed past me just now. 


REV. MORLEY: You're imagining things, Mr. Emmett. 


EMMETT: Yes, sir, I dare say, but--


REV. MORLEY: There's nobody hidden in the belfry tower, I hope.


EMMETT: No, sir. I 'ad a look-see. And what's more-- (SOUND: TOWER DOOR CLOSES) --there's not going to be anybody up there, once I've locked the door. (SOUND: DOOR LOCKED) Now, let the blighter try and get in. 


JANICE: Oh, please, Mr. Emmett, and you, too, father. You're talking about this invisible man as though -- as though he actually existed.


EMMETT: There's something funny going on, miss; you can't deny that. 


REV. MORLEY: No, none of us can deny it.


EMMETT: And what's more, sir, it's gettin' pretty dark in 'ere. Hadn't you and Miss Janice better get along to the vicarage while I lock up?


REV. MORLEY: No, we can't go just yet, Mr. Emmett. We're expecting Dr. Norwood.


EMMETT: Dr. Jim Norwood, sir? What does 'e say about all this?                              


SOUND: KNOCK ON VESTRY DOOR


REV. MORLEY: Oh, you might ask him yourself, Mr. Emmett. I think that's probably him now. (CALLS) Come in, the vestry door's not locked!


SOUND: VESTRY DOOR OPENS ... THEN CLOSES BEHIND--


DR. NORWOOD: (OUT OF BREATH) Oh, hello, padre! Hello, Janice! I'm sorry I'm late.


JANICE: Hello, Jim. You seem a good deal out of breath.


DR. NORWOOD: I am out of breath, Janice, because there's blue blazes to pay down in the village. 


REV. MORLEY: Not more trouble?


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, I'm afraid so. They're holding a mass meeting at the Coach and Horses, and they're ready to murder Professor Ansmith. If this invisible man cuts any more capers, we may see a real old-fashioned lynching in an English village.


REV. MORLEY: Now look here, my boy, this has got to stop.


DR. NORWOOD: I know that, padre, but how are we going to stop it?


REV. MORLEY: Sit down there, Jim, across the table from me. 


DR. MORLEY: Yes, sir.


REV. MORLEY: First of all, what do you know about this Professor Ansmith?


DR. NORWOOD: Nothing, sir. Nothing at all.


REV. MORLEY: But you rent part of your house to him.


DR. NORWOOD: Oh, my dear padre, that house is twice as big as I can possible manage. I was only too glad to get a tenant.


REV. MORLEY: He gave you references, I imagine? 


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, but I didn't bother to check 'em. He's a quiet old boy; pays his rent on the dot. Never does anything except read and go for long walks.


JANICE: Are you quite sure of that, Jim?


DR. NORWOOD: The village has war nerves, that's all. With a camouflaged aerodrome in the neighborhood, they're apt to imagine anything.


REV. MORLEY: True, perhaps, but--


DR. NORWOOD: That talk about dynamos humming in the old boy's room and blue lights flashing is rubbish out of a sensational film. They imagined the whole thing. Finally, this crazy story about an invisible man playing the gramophone; why, that's--


REV. MORLEY: It's not a crazy story, Jim. Janice and I saw it happen.


DR. NORWOOD: You what?


REV. MORLEY: Last night, about half past nine, Janice and I were out for a walk in the lane that runs past your house. On the way we met Willy Kendrick and he joined us. 


DR. NORWOOD: (BEAT) Well, sir?


JANICE: Listen, Jim. On that side of the house, there's a little square room with two windows and no furniture except a round table and a couple of chairs. Do you know the one we mean?


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, of course; Professor Ansmith uses it. What about the room?


REV. MORLEY: It wasn't quite blackout time. The windows were up. The curtains weren't drawn, and the room was brightly lighted. On the table stood an old-fashioned gramophone with a horn and a crank-handle. Beside it lay a pair of white cotton gloves like - like gardener's gloves. The gramophone was playing away for dear life, but there was nobody in the room.  Janice thought that was a bit odd, a gramophone going full tilt with nobody there, and called my attention to it. Just then, the gramophone started to run down. We could hear the record slow and go off key. As it did so--


DR. NORWOOD: (BEAT) Well, sir, go on.


REV. MORLEY: As it did so, those white gloves got up off the table--


DR. NORWOOD: Got up off the table?


REV. MORLEY: --got up off the table, took hold of the gramophone, and wound it up again.


SOUND: CRASH! OF CANDLESTICKS DROPPED ON FLOOR


JANICE: Mr. Emmett, what on earth are you doing?


EMMETT: (NERVOUS, APOLOGETIC) I - I dropped some candlesticks.


JANICE: So I see. Please pick them up again.


EMMETT: Yes, miss.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE EXCHANGE, CANDLESTICKS PICKED UP


DR. NORWOOD: Padre, are you serious?


REV. MORLEY: Perfectly serious. 


DR. NORWOOD: A pair of gloves, without any hands inside them?


REV. MORLEY: Yes.


DR. NORWOOD: But what did they do exactly? 


REV. MORLEY: The left-hand glove steadied the gramophone. The right-hand glove wound it up. Then they both hung in the air, beating time to the music. It should have been funny; I can only assure you it was not funny. 


DR. NORWOOD: Well, what happened then? 


JANICE: Oh, Jim, it was horrible. Willy Kendrick let out a yell and ran down the lane between the apple trees as though the devil were after him. 


DR. NORWOOD: I can't say I blame him.


JANICE: Father and I just stood there and - and-- (VOICE TRAILS OFF HELPLESSLY)


DR. NORWOOD: Stared is the word, my dear.


JANICE: Yes, stared. I can't forget any of it. The three-legged table and the whirling record and the blue flowers on the wallpaper-- But there was nobody there! We could see past the table and under the table and all over the room -- and there was nobody there!


DR. NORWOOD: Except the man without any body.


REV. MORLEY: Confound the man without any body. 


JANICE: Father, suppose it is true.


REV. MORLEY: As a clergyman, my dear, I prefer to remain agnostic. This thing's a trick.


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, but how's it done? And why?


REV. MORLEY: That's the whole point, Jim. What worries me is the effect on our people here.  We call ourselves intelligent, and yet-- Look at us. Even Mr. Emmett there.


EMMETT: (NERVOUSLY) Eh, eh? What's that about me, sir?


REV. MORLEY: A few minutes ago, you thought something brushed past you when you were coming down the stairs from the bell tower, now didn't you?


EMMETT: (CONCEDES) Well-- Yes, sir. 


REV. MORLEY: You see what I mean, Jim?


EMMETT: But I didn't really think so, sir. Not really. It was imagination, just like the doctor said. 'Cause I searched that tower. I locked the door afterwards.


REV. MORLEY: Exactly. But the mere force of suggestion, nothing more, might lead you to believe--


SOUND: CHURCH BELL TOLLS ... THEN CONTINUES EVENLY AND INSISTENTLY IN BG 


JANICE: (GASPS IN HORROR, BEAT) That's not suggestion, father.


EMMETT: Sir! I'd stake my bible oath, there's nobody in that belfry.


DR. NORWOOD: Bells can't ring by themselves, old man. There's somebody pulling the rope up there, and we're going to find out who it is.


REV. MORLEY: One moment, all of you.


DR. NORWOOD: What's wrong, padre? You're as white as a ghost. 


REV. MORLEY: This blasphemous mockery, it seems, extends even to the church. Very well. You will stay with Janice, my boy. Emmett and I will collar this invisible man. 


DR. NORWOOD: Why can't I go, too?


REV. MORLEY: I don't believe in this, but - I should prefer to have someone with Janice. (INHALES) You're not afraid, Mr. Emmett? 

 

EMMETT: If - if it's alive, sir, I'm not afraid of it. And if it's dead, well-- Well, you're not afraid of it.


SOUND: TOWER DOOR UNLOCKS AND CREAKS OPEN


EMMETT: The tower door's open, sir. I'm ready.


JANICE: Don't do it, father! Don't go!


SOUND: MORLEY AND EMMETT'S STEPS UP STAIRS AND AWAY BEHIND--


DR. NORWOOD: You can't help them, Janice. Sit down here. Take it easy.


JANICE: Jim Norwood, what's wrong with you?


DR. NORWOOD: Wrong with me?


JANICE: You've got an odd look, too. And the light's fading. And the surplices look like ghosts. And in another minute that bell will drive me mad. Suppose he has got in?

 

DR. NORWOOD: Who?


JANICE: The invisible man.


DR. NORWOOD: Oh, don't talk rot.   


JANICE: "If there are sounds that the ear cannot hear, so there are colors that the eye cannot see." I read that somewhere. He hasn't hurt anybody yet. But suppose he turns nasty and does hurt somebody!


DR. NORWOOD: He can't hurt anybody.


JANICE: How do you know?


DR. NORWOOD: Janice, listen to me. Take my hand. 


JANICE: Oh, but, Jim--


DR. NORWOOD: I want to tell you a few things you won't understand. I don't ask you to understand; I just ask you to remember. 


JANICE: Well, what is it?


DR. NORWOOD: The first is a question. If you were a government official and wanted to find an expert on camouflage, where would you go? 


JANICE: An expert on camouflage?


DR. NORWOOD: Yes. And the second point is this. I studied medicine in Germany.


JANICE: Oh, I know that, but that's not--


DR. NORWOOD: One night, on a bet, I hid backstage at the Wintergarten Theatre in Berlin. I saw the whole show from backstage, and-- (POINTEDLY) And I learned a great deal.


JANICE: Jim Norwood, what on earth are you talking about? 


DR. NORWOOD: George Wellman and I have talked the whole thing over. In a way, Janice, there is an invisible man. I can tell you who he is, and how he works. But there's no danger, do you understand? There's no danger at all.


SOUND: CHURCH BELL FINALLY COMES TO AN ABRUPT STOP


EMMETT: (LENGTHY BLOODCURDLING SCREAM FROM OUTSIDE THE CHURCH AS EMMETT FALLS FROM THE BELFRY) 


SOUND: CRASH! OF EMMETT THROUGH AN OAK TREE AND INTO THE CHURCHYARD GROUND OUTSIDE


JANICE: Jim, what was that?!


DR. NORWOOD: (BEAT) I don't know.


JANICE: You do know. I can see it in your face. You do know!


DR. NORWOOD: I think somebody's fallen.


JANICE: Fallen? 


DR. NORWOOD: From the top of the belfry.


JANICE: (SHRIEKS) Father!

 

DR. NORWOOD: Stay here, Janice; you can't do any good.


JANICE: Let go of my arm! I'm going out there!


DR. NORWOOD: No, you're not. I didn't think what the danger might be. Besides, there's somebody coming down the stairs now. Stay just where you are and don't move until--


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, REV. MORLEY'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH FROM OFF


JANICE: Oh, father! Father, are you all right?


DR. NORWOOD: Steady, sir. Take it easy now.


REV. MORLEY: I'm perfectly all right, yes, but you'd better go into the churchyard and see to Emmett. He--


JANICE: He fell?


REV. MORLEY: No, Janice, he did not fall; he was thrown. 


DR. NORWOOD: Thrown? By whom?


REV. MORLEY: There's no time to argue now. You're a doctor, go out and see to him.


DR. NORWOOD: Well, is he in--?


REV. MORLEY: I don't know! Go!


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, sir.


SOUND: VESTRY DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS DR. NORWOOD EXITS


REV. MORLEY: (QUOTES THE BIBLE) "For I will work a deed in your days which ye will not believe though it be told  you." (BEAT) Janice, this is incredible!


JANICE: Why?


REV. MORLEY: You heard the bell ring. I saw it ring. 


JANICE: Without - anybody there?


REV. MORLEY: I was as close to that bell as I am to you now. No hand held the rope. There were no strings or wires or any tricks to make it move. Yet it clanged back and forth alone in the tower. And I thought I heard someone laugh.


JANICE: Laugh? 


REV. MORLEY: Oh, don't take that too seriously. We were both overwrought and the noise of the bell was deafening.


JANICE: Well, what about Mr. Emmett?


REV. MORLEY: Emmett yelled some words I couldn't hear and lunged for the bell. Then something caught him. Something caught him and gave him a sledgehammer blow in the back. That belfry's nothing but open arches. You heard him scream. I saw his face just before he went over.

 

JANICE: Lock the door to the tower, father. Lock it!


REV. MORLEY: I can't lock it; Emmett has the key. But why should I lock it?


JANICE: Because he's still in there.


REV. MORLEY: He?


JANICE: He hadn't done any harm before, but he's done harm now. There's no telling what might happen if he gets loose.  


REV. MORLEY: You mean--?


JANICE: I mean Professor Ansmith's protégé, whoever he is: the man without a body!


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... LOW, OMINOUS ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: Under the red sunset some quarter of a mile away, a grass-carpeted lane winds between rows of apple trees. The lane is dusky, though lights shine into it from the windows of a large stone house: Dr. Norwood's house, beyond the apple trees. 


SOUND: NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND (CRICKETS, ET CETERA), WHICH CONTINUES UNTIL THE END OF THE PLAY ... ANSMITH'S FOOTSTEPS PACE BACK AND FORTH, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


NARRATOR: Up and down, up and down, a shadowy figure is pacing: an elderly figure, a dejected figure, tall and frail as a shadow among shadows, muttering to itself, shaking its head; now and then raising one fist in bewilderment or anguish. Sometimes the light gleams on large spectacles and a kindly mouth. Up and down, endlessly up and down, strides Professor Ansmith. 


MUSIC: OUT


ANSMITH: (MUTTERS, TO HIMSELF) I'm not guilty, I'm not guilty. How can I convince them that I'm not guil--? (STOPS SHORT, CALLS TENSELY) Who's there?! (NO ANSWER) I saw you dodge behind that tree. Stand out, sir. 


WELLMAN: (OFF) Did you call me, Professor Ansmith? 


ANSMITH: Yes, I did call you. Who are you?


SOUND: WELLMAN'S STEPS TO ANSMITH BEHIND--


WELLMAN: (APPROACHES) You probably won't recognize me, Professor Ansmith.


ANSMITH: Nevertheless, my friend, may I ask what your name is?


WELLMAN: My name is Wellman, Professor. George Wellman. 


ANSMITH: (MUSES) Wellman, Wellman? I've heard that name.


WELLMAN: Maybe you have. I'm a builder by trade and a great friend of Dr. Norwood's. 


ANSMITH: Wait one moment! Aren't you the young man whose firm is putting up these air raid shelters along the sea wall? And making such an unholy din with your riveting machines? 


WELLMAN: That's me. 


ANSMITH: And, come to think of it, aren't you the one who first started this alarm about an invisible man?


WELLMAN: Yes, because I met him.


ANSMITH: You did not meet him, sir. This whole thesis is scientific nonsense, and I won't have it!


WELLMAN: You won't have what? 


ANSMITH: I'm an old man, Mr. Wellman. I never did anybody the least harm. As God is my judge, I know nothing whatever about this - this-- (SOUND: MOTOR CAR APPROACHES IN BG) What's that? 


WELLMAN: It looks like the vicar's car, Professor. You'd better stand back. This is a pretty narrow lane. 


SOUND: MOTOR CAR SCREECHES TO A HALT ... CAR DOORS OPEN AND SHUT BEHIND--


REV. MORLEY: Ansmith! Professor Ansmith?!


ANSMITH: Yes, Mr. Morley? I hear you.


REV. MORLEY: (A LITTLE BREATHLESS) We thought we'd better drive over here straight away. I - I think you've met my daughter. And of course you know Dr. Norwood.


BIZ: MURMURED GREETINGS EXCHANGED


REV. MORLEY: But there's no time for any social formalities. Get into your house, Professor Ansmith. Get in quickly and close the shutters. 


ANSMITH: But why should I do that?


DR. NORWOOD: Because there's a mob coming, sir, and we can't stop them.


JANICE: (URGENT) Hurry. Do hurry.


ANSMITH: A mob? Coming here? Why?


REV. MORLEY: Haven't you heard the news?


ANSMITH: I've heard nothing, my friend. The only person I've seen has been that young man there who chews a toothpick and hides behind the trees. 


JANICE: George Wellman? What on earth are you doing here?   


WELLMAN: Watching, Janice. Watching and waiting. Just as usual.


REV. MORLEY: Listen to me, Professor Ansmith. Henry Emmett, the head verger with St. Luke's, was thrown from the belfry window not twenty minutes ago. 


ANSMITH: Not by me, sir, I assure you. I had nothing to do with it.


REV. MORLEY: No, not by you, but apparently - by the invisible man.


ANSMITH: (EXASPERATED) Oh, Father in Heaven. Will this never stop?


WELLMAN: Not till we catch the fellow, no.  


REV. MORLEY: Be quiet, Mr. Wellman, please.


WELLMAN: I'm sorry, padre. I take it back. 


REV. MORLEY: I myself can testify that no visible person laid hands on Emmett. He was struck -- struck as though with a gigantic fist. (BEAT) What's the matter, Professor Ansmith? Is anything wrong?


ANSMITH: No, no, no, no, no. I - I was just thinking. Is Emmett dead? 


REV. MORLEY: Fortunately, no.


ANSMITH: I'm glad of that, my friend, for a certain person's sake.


REV. MORLEY: He's not even seriously hurt. The bell tower isn't high and a tree broke the force of his fall, but he's badly shaken up. And that crowd at the Coach and Horses means trouble. If you haven't anything to say to us, if you haven't a word of explanation to utter--


SOUND: MURMUR OF APPROACHING CROWD


WELLMAN: Listen, padre, don't you hear anything?


REV. MORLEY: Yes, I thought I heard voices.


DR. NORWOOD: Can't be that crowd from the village. We're too far ahead of them.


WELLMAN: It's a crowd, all right. And they've been here for hours.


DR. NORWOOD: But where? I don't see anybody.


JANICE: Jim! Look! Behind the trees.


WELLMAN: "Look behind the trees, look beyond the hedgerows; look for any place where a watcher can hide."


ANSMITH: (ANNOYED) And may I ask what they're doing here?


WELLMAN: They're watching you, Professor Ansmith. 


ANSMITH: More of your spies, you mean. 


WELLMAN: You can call them anything you please. They're getting impatient and they want a showdown. If I as much as hold my hand up like this--


SOUND: CRASH! OF STONE THROWN THROUGH GLASS WINDOW


JANICE: (SHRIEKS)


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS THREATENINGLY ... THEN IN BG


REV. MORLEY: (TO CROWD) Don't throw stones at the windows, you fools! You'll only break the doctor's windows!


ANSMITH: Gentlemen, I can't have any more of this. (TO CROWD) Be quiet, all of you, and listen to me!


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS


WELLMAN: Well, sir, we're listening.


ANSMITH: I'm a peaceful man. I like to live in peace with my neighbors. I have nothing to do with this so-called reign of terror. But you don't believe that, do you? 


WELLMAN: No.


ANSMITH: Then I must expose a fraud. Now, don't blame me if I expose the trickster, too. I have made preparations to show you - the invisible man -- the man without a body.


SOUND: CROWD REACTS


REV. MORLEY: Quiet, everybody!


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS 


ANSMITH: Mr. Morley, I believe you and your daughter walked through this lane last night, er, while I was away at Bury St Edmunds?


REV. MORLEY: I don't know about your being away, sir. My daughter and I were certainly here, yes. 


ANSMITH: Good, good. Miss Janice Morley?


JANICE: Yes, Professor Ansmith? 


ANSMITH: Will you look toward your right, please, at the house? What do you see?


JANICE: It's the same room.


ANSMITH: What room? 


JANICE: The room with the little round table and the gramophone.


ANSMITH: It's a three-legged table, you notice.


JANICE: Yes, of course.


ANSMITH: But there's nobody in the room?


JANICE: No, nobody at all.


ANSMITH: Are conditions exactly as they were last night?


JANICE: Yes. Except there aren't any gloves on the table.


ANSMITH: No, but the invisible man is there! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS


ANSMITH: A living presence, ready to act, and breathe, and even kill.

 

SOUND: CROWD REACTS (A VOICE SAYS, "Even kill!") ... THEN QUIETS BEHIND--


ANSMITH: With your permission, I shall now address him. (CALLS) Hello, in there! Hello, in there! Hello, in there! 


JANICE: If anybody answers him, father, I'm going to scream. 


REV. MORLEY: Quiet, Janice, quiet.


JANICE: Father! Look! The gloves are appearing on the table! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS WITH CONSTERNATION ... THEN QUIETS BEHIND--


ANSMITH: I call out to him and I speak as follows: (CALLS) Hold the phonograph with your left glove! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS 


ANSMITH: (CALLS) That's it! Turn the handle with your right! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS 


ANSMITH: One turn. Two. Three. Four. (CALLS) That's enough! Touch the spring with your left hand! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS 


ANSMITH: (CALLS) Push the record! 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS 


ANSMITH: (CALLS) Lower the needle with your right and--!


SOUND: SCRATCHY PHONOGRAPH RECORD PLAYS A VINTAGE TUNE, WHICH CONTINUES IN BG ... CROWD MURMURS


ANSMITH: (TRIUMPHANT) Ladies and gentlemen, the invisible man!


SOUND: CROWD REACTS ANGRILY ... STONES THROWN AT GLASS WINDOW ... THEN IN BG


REV. MORLEY: Hold it! Hold it, you fools!  


ANSMITH: On the contrary, let them throw all they like! Aim at the table, my friends, aim at the table!


REV. MORLEY: Why at the table?!


ANSMITH: Because then they'll see the trick! 


REV. MORLEY: I don't follow you. What trick?


ANSMITH: The trick of the looking-glasses! 


SOUND: CRASH! AS STONE HITS TABLE ... PHONOGRAPH RECORD SCRATCHES TO A STOP ... CROWD QUIETS 


ANSMITH: There! You see now, my friends? 


DR. NORWOOD: (QUIETLY SATISFIED) I think I do.


ANSMITH: (A LECTURE) The legs of the table form a triangle with its point toward you. Panels of looking-glass are fitted in the two sides facing you. 


VOICE: (FROM CROWD, IMPRESSED) What d'you know 'bout that?!


ANSMITH: You think you can see under the table, but what you actually see are the side walls of the room reflected in those two mirrors. 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS


REV. MORLEY: Wait a minute. Do you mean--?


ANSMITH: I mean that my old servant, hidden behind the mirrors, has just been working the gloves through a panel in the table top. 


SOUND: CROWD REACTS


ANSMITH: It's a very old trick, first shown by Colonel Stodare at the London Polytechnic. 


REV. MORLEY: And that's what happened last night?


ANSMITH: Yes. 


REV. MORLEY: And you had nothing to do with it?


ANSMITH: Nothing whatever. Nor had my servant.


JANICE: Then who did do it and why? What is the explanation of all this?


ANSMITH: Well, I can't tell you why. That's what beats me. But I can tell you everything else. 


JANICE: This invisible man who's been scaring us all silly--?


ANSMITH: My dear young lady, there's no invisible man. There never has been.                     


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS SKEPTICALLY 


REV. MORLEY: I might believe that, Professor Ansmith, if I hadn't seen a church bell ringing where there was no hand to ring it. And poor old Emmett flung out of the tower as though a giant hand had got hold of him. 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS QUESTIONINGLY


REV. MORLEY: You're not saying that was done with looking-glasses?! 


ANSMITH: No, my friend, not at all. That was really clever. 


REV. MORLEY: Strings? Wires? Ropes?


ANSMITH: No, they weren't necessary. 


REV. MORLEY: But the thing's impossible. 


ANSMITH: Oh, no. The same principle was used by my old friend J. N. Maskelyne to make mechanical figures work: Psycho played whist and Zoe drew pictures. I myself-- I-- (CATCHES HIMSELF, STOPS SHORT)


DR. NORWOOD: Go on, sir. You yourself--? What were you going to say? 


ANSMITH: (RESUMES SMOOTHLY) The secret, I was about to say, remains unknown, even today. You were right, in a way, when you tell us that Emmett acted as though a giant had got hold of him. A giant had got hold of him; at least, a gigantic force.                           


SOUND: CROWD REACTS


JANICE: Oh, before we all go completely mad, would you mind telling us what this gigantic force was?


ANSMITH: Not at all. It was compressed air.


JANICE: Compressed air?


ANSMITH: But don't you see it even yet? Any of you?                          


REV. MORLEY: No.


SOUND: SOME IN CROWD SAY, "NO, WE DON'T"


ANSMITH: A compressed air pipe, with a thousand pounds of pressure behind it, was run up into the tower, facing the bell.


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS SKEPTICALLY


ANSMITH: It could be operated from the ground outside. The pressure was turned on and off in bursts. It made that heavy bell swing like a toy. Emmett -- don't you remember? -- Emmett rushed forward, towards the bell--


JANICE: And the air pressure--?


ANSMITH: The air pressure struck him like a sledgehammer and flung him headlong out of the tower. 


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS SKEPTICALLY


ANSMITH: There's your miracle, gentlemen! That's all there was to it.


SOUND: CROWD MURMURS HALF-CONVINCED (VOICE SAYS, "Oh, I don't believe it.") ... CROWD DISCUSSES THE SITUATION, IN BG


REV. MORLEY: Sir, I can't doubt what you say. It's too circumstantial and too right. But--


ANSMITH: But what, my friend?


REV. MORLEY: The compressed air tanks, the mechanical apparatus to work this trick--


ANSMITH: Well, what about it?


REV. MORLEY: Well, where did it come from? Such things don't grow on bushes. 


ANSMITH: No. But they do grow on riveting machines.


REV. MORLEY: Riveting machines?


ANSMITH: Yes, such as the riveting machine they're using on the air raid shelters along the sea wall. (HAUGHTILY) Would you care to tell us, Dr. James Norwood--


JANICE: Jim!


ANSMITH: --why you and your friend Wellman have been playing all these tricks?          


SOUND: CROWD REACTS ANGRILY


MUSIC: ACCENT


SOUND: CROWD QUIETS BEHIND--


REV. MORLEY: Get back, all of you! Jim Norwood, is this true?


ANSMITH: Why, of course it's true, Mr. Morley. Don't be so gullible.


JANICE: Jim and George Wellman doing all this? I don't believe it!


ANSMITH: Take a look at their faces, young lady. Did you ever see a guiltier looking pair?


DR. NORWOOD: (GRIM) So we look guilty, do we? 


ANSMITH: Frankly, you do.


DR. NORWOOD: We played the whole game and convinced the village there was an invisible man. Is that it?


ANSMITH: Yes. You worked the glove trick in your own house. And Wellman worked the air trick with his own equipment. Everything else was nothing but a pack of lies and a lot of atmosphere. (WITH CONTEMPT) Playing conjurors and making a blasted hash of it.


DR. NORWOOD: Is that all, Professor Ansmith? 


ANSMITH: (SHRUGS) Well, remember, you brought this on yourselves. I didn't want to expose you. 


WELLMAN: No, Professor -- I bet you didn't!


DR. NORWOOD: Easy, George, take it easy.


JANICE: (FURIOUS) Jim, is this true?  


DR. NORWOOD: Before you start pitching into me, Janice, let me have my word first. Do you remember what I said to you at the church tonight? 


JANICE: At the church?


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, I asked you to remember something, even if you didn't understand it. All right, can you remember what it was? 


JANICE: Oh, Jim, please. You're only trying to evade this. I - I'm so confused now I don't remember anything. All I can think of is this horrible business and what's behind it. Father can't believe his ears and I'm not much better. We've practically idolized you. All we want you to do is answer a straight question. Jim, are these accusations true? 


DR. NORWOOD: (BEAT) Yes, they are true.


SOUND: CROWD REACTS BRIEFLY


REV. MORLEY: (WITH SORROW) Doubtless he had a good reason, Janice. Doubtless he had a good reason. 


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, we had a good reason.


WELLMAN: The very best reason in the world.


JANICE: You had a good reason for scaring people half to death, and trying to kill poor old Henry Emmett?!


WELLMAN: We didn't mean any harm against Emmett. That was an accident.


JANICE: But you dare to defend yourselves now?!


DR. NORWOOD: Yes, just that. 


JANICE: (COOLLY) Before we go home, father, shall we apologize to Professor Ansmith? I hope he'll try to think better of English hospitality.


DR. NORWOOD: Good, Janice, good. I hope he will, too.


JANICE: You hope he will?


DR. NORWOOD: Listen, Janice, before you act on any belief, you have to be absolutely sure in your own mind. George and I had to prove something. And now I'm glad to say we have proved it.


JANICE: Oh, I can't stand this any longer. If you have anything to say, go on and say it straight out. What was it you had to prove?


DR. NORWOOD: We had to prove to our own satisfaction that this pretended American, who calls himself Professor Ansmith--


JANICE: Pretended American?


REV. MORLEY: (CONFUSED) Who calls himself Professor Ansmith?


DR. NORWOOD: We had to prove that this pretended American was no other than Karl Heinrich von Keit--


SOUND: CROWD REACTS BRIEFLY


DR. NORWOOD: --the celebrated stage magician from the Wintergarten Theatre in Berlin--


REV. MORLEY: What?


SOUND: CROWD REACTS BRIEFLY


DR. NORWOOD: --whose real job is to find the camouflaged aerodrome near Bury St Edmunds.


SOUND: CROWD, IN HORROR, SAYS, "NO!"


DR. NORWOOD: (LIGHTLY) He explained his own tricks very nicely, George. We'll swear out a warrant in the morning.


SOUND: CROWD REACTS ANGRILY


MUSIC: CURTAIN


NARRATOR: And so closes "The Man Without a Body," starring John Sutton and George Zucco, tonight's tale of--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD ... THEN THEME IN BG, UNTIL END


NARRATOR: --suspense. This is your narrator, the Man in Black, who conveys to you Columbia's invitation to spend this half hour in suspense with us again next Tuesday, when the distinguished actress Miss Agnes Moorehead will be heard in one of her many brilliant characterizations. Starring with Miss Moorehead will be Miss Ellen Drew who, as Carol Linden, tells the amazing story of "Uncle Henry's Rose Bush." The producer of these broadcasts is William Spier, who with Ted Bliss, the director; Bernard Herrmann and Lucien Moraweck, conductor and composer; and John Dickson Carr, the author, collaborated on tonight's "Suspense."


CBS ANNCR: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

 


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