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The Night Before Christmas

Sherlock Holmes 

The Night Before Christmas 

Dec 24 1945





CAST:

ANNOUNCER, Harry Bartell / LOU THE LISPER

SHERLOCK HOLMES, that master detective

DR. JOHN WATSON, his old friend

MRS. HUDSON, their housekeeper; Scottish accent

LORD WIDECOMBE

1ST CABBIE (1 line)

2ND CABBIE (1 line)

HARGRAVE, the butler

ELSIE, a child

BERTIE, a child

LIONEL, a child with a stuffy nose

INSPECTOR LESTRADE, of Scotland Yard

SAMMY, a crook (2 lines)

COPPER (1 line)

plus CAROLERS and COPPERS







ANNOUNCER: This episode from the life of Sherlock Holmes will be transmitted to our men and women overseas by short wave and through the worldwide facilities of the Armed Forces Radio Service. Petri Wine brings you--


MUSIC: ORGAN ... FANFARE


ANNOUNCER: Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES!


MUSIC: FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN OUT


ANNOUNCER: The Petri Family -- the Family that Took Time / to Bring you Good Wine -- invites you to listen to Dr. Watson tell us another exciting adventure he shared with his old friend, that master detective, Sherlock Holmes. 


Well, right about now you are probably taking a little breather in your last-minute rush to get everything ready for the big day tomorrow. Children have to be put to bed to wait for Santa Claus and there's the tree waiting to be decorated and, oh, a million and one things which must be done before morning. 


I sure hope you got all your Christmas shopping done. It's pretty hectic rushing off at the last minute to take care of Uncle Charlie or Aunt Bertha or cousin Sam. But if you must get something, just remember that you can always dash over to your wine merchant and get a bottle or two of Petri Wine. Or better yet, a whole case of Petri Wine! Petri Wine's a swell gift and I just thought a little last-minute suggestion might be of some help.


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


ANNOUNCER: And now I'm sure our good friend Dr. Watson's waiting for us, so let's go in and join him.


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR


WATSON: (BEHIND DOOR) Come in, come in, come in!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


WATSON: Ah! There you are, Mr. Bartell.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


ANNOUNCER: Oh, say, doctor; I can see you're gonna have yourself quite a Christmas. Big tree in the corner with colored lights on it. Where'd you get those? Table covered with presents. You must be mighty popular.


WATSON: (CHUCKLES) They aren't all for me, my boy. You see, I'm having a Christmas party tomorrow for my housekeeper's little nieces.


ANNOUNCER: Ohhh.


WATSON: I'm going to dress up as Santa Claus for 'em.


ANNOUNCER: (CHUCKLES) Well, I'm sure you'll look very convincing in the part. Oh, by the way, doctor, I, er-- I brought you a little present.


WATSON: Oh, really?


ANNOUNCER: Here it is. I hope you like it. 


WATSON: (CHUCKLES) It's good of you, Mr. Bartell. I've got one for you, too, here somewhere. Oh, you mustn't open it until tomorrow. Here you are, my boy.


ANNOUNCER: Thanks a lot, doctor. And, uh, now how's about tonight's story? Last week, you told us you'd chosen an adventure with a lot of "Christmassy" atmosphere.


WATSON: Yes, Mr. Bartell. My story begins on another Christmas Eve many, many years ago -- to be exact, in Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-Six. At the time the adventure occurred, I must confess I didn't quite understand what was going on meself. In fact, I never did quite make head or tails of it, until Holmes took pity on me later and explained the whole thing. But I shan't try to confuse you, Mr. Bartell. I'll tell you the story exactly as it happened.


ANNOUNCER: Right you are, doctor. Let's go.


WATSON: Very well. On that Christmas Eve in Eighty-Six, I was standing in our Baker Street rooms, dressed in the costume of Santa Claus. Holmes -- his long, thin fingers pressed together -- lay back in an armchair and gazed at me quizzically, while our housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, stood by the door and-- (FADES OUT)


HUDSON: (FADES IN) Well, Dr. Watson, you make a grand Santa Claus. (CHUCKLES)


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Doesn't he, Mrs. Hudson? Try the beard on, Watson old chap.


WATSON: I'm afraid this is going to be a little uncomfortable. (STRUGGLES TO PUT ON BEARD) Uh, there. How, er--? How does it look?


HUDSON: Oh, you look just like the old man on the Christmas cards, doctor. (CHUCKLES)


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Yes, Watson, it really becomes you. The cheery twinkle of the eyes, the ruddy complexion, and the, er-- The appropriate girth. What a shame we can't obtain some snow, and a sleigh and reindeer, for you. However, I'm sure Mrs. Hudson's nieces will be very much impressed.


HUDSON: Ah, they will that, sir. And it's very kind of you, doctor, to offer to come over to the house with me. With their father in the hospital and my sister at his bedside, it would have been a very miserable Christmas without ye.


WATSON: Oh, I shall enjoy myself, but I think I'll take this beard off before we get there. (GRUNTS AS HE PULLS OFF BEARD) That's it. Are you ready to leave, Mrs. Hudson?


HUDSON: I am, sir. Will I get a cab?


WATSON: How far do we have to go?


HUDSON: Oh, Lexington Gardens, Number Twenty-Eight. It's just off the Edgware Road, doctor.


WATSON: Oh, it's not far, but, bearing in mind my costume, I suppose we'd better take a cab.


HUDSON: Aye, sir. I'll get one.


SOUND: HER FOOTSTEPS AWAY, DOOR CLOSES OFF


WATSON: Holmes, what are you going to do with yourself? I hate leaving you alone on Christmas Eve.


HOLMES: Oh, don't worry, old chap. I shall spend a profitable evening writing on my new monograph.


WATSON: Oh? What's this one about?


HOLMES: An analysis of teeth marks on pipe stems, with particular regard to indicated character.


WATSON: Oh, gracious me, how exciting. Well! I must be going!


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Don't forget your sack of presents, old fellow.


WATSON: Oh, great Scott, no, no, no.


HOLMES: Ah, when you come to distribute them, you'll find that I took the liberty of adding a few trinkets on my own behalf.


WATSON: Well, that's very thoughtful of you, Holmes.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


HUDSON: Oh, excuse me, Mr. Holmes, but there's a gentleman to see you. Says he's an old friend of yours. Here's his card, sir.


HOLMES: Oh, thank you. (BEAT) Oh! It's old Widecombe! Splendid! Ask him to come up please, Mrs. Hudson.


HUDSON: All right, sir.


HOLMES: And I hope your party is a great success, Mrs. Hudson.


HUDSON: Thank you, sir. Are you sure you don't want me to stay? Now that you have a visitor, I mean.


HOLMES: Oh, no, no, no; indeed, no, Mrs. Hudson. I can show the gentlemen out myself. You go off and have a good time.


HUDSON: (MOVING OFF) Thank you, sir. 


WATSON: I wonder what Lord William wants. Perhaps I should stay and give you--


HOLMES: No, no, please, my dear fellow; certainly not.


WATSON: Eh?


HOLMES: You've far more important work to do. Widecombe probably wants his revenge at chess or something equally innocuous. Off with you, my dear fellow, and enjoy yourself.


WATSON: Oh, very good. Just the same, I wish you were coming with me. (MOVING OFF) I'll see you later.


HOLMES: I shall be there. (CALLS) Uh, come on up, Widecombe!


WIDECOMBE: (APPROACHES) Hello, Holmes! Oh, evening, Watson! You make a very convincing Santa Claus. Are you leaving?


WATSON: (OFF) I'm afraid so, Lord Widecombe.


WIDECOMBE: Well, good night, then.


WATSON: (OFF) Uh, good night, good night, sir.


SOUND: FRONT DOOR CLOSES, OFF


WIDECOMBE: How are you, Holmes? All alone on Christmas Eve, eh?


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Yes, Widecombe. I'm glad you came over to see me.


WIDECOMBE: Mm hm.


HOLMES: What's it to be? An evening of chess? Or have you unearthed some recent treasure of medieval pottery that we can discuss?


WIDECOMBE: Neither, Holmes. I've come to you in your professional capacity. I - I need help.


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Oh, come now, Widecombe. Don't tell me that after all these years of quiet friendship, you're going to become a client.


WIDECOMBE: Yes, I'm afraid so, Holmes, though I doubt if my problem will interest you very much. It's hardly up to your rather colorful standards. Er, care for a cigar?


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Oh, thanks.


SOUND: MATCH STRIKES


HOLMES: Ah. (PUFFS ON CIGAR) Now, my dear Widecombe, what's your trouble?


WIDECOMBE: Well, I decided this year to have a little Christmas party at my town house. I'm quite comfortably off, as you know, and it occurred to me that I have several relatives and friends who are not as well off. I'm having a party for them tonight, Holmes, and I hoped you'd attend it -- disguised as Santa Claus.


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES, HIGHLY AMUSED) Oh, my dear fellow, I've adopted many disguises in my time, but Father Christmas has never been one of them. Why do you want me to attend your party in disguise in any case? Are you ashamed of your friendship with a private detective or do you consider my features more acceptable when buried beneath the depths of a snowy beard?


WIDECOMBE: Now, my dear Holmes, do take me seriously. I'm not joking, I assure you.


HOLMES: Oh, of course you're not, of course you're not. You, uh-- You want me to attend your party in disguise. Why?


WIDECOMBE: I'm giving some very valuable presents -- er, diamond and onyx cufflinks, platinum and ruby earrings, and suchlike -- and I've wrapped each of the presents in bank notes.


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Dear me. Where are these presents now?


WIDECOMBE: In a sack, in charge of my butler. I was going to dress up as Santa Claus and give 'em out meself, until I got the warning letter. That's why I've come to you.


HOLMES: Warning letter, eh?


WIDECOMBE: Yes. I received it by this evening's post. (UNFOLDS LETTER) Listen to this. (READS) "My dear Lord Widecombe, Your generosity with Christmas presents borders on ostentation. We do not approve. Either we receive five thousand pounds in sovereigns at Poste Restante Box Three-Seven-Nine by six o'clock on Christmas Eve or I'm afraid your Christmas party will be conspicuous by its absence of presents."


HOLMES: Let me see that note, Widecombe, will you?


WIDECOMBE: Yes, here you are.


SOUND: HANDS OVER LETTER


HOLMES: Thanks. (EXAMINING PAPER) Mm hm. Plain paper, torn from a penny notebook. Writing is obviously disguised and it-- (EXCITED) By George, yes! Widecombe -- I accept the case! I'll come with you to your party at once and, furthermore, I shall follow your suggestion regarding a disguise. Dressed as Santa Claus, I shall be less likely to attract suspicion.


WIDECOMBE: I'm delighted, Holmes. But what made you decide so suddenly?


HOLMES: This writing, my dear fellow, this writing. Though it's in a false hand, I'd know that characteristic "M" in "My dear Widecombe." I've seen it too often at the beginning of a signature. Moriarty!


WIDECOMBE: Moriarty? Who's he?


HOLMES: Oh, one of the cleverest and most unscrupulous criminals in England. Widecombe, there's no time to be lost. It's -- let me see now -- six-thirty, half an hour beyond the deadline given you in this letter. We must go to your house at once.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... "JINGLE BELLS"


SOUND: CAB COMES TO A STOP


HUDSON: This is as far as the cab can take us, doctor.


WATSON: Here you are, cabbie. Here's five shillings for you, and a merry Christmas.


1ST CABBIE: Oh, bless you, guv'nor, and a merry Christmas to you, too.


SOUND: CAB MOVES OFF


HUDSON: (CHUCKLES, TO WATSON) Ah, you said you wanted to get into the house through the back way, so that you could surprise the children.


WATSON: Yes, I thought I'd pretend to come down the kitchen chimney.


HUDSON: Oh, you can get to the back of the house by going up the alley here. I'll go in the front door.


WATSON: Splendid, splendid, Mrs. Hudson. Which is the house?


HUDSON: Number Twenty-Eight. It's the third one down the alley, doctor. I'll have the back window open in no time and you can slip in without any of the bairns seeing you.


WATSON: Very well. Gloomy little street, I must say.


MUSIC: CHURCH ORGAN, FROM OFF ... CONTINUES IN BG


WATSON: Hello -- where's the music coming from?


HUDSON: Oh, it's from that temple across the street, doctor. The Disciples of the Octagonal Square, they call themselves. 


WATSON: What on earth do you suppose that means?


HUDSON: Oh, some new-fangled cult. Heathens, most likely.


MUSIC: OUT BEHIND--


WATSON: Hello, hello, hello -- I'm not the only Santa Claus abroad tonight. Look at that fellow across the street over there.


HUDSON: Oh! Dressed just like yourself, doctor, and carrying a sack, too. Oh, he's running up the steps to the temple.


WATSON: Great Scott! He - he slipped on the ice! 


SOUND: WATSON AND HUDSON'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS ACROSS STREET TO TEMPLE


WATSON: (DURING ABOVE) I wonder what his hurry was. (AT THE TEMPLE) Here, here, my man! Let me help you up, sir!


HUDSON: Oh, be careful now, doctor. Dinna trip yourself.


WATSON: Here you are, sir. Now give me your hand.


LOU: (DAZED, NERVOUS) Er, thank you, thir. Er, thilly of me, wathn't it?


WATSON: Oh, we Santa Clauses have to help each other, you know. (WITH EFFORT) Up you come. That's it.


LOU: Woooo!


SOUND: WATSON AND LOU SLIP AND FALL TO PAVEMENT


WATSON: Oh, gracious me.


HUDSON: Oh, doctor, I told you to be careful. Now you've fallen, too.


WATSON: Oh, it's this confounded red coat of mine. It tripped me up!


HUDSON: Oh, did you hurt yourself, sir?


WATSON: No -- no, no, no. I'm all right, I think. (TO LOU) Uh, how about you, sir?


LOU: Oh, I'm all right, thankth. Thilly of me to run, wathn't it?


WATSON: Uh, here's your sack, sir.


LOU: Thank you. (HURRIEDLY MOVING OFF) Good night, and merry Chrithmath!


WATSON: (CALLS AFTER HIM) Good night. Same to you, sir, same to you. (TO MRS. HUDSON) Oh, he went into the temple. Must be a disciple of the Octagonal Square.


HUDSON: You're sure you're no' hurt, doctor?


WATSON: No, no, of course not, Mrs. Hudson. Give me my sack, please. (WITH EFFORT) Thank you. Your sister's house is the third one down this alleyway, you say?


HUDSON: (MOVING OFF) I'll hurry and open the back window.


WATSON: Yes, I'll be waiting for you, Mrs. Hudson. (CHUCKLES, TO HIMSELF) This is going to be rather fun. What a shame Holmes isn't with us. Oh, well, he's probably happier having a good game of chess with Lord Widecombe. (STARTS TO WHISTLE "GOOD KING WENCESLAS")


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... PICKS UP "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" / "JINGLE BELLS"


WIDECOMBE: This is my house, Holmes. Number Thirty-Nine.


HOLMES: Thirty-Nine Bronson Square, eh? (MUSES) And dear old Watson is just around the corner in Lexington Gardens and hasn't any idea that I've left Baker Street.


WIDECOMBE: Yes. Er, here you are, cabbie.


2ND CABBIE: Thank you, sir. A merry Christmas, sir.


CAROLERS: (SING "HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING" ... THEN IN BG)


HOLMES: Uh huh. Listen to that. Carol singers.


WIDECOMBE: Yes, we'll probably have our fill of them before this evening's over.


SOUND: HOLMES AND WIDECOMBE'S FOOTSTEPS UP STEPS TO FRONT DOOR ... HEAVY KNOCKER ... FRONT DOOR OPENS


HARGRAVE: Good evening, milord.


SOUND: HOLMES AND WIDECOMBE'S FOOTSTEPS INTO TOWN HOUSE ... DOOR SHUTS, CUTTING OFF CAROLERS


WIDECOMBE: Have the guests arrived, Hargrave?


HARGRAVE: Most of them, sir. They're in the library. You brought another Santa Claus with you, I see, milord.


HOLMES: Another Santa Claus? What do you mean?


HARGRAVE: The gentleman arrived three quarters of an hour ago, sir, dressed as Santa Claus. I took him to your study, milord, and showed him the sack of presents.


HOLMES: Confound it! He's got here before us! Where's the study?


WIDECOMBE: This way. 


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS DOWN HALL BEHIND--


HARGRAVE: I hope I didn't do wrong, milord. You told me that a gentleman dressed as Santa Claus would be coming here.


SOUND: STUDY DOOR OPENS ... THEIR FOOTSTEPS IN


HARGRAVE: Dear me, the gentleman appears to have gone.


WIDECOMBE: Yes! And the sack containing the presents with him!


HARGRAVE: But he can't have left the house, milord. I've been watching the front door.


HOLMES: (SLIGHTLY OFF) Yes, and while you were doing that, he slipped out through the window here. The catch is undone.


SOUND: RATTLE OF CATCH


HOLMES: (MOVING CLOSER) Hargrave, describe this man.


HARGRAVE: I can't tell you much about his appearance, I'm afraid, sir. He was dressed as Santa Claus, just like yourself. But I did notice one thing about him, sir.


HOLMES: Oh? What was that?


HARGRAVE: He lisped, sir. It was quite pronounced.


HOLMES: Of course! Lou the Lisper!


WIDECOMBE: Who on earth is Lou the Lisper?


HOLMES: One of Moriarty's most trusted accomplices. Fortunately, though, I've had news of him lately through my underworld grapevine.


WIDECOMBE: You, er-- You know where he lives?


HOLMES: He's reputed to have some connections with a new cult that calls themselves the Disciples of the Octagonal Square. Their headquarters are just around the corner from here.


WIDECOMBE: Then let's go there at once.


HOLMES: Of course. And, Hargrave--?


HARGRAVE: Yes, sir?


HOLMES: Get a message to Scotland Yard as fast as you can. Ask for Inspector Lestrade, and tell him to join me at the Temple of the Octagonal Square in Lexington Gardens as soon as possible.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... "HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH"


HUDSON: Oh, the children are awful excited, doctor. I told them ye jist came down the chimney.


WATSON: (CHUCKLES) I'll slip the beard on and then I'll go into 'em. (PUTS ON BEARD, MUFFLED) There we are.


HUDSON: Will I announce you, doctor?


WATSON: Yes, yes, please, Mrs. Hudson.


HUDSON: All right, sir.


SOUND: KITCHEN DOOR OPENS 


CHILDREN: (BUZZ EXCITEDLY, THEN GROW QUIET BEHIND--)


HUDSON: Quiet now, children! Quiet! Santa Claus has come to see ye, and he's brought you all presents.


CHILDREN: (STIR EXCITEDLY AS "SANTA" ENTERS)


WATSON: Hello, hello, children!


ELSIE: Hello, Santa Claus. My name's Elsie. Did you bring me a present?


WATSON: I did, Elsie. I'll look in my sack in a minute and, uh-- What's your name, young man?


BERTIE: 'Erbert. They call me Bertie. Did you come down the chimney?!


WATSON: Yes, Bertie.


BERTIE: I bet you had a time doin' it. You're so fat!


CHILDREN: (GIGGLE)


HUDSON: Oh, don't be rude, Bertie, or Santa Claus won't give you your presents.


WATSON: And what's your name, little man?


LIONEL: Liodel. (SNIFFS) I've got a cold.


HUDSON: (SYMPATHETIC) Ohhhh.


WATSON: Yes, I see you have. Well, children, gather 'round me and I'll see what presents I've got for you.


CHILDREN: (BUZZ EXCITEDLY)


SOUND: SACK OPENED, PACKAGES REMOVED ... IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


WATSON: Er, the first present is for-- (BEAT, PUZZLED) Well, this can't be right. It says, "For Her Grace, the Dowager Duchess of Dooley."


CHILDREN: (BUZZ IMPATIENTLY)


HUDSON: (LOW) Oh, do you suppose Mr. Holmes has been playing a practical joke on you, doctor?


WATSON: (LOW) Well, I suppose so, but I can't see the point meself. But he did say that he'd added a few trinkets of his own. 


ELSIE: I want my present!


WATSON: Then supposing you take this, Elsie.


ELSIE: Oh, coo! Thank you.


SOUND: PACKAGE UNWRAPPED


WATSON: And this one is marked for-- (READS, CONFUSED) "The Rev. Arthur Carter." (TO HIMSELF) Wonder what Holmes is up to. (UP) Uh, here you are, Bertie.


BERTIE: Coo! Thanks!


WATSON: And this is for you, Lionel, because you've been a good little boy.


LIONEL: 'Tisn't very big, is it? I wanted a dog.


WATSON: (TO HIMSELF) Oh, wanted a dog. Good gracious me. (UP) Well, I'll bring you a dog next year, Lionel.


CHILDREN: (BUZZ AS THEY--)


SOUND: UNWRAP PRESENTS


HUDSON: Dr. Watson--?


WATSON: Yes, Mrs. Hudson?


HUDSON: Look at the wrapping on these presents, doctor! Why, they're twenty-pound notes!


WATSON: Great Scott!


BERTIE: Oh, coo! Look what I got!


WATSON: Now, let me see. (STARTLED) Why, cufflinks! And diamond and onyx ones, unless I'm very much mistaken.


ELSIE: I got some pretty earrings. Look how they sparkle.


WATSON: Let me see those.


CHILDREN: (OOH AND AHH OVER EARRINGS)


WATSON: Good gracious, I swear that these are platinum and rubies. What in thunder's going on?


ELSIE: I want my earrings back!


BERTIE: Gimme back mine, too!


WATSON: (COWED) Well, here you are, here you are.


HUDSON: Dr. Watson, what do you suppose has happened?


WATSON: I don't know, Mrs. Hudson. Perhaps my toys are still at the bottom of the sack. I can't understand it. I wish Holmes were here instead of dozing in front of our fire in Baker Street.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... "O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM"


WIDECOMBE: Where are you, Holmes?


HOLMES: Here by the bed. This is the only room in the temple that gives any signs of having been lived in. I think our bird has been here, but I'm afraid he's flown. Wish Inspector Lestrade would get here. Strike a match, will you, Widecombe?


WIDECOMBE: Right.


SOUND: MATCH STRIKES


WIDECOMBE: Ah, here's a candle on the table.


HOLMES: Ah, just as I feared! Look on the bed.


WIDECOMBE: A red coat, and a beard.


HOLMES: Yes. Lou the Lisper has discarded his disguise and gone -- and with him, I'm afraid, your valuable presents.


WIDECOMBE: Oh, wait a minute! Here's a sack lying on the floor-- Oh, no, this isn't mine. Look what's in it. A toy dog -- large box of chocolates -- little girl's doll.


HOLMES: What in thunder--? Why, this is Watson's sack!


WIDECOMBE: But how on earth could Lou the Lisper have got hold of it?


HOLMES: Somewhere, somehow, he and Watson must have made an accidental change and Lou the Lisper is no doubt trying to track Watson down at this very moment. We must work fast, Widecombe -- or my friend's life, and those of Mrs. Hudson and her relatives, won't be worth a tinker's dam!


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: Aw, now, doctor, you can't break off your story there!


WATSON: Oh, yes, I can, my boy. Before I go on, I thought we'd have a glass of port just to - (CHUCKLES) - freshen us up.


ANNOUNCER: Oh, well, that's - (CHUCKLES) - that's something different. 'Course!


SOUND: BOTTLE UNCORKED


ANNOUNCER: Instead of talking about port as I - (CLEARS THROAT) - sometimes do, it'll be nice to drink some for a change.


SOUND: WINE POURED


WATSON: There you are, my boy, and a merry Christmas to you.


ANNOUNCER: The same to you. And now - what happened next, doctor? We left you at the children's Christmas party and Sherlock Holmes and Lord Widecombe around the corner at the Temple of the Octagonal Square.


WATSON: Yes, Mr. Bartell. Although, at the time, of course, I had no idea what was going on. There I was, cheerfully handing out gifts worth-- Well, not a king's, at least a baronet's ransom -- while outside the Temple of the Octagonal Square, Holmes and Lord Widecombe were talking to Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard-- (FADES OUT)


WIDECOMBE: (FADES IN) And that's the case in a nutshell, Lestrade.


LESTRADE: Yes. Seems to me, Lord Widecombe, you'd've been wiser to get in touch with Scotland Yard when you first got the warning note. We could have nabbed him when he came to your house and pinched the sack of presents.


HOLMES: Lestrade, this is no time for post mortems. We've got to reach Lou the Lisper before he finds Dr. Watson.


WIDECOMBE: Do you suppose he can do that, Holmes?


HOLMES: It wouldn't be difficult. Lou the Lisper is nearly as clever as his master, Professor Moriarty. The chances are that you were followed when you came to Baker Street tonight, Widecombe. And it's equally likely that Watson and Mrs. Hudson were followed as they left it. Moriarty seldom leaves anything to chance.


LESTRADE: Well, where did Dr. Watson go tonight?


HOLMES: Twenty-Eight Lexington Gardens. It's just around the corner from here.


LESTRADE: Well, then let's go there at once.


HOLMES: And frighten our quarry away? No, no, no, no, Lestrade. We must use a little subtlety. Now, Lou the Lisper wishes to recover that sack of presents from Watson. How would he invade the party with the least possible trouble?


WIDECOMBE: By, er-- By dressing up as Santa Claus again?


HOLMES: No. No, I think he's overplayed that role for one evening.


LESTRADE: Well, then how would he try to get in, Mr. Holmes?


HOLMES: Oh, come now, Lestrade. What group of people can enter any house on Christmas Eve without invitation and without creating suspicion?


WIDECOMBE: The carol singers!


HOLMES: Exactly, my dear fellow! I shouldn't be at all surprised if at this very moment Lou the Lisper and some of his gang are singing carols outside Twenty-Eight Lexington Gardens.


LESTRADE: Well, then what are we going to do?


HOLMES: Form a rival choral society. How many of your men did you bring with you?


LESTRADE: Three, a sergeant and two constables.


HOLMES: Wearing greatcoats?


LESTRADE: Yes, Mr. Holmes, but why?


HOLMES: Good. They can hide their helmets and pretend to be singers. Come on. Let's go over there and, while we're walking, we'll rehearse our carols. We must appear reasonably convincing. (MERRILY) Sound your A, Lestrade, sound your A!


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" / "LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN"


CHILDREN: (BUZZING AND LAUGHING HAPPILY)


LIONEL: Take me for a ride on your back, Santa Claus.


HUDSON: No, no, you mustn't make Santa Claus too tired, Lionel.


WATSON: No, that's all right, Mrs. Hudson. Hop on, Lionel, hop on!


CAROLERS: (SING "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" ... OFF)


ELSIE: Ooh, they're singing carols outside the door!


HUDSON: Oh, isn't that nice?


BERTIE: Can't they come inside and sing for us, Santa Claus?


WATSON: Yes, of course they can. Ask them to come in, Mrs. Hudson, will you?


HUDSON: (MOVING OFF) All right, sir.


ELSIE: (TO WATSON) Ooh, come on, let me get on your back, too!


WATSON: Oh, now, now -- take it easy. (LIFTS ELSIE UP, WITH EFFORT) Oooh, there we go! 


CAROLERS: (APPROACH, STILL SINGING; DURING FOLLOWING, THEY FINISH THEIR SONG)


BERTIE: I want to see your reindeer, Santa.


WATSON: See my reindeer? Well, they're up on the roof.


BERTIE: I'll climb up and see 'em!


WATSON: No, no, no, you mustn't do that -- they're asleep! Oh, here are the carol singers. Off you get, children. (SETS CHILDREN DOWN, WITH EFFORT) There we go. That's it. Now-- (TO CAROLERS) Good evening, gentlemen!


LOU: Good evening, and merry Chrithmath.


WATSON: Would you like to sing some carols to the children? After that, I'm sure you'd like a drop of - (CHUCKLES) - something to warm you up.


LOU: Well, thank you, thir. We'd thure like that.


WATSON: Haven't I met you somewhere before, my man?


LOU: Er-- No, thir. I'm thure you haven't. (TO CAROLERS) Er, come on, men. Let'th thing "Good King Wenthethlath."


CAROLERS: (SING) "Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen--"


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... PICKS UP "GOOD KING WENCESLAS"


LESTRADE: Well, here we are outside the house, Mr. Holmes. Now what?


CAROLERS: (SINGING "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" OFF, FROM INSIDE OF HOUSE) 


HOLMES: Sh-sh-sh! Listen. (BEAT) Uh huh. Lou the Lisper and his men are already there.


WIDECOMBE: Are we going in now?


HOLMES: In a moment. (TO COPPERS) Now, men -- you have your truncheons handy?


COPPER: Yes, Mr. Holmes, we're ready.


HOLMES: Splendid. Now, remember -- when we're inside and I yell "Merry Christmas" at the top of my voice, you bring out your truncheons and get Lou the Lisper and his gang out of there as quickly as possible. Don't arrest them until you get them outside again, Lestrade; I don't want to frighten the children.


LESTRADE: Right you are, Mr. Holmes. We're ready. Just give us the word and we'll go in and get 'em.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... "GOOD KING WENCESLAS"


WATSON: Ahhh, that was very nice singing! And now how about something to warm you all up?


LOU: That won't be nethethary, Dr. Watthon. (ASIDE, TO SAMMY) See to the door, Sammy. (TO PARTY GUESTS) Now, all of you thtay right where you are!


WATSON: Who are you? What do you think you're up to?


LOU: Pleathe don't be difficult, doctor. All I want is the jewelth out of my thack that you thtole from me tonight. You try and thtop me, I thall have to hurt you.


LIONEL: (GIGGLES) Why do you talk so funny? You got a cold like me?


LOU: Thut up! Now, doctor, where are the jewelth?


COPPERS: (SING "THE FIRST NOEL," OFF, BUT MOVING CLOSER) "No-el, noel--" (CONTINUES IN BG)


LOU: Oh, curtheth! There are thome more carol thingers outthide!


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR


SAMMY: Shall I tell 'em to go away, Lou?


LOU: No. Better let them come in. If we don't, they might get thuthpithiouth!


SAMMY: All right, Lou. I suppose you know what you're up to.


LOU: Now, no trickth, doctor. If you try and give an alarm, I thall have to get rough with you.


WATSON: Well, I don't mind about that, but just remember there are children present.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND COPPERS ENTER ... CAROLERS AND COPPERS MURMUR, IN BG


HOLMES: (DISGUISED VOICE, HEARTY) How are ye, matey? You were here before us, hey? Well, what d'you say we all join in a little carol for the nippers, hey?


LOU: (RELUCTANT) Well, all right. What - what do you want to thing?


HOLMES: (DISGUISED VOICE) How 'bout "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," eh?


LOU: All right, all right. (TO CAROLERS) Er, come on, men. Let'th thing.


CAROLERS & COPPERS: (SING) "Hark! The herald angels sing / Glory to the newborn king--"


HOLMES: (DISGUISED VOICE, LOUD) Merrrrry Christmas!


SOUND: CHAOTIC CACOPHONY! THE COPPERS CLOBBER THE CAROLERS AND DRAG THEM OUT THE DOOR WHILE THE CHILDREN LAUGH DELIGHTEDLY ... THEN IN BG


ELSIE: (LAUGHS) Look at 'em hitting each other on the head!


HUDSON: Dr. Watson! What's happening?! They're all hittin' each other with truncheons!


WATSON: (TO COPPERS) Here, you can't do that! (TO MRS. HUDSON) They're all going away. They're dragging each other out! (TO COPPERS) Hey! Hey, come back here!


HUDSON: Oh, this is terrible!


SOUND: CHAOS ENDS AS THE CAROLERS AND COPPERS EXIT ... CHILDREN BUZZ EXCITEDLY, THEN QUIET DOWN DURING FOLLOWING--


WATSON: (AMAZED) Holmes! Holmes, what in thunder's going on?!


HOLMES: I'll explain it to you later, old chap. (CALLS) Lestrade?!


LESTRADE: Yes, Mr. Holmes?


HOLMES: Take them to Scotland Yard and prefer charges. I'll be over in a little while and give evidence.


LESTRADE: Right you are, sir. (CHUCKLES) Too bad we didn't catch Professor Moriarty, too.


HOLMES: Well, at least we have some of his cohorts. I'll see you later, Lestrade.


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS


WATSON: I wish I knew what was going on here. Is Moriarty mixed up in this business?


HOLMES: Yes, Watson, and I'll tell you all about it as soon as I've straightened this thing out. Oh, Widecombe?


WIDECOMBE: (OFF) Yes, Holmes?


HOLMES: The twenty-pound notes that you used as wrapping for your gifts seem to have been scattered all over the house. Uh, do you want me to recover them, too?


WIDECOMBE: No. From what you've told me of the children, I think their parents could use the money much more profitably than my relatives. In any case, I can replace it.


HOLMES: A very generous Christmas gift. Well, children -- did you enjoy the little game we staged for you?


LIONEL: It was a lot of fun.


BERTIE: Yes! I nearly died laughin' when they started hittin' each other! 


CHILDREN: (LAUGH)


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) I'm glad you enjoyed it, children. And now I, er-- I want you to show me the presents you received.


ELSIE: I got these pretty earrings.


HOLMES: Oh, they were a part of the game, too! A nice little girl like you doesn't want silly earrings, Elsie. Here's a beautiful doll for you.


ELSIE: Coo! Her eyes open and shut and everything!


HOLMES: And what did you get, my little man?


BERTIE: These!


HOLMES: Oh, cufflinks! Good gracious, who wants cufflinks when he can have a - a clockwork train! You want to exchange?


BERTIE: Train? Lord love a duck, yes!


LIONEL: I wanted a dog.


WATSON: There's one for you, Lionel -- a nice woolly dog.


LIONEL: Oh, coo! He's lovely!


HOLMES: And here you are, children. Here's a nice big box of chocolates, too. You can all share them.


BERTIE: Oh, love me, what a night! I ain't had as much fun since Granny got her finger stuck in the plug-hole!


CHILDREN: (LAUGH)


WATSON: (LAUGHS) I - I still don't understand what's going on, Holmes, but I - I must say, this has all the earmarks of being a happy Christmas.


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Yes, old fellow. Mrs. Hudson?


HUDSON: Aye, Mr. Holmes?


HOLMES: How's the turkey coming along?


HUDSON: Oh, it'll be ready in a few minutes, Mr. Holmes.


HOLMES: Splendid. And, while we're waiting, perhaps the children will oblige with something we haven't heard so far this evening.


WATSON: Yes, yes, I know what you mean -- a Christmas carol that really sounds convincing. How 'bout it children?


MUSIC: ORGAN ... SNEAKS IN TO ACCOMPANY THE CAROL


BERTIE: All right, sir! Come on, Elsie! Come on, Lionel!


CHILDREN: (BEGIN TO SING THE FIRST STANZA OF "SILENT NIGHT")


MUSIC: THE ENTIRE CAST JOINS IN SINGING THE STANZA ... THEN SINGING AND ORGAN OUT


ANNOUNCER: Well, doctor, that was really a thwell-- A swell story. On a Christmas Eve like this, do you ever wish you were back in Baker Street celebrating Christmas there?


WATSON: At times, yes. But, actually, Mr. Bartell, I'm very happy right here in my little home. There, on the table, is a beautiful little Christmas tree. There's a fine fire in my fireplace. My two dogs, Monty and Willie, are sleeping peacefully at my feet. And, best of it all, I've got the love of every child in the neighborhood. Yes, I've got a great deal this Christmas Eve. Lots to be thankful for. And, what with the troubles of the world on their way to being settled, it looks as if this is the brightest Christmas that - that I've ever had.


ANNOUNCER: Well, that's how I feel about it, too, doctor.


WATSON: I hope that all our friends listening in are just as happy this Christmas Eve as we are. And speaking not only for myself but I know for all of us -- and for the Petri Family, too -- we wish every one of you a happy Christmas from the bottom of our hearts. God rest ye merry, - gentlemen.


ANNOUNCER: Well, Dr. Watson, next Monday is New Year's Eve. What story do you plan to tell us?


WATSON: One that I think you'll find extremely appropriate, Mr. Bartell. It takes place in a Scottish castle near Edinburgh on a New Year's Eve in Nineteen Hundred and concerns a pair of lovers, an elderly baronet, and a strange iron box that proved to be more than worth its weight in gold.


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: Tonight's Sherlock Holmes adventure was written by Denis Green and Anthony Boucher and was suggested by an incident in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle." Music is by Dean Fosler. Mr. Rathbone appears through the courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Mr. Bruce through the courtesy of Universal Pictures where they are now starring in the Sherlock Holmes series.


The Petri Wine Company of San Francisco, California, invites you to tune in again next week, same time, same station. Sherlock Holmes comes to you from our Hollywood studios.


This is Harry Bartell, saying good night for the Petri Family!


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: For a solid hour of exciting mystery dramas, listen every Monday on most of these same stations at eight o'clock to MICHAEL SHAYNE followed immediately by SHERLOCK HOLMES. This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.


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