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The Oil Refinery

The Man Called X

The Oil Refinery

Apr 24 1947





CAST:

ANNOUNCER, Wendell Niles

KEN THURSTON

OLAF, Swedish 

THE CHIEF

TICKET AGENT, French

PEGON ZELLSCHMIDT, obnoxious comic relief sidekick

ELEANOR, American

ACKLEY, British

STEWARD

FERTIG, American

CAPTAIN, of ship; Dutch





ANNOUNCER: You're twice as sure with two great names -- Frigidaire and General Motors!


MUSIC: FANFARE ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: Frigidaire presents Herbert Marshall as THE MAN CALLED X! Wherever there is Mystery! -- Intrigue! -- Romance! -- in all the strange and dangerous places of the world -- there you will find THE MAN CALLED X!


MUSIC: TO A FINISH


SOUND: APPLAUSE


[COMMERCIAL OMITTED]


MUSIC: INTRO ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: And now, Frigidaire presents Herbert Marshall as Ken Thurston, THE MAN CALLED X!


SOUND: SLAP-SLAP-SLAP OF HANDS ON SKIN ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: To most people, a restful massage would mean only calm and relaxation. But for "The Man Called X," it's only the calm before the storm. Listen.


KEN: (GROANS) Take it a little easier there, would you, Olaf?


OLAF: Yes, sir, Mr. Thurston. Nothing like a Turkish bath and a good rubdown to get you on your feet again.


KEN: (GROANS)


OLAF: This will make you feel like a million dollars.


KEN: Well, just make me moderately wealthy, will you?


OLAF: Yes, sir. (BEAT) You must've had yourself a night. I know some Seeing Eye dogs that would've turned you down.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS, OFF


CHIEF: (OFF) Hey, is there a Mr. Ken Thurston in here?


KEN: (CALLS) Yeah, over here! (TO OLAF) That is right, isn't it?


OLAF: It's the name you gave us.


KEN: I just wanted to know in case a bet came up. Uh, now let me rest a bit now.


OLAF: Yes, sir.


SOUND: MASSAGE ENDS ... FOOTSTEPS APPROACH KEN 


CHIEF: (APPROACHES) Can't see a thing through all this steam. Where are you anyway--? (CLOSE, STARTLED) Oh.


KEN: Hello, Chief.


CHIEF: Ken, I've been looking all over town for you.


KEN: (EXHALES) I was doing the same thing myself last night.


CHIEF: Mm. Too many martinis.


KEN: I think the onions in them gave me indigestion.


CHIEF: Well, look, there's work to do; there's trouble in the Middle East!


KEN: When isn't there trouble in the Middle East?


CHIEF: Well, this concerns us. You know the Acme Refineries?


KEN: Not personally, but I've run out of some of their gas.


CHIEF: Well, they've been having serious trouble the last two weeks -- all of it in the same fields over in the Middle East near Larna Volak.


KEN: What kind of trouble?


CHIEF: Big explosions -- no explanation, no reason. They all take place in the main tanks in the heart of the refineries.


KEN: Why don't they put on more guards?


CHIEF: Well, they threw a complete ring around the refineries -- and they've had three bad fires since. They're getting a little frantic.


KEN: Don't their dividends make 'em happy? How do they concern us?


CHIEF: Well, a lot of American citizens have been killed in those explosions.


KEN: Ohhh.


CHIEF: Now, er, Washington sent an agent over there just last week.


KEN: What did he find out?


CHIEF: (POINTEDLY GRIM) He found out what Heaven's like. (BEAT) They picked up his body the next morning.


KEN: Mm.


CHIEF: When we got word of his death, I thought of you right away.


KEN: (DRY) Thanks, I'll think of you sometime!


CHIEF: He must have been on the trail of something, Ken -- and I want you to pick up that trail.


KEN: Yeah. Yeah, I better get started right away.


CHIEF: Now, you can go by plane as far as Kuwait (PRONOUNCED "KOO-wait") and take a boat from there.


KEN: (MUTTERS TO HIMSELF, AS IF WRITING IT DOWN) "Boat from Kuwait"--


CHIEF: You know what happened to the other man; they'll be waiting for somebody else to show -- so every move's gotta be undercover. Everything you do's gotta be secret.


KEN: (MOVING OFF) Chief, I'll get right on it.


CHIEF: Well, wait a minute. Don't hurry that much!


KEN: (OFF) Huh?


CHIEF: You walk into the street in that towel, nothing's going to be secret!


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: PLANE ENGINE ZOOMS PAST DURING BRIDGE ... SEGUES TO HARBOR BACKGROUND (CROWD MURMURS, ET CETERA)


KEN: You have a steamship ticket for me, I believe?


TICKET AGENT: Er, your name, monsieur?


KEN: Ken Thurston.


SOUND: RIFLING THROUGH TICKETS


TICKET AGENT: Mm hmm. Ah, oui, oui. Both tickets are here.


KEN: Oh, you made a mistake; I only ordered one ticket.


TICKET AGENT: Oui, monsieur, but the other man, he said you would require another ticket.


KEN: What other man? I don't know anybody here.


PEGON: (APPROACHES) Hello, Mr. Thurston!


KEN: (UNHAPPY) Pegon Zellschmidt! Oh, no!


PEGON: I couldn't let you embark on a dangerous mission without my un-esteemed help! But the cost of finding where you were going -- oh! Already you owe me money!


KEN: Oh, shut up just for a second. Did you order this ticket?


PEGON: I bow to your wishes.


KEN: Well, then bow low enough to get the money out of your pocket. I won't pay for it.


PEGON: But, Mr. X, you must! I gave the man your word.


KEN: What?


PEGON: And when I give a man somebody's word, it is as good as his bond! This is because I'm so honorable.


KEN: (GIVES UP) Oh, well. (TO TICKET AGENT) Let's have the two tickets.


TICKET AGENT: Oui, monsieur.


SOUND: THUMP, THUMP -- TICKETS STAMPED


KEN: (TO PEGON) Come on now, we'll just have time to get aboard. But I'm going to charge you for that-- (STOPS SHORT, SEES SOMETHING IMPRESSIVE) Well!


PEGON: Wha - what's the matter?


KEN: We're going to have nice company, at least if that girl over there gets aboard.


PEGON: (DISMISSIVE) Ah! What is she, except pretty?


KEN: Well, that's enough, isn't it?


PEGON: But you won't like her, Mr. Thurston. She's a crook!


KEN: What's her name?


PEGON: Many names, many. But mostly Eleanor Whitsell.


KEN: Mm hmm.


PEGON: She's no good, Mr. Thurston; the kind of a woman who lives by her wits!


KEN: (DRY) Well, for my money, she could keep those in reserve.


PEGON: Yeah, but she'd take the shirt right off your back!


KEN: Well, let's go; time to get aboard.


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS ONTO SHIP


PEGON: Wait, Mr. Thurston; we'll run into her.


KEN: Nonsense. Now come on. Why are you so worried about a--?


SOUND: ELEANOR BUMPS INTO KEN ... BAGS FALL TO DECK


ELEANOR: (STARTLED) Oh!


KEN: Pardon.


ELEANOR: Oh, I'm sorry. I - I'm afraid I bumped into you.


KEN: (DRY) Don't be sorry. I was going to suggest we do it again.


ELEANOR: (CHUCKLES, CHARMED; THEN EVENLY, TO PEGON) Hello, Pegon.


PEGON: (UNENTHUSIASTIC) Hello.


ELEANOR: You've, uh, lost something, Pegon.


KEN: She means your manners. You're supposed to introduce us.


ELEANOR: That's right. I'm Eleanor Whitsell.


PEGON: (GRUDGING) Hmph! This is Mr. Ken Thurston.


KEN: How do you do?


ELEANOR: Are you going all the way to Larna Volak, too, Mr. Thurston?


KEN: Yes.


ELEANOR: On business?


KEN: Well, I'm not so sure now. Why?


ELEANOR: I just wondered. Business or pleasure, I don't suppose it makes any difference in the long run. Perhaps we're neighbors. (LOOKS AT TICKET) I'm in, er, Cabin Three-Twenty-Seven.


KEN: Oh, yes? And I'm in, um-- (LOOKS AT TICKET, PLEASED) Three-Twenty-Six.


ELEANOR: Oh, well, then we are neighbors! Good! We'll probably see a good deal of each other. (SEDUCTIVE) I always think the sea makes people such good friends. Don't you think so, Mr. Thurston?


KEN: Hm? Oh, yes; in this case, I hope so.


MUSIC: ROMANTIC BRIDGE


SOUND: WIND AND SURF IN BACKGROUND


ACKLEY: I'm going to speak to the captain about this! Why, I could paddle along faster than this m'self! (SOUND: BUMPS INTO KEN) Oh, sorry.


KEN: That's all right. I was just leaning against the rail having a smoke.


ACKLEY: Well, having a smoke m'self before going to bed. I'm Ackley, Frederick Ackley; it's British. What's your name?


KEN: Ken Thurston.


ACKLEY: Yes, yes, nice to have a chat. Yes, meet somebody aboard who's civilized. My name's Frederick Ackley, or did I mention that?


KEN: Er, yes, you did say that.


ACKLEY: (RAMBLING ON) Can't ever remember. My daughter says I'm losing my memory; she's a very rude girl, rude girl indeed! Married a chap from Baltimore in the States. Never amount to much; society crowd; I think his mother signs soap ads--


KEN: (JUMPS IN) Are you riding on to Larna Volak, Mr. Ackley?


ACKLEY: Yes, have interests there. How about you, Mr.-- I say, er, you must have a name.


KEN: Yes, it's Thurston.


ACKLEY: Oh! Quite a coincidence. Once met a chap named Thurston, name was Ken Thurston, I think.


KEN: You know, Mr. Ackley, I think your daughter was right.


ACKLEY: (LAUGHS) Good guess. Yes, I do have a daughter. Clever of you to have hit on it, though! Married a bounder - Baltimore - never amount to much - society! What's your business, Mr. Thurston?


KEN: Travel, mostly. But the answer you want is oil.


ACKLEY: In oil m'self. Coincidence! In fact, I helped organize them. Acme Refineries! All over the East. Chairman of the board, too. Worst job I ever had.


KEN: Doesn't sound like a bad job.


ACKLEY: I don't have it any more. Relieved; and I feel a lot better about it.


KEN: Well, I don't blame you. Acme's beginning to look more like a furnace than a refinery.


ACKLEY: Yes, fires all over. Serves 'em right! I'm not a bit sentimental. They ought to lay hands on this fellow Blackmore!


KEN: Blackmore?


ACKLEY: Yes, a spy. Never saw 'em before, but his name's Blackmore! 


KEN: Uh huh.


ACKLEY: Caused a lot of trouble around the other fields. And I heard he was hanging around Larna Volak. They should catch him and hang 'em up for a spy! Do 'em good! He'd stop spying.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, BELL RINGS THREE TIMES


KEN: Ship seems to be slowing down.


ACKLEY: I'm not surprised. I found out something about this ship.


KEN: Well, why should we come to a stop out here?


ACKLEY: (IGNORES KEN, BARRELS ON) I've discovered the captain's Dutch! You want to watch out for those fellows -- they have a hand with boats, submarines, and all that sort of thing.


KEN: (PREOCCUPIED) Yeah, I know. Mm hmm.


ACKLEY: Wouldn't be surprised to see us go right under water!


SOUND: DURING FOLLOWING, A SMALL MOTORBOAT ENGINE PULLS ALONGSIDE SHIP AND STOPS


KEN: There's a small boat coming along side. (CALLS) Steward!


STEWARD: (OFF) Yes, sir?


KEN: What are we stopping for? What's wrong?


STEWARD: (CLOSER) It's a doctor, sir, with some insulin. One of the ladies had an attack, so we radioed ashore.


KEN: Oh, too bad. Anybody on this deck?


STEWARD: Yes, sir, in the cabin next to yours. Miss Whitsell.


KEN: Oh?


SOUND: LADDER DROPPED BEHIND--


FERTIG: (YELLS, FROM OFF) Halloo!


STEWARD: (CALLS TO FERTIG) Here's the ladder, sir! Right up here, Dr. Fertig!


SOUND: FERTIG CLIMBS ABOARD BEHIND--


FERTIG: (OFF) Of course! Course! (WITH EFFORT) Quite a climb. (CLOSER) Ah, people never seem to get sick in the basement.


SOUND: FERTIG DROPS ON DECK


FERTIG: (EXHALED GRUNT) There!


STEWARD: She's down this way, Dr. Fertig.


KEN: Steward?


STEWARD Oh, yes, sir?


KEN: I'm going to my cabin; I'll show the doctor Miss Whitsell's space.


STEWARD: Very good, sir. (TO FERTIG) Would you like the launch held, doctor?


FERTIG: No, no, I'll stay aboard. (TO KEN) Ready?


KEN: Yeah, come on. (TO ACKLEY) Good night, Mr. Ackley.


ACKLEY: Yes, nice to chat -- very nice indeed.


SOUND: ACKLEY'S VOICE FADES AS KEN AND FERTIG WALK OFF ... THEIR FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE UNDER


KEN: Bad hour to get you out, doctor.


FERTIG: Yes. I just turned in.


KEN: You sound American.


FERTIG: I am.


KEN: Uh huh. Where'd you study, if you don't mind my asking?


FERTIG: Um, er-- Fordham.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS STOP


KEN: This is her cabin. Three-twenty-seven.


FERTIG: Thank you.


KEN: I'm sure she'll be all right. You're a -- very clever doctor.


FERTIG: Oh? Why do you say that?


KEN: Well, you must be if you got a degree at Fordham because Fordham has no medical school. Good night, um --- doctor.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: RAPID KNOCKS AT DOOR ... NO ANSWER ... MORE KNOCKING


KEN: (WAKES, MOANS) Wha - what is it?


CAPTAIN: (MUFFLED THROUGH DOOR) I'm the ship's captain! Please open the door!


SOUND: MORE KNOCKING


KEN: All right, all right! (MUTTERS) I'm asleep, not dead. (CALLS) Just a moment!


SOUND: BEAT ... DOOR OPENS, THEN CLOSES BEHIND--


CAPTAIN: Are you Mr. Thurston?


KEN: Unless I've been tricked. What's the matter?


CAPTAIN: I came to you because you're an American agent.


KEN: Aren't you a little nosy?


CAPTAIN; Well, at least my friends don't betray the fact.


KEN: (DRY, TO HIMSELF) Ah, good old Pegon. (TO CAPTAIN) What time is it?


CAPTAIN: Past three! I, er-- I need your help, Mr. Thurston. A few minutes ago, we found a stowaway aboard, an American.


KEN: Well, if I'm mad at him, you'd better talk to him.


CAPTAIN: I can't, he's dead.


KEN: Then neither can I.


CAPTAIN: I think he was murdered! We found marks on his arm from a hypodermic needle.


KEN: (INTERESTED NOW) Well!


CAPTAIN: And he may have been strangled. His face is purple. That may mean something.


KEN: Unless he blushed a lot.


CAPTAIN: What? I don't understand you.


KEN: Be right with you, captain, as soon as I get into some clothes. Meantime, you'd better hold that doctor who came aboard for questioning.


CAPTAIN: Oh, we can't.


KEN: Don't tell me he's dead.


CAPTAIN: He left the ship an hour ago.


KEN: He said he was going to stay aboard.


CAPTAIN: We set him ashore at his request. He must have changed his mind.


KEN: Or, on the other hand, captain, maybe he didn't change his mind.


MUSIC: MYSTERIOUS BRIDGE


SOUND: KEN AND CAPTAIN'S FOOTSTEPS


CAPTAIN: Here, Mr. Thurston.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


PEGON: Ah! Mr. Thurston!


KEN: Pegon, what are you doing here?


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--


PEGON: I'm inspecting the corpus delectus. Here.


KEN: (SUSPICIOUS) All right, Pegon, where's his stuff?


CAPTAIN: On the table here.


KEN: Oh. (EXAMINES ITEMS, TO HIMSELF) Wallet. "Name, William Harberman. Age, thirty-nine. American citizen." No money in the wallet. You'd think-- (SHARPLY) Pegon?


PEGON: (DEFENSIVE) Oh. Oh, no, Mr. Thurston! I wouldn't rob a dead man. Besides he was flat broke.


SOUND: PAPERS SHUFFLED BEHIND--


KEN: (EXAMINES PAPERS) Nothing to help us. Passport. No American references. Relatives, none. Oh, what's this?


PEGON: You found some money?


KEN: (READS) "Employed, Acme Refineries, Middle East Division." (TO HIMSELF) Everybody belongs to the club. (TO CAPTAIN) Captain, you'd better see that no one leaves the ship. When it docks in the morning, we can screen the passengers.


CAPTAIN: (MOVING OFF) Yah, I'll instruct the ship's officers right away.


KEN: (TO HIMSELF) Now, why does an obscure man die a violent death without reason or cause? A king or the head of a state, yes, their deaths are predictable or explainable. But this--


PEGON: You took the words right out of my teeth.


KEN: (MUSES) A man nobody ever heard of. But he must have died for a reason. Pegon, those are the important deaths -- because sometimes the reason is big enough to alter boundary lines or make a star tremble! That's why it's important! Because nobody bothers to investigate. Nobody bothers to ask why.


MUSIC: EXISTENTIAL BRIDGE


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR


ELEANOR: (BEHIND DOOR) Just a moment.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


ELEANOR: Well, Mr. Thurston! You interrupted a dream. What time is it?


KEN: About, er, four a. m. May I come in?


ELEANOR: If you don't mind filling in the dream. Come in.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES


ELEANOR: Sit down.


KEN: Thanks.


ELEANOR: Well, what's on your mind, Mr. Thurston?


KEN: A couple of things.


ELEANOR: One of them's about the way we met.


KEN: Mm hmm.


ELEANOR: Well, you're right. It wasn't accidental. I wanted to meet you.


KEN: Why?


ELEANOR: If I told you it was personal, you'd be shocked. If I didn't, you'd go hang yourself. So stop worrying, Ken.


KEN: Ah.


ELEANOR: Oh, you don't mind my calling you Ken? It's, er, much shorter than Mr. X.


KEN: Oh. Pegon has a big mouth.


ELEANOR: Yes. Even bigger pockets. What else?


KEN: What do you know about a man named William Harberman?


ELEANOR: He sounds dull.


KEN: He's dead.


ELEANOR: Oh, I'm sure he's dull.


KEN: Somebody found him interesting. He was killed aboard this ship, tonight -- between the time your doctor arrived and left. That involves you.


ELEANOR: Not enough to prove anything.


KEN: Someone used a hypodermic on him.


ELEANOR: I traded mine for a rifle. Better find someone else, darling. Your, uh, first guess isn't a bad one. Maybe the doctor came aboard and killed him. Maybe I planned it that way. But you're too smart to cut out a job that big. Try it my way, darling. 


KEN: Maybe I can learn. What's your way?


ELEANOR: Give me the package Harberman was carrying and I'll tell you who killed him. 


KEN: Well, you're as broke as I am. I don't have the package and you don't know who killed him.


ELEANOR: I know this much -- you knew he was aboard, you knew he worked for Acme. Now, may I have the package?


KEN: I didn't know he had one. 


ELEANOR: You're too stubborn, darling. Somebody ought to cure you. They ought to cure you or kill you.


KEN: And I'll bet you could do either.


ELEANOR: It'd make too much noise if I tried to kill you.


KEN: And I'd probably scream if you tried to cure me.


ELEANOR: (CHUCKLES) Oh, no, you wouldn't.


KEN: Well, I, um, I might delay the scream. 


ELEANOR: (CHUCKLES, MOVES IN FOR A KISS) Then scream or relax, darling. 


SOUND: PAUSE AS THEY KISS


ELEANOR: (INTENSE) Oh, Ken, I need your help.


KEN: I'll help you all I can.


ELEANOR: I need that package. You can help me by giving it to me now.


KEN: You make it sound very valuable.


ELEANOR: Do I get it, Ken?


KEN: You've got the right talent, but the wrong guy.


ELEANOR: (ICY) Suit yourself, darling. I wanted to make it easy for you.


KEN: You did?


ELEANOR: Yes. But from now on, Mr. X, it's going to be tough!


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


[COMMERCIAL OMITTED]


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: And now to continue with Frigidaire's MAN CALLED X, starring Herbert Marshall!


Investigating the mysterious blowing up of oil refineries in the Middle East, Ken Thurston hopped a ship to the port of Larna Volak. During the trip, he's run across a phony doctor and a very beautiful girl who seems to know more than she will tell, and who knows that Ken is "The Man Called X." Now, still aboard the ship, we find Mr. X in the dining saloon, talking to his ubiquitous shadow Pegon Zellschmidt, who, it's obvious, has a mouthful.


PEGON: (MOUTH FULL OF FOOD) But, Mr. Thurston, I've got to finish my breakfast.


KEN: Your stomach can wait, Pegon. The boat is docked and I want you to get down to the cable office for me.


PEGON: And leave this oatmeal?


KEN: Send this dispatch to the London office of Acme Refineries. I need a complete dossier on one of our passengers.


PEGON: Oh, all right.


CAPTAIN: (APPROACHES) Uh, Mr. Thurston--?


KEN: Oh, good morning, captain. Have you the list of passengers?


CAPTAIN: Yah, they've all gathered on the afterdeck. The mates started rounding up people as soon as we docked.


KEN: You got them all? (NO ANSWER) Well?


CAPTAIN: Er, all, except two.


KEN: (DISAPPOINTED) Oh. You don't have to tell me who they are.


CAPTAIN: I don't understand how it happened, Mr. Thurston. I - I warned the mates.


KEN: Never mind. Let the rest of them go.


CAPTAIN: Mr. Thurston, I'm afraid I've bungled.


KEN: (IRRITATED) I'm afraid you have the best case of butterfingers in the Middle East! Did you radio back about Dr. Fertig?


CAPTAIN: Yah, and you were right. The station there has no Dr. Fertig on record! But a man answering his description boarded the Kratan Express, bound for Larna Volak.


KEN: Then he got here ahead of us! And, by now, he's no longer Dr. Fertig.


PEGON: Mr. Thurston, I can look for him. I have many friends here.


KEN: No, no, Pegon, you tour the town and see what you can find out about Eleanor Whitsell. Report to me at the hotel.


PEGON: Where are you going?


KEN: To see what made William Harberman tick. But the trail's so cold now, I'll be lucky to find anything.


CAPTAIN: I'm sorry, Mr. Thurston. I bungled.


KEN: Yes, you bungled.


CAPTAIN: Is there - anything I can do?


KEN: (DRY) Would you do it, Captain?


MUSIC: BRIDGE


KEN: (INTO PHONE) Mm, thank you, operator. Well, how about the cablegram? No answer to the London message? (BEAT) No, no, keep it at the desk; I'll pick it up. Thanks.


SOUND: RECEIVER DOWN 


KEN: (TO HIMSELF) Well.


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR


KEN: (CALLS) Come in!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


PEGON: (APPROACHES) Mr. Thurston? I have much information!


KEN: Yes, Pegon?


PEGON: The girl is staying at the El Mundo. It is right down the street.


KEN: Good boy!


PEGON: But she isn't there now.


KEN: What?


PEGON: She's gone! She stayed a couple of hours and then rented a car and left.


KEN: Where'd she go?


PEGON: For a slight consideration, the car man said she mentioned the Dalmain Road!


KEN: What's on the Dalmain Road? Why should she go there?


PEGON: I can find out.


KEN: No, no thanks, I can't afford it.


PEGON: (PROTESTS) But, Mr. Thurston, I'm starving to death! I'm starving by the inches!


KEN: When you get up around three feet, let me know.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: KEN AND PEGON'S FOOTSTEPS ... THEN IN BG


PEGON: What are we doing in this place? Who lives here?


KEN: A man named Harry Slatkin.


PEGON: Is he dead?


KEN: Will you please get over the idea that everybody we go to see is dead?


PEGON: Then why are we going to see him?


KEN: Harberman shared this apartment with him. I checked his record at Acme Refineries.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS STOP ... KNOCK ON DOOR ... NO ANSWER ... KNOCK AGAIN


PEGON: Hmph. He's out.


KEN: Well, that's our story. Come on.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS, THEN CLOSES BEHIND--


KEN: May as well have a look around. (SEES SOMETHING) Ahhh.


PEGON: Mr. Thurston, you wouldn't open that drawer.


KEN: 'Course not. 


SOUND: DRAWER OPENS


KEN: Nothing here, Pegon-- Well, what about this?


SOUND: PAPERS SHUFFLED


PEGON: What kind of writing is that?


KEN: Chemical formulae. (PRONOUNCED FORM-yew-lee) That would make Slatkin a plant chemist. And this one -- powerful explosive.


SOUND: DRAWER SHUT


PEGON: (LOOKS AT CALENDAR) He sure has lots of dates. Very popular.


KEN: Huh?


PEGON: This calendar -- so many days circled.


KEN: Let me see. (READS) "March first, March nineteenth, April second" -- and the last one's today! Pegon! The dates of those explosions.


PEGON: Oh.


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS BEHIND--


KEN: Come on. Let's see what else is in this apartment.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... WATER RUNNING, OFF


KEN: What's that?


PEGON: Water running.


KEN: In the bathroom. 


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS TO BATHROOM DOOR WHICH OPENS ... WATER RUNNING LOUDER


KEN: Bathtub - overflowing. (SEES BODY) Oh, well, doesn't he look pretty?


PEGON: Is, uh--? Is he dead, Mr. X?


KEN: (DRY) Well, if he isn't, he'd better come up for air.


PEGON: He shouldn't have taken a bath -- it's bad luck! Bad luck. But who is he?


KEN: Could be Harry Slatkin.


FERTIG: (OFF) I'll vote that way, too, Thurston.


PEGON: (SURPRISED) Who?


KEN: Well, Dr. Fertig. Or have you stopped being doctor? That doesn't look like a scalpel in your hand.


FERTIG: (CLOSER) The man's dead.


KEN: The girl says you killed Harberman, too.


FERTIG: I got to both of them too late.


KEN: That's not the way I got it from the girl. And she says you've got the package Harberman was carrying.


FERTIG: (INTENSE) Give me that formula, Thurston.


KEN: (PLAYING DUMB) Formula?


FERTIG: (NOT BUYING IT) It was in the desk; give it to me! Empty your pockets.


KEN: Sure, yeah.


SOUND: KEN'S POCKETS EMPTIED (SPARE CHANGE, KEYS, ET CETERA)


FERTIG: (DISSATISFIED) Ah. (TO PEGON) You! Empty your pockets!


PEGON: (FALSE BRAVADO) Hmph! I refuse!


FERTIG: (GRUNTS AS--)


SOUND: FERTIG SLAPS PEGON


PEGON: I agree!


SOUND: PEGON'S POCKETS EMPTIED 


FERTIG: (DISSATISFIED) Ah. 


KEN: Too late again, eh?


FERTIG: Somebody got the chemical mix from Harberman. Now somebody's got the formula from Slatkin.


KEN: Why not find the girl?


FERTIG: (INSPIRED) Yeah.


KEN: I'll give you a push. She rode out the Dalmain Road.


FERTIG: That's bad.


KEN: What's out there? As if I didn't know.


FERTIG: Don't waste a guess.


KEN: The main pipeline?


FERTIG: Right to the main Acme plant!


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: CAR INTERIOR ... DRIVING


PEGON: It doesn't make sense, Mr. X.


KEN: Nothing makes sense, Pegon -- especially Frederick Ackley. It doesn't add up. He forced a conversation to talk about a spy named Blackmore. But why?


PEGON: What about the cablegram?


KEN: The description tallies all around. (READS) "Age, sixty-five. Former board chairman. Let off because of failing memory, advanced age."


PEGON: He was afraid of this Blackmore?


KEN: Either that or he is Blackmore! (SEES SOMETHING) Whoa--


SOUND: CAR PULLS TO A HALT


PEGON: What's the matter?


KEN: The girl's car. There, by the little shack. Come on!


SOUND: CAR DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE ... THEIR FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


PEGON: I hope she didn't see our headlights.


KEN: Quiet now. Through this brush.


PEGON: I don't see her anywhere.


KEN: Sh! With luck, she's on the other side of that shanty.


ELEANOR: (OFF) You're bad on directions, darling. I'm over here, behind you.


KEN: Well. What is this, National Pistol Week? Eleanor, I want that package of chemicals.


ELEANOR: (OFF) Would I have it?


KEN: Here at the juncture of the main pipeline? Yes. But you've blown up enough oil tanks. I want it.


ELEANOR: (OFF) Don't we all?


KEN: I'm going to take it away from you.


ELEANOR: (OFF) Stay back! Stay away, Ken. I'm the ugly type! Stay away from me.


KEN: Can't stop now, lady.


ELEANOR: (APPROACHES) All right, big shot. You take the gun. Here. Now you shoot somebody.


PEGON: (NERVOUS) Watch out, Mr. Thurston, it's a trick!


KEN: I don't think so.


ELEANOR: Would I be standing out here in the cold, if I had that package? That or the formula means a lot of money to me.


KEN: Would to your doctor friend, too.


ELEANOR: You - talked to him?


KEN: He did the talking.


ELEANOR: (FRIGHTENED) You told him I'm out here? Oh, darling, we've got to move fast.


KEN: Why?


ELEANOR: I wasn't lying to you. I don't have that package. I was waiting out here to take it away from him. Now you've made it easy for him to double-cross me! He'll go to the secondary pumping station.


KEN: Then come on!


ELEANOR: And when you talk to him, darling, you can call him Mr. Blackmore! He'll understand.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ELEANOR: (WHISPERS INTENSELY) Look! There he is, over by the pump. There's somebody with him.


KEN: Ackley, of course.


ELEANOR: Then come on!


SOUND: THREE GUNSHOTS, OFF


KEN: (BEAT) Well, there's no hurrying now. (BEAT, CALMLY) Hello, Ackley. I see you found your man Blackmore.


ACKLEY: (MATTER-OF-FACT) Yes. Deucedly obliging. He came to me. A wretched way to die though; begging.


KEN: Where's that chemical mix?


ACKLEY: Already in the pumpline. A few minutes ago. Here! You can see better from over here. Now over that way.


SOUND: BEAT ... THEN BIG EXPLOSION, OFF


KEN: The last of the Acme properties.


ACKLEY: Yes. I started them, built them up from nothing -- and I destroyed them.


KEN: What about Harberman? Slatkin?


ACKLEY: Those wretched people? They were made to be destroyed! They agreed to do this thing for me; I paid them well for it. But then they tried to hold me up for more -- to blackmail me instead! Then the doctor and this girl tried to get in on it -- tried to get hold of the chemicals for blackmail evidence of their own.


KEN: So you stole the chemicals to do it yourself.


ACKLEY: Yes. (BEAT, GENUINELY CURIOUS) When did you know, Thurston?


KEN: Not at first. Then I began to wonder which of you people was out of character. You were. A known recluse and yet you insisted on a lot of conversation for no good reason; a failing memory, but you remembered trivialities.


ACKLEY: Yes, yes.


KEN: But more than that -- a motive! The others had greed. But what was greater than greed? What was a darker sin? (BEAT) Pride. 


ACKLEY: Yes. Enough to touch one with madness, I suppose. I built these fields and they took them away from me. Said I couldn't run them any more. Yes, pride. Such a big sin for such a small world.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE AT "SUCH A BIG SIN" ... CONTINUES BEHIND--


KEN: The biggest of sins, Ackley, because it touches people in the highest places. It once caused disorder in the heavens and sent an angel sprawling ino the darkness! So what could it do but touch us, here below?


MUSIC: UP, FOR CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: Frigidaire star Herbert Marshall will return in just a moment.


[COMMERCIAL OMITTED]


MUSIC: FANFARE


ANNOUNCER: And now Frigidaire star Herbert Marshall.


MARSHALL: Thanks for being with us. And next week I promise you another story filled with suspense and mystery. As usual, there'll be Leon Belasco along as Pegon Zellschmidt. So join us, won't you, when next I return as THE MAN CALLED X! Good night. 


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


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: Frigidaire's MAN CALLED X was directed by Jack Johnstone, with music composed and conducted by Johnny Green. So until next week -- same time, same station -- this is Wendell Niles speaking for Frigidaire, made only by General Motors. All characters and incidents used are fictitious. Any resemblence to actual persons or incidents is purely coincidental. This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


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