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The Speckled Band

Sherlock Holmes

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Nov 12 1945



CAST:

ANNOUNCER, Harry Bartell

DR. JOHN H. WATSON 

SHERLOCK HOLMES 

MRS. HUDSON, Scottish accent

HELEN STONER, the girl

DR. ROYLOTT, ill-tempered and villainous

BABOON, cries eerily




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: STING


ANNOUNCER: --Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."


MUSIC: UP AND 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. And if you don't mind, I'd like to suggest something that you might share with your friends; and that something is a glass of Sherry before dinner -- naturally, a glass of Petri California Sherry. I say Petri Sherry because it's the perfect before-dinner wine. You couldn't think of a better way to begin a meal. That Petri Sherry has a beautiful, inviting color like - like dark amber. And for flavor-- Well, you've heard Sherry described many times as having a rich nutlike flavor, but if you want to learn for the first time what those words, "rich" and "nutlike," really mean, you just taste Petri Sherry. It's wonderful. Serve Petri Sherry by itself, or serve it with hors d'oeuvres, or - or those little cocktail sandwiches. And, incidentally, if you prefer your Sherry dry -- you know, not sweet -- just ask your wine merchant for Petri Pale Dry Sherry. Well, the important thing to remember is if you want Sherry, you want Petri Sherry because that means good Sherry.


MUSIC: THEME 


ANNOUNCER: And now let's look in on our genial friend and good host, Dr. Watson. Good evening, doctor.


WATSON: Good evening, Mr. Bartell. Punctual to the minute, as usual.


ANNOUNCER: Never keep a doctor waiting, I always say -- particularly Dr. Watson. 


WATSON: (CHUCKLES) Draw up a chair, my boy.


ANNOUNCER: Thank you.


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPE


WATSON: That's it. That's it. That's it.


ANNOUNCER: All ready to tell us the Sherlock Holmes adventure of the Speckled Band, doctor?


WATSON: Yes, I'm all ready, Mr. Bartell.


ANNOUNCER: Say, doctor, just what does the Speckled Band mean?


WATSON: (MOCK STERN) You wait until I've told you the story, young fellow, my lad. You'll find out for yourself.


ANNOUNCER: (CHUCKLES) Sorry. The floor is all yours, doctor.


WATSON: "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" began on a rainy April morning in Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-Three. An urgent call from one of my patients had kept me up most of the night before, and, in consequence, I came down to my breakfast rather later than usual to find that Holmes had already left our house some hours earlier. As I sat there reading the morning paper and consuming my two lightly boiled eggs, there was a knock at the door. It opened to disclose a typical example of the British working man -- a bag of tools in one hand, and a grimy cap in the other -- as he spoke to me from the doorway.


SOUND: HOLMES' STEPS IN


HOLMES: (COCKNEY ACCENT) You sent for me, Mr. 'Olmes? 


WATSON: I am not Mr. Holmes.


HOLMES: (COCKNEY ACCENT) Oh, beg your pardon, governor. But I've come to mend the gas bracket over the mantelpiece.


WATSON: Oh? What's wrong with it? 


HOLMES: (COCKNEY ACCENT) It's got a leak in it.


WATSON: Oh. A leak? Well-- Well, get along with your work. 


HOLMES: (COCKNEY ACCENT) Yes, sir. 'Ope I won't be disturbing you, sir. 


WATSON: No, no, no. That's all right, my man. Don't mind me, don't mind me.


HOLMES: (COCKNEY ACCENT) Oh, dear. Very untidy man Mr. 'Olmes, sir. 


WATSON: What do you mean by that?


HOLMES: (COCKNEY ACCENT) Well, you can't 'elp noticin' the mess this room's in. I've 'eard say he was as tidy as any when it started. But he learned bad 'abits from a bloke what lived with him. (MOVING OFF) Er, Dr. Watson I think his name is.


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPE AS WATSON RISES BEHIND--


WATSON: (INDIGNANT) You impertinent fellow! How dare you to talk to me like that? I've got a good mind-- (SURPRISED) Oh-- Where in blazes did he go to?


SOUND: WATSON'S STEPS TO DOOR


WATSON: (CALLS) Here! You come out of there! That's Mr. Holmes' room!


HOLMES: (APPROACHES, NORMAL VOICE) Don't be angry with me, Watson--


WATSON: (STARTLED) What?


HOLMES: --for slipping out of these grimy rags into a dressing gown.


WATSON: (AMUSED) Good gracious me. It's only you, Holmes. Well-- (CHUCKLES) Upon my soul, I - I never recognized you, but-- (CHUCKLES) Why the disguise?


HOLMES: A case, my dear Watson, a case. One of those small problems which a trusting public occasionally confides to my investigation. (LIGHTLY) Ah, ha. To the British workman, ol' chap, all doors are open. His costume is unostentatious and his habits are sociable. Tool bag is an excellent passport, and a tawny mustache will secure the, er -- ha, ha! -- cooperation of the maids.


WATSON: But what's the case, Holmes?


HOLMES: Oh, a modest little drama of life in the kitchen. One of those seemingly inconsequential affairs, and yet, Watson, the honor of a duchess is at stake.


WATSON: Duchess?


HOLMES: "A Mad World, My Masters, a Mad World." (EXHALES) Ah! Now I feel a little more comfortable. Let's return to the sitting room, shall we? A strong cup of tea would be most acceptable.


SOUND: THEIR STEPS TO SITTING ROOM


WATSON: Oh, I wish you'd tell me about the duchess and life in the kitchen, Holmes.


HOLMES: Some other time, old fellow, some other time. At the moment, suppose you tell me what you know about Miss Helen Stoner. I received a letter from her this morning in which she informed me that she would be calling here at eleven and also that she was a friend of yours.


WATSON: Helen Stoner? Oh, yes, yes. Charming girl indeed. 


HOLMES: Well, pour me a cup of tea, Watson, and tell me about her. 


SOUND: TEA FIXED, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


WATSON: Well, I befriended her at the time of the tragic death of her sister two years ago. I told you about the case, don't you remember? The sudden death of Violet Stoner at an old house in Stoke Moran.


HOLMES: Oh, yes, yes, yes. It all comes back to me now. There was a-- There was an inquest, wasn't there? With a string of stupid ineffective witnesses.


WATSON: Huh? Ineffective--? I was one of them.


HOLMES: Oh, I'm sorry, old fellow. Then you were the exception, of course. Wait a minute, wait a minute, let me see. 


SOUND: HOLMES' STEPS TO DESK, PICKS UP SCRAPBOOK AND FLIPS THROUGH IT, IN AGREEMENT WITH--


HOLMES: (MOVING SLIGHTLY OFF) I docketed the evidence on the case. Where is it? Uh, my scrapbook. Ah, here we are, here we are. Let me see. (RETURNS) "S," "S," "S." "Salisbury hatchet murder," "Lord Sensi--" Here we are, here we are. "Stoke Moran." Yes. I remember the affair well now. The villain of the piece was Dr. Grimesby Roylott, wasn't he?


WATSON: Yes, a dreadful fellow. He's the stepfather of the two girls: Violet, the one that died so mysteriously; and Helen, the one who's coming here to see you.


HOLMES: Dr. Roylott has a pretty record. (READS) "Fifty-five years of age. Killed his kitmagar in India. Once in an insane asylum. Married money. Wife died. Distinguished surgeon." Well, Watson, hmm. I wonder what the distinguished surgeon has been up to now?


WATSON: Oh, some deviltry I fear. 


HOLMES: Why do you say that?


WATSON: You remember that Miss Violet Stoner's death followed close upon the announcement of her engagement?


HOLMES: Yes.


WATSON: Well, I met Miss Helen Stoner on the streets a few weeks ago. She told me that she'd just become engaged to a young fellow in the Army who's leaving for the Far East. She was very upset at the thought of being alone with her stepfather at Stoke Moran.


HOLMES: Oh, naturally she was. Hmmm. Dr. Roylott stands to lose a considerable sum of money in the event of his stepdaughter's marriage.


WATSON: Yes. They both had a trust fund which he administered only as long as the girls were unmarried. That fact was brought out at the coroner's inquest two years ago. But if Roylott did poison the other stepdaughter, and I'm pretty convinced that he did, it seems unlikely that he'd try it again. Two sudden deaths in the same household could hardly pass the coroner.


HOLMES: Oh, no, my dear Watson. You're making the mistake of putting your normal brain into Roylott's abnormal being.


SOUND: VICTORIAN DOORBELL


WATSON: Oh, that - that must be Miss Stoner now.


HOLMES: Yes. Let me see. It's precisely eleven o'clock. Well, let's see what we can do for her.


WATSON: Well, I hope you can help her, Holmes. She's an extremely nice girl.


SOUND: KNOCK ON DOOR


HOLMES: Come in.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


HOLMES: Yes, Mrs. Hudson? 


MRS. HUDSON: There's a Miss Helen Stoner to see you, sir. She says she has an appointment. 


HOLMES: Show her in please, Mrs. Hudson. 


MRS. HUDSON: Aye, sir. 


SOUND: MRS. H'S STEPS RETREAT


MRS. HUDSON: (OFF) Come in, my dear. 


HELEN: (OFF) Thank you. 


WATSON: Oh, oh, Miss Stoner, I'm - I'm so glad to see you again. 


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


HELEN: How do you do, Dr. Watson? And this must be your friend.


HOLMES: Yes, Miss Stoner, I'm Sherlock Holmes. Sit down by the fire, won't you? 


WATSON: Yes, yes, yes. Please do, my dear. (SURPRISED) Hello, you're - you're trembling with cold.


HELEN: It's not cold that makes me shiver. Tell me, Mr. Holmes, has my stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Roylott, been here?


HOLMES: No, he hasn't.


HELEN: He saw me in the street. I dashed by him in a Hansom cab, but he saw me. Our eyes met and he waved me to stop, but I came here as fast as I could.


HOLMES: Very sensible move. Dr. Watson has already given me several hints as to your present problem as well has having refreshed my memory as to the circumstances of your sister's death.


HELEN: My problem is a simple enough one, Mr. Holmes. I'm - I'm waiting to be murdered.


WATSON: Now, now, now, my dear girl--


HOLMES: Uh, be a trifle more explicit, Miss Stoner.


HELEN: Very well, Mr. Holmes. (INCREASINGLY EMOTIONAL) My fiancé is leaving for the Far East today. When he leaves, I shall be alone with my stepfather at Stoke Moran. He plans to murder me just as he murdered my sister!


HOLMES: Shhh. What makes you say that, Miss Stoner?


HELEN: (TEARFUL) Many strange things have happened recently. For instance, he's just moved me into the bedroom in which my sister died.


WATSON: What reason did he give for changing your room?


HELEN: That my old one needed repainting. It didn't need it! But Dr. Roylott did need to move me into that horrible room. And other things have happened. I - I've heard the music again.


HOLMES: Music? What music?


HELEN: My sister first heard it a few days before she died. I heard it myself on that dreadful night she breathed her last. (OVERWROUGHT) Oh, Mr. Holmes, I'm terrified! (WEEPS, IN BG)


HOLMES: Don't worry, my dear; please don't worry any more. You have friends to help you now. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?


HELEN: (BEAT, MORE COMPOSED) No. Of course not.


HOLMES: Now this music. Does it seem to come from inside the house or outside?


HELEN: Well, it - it's hard to say. It - it sounds so faint.


HOLMES: What's it like?


HELEN: A sort of soft droning sound.


HOLMES: Like a flute or a pipe?


HELEN: Yes. It - it reminds me of native music I heard during my childhood in India.


WATSON: India, eh? Oh.


HELEN: There's one other thing that puzzles me, Mr. Holmes.


HOLMES: Oh? What's that?


HELEN: My sister's dying words. As she lay in my arms, she gasped out two words.


HOLMES: Oh? What were they?


HELEN: "Band" -- and "Speckled." You remember that evidence from the inquest, don't you, Dr. Watson?


WATSON: Yes, yes, yes, I do. I couldn't make head or tail of it.


HOLMES: (THOUGHTFUL) Ah-- "Band," "speckled" -- Indian music. (BUSINESSLIKE) Miss Stoner, do you sleep with your door and windows fastened?


HELEN: Yes, Mr. Holmes, but so did poor Violet. It didn't save her, though.


HOLMES: What did you gather from your sister's dying allusion to the band -- the speckled band?


HELEN: Well, sometimes I thought it was merely the wild talk of delirium. And sometimes that it referred to a band of people.


HOLMES: Oh, yes.


HELEN: I remember that there were some gypsies encamped quite near us at the time of Violet's death.


HOLMES: Gypsies, eh?


HELEN: Yes. And it occurred to me that the spotted, gaily colored kerchiefs, which so many of them wear over their heads, might have suggested the unusual adjective which my sister used.


WATSON: Miss Stoner, how long is it since you heard this strange music that you've told us about?


HELEN: I heard it last night. 


HOLMES: Your fiancé leaves today, you say? 


HELEN: Yes, Mr. Holmes.


HOLMES: Well, Miss Stoner, I shall do everything I can to help you. If we were to come to Stoke Moran today, would it be possible to see over your rooms without the knowledge of your stepfather?


HELEN: I - I think so. He told me this morning that he intended to take a late train home tonight.


HOLMES: Ah, that's splendid. Watson, out with the timetable, old fellow, and look up the trains to Stoke Moran.


WATSON: Right you are, Holmes.


SOUND: VICTORIAN DOORBELL


HELEN: (GASPS) That's my stepfather. I know it is! 


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS TO WINDOW


HELEN: (OFF) Oh, yes! Yes, there he is on the doorstep! Oh, Mr. Holmes, he's followed me! 


SOUND: HELEN'S STEPS TO HOLMES


HELEN: Oh, what shall I do? If he finds me here, he'll be--!


HOLMES: Don't worry, Miss Stoner. Please don't worry. There's a private exit through that room there. Watson, show her the way, will you?


WATSON: Come along with me, my young lady.


HELEN: And - and you will come down today, Mr. Holmes?


HOLMES: Certainly, my dear Miss Stoner. I'll telegraph you the time of our arrival. Goodbye and courage, my dear.


HELEN: Goodbye, Mr. Holmes, and thank you. 


WATSON: (MOVING OFF) Come along, Miss Stoner, quickly! 


SOUND: WATSON AND HELEN'S STEPS EXIT THROUGH SIDE DOOR WHICH OPENS AND SHUTS ... KNOCK ON DOOR


HOLMES: Come in. 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


HOLMES: Yes, Mrs. Hudson?


MRS. HUDSON: It's a gentleman, sir. I told him you wouldn't see anyone without an appointment but he--


ROYLOTT: Out of the way, woman! 


MRS. HUDSON: (ANNOYED) Dinna push me like that! (APOLOGETIC) I'm sorry, Mr. Holmes. 


HOLMES: That's all right, Mrs. Hudson, you can leave us. 


MRS. HUDSON: (MOVING OFF, WITH DISGUST) What kind of gentleman does he call himself, pushing an old lady?


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


ROYLOTT: So you're Sherlock Holmes!


HOLMES: You have the advantage of me, sir. Your name is, ah--?


ROYLOTT: My name, sir, is Roylott! Dr. Grimesby Roylott of Stoke Moran!


HOLMES: Oh, yes, yes, of course. A charming place I hear, and obviously good for the lungs.


ROYLOTT: You won't trifle with me, if know what's good for you! 


HOLMES: Ah. 


SOUND: SIDE DOOR OPENS ... WATSON'S STEPS IN


HOLMES: Oh, Watson, there you are.


SOUND: SIDE DOOR CLOSES ... WATSON'S STEPS IN 


HOLMES: And how was the, uh -- uh, the experiment?


WATSON: Very successful, Holmes. Good day to you, Dr. Roylott. I haven't seen you since I gave evidence at your stepdaughter's inquest.


ROYLOTT: Yes. Yes, I remember you, Dr. Watson. Now listen to me, you two. My stepdaughter's been here. I've traced her! What's she been saying to you?


HOLMES: It's a little cold for this time of the year, isn't it? 


ROYLOTT: You answer me!


HOLMES: I hear that the crocuses promise well.


ROYLOTT: You dare to try and put me off, do you? I know you, you scoundrel. You're Holmes, the meddler!


HOLMES: Am I? 


ROYLOTT: Holmes, the busy body! 


HOLMES: I believe that a man should occupy his time. 


ROYLOTT: Holmes, the Scotland Yard Jack-in-Office! 


HOLMES: Ah, when you go out, close the door, won't you? There's a draft. 


ROYLOTT: I'll go when I've had my say! Keep your nose out of my affairs, do you hear?!


HOLMES: Oh, yes. My hearing is excellent, thank you; and your diction and delivery, most forceful. But time flies, my dear doctor. Time flies, and life has its duties as well as its pleasures. Goodbye.


ROYLOTT: Insolent rascal! Here!


SOUND: ROYLOTT'S STEPS TO FIREPLACE ... GRABS METAL POKER


ROYLOTT: See this poker?!


HOLMES: (AMUSED, LIGHTLY) Oh, the fire doesn't need poking, thank you, doctor. But I - I should be obliged if you'd put some more coal on for me.


ROYLOTT: You laugh at me! You don't know my strength! Look! (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT) There! Your poker's bent double!


SOUND: METAL POKER THROWN TO FLOOR


ROYLOTT: That's what I'll do to both of you -- if you don't keep out of my affairs!


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, ROYLOTT'S STEPS TO DOOR ... THEN DOOR OPENS AND SLAMS SHUT LOUDLY AS HE EXITS


HOLMES: I had a presentiment that he'd slam the door.


WATSON: (RELIEVED) Shoo. He's an ugly customer, Holmes.


HOLMES: Literally as well as figuratively. Watson, I'd be much obliged if you'd get your revolver. It may prove to be an excellent argument with a gentleman who twists iron pokers into knots.


WATSON: Mm, fellow's amazingly strong. Just look at it!


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, HOLMES' STEPS TO POKER ... THEN HOLMES PICKS UP POKER


HOLMES: I don't want to appear flamboyant, but, uh-- (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT) There we are.


WATSON: (ASTONISHED) Great Scott, Holmes! You've straightened the poker out again.


HOLMES: Yes, it was utterly useless in its former shape. And now, Watson, the timetable. We'll catch the next fast train to Stoke Moran!


MUSIC: BRIDGE


HELEN: Oh, Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson; I'm so relieved that you've come. But don't you think my stepfather might have followed you down here?


HOLMES: We have to take that chance, Miss Stoner. A few hours' delay might mean the difference between your life and death. It was imperative that we examine this bedroom of yours before Dr. Roylott returns.


WATSON: Anyway, my dear, you mustn't worry any more. We're here in your house and we're going to take good care of you -- no matter what harm befalls you.


HELEN: Oh, thank you, Dr. Watson.


HOLMES: So this is the room in which your sister died, is it? Hmmm. It's much as I pictured it.


WATSON: Um-- And Dr. Roylott's room adjoins this one you say, Miss Stoner?


HELEN: Yes, doctor, on that side. The room which adjoins it on the other side is my regular bedroom.


HOLMES: The one that's being so conveniently painted, eh?


HELEN: Yes.


HOLMES: Well, let's examine this room. 


SOUND: HOLMES WALKS AROUND THE ROOM TAPPING ON THE WALLS, IN BG


HOLMES: (SLIGHTLY OFF) No trap doors or sliding panels, I suppose.


WATSON: (PAUSE) It sounds solid enough, Holmes.


SOUND: TAPPING OUT WITH--


HOLMES: (RETURNS) Yes, I think it is. (WITH INTEREST) Hello. What's this?


SOUND: METAL BEDSPRINGS ... RATTLE OF BED MOVING UP AND DOWN


HOLMES: Are you aware that this bed is clamped to the floor, Miss Stoner?


HELEN: Why, no. No, Mr. Holmes, I didn't know that.


WATSON: What an extraordinary thing.


HOLMES: Was the bed in your other room anchored also?


HELEN: Why, no, I don't think it was.


HOLMES: Very illuminating. And this bell-pull hanging against the wall above your bed?


HELEN: Oh, that. It doesn't work.


WATSON: Doesn't work? Well, if you want to ring--?


HELEN: There's another one on the other wall, over there.


HOLMES: Then why this one?


HELEN: Well, I - I don't know. My stepfather made a number of changes after we came here.


HOLMES: Yes, quite a burst of activity apparently. And it took some strange shapes.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, BEDSPRINGS CREAK AS HOLMES CLIMBS UP AND STANDS ON BED


WATSON: Why are you standing on the bed, Holmes?


HOLMES: I'm curious, my dear fellow. Aha! It may interest you to know that this bell-rope is fastened to a brass hook. There's no wire attachment. It's a dummy.


WATSON: A dummy? But why? 


HOLMES: There's a small screen above it. It's a ventilator, I suppose. 


HELEN: Yes, Mr. Holmes. 


HOLMES: (SUSPICION CONFIRMED) Yes. 


SOUND: HOLMES CLIMBS DOWN TO FLOOR


HOLMES: (THOUGHTFUL) A ventilator leading into your stepfather's room. Curious. I notice there's no means of opening the ventilator on this side. It can only be operated from your stepfather's room next door. I wonder if you'd mind taking us in there.


HELEN: Why, of course, Mr. Holmes. Follow me.


SOUND: THEIR STEPS TO ROYLOTT'S DOOR


WATSON: (LOW) What do you make of it, Holmes?


HOLMES: (LOW) There's devil's work afoot, old chap.


HELEN: Here we are, Mr. Holmes.


SOUND: ROYLOTT'S DOOR OPENS ... THEIR STEPS IN


WATSON: Mm, it's much the same as the other room. A bit bigger perhaps.


HOLMES: That large safe against the wall seems to be an unusual piece of bedroom furniture. What is it, Miss Stoner?


HELEN: Um, my stepfather's business papers. 


HOLMES: Oh, yes.


WATSON: You've seen inside it then?


HELEN: Only once, some years ago. I remember that it was full of documents.


HOLMES: What's this saucer of milk doing on top of it? Does Dr. Roylott keep a cat?


HELEN: No, but he does have a cheetah and a baboon as pets. He brought them with him from India.


WATSON: Well, Holmes, a cheetah is just a big cat.


HOLMES: True, but I doubt if a saucer of milk would go very far in satisfying the appetite of a cheetah. Well, I think I've seen enough. This matter is too serious for hesitation. Your life may depend upon your following of my instructions, Miss Stoner.


HELEN: I'll do anything you say, Mr. Holmes. Anything! 


HOLMES: Hmm. Is that the village inn I see through the trees from this window? 


HELEN: Yes, the Queen's Arms. 


HOLMES: Ah, your bedroom windows would be visible from there? 


HELEN: (PUZZLED) Yes, Mr. Holmes.


HOLMES: Very well then. Watson and I will go there now and obtain accommodations. When your stepfather returns, you must confine yourself to your room on the pretense of a headache. You follow me?


HELEN: Perfectly.


HOLMES: When Dr. Roylott retires for the night, you must open your bedroom window and put your lamp on the sill as a signal to us at the inn. Then withdraw quietly to your usual bedroom; the one that's being painted. I'm sure that you could manage there for one night.


HELEN: Of course. But what will you do?


HOLMES: When we get your signal, Dr. Watson and I will come here and spend the night in your dead sister's room. We are going to solve this mystery of the dummy bell-rope and the unusual ventilator and the strange music in the night.


MUSIC: FIRST ACT CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: You'll hear the remainder of Dr. Watson's story in just a second, so I'm just going to point out that at any really important dinner -- you know, like when diplomats get together -- you'll find wine on the table. Because for years it's been a known fact that good wine makes good food taste better. Prove that to yourself tomorrow night by having your dinner together with a glass of Petri Wine. If you prefer a red wine for any meat or meat dish, try a Petri California Burgundy. That rich, hearty red Petri Burgundy is really out of this world. Now, if you'd rather have a subtle, intriguing white wine -- let's say, to go with chicken or fish -- then try Petri California Sauterne. But Sauterne or Burgundy, to make sure it's good, make sure it's Petri, won't you? (BEAT, TO WATSON) Well, doctor, it's a rattling good story so far. What happened next? You went to the local inn, I guess, and waited for that lantern to appear in the bedroom window at Dr. Roylott's house?


WATSON: That's right, Mr. Bartell. We had an early dinner at the Queen's Arms and then retired to our upstairs bedroom -- and sat there side by side, puffing away at our pipes, our eyes staining through the darkness for that telltale lantern to give us the signal that there was dangerous work ahead for us. As we sat there discussing the various aspects of the case, I remember that Holmes was very concerned about my own safety.


HOLMES: You know, Watson, I - I really have some scruples about taking you with me tonight. This is an infernally dangerous business.


WATSON: Well, what about that poor girl, alone in the house with that fiend Roylott? 


HOLMES: I can handle the case by myself, old chap.


WATSON: I'm coming with you, Holmes. You speak of danger. You've evidently seen more in those rooms than was visible to me.


HOLMES: No, but possibly I've deduced a little more, and I imagine you saw all that I did.


WATSON: Well, I saw nothing remarkable except the bell-rope and what purpose that could answer I confess is more than I can imagine.


HOLMES: You saw the ventilator, too.


WATSON: Yes, but I don't think it's such an unusual thing to have an opening between two rooms. It's so small that a mouse could hardly pass through it.


HOLMES: True. But at least you will admit there was a curious sequence of coincidences: a ventilator is constructed; a bell cord is hung from it; a lady sleeps in a bed directly below the ventilator, a bed that is anchored to the floor; a lady dies.


WATSON: Oh, I begin to see what you're driving at, Holmes. (ABRUPT, TENSE) Look, look, look, look! There's the lantern in Miss Stoner's window.


HOLMES: That's our signal, all right. Come on, Watson -- our night's vigil begins.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: WIND BLOWS AND CRICKETS CHIRP, IN BG ... HOLMES AND WATSON'S STEPS IN GRASS TO HOUSE, IN BG


WATSON: Bleh. What a foul night.


HOLMES: Foul night for foul business, Watson. Come on -- through these laurel bushes. It's only another fifty yards to the house.


SOUND: STEPS THROUGH BUSHES


WATSON: The lantern's still burning away in the bedroom window. 


HOLMES: Yes. All the other lights are out. 


WATSON: Including the one in Dr. Roylott's room. He must have gone to sleep. 


HOLMES: To bed possibly, Watson, but not, I think, to sleep. 


SOUND: THEIR STEPS STOP WITH--


BABOON: (EERIE CRY, FROM OFF)


WATSON: Great heavens, Holmes! Look at that frightful creature leaping about in the moonlight!


BABOON: (ANOTHER EERIE CRY, CLOSER)


WATSON: It looks like some hideous child! 


HOLMES: That's Dr. Roylott's pet baboon. 


WATSON: Why, it looks positively human.


HOLMES: Yes, probably a great deal more so than its master. Shh, shhhhh. (LOW) We're directly below the window now. This ivy provides a most convenient ladder. I'll go up first.


WATSON: Be careful, Holmes. Careful. 


SOUND: HOLMES AND WATSON CLIMB THE IVY TO THE WINDOW, IN BG


WATSON: (WITH QUIET EFFORT) Wait a minute here. I hope the thing's strong enough to - to hold us both. We'll look pretty stupid flat on our backs in the mud. 


SOUND: HOLMES CLIMBS THROUGH WINDOW


WATSON: Give me a hand, will you, Holmes? I can't quite get my leg up over this window ledge. 


HOLMES: Here you are.


WATSON: Thanks, old boy. 


SOUND: WATSON CLIMBS THROUGH WINDOW


WATSON: (RELIEVED) Ooh. Say. Shoo.


HOLMES: Now to close the window shutters.


SOUND: SHUTTERS GENTLY CLOSED ... WIND AND CRICKETS OUT


WATSON: This room looks exactly the same as it did this afternoon.


HOLMES: Shhhh. The least sound would be fatal to our plans. Keep the lamp covered, so that if the ventilator is opened from Dr. Roylott's room, no light will show from in there. (BEAT) That's it.


WATSON: Why are you carrying that stick, Holmes? 


HOLMES: I'm prepared for a visitor that I expect before the night is over -- a visitor who'll herald his entrance with faint music from an Indian pipe. 


WATSON: You mean the music is - is a signal?


HOLMES: Exactly, old fellow. The signal to an accomplice who can enter a room with locked doors. An accomplice who kills and leaves no trace.


WATSON: You mean that--?


HOLMES: Shhhh. No more talking, Watson. I'll sit on the edge of the bed here. 


SOUND: BEDSPRINGS SQUEAK


HOLMES: You sit on that chair. Have your revolver ready in case you - you should need it.


WATSON: Right you are, Holmes. 


HOLMES: Have the lantern ready, too. When I shout, "Now!" -- turn the light full on the top of the bell-rope. You understand? 


WATSON: Yes, perfectly.


HOLMES: Good. Now we must wait. Perhaps for some time. But don't go to sleep, Watson; don't go to sleep. Your very life may depend upon it.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: CLOCK STRIKES THREE ... HOLMES AND WATSON WHISPER


HOLMES: Watson? 


WATSON: Yes? 


HOLMES: You're not smoking are you? 


WATSON: No, Holmes. 


HOLMES: I smell tobacco smoke. 


WATSON: Must be drifting through the ventilator. 


HOLMES: Exactly. Dr. Roylott's up. 


SOUND: CREAK OF METAL


MUSIC: EERIE INDIAN PIPE, IN BG


WATSON: Look, look, look, look. There's a tiny shaft of light showing up in the ventilator.


HOLMES: Shhhh! 


MUSIC: EERIE INDIAN PIPE FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG


WATSON: Listen. There's the music.


HOLMES: Yes. Heralding a messenger of death. Have your lantern ready, Watson.


MUSIC: LOUDER ... EERIE INDIAN PIPE FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG


HOLMES: (YELLS) Now, Watson! Now!


SOUND: HOLMES STEPS ONTO BED


WATSON: Great heavens! It's a snake slithering down the bell rope!


SOUND: WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! OF HOLMES' STICK HITTING THE BELL-ROPE, IN BG--


HOLMES: (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT)


WATSON: You can't kill it with that stick, Holmes! Out of the way! Let me get a shot at it!


HOLMES: (WITH EFFORT) I'm trying to drive it back the way it came! (TO SNAKE) Get out! Ugh! 


WATSON: There it goes! Back through the ventilator!


SOUND: WHACKING STOPS


MUSIC: EERIE INDIAN PIPE FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG


WATSON: Oh! What a fiendish plan! 


MUSIC: EERIE INDIAN PIPE FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN STOPS


ROYLOTT: (DISTANT STARTLED EXCLAMATION ... THEN DEATH SCREAM, ECHOING THROUGH VENTILATOR) 


WATSON: Great Scott! What's that?!


HOLMES: I think the devil has turned on its master. Come on, Watson -- into Dr. Roylott's room.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... HOLMES AND WATSON'S RUNNING STEPS TO ROYLOTT'S DOOR


HOLMES: (CALLS) Dr. Roylott?! Dr. Roylott?! Doctor?! Doctor--?! 


SOUND: ROYLOTT'S DOOR OPENS


WATSON: Good Lord, Holmes. Look at him sprawled on the bed. Look at his eyes! 


HOLMES: Yes. And see what is coiled 'round his forehead. 


WATSON: It's the snake! 


HOLMES: Yes. The band -- the speckled band. 


WATSON: He's dead, Holmes.


HOLMES: Yes. He's been bitten by the deadliest snake in the world, the Indian swamp adder. Its deadly fangs produce death within ten seconds. Well, Watson -- violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.


WATSON: What should we do now, Holmes?


HOLMES: We must remove the macabre headgear from the dead doctor and return the snake to its den. (WITH DISGUST) Achh-- (BRISK, SATISFIED) Then I suggest that we tell Miss Stoner that there's no more danger under this roof. After that, we can turn the matter over to the local police. Our work is done!


MUSIC: BRIDGE


HELEN: Oh, Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson. I - I can't tell you how grateful I am that you've brought me back here to Baker Street.


HOLMES: My dear Miss Stoner, it would have been inhuman to leave you in that house of horror and death. We have a spare bedroom, and Mrs. Hudson is a motherly and understanding woman, and I can assure you that Dr. Watson and I will be delighted to have you stay with us here -- until you've decided on your future plans.


WATSON: Yes. Of course we will, my dear. As a matter of fact, it will be rather refreshing to have a touch of youth about the place. (CHUCKLES)


HELEN: You're both so kind. Mr. Holmes, I think it's wonderful how you foiled my stepfather's devilish plans.


WATSON: Yes, wasn't it a remarkable example of logical deduction?


HOLMES: No, it wasn't, old fellow. At first, um, your mention of the gypsies, Miss Stoner, and the use of the word "band" put me on an entirely wrong scent. However, when we examined the fatal room, I drew the obvious conclusions.


WATSON: You mean the dummy bell-rope, the ventilator, and the immovable bed?


HOLMES: Yes, old fellow. It instantly gave rise to the suspicion that the rope was there as a bridge for something coming through the ventilator and traveling to the bed. I at once thought of a snake. And when I saw the saucer of milk on top of the safe, my suspicions crystalized into certainty.


HELEN: Oh, it was a fiendish plot.


WATSON: Yes, and an extremely clever one, too.


HOLMES: Exactly.


HELEN: My stepfather must have trained the snake to return to him when he played the music.


HOLMES: Yes. He put it through the ventilator with the certainty that it would crawl down the rope and land on the bed. It might or might not bite the occupant. Perhaps she might escape every night for a week, but sooner or later, she must fall a victim.


HELEN: Thank heaven I came to you, Mr. Holmes. 


HOLMES: Amen to that, Miss Stoner.


WATSON: You know, Holmes, if you hadn't lashed at the snake with your stick, I bet it wouldn't have turned back on its master.


HOLMES: True, old chap. In that way, I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr. Grimesby Roylott's death. (CHUCKLES) But I - I can't say it's a fact that's likely to weigh too heavily on my conscience.


MUSIC: CURTAIN 


ANNOUNCER: Doctor, that was quite a fascinating story. You know something? I'm not exactly a coward, but no kidding, my toes really curl when I get mixed up with snakes. (SHIVERS) Ooh.


WATSON: Oh, you're not alone in that respect, Mr. Bartell. I must admit that I like to have a revolver and at least twenty feet between me and any snake that wants to cross my path. (CHUCKLES)


ANNOUNCER: Well, if you want a revolver and twenty feet, I'll take a cannon and twenty miles.


WATSON: (LAUGHS) It's fortunate that you're a wine expert, Mr. Bartell, not a detective. I'm afraid you wouldn't, er, shall we say, find detecting to your liking?


ANNOUNCER: We certainly shall say it. 


WATSON: (CHUCKLES)


ANNOUNCER: (CHUCKLES) And, incidentally, I'm not a wine expert, doctor. All I know about wine is that it either tastes good or it doesn't. And I also know that Petri Wine always tastes good. The Petri family sees to that. The name Petri on the label is the personal assurance of the Petri family that every drop of wine in that bottle is good wine. And they know how to make it good because they've been making fine wine for generations, handing down from father to son -- from father to son -– every secret, every skill of the wine maker's art. Yes, the Petri family took time to bring you good wine. That's why, no matter what type of wine you wish, you can't go wrong with a Petri wine. (BEAT, TO WATSON) Well, Dr. Watson what new Sherlock Holmes story are you planning to tell us next week?


WATSON: Well, now, let me see now. Next week, Mr. Bartell, I'm-- I think I'll tell you an adventure that took place at a gambling casino in the south of France. It's a strange story of sudden tragedy -- and death. I call it: "The Adventure of the Double Zero."


ANNOUNCER: Sounds swell. We'll all be listening.


WATSON: Good night, Mr. Bartell. Before I go, I want to say that every one of our friends bought war bonds to help our boys win the war. Now let's all buy Victory Bonds to help bring our boys back home again. Yes -- and let's buy Victory Bonds to make sure that the men who were wounded will get the finest possible care. Those same Victory Bonds will help makes the GI Bill of Rights a success, too. And they'll help provide for the families of those men who gave everything, including their lives. The men of our armed forces finished their job, now let's finish ours. Buy Victory Bonds.


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN UNDER--


ANNOUNCER: Tonight's Sherlock Holmes adventure is written by Denis Green and Anthony Boucher, and is an adaptation of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." 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. 


MUSIC: OUT


ANNOUNCER: The Petri Wine Company of San Francisco, California invites you to tune in again next week -- same time, same station. This is Harry Bartell saying good night for the Petri family. "Sherlock Holmes" comes to you from our Hollywood studios. This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.


SOUND: STUDIO AUDIENCE APPLAUSE, UNTIL END


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