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Turkey Drumstick

The Big Story

Turkey Drumstick - Program #139

Nov 23 1949



CAST

NARRATOR 

FRANKIE, age sixteen 

TOM, age twelve; a real Dead End Kid 

SCHMIDT, slight accent 

JUDGE

JOE, editor 

BETSY, reporter

BYRNES

FATHER (1 line)

PEGGY (1 line)

SANDY (1 line) 

WOMAN (1 line)

TEACHER (1 line) 

JAILER 

LAWYER (2 lines)

plus a courtroom CROWD 

and two announcers, CHAPPELL and HARRICE

 

NOTE: This is from the text of a script marked "AS BROADCAST." Material that was crossed out, and presumably did not air, appears in brackets.




NBC & NET  THE BIG STORY  #139

(ELIZABETH BEECHER-NEW YORK JOURNAL AMERICAN) 

10:00-10:30 PM  NOVEMBER 23, 1949  WEDNESDAY 


CHAPPELL: PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES present THE BIG STORY! 


(MUSIC: SIMPLE OMINOUS THEME UNDER) 


NARR: It was the week of Thanksgiving in Hells Kitchen in New York. The two of them (neither was over sixteen) pressed their faces against the delicatessen store window...


FRANKIE: (TENSE, HUNGRY) Gosh, the sausages, that liverwurst, look at that turkey! 


TOM: (YOUNGER, TOUGHER) What are you standing there for? (PAUSE) Here, take it. 


FRANKIE: Okay. You go in first. 


(STEPS..DOOR OPENS..STEPS. THEY STOP)


SCHMIDT: (GROCER WITH SLIGHT ACCENT..PLEASANTLY) Yes, boys? What you -- (HE IS NOT SURE OF THE SITUATION) want? 


TOM: Give us food. Lots of it! 


SCHMIDT: You got money to pay? 


TOM: Okay Frankie, put it on him! 


SCHMIDT: (IN TERRIBLE ALARM) A gun ... no you don't! I got a knife and ... 


OVER LAP SPEECHES


TOM: Go ahead!

FRANKIE: But --

TOM: What you waiting for? 


(LOUD ON MIKE SHOT) 


SCHMIDT: (CRIES OUT AND FALLS) 


TOM: You plugged him! (OVERJOYED) You plugged him!


FRANKIE: (AMAZED) But you said -- 


TOM: (INTERRUPTS) Don't stand here; all hell's going to break loose in a minute! 


(MUSIC: UP FOR FULL STATEMENT, THEN UNDER FOR) 


CHAPPELL: THE BIG STORY! Here is America -- its sound and its fury, its joy and its sorrow as faithfully reported by the men and women of the great American newspapers. (FLAT) [Death Avenue, New York]...Tenth Avenue, New York City: the story of crime committed by a criminal vs. society and by society vs. a criminal. And for her work on behalf of simple justice, to reporter Elizabeth Beecher of the New York Journal American, for her Big Story goes the PELL MELL Award! 


(MUSIC: STING) 


(COMMERCIAL)


OPENING COMMERCIAL: 


CHAPPELL: Guard against throat-scratch! 


HARRICE: Enjoy smooth smoking! 


CHAPPELL: PELL MELL'S greater length of traditionally fine tobaccos travels the smoke further... 


HARRICE: Filters the smoke and makes it mild. 


CHAPPELL: Puff by puff you're always ahead when you smoke PELL MELL. At the first puff PELL MELL smoke is filtered further than that of any other leading cigarette. Moreover, after 5 puffs, or 10, or 15, or 17, PELL MELL still gives you a longer filter of fine tobaccos - to guard against throat-scratch. 


HARRICE: For PELL MELL'S greater length travels the smoke further on its way to your throat - filters it naturally through PELL MELL'S traditionally fine, mellow tobaccos - guards against throat-scratch. 


CHAPPELL: Yes, PELL MELL'S fine tobaccos give you a smoothness, mildness and satisfaction no other cigarette offers you. Guard against throat-scratch! 


HARRICE: Enjoy smooth smoking! 


CHAPPELL: Ask for the longer, finer cigarette in the distinguished red package - PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES - "Outstanding!


HARRICE: And - they are mild


(MUSIC: SWELLS THEME AND UNDER


CHAPPELL: New York City - The Story as it actually happened. Elizabeth Beecher's story as she lived it. 


(MUSIC: THEME AS BEFORE..ESTABLISHED. IT GOES OUT) 


(TWO RAPS OF A GAVEL..HUSHED SILENCE, TENSE, EXPECTANT. SOME MINOR MURMURING) 


JUDGE: Let the defendant rise and walk to the bench. 


(CHAIR SCRAPES. THREE OR FOUR SLOW ON MIKE STEPS. THEY CONTINUE UNDER THE NARRATION) 


NARR: It's the wrong word to use: defendant. But it's the legal term. He walks now, the defendant, to receive final sentence. (MUSIC IN AT*) *His face pinched, starved, his eyes drawn, the look of a frightened dog. The defendant is sixteen [and by the laws of this state "a human entity with full legal responsibility"]. (PAUSE) And you sat there and watched him, you Elizabeth Beecher, staff reporter of the Journal American. You sat, wishing you could reach out across this crowded, packed, tense court room and help him. But you can't. The sentence on this boy is about to be passed: the last chapter about to be written. And in those moments (ten seconds, no more) you live it again. You live the whole, terrible, sordid, tragic story the way it happened. (PAUSE) (MUSIC OUT AT*) *It was the week of Thanksgiving and Joe Reems, a tired, somewhat cynical city editor hailed you as you walked past.


JOE: Betsy, cm'ere!


BETSY: Yeah, Joe. 


JOE: (SAYS THIS ALL IN A RUSH. IT'S VERY ROUTINE FOR HIM) Some kid, 16, knocked off guy named Schmidt, delicatessen on 48th Street. West, I think. You know, usual thing -- "No Mother, said he was hungry, nothing to eat all day and so forth and so forth". Go on out and give me 150-200 words on it, huh? 


BETSY: (MOVED BY THE STORY AND AMAZED BY HIS REACTION) Suppose it was true? 


JOE: What? That he was hungry? 


BETSY: Yes, that he was hungry. Suppose it was true? 


JOE: I'm hungry and I don't steal. 


BETSY: You aren't sixteen Joe. 


JOE: What are you out after, another lost cause, Betsy? Don't you know nobody ever gets fat fighting lost causes? 


BETSY: (ANNOYED) Maybe I don't want to get fat. 


JOE: (PROFESSIONAL) A hundred and fifty words. If it's juicy maybe 200. 


BETSY: Okay. 


JOE: (WAITS UNTIL SHE WALKS AWAY AND SAYS) Don Quixote with a skirt!


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER)


NARR: You got over to the D.A's that week of Thanksgiving and they were crying for blood. Not so much the D.A. himself as the "civic leagues", mis-guided zealots who wanted to do something about crime. This was the 7th unsolved crime of violence within a month. Plain-clothesman Ted Byrnes gave you the facts.


BYRNES: (FLORID, INSENSITIVE MAN) Well, we got an air-tight case. Chief's very pleased. 


BETSY: He ought to be, Byrnes. Sixteen year old kid. 


BYRNES: Howz that? 


BETSY: Nothing. How do you know he did it? What's his name anyhow? 


BYRNES: Francis X. Farrell. Little Frankie. He confessed. Had no alternative. Shoots Schmidt, drops the gun. Finger prints all over it. We have the kids prints on file. 


BETSY: (EYEBROW UP) Oh? 


BYRNES: Sure. Three years ago he got convicted stealing food out of a store. Put him on probation. They never should have put that kid on probation. Probation is too easy. 


BETSY: (IRONICALLY) Should have sent him to Sing Sing. 


BYRNES: (HIS SENTIMENTS EXACTLY) Sure, what else? Oh, you're being sarcastic? Look, it's a clear cut case. 


BETSY: The D.A. ought to go after someone his size. 


BYRNES: You got this kid wrong. He is tough, and I mean tough. Says the gun wasn't loaded -- didn't know it was loaded. That's the oldest chestnut in the business. Then he said he did it alone. We know it for a fact (two eye witnesses) there was somebody else with him. But would this kid tell who? No! Code of the jungle -- never squeal. 


BETSY: I still say he ought to go after someone his size. 


BYRNES: I'll tell you one thing...that kid will burn. He'll burn sure as my name is....(HE LAUGHS) Hey, that's funny, isn't it? Sure as my name is Byrnes. Get it? 


BETSY: Yeah, very funny. I get it. 


(MUSIC: UP...SAME SOUR AND UNDER) 


NARR: You go to Frankie's home (if you can call it that). "Home" is reached by going through the dank basement of a house that fronts on a street. Through the basement and out into an airless courtyard. And there in the interior you find four cheerless rooms. A cold water flat lighted by gas (when a quarter is available for the inexorable meter). And there you find first his father, a longshoreman when he works...and doesn't drink. 


FATHER: I ought have put the strap to him. I should have beat him until he couldn't move. But I promised his ma when she died (she died three years ago) -- I swore I wouldn't lay a hand on him. But that's what he needed -- a belt buckle.


(MUSIC: STING...UNDER)


[NARR: You find next, sitting by the window, drawing hard on a cigarette, too tight for tears or remorse, Peggy, his big sister Peggy. Peggy, age eighteen. Twelve hours a day behind a lunch counter. $21 a week. 


PEGGY: (PROUD) What'd you come for, lady? We colorful? We a sob story? I'll give you something to stick in your paper. Tell them when they stop paying off in nickels and they start paying off in something that can keep a family together...Aaah, what's the use? Don't say that. (IRONICALLY) Some of your readers might not understand. Might put Frankie in a "bad light". 


(MUSIC: STING...SAME AS BEFORE..AND UNDER)]


NARR: Then you see huddled in the dark of the room, his three brothers and baby sister. Sandy, the next in age to Frankie, says it for all of them. 


SANDY: I miss him. He sorta looked after us when Peggy was [working and] Pa was -- you know. He used to tell us all them stories about Africa and elephants and out West and all that, but in a way I like it better, now. See, we always slept together. In the same bed. Now I got the bed alone. 


(MUSIC: STING AND UNDER)


[NARR: Then there were the neighbors. People living in the same sunless, airless rooms, so similar to the Farrell's it frightened you. One neighbor said...


WOMAN: He wasn't bad, he wasn't good. Just he slipped. Who don't? Listen, it could have been my kid or the Meyer's on the top floor. Walk up any flight of stairs, look in any window. He never [had a chance.?]


(MUSIC: STING)]


NARR: Then you talk to his teacher. A tired, harrassed, over-worked woman with straying hair. 


TEACHER: He played hookey all the time. I suppose because he didn't have nice clothes (lots of my kids are poor and they aren't exactly fashion plates. But Frankie was shabbier than most of them). And he was hungry most of the time. Once he stayed in the classroom and didn't go out for lunch. I was eating at the desk. I saw the way he was watching me and I offered him a piece of cake. He ran out. He played hookey the next three days. (THEN) But he was eager to learn. He was a little ashamed of it but he loved to read books. And the compositions he wrote: half literate but take a look at one yourself ... 


(MUSIC: UP SERIOUSLY AND UNDER) 


NARR: You read a childish handwriting, "The Thing I Want To Have Most In The World by Francis X. Farrell." You read and in the reading you know that what you are doing is right. That this is a good, decent, human being, who's been warped, misshapen. And you move now to the Tombs where he is in jail to reach him. 


JAILER: It's okay with me, lady. I'm only the jailer. He can see anybody he likes. I'll tell him you're here. You from a newspaper? 


BETSY: That's right. And tell him I brought him a book. "Leatherstocking" by James Fennimore Cooper. 


JAILER: He's a funny kid. I don't think he'll see you. 


BETSY: Coax him. Try, will you? Don't forget about the book. 


NARR: He is back in a few minutes, the jailer, shaking his head in a knowing way. 


JAILER: He says he don't want to see you. He says he don't want to see nobody. He says leave him alone and let him die. 


BETSY: (SOMEWHAT SHOCKED) That what he said? (PAUSE) Did you tell him about the book? 


JAILER: I told him. 


BETSY: What did he say? 


JAILER: (SOME HUMOR) Rather not tell you, lady. They use dashes in the newspaper for that kind of talk. 


[BETSY: (TIRED, BEATEN) Okay, Mac. Thanks.


JAILER: How did you know my name was Mac? That's my name.]


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER


NARR: That was the week of Thanksgiving and this is spring and you sit now in the courtroom, the silence like a thin strand of wire drawn to the breaking point. You sit now as His Honor, in majestic black robe is about to pass sentence on him. And the void between you and this hapless boy is greater than ever because you cannot reach him. You must wait, (as he must) for the final sentence to be spoken. 


(MUSIC: UP IN FULL TRAGEDY TO TAG) 


(MIDDLE COMMERCIAL) 


MIDDLE COMMERCIAL


CHAPPELL: Guard against throat-scratch. 


HARRICE: Enjoy smooth smoking! 


CHAPPELL: PELL MELL'S greater length of traditionally fine tobaccos travels the smoke further... 


HARRICE: Filters the smoke and makes it mild. 


CHAPPELL: Puff by puff you're always ahead when you smoke PELL MELL. At the first puff PELL MELL smoke is filtered further than that of any other leading cigarette. Moreover, after 5 puffs, or 10, or 15, or 17, PELL MELL still gives you a longer filter of fine tobaccos - to guard against throat-scratch. 


HARRICE: For PELL MELL'S greater length travels the smoke further on its way to your throat - filters it naturally through PELL MELL'S traditionally fine, mellow tobaccos - guards against throat-scratch. 


CHAPPELL: Yes, PELL MELL'S fine tobaccos give you a smoothness, mildness and satisfaction no other cigarette offers you. Guard against throat-scratch! 


HARRICE: Enjoy smooth smoking! 


CHAPPELL: Ask for the longer, finer cigarette in the distinguished red package - PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES -"Outstanding"!


HARRICE: And - they are mild!


(MUSIC: THE COURT THEME AND UNDER ...) 


HARRICE: This is Cy Harrice returning you to your narrator and THE BIG STORY of Elizabeth Beecher as she lived it, and wrote it. 


NARR: His Honor composes himself, folds his hands across his desk and Frankie Farrell looks at his shoes. The judge has not spoken yet but before the clock ticks 10 seconds off the silent wall he will speak. And your mind, Betsy Beecher, goes back to the Tombs, that time Thanksgiving week when you were trying to reach him with a book and failed. The keys to a boy's mind is not a trick. No casual interest (like James Fennimore Cooper's Leatherstocking) will undo the work of sixteen years. And so you try something else. 


BETSY: (NOW CALLING) Jailer, Mac! Will you give him this note? 


JAILER: Okay. But I got to read it first. We don't take things into the prisoners until we read them first. 


BETSY: That's okay. 


JAILER: "Dear Frankie: Please see me ---" 


BETSY: (EMBARRASSED, INTERRUPTING) Do you have to read it aloud? 


JAILER: I'm sorry lady, but uh -- see, if I don't read it aloud I don't understand it.


BETSY: (RESIGNED AND A LITTLE AMUSED) Okay. 


JAILER: "Dear Frankie: - Please see me -- I may be able to help you. You see, I have a son nearly your age so won't you come out and talk to me like you would talk to your mother if she were still around where she could listen?" - (PAUSE) You write pretty good. 


BETSY: (EMBARRASSED) Take it in, will you please? 


(MUSIC: IN WITH NARRATOR .....


NARR: It doesn't matter that your son is not quite his age ... Not really "nearly his age" ... that your son is only four. For you are a mother and as a mother you wrote the note and as a mother you wait. (PAUSE) And finally he comes and finally he talks ... 


FRANKIE: (SOFT IN THIS SCENE) You don't look like her. 


BETSY: Who?


FRANKIE: My ma. 


BETSY: That doesn't matter so much, does it Frankie? I mean what a person looks like. I lied to you in the note a little. 


FRANKIE: (NOT INTERESTED IN THE INTERVIEW AT ALL) I don't care. 


BETSY: (GOES RIGHT ON) My boy is only four. But you know what he likes me to tell him about best? He likes stories about -- the kind you like about Indians and elephants and out West. 


FRANKIE: No kidding? 


BETSY: And he always wants the same story over and over again. Little kids are funny aren't they? 


FRANKIE: (MOVED) Yeah. I tell my kid brothers the same story all the time. You notice that they always want to hear the same story? (PAUSE) You had that experience too? 


BETSY: You were hungry, weren't you, Frankie? 


FRANKIE: (FALLING INTO THE MOOD OF TALKING TO HIS MOTHER) I hadn't only but an orange the whole day. Snitched that from the fruit stand. But it was rotten. He couldn't sell it. But still in all, I shouldn't have snitched it. 


BETSY: (GENTLY) But you went into Schmidt's with a gun, Frankie! 


FRANKIE: I didn't know it was loaded. See, I wanted a gun -- just, you know, to make sure, and that turkey in the window, gosh, it's Thanksgiving and we never had a party in all the time since Ma died. 


BETSY: (GENTLY) You didn't know it was loaded? 


FRANKIE: I says to Tommy, okay, I'll take the gun, but take the bullets out. (You see, his brother was on the lam -- Tommy's and he had a gun in the house. Tommy Marvin he lives next door) -- (THEN HORRIFIED) I told you! Tommy wasn't there. Just me -- alone. Just me and nobody else! (WITH FURY NOW) You tricked me, didn't you? You tricked me to find out who I was with. But I was alone! There wasn't nobody else! 


BETSY: (IN FULL COMPASSION) Frankie, if you want me to, I'll forget you ever said his name. It will be any way you want. 


FRANKIE: (DUBIOUS) You mean that? 


BETSY: I wouldn't lie to you. 


FRANKIE: Aaah, what's the difference? He never should have told me the gun wasn't loaded when it was. I never would have shot Schmidt. I just wanted -(LOW) the drumstick from the turkey. 


BETSY: Was he bigger than you -- Tommy - I mean, grown up? Did he make you do it? 


FRANKIE: Naw, he's a kid. He's only twelve. 


BETSY: Twelve! 


FRANKIE: But he's tough. His brother was in the pen four times. He taught him everything.


BETSY: Why did you play hookey so much?


[FRANKIE: You going to tell about Tommy?


BETSY: Whatever you say.


FRANKIE: I don't care. (PAUSE - NOW ANSWERING HER QUESTION ABOUT HOOKEY)] I couldn't say this to anybody before because they didn't understand. Well, you see, we used to have gym class. You know, chinning and the horses and the rings and - (HE STOPS IN CONFUSION) 


BETSY: (HELPING HIM OUT) It was your clothes, wasn't it?


FRANKIE: (HIS WHOLE LIFE STATED IN THIS) I never once in my life had a pair of underwear that didn't have holes in it. 


BETSY: I understand. 


FRANKIE: Once I almost won a track meet. I come in second. Got the silver medal, but -- (HE STOPS AGAIN) 


BETSY: What happened to it? 


FRANKIE: (LACONIC) Pa. He pawned it. (DOWN) He celebrated my coming in second. 


BETSY: Okay, Frankie. We'll see what we can do. Maybe it's nothing, but we'll see. Can I come back and talk to you again? 


FRANKIE: If you want to, and -- uh, it's about the Indians, isn't it? 


BETSY: The book? "Leatherstocking"? 


FRANKIE: Yeah.


BETSY: (AN EMBRACE) Take it Frankie. Keep it. I'll see you again. 


(MUSIC: UP SWEETLY AND UNDER) 


NARR: You take what you have now and first you corroborate the story of Tommy Marvin, a twelve year old ruined child. Another broken family, another son of poverty and misery and rejection. You ask him about it, because you know his age will send him to the juvenile authorities; this child at least will not be tried for first degree murder. You ask him and he tells you the whole story. 


TOMMY: (REAL DEAD END TOUGH) Sure, just like Frankie said, that's the way we done it. Only the whole thing was my idea. 


BETSY: Why did you put the bullets in the gun? 


TOMMY: Because of the thrill. Hearing that gun go off, seeing that fat Schmidt flop -- that's the biggest thrill ever happened in my life! 


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER NARRATOR)


NARR: You do more. You get Frankie a fine lawyer. Not one of the "great mouthpieces", but a man who understands human beings, understands half-formed children's warped desires. You go to the civic leagues and speak out. 


[BETSY: Yes, ladies, if you want to be technically legal and "high-minded" he killed a man -- cold blooded first degree murder. But if you want to be human, if you want to ask yourself the really hard question then ask this. Who did it? Who made him hungry, who squeezed the trigger? Whose is the real crime?] 


NARR: [(NO PAUSE - ALMOST OVERLAPPING BETSY)] And you write, [you speak,] you move around, but mainly, you write. You tell his story, in his own words .... 


BETSY: "The Life of Francis X. Farrell as told to Betsy Beecher."


FRANKIE: "The first time I got arrested was I was walking down the street and two men came up and said, "Want to make a half buck?" They give me this big sack and said, "Carry it around the corner to Ninth Avenue and 47th." I started carrying it and a cop's flivver pulled up and says "What you got in the bag"? I says, "Leave me alone. I don't know." They took it and opened it. I never seen the insides of it before. There was all kinds of cheeses. The fellers stole it from the store. I didn't even know. (PAUSE) I never would have stole cheese. I don't even like cheese! 


(MUSIC: IN WITH NARRATOR) 


NARR: You write how he was arrested and convicted and given three years on probation. You tell that, in his words. You tell how he lived on probation. 


FRANKIE: Here's how I lived since I left home in January. (The reason I left home was I skipped going to the probation officer three times and Pa said he would kill me if I did it again, so I left home.) I was hungry all the time but I worked to get money for eating. I sold papers at night and I watched cars for people when they went to the thee-ay-tr. I slept in subways, the El, and in hallways sometimes. It was tough because you didn't make enough to have a place to sleep - if you wanted to eat. 


(MUSIC: IN WITH NARRATOR) 


NARR: You tell about the hard times that set in when nobody wanted papers and nobody wanted their cars watched and then came the week of Thanksgiving and that's when he met Tommy Marvin. And you write the rest in his words, his own simple, incredible words. 


FRANKIE: One of the things I wished I could do before I die is go out into the country, the real country. You see, once I found a quarter and I went on a ride on the ferry to West New York. (PAUSE) I like ferries and tug boats, and things that are going places - you know, away from where you live. You see, I never went camping, even one of those free trips the city gives to fellas who can't afford it. I used to dream about sleeping under pine trees, [rolled in a blanket like an Indian or one of those Western scouts. Then I'd think about] getting up in the morning, [clean with no coughing], and eating bacon cooked over an open fire. [The nearest I ever got was playing in Central Park. Most folks don't know but Central Park is nice, real nice.] (PAUSE) You know, there are a lot of things in this world that some of us don't know about - a lot of things. 


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER


NARR: You write it all (he writes it all) and take it to the civic leagues, to the people, and finally to the District Attorney. And what does the District Attorney say now as spring draws near, as the trial draws near? 


BETSY: Hey Byrnes, Byrnes! What does the District Attorney say? (SOFTLY) What does he say now? 


BYRNES: The District Attorney says to tell you he read your pieces and he says he'll see you in court when he tries (HARD) the case of the people against Francis Farrell for first degree murder. 


(MUSIC: UP HARSH AND UNDER) 


NARR: That expresses it perfectly -- the people against Francis X. Farrell - against him all his life. And now -- (LONG PAUSE) this is the moment, now the judge is getting ready to speak.


(A BABBLE AND MOVEMENT IN THE COURTROOM OUT OF WHICH) 


BETSY: What's going on?


LAWYER: I don't know, Betsy. The District Attorney is going up to the judge. I think he's talking to him. 


BETSY: (FURIOUS AND IMPATIENT) What's he saying? 


LAWYER: I don't know. Take it easy. We'll find out. 


NARR: And now the moment is here. The judge speaks. 


JUDGE: The District Attorney has just informed me that the State will accept a plea of guilty of manslaughter in this case. (PAUSE) The crime, of course, must be punished, but the State will accept such a plea. Francis Farrell, how do you plead?


FRANKIE: (A LITTLE BOY) I don't understand, Your Honor. 


JUDGE: (GENTLY) The first degree murder charge has been withdrawn, Frankie, but because the laws of this State demand punishment for a murder no matter how it's committed, the District Attorney will allow you to plead guilty to accidentally killing Herman Schmidt. Do you understand now? 


FRANKIE: (LOW) Yes sir. 


JUDGE: Francis Farrell, how do you plead to the crime of manslaughter? 


FRANKIE: (LOW) I did it, Your Honor. 


JUDGE: (PAUSE) Then it's my duty now to pass sentence. Francis Farrell, I truly regret that I am compelled to send you away but according to the way society conducts itself you must be punished for taking a life. Unfortunately, the real defendant does not stand before me. The real defendant is society. It is the school you were forced to go to -- a crowded school, an over-worked teacher; it was the house you were forced to live in, a sunless rat infested house that you were taught to call home; it is the insecurity, the unemployment, the anxieties of your father, your sister; it is the death of your mother not by disease alone but by disease that had roots in a life that she was forced to lead. These are the real defendants - the real criminals. [Would that I had the power to sentence those who stand behind these hideous institutions - then we could talk truly of justice.] Francis, I only hope the school to which you are being sent (a reformatory) will not harden you and embitter you further. There is no man or woman within the sound of my voice or in this vast city who is not really standing beside you indicted just as you are. 


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER) 


NARR: He did it, not you Betsy Beecher. Not even the judge. He did it himself, his own words. The full outpouring of a broken child's broken life. And as he goes (to the reformatory) [you stand now and touch him, you reach him and] he says:


FRANKIE: Don't worry, ma'am. I'm going to be okay. 


BETSY: I know you will Frankie, and when you get out we can't go to Africa or get an elephant, but I don't see why we can't get a leg of turkey and some bacon grilled over an open fire. You don't care when we celebrate Thanksgiving, I mean, if it's a little late, do you?


FRANKIE: Could we maybe take a ride on a ferry to West New York? 


BETSY: (TEARS) Sure, Frankie, sure. 


(MUSIC: UP TO TAG)


CHAPPELL: In just a moment we will read you a telegram from Elizabeth Beecher of the New York Journal American with the final outcome of tonight's BIG STORY. 


(MUSIC: STING) 


(CLOSING COMMERCIAL) 


CLOSING COMMERCIAL


CHAPPELL: Guard against throat-scratch! 


HARRICE: Enjoy smooth smoking! 


CHAPPELL: PELL MELL'S greater length of traditionally fine tobaccos travels the smoke further ... 


HARRICE: Filters the smoke and makes it mild


CHAPPELL: Puff by puff you're always ahead when you smoke PELL MELL. At the first puff PELL MELL smoke is filtered further than that of any other leading cigarette. Moreover, after 5 puffs, or 10, or 15, or 17, PELL MELL still gives you a longer filter of traditionally fine, mellow tobaccos to guard against throat-scratch. 


HARRICE: Yes, PELL MELL'S fine tobaccos give you a smoothness, mildness and satisfaction no other cigarette offers you. 


CHAPPELL: Guard against throat-scratch! 


HARRICE: Enjoy smooth smoking! 


CHAPPELL: Ask for the longer, finer cigarette in the distinguished red package - PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES -"Outstanding"


HARRICE: And - they are mild! 


(MUSIC: TAG)


CHAPPELL: Now we read you that telegram from Elizabeth Beecher of the New York Journal American. 


BEECHER: Frankie Farrell learned a trade in a reformatory, got time off for good behavior, came out a decent citizen. He is now married and has a son of his own. We took that ferry ride, had that turkey leg and the bacon over an open fire. It was the most wonderful Thanksgiving of his life - and mine. Many thanks for tonight's PELL MELL AWARD. 


CHAPPELL: Thank you, Mrs. Beecher ... the makers of PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES are proud to present you the PELL MELL $500 Award for notable service in the field of journalism. 


HARRICE: Listen again next week, same time, same station, when PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES will present another BIG STORY - A BIG STORY from the front pages of the Sioux City Journal -- by-line, Norman Agathon. A BIG STORY - about a reporter who found a new recipe for murder ... too much soup. 


(MUSIC: THEME WIPE & FADE TO BG ON CUE)


CHAPPELL: THE BIG STORY is produced by Bernard J. Prockter with music by Vladimir Selinsky. Tonight's program was adapted by Arnold Perl from an actual story from the front pages of the New York Journal-American. Your narrator was Bob Sloane, and Barbara Weeks played the part of Elizabeth Beecher. In order to protect the names of people actually involved in tonight's authentic BIG STORY the names of all characters in the dramatization were changed with the exception of the reporter, Mrs. Beecher. 


(MUSIC: THEME UP FULL AND FADE)


CHAPPELL: And to all our listeners, a very happy and joyous Thanksgiving from our sponsors, the makers of PELL MELL FAMOUS CIGARETTES -- This is Ernest Chappell saying goodnight!


ANNCR: THIS IS NBC ... THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY.


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