Schlitz Playhouse - STEP RIGHT UP AND DIE
This one is a 1956 episode of Schlitz Playhouse. Lyle Bettger headlines the episode. Bettger, plays an ex-con who along with his wife, Dorothy Patrick run a 2nd rate fun-house on an amusement pier. He spends his nights waving people in at a dime a time. On one slow night Bettger is approached by a man who hands him a $50.00 bill. "I can't break a fifty for a 10 cent ticket", Bettger says. The man replies that he can keep the bill if he will show him the back door to the fun-house. He has some people following him and needs to give them the slip. 50 bucks is 50 bucks so Bettger gives the man the directions to get out the back of the fun-house.
20 minutes later he is relieved by his brother in-law, Paul Smith. He then goes on a check of the fun-house where he of course finds the man inside dead. Being an ex-con, Bettger grabs up the body and stashes it on one of the fun-house exhibits. He tells the wife and she wants him to call the police. "No way" says Bettger. "One time to jail is enough for me!" Showing up on the scene now is John Doucette, a police detective who just happens to be looking for the dead man. "Never seen the guy" swears Bettger.
The pier closes for the night and Bettger loads up the stiff in his car. He intends to dump the body off a cliff further down the coast. He drives off not noticing the stiff's coat hanging out of the trunk. He is soon pulled over by a motorcycle cop. The cop fails to see the coat and gives Bettger a speeding ticket. He reaches the seaside and dumps the corpse.
Once back at the fun-house he realizes he has lost his watch. It must be back were he dumped the body. It is too late to go look for the watch so he plans on a trip to retrieve said watch in the morning. Doucette however interrupts the plan when he pulls Bettger in for a small chat. Six hours of the old 3rd degree breaks Bettger and he spills all the details. The cops know Bettger had nothing to do with the killing. They figure the killer is the brother in-law, Smith. The dead man was a bookie who Smith had been into for 400 bucks.
A quick return to the fun-house to confront Smith starts a brisk exchange of gunfire. A further chase through a hall of mirrors in needed before the swine is captured.
This episode features an awful lot of story crammed into a half hour runtime.
The episode featured quite a lot of noir talent on both sides of the camera. Doucette had roles in Ride the Pink Horse, I Wouldn't be in your Shoes, Canon City, In this Corner, The Crooked Way, Criss Cross, Reign of Terror, Customs Agent, Winchester 73, Convicted, The Breaking Point, The Big Heat, Cry Vengeance, New York Confidential, House of Bamboo and The Crooked Circle. Dorothy Patrick was in High Wall, Follow Me Quietly, The Blonde Bandit, Federal Agent at Large, House by the River, 711 Ocean Drive, Lonely Heart Bandits, The Sellout and Violent Saturday.
The director was Robert Florey who helmed Face behind the Mask, Dangerously they Live, Danger Signal, Rouges' Regiment, Johnny O'Clock and The Crooked Way. The d of p was George Clemens who worked on 117 Twilight Zone episodes.
A quick little time-waster!