Season 3, Episode 45
Rabbits Foot aka The Cool one
This is a 1954 episode of the anthology series, "Schlitz Playhouse". The cast is made up of Stephen McNally, Paul Langton and Harry Shannon.
The episode is set in a small southern town on the edge of the bayou country. The local highway patrolman has just been found shot dead on the side of the road. The local cops are getting a posse up to go search for the killer. Out of the swamp covered in mud stumbles Stephen McNally.
The locals are ready to string him up till he pulls out a badge. Seems McNally is a big city detective who was on the trail of a payroll robber. He had come up on the man just as he had killed the motorcycle cop. He had then chased him out into the swamp.
McNally tells them there had been a shootout and that the killer is lying dead out in the bayou somewhere. McNally shows everyone a satchel full of cash he had recovered. The local police, Harry Shannon and Paul Langton, hail him as a hero and set McNally up with a hotel room. After he gets cleaned up they plan to escort him to the train station. McNally wants to get himself and the cash back to the city.
Needless to say there is something fishy here. McNally it turns out is the real hold up man/killer. He had killed the real detective trailing him and took his gun and i.d. He then killed the motorcycle cop who discovered him in the middle of the first killing. A cool customer, McNally figured the safest place to hide was with the hick town's cops. Not being as dense as McNally expected, the deputy, Paul Langton, tumbles to the truth. Shots, fists and a chase through the bayou are needed before McNally meets his end in a sinkhole. A watchable little half-hour thriller.
The episode was directed by Christian Nyby. He is credited with directing THE THING and 150 plus TV shows. The Oscar nominated Nyby started out as an editor and his films include the likes of, TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, PURSUED, SHADOW OF A WOMAN, THE BIG SLEEP and RED RIVER for which he received his Oscar nod.
Paul Langton appeared in, MURDER IS MY BEAT, FOR YOU I DIE, THE BIG KNIFE, CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL.
Vet support player Harry Shannon's mug was in many film-noir. They included, NIGHT EDITOR, CRACK-UP,LAST CROOKED MILE, THE RED HOUSE, EXPOSED, THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE, INVISIBLE WALL, WHERE DANGER LIVES and TRY AND GET ME.
D of p was Georg T. Clemons who was the cinematographer on about 115 TWILIGHT ZONE episodes.