Pretty good episode of an undervalued series
A Hero for our Times – 1963
This is an episode of the 59 episode run of, Kraft Suspense Theater. The series ran between 1963 and 1965.
Lloyd Bridges and his mistress, Sandra Church, have just finished a round of clutch and grab at Church's apartment. Bridges is getting ready to head home to the wife and kids. As he slips on his coat, he glances out the window. In the apartment across the street, he sees a man, Victor French, beating a woman, Ina Victor, to death.
Bridges grabs the phone and calls the Police. He tells the cops what he has just seen, then hangs up without giving his name. He then leaves Church's apartment and walks away. The murderer, French has also left the scene. The Police show and find the body.
The next day, Bridges, sees in the paper that the Police have arrested, Dabbs Greer, on suspicion of murder. Greer is the slightly slow in the head janitor for Victor's apartment.
Bridges of course knows that Greer is innocent. Should he go to the Police? He has just gotten a promotion and a big raise at work. And how will his wife, Geraldine Brooks react if he gets involved. The truth about his mistress, Church will come out. He decides to wait. The Police will sort it out.
Several weeks go by and Dabbs has now been charged with murder. The trial is starting that day.
This of course really starts to eat away at Bridges' conscience. He goes to longtime friend, John Ireland, and asks for advice. Ireland tells Bridges that he will contact the Police. He will pretend to be the witness. Bridges fills Ireland in of what he had witnessed.
Ireland calls Dabbs' defense lawyer. He tells him that he was the man who called in the report. Ireland is put on the stand and all seems to be going well. That is till the D.A. trips him up on some small details. Ireland is lucky not to get himself locked up as his testimony is tossed out.
Ireland meets Bridges over drinks to discuss Bridges remaining choices. French, who was in the courtroom watching, followed Ireland to the bar. He correctly figures that Bridges must be the real witness.
Bridges and Ireland tip a few more drinks during which Bridges decides he will come forward. He will contact the D.A. the next morning.
While Bridges is driving home from the bar, French tries to run him off the road and into a ravine. A traffic cop sees the attempt and gives chase. French fails to make a sharp turn and goes for an unplanned flight into a creek bed, and is killed.
Bridges stops to help the cop pull the body from the car. He recognizes French as the murderer.
At court the next day, Bridges tells his tale for judge, jury, and of course, the media. Doing the right thing might mean he will likely lose his job, wife and family, but it is right thing to do.
The rest of the cast includes, Warren Parker, William Bramley, David Lewis and Berkeley Harris.
The director was veteran television man, Perry Senensky. He worked on series as varied as, ROUTE 66, THE PAPER CHASE, THE NAKED CITY, THE FUGITIVE, THE BIG VALLEY, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, STAR TREK and THE FBI.
The d of p was Richard Rawlings. His work was also mainly on television. He shot all 98 episodes of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. (color)