S. 8, Ep. 12: Philip Marlowe in ‘The Old Acquaintance’ — Debbi Mack
This episode of the Crime Cafe podcast features another entry in the Adventures of Philip Marlowe entitled “The Old Acquaintance.”
You might even see a few “old acquaintances” in the video version.
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Download a copy of the PDF transcript of this episode here.
Debbi: Unfortunately, our guest will not be able to appear as planned. However, instead, I have another episode from the Philip Marlowe files. This one is called “The Old Acquaintance,” and I’d like to thank the people at Old Time Radio for preserving these episodes.
THE OLD ACQUAINTANCE
Marlowe: When it started a girl’s wedding and New Year’s Eve were only six hours away. And I didn’t think the bride to be would make either one of them, but that was before I ran up against the slot machine operator, the escape convict and above all the old acquaintance …!
Announcer: From the pen of Raymond Chandler, outstanding author of crime fiction, comes his most famous character as CBS presents the Adventures of Philip Marlowe. And now with Gerald Mohr starring as Philip Marlowe,we bring you tonight’s exciting story, “The Old Acquaintance.”
Marlowe: At six o’clock in the last evening of the year, I was sitting with my feet up on my office desk, thinking of impossible New Year’s resolutions and what the girl on my butcher’s 1949 calendar would or would not be wearing. But at that present point, there was a soft, almost apologetic knock on my office door. I said, come in and saw a quiet man in quiet clothes, who extended a quiet hand. He introduced himself as Paul Riker, a Beverly Hills insurance broker, but the tremor in his voice said very worried client, which on New Year’s Eve was something I could do without.
Paul Riker: Mr. Marlowe. You’ve got to find Nancy Marshall for me,
Marlowe: Just for a springboard, Mr. Riker, who is Nancy Marshall?
Paul Riker: She’s my fiance. We were to be married at my place in Beverly Hills tonight.
Marlowe: On New Year’s Eve?
Paul Riker: Yes. You see it was at a New Year’s Eve party a year ago that we met for the first time.
Marlowe: Oh, when’s you last hear from her?
Paul Riker: About two hours ago, she called and said that she was in terrible trouble. That nobody, especially the police could help her, that well that the wedding was off.
Marlowe: I see. You’re sure it’s not just a matter of you’re being left at the altar, huh?
Paul Riker: Another man. Oh, oh no, no, I I’m certain that’s not it. Now, please, Mr. Marlowe, will you help me?
Marlowe: Mr. Riker? To you New Year’s Eve means wedding bells, but to me, it’s something else, specifically a cozy little apartment on Wilshire Boulevard, where there’s a very nice girl and a couple of chilled bottles of sham …
Paul Riker: What is it, Mr. Marlow? What, what’s wrong?
Marlowe: Shh. There’s somebody outside. Get away from that door! Quick!
SFX: SHOTS FIRED
Marlowe: Whoever threw those shots through the frosted glass of my office door wasn’t interested in checking up on his marksmanship, cuz by the time I got to my feet, he was taking the stairs to the street. When I got outside, I was just in time to see him plow into a pickup truck and roar off. My best I could do was get a faceful of exhaust fumes and the last three numbers on his license plate, which read 711. When I got back to Riker and the glass on my office floor, I found the potential groom whiter, shakier and less quiet than at our first meeting.
Paul Riker: Marlowe. Did you get him? Do you know who it was?
Marlowe: No. I don’t. Now relax a minute, Riker, and think. Who could possibly object to you and Nancy getting married?
Paul Riker: But, but … that’s just it, if there’s nobody I know of Mr. Marlowe, and I’m positive that the same is true of Nancy.
Marlowe: All right. Now tell me, where does Nancy live?
Paul Riker: In a Villa at 1428 North Havenhurst Drive, Number 12.
Marlowe: mm-hmm <affirmative>
Paul Riker: But I’ve already been there and she’s gone!
Marlowe: Were you inside?
Paul Riker: No, no. The door was locked, but Mr. Marlowe,I, I thought you had specific plans for this evening.
Marlowe: I do, but the way things stack up right now, they’ve got a better chance of keeping than Nancy Marshall. Now look, go back to your place in Beverly Hills, stay away from frosted glass windows, and wait ’til you hear from me. We’re real lucky. Mr. Riker, it still might turn out to be a happy new year.
When Riker left the office, I called Lieutenant Ybarra at police headquarters. After being told that it would take at least a half hour to get my kind of lead outta the Seven-Eleven I had on the pickup truck license, I headed for Nancy’s villa on North Havenhurst where it took me 10 minutes to outsmart the catch on the back door. Inside, except for a carelessly overturned box of old snapshots, which meant nothing to me, and a lot of half open drawers and closets, I was no place. And in the kitchen where there was a full cup of cold coffee next to an open newspaper, the setup was almost the same. Not quite because on the front page of the paper, there was a banner story complete with pictures that shouted the news of three men who had broken outta the state penitentiary that morning. And one of them, a man named Steve Doyle had a face that I’d seen only minutes ago on one of the snapshots and the overturned box. I grabbed the paper and started back to check with the snapshot once again for good measure. But the second I stepped into the living room. I stopped.
Some Dame: Hello? I don’t believe I know you.
Marlowe: Oh, the voice matched the lady perfectly. She was tall, beautiful brunette, about 30 wearing a beige metallic wool jersey that covered more curves than a ride on a roller coaster. But the large monogram day on her purse meant that this was not the woman who would plan to marry Paul Riker.
Some Dame: I said, I don’t believe I know you.
Marlowe: The name is Arthur Murray. You’re late for your rhumba lesson.
Some Dame: Oh ho, never mind the jokes, bright boy. It’s a waste of your time and mine.
Marlowe: All right, then we’ll play it very straight. Name is Philip Marlowe.I’m a private detective and I’m working for a very worried man. Now you, what’s your connection with Nancy Marshall?
Some Dame: I’m just, shall we say, an old acquaintance? That’s all.
Marlowe: Not enough. I’ll prime the pump some more. I was hired to find Nancy who seems to be in a lot of trouble and coincidentally in trouble on the same day that Steve Doyle breaks out of stir. Now once more. Exactly where do you fit in?
Some Dame: I don’t think I’ll tell you Mr. Marlowe, if you don’t mind.
Marlowe: Well, I-oh! Pearl-handled, huh? How very chic.
Some Dame: But deadly. Now get in that closet there, Marlowe. Go on!
Marlowe: Alright. Alright. Just so we don’t go through the same routine when we meet again and we will. Who are you?
Some Dame: You don’t listen very carefully, Marlowe.I’ve already told you that I’m an old acquaintance. It’s the season for them, remember? Now, get in there and shut up.
Marlowe: Nancy Marshall’s villa was post-war construction at its worst, closets included. So I didn’t stay tucked away with the mothballs any longer than it takes to say old acquaintance. The minute I’d kick my way out, I went right for the telephone and my only 100% bona fide lead for number 711.
Lieutenant Ybarra: This is Lieutenant Ybarra.
Marlowe: Marlowe, Ybarra. Anything for me on that license number?
Lieutenant Ybarra: Oh, yeah. If you’re sure it was a pickup truck, the chances are pretty good that it either belongs to a party named Maurice J. Calda at 409 South Main or one Jerome Graf, 3221 and a half Melrose Avenue.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Uh what’s up Phil? Anything I might be interested in?
Marlowe: It depends. Ever hear of a guy named Steve Doyle?
Lieutenant Ybarra: One of that gang that broke out this morning?
Marlowe: The very same. Matter of fact, he’s probably driving that pickup truck right now. But look he bore it. I think I know what I’m doing. So how about letting me run this end of it until I get stuck? There’s a girl named Nancy Marshall mixed up in this and a delay at this time might cost her her life.
Lieutenant Ybarra: All right. I’ll stay clear Phil for a while.
Lieutenant Ybarra: But just so you don’t get too careless, remember. Dole got outta jail this morning the hard way. He killed two guards.
Marlowe: Oh fine.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Goodbye, Marlowe.
Marlowe: When I got to 409 South Main, I knew that my first choice had to be wrong because Maurice J Calda turned out to be a bankrupt junkman and his pickup truck, which was loaded with everything, including the kitchen sink, had three flat tires and hadn’t moved in a week. So if the numerals 711 were gonna live up to their reputation, Jerome Graf had to be my man. And that made the time to be careful now.
3221 and a half Melrose was a tired cottage set back about 50 weed covered feet from the sidewalk. And from the rusted sign, Jerry Graf, Mechanic, dangling at a crazy angle from a weatherbeaten beam over the front door, I gathered that the place doubled as both Mr. Graf’s living quarters and shop. And I didn’t see any truck out front, so I decided to try the alley in the rear before I knocked down any door.It was then that I noticed for the first time that I was being watched by a short man with a long face who was slouched against a nearby tree like a marionette with no strings attached.
Some Guy: If you’re lost, Mister, maybe I can help you.
Marlowe: Maybe. I was looking for a pickup truck. Seen one around?
Some Guy: A pickup truck.
Marlowe: Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Some Guy: Now I wonder what that could be.
Marlowe: Well, it’s a small deal, but a half a ton and oh, I get it. Okay. Here’s five. Now my question.
Some Guy: Jerry Graff owns a pickup truck, but it ain’t here. It’s been out since dark, but Jerry’s in, he’s working late tonight.
Marlowe: Working at what? Come on. You got your five. Talk.
Some Guy: Okay. It ain’t no secret. Jerry’s a nursemaid for one armed bandits.
Marlowe: Slot machines, eh? Is that his racket?
Some Guy: Yeah, he used to be a big boy with them too, but times have changed. Now, he just works on them for other guys.
Marlowe: What other guys?
Some Guy: Oh Mister, I wouldn’t answer that for even another five. I wouldn’t stay in business very long if I did, but I’ll tell you one thing for free in case you’re gonna visit Jerry.
Marlowe: What’s that?
Some Guy: Watch out for him. He’s a very nasty man.
Marlowe: Thanks. But I can take care of myself, Buster.
Jerry Graf: What do you want?
Marlowe: Information? Where’s your pickup truck, Graf?
Jerry Graf: Somebody stole it, but he didn’t leave his card. Why? What are you, a private dick?
Marlowe: That’s right. But one that works close to the law. So why don’t we call the boys in blue and tell ’em all about it.
Jerry Graf: The cops? No, wait a minute. I don’t like the law patting around here. Come on in. I’ll tell you what you wanna know.
Marlowe: Let’s not skip any of the details, huh? Like for example, the name Steve Doyle.
Jerry Graf: Doyle. I don’t well, okay, fella. You win. The story goes something like this.
Marlowe: Wanna try again?
Jerry Graf: Maybe a monkey wrench’ll convince you.
Marlowe: You don’t throw any straight in your talk.
Jerry Graf: Ooh. *Grunt.* Ow!
Marlowe: Come on! What do you say? Do we play more? Come on talk. Come on, come on.
Jerry Graf: Wait! I’ll talk.
Marlowe: All right.
Jerry Graf: I’ve had enough.
Marlowe: So far, I know a girl named Nancy Marshall’s in some kind of trouble, because Steve Doyle broke outta the pen this morning. Now you fill in the blanks!
Jerry Graf: Oh sure. Sure. Why not? Oh, Steve Doyle. He used to be crazy about Nancy, but she didn’t go for him. Then about a year ago, a little more. Maybe Steve got picked up for knocking over a grocery store. He figured he was caught because Nancy tipped the law to get him out of her hair.
Marlowe: Now he’s out to get Nancy for revenge. Is that it?
Jerry Graf: Yeah. That’s it. And anyone who’s close to her gets the same treatment.
Marlowe: How chummy. Now tell me was Doyle here? Is he the one who’s driving a pickup truck?
Jerry Graf: Yeah, but it wasn’t my idea. He shoved a gun in my face, said we were old friends and asked for the keys.
Marlowe: Know where he is now?
Jerry Graf: No, but if I did, I’d keep it to myself. Doyle’s full of hate brother. You can count on that. Now, what do you say about clearing outta here?
Marlowe: Just as soon as I find out one more thing. Now there’s another girl mixed up in this. She’s a brunette with a lot of curves and the initial A. Calls herself an old acquaintance of Nancy’s. Any idea who she is?
Jerry Graf: No, not the slightest.
Marlowe: You’re a liar, Graf And if I had time, I’d beat the truth outta you.
Jerry Graf: Oh, you haven’t believed me, because if you don’t hustle, mister, when you do catch up with Nancy Marshall, you’re gonna catch up with a corpse. Nothing more.
Marlowe: When I got outside, two things stood out in my mind, like a pair of cleats at Carnegie Hall. First, my client’s fiance was not the most innocent dame in greater Los Angeles. And second, I wasn’t gonna get any place until I could locate the old acquaintance. But then just as I started for my car, the slouch who had sold me the dirty thumbnail sketch on Jerry Graf came running toward me.
Some Guy: Hey, Hey, Hey Mister, did everything work out? Right? I was called away on some other business or I’d have been here waiting,
Marlowe: Waiting for what?
Some Guy: Well, you know, in my game, I now and again, give a guy a little more dope than he bargained for. And in that case, I sometimes end up with a bonus, so to speak.
Marlowe: Well right, now we’re about even, but if you can tell me anything about a beautiful brunette whose first name starts with an A, I’ll give you a bonus that’ll keep you in beer and pretzels from now until the Fourth of July
Some Guy: Name that begins with an A?
Some Guy: Hey, she, she visited with Graf this morning, maybe?
Marlowe: Yeah. It’s possible. Come on. Think. Think hard.
Some Guy: She’s kind of tall? Dresses like a million bucks?
Marlowe: That’s right. Now, what’s her name? Here, look, $20 bill. Her name. What is it?
Some Guy: It’s uh, yeah, yeah, I got it. Adrian Starr, 1312 Lookout Mountain Road.
Marlowe: How do you know that?
Some Guy: It was on the registration card in her car. I took a peek while she-
Some Guy: Trouble at Graf’s. I’ll take my 20. Goodbye!
Marlowe: I beat it up the walk to Graf’s. And when I got inside, I found exactly what I expected. Doubled up on the floor in the middle of a lot of oily machine parts and still holding his stomach with both hands was Jerome Graf, a very dead man. I started for a telephone to call Lieutenant Ybarra, but then I noticed something small and gold lying a few feet away from the body. When I picked it up, I saw it was an ornamental buckle. A kind that a lady might wear on a coat. So I decided to skip Lieutenant Ybarra for the time being and call my client instead.
Paul Riker: Hello?
Marlowe: This is Marlowe,Riker.
Paul Riker: Oh yes. Marlo. What is it? What have you found out?
Marlowe: Quite a bit, but first I’ve gotta know one thing. Does Nancy Marshall have a gold belt buckle?
Paul Riker: A gold belt buckle?
Paul Riker: Why? Why? Yes she does on her black coat. But what about it Marlowe? What does it mean?
Marlowe: I’m not sure Mr. Riker, but it may mean that Nancy Marshall just killed a man.
Narrator: In just a moment, we will return to the second act of the Adventures of Philip Marlowe. But first by this time a week from tonight, Jack Benny will have made his first broadcast exclusively on the CBS network. Starting next Sunday, you’ll find Jack here with Mary Livingston, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day, Don Wilson and all the others who have made the Jack Benny Show a regular Sunday evening delight for millions of Americans. Just for fun. The Jack Benny kind of fun. Make a New Year’s resolution to hear the Jack Benny Show every Sunday, starting a week from tonight, January 2nd, over these same CBS network stations. Now with our star Gerald Moore, we return to the second act of Philip Marlowe and tonight’s story, “The Old Acquaintance.”
Marlowe: When I told Paul Riker that the chances were good that his bride-to-be had just knocked off a slot machine operator, my client reacted like I’d kicked him in the stomach. When he caught his breath again, he started telling me I was wrong and didn’t stop until I hung up on him. Next thing on the agenda was I called Lieutenant Ybarra.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Lieutenant Ybarra speaking.
Marlowe: Marlowe again, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Oh, did you find the owner of that pickup truck, Phil?
Marlowe: Yeah. I found him, Ybarra. I’m calling from his shop now. I had a talk with a guy. It was Jerry Graf.
Lieutenant Ybarra: What do you mean was Jerry Graf?
Marlowe: Well, somebody came in here and shot him just after I left. He’s dead. He knew Steve Doyle, all right, but I’m pretty sure Doyle didn’t kill him, Ybarra.
Lieutenant Ybarra: No. Then who did? Any idea, Marlowe?
Marlowe: Well, looks very much like my client’s fiance, Nancy Marshall. I still don’t know where she is or how it all fits together, but … look, I gotta lead. On an old acquaintance of Nancy’s named Adrian Starr. She lives up on Lookout Mountain Road. Yeah. If you don’t hear from me in say, an hour, you might check number 1312. That’s my next stop.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Okay. Just be sure it’s not your last stop. Goodbye.
Marlowe: I drove up Laurel Canyon to Lookout Mountain. The only sign of life was a young couple parked where they could look down at the city lights. If they wanted to. I backed into a bushy driveway across from Adrian Starr’s bungalow and stopped. It was small, modern and looked deserted except for one dim light upstairs. I was about to get out and verify that when a pair of headlights flashed down the road and a yellow convertible swept to a halt in front of the place. It was Adrian Starr who got out. She started up the walk toward her front door, stopped suddenly and then ran back to her car and drove off again. I kept the yellow convertible in sight. When it turned on Havenhurst and stopped in front of Nancy Marshall’s villa, I pulled up in time to see Adrian step inside and close the door. So I followed her.
Adrian Starr: Marlowe. What do you want?
Marlowe: I wanna know what Jerry Graf means to you, Adrian.
Adrian Starr: I don’t know any Jerry Grafs, so it means nothing.
Marlowe: Come on, stop it. You went down to his shop to see him this morning, but you might like to know that he’s dead. Mm-hmm <affirmative> And the cops are hungry for anybody who so much is knew his name. Maybe I better come inside and talk it over. Don’t you think?
Adrian Starr: Yeah, maybe you better. Just a minute.
Marlowe: Thanks. Hey, it’s dark. Why don’t you turn on more lights?
Adrian Starr: Because I like it this way.
Marlowe: Okay. But honey, if you’ve still got that pearl-handled popgun of yours, let’s leave it outta the conversation. And let’s make it straight. Why’d you drop in on Graf this morning?
Adrian Starr: Because I knew that sooner or later, Steve Doyle would hit there. I had to know if Steve intended to leave town or was still determined to get his crazy. revenge,
Marlowe: And all for Nancy Marshall, huh? You know, you’re sticking your neck out quite a ways, just for all time’s sake, baby. Steve Doyle’s a pretty tricky guy to mix with at this point.
Steve Doyle: You can say that again, folks.
Adrian Starr: Steve! Oh, Steve!
Marlowe: Steve Doyle.
Steve Doyle: That’s right. Who are you, Mister?
Marlowe: Marlowe. Private detective.
Steve Doyle: Sit down over there, private detective. Keep your hands outta your pockets. I don’t like you because you’re half cop, but play it smart and you won’t get hurt. Well, Adrian, like hold home week, huh?
Adrian Starr: Oh, it’s been a long time, Steve.
Steve Doyle: Yeah. Yeah, sure has. Where is she, Adrian? Where’s Nancy?
Adrian Starr: I don’t know. Steve
Steve Doyle: You’re lying to me. This is her place. You got her with a key. You went down to see Graf. You know where she is, all right. So tell me and tell me fast.
Adrian Starr: Steve. Listen, forget it. Forget about Nancy. This revenge will only get you in the gas chamber. Please let’s get away. We can still make it across the border. Please take me with you. I love you, Steve. Just like I always have. Even when you threw me over for Nancy-
Steve Doyle: Shut up, shut up. Just tell me where Nancy is. Come on, Adrian.
Adrian Starr: I don’t know!
Marlowe: Steve. Stop it, Doyle.
Steve Doyle: Where is she?
Adrian Starr: Steve? You’re hurting me!
Steve Doyle: Don’t move, Marlowe. All right. So I told you to behave. I’ve been through a lot and I’m tired and I’m running out time. You’re getting in my hair and that’s bad. I won’t shoot him. I can’t afford the noise. I can give him something just as good. Now, Adrian, try again. Where’s Nancy?
Marlowe: I … I couldn’t remember where I was, or how long I’d been lying there, but gradually I got the crazy idea that I was being robbed by a very unhappy crook, because I was sure that somebody was crying and going through my pockets at the same time. Oh, I tried to open my eyes. All I could see was a little gold buckle dance back and forth in front of me. When it finally disappeared altogether, I rolled over and hauled myself up onto my knees. Then it all came rushing back to me. I’d been in Nancy Marshall’s villa with Steve Doyle and Adrian Starr, maybe. Only they were gone now and I was alone. I heard a car start outside. So I got on my feet, made it along the wall to the door. It was Adrian. And she was behind the wheel of my coupe.
Adrian Starr: Get away from me, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Where’s Doyle?
Adrian Starr: He took my car. He’s gone off to Nancy. I’ve gotta stop him, Marlo. So get outta the way.
Marlowe: Somehow I managed to jump back just in time to keep from getting a press job with the tread of my own fist tires and it took 10 minutes of steady concentration to get it through my throbbing head that Adrian had actually stolen my car and was gone. Oh, the cold air must have helped me because one thought led to another. And I finally began to separate the facts from the fancies. I hadn’t dreamed all I thought I had. And when I realized that the whole idea hit me and hit me hard, like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist. I knew that I’d better get out to Lookout Mountain in a hurry. I made it to Sunset, hailed a cab and collapsed in it.
Cabbie: Where to, Mister?
Marlowe: Lookout Mountain Road, and make it fast.
Cabbie: It’s rugged in this traffic. New Year’s Eve, you know?
Marlowe: Here’s 10 bucks. Does that help? It’s important.
Cabbie: Oh, helps plenty. I know a great short cut, a new road that’s not yet finished, but how are on bumps?
Marlowe: A few more won’t matter, pal, let’s go. When it was over, I felt like I’d crossed the country on a Pogo stick, but the cab driver was a genius. And with a shortcut, we made the distance to Lookout Mountain in less than 10 minutes. When we got near the place, I sent the cab back down the hill out of danger. Went the rest of the way on foot. As I got within sight of Adrian’s bungalow, I saw Steve Doyle getting outta the yellow convertible, ran up to the house, tried the door, it was locked.
Steve Doyle: Nancy, where are you? I know you’re in there, baby. I’m gonna find you if I have to take this
joint apart. We got some old business to settle, remember?
Marlowe: So have we, Doyle! Drop that gun! Stand stiil.
Steve Doyle: Okay, sucker!
SFX: BANG, BANG!
Marlowe: You won’t need that gun anymore. Doyle. Just kick it over there, outta the way.
Steve Doyle: Some day I’ll get you for this, fella.
Marlowe: I doubt it, Steve. You’re all finished, but you’re too thick-headed to see it. I guess it’s time to relax and wait for Adrian. Then, we call the cops, huh?
Adrian Starr: Adrian just arrived, Marlowe. Don’t turn around or I’ll kill you.
Steve Doyle: Adrian.
Adrian Starr: There we are, Marlo. Toss your gun back here to me. Come on now. It’s better. Well, Steve, Steve, are you hurt bad, darling? Can you make it to the car?
Steve Doyle: I’ll try, Adrian. He got me on this side. It’s bad.
Adrian Starr: Oh Steve. Sorry darling. Hurry. I’ll be with you in a minute.
Steve Doyle: I’ll make it. Okay.
Adrian Starr: Well Marlowe?
Marlowe: Yeah. Okay, Adrian.
Adrian Starr: Tell me one thing first, Marlowe. Did Steve get to Nancy?
Marlowe: No. You killed Graf in time to shut him up too. So Steve will never know the truth will he, Adrian? Could be it was you who crossed him inside of the prison.
Adrian Starr: You’ll never find out. Not now. And you’ll never realize how much I love him either. That’s why I did it, Marlowe. It was the only way I could hold him for myself and I was willing to wait. Can you understand that?
Marlowe: Yeah, I guess I can. Too bad a love like yours has to be wasted on a guy like Steve. You’ll never get away, honey. Not with him. You’ll never make it.
Adrian Starr: Maybe not. But if he goes out, at least I’ll be with him Marlo. And that’s the way I want it.
Marlowe: And if you’re gonna do anything, Adrian, you better get it over with fast. That siren’s a friend of mine. He’s coming here.
Steve Doyle: Adrian!
Adrian Starr: Coming, Steve! You’re a good guy, Marlowe, and a smart one. Just don’t follow us. That’s all. So long, Marlowe. Happy new year!
SFX: SIRENS BLARING, GROWING LOUDER AS A CAR DRIVES OFF
Lieutenant Ybarra: Marlowe! Marlowe! That car just pull out here. Who was in it?
Marlowe: Steve Doyle and Adrian Starr, Ybarra. That road makes a horseshoe turn. That’ll bring them out, down below us there. That junction. I’ve got one of those streets blocked, but the other one’s wide open. Lucky bar. There they are. She’s stopping at the crossroad.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Yeah. They’ve spotted my men down there. She’s turning around. They’re heading out the other way. She must be crazy, Marlowe. They’ll never make that curve at that speed.
Marlowe: They’re not slowing down, Ybarra. She’s heading straight for that stone wall.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Well, Speed. That’s it. It’s all over. They were both dead when the boys got tp them. Killed instantly. By the way, how’s your head feel now? Any better?
Marlowe: I’m okay, Ybarra. Will you take care of Nancy Marshall, all right?
Lieutenant Ybarra: Yeah. She locked herself upstairs. Sent her home to Paul Riker in the squad car. If the driver hurries, they can still be married on New Year’s Eve. You know, that pegged as Jerry Graf’s killer earlier tonight, Marlowe. What made you change your mind?
Marlowe: Well, I found a gold buckle near Graf’s body, but I figured it was a fancy little belt buckle that Nancy had dropped. I saw exactly the same buckle when I was coming to after Doyle hit me on the head and it was not a belt. It was on a shoe. Adrian’s shoe. It was the mate to the one I’d found.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Once you knew Adrian Starr killed Graf, you put the rest of it together. Is that it?
Marlowe: Uh-huh. See, for a price, Graf helped Adrian doublecross Steve. She had to kill him to keep him from talking. She hit Nancy out for the same reason. If she knew that if Steve ever got to Nancy, he’d learn the truth.
Lieutenant Ybarra: I wonder why she didn’t kill Nancy too.
Marlowe: I think she intended to, Ybarra.
Lieutenant Ybarra: And she did it all really because she loved the guy too much. Strange deal, Marlowe. right to the end. You know, she didn’t have a chance to make that curve down there the way she was driving.
Marlowe: Not even if she wanted to make it, Ybarra.
Lieutenant Ybarra: Yeah. Well, it’s five minutes to midnight, Phil. Happy new year, fella. I wanna see a lot of you in 1949.
Marlowe: Same to you, Lieutenant. Good night. After Ybarra and the others left, I stayed up on Lookout Mountain and watched the new year come to Los Angeles. A new year. Didn’t seem to change things much, at least on the surface. Somewhere down the road, a gang struck up Auld Lang Syne. I thought again, of Adrian Starr, a girl who loved not wisely, who had called herself an old acquaintance. Yeah. I’d never forget her. As I walked back to my car, the city was ringing out the old and ringing in the new and I wished then that someplace on everybody’s list of resolutions, they’d make room for that cup of kindness they were singing about. And then a guy could say “Happy new year!” and mean it.
Narrator: The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, created by Raymond Chandler, stars Gerald Mohr, and is produced and directed by Norman Macdonell, script is by Milton Geiger, Robert Mitchell, and Gene Levitt, featured in the cast where Gloria Blondell, Edgar Barrier, David Ellis, Lou Krugman and Stan Waxman, Lieutenant Ybarra was played by Jeff Corey. The special music was by Richard Aurandt. Be sure and be with us again next week when Philip Marlowe says-
Marlowe: They all knew he was aboard the yacht when it exploded and sank, and everybody called his death an accident. Yeah, that is everybody, except the corpse himself. He said it was murder.
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And OMG, this is so obviously like Firesign Theatre’s “The Further Adventures of Nick Danger — Third Eye!”
Originally published at https://www.debbimack.com on September 25, 2022.