Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Suspense
Show: Stand-In
Date: Jun 12 1947

Dramatis Personae:
DIANA BURKE, the stand-in
MADAME, the movie star
DENNIS O'BRIEN, the husband

MIKE, the publicity agent
JENSEN, the English butler (2 lines)
PHOTOGRAPHER
DIRECTOR, of the movie; foreign accent
GATE, the main gate guard
KID, who wants an autograph
STAGE, the stage door guard (2 lines)
WATCHMAN (1 whistle)
CREW (2 lines)
SOUND MAN, the sound engineer (2 lines)
MALONE, the police lieutenant

plus an ANNOUNCER and various CROWDS

ANNOUNCER:

Roma Wines, R-O-M-A -- Roma Wine Company of Fresno, California -- bring you--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD AND THEME

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE! Tonight Roma Wines bring you Miss June Havoc in "Stand-In," a SUSPENSE play produced, edited, and directed for Schenley by William Spier.

MUSIC: UP AND OUT

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE -- Radio's Outstanding Theatre of Thrills -- is presented for your enjoyment by Roma Wines. That's R-O-M-A, Roma Wines, those better-tasting California wines enjoyed by more Americans than any other wine in the world. And thanks to this tremendous popularity, you can now serve Roma Wine more often. Roma prices have been reduced to save you money on every bottle you and your friends enjoy. We'll tell you more about this money-saving opportunity later on. And now, Roma Wines bring you Miss June Havoc in a remarkable tale of--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC:

FADES OUT

BIZ AND SOUND:

CHAOS! ... BUSTLE OF MOVIE STAR'S RETINUE, A DOG BARKS, A CAR HORN HONKS, ET CETERA ... THEN IN BG

MIKE:

(EXCITED) She's here! Diana, get W. C. and tell him, will ya?!

DIANA:

(UNCONCERNED, RELUCTANT) Okay.

MIKE:

And, Jensen?!

JENSEN:

Yes, sir?

MIKE:

Check on those forty Western Union boys who were supposed to come and sing "Here Comes the Bride"!

JENSEN:

Very good, sir.

MIKE:

(HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN) And everybody take it easy now! Keep calm. What do you want to do? Give her a nervous breakdown?

BIZ AND SOUND:

FRONT DOOR OPENS ... ALL FALL SILENT EXCEPT FOR THE DOG

MADAME:

(GRANDLY) Right this way, boys! Hello, darlings! Hello, everybody! Madame is home again!

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) That was always the way with Madame -- a grand entrance for her and utter confusion for everybody else. She was rotten and spoiled, but what could you do? On the screen, she looked like an angel. And she was the top box office draw of the biggest studio in Hollywood. Everybody's heard the story by now -- of course, that is, the Nine Days' Wonder's version that the newspapers carried. But there are only two people in the world who know the real story -- and I'm one of them. You see, I was her stand-in.

This particular little caper all began just before her latest picture was supposed to go in front of the cameras and she suddenly decided she simply couldn't dare to be making only ten thousand dollars for a whole week's work -- and took off for Florida. Nobody heard a word of her for two months, except for the newspapers. Little things like she'd married her fifth husband and lost forty thousand dollars in one night at roulette and bought an old Spanish monastery and was going to bring it back to Hollywood stone by stone. And then all of a sudden she was coming back -- that very day -- with husband and monastery and everything.

And everybody had to jump! The retinue had been waiting all afternoon and going not-so-quietly crazy, particularly Mike Foth, her publicity agent -- and me. I was having a whole duplicate set of dresses fitted so we could start the picture the minute she got back. She swept in -- and I took a look at the new husband. And the minute I saw him, I knew there was going to be trouble -- because he wasn't taking it well. He wasn't taking it at all well.

BIZ AND SOUND:

BUSTLE OF RETINUE RETURNS DURING ABOVE ... DOG KEEPS BARKING, IN BG, BUT OTHERS GROW QUIET DURING FOLLOWING--

MIKE:

Madame! For the love of Pete, where have you been?! W. C.'s been blowing his top all day and the newspapers--

MADAME:

Oh, now, Michael darling, everything's been taken care of. I sent W. C. a big box of orchids from the airport. And I brought a few of the newspaper boys along.

MIKE:

You did?!

MADAME:

(LOVINGLY, TO THE DOG) Oh! Hello, Pogo, darling!

MIKE:

Listen, I want to talk to you first. I wanted to give you--

MADAME:

(INTERRUPTS, TO ALL) Oh, by the way, everybody. This is my new husband, Dennis O'Brien.

BIZ:

POLITE MURMURS OF RETINUE, IN BG

MADAME:

(RAPIDLY) He flew me out. We bought a little four-seater. Isn't he gorgeous? Gorgeous! Such an improvement on [Romana?]. Say hello to the folks, Denny, huh?

DENNIS:

(QUIET, UNHAPPY) Hello.

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Uh, say, how about a couple of nice pictures of the bride and groom, huh?

BIZ:

RETINUE MURMURS APPROVAL ... CONTINUES BUSTLING IN BG

MADAME:

Well, darling, I think that's a splendid idea. Come on, Dennis. Come on, a little to one side. That's it, darling. Lean over, perhaps. That's right. Not too far into the picture. (CHUCKLES)

DENNIS:

(SULLEN) Anywhere you say.

MADAME:

There! Now, isn't that about right, boys?

BIZ AND SOUND:

BUSTLING PAUSES AS THE CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Ah, that's fine! Now one of you alone, Madame.

MADAME:

Why, certainly. You can go now, Dennis. I'll join you a little later, darling. Just look around the house. Make yourself at home.

DENNIS:

(DRY) Thanks.

SOUND:

DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS AWAY

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Uh, hold it, Madame!

SOUND:

CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Thank you! Goodbye!

MADAME:

Oh, that's all right.

BIZ AND SOUND:

RETINUE MOVES OFF DURING FOLLOWING ... DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS IT EXITS

DIANA:

Madame? Uh, I was wondering about your hair. Are you going to wear it up in the cathedral scene or--?

MADAME:

(IGNORES DIANA) Ohhh, I am très beat! Lawrence and Hermione's party was beaucoup, but really.

DIANA:

Madame? Madame, I wonder--

MADAME:

Oh, Diana darling! I hardly noticed you.

DIANA:

Well, I--

MADAME:

How are the new dresses coming?

DIANA:

Well--

MADAME:

That one you have on looks lovely, dear.

DIANA:

Well, thank you--

MADAME:

You look lovely, too.

DIANA:

Well, thanks, Madame. I was wondering if--

MADAME:

Oh, please, will you go, Diana dear? I shall have to go into that awful ordeal with W. C. and the Schwartzes will be here.

DIANA:

(UNHAPPY) Well, certainly. Good night, Madame.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) You see what I mean? I won't say I didn't hate her -- because I did. But I was used to it by now. It was a living, and better than pounding a typewriter or getting mauled in a modeling agency. I made my way back through the big gloomy house to the study where I'd left my things.

SOUND:

STUDY DOOR OPENS

DIANA:

(NARRATES) As I opened the door, I saw her husband Dennis. He was standing with his back to me in the semidarkness, looking out the big French windows that lead to the formal garden. He turned his head a little when I came in and then back again, staring out the window. But even from where I stood, I could see that his big shoulders were bunched into knots.

DENNIS:

(FURIOUS) I could kill you when you're like that, Maggie! Who do you think I am? One of your Great Danes that you can haul around on a leash and put through parlor tricks?

DIANA:

But I--

DENNIS:

I'm not listening now, Maggie! I'm telling you! Now cut it out! Cut it out or, so help me some night, I'll murder you!

DIANA:

Wha--? (CHUCKLES) Sorry, Mr. O'Brien, I didn't mean to--

DENNIS:

Huh? (BEAT, REALIZES) Oh. I - I thought it was Maggie.

DIANA:

Oh, so I gather.

DENNIS:

Excuse me.

DIANA:

Oh, that's all right. Forget it. I know you didn't mean it.

DENNIS:

(STILL UPSET) No? That's where you're wrong, sister.

DIANA:

Oh?

DENNIS:

(SAVAGELY) I meant every word of it!

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I looked at him -- handsome, weak, and violent. And I think I - I saw it all right then. For one split second -- a flash of intuition -- the future lit up in front of me like a marquee sign. A sign in big red letters that said --- "Murder!"

MUSIC:

FIRST ACT CURTAIN ... THEN BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

For SUSPENSE, Roma Wines are bringing you June Havoc in "Stand-In," Roma [Wines presentation tonight in Radio's Outstanding Theatre of Thrills. ...]

[COMMERCIAL OMITTED]

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I don't have the right face for the screen -- but I've got everything else. And Denny knew it. I didn't keep it a secret from him, either -- not that I had to flaunt it at him. He was married to a slightly sagging movie queen, at least ten years older than I was, and he was only human.

Not that I said anything, either. For a week, I hardly spoke to him. First, because it was smart. And then, being Madame's stand-in, because I was busy. There was all the flurry of getting the picture started, costumes and tests, and so on. And finally, the Academy Award dinner.

Perhaps the less said about that, the better. It was Olivia de Havilland who got the award, of course, not Madame -- and she found out about it just before the dinner and threw a wing-ding! But we got her out of there and brought her home before she caused too much damage. And Mike called a doctor and he gave her a sedative and-- Then Denny and I were alone -- for the first time. All alone, in that big, rambling mausoleum of a house.

DENNIS:

(OFF) Diane?

DIANA:

Yes?

DENNIS:

(OFF) Come over here, won't you?

DIANA:

I'm all right here.

DENNIS:

(OFF) Then I'll come over there.

SOUND:

DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

DENNIS:

(CLOSER) I'm not used to these big spaces.

DIANA:

But-- But keep a little space, huh, Denny? I'm not used to no space.

DENNIS:

I know, I've got no business even looking at you. But--

DIANA:

But what?

DENNIS:

For a week now, I've been watching you. Thinking about you.

DIANA:

I know.

DENNIS:

(UNCERTAIN) Do you--? Did you--?

DIANA:

Well, those things don't usually happen to just one person, Denny. Takes two.

DENNIS:

(VERY CLOSE) Diane--

DIANA:

No. Wait a minute, Denny.

DENNIS:

Why?

DIANA:

There're a couple of things we'd better get straight.

DENNIS:

All right.

DIANA:

(SIGHS) Oh, Denny -- you poor, big, beautiful character, you. Why did you have to marry her?

DENNIS:

Well, things look a little different sometimes from where you are than they do when you get there.

DIANA:

And where were you?

DENNIS:

I was a lifeguard. Just as simple as that.

DIANA:

And you thought this looked even easier for--

DENNIS:

There wasn't anyone else and I thought, "Well, Hollywood. Glamor. Luxury." I might even get a break myself; funnier things have happened.

DIANA:

Now you know.

DENNIS:

Yeah. Now I know.

DIANA:

But you still want those things that you married her for, don't you?

DENNIS:

Sure, I suppose so. But I want something else now.

DIANA:

Me.

DENNIS:

Yeah.

DIANA:

(PAUSE, FOR A KISS, EXHALES) Sure, you got what you want -- but I haven't. And I'm not settling for anything less. I'm not going to be the little girl that you see when you want to, and then come back and lie around in your swimming pool. I want a swimming pool, too.

DENNIS:

Well, maybe there's a way we can have it together.

DIANA:

Sure. There is a way.

DENNIS:

(CAREFULLY) What way are you thinking about?

DIANA:

A way that people like us would never want to take.

DENNIS:

Mm. But suppose we did?

DIANA:

That would be different.

DENNIS:

Is that a deal?

DIANA:

Sure. That's a deal.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) Casual. The light touch. But it was there, just the same. We never spoke about it after that. Things went along and-- Well, I'm only human, too. But there was always that understanding between us. All that time, we were just waiting, I guess, for what they call in the crime stories "the opportunity."

BIZ AND SOUND:

HOLLYWOOD SOUND STAGE BACKGROUND (DIRECTOR AND OTHERS SHOUTING INDECIPHERABLE ORDERS, BUSTLE OF CREW AND CAST, ET CETERA) FADES IN BEHIND--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) And then on the last week of the shooting schedule on Madame's new picture, it came. There was only one more take before we knocked off that day, so I was free to go home. But everybody else was jumpy and irritable as usual, particularly Madame. And then I saw Denny walking down the stage.

MADAME:

(OBNOXIOUS) Don't blame me for holding up the picture! You're the director; I'm not!

DIRECTOR:

Oh, please, Madame--

MADAME:

I'll be ready any time you say!

DIRECTOR:

Make it ten minutes.

MADAME:

(ANNOYED) Well, really!

DIRECTOR:

(GIVING ORDERS) Okay, fellows -- move in for the close-up.

DENNIS:

(FRIENDLY) Oh, hello, there, Maggie.

MADAME:

(WITH CONTEMPT) Oh, it's you.

DENNIS:

Yeah. When are you quitting?

MADAME:

(SNAPS) Oh, Dennis, how do I know?! (LOUD AND POINTED, FOR THE DIRECTOR'S BENEFIT) I'm not the director; I'm merely the star!

DENNIS:

You know we're supposed to be aboard the yacht by seven-thirty. There'll be people waiting.

MADAME:

All right, all right, let 'em wait!

DENNIS:

Yeah, but yesterday you said that you wanted--

MADAME:

Oh, yesterday-- Yesterday, I said one thing; today I am working. Now shut up and leave me alone.

DENNIS:

Don't talk to me that way, Maggie.

MADAME:

What?

DENNIS:

I'm your husband, remember?

MADAME:

Yes! And I've had about all of that I can stand, too. Now, you get out of here, do you hear me?! Get out of here!

DENNIS:

Okay, Maggie.

MADAME:

And you might start looking for a good divorce lawyer; I think you're going to need one!

SOUND:

DENNIS' SLOW FOOTSTEPS AWAY

DIANA:

Hello.

DENNIS:

What? Oh, hello, Diane.

DIANA:

Let's take a little stroll out to the gate, shall we?

DENNIS:

I could use some fresh air.

DIANA:

Come on. We'll duck out the big stage door here.

DENNIS:

Okay.

SOUND:

BIG STAGE DOOR OPENED AND CLOSED, SHUTTING OUT SOUND STAGE BACKGROUND ... DENNIS AND DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS WALK TO MAIN GATE ... FADE IN TRAFFIC BACKGROUND

DENNIS:

Well, it doesn't look like I have much longer, does it?

DIANA:

Not much.

DENNIS:

Now or never.

DIANA:

I'm not quite sure I know what you're talking about, Denny.

DENNIS:

Let's quit kidding ourselves. You know what I'm talking about. If she divorces me, we're finished.

DIANA:

(CORRECTS HIM) You're finished.

DENNIS:

All right, I'm finished. So if we are ever going to do anything, it's gotta be now.

DIANA:

All right, let's quit kidding ourselves. Are we going to do anything?

DENNIS:

I would. If I knew how.

DIANA:

Sh! There's the guard at the gate.

GATE:

Ah, good evening, Mr. O'Brien, Miss Burke.

DENNIS:

Oh, hi.

DIANA:

Hello.

SOUND:

KID'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

KID:

(APPROACHES) Hey, Madame! Can I please have your autograph?

DIANA:

(UNKIND) 'Fraid you got the wrong gal, sonny. I'm not Madame.

KID:

You can't fool me, Madame. You're shooting that picture, "Carmelita."

DENNIS:

Well, go on, beat it, will ya, kid?

KID:

I even seen ya in the same dress lots o' times!

DIANA:

Oh, sure. They fix me up to look like Madame, but I'm not. I'm only her stand-in.

KID:

(CONFUSED) Stand-in?

DENNIS:

Come on, Diane.

DIANA:

Wait a minute. Look, sonny, they gotta have somebody standing in there so they can focus everything just right and that's me. Then, when they're ready to shoot the scene, Madame comes out all fresh and pretty and plays it. You see now?

KID:

(MOVING OFF) Oh. You sure look like her, though.

SOUND:

KID'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

DIANA:

Well, that's what they pay me for.

DENNIS:

(LOW, INSPIRED) Diane!

DIANA:

What?

DENNIS:

That's it! That's the "how" -- right there!

DIANA:

The what?

DENNIS:

How. The kid just told us, just now. Don't you get it?

DIANA:

The how--? How to--?

DENNIS:

Sure. Out of the mouths of babes! How to murder your wife.

MUSIC:

BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) The whole thing would take about twenty minutes, but it had to be timed and planned to the split-second. We planned it for the last day -- and the last shot of the picture -- when everybody lets down and gets sort of half-hysterical at the idea that the thing is finally over. The shooting schedule was made for us. The last shot with Madame was on an enormous set of a cathedral interior, with the camera pulling back half the length of the stage. It was shot silent -- there was no dialogue and no sound. We figured the shot for around ten-thirty at night, and we were almost right on the nose. They finished the close-ups and the sound men had shoved their mikes and things over to one side of the set, and the director and the cameraman were lining up for the long shot.

BIZ AND SOUND:

HOLLYWOOD SOUND STAGE BACKGROUND

DIRECTOR:

We'll be ready in about twenty minutes, Madame.

MADAME:

Well, I'll be in my dressing room. Call me, if you please. (TO HERSELF) What a relief! What a blessèd relief! It's almost over!

DIANA:

Oh, Madame?

MADAME:

Yes, my dear?

DIANA:

You won't need me any more, will you?

MADAME:

(WEARY) Oh, no. No, my dear. Run along. Run along and enjoy yourself and thank heaven you're not a star.

DIANA:

Thanks. Good night, Madame.

MADAME:

Good night, dear.

SOUND:

DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY ... DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

MADAME:

Well-well-well -- Dennis.

DENNIS:

(CORDIAL) Hello, Maggie.

MADAME:

I've been beastly to you lately, Dennis, really. Come along to my dressing room; we'll have a little talk.

SOUND:

DENNIS AND MADAME'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) As I was leaving the stage, Denny was taking her back to her dressing room. It was ten-forty. And I knew exactly how he'd look at her and what he'd say -- and what he'd do.

SOUND:

DRESSING ROOM DOOR OPENS ... DENNIS AND MADAME WALK IN

MADAME:

Close the door, Denny.

SOUND:

DRESSING ROOM DOOR CLOSES ... SOUND STAGE BACKGROUND OUT

MADAME:

Yes, that's it. Do sit down. Make yourself comfortable.

DENNIS:

No, thanks.

MADAME:

Oh, don't be silly. There's just one more take and then we'll--

DENNIS:

You're not going to make it, though, Maggie.

MADAME:

What do you mean?

DENNIS:

I mean, you're through, Maggie. Through.

SOUND:

BRIEF SCUFFLE

MADAME:

Dennis! Den--! (WHIMPERS AS SHE IS MURDERED)

DENNIS:

(REACTS QUIETLY TO WHAT HE'S DONE, BREATHES TENSELY)

SOUND:

DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS TO DRESSING ROOM DOOR WHICH OPENS AND SHUTS ... SOUND STAGE BACKGROUND ... DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS START OFF

DIRECTOR:

You leaving us, Denny?

DENNIS:

(FORCED CHEERFULNESS) Yeah, I got my orders. She said to call her when you're ready.

DIRECTOR:

(AMUSED) Okay. 'Night, Denny.

DENNIS:

'Night.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION--

SOUND:

DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) Seven minutes. Seven minutes were gone. Now he'd be passing the guard at the stage door.

SOUND:

STAGE DOOR OPENS

STAGE:

Good night, Mr. O'Brien.

DENNIS:

G'night!

SOUND:

STAGE DOOR CLOSES

DIANA:

(NARRATES) And now he'd be walking down the studio street, and turning the corner at the other end of Stage One, and strolling over to the guard at the main gate.

SOUND:

NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND (CHIRPING CRICKETS, ET CETERA)

GATE:

Well, hello, Mr. O'Brien. Goin' home now?

DENNIS:

(FORCED LAUGH, A LITTLE NERVOUS) I wish I knew. You a married man?

GATE:

(CHUCKLES) I know what you mean.

DENNIS:

Well, I got my orders and all I can do is carry 'em out. Ours not to question why, huh?

GATE:

Yeah, that's right. You waitin' for Madame?

DENNIS:

Yup. She told me to wait until exactly eleven o'clock and, if she wasn't out here, to go on home. So I got -- (CHECKS WATCH) -- ten or fifteen minutes to kill. Cigarette?

GATE:

Oh, thanks. Don't mind if I do.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) He'd stay there now. He'd stay there until it was time. It was ten forty-nine.

MUSIC:

BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN CONTINUOUS IN BG

SOUND:

DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) Just five minutes before, I had passed that same guard on the stage door.

SOUND:

STAGE DOOR OPENS

STAGE:

Oh, good night, Miss Burke.

DIANA:

G'night.

SOUND:

STAGE DOOR CLOSES ... NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND

DIANA:

(NARRATES) And I had walked down the same studio street, and passed the same guard at the main gate.

GATE:

Well, finally, knockin' off, eh, Miss Burke?

DIANA:

That's right. G'night!

GATE:

Yeah, good night, Miss Burke, good night.

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I had walked straight ahead, as though I was going to the bus line, and then when I was out of sight of the main gate, I ducked up the little side street that runs along the west end of the lot. I kept in the shadows now, watching every move.

SOUND:

DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS OUT

DIANA:

(NARRATES) About a hundred feet from the corner, there's another gate. It's usually locked and never used. But they'd been shooting an exterior and they'd taken the gate off the hinges.

WATCHMAN:

(WHISTLES A TUNE)

SOUND:

WATCHMAN'S FOOTSTEPS WALK PAST, IN BG--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) There were barricades across the entrance and a watchman who passed about every fifteen minutes and then rounded the corner. He was passing now. I waited in the shadows. Now, he was gone. Now! Now was the time. I took a quick look around. There was no one in sight.

SOUND:

DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I dashed to the gate and was over the barricades in an instant and running as softly as I could toward the back of Stage One. A big door at the back where they move in the scenery and the flats was open about a foot. We'd seen to that. Then I squeezed in and I made my way behind the scenes to Madame's dressing room.

SOUND:

DRESSING ROOM DOOR OPENS, DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS IN, DOOR CLOSES

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I opened the door and closed it behind me. And then I knew for sure that Denny had been there and done his part. She was lying on the floor with the marks of his big hands still on her throat. She was dead.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A DOOM-LADEN ACCENT ... THEN CONTINUOUS IN BG

DIANA:

(NARRATES) It was ten fifty-seven. I had on the costume, with the veil over my face, and there was nothing to do but wait -- wait there, shut up in a little room with a dead woman -- for them to call her, and for me to play her part. (SLIGHTLY UNNERVED) I - I tried not to look at her lying there. Finally--

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

CREW:

(CALLS, FROM BEHIND DOOR) We're all ready, Madame!

SOUND:

CREW MEMBER'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I waited for the steps to die away.

BIZ AND SOUND:

DRESSING ROOM DOOR OPENS ... SOUND STAGE BACKGROUND

DIANA:

(NARRATES) And then I opened the door.

SOUND:

DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS THROUGH DRESSING ROOM DOOR WHICH CLOSES ... THEN ONTO THE STAGE

DIANA:

(NARRATES) As Denny had said, it was now -- or never. I walked out and took my place on the set.

MUSIC:

OUT

BIZ AND SOUND:

CREW MEMBERS MURMUR, "All right, boys, let's settle down! Quiet!" (ET CETERA) ... THEN SOUND STAGE NOISE GROWS QUIET BEHIND--

DIRECTOR:

You ready, Madame?

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I nodded my head.

DIRECTOR:

Roll 'em!

SOUND MAN:

Rolling!

SOUND:

BUZZER BUZZES A FEW TIMES

SOUND MAN:

Speed!

DIRECTOR:

Action!

MUSIC:

A GENTLE ACCENT ... THEN IN BG

DIANA:

(NARRATES) Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the camera on the big boom slowly beginning to pull back. It seemed a million miles away.

SOUND:

DIANA'S SLOW FOOTSTEPS, IN BG

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I began walking down the aisle of the cathedral. There was no sound, so I was getting direction -- all the way.

MUSIC:

OUT

DIRECTOR:

(SLOWLY) That's it, Madame. Slowly. Slowly. Remember, you're overwhelmed with grief. Now you kneel. That's it. Now you clasp your hands together. Now cast your eyes upward. That's it. Perfect. Hold it. Little longer. Just a little longer. Cut! (TO THE CREW) That's all, boys! Put in the jar!

BIZ:

CREW EXPLODES WITH LAUGHTER AND CHEERS

MUSIC:

HUGE, TRIUMPHANT ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

SOUND:

DIANA'S FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) That was all. I had to keep myself from running as I started back to the dressing room, but when I got there, I sprinted -- around the corner and out to the big door.

SOUND:

DIANA CLIMBS INTO CAR AND SHUTS CAR DOOR BEHIND--

DIANA:

(NARRATES) Denny's car was there, all right, with the back door open, and I slipped into it and lay down on the floor of the back seat. It was eleven o'clock.

MUSIC:

FADES OUT

SOUND:

NOCTURNAL BACKGROUND

DENNIS:

(OFF) Well, looks like my time's up.

GATE:

(OFF) Yup. Couple o' minutes after eleven. Guess she's not comin', huh?

DENNIS:

(OFF) Guess not. Well, orders is orders.

GATE:

(OFF, LAUGHS) Yeah, that's right, Mr. O'Brien.

MUSIC:

BEHIND NARRATION

SOUND:

DENNIS' FOOTSTEPS TO CAR

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I could hear his steps coming over to the car.

SOUND:

CAR DOOR OPENS

DIANA:

(NARRATES) And then getting in. And then we were starting off.

SOUND:

CAR DOOR CLOSES ... CAR ENGINE ROARS TO LIFE

GATE:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Good night, Mr. O'Brien!

DENNIS:

Good night!

MUSIC:

FADES OUT AS--

SOUND:

CAR DRIVES OFF ... ENGINE CONTINUES IN BG

DENNIS:

(NERVOUS) You back there, Diane?

DIANA:

Yes! I'm here!

DENNIS:

(EXHILARATED) Well, we made it, baby. We made it!

MUSIC:

BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) We knew they probably wouldn't find her till the next day. Even a director wouldn't dare disturb her if he got no answer at the dressing room door. And that's what happened. We got the news about mid-morning and, of course, everybody on the lot was grief-stricken. And that afternoon, everybody who'd been on the "Carmelita" set or had anything to do with Madame was called into Projection Room A. That's when we first met Lieutenant Malone.

BIZ:

BUZZ OF CROWD ... QUIETS DOWN FOR--

MALONE:

Now, I know you folks all feel bad about this, but we might as well lay it on the line. The lady's dead. And someone who was on that set is the one who killed her. (TO DENNIS) Now, you're the husband, aren't you -- Dennis O'Brien?

DENNIS:

That's right.

MALONE:

Well, you know how we work these things. Motive and opportunity. And just offhand, Mr. O'Brien, you practically got a corner on the motive market.

DENNIS:

I suppose I have.

DIANA:

Oh, but, Lieutenant, a dozen people saw Dennis -- Mr. O'Brien -- leave the set before she was killed, before she made the last shot. And he was out talking to the guard the whole time after that. And then he went straight home. He couldn't have done it.

MALONE:

Yeah, I know. It's a good alibi. Awful good.

MIKE:

Well, how do you know some stranger didn't kill her? Maybe she fell asleep in the dressing room after the shot and some prowler--

MALONE:

Uh uh. No. It just - doesn't feel right. (TO DIRECTOR) Uh, you got the film of that last shot you made?

DIRECTOR:

Yeah. Yeah, we got it here.

MALONE:

Let's see it, huh?

SOUND:

BUZZ! CLICK! OF INTERCOM

DIRECTOR:

Will you run that last "Carmelita" take again, please?

SOUND:

CLICK! OF INTERCOM

DIRECTOR:

(BEAT) Well, here we go.

DIRECTOR:

(BEAT, ON FILM) That's it, Madame. Slowly now. Slowly. Remember, you--

SOUND:

BUZZ-BUZZ OF INTERCOM AS DIRECTOR SIGNALS PROJECTIONIST TO CUT SOUND

MALONE:

What was that?

DIRECTOR:

That's me, giving directions. Was supposed to be silent shot. Of course, that won't be used. There'll be music to cover that.

MALONE:

(DOESN'T QUITE UNDERSTAND) Well, let's hear it anyway.

DIRECTOR:

Whatever you say.

SOUND:

BUZZ-BUZZ OF INTERCOM AS DIRECTOR SIGNALS PROJECTIONIST TO RUN FILM

DIRECTOR:

(ON FILM) That's it. Perfect. Hold it. Little longer. Just a little longer. Cut!

SOUND:

FILM ENDS

DIRECTOR:

Well, that's all there is to it.

MALONE:

(DISAPPOINTED SIGH) Not much there.

DIANA:

(OVERACTING A LITTLE) Why, Lieutenant, nobody in the studio would have touched a hair of Madame's head. We - we loved her so much.

MIKE:

Yeah. You'd better learn a little more about the picture business before you start throwing wild accusations around.

MALONE:

I - I think you got something there, Mike. Maybe I'll do that. Maybe I'll just do that little thing.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) A month went by. Of course, Denny and I didn't dare see much of each other, but -- things were going along. I'd even had a couple of small parts. On the strength of all the publicity about Madame, somebody discovered that maybe I did have the right face for the screen. And then one day we got a call to go to Projection Room A. And there was Lieutenant Malone again.

BIZ:

MURMUR OF CROWD ... QUIETS DOWN FOR--

MALONE:

Uh, just make yourselves comfortable, folks. I got something to show you.

MIKE:

I hope it's more than you had the last time.

MALONE:

(CHUCKLES) Yeah, Mike, yeah. I've been learning the picture business, like you said. I learned a lot, too. All about silent shots and sound shots and wild track and dubbing and -- stand-ins.

DIANA:

Hm? Wha--? What?

MALONE:

Uh, you were Madame's stand-in, weren't you, Miss Burke?

DIANA:

Yes, I was.

MALONE:

Uh huh. You, uh, look quite a lot like her, too.

DIANA:

Well, a little, I suppose.

MALONE:

Oh, you'd fool me, all right, if your back was turned. Well, I've been fooling around down in the cutting rooms. I never realized before how much stuff got thrown away. I, er, made a little collection of it. I want to show it to you.

SOUND:

BUZZ-BUZZ OF INTERCOM

MALONE:

Here we go.

SOUND:

ON FILM, ROAR AND WHISTLE AND BELLS OF LOCOMOTIVE ... HOLDS FOR A MOMENT ... THEN FILM SLOWS TO A STOP

MALONE:

Now, that is a wild soundtrack. You make that separate and mix it in after you've made your film, right? You can make sound without pictures, just the same as you can make pictures without sound, right? Now, that day you folks were making that last shot of "Carmelita," the sound engineers were sort of slap-happy -- it being the last day and all -- and so they just pushed their microphones out of the way. But! -- they forgot to turn off the sound. And they pushed that mike right up against Madame's dressing room. Before the last shot. And the cameraman was running some test film and here's what he got. (CASUALLY) I, er, found this in a cutting room trash bin.

SOUND:

BUZZ-BUZZ OF INTERCOM ... ON FILM SOUNDTRACK, WE HEAR THE FOLLOWING EXCHANGE BETWEEN DENNIS AND MADAME--

MADAME:

Close the door, Denny.

SOUND:

DRESSING ROOM DOOR CLOSES

MADAME:

Yes, that's it. Do sit down. Make yourself comfortable.

DENNIS:

No, thanks.

MADAME:

Oh, don't be silly. There's just one more take and then we'll--

DENNIS:

You're not going to make it, though, Maggie.

MADAME:

What do you mean?

DENNIS:

I mean, you're through, Maggie. Through.

SOUND:

BRIEF SCUFFLE

MADAME:

Dennis! Den--! (WHIMPERS AS SHE IS MURDERED)

SOUND:

SOUNDTRACK ENDS

MALONE:

(PAUSE) Well, I guess that's it. Huh, Mr. O'Brien? Miss Burke?

DIANA:

(DEFEATED) Yeah. Yes, I guess that's it.

MUSIC:

SOMBER TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATION

DIANA:

(NARRATES) I haven't seen Denny since the trial. I wonder if I'll see him afterwards. If what the preachers say is right, I suppose I will. And, of course, Madame will be down there, too. I can't think of any worse punishment than being her stand-in through all eternity. So I suppose that's what I'll get.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE!

MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD AND BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Presented by Roma Wines, R-O-M-A, Roma, America's favorite wines.

MUSIC:

OUT

ANNOUNCER:

In a moment, we'll hear again from June Havoc, star of tonight's SUSPENSE play. Meanwhile, this is Truman Bradley with a suggestion that you try Roma Wines and discover for yourself the important difference, the extra taste luxury, that makes Roma America's most preferred wine. You'll find that Roma Wines taste better because Roma alone selects from the world's greatest reserves of fine wines. You will also find that you now pay less for Roma's premium quality, that you actually save up to twenty percent on these better-tasting wines. Tomorrow, buy a supply of Roma California Sherry, that perfect appetizer before dinner, that gracious gesture when friends drop in.

HAVOC:

This is June Havoc. SUSPENSE is one of my favorite programs and I got a real thrill appearing on it tonight. I'm going to be listening to next week's SUSPENSE show when Elliott Reid will be the star. Thanks a lot and good night.

ANNOUNCER:

June Havoc will soon be seen opposite George Raft in the United Artists production, "Intrigue." Tonight's SUSPENSE play was by Robert Richards and Pamela Wilcox. Next Thursday, same time, you will hear Mr. Elliott Reid as star of--

MUSIC:

KNIFE CHORD

ANNOUNCER:

SUSPENSE! Produced by William Spier for the Roma Wine Company of Fresno, California.

MUSIC:

SUSPENSE THEME