Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Dragnet
Show: The Big Little Jesus
Date: Dec 22 1953

CAST:
JOE FRIDAY, Los Angeles Police Department
FRANK SMITH, his partner
FATHER ROJAS
FLAVIN
CAPTAIN BARNARD, of the LAPD
JOE HEFFERNAN, altar boy
DESK CLERK, at the Golden Dream Hotel
MALE VOCAL TRIO, at the hotel
CLAUDE STROUP, the suspect
PACO MENDOZA, a boy from the parish
FENNEMAN, announcer
GIBNEY, announcer

MUSIC:

DRAGNET SIGNATURE

FENN:

(EASILY) Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true.

MUSIC:

DRUM ROLL UNDER

GIBNEY:

Dragnet is brought to you by Chesterfield, made by Liggett and Myers, first major tobacco company to give you a complete line of quality cigarettes.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE FOR

FENN:

(EASILY) You're a detective sergeant. You're assigned to Burglary Division. You get a call that an important piece of religious art has been stolen from the oldest church in Los Angeles. There's no lead to its whereabouts. Your job ... find it.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE FOR

FIRST COMMERCIAL

FENN:

To sell a product, you have to make it good and keep it good. What do the latest reports show about Chesterfield? Well, our research laboratory has compared it with the leading cigarettes in the country.

Chesterfield is highest in quality ... low in nicotine. Another good reason why thousands of people are changing to Chesterfield every day. Smoke America's most popular two-way cigarette ... Regular or king-size, you'll find Chesterfield really mild, really satisfying ... Best for you.

MUSIC:

THEME ... UP AND FADE FOR

GIBNEY:

Dragnet, the, documented drama of an actual crime. For the next thirty minutes, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department, you will travel step by step on the side of the law through an actual case from official police files. From beginning to end ... from crime to punishment ... Dragnet is the story of your police force in action.

MUSIC:

UP AND FADE OUT ON SUSTAINED CHORD

SOUND:

JOE'S STEPS IN CORRIDOR. SLIGHT ECHO AND CORRIDOR B.G.

JOE:

It was Wednesday, December 24th. It was cold in Los Angeles. We were working the Day Watch out of Burglary Division. My partner's Frank Smith. The boss is Captain Barnard. My name's Friday. I'd gone across the street to buy stamps for some Christmas cards I was sending out. It was 9:15 A.M, when I got back to Room 45 ... (SOUND: DOOR OPEN) ... Burglary.

SOUND:

JOE WALKS INTO THE ROOM. THE DOOR CLOSES BEHIND HIM. B.G. CHANGES. HE TAKES A COUPLE OF STEPS IN.

JOE:

I sat down at a table in the squad room and started to address the cards when Frank walked in carrying a stack of Christmas boxes.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND FRANK WALKS IN.

FRANK:

(APPROACHES) Hi, Joe.

JOE:

Hi.

SOUND:

FRANK PLACES PACKAGES ON THE TABLE.

FRANK:

Christmas cards, huh? Little late, aren't you?

JOE:

Well, I was gonna send 'em out Monday but we had that stake-out.

FRANK:

You oughta get married, Joe.

JOE:

Yeah?

FRANK:

It's the only system. Faye does all this stuff for me. Laundry ... mails cards ... only system.

JOE:

Might help.

FRANK:

You got a big stack there.

JOE:

I oughta cut down the list. Look at this here. Upholstery shop.

FRANK:

Yeah?

JOE:

They send me a card every year. I never get anything upholstered.

FRANK:

Faye and I oughta go over our list ... cut off a few names. (PAUSE) I brought in your present. Want to open it now?

JOE:

No, I'll wait.

FRANK:

I always open a couple the day before.

JOE:

Why?

FRANK:

Well, puts you in the spirit ahead of time. I opened Phil's this morning.

JOE:

Who's he?

FRANK:

Faye's brother in Denver. Gave me a magazine. One of those funny ones.

JOE:

Whatta ya mean, a comic book?

FRANK:

No. One of those funny ones. You know.

JOE:

No, I don't, Frank.

FRANK:

Well, some of the pages have holes in 'em. You look through and there's a picture on the next page.

JOE:

Oh, yeah, I've seen those on the newsstand.

FRANK:

They have cloth pasted in.

JOE:

Cloth?

FRANK:

In the ads. If you want to buy a suit ... they have a sample right there.

JOE:

You mean you can feel it?

FRANK:

Reach right out and feel it. There was one for two hundred dollars.

JOE:

A suit?

FRANK:

Sure. Cloth comes from Scotland.

JOE:

What's it made out of, solid gold?

FRANK:

No. They got a special kind of goat over there. It's real smooth.

JOE:

Not a goat, Frank. A sheep.

FRANK:

Well, it's a special kind of sheep then. Because a suit costs two hundred dollars.

JOE:

You gonna get one?

FRANK:

I told Faye. She said, "Wear the sample." (PAUSE) Anything doin'?

JOE:

Fanning and Pryor were in on that market hold-up.

FRANK:

They come up with anything?

JOE:

Pound of air. Nothin' else.

FRANK:

I hope it stays quiet. I've got more shoppin' to do.

JOE:

I finished.

FRANK:

What'd you get Anne?

JOE:

Stationery set. Some paper and envelopes ... leather binding.

FRANK:

(TO A SICK CHILD) Joe, you'll never learn.

JOE:

What's the matter?

FRANK:

No woman wants a stationery set. Get her something personal.

JOE:

Well, it's got her initials on it.

FRANK:

No, no. You want something more sentimental ... romantic.

JOE:

What'd you get Faye?

FRANK:

It's different in her case.

JOE:

What'd you get Faye?

FRANK:

Sewing machine.

JOE:

That's romantic.

FRANK:

Well, it is, in a way.

JOE:

Why didn't you buy her a catcher's mitt?

SOUND:

THE TELEPHONE RINGS ... JOE PUNCHES A BUTTON, PICKS UP RECEIVER.

JOE:

(INTO PHONE) Burglary. Friday. (A PAUSE) Yes, that's right. You have the right department. (A LONGER PAUSE) All right, Father, we'll be right down. ... No, you can tell us about it there. ... Goodbye.

SOUND:

JOE HANGS UP RECEIVER.

JOE:

The Old Mission Church. They've had a theft.

FRANK:

Collection money?

JOE:

Statue of the Child Jesus.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT, THEN IN B.G.

JOE:

Frank and I checked out of the office and rode over to the church at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Main.

The Old Mission Plaza Church, founded 1781, the year Los Angeles became a pueblo. The outside was typical early Spanish design, complete with mission arches. It was made of adobe and painted white. They called it the Queen of the Angels. The padres from down in Mexico built it. The devout Mexicans in town still attended services there.

10:05 A.M. Frank and I crossed through the courtyard. Used to be the old stable but the Spanish priests changed all that when it became a mission. Stone masons paved the stable floor and made it a courtyard. They planted grapevines, trees and flowers. A young priest crossed the courtyard to meet us. He'd been sitting on a stone bench reading his morning prayers as priests had done here for a hundred and seventy-two years. We asked for Father Xavier Rojas, who had communicated with us. We were told he was inside.

MUSIC:

CHANGES TO ORGAN ... CONTINUES IN B.G.

JOE:

We entered a side door. The church seemed to glow with the hundreds of votive candles flickering on both sides of the altar and at the shrines throughout the church. It was empty except for a few people praying. Surrounding the main altar were several old oil paintings in gold frames. The air was heavy with the scent of Advent flowers.

We found Father Rojas up near the sanctuary, looking at the Nativity scene.

MUSIC:

CHOIR JOINS ORGAN ... IN B.G.

JOE:

He told us about the crib. It was a seventy-dollar duplication of the scene at Bethlehem. The parishioners had taken up a collection for it thirty-one years ago. It was put up every year on December 22nd and taken down after the Holy Season. It was beautiful ... except that one of the shepherds had lost an arm, a sheep was old and cracked ... and the Infant Jesus was missing. Father Rojas led us back into the sacristy.

MUSIC:

CHOIR OUT ... ORGAN CONTINUES IN B.G.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS IN

ROJAS:

I'm sorry to bother you men.

FRANK:

It's all right, Father.

ROJAS:

Especially now ... the holiday season.

JOE:

(SMILING) We cash our checks, Father. You wanna tell us what happened?

FRANK:

Or what you think happened?

ROJAS:

I discovered the statue was missing right after the six o'clock mass.

FRANK:

Did you say the six?

ROJAS:

Yes. I started over to the rectory and stopped by the crib.

JOE:

Was the statue there before mass?

ROJAS:

I don't know. But it was there last night.

JOE:

How late is the church open?

ROJAS:

All night.

JOE:

You leave it wide open so any thief can walk in?

ROJAS:

Particularly thieves, Sergeant.

JOE:

You say it was there last night, Father. How late?

ROJAS:

Ten or eleven o'clock. We had confessions.

FRANK:

No one saw it after that?

ROJAS:

One of the altar boys, he says it may have been there. He thinks it was.

JOE:

Did he see it?

ROJAS:

He's not sure.

JOE:

What's his name?

ROJAS:

Pardon me.

SOUND:

ROJAS MOVES OFF, SHUFFLES PAPERS, RETURNS.

ROJAS:

Here's the schedule. You'll find the names for every mass there.

JOE:

Was there a big crowd at the six o'clock mass, Father?

ROJAS:

Not too many. Seven's the big one ... people on their way to work.

JOE:

Did anyone stay after mass, did you notice?

ROJAS:

Not especially. I came back here, took off the vestments. I suppose it was ten or fifteen minutes before I went back in the church.

JOE:

It was empty then?

ROJAS:

No. People were coming in for the seven o'clock.

FRANK:

Are these the altar boys -- James Courneen and Joseph Heffernan?

ROJAS:

That's right. Joe's the one who mentioned it might have been there.

JOE:

Did you check with the other priests, Father?

ROJAS:

Before I called you. None of them knows anything about it.

FRANK:

Just for a check on the pawnshops, how much is the statue worth?

ROJAS:

In money?

JOE:

Well, that's the point in pawnshops, Father.

ROJAS:

Only a few dollars. We could get a new one but it wouldn't be the same. We've had children in the parish ... they've grown up and married. It's the only Jesus they know.

FRANK:

We understand.

ROJAS:

And we've had children who died. It was the only Jesus they knew. So many of the people who come here are simple people. They wouldn't understand, Sergeant. It would be like changing the evening star.

MUSIC:

ORGAN GENTLY OUT

JOE:

We'll do our best, Father.

ROJAS:

That's why it would mean so much to have it back for the first mass on Christmas.

JOE:

That's not very long, Father.

FRANK:

Less than twenty-four hours.

JOE:

If anything turns up here, you know where to get in touch with us.

ROJAS:

Yes. (PAUSE) It's sad, isn't it?

JOE:

How's that?

ROJAS:

In so short a time, men learn to steal.

JOE:

Yes, but consider us, Father.

ROJAS:

Us?

JOE:

If some of 'em didn't, you and I'd be out of work.

MUSIC:

IN B.G.

JOE:

10:50 A.M. We notified Pawnshop Detail. Frank and I checked out the two altar boys. The first one, James Courneen, said he knew nothing about the missing statue.

The second one, Joseph Heffernan, was not at home. His father said he had a part-time job but he'd have him get in touch with us right after lunch.

By 11:30 A.M., we'd run out of book procedure. We had a man to find. Our only clue? He'd been to church. 11:33 A.M. We checked the phone books for the names of religious stores in the area. Two of 'em were closed. We tried the third. When we got there, the only person in the store was an elderly man, sitting by a table. In front of him was a large, beautifully-carved chess set.

MUSIC:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

JOE:

We're police officers. My name's Friday. This is my partner, Frank Smith.

FLAVIN:

Pleased to see you. Caught me in the middle of a big chess match.

FRANK:

Where's your partner?

FLAVIN:

Up in San Jose. We've been playin' for years.

JOE:

Same match?

FLAVIN:

No. Just two or three months on this one. What I meant was, we been playin' different matches for years.

JOE:

I see.

FLAVIN:

You know, we do it through the mail. I send him a move, he sends me one.

FRANK:

Must keep you on your toes.

FLAVIN:

Except during the holidays. Mail gets all fiddled up. That's no good.

JOE:

Guess not.

FLAVIN:

Slows things down and that's no good. I like to catch him off guard.

JOE:

You Mister Flavin?

FLAVIN:

How'd you know? We never met.

JOE:

Your name's on the window out front.

FRANK:

Mister Flavin, we checked the other two religious stores in this neighborhood. They're closed.

FLAVIN:

This is the best one anyway. Fifty percent European items.

JOE:

We're checking the stores around the Mission Church.

FLAVIN:

For what?

JOE:

Statue of the Child Jesus. Do you have one we could look at?

FLAVIN:

Sure.

JOE:

No, sir. A larger one.

FLAVIN:

You don't want a larger one. Unless it's for a church. That's where you want a larger one.

JOE:

Could we see it, please?

SOUND:

PAUSE ... FOOTSTEPS.

FLAVIN:

It's not my due to butt in ... but unless you live in a big place, this'll make your living room all a-kilter.

JOE:

Yes, sir. Do most of the people who go to the Mission Church trade here?

FLAVIN:

Good many of 'em. Especially the kids.

JOE:

Why kids?

FLAVIN:

More religious. Check on yourself. See if kids aren't more religious than you.

JOE:

Might be so.

FLAVIN:

That's what's wrong with the world. Oh, I don't mean you're wrong with it. Everybody.

JOE:

Yes, sir. Wonder if we could stick to the point, Mr. Flavin?

FLAVIN:

Sure, a lot of people from the Mission Church come in here.

JOE:

Do people ever come in and sell back a religious article?

FLAVIN:

Like a prayer book or rosaries?

JOE:

Yes, sir.

FLAVIN:

Secondhand, you mean?

JOE:

Yes, sir.

FLAVIN:

Not since I ever been around. It's silly.

FRANK:

Why?

FLAVIN:

People don't have religious articles so they can get rid of 'em. They have 'em so they can have 'em.

FRANK:

But if a man had a statue and wanted to sell it, he'd come to a place like this?

FLAVIN:

Sure, but he wouldn't want to sell it.

JOE:

He would if it was stolen.

FLAVIN:

No, sir. If a man was to steal a statue, he'd be crazy or something like that. The only place he'd want to go is where crazy people are.

JOE:

You may be right, Mr. Flavin.

FLAVIN:

I don't know what you fellas are lookin' for but if it's somebody who stole a statue, he's crazy and you won't find him. You won't find him as long as you live. Or in a million years.

JOE:

That should cover it.

MUSIC:

IN B.G.

JOE:

We checked religious stores out as far as Van Ness. We asked the same questions. The owners gave us the same answers, but none of 'em were as encouraging as Mr. Flavin. Frank and I had lunch and reported back to the office. It was 1:30 P.M. when we started into the squad room. The captain was just coming out.

BARN:

(BRUSQUE) I just checked for you in the lunchroom.

JOE:

We've been out on that theft at the Mission.

BARN:

May get some action on the Patterson case.

JOE:

They locate him?

BARN:

They think he's on the bus from Sacramento.

JOE:

Well, that means the Bakersfield police.

BARN:

(SHORTLY) We'll wait and see.

SOUND:

BARNARD FADES OFF AND WE HEAR DOOR OPEN AND CLOSE.

HEFFER:

Are one of you fellas Sergeant Friday?

FRANK:

He is.

HEFFER:

I'm Joe Heffernan. My father said you wanted to see me.

JOE:

Sit down, son. You didn't have to come in. A phone call would've worked.

HEFFER:

My father said to get on over. He says that any kid that uses phones is lazy.

FRANK:

We want to ask you about this morning.

JOE:

You served six o'clock mass?

HEFFER:

Yes, sir. I'm senior boy. So I get the six.

FRANK:

You're senior and you take the early trick?

HEFFER:

Yes, sir. That way, if you receive communion, you get to have breakfast sooner.

JOE:

Father Rojas says you think the statue was there before mass.

HEFFER:

I didn't look. But I have a feelin' it was there.

FRANK:

A feeling?

HEFFER:

You know ... how you have a feelin' about somethin', but you're not sure.

JOE:

Did you stay around long after mass?

HEFFER:

I put out the candles and hung up my surplice.

JOE:

How long would that take?

HEFFER:

'Bout five minutes maybe.

JOE:

Did any of the people at mass stay on?

HEFFER:

Some always do. Especially ladies.

JOE:

Oh?

HEFFER:

Maybe they don't finish in time. Or else they start new prayers. I don't know.

FRANK:

So when you left, there were still some women there?

HEFFER:

No, sir. That was at first. After I went back to the sacristy, there was only this one man.

JOE:

What man?

HEFFER:

He comes to six o'clock all the time.

JOE:

Do you know his name?

HEFFER:

No, sir. But he works down on Olive. You know, paint shop. Where they paint signs.

FRANK:

Could you describe him?

HEFFER:

Sort of medium. He was wearing a suit that didn't match.

JOE:

Didn't match?

HEFFER:

You know ... different pants than coat.

FRANK:

How about his age?

HEFFER:

Oh, he's pretty old.

JOE:

Take a guess.

HEFFER:

'Bout forty maybe. There's nothin' particular about him.

JOE:

Then why'd you notice him?

HEFFER:

I've seen him before. And the bundle, I guess.

JOE:

The bundle?

HEFFER:

Out in front. I saw him when he was comin' out. He had this bundle. And he almost dropped it.

JOE:

How large a bundle?

HEFFER:

(RELUCTANT) It's hard to say ...

JOE:

(IMPATIENT) Come on, son. Was it large or small? The size of the statue?

HEFFER:

'Bout that big. Yes, sir.

MUSIC:

RESTRAINED BRIDGE, THEN IN B.G.

JOE:

We located the sign shop. The suspect didn't work there anymore, but we discovered his name was Claude Stroup. We found out where he lived.

2:25 P.M. We arrived there. It was a hotel for men. Mostly old men, mostly down-and-outers. It was called The Golden Dream.

MUSIC:

OUT

SOUND:

JOE AND FRANK WALK INTO HOTEL LOBBY.

JOE:

Police officers. We're looking for Claude Stroup.

CLERK:

Hope Claude didn't get in any trouble.

JOE:

So do we. Is he in?

CLERK:

No. He's got Room 307. You can check if you like.

FRANK:

We'll take your word.

JOE:

Were you on this morning?

CLERK:

Huh?

FRANK:

Did you have the early shift?

CLERK:

Oh, we don't have shifts. My uncle owns the place. I'm the shift.

JOE:

Did Stroup spend last night here?

CLERK:

Came in about eleven.

JOE:

When did he leave this morning?

CLERK:

Around six. Maybe before.

JOE:

Did he come back after?

CLERK:

Eight o'clock or so. Then left. Supposed to be back at ten. Then pulls this trick.

JOE:

What trick?

CLERK:

Our program. He knows the other fellas need him.

FRANK:

Program?

CLERK:

Here at the hotel. Every Christmas we have a program, put up a tree, and sing. They're mostly old fellas. Singin' like that makes 'em remember back when they were kids. Then Jimmy Finn comes on.

JOE:

Jimmy Finn?

CLERK:

He shares number 409. His family once had a lot of money, so he tells the fellas about it. Stories about Christmas. How they had this big log and his grandfather used to start it up, and after dinner, everybody turned over his plate and there underneath was a twenty-dollar gold piece. Brand new one.

JOE:

When Stroup came in this morning, did he have a bundle?

CLERK:

I didn't see come in.

FRANK:

You said you saw him.

CLERK:

I saw him go out after. But not come in.

JOE:

When was that?

CLERK:

Eight. If you want to look for a bundle, I could give you his key.

JOE:

We don't have a warrant.

CLERK:

It's all right. I know about police. It's all right with me.

JOE:

It's not with us.

CLERK:

I didn't mean that. I - I just meant it was all right with me.

VOCAL:

OFF, WE HEAR THREE MEN SINGING "GOOD KING WENCESLAS" SLIGHTLY OFF KEY ... THEN CONTINUES BEHIND JOE'S NARRATION

JOE:

They were three old men. We couldn't tell how much better they would have been with Stroup singing the fourth part but somehow you didn't care. This was Christmas at the Golden Dream and it sounded fine.

VOCAL:

"GOOD KING WENCESLAS" FOR A MOMENT

SOUND:

CLERK'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH CLOSES, SLIGHTLY MUFFLING THE SINGING

CLERK:

This is the last rehearsal. They got most of the songs down pat.

FRANK:

Sounds pretty good.

CLERK:

Yeah. That's why it's a shame Claude isn't here. He's tenor and they need him to make it sound just right.

JOE:

Does Stroup have a job?

CLERK:

No, sir. He used to have jobs. Not much lately, though.

JOE:

Did he say where he was going?

CLERK:

No. He should've. The fellers need him.

FRANK:

When he comes in, will you call us?

CLERK:

Sure. And, uh, not say anything to him?

JOE:

That's right.

CLERK:

I hope its nothin' serious for Claude. A fella's troubles oughta be over.

FRANK:

Troubles?

CLERK:

'Way back. It wouldn't count now.

JOE:

Tell us anyway.

CLERK:

I don't know much about it.

JOE:

(POINTED) As much as you know. Now, come on.

CLERK:

It was somethin' back where he used to live and he robbed somebody or somethin'.

VOCAL:

GENTLY OUT

JOE:

What else?

CLERK:

That's all. It was a long time ago, away far back. But he forgot it all, the robbin' and everything.

JOE:

No, not quite.

CLERK:

Huh?

JOE:

He remembered it this morning.

VOCAL:

OFF, WE HEAR THE TRIO START "GOD REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN" ... THEN FADES AS--

MUSIC:

PICKS UP THE MELODY ... FOR A BRIEF BRIDGE ... THEN IN B.G.

JOE:

We went back to the office and ran Stroup's name through R. & I. If he'd been booked anywhere, we had no record of it. At least not under that name. 4:15 P.M. Pawnshop Detail reported back. No object resembling the statue of the Child Jesus had been turned in. 4:18 P.M. I hung up the phone.

MUSIC:

OUT

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

BARN:

Patterson's on that Sacramento bus.

FRANK:

I thought Bakersfield had it.

BARN:

They were supposed to confirm. They did. Hop over to the station.

JOE:

What about Fanning and Pryor?

BARN:

They're still out.

JOE:

Well, they'll be back soon. When's the bus arrive?

BARN:

Six o'clock.

JOE:

There's plenty of time for 'em to make it.

BARN:

There's more time for you.

FRANK:

We're still on that theft.

BARN:

Can't it wait?

JOE:

No.

BARN:

What is it? Ten, fifteen dollar statue?

JOE:

When's the price determine a case?

BARN:

I realize it's a church statue, but that doesn't give it priority.

FRANK:

It's important to them, Captain. Joe and I promised to get it back.

BARN:

Whatta you got on it?

JOE:

Nothin' much.

BARN:

Then why are you so big-hearted?

SOUND:

THE TELEPHONE RINGS. JOE PUNCHES BUTTON AND PICKS UP RECEIVER.

JOE:

(INTO PHONE) Burglary. Friday. (PAUSE) When? (PAUSE) No. Don't say anything. No. Right.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

JOE:

It's Claude Stroup. He just walked into the hotel. He's our suspect.

BARN:

Nobody's leaked to him?

JOE:

No.

BARN:

He'll keep. You can run him down tomorrow.

JOE:

It'll be too late then.

FRANK:

They need it for the first mass in the morning, skipper. It's kind of a big thing for them.

BARN:

I'm sorry. I can't juggle details around so you can get a statue back. If there's time later on, we'll do our best.

JOE:

Yes, sir.

BARN:

You better get over to the station.

JOE:

Yes, sir. Will you call Father Rojas over at the Mission?

BARN:

Why?

JOE:

Tell him we're too busy to work on that statue.

FRANK:

But we'll do it later. Tomorrow. Or when we get a chance.

BARN:

Why can't you call him?

JOE:

Well, we better get over to the station.

FRANK:

If Patterson's on that bus, we don't want to miss him.

BARN:

(BEAT) All right. I'll call him.

SOUND:

JOE AND FRANK WALK OFF.

BARN:

(OFF, CALLS) Friday?

JOE:

Yeah?

SOUND:

BARNARD WALKS TO JOE AND FRANK, THEN STOPS.

BARN:

I can send Fanning and Pryor over. You might as well stay on that other thing.

JOE:

(GENTLY) Whatever you say, Captain.

MUSIC:

DRAGNET SIGNATURE CURTAIN

GIBNEY:

You are listening to Dragnet, the authentic story of your police force in action.

FENNEMAN:

There are good reasons why thousands of people are changing to Chesterfield every day ... Why Chesterfield is the largest selling two-way cigarette in America ... Why Chesterfield is best for me and best for you. People these days want facts. When you want people to use your product, you have to tell them what effect it has on people who do use it regularly. That's why a doctor has examined for almost two years, a large group of Chesterfield smokers. Forty-five per cent of them have - on the average - been smoking Chesterfields for well over ten years. What is the effect on these people from smoking Chesterfield? No adverse effects ... to the nose, throat and sinuses -- says the doctor. Consider Chesterfield's record with these smokers ... with millions of other smokers throughout America. Another good reason for you to change to Chesterfield. Regular or king-size, Chesterfield is best for me ... Best for you.

MUSIC:

DRAGNET SIGNATURE ... THEN IN B.G.

JOE:

4:43 P.M. We arrived at the Golden Dream Hotel. The desk clerk was right. Claude Stroup looked like a man who'd had his troubles at bargain rates.

MUSIC:

OUT

JOE:

Your name Claude Stroup?

STROUP:

(MEEK) Yes, sir?

JOE:

Police officers. We'd like to talk to you.

STROUP:

I didn't do anything against the law. Honest, I didn't do anything against it.

JOE:

You haven't been accused.

FRANK:

Wanna take you downtown.

JOE:

We'd like to talk to you.

STROUP:

(ABRUPTLY FAST, REBELLIOUS) No, sir. I'm not goin'. I'm not goin' anywhere. I'm not gonna talk to anybody!

SOUND:

JOE AND FRANK GRAB HIM.

JOE:

You're half-wrong already.

SOUND:

DOOR ... FOR PUNCTUATION

MUSIC:

A LONG ACCENT ... THEN IN B.G.

JOE:

5:15 P.M. We returned Stroup for interrogation. He kept his word. He refused to talk.

6:05 P.M. Frank called Faye. Told her he'd be a little late. Stroup didn't move for a whole hour. He sat and stared but he didn't talk.

6:40 P.M. We got a final report from Pawnshop Detail. The shops were closed. There was no statue. Stroup still hadn't talked.

MUSIC:

OUT

FRANK:

Don't you ever want to go home, Stroup?

STROUP:

If I was to talk, you wouldn't let me go.

JOE:

Depends on what you'd say.

STROUP:

I'd say it wrong and I wouldn't get home.

JOE:

You won't this way either.

STROUP:

I'd like to go. You can bet on that. This is the seventh year we had the program and I never missed a one. Not a single one.

FRANK:

Why don't you tell us what happened, Stroup?

STROUP:

How would I know you'd let me go?

JOE:

You wouldn't.

STROUP:

(WEARILY) I might as well, anyway.

JOE:

All right. What happened ... from Mass on?

STROUP:

Well, there was Mass ... I came out and started down toward the hotel.

JOE:

Back up.

STROUP:

(IGNORES JOE, RAMBLES ON) I left my stuff at the hotel and then I picked up George's car. I didn't steal it. He said I could have it any time I wanted. Only this time I didn't ask him. I took it and started out. I shoulda asked. But I just didn't. I went over to Grand Avenue for the Christmas bulbs where this fellow sells 'em secondhand. It was comin' out of the lot that I did it.

JOE:

Yeah?

STROUP:

The bumper must have caught the other car. It didn't leave too big a dent, but there was this long scratch. I got out and tried to wipe it off with my handkerchief. You know, spit on it, like. Only it didn't do no good. I didn't think anybody saw. I don't know how you fellows found out about it.

FRANK:

(TO JOE) I'll check Auto Records.

JOE:

Right.

SOUND:

FRANK WALKS AWAY

JOE:

Stroup, we didn't bring you down here to talk about that.

STROUP:

You didn't?

JOE:

No. There's a statue missing from the Church. A statue of the Child Jesus.

STROUP:

You mean I took it?

JOE:

You took a bundle out of Church.

STROUP:

Yes, sir. That was my other pants, for the program tonight. I had a plait sewed up and there was a button off. You can check. (BEAT) But I wouldn't take a statue.

SOUND:

FRANK RETURNS

JOE:

I don't think you would either.

FRANK:

(TO JOE) He's clear at Auto Records.

JOE:

(TO STROUP) Go on home.

STROUP:

For the program? You mean it's all right?

JOE:

Good night, Stroup.

SOUND:

STROUP GETS UP

STROUP:

Good night.

SOUND:

STROUP WALKS SLOWLY TO THE DOOR OF THE CORRIDOR AND OPENS IT. CORRIDOR B.G. IN.

STROUP:

(FROM DOOR) Merry Christmas.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES. CORRIDOR B.G. OUT.

MUSIC:

SOMBERLY FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN B.G.

FRANK:

Where to?

JOE:

Oh, I don't know. We could stay and work on it tonight.

FRANK:

(DECISIVE) It wouldn't do any good. We won't find it.

JOE:

I don't think so.

FRANK:

No use kiddin' the priest ... build his hopes up.

JOE:

(PAUSE) Might as well go tell him now.

SOUND:

JOE STANDS UP, TAKES A COUPLE OF STEPS AND STOPS.

JOE:

(ABSENTLY) Merry Christmas.

SOUND:

JOE AND FRANK'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN IN B.G.

JOE:

7:27 P.M. We found Father Rojas. Frank told him how it was -- that we couldn't get the statue back by morning but that we'd keep trying during the week. He said he understood. We told him we had to get on. As Frank and I started to leave, the doors at the main entrance to the church opened.

MUSIC:

HAS CHANGED TO CHURCH ORGAN ... CONTINUES IN B.G.

SOUND:

OFF, WE HEAR THE DOORS TO THE CHURCH OPEN AND PACO MENDOZA ENTERS NOISILY PULLING A WAGON BEHIND HIM ON THE STONE FLOOR. WAGON CONTINUES IN B.G.

JOE:

It was a good two hundred feet away. It was hard to be sure but it looked like a small boy drawing a bright red wagon behind him.

When he got closer, you could see he was no bigger than a pint of milk. He was a luminous-eyed little Mexican boy with a face as young as yesterday. The priest seemed to know him.

SOUND:

WAGON STOPS

ROJAS:

Paquito?

SOUND:

WAGON SQUEAKS A LITTLE AS STATUE IS REMOVED

JOE:

In the back of the wagon was the missing statue of the Child Jesus. He picked it up gently and walked up to the priest.

PACO:

Padre Rojas?

JOE:

He just stood there, looking up at Father Rojas.

ROJAS:

(EXPLAINS, TO JOE) It's Paco Mendoza, a boy from the parish.

JOE:

Ask him where he found it.

ROJAS:

(TO BOY) Dónde lo encontraste?

PACO:

(ON VERGE OF TEARS) No lo encuentre ... lo cogí ... esta mañana.

ROJAS:

(TO JOE) He didn't find it. He took it.

JOE:

Why?

ROJAS:

(TO BOY) Por qué?

PACO:

(CLOSE TO TEARS) Todos los años Paquito rezo por un camioncito rojo. Este año Paquito le rezo al nino Jesus. Yo prometí al nino Jesus el primer viaje en mi camioncito.

ROJAS:

He says all through the years he's prayed for a red wagon. This year, he prayed to the Child Jesus. He promised that if he got the wagon, the Child Jesus would have the first ride in it.

PACO:

(TEARFULLY) Vendrá el Diablo para llevar a Paquito?

ROJAS:

He wants to know if the devil will come and take him to hell.

JOE:

(QUIETLY) That's your department, Father.

ROJAS:

(TO BOY) No el Diablo. Jesus ama a Paquito mucho.

MUSIC:

CHANGES TO INSTRUMENTAL, IN B.G.

JOE:

We crossed over to the sanctuary. With the help of Father Rojas, the young boy replaced the Infant Jesus in its rightful place, the crib in the Nativity scene. Frank and I could have been wrong, but the small plaster statue seemed to approve.

MUSIC:

CHOIR AND BELLS JOIN IN, IN B.G.

JOE:

Mary; Joseph; the Wise Men, Gaspard, Melchior, Balthazar; the old shepherd; the young shepherd; the peasant -- they all seemed to approve.

MUSIC:

CHOIR AND BELLS OUT ... INSTRUMENTAL, IN B.G.

ROJAS:

(TO BOY) Vuelve a tu casa, Paquito.

JOE:

The priest told the boy to go home. He took hold of his wagon, started the long walk out of the church.

SOUND:

PACO TAKES HIS WAGON SLOWLY DOWN THE AISLE AND OUT THROUGH THE DOORS.

JOE:

There wasn't much we could say. There wasn't much to say. We just stood there and watched him go. Halfway up, he turned to look back. Then he went on out.

SOUND:

THE DOORS CLOSE BEHIND HIM.

MUSIC:

CHANGES TO ORGAN, IN B.G.

FRANK:

I don't understand how he got that wagon today. Don't kids wait for Santa Claus anymore?

ROJAS:

It isn't from Santa Claus. The firemen fix old toys and give than to new children.

MUSIC:

ORGAN OUT ... CHOIR, IN B.G.

ROJAS:

Paquito's family -- they're poor.

JOE:

(PAUSE, QUIETLY) Are they, Father?

MUSIC:

BUILDS SLOWLY TO A BIG SACRED FINISH ... BELLS, CHOIR, EVERYTHING .. THEN OUT

FENN:

The story you have just heard is true. The names and locations were changed. Ladies and gentlemen, here is our star, Jack Webb.

WEBB:

Thank you, George Fenneman. Friends, remember your cigarette dealer will be open right up to Christmas Eve ... and he can take care of your last minute shopping problems with Chesterfields. Chesterfields in the special Christmas carton featuring the covered bridge.

And now, on behalf of the makers of Chesterfield - Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company - their over six thousand wholesale distributors, and one million three hundred thousand retail dealers ... and, of course, all of us on Dragnet ... we'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.