Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936) Movie Script

Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest aggregation...
...ofhuman curiosities
ever assembled under one tent.
You'll see Madame Beardo...
...and Gangor the snake charmer...
...handling the biggest and the most
dangerous cobra in captivity.
Su Toy, the little lady who has tied herself
into knots in every country in the world.
A sensation, folks. A sensation.
Colonel Tim and Lady Tiny,
the biggest little people on Earth.
Aw, folks, you can't afford to miss it.
Think of it.
For the small sum of 25 cents,
one quarter of a dollar...'re going to see
the greatest show on Earth.
Come on. Let's-
Everyone, the line forms on the left.
Come on, folks.
Do I have to beg you to see the greatest
show on Earth for a quarter?
Tickets, please. Tickets.
One at a time.
Don't crowd.
There's plenty of room for all.
Hey. Hey!
Five. Six. Seven. Eight.
Nine. 10. 11.
Twelve. 13.
Fourteen, including humble self.
- Passes.
- Thank you so much.
Ladies and gentlemen,
give me your attention, please.
Right here in front of this platform,
you will next be entertained right here.
I will now introduce to you...
...ladies and gentlemen,
the biggest little artists...
...with any circus
on the face of the earth.
They have appeared before all of
the crowned heads of the world.
Colonel Tim, 42 inches small...
And Lady Tiny, two inches smaller.
They will now entertain you.
Hey, Mike, did a Chinese gentleman
just come in here?
You mean the guy with his own sideshow?
He's right over there, boss.
And now, ladies and gentlemen,
I will introduce Gangor...
...the Hindu snake charmer...
...who fearlessly handles
the most poisonous reptiles!
- Gangor!
- Are you Mr. Chan?
Humbly admit identity.
You Mr. Kinney...
...who extend most generous
invitation to circus?
Yes. I saw by the morning paper
you were in town.
I wanted you to be my guest.
Very kind.
Free ticket to circus... gold ring on merry-go-round.
Make enjoyment double.
Oh, uh, please to meet
honorable wife...
...and, uh, latest blessed event.
Glad to know you, Mrs. Chan.
Happy to announce have taken
whole full house for vacation.
That's fine.
Multitudinous family
very interested in little people.
Well, I'll introduce you.
Come over here, you two peanuts.
This is Tim and Mrs. Tim,
the biggest little runts on Earth.
Size of package does not indicate
quality within.
Thank you.
We've often seen your pictures
in the papers, Mr. Chan.
Yes, and we've read about
every case you've worked on.
- Have a cigar.
- Thank you. Do not indulge.
- I'll have one.
- Have peppermint stick?
- Thank you.
- You also?
Thank you.
May I have your autograph, Mr. Chan?
- Please?
- Very great pleasure.
Hold, please.
And now, ladies and gentlemen,
right this way.
Right this way.
I will introduce to you Su Toy...
...that beautiful little
flower of the Orient.
She ties herself
in a thousand knots.
Watch her,
ladies and gentlemen.
The human puzzle- Su Toy.
- Here.
- Hey!
- Good-bye, Mr. Chan.
- Good-bye.
- Good-bye.
- Come and see us again.
Oh, Joe?
Excuse me.
How about you and me gettin' together?
I've gotta see-
Can't make it tonight.
Too many things to look after.
You've been keepin' me
waitin' for weeks.
And you'll keep on waitin'
till I'm good and ready.
I don't wanna impose on you,
Mr. Chan...
...but when I sent an invitation
to come here tonight...
...there was a little matter
I wanted to get your advice about.
Excuse, please.
Have promised wife...
...not to let anything interfere
with family vacation.
It'll only take a few minutes.
You'd be doing me a great favor.
Can take matter up now?
Well, uh, I've been gettin'
a lot of threatening letters lately.
They're all unsigned,
and they arrive very mysteriously.
Now, frankly, I'm a bit worried.
If you'll notice, they're all, uh-
Oh, well, it's time for the show to start.
I'll tell you what.
If you wouldn't mind slipping out
during the performance...
I'll be at the business wagon
in the back lot at 9:00.
- Will be there.
- Thanks. You'd better gather your family together.
I'd like to take you someplace
where there's a snappy dance orchestra.
Oh, boy, I'll bet
you can shake a mean rumba.
I'm shaking you right now.
I told you the show leaves town tonight.
Then how about tomorrow night?
If it's not too far,
I can run over to see you.
Pardon interruption, please.
Oh, Pop, this is Su Toy.
Gee, you ought to see her do her stuff.
So pleased.
Hope romantic offspring...
...has not tried to twist
charming artist around finger.
Oh, no, Mr. Chan.
I had my fingers crossed.
Wise precaution... accept applesauce
with large pinch of salt.
Excuse, please.
Show's starting. Where are brothers
and sisters entrusted to your care?
Oh, I've got that all fixed, Pop.
What's the take tonight?
- 2,680.
- Not so good.
No. If business doesn't pick up...
I'm afraid I won't be able to pay you
those notes by the end of the season.
- That's your worry.
- I know. I'll do the best I can.
- I may have to ask you for an extension.
- Get this straight, Gaines.
With me, a bargain is a bargain.
You can't meet your obligations...
I'm taking over
your half of the show.
Good heavens, man, every dollar
I have in the world is tied up in this circus.
- You can't do any-
- Oh, yes, I can. And another thing-
Mr. Kinney,
the ape's acting up again.
- Blake says it'll be dangerous to work him tonight.
- Why bother me about it?
- You're head animal man. Use the whip on him.
- Yeah?
I did that once,
and you know what it got me.
If you ask me,
Blake's usin' good sense.
Nobody's askin' you.
I'll take care of the ape.
You're makin' a mistake, Joe.
You can't run a circus with a bullwhip.
You look out for your end, Gaines,
I'll take care of mine.
Easy, boy.
Quiet, Caesar.
Steady, boy.
Take it easy.
Here. Quiet!
Why don't you sing him to sleep, Blake? That's
what's the matter with him-you pamper him.
Well, he can't be handled tonight,
Mr. Kinney.
If he goes bad in the big tent,
someone'll get hurt.
Even the ape knows you're yellow.
You've gotta show him who's boss.
Cut it out! Don't you see
you're only making him worse?
You're fired, Blake.
Give me the key to that cage.
That's okay with me.
If I have to crawl... anyone like you,
I don't want the job.
- I'll take that key.
- Oh, no, you don't!
Why, you-
- Get out of here! Get off the lot, all of ya!
- Wait a minute.
Blake isn't going or anybody else.
Get back to your work, men.
You and I'll attend to this later.
Lou, can I see you a minute?
Yes. Come on in.
- What's the matter? Why aren't you working?
- I'm through. I quit.
- What, again?
- Yeah, but this time it sticks, and I'm takin' you with me.
Oh, now, now.
Tell me what it's all about.
Oh, I'm sick of
the whole rotten mess.
Let's get away from here
and live like regular people.
I'll scrape up
enough dough somehow.
You wouldn't leave the circus
for all the money in the world.
- You know you wouldn't.
- Wouldn't I?
Where's your sister?
Marie's over at the wardrobe tent
getting her costume fixed.
Oh, so that's what it was.
You had another argument with Kinney.
Yeah. He's not gonna boot me around
like he does the animals.
- Marie?
- Oh, hello, dear.
- I'm sending your act on early tonight.
- Why? What's happened?
I had a scrap with Hal Blake.
I fired him. The ape act isn't workin'.
Oh, Joe, you're always getting
into trouble with someone.
That's the only way to get things
in this world-you gotta fight for 'em.
No, it isn't.
You'll only make people hate you...
...and I want people to like
the man I'm going to marry.
Here's your cape.
Thanks, Nellie.
There's your music cue.
Come on, kid, get goin'.
What's the matter?
Joe only comes around when Marie's here
just to burn me up.
- I'm gonna tell him so next time.
- That won't get you anywhere.
If you were any kind of a brother, you wouldn't
have let him treat me the way he has.
I'm taking care of that
in my own way.
Ladies and gentlemen... is my great privilege and honor
to be able to introduce to you...
...that peerless little aerial star...
Miss Marie Normand!
The only artiste in the world
with any circus today...
...doing a forward somersault
from a flying trapeze...
...and catching by her heels.
She will perform
this death-defying feat...
...without the aid of a net!
Marie Normand!
Oh. Oh, Pop,
I was just looking for you.
Following road map?
I saw you leave and figured something
was up. I wanted to be in on it.
Curiosity responsible
for cat needing nine lives.
You looking for somebody, Mr. Chan?
Had appointment here with Mr. Kinney,
but find door locked.
Well, this is Mr. Gaines,
Mr. Kinney's partner.
How do you do?
Anything I can do for you?
Hey, Pop, look.
There's a light on the inside.
There shouldn't be. I locked the wagon up
myself over a half an hour ago.
Perhaps advisable to investigate.
- Have key to wagon?
- Yes, I have.
- It's bolted on the inside.
- Most peculiar.
Door bolted on inside...
...suggests someone there...
...but no answer to knock.
There's one way to find out.
Break the door in.
That isn't necessary.
I'll get a locksmith.
One moment. More than one way
to remove skin from cat.
Ventilator on roof open.
Ventilator on roof open.
Perhaps little man can enter.
Why, I couldn't get up there.
Giant very good for first step.
There you go.
It'll be a long drop to the floor.
May borrow walking stick?
Why, sure.
Jack have no trouble
sliding down beanstalk.
- Lift me up. I can't see.
- Why, certainly.
Something's happened to Mr. Kinney!
Unbolt the door!
- Touch nothing, please.
- Towers, get the show doctor.
Too late.
Mr. Kinney dead.
- Dead?
- He must've been murdered.
Neck broken.
Strangled by very powerful hands.
Dan! Dan Farrell!
Caesar's loose!
- How'd he get out? Wasn't the cage locked?
- Sure, it was!
- Someone must've opened it.
- Never mind that. Come on, fellas.
Scatter out.
Don't let him get near the big top!
But the door was bolted on the inside.
Much evil can enter
through very small space.
Police must find answer.
Wait, Mr. Chan.
You're a detective.
Can't this be handled quietly?
Very happy to be of assistance...
...but police must be notified.
I'll do it, Pop.
There's a telephone across the street.
All of you go about your business
as if nothing had happened.
I don't want any excitement
while the show is on.
I'll get Dr. Meade.
The police'll probably want him.
Chief of the homicide squad?
There's been a murder
at the circus.
Of course I know it's murder.
I'm a detective myself.
Okay, Chief.
- Gee, I'm sorry!
- Get out of my way! The ape's loose!
Ape's loose?
You're telling me!
Stop it! Let me go!
How dare you!
Let me go!
- Let me out of here!
- You'll be safe in there.
- Why, you-you-
- Don't worry about me. I'll be all right.
Hey, Pop, the big ape is loose!
Had suspected same.
Hairs not from human head.
I got it, Pop! They're monkey hairs.
The ape killed him.
Very good deduction.
But how did he get in?
The wagon was locked on the inside.
Suggest we make inspection
outside window. Come.
- Found anything?
- Not a trace.
Jerry, look in those shadows over there by
the canvas. Frank, go around the other way.
Look out he don't get behind you.
- Ape tracks.
- Gee, Pop!
That is barrel he used
to climb up to window.
And here are some more prints
on the barrel.
Look out!
Caesar! Caesar!
Farrell! Don't use the whip!
Here, I'll have him. Caesar! Caesar, steady!
Caesar! Caesar!
Steady, Caesar!
All right.
Take him to his cage.
Good work, Holt.
It took a lot of nerve to do that.
Are you hurt, Pop?
Side of wagon
not like feather bed.
Thank you so much
for fortunate rescue.
That's all right.
Here come the police, Pop.
Recommend you stay here.
- Study approved method of police.
- But, Pop, l-
One ounce of experience
worth ton of detective books.
Go ahead, fellas.
Give the place the once-over.
I can give you the dope,
Lieutenant Macy.
The big ape escaped during
the show and murdered him.
The proof is right there
on the window sill.
Right here, Mr. Macy.
Looks like your tip's about right, kid.
They're ape hairs.
There's only one thing
I haven't figured out yet- they got there
with that window locked.
That's right.
Well, that's easy. Look.
The window must've been
propped open at the time like that.
Now, you stay right here,
and I'll show you how it was done.
You'd better come this way a little.
Now turn your back to me.
That's it.
Now, don't move.
The ape creeps up
on the outside...
...reaches in through the bars...
...grabs Kinney by the throat...
Shakes him, chokes him...
And kills him.
Now, then, in getting away...
...he knocks the prop down-
And the lock snaps shut.
Gee, Mr. Macy,
you figured that one out fine.
- I hope I didn't hurt you.
- Oh, no.
Say, let me have that
magnifying glass again, will you?
- There's one more thing I haven't figured out yet.
- Yeah? What's that?
The barrel wasn't here.
It was over there.
- Oh?
- Now, here's what happened.
When the ape stepped down,
the barrel tipped over, like that!
Gee, Mr. Macy,
I hope I didn't hurt you.
Oh, no.
You're pretty good at figuring
things out yourself, ain't ya?
- Here's your glass. I'm glad I didn't break it.
- Oh, thanks.
Now that I got that
figured out...
I wanna know how the ape
got out of that cage.
Perhaps can offer slight suggestion.
Oh, this is my father, Charlie Chan.
Lieutenant Macy.
How are you, Mr. Chan?
You sure got a bright kid.
He just gave me a good steer.
Uh, sometimes suspect
ambitious offspring of giving bull.
Did you find anything new, Pop?
Ape released purposely.
Hal Blake,
who worked animal...
...have two keys to cage.
Lost one earlier tonight.
Either Blake open cage...
- Or person who find lost key.
- Aha.
- Where is he? Where is he?
- They've taken him away, lady.
Just a minute, please.
Who are you?
I'm Marie Normand, Mr. Kinney's fiancee.
I want to go to him.
You couldn't do anything
for him now, miss.
- We didn't wanna tell you until after the show, Marie.
- So sorry.
Offer deepest sympathy.
Someone killed him.
I know it.
They hated him.
They all hated him.
- What do you mean by that?
- Later, please.
Suggest you take young lady away.
Come, Marie.
Well, what she said about them
hating Kinney proves your point-
...that the ape was released purposely.
We'd better round up the whole outfit
and give 'em a grilling, Mr. Chan.
Oh, one point more.
Would suggest you look
for threatening letters...
Mr. Kinney had
in inside pocket of coat... mysteriously missing.
Excuse, please.
Must return to family.
- Will say good night.
- Well, thanks for the help.
- Don't mention it.
- Dig up the manager of the show...
- And tell him I wanna talk to everyone connected to the case.
- Yes, sir.
Gee, Pop, I hate
to walk out on this case.
I can see
some interesting angles.
- Contortion lady?
- Gee! That reminds me!
See you later, Pop.
- Help!
- Gosh, Su Toy. I'm sorry.
Let me out of here, you!
- Listen, please, I just couldn't get back any sooner.
- Don't speak to me!
I just had to put you in there
to save you from the ape.
Hey, Su Toy, let me out, will ya?
Su! Su, come back here!
Oh, Mama, you have railroad tickets?
- Oh, yes.
- I can't find my raincoat.
- Hurry to bed, children.
- Here, Daddy. Here's your shoes.
Oh. Thank you so much.
You know, I think we oughta
stick with this case, Pop...
...and go to the next town
with the circus.
Have desire to remain
permanently in monkey cage?
Have late visitor.
Here I am, Mr. Chan.
Oh, come in.
Excuse me for coming here so late,
but it's terribly important.
Very happy to welcome
distinguished little visitor.
Oh, Mr. Chan, are you going away?
Yes. Tomorrow, am taking family
to observe wonders of Grand Canyon.
Oh. I'm so sorry.
You are in trouble?
Sit down.
Mr. Macy took my husband
and Mr. Gaines...
...and some of the circus people
down to police headquarters.
Distinguished lieutenant of police
act with streamline speed.
And he says he's going to tie the show up
until the murder of Mr. Kinney is solved.
If he does that, the circus will just
go to pieces, and we'll all lose our jobs.
That would be most unfortunate.
It'll cost Mr. Gaines
everything he's got.
And, Mr. Chan, he's been an awfully
good friend to Tim and me and everyone.
We've been with him for five years...
...and there never was any trouble
until Mr. Kinney joined the show.
How long Mr. Kinney
been partner in circus?
Just the last two seasons. Mr. Gaines
needed money, so he sold him a half interest.
But Mr. Kinney didn't know
how to handle circus people.
He was only used to honky-tonks
and tried to run things with his fists.
Man who seek trouble
never find it far off.
It's Mr. Gaines
who's in trouble now.
Can't you do something, Mr. Chan?
Unfortunately, have already made plans
for vacation with family.
I was depending on you to help us.
Aw, Pop, don't let 'em
close down the circus.
- And don't let them arrest the little people.
- And the clowns.
- And the elephants.
- You see, Pop?
- I knew we should have stayed on this case.
- Aw, Pop!
- Come on!
- Please.
Jury seem to render verdict
without retiring.
Then you'll help us, Mr. Chan?
Final decision in hands of judge.
Judge say yes too.
Suggest we visit police headquarters
and see Lieutenant Macy.
Oh, thanks.
- I'm going with you, Pop.
- Contradiction, please.
You stay here, help unpack.
We had a pretty tough season,
so naturally, the show went into the red.
I gave Kinney notes
for my share of the losses.
Then if those notes weren't
paid by the end of the season...
...he would have taken over
your share of the show.
- He could have.
- Well, as far as I can see...
...every one of you might've had a reason
for wanting Kinney out of the way.
Now, some one of you had a hand
in turning the ape loose...
...and until I get the answer,
you're all gonna stay right here.
You can't do that!
We may be tied up here for weeks.
This show's got to keep moving
to support itself.
It's the law, brother. All right, Stone.
Take 'em out and have 'em booked.
But you-
Just a small-town cop
who wants to show how smart he is.
- Yeah.
- All right, get goin; both of ya. Go on.
May offer suggestion, please?
Go ahead.
Frightened bird
very difficult to catch.
What does that mean in English?
Old English adage say
give man plenty of rope, will hang self.
Not in this case. I'm gonna
give 'em a few hours in the jug...
...and I'll bet they uncork
everything they know.
Perhaps facts also
remain corked in jug.
Guilty person more apt
to betray self...
...while engaged in
everyday work at circus.
I suppose I should join the circus
as a mind reader and guess the answer.
- Very wise plan.
- Are you kid-
Say, that gives me an idea.
If I let 'em carry on
with the show...
...then I can study the conditions
under which the crime was committed.
Trained mind of policeman
work like lightning.
Say, listen, Charlie.
You were in on the start of this.
Why don't you stick with me to the finish?
Thank you so much.
Will return to humble family
and make arrangements.
Su! Su Toy!
- You again?
- Yeah. I'm going along with you.
- What?
- Sure. Haven't you heard?
I'm gonna help Pop
solve the murder.
Well, you can solve anything
you want to, but keep away from me.
Aw, don't be like that.
We'll have a swell time.
I've brought along my phonograph,
and I got a lot of records from Shanghai.
That's fine.
Then you can play yourself to sleep.
Good night.
Lady seemed to have dropped
final curtain.
Oh, that-that's just her way
of saying good night.
Mmm. Very practical.
There is nothing
to detain you further.
- What time did you say this train pulls out?
- Midnight.
We'd better get aboard.
What are you doin' in
the manager's compartment?
Waitin' to see Gaines.
Well, wait outside.
We don't want the smell of animals in here.
- What is it, Farrell?
- I thought I'd better ride up forward tonight...
- And keep an eye on the ape.
- That's a good idea. Go ahead.
- Is that Kinney's stateroom?
- Yes. Mine's further down the corridor.
Holt, take the bags
to Mr. Kinney's room.
You don't mind sleeping there,
Mr. Chan?
No. Guilty conscience
only enemy to peaceful rest.
- How about your son?
- Huh? Oh. Oh, I don't mind.
- You can use this room anytime you like.
- Thank you.
This way, sir.
- You are Hindu from the sideshow?
- Yes, sir.
But in the circus, we all have more
than one job. I'm the porter on this car.
Circus performer like detective.
- Must beJohnny of many trades.
- Yeah, you said it.
- Bring other baggage, please?
- Yes, sir.
Did Kinney keep
all his papers here?
No. He used the safe
in the business wagon too.
Well, how about having a look at it?
Be a lot of trouble. The wagon's already
been loaded on the flatcars forward.
Oh, well, we'll look at it
in the morning.
- Oh, pardon me.
- It's all right.
- Dan, did you tell them?
- No. They'll find out soon enough.
- Oh, you should've told 'em tonight.
- Let me handle it, will ya?
- Where are you going?
- I'm riding forward on the flatcars.
I saw to that.
Ancient adage say
music soothes savage breast.
Please to reserve for such occasion.
I was just trying
to cheer things up, Pop.
It's kind of creepy here
in Kinney's room.
Then recommend you brush teeth,
say prayers and go to bed.
I'm not sleepy yet.
You know, I'm going out on the platform
and think this case over.
Have new problem in female geometry?
You know what you always say, Pop-
If you want to understand men,
study women.
- Did Pop say that?
- Yeah.
- Tim!
- Aw, what do you want?
How do you expect me to get any sleep
with you stamping around over my head?
You women can sleep no matter
what's going on, but I'm worried.
Well, lie down and count sheep.
I never did like sheep,
and you know it.
Well, try elephants.
You don't have to count so many.
Think you're smart, don't ya?
Gun in coat pocket.
Aim carefully.
Cannot afford to miss.
Perfect bull's-eye.
Very proud of number one son.
Gee, Pop, I knew we shouldn't
have slept in here.
Hey, Charlie, what happened?
Somebody object to Charlie Chan
as passenger on train.
- A snake!
- How could that have gotten in here?
Very strange. When retired,
ventilator closed.
Well, then someone must've opened it
from the roof and slipped the snake in.
- Where are they kept?
- Forward in one of the menagerie cars.
- Holt's the only one that handles 'em.
- Yeah, that's right.
- Well, what's the answer?
- How do I know? I haven't left this car all night.
- How'd the snake get in here?
- How'd the ape get out of the cage?
Question without answer... faraway water,
no good for nearby fire.
Yeah, but I know
one answer though.
Somebody's trying to pin this on me
just because I handle the snakes.
Well, this time,
I'm going to find out what's what...
...if I have to keep everyone
on this train awake all night.
No cause for hurry now.
Enemy who misses mark,
like serpent...
...must coil to strike again.
- Good night.
- Good night.
Oh. Hello, Pop.
I was just doing my daily dozen.
Attitude prove
Darwin theory correct.
Suggest you untie human pretzel
and get dressed.
Yeah, sure. Hey, Pop,
get me out of this, will you?
Very wise to know way out
before going in.
Ooh! Oh, thanks, Pop.
Where are you going?
Am having breakfast
with little people.
More coffee, Mr. Chan?
Thank you.
Another piece of toast?
No more, thank you.
- Very excellent coffee.
- Thank you.
Tiny's a good cook.
Do they dunk in China, Mr. Chan?
- Please?
- Dunk. Dunk.
Oh. Very ancient Chinese custom.
Tiny, don't be so unrefined.
I was hoping, Mr. Chan,
that you'd have some new clues.
Have, uh, several clues.
One need explanation.
- Perhaps you can be of assistance.
- Sure, I'll be glad to help.
You enter business wagon last night
before discovery of body?
You enter business wagon last night
before discovery of body?
- Why, I, uh-
- You'd better tell Mr. Chan everything.
- He's a mind reader.
- Very easy to read mind...
...when clue like, uh,
rag on sore thumb.
Marks in dust on light shade
prove little man on first visit...
...slide down lamp cord
to reach floor.
It's true.
I did go in.
Mr. Gaines left his keys
in there after the matinee... I climbed down the ventilator
and opened the door for him.
Uh, something important
Mr. Gaines want in wagon?
I don't know. He started to open
the safe, then Mr. Kinney came in.
They got into an argument
about business, so I beat it.
But please don't tell the police.
They suspect Mr. Gaines already.
If they knew that,
they'd be sure to arrest him.
Facts, like photographic film...
...must be exposed before developing.
Thank you for very excellent breakfast.
Don't mention it, Mr. Chan.
Is there anything else we can do for you?
Have desire to again visit ape's cage.
We'll take you there. I always
bring the ape a banana in the morning.
He's crazy about them. No matter
how mad he is, it always quiets him.
This is Jumbo.
He's my special pet.
Most fortunate animal.
Look at the size
of that fellow, Mr. Chan.
Like Charlie Chan,
need to reduce waistline.
How would you like to be inside
playing with them?
Much prefer being outside looking in.
Quiet down!
Hal, I brought Caesar a banana.
Be careful, Tiny.
He's still pretty mean.
Oh, he wouldn't hurt me.
Will you help me up, Mr. Chan, please?
Here, Caesar.
- Any news of missing key?
- No, sir.
But Mr. Macy put this policeman
here to guard the cage.
Hey, Pop! Pop!
I've been looking all over for you.
The business wagon was broken into last night,
and Mr. Macy wants you there right away.
More trouble for poor Mr. Gaines.
Trouble rain on man already wet.
Excuse, please.
Looks like an amateur tried to break it open.
A regular yegg would've known
he couldn't chisel his way...
...through a cold steel safe door.
Any fingerprints?
No, not a trace.
- Where was the business wagon last night?
- On the flatcar.
Yeah, and I locked it up
before it was put on the car.
Look. They filed through the hasp
to get into the wagon.
Open the safe, Gaines,
and let's take a look.
- What do you make of it, Pop?
- Very clever job.
And, uh, excellent bronze filings.
Nothing's been touched.
He didn't get into the safe.
For a quick guess, I'd say that whoever
was responsible for Kinney's death...
...must've wanted something
out of this safe.
Quite possible.
Here, what's this?
"Joseph Kinney. Personal."
Life insurance policy.
Fifty thousand dollars.
- Who is beneficiary?
- It was changed last month to, uh...
Marie Normand.
Trapeze lady.
Mr. Kinney's fiancee.
Yeah. Hey, wait a minute.
- Here's a certificate of marriage.
- What's that?
"Juarez, Mexico. May 30, 1935."
Joseph Kinney and Nellie Farrell.
Say, what is this fiancee business?
Very peculiar.
Man already married
announce engagement to trapeze lady.
I got it.
The Normand girl must've found out
he was two-timing her...
...and decided to collect the insurance.
Too soon to count chickens
until eggs are in nest.
- Who is Nellie Farrell?
- The wardrobe woman, Dan Farrell's sister.
She and Kinney used to go together,
but he threw her over for Marie Normand.
Did you ever hear Kinney speak
of being married to her?
Never. If he did,
he kept it to himself.
Well, is that his signature?
- Yes, it is.
- Very strange.
Nellie Farrell did not
reveal last night...
...she was wife of murdered man.
I got it. Maybe this is
the lucky break we're looking for.
We'll need it if we're ever
gonna crack this case.
One grain of luck is sometimes worth
more than whole rice field of wisdom.
Yeah. Say, where can I find
this Nellie Farrell?
- She's probably over on the train.
- Come on.
Let's go have a little talk with her.
- Are you Nellie Farrell?
- No.
She was over there reading
the morning paper just a few minutes ago.
- Well, where'd she go?
- Who wants to know? Oh.
She said she had
some business in town.
- She'd be back before the show started.
- Oh.
Say, Pop,
I just thought of something.
I'll see you later.
So she went to town on business.
I wonder what that's all about.
Perhaps will learn
when meet with her.
Very excellent likeness of Mr. Kinney.
But we know what he looked like.
His picture isn't gonna get us anything.
Cannot tell where path lead
until reach end of road.
- Let me look at that, will you?
- Say, what's the big idea?
Here it is!
What a break! Come on!
We're on the right track.
There's Nellie's brother.
Where? Let me see.
Well, I should kiss a pig!
Shh, shh, shh.
There, there, dear.
There, there.
There, there.
There's Nellie too.
They're coming this way.
Keep your head down, and we'll trail them.
- What did the lawyer say?
- There isn't a chance of a slipup.
I can claim everything.
Good morning, Mr. Chan.
How did you know it was me?
I never forget a face.
Don't give me away.
I'm on a hot trail.
You must be.
Something's burning.
- Hiya, Su. We're detectives.
- We're in disguise.
Well, the first thing you'd better learn
is how to keep your disguise up.
- Say, Pop-
- You find Nellie Farrell visit lawyer's office?
- Gee! How did you know?
- Very simple.
Saw you get idea from newspaper
with clipping cut out.
Uh, very proud you learn
tricks of trade so quickly.
And I thought I was
putting something over on you!
But she went there, all right.
And when she came out-
She meet brother, Dan Farrell.
I'm telling you?
You're telling me.
Very simple.
Brother also missing from circus lot.
Anyway, I followed them
and listened in.
She told them there wasn't
a chance of a slipup.
- She could claim everything.
- And then?
And then they walked on,
and, well, uh, l-
- You meet contortion lady?
- Oh, how do you do it, Pop?
Evidence like nose on anteater.
Jade pin belong
to lady of many angles.
Gee, you can see through anything.
I don't see what you need
a microscope for.
Good tools shorten labor.
Have made very interesting
discovery. Observe.
- What are those spots?
- Bronze filings...
...from padlock on door
of business wagon.
Discovered in this envelope which contain
personal papers of Mr. Kinney.
But that envelope was inside the safe,
and the safe wasn't broken open.
Contradiction, please.
Bronze filings prove otherwise.
Same person who file lock
also open safe.
Must have known combination.
Then batter safe door
to give appearance...
...of unsuccessful attempt at burglary.
It's over my head.
Particles of bronze filings
from padlock...
...unconsciously deposited in envelope
when burglar handled same.
I get it. But what do you suppose
they stole from the envelope?
Mystery still to be solved.
Oh, l- L-I was just gonna tell Mr. Chan
the matinee is about to start...
...and I thought maybe
he needed something before I left.
Oh, yeah?
Well, get outta here.
And make it snappy.
I just caught Holt
listening outside the door.
Inquisitive person,
like bear after honey...
...sometime find hornet's nest.
Circus starting.
Perhaps Nellie Farrell now returned.
Yeah, that's why I came to get you.
We'll look her up.
Advise no mention
of marriage certificate.
Leave first move to lady.
Oh, sure.
Hey, Jenny,
what about my turban?
- It's right there under your nose.
- Where?
- Jenny, where are my slippers?
- I don't know.
- There's no shoes with this outfit.
- Look for 'em yourself.
That's Nellie's job, not mine.
Did you think over
what we talked about last night?
Yes, Hal, but I couldn't leave Marie,
especially now.
There isn't anything
you can do for her.
I've got it fixed up for a job in Chicago.
We'll hop the night train-
Jenny, isn't Nellie Farrell back yet?
No, and I think it's a dirty trick
piling up all this work on me.
And don't blame me
if I'm late for the show.
- Jenny, haven't you found my slippers yet?
- All right.
Do the best you can. We'll have everything
straightened out in a little while.
Jenny, get your parade stuff
racked over there.
- Make more room for this other wardrobe.
- I only got one pair of hands.
- I'm doing the best I can.
- I know you are.
Well, Nellie...
...why weren't you on the job?
- I don't have to answer to you anymore.
- What do you mean by that?
I'm just as much boss here now
as you are.
I'm Joe Kinney's widow. I've put in
my claim for his share of the show.
What are you
talking about, Nellie?
We were married
five months ago.
- Why didn't you tell me about it?
- Why, you were with-
Excuse. So clumsy.
Better to slip with foot than with tongue.
I didn't tell you
about our being married...
...because I knew you didn't
likeJoe Kinney...
...and I suppose he was keeping
our marriage a secret...
...because he was making a play
for Marie Normand.
That's not true! You're just
saying that because you hate my sister.
You keep out of this.
I can see through your game.
BecauseJoe Kinney's dead,
you're trying to put something over.
But I know he never married you,
or he'd have told me.
Why should he?
You were just another woman to him.
And you thought you were so clever
taking him away from me.
Pardon interruption, please.
You have marriage certificate?
No, Joe never let me have it.
When was time of marriage?
It was, uh, May the 30th,
Decoration Day.
We were in El Paso, and the big top blew
down, and we couldn't go on that night...
...soJoe and I went across the border
toJuarez, and we were married.
- Now I know you're lying.
- I'm sorry, Miss Normand, but it's the truth.
- We found the marriage certificate.
- It's a fake.
No, it isn't.
Mr. Gaines verified the signature.
- I know whereJoe was that night.
- You haven't time. There's your music.
- He wasn't in Mexico, and I can prove it.
- We'll get your story later.
Get back to your work, folks.
We've got a show on.
Just a minute.
Why didn't you tell us about this...
...last night when
your husband was killed?
Joe and I hadn't
been living together... I thought I should see a lawyer
and find out just where I stood.
- I'll take my marriage certificate.
- One moment, please.
Certificate much safer
in hands of law.
Yeah, that's right.
You've got nothing to worry about.
We'll take good care of it.
Come on, Charlie.
Marie Normand!
Marie! Marie!
- Marie!
- Hurry with that stretcher!
Pick her up.
Gently. Gently.
That's it. Easy.
Take ahold of that.
Take ahold of that.
Take her to her dressing room.
All right.
Somebody get a doctor, quick.
Start the band playing, get the clowns
out here, and keep things going.
- Right.
- Well, whatever she knew...
...her mouth's shut now.
Silent witness
sometimes speak loudest.
She's still alive but unconscious.
We're taking her to her dressing room.
I don't see how it could've happened.
That rigging is tested
before every performance.
Very strange.
Accident most conveniently timed.
I'll get the doctor's report.
Hey, come on, clowns!
Suggest you place very close guard
over Miss Normand.
Might meet with another accident.
You're right, Charlie.
I'll see to it.
Observe. Bullet hole
in canvas over trapeze.
- Very commendable research.
- Oh, uh-
Have discovered secret
of perpetual agitation?
I was only testing
the machine, Pop.
Magnifying female charms
very ancient optical illusion.
Look, Charlie!
I found this gun under a wagon
near the big tent.
Here's the dope. Somebody was afraid
Marie Normand would squawk...
...about the night of May 30
and tried to finish her off.
- That's exactly what I thought.
- It must've been the Farrell girl...
...or maybe her brother.
But that doesn't make sense.
This marriage certificate's
on the up-and-up.
May examine document, please?
They're exactly alike.
That proves it's Kinney's signature.
- Sure.
- Contradiction, please.
Even if name signed
one million times... two signatures
ever exactly alike.
Then the Normand girl was right.
It's a fake.
Kinney's name was traced on there
from the photo.
- Undoubtedly correct.
- It's a cinch.
Look, Farrell had planned
this phony marriage racket.
He turned the ape loose
to murder Kinney...
...and planted the certificate in the safe.
Then when the Normand girl threatened
to spoil his game, he tried to knock her off.
- That's enough for me.
- Not always wise... accept simplest solution.
Mind, like parachute,
only function when open.
If I can't make a case out of this,
I'll pin my badge on the ape.
- Mr. Macy, I agree with you.
- Thanks.
- Who is it? What-What happened?
- So sorry.
Unloaded gun always
cause most trouble.
- How'd that rifle get here?
- Was reposing against wall.
That's funny. Mr. Gaines
never let it out of his stateroom.
Please to return gun.
Much safer in hands of owner.
Gaines's rifle. That takes us
right back to the guy we started with.
But he's not gonna talk
his way out of it this time.
- We got enough on him now to make a pinch.
- No use to hurry...
...unless sure of catching right train.
Then what would you advise, Charlie?
Wait for Miss Normand.
She give clue when conscious.
- Is she badly hurt, Doctor?
- There are two compound rib fractures...
...and a possible spine injury.
I sent for the fluoroscope
before I risk moving her.
When do you think
she'll regain consciousness?
That's almost impossible to say.
If something doesn't break
when she comes to...
I'm gonna pinch the whole show.
Excuse, please.
You recall where sister was
night of May 30?
No, I don't, Mr. Chan.
I was-
I wasn't with her.
Perhaps she keep book
of newspaper clippings?
Why, yes.
May I have permission
to examine, please?
Yes. It's in the top tray
of her trunk.
- Found something, Pop?
- Telephone police headquarters.
El Paso, Texas.
Get all information concerning
this shooting at Ace Casino...
...also description of killer.
- What's on your mind?
- Have idea for quick solution...
...of mystery.
Important you return with report
as soon as possible.
You can count on me.
Listen, Operator,
you gotta get me through.
This is official business.
Clear all wires.
Yes, police headquarters,
El Paso, Texas.
Make it snappy.
And reverse the charges.
Mr. Macy, I can't stand it.
Why don't they do something
for my sister?
Everything humanly possible
is being done.
- Any change in condition?
- None.
Perhaps we'd better take action.
Each moment's delay increase danger.
I'll make the necessary
arrangements immediately.
Lou, your sister's condition
is quite serious.
An emergency operation is necessary.
We can't move her to a hospital.
It will have to be done here without delay.
Lieutenant Macy, will you send into town
for the equipment and assistance?
Don't worry, kid. I'll see that
she gets the best of everything.
Drive to the hospital
and see that the ambulance...
...and equipment ordered
for Dr. Meade gets here without delay.
One moment, please.
Must ask everyone's cooperation.
Any noise or disturbance
during operation may prove fatal.
Please to remain away from tent
and be quiet as possible.
Get back to your quarters, folks.
Farrell, you and Blake
look after the animals.
Yeah, that's right, Chief.
The Ace Casino, night of May 30.
I want his description.
Yeah. Yeah, I get you.
What? Repeat that, please.
Yes, we've got someone here
who answers that exactly.
Don't worry, Chief. This is Mr. Chan Jr.,
and I'll get your man!
Hey! Hey!
Number one son late.
- Tim?
- Aw, stop bothering me.
Do you suppose they'll be
much longer with the operation?
- I'm worried.
- Worrying won't get you anywhere.
Why don't you be c-calm like me?
See? You made me cut myself.
I've got a funny feeling
that something's going to happen.
Aw, stop acting like a kid.
Why don't you grow up?
The ape!
It's the ape!
- The ape!
- Look at the ape!
Well, Charlie,
your plan didn't work.
Whoever it was got by the guard
and released the ape. All right, boys.
- What's happened?
- What's the meaning of this?
Necessary deception to protect
life of Miss Normand.
Sister safely taken to hospital
much earlier.
Rapid recovery assured.
Suggest you both
go there immediately.
Oh, thank you, Mr. Chan!
Hey, Pop! Pop!
Pop, I got the information
you wanted.
The description of the killer
at El Paso fits Holt...
...and I just caught him
letting the ape out.
- I tried to stop him, but he slugged me.
- Holt? Then he's our man.
Cover all roads out of town.
Send out a general broadcast.
One moment, please.
Unnecessary to search further.
Here is killer.
Very clever scheme
to establish perfect alibi.
When committing murder,
turn ape loose... give impression real ape
guilty of crime.
First, suspected ape
was man in disguise...
...from clue of hairs found on window sill
at scene of crime.
Proved to be dead hairs
not from living ape.
Second clue: Marks outside
window of business wagon.
Real ape would never use barrel.
Would use feet
to climb up to window.
And now, report from El Paso
complete link in chain.
Mr. Kinney and Holt old friends.
Meet at gambling casino
on night of May 30.
This clipping show
they use crooked cards.
Were caught cheating.
And in fight that follow,
Holt kill sheriff.
Kinney protect him from police
with job in circus as snake charmer.
Later, men quarrel over money
won at gambling.
Kinney receive strange messages
threatening life.
Send for humble self
to discuss matter.
Holt, fearing Kinney
would turn him over to police...
...resort to murder.
Today, when Miss Normand...
...reveal knowledge
of night of May 30...
Holt, fearing statement would
incriminate him as murderer...
...attempt to remove her also.
First attempt fail.
Suspected he would strike again... with aid of Lieutenant Macy,
laid trap.
Death write finish to mystery.
Yes, we cleared that up
all right, Charlie.
But it doesn't clear you two
of forging that phony marriage certificate.
Take them to headquarters.
Charlie, you're a great guy.
Put it there.
- I'll say you are.
- Thank you so much.
- Have a cigar, Mr. Chan?
- No, thank you.
- How about you, Mr. Macy?
- Oh, thanks.
Well, Gaines, I guess you can move the show
out tonight, uh, unless Charlie here objects.
No objections.
But Charlie Chan... sometime to see circus
as simple spectator.
I'll attend to that.
You'll have a lifetime pass... this show
for yourself and family.
Now, how many shall I make it out for?
Fourteen or-
Think 14 quite sufficient.
Maybe more later.