Alfred Hitchcock Presents s01e14 Episode Script

A Bullet for Baldwin

Good evening.
I hope you'll excuse me if I appear a trifle excited but I've just come into possession of a cure for insomnia.
It comes in capsule form.
For best results, they must be taken internally.
Here is the handy applicator.
It is an amazingly simple device.
An idiot can operate it and indeed many do.
These objects play an important part in tonight's tale.
It is called "A Bullet for Baldwin.
" Hmm? Mr.
Stepp, you still here? Where's that paper listing Bonanza's Lead Mountain holdings? Well, I'm sure it's right there, sir.
It must be here.
I'm sure it couldn't possibly - Yes, here it is.
Here it is.
I'm glad you didn't lose this one, too.
Baldwin, won't Can't you possibly reconsider my- We've been over that, Stepp.
I'm sorry, it's final.
But, Mr.
Baldwin don't my 21 years of loyal service count for anything? Loyalty is no substitute for accuracy and efficiency.
Your mistakes are becoming too frequent.
And the paper you lost yesterday was a serious matter.
But I found it.
It was only a slip in filing, only misplaced.
I've no time to discuss it any further, Stepp.
We leave for Denver Monday for the final meeting on the Bonanza issue and I'm not inclined to spend Saturday night arguing with you anymore.
You're fired.
Yes, sir.
Stepp! Good evening, Mr.
You working kind of late for Saturday, ain't you? Yes, a little.
Baldwin is still there.
He doesn't want to be disturbed.
It'll be all right to clean the office on Monday.
All right, Mr.
Stepp, I will.
Don't open your umbrella on the inside, sir.
Don't you know that's bad luck? No, I didn't know that.
Central, will you try It's all right.
Why, Mr.
Stepp, whatever happened? You weren't home last night, were you? No, I was riding on the ferry.
And- On the ferry? Have they Has anyone been here looking for me? No, not a soul.
When they come, I'll be in my room.
You look so tired, Mr.
You should have some warm food.
All that rain last night, you'll catch your death of cold.
I'm afraid that won't be necessary.
Stepp, are you there? Who What is it? You're wanted on the telephone.
Telephone? Why would they telephone? Why not What time is it? It's 10:30.
What day is it? It's Monday.
It's your office, Mr.
It's Mr.
Baldwin's secretary.
Are you coming? Yes, I'm coming.
Stepp? Is that you? Yes, this is Mr.
This is Miss Wilson.
What happened, Mr.
Stepp? Are you all right? Did you oversleep? No.
I mean Well, you see, Mr.
Baldwin I thought Honestly, you better get down here as quickly as you can.
Baldwin has already asked for you twice.
He You say he's asked for me? Yes, and he's very much on edge you know, over this Bonanza deal.
I'll tell him your alarm didn't ring but if you don't get down here quickly, I don't know what will happen.
Stepp, are you there? Are you coming? Can you get here right away? I I'll come.
Yes, sir.
I told them your alarm didn't ring.
It's all right.
Don't worry.
You mean, Mr.
Baldwin is all right? Yes.
He's rather chipper, as a matter of fact.
King's in there with him now.
Good morning, Stepp.
Good morning, Mr.
Can I see you in my office, please? Well, I thought maybe Mr.
Baldwin might want this file.
In a moment, perhaps.
I'd like to see you first.
Yes, sir.
I'm afraid you picked rather a bad morning to be late, Stepp.
However, I expect there's still enough time.
Although you'll have to take the papers to the train.
We won't be coming back here after lunch.
Now, I want a complete Bonanza file, you understand? We'll be gone several days.
I want a list of all their holdings in different locations.
Title searches, balance sheets, audits early correspondence on our proposed contract.
In fact, all correspondence.
In short, anything that might be- Mr.
There's something very wrong around here.
There is, Stepp.
What is it? I don't understand.
Baldwin discharged me Saturday night and I And I shot him, Mr.
I killed him.
Sit down, Stepp.
Now then, you say you shot Mr.
Baldwin? Yes, sir.
And I killed him, Mr.
It's all right.
Here drink this.
I wasn't surprised when he discharged me.
I knew he was angry about that paper I lost.
I I wanted to kill myself.
I tried to get him to reconsider but he wouldn't.
And then, somehow, I shot him instead.
Easy now.
We've all been under a strain recently and a tired tense mind can work tricks on a man.
Sometimes, in periods of stress it's difficult to separate the real from the imaginary.
Now, you've suffered an hallucination but you mustn't let it bother you.
But Mr.
King, I don't see how I possibly could have- Now, I wouldn't say anything to Mr.
Baldwin, if I were you.
It's possible he might not understand.
But just for your own reassurance, come here.
Yes, what is it, Walter? Good morning Stepp.
Stepp says he'll have everything ready and assembled for us in time for the train.
In fact, he says he'll even work through his lunch hour if necessary.
Isn't that right, Stepp? Yes.
Yes, sir.
May I come in? Good morning, Walter.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Can we have lunch, Nathaniel? I came a little early because I wanted to show you a perfectly gorgeous new automobile I saw on the way.
Now, my dear, I'm not adjusted to those things yet.
I'm not sure they're safe, but we'll certainly have lunch together.
I won't see you again until the end of the week, you know.
Walter, I'll see you at the train.
Now, you'll attend to any further details of preparation, of course.
Yes, indeed.
Come, my dear.
Well, there you are.
Now stop worrying about this.
And I promise not to say a word to Mr.
We'll just assume it never happened.
Right? Yes, sir.
Another thing.
I feel perhaps that we're responsible for this.
Perhaps we've given you too much to do which might have contributed to this hallucination.
So tomorrow I want you to hire yourself an assistant.
Tell Mr.
Edwards that I authorized it also that you're to have a $5 raise.
I Thank you.
Thank you Mr.
You don't know how I Well, my sister, she'll be so- That's all right.
And you'll put the papers in our drawing room on the train? It leaves at 3:00.
Yes, sir, I certainly will.
You can depend on it, Mr.
All right.
Thank you.
Gentlemen, that just about covers everything.
And now anyone who cares to is welcome to join us in a toast to Bonanza Mining Common.
And those not interested in Bonanza Common but simply in a drink of good whiskey well, you're welcome, too.
Excuse me, help yourselves.
This is the background material you asked for, Mr.
Thank you, Stepp.
Now, this will furnish any data you may need but I think the important thing is simply the fact that this new issue will be offered to the public through this firm on Monday.
Any predictions on its acceptance, Mr.
Baldwin? Well, I'm not as free with predictions as I once was.
Got caught wrong too often, you know.
Baldwin, you aren't planning to retire, are you? Oh, no.
I'm going to retire temporarily, though, this afternoon.
Going up to our cabin with Mrs.
Just the two of us.
No telephone.
Well, have a good rest, sir.
I have to be getting along now.
Well, thanks for coming over.
Thank you.
I'll be leaving, too.
Thanks again for coming.
Good day.
Good day.
Thanks for coming around.
Goodbye, we appreciate it.
Well, that's it.
We've done it.
I can't tell you how grateful I am, Mr.
And I can assure you that Mr.
Baldwin is equally so.
Well, sir, I enjoyed the role.
And I don't think anyone suspected, even for an instant, do you? Why, I'm sure of it.
After all, when you did that imitation last year of Mr.
Baldwin at the smoker in Los Angeles, I was impressed then by your amazing resemblance.
Well, you know, it's lucky we both wear beards.
Probably don't look too much alike underneath but, well, you know, you can shape a beard anyway you please.
Yes, but this time you used certain little mannerisms and gestures, inflections, that nearly fooled me, I tell you.
Well, sir, I like to think I'm a good actor.
And, well, you know, after the smoker I had an hour to study Mr.
Baldwin more closely and, well, I just added a few touches.
Well, it was wonderful anyway.
Well, here's the $2,000 as agreed and we're forever in your debt.
Why, if word of Mr.
Baldwin's stroke had got out it would have wrecked the Bonanza deal.
His name and reputation mean so much.
How is Mr.
Baldwin, by the way? Have you talked to his wife today? Yes, he's about the same.
Resting easy, but still a pretty sick man.
She took him up to the cabin last night so now everything is prepared for your return to Los Angeles.
By tomorrow you can stop being Baldwin and go back to Davidson.
You know, I'd like to go up to the cabin myself to thank Mr.
Baldwin and wish him well in person.
Well, I'm afraid that wouldn't be practical.
Why? He's there, of course? Of course.
And alive? What do you mean? I mean I don't care to be an accessory after the fact to a murder for $2,000.
Davidson, do you realize what you're implying? Yeah, I realize perfectly.
I suspected all along, but today clinched it.
No one would take a sick man up to a lonely cabin.
Baldwin didn't suffer a stroke last Saturday.
He suffered a murder because you and his wife were- No, it wasn't that.
I'd never do a thing like that, never.
Even though his wife and I are It was Stepp.
Stepp? The file clerk? Yes.
I came in right after the shot was fired.
At first I didn't realize what had happened.
By the time I did, I realized the consequences, too.
Complete ruin.
So I hid there until he left, trying to think of some way to save things.
Then I remembered you and that smoker.
Telephoned you in Los Angeles.
After that it was started, I had to keep going.
You took his body out of here and up to the cabin that same night? Yes.
Davidson you said you didn't want to be an accessory for $2,000.
I must say I can't blame you.
But I'm sure we can come to more agreeable terms.
Yeah, we can come to terms all right.
I'll just be a silent partner in the firm once I'm sure nothing can go wrong.
How can it? Baldwin, you will be seen driving out of town late this afternoon with Mrs.
By the time you get across the bay, it'll be dark.
You can leave her and she can drive on up to the cabin alone.
There, all she has to do is throw a lighted match in the doorway drive on back down the mountain, telephone their doctor to say that Nathaniel's had a stroke.
By the time she and the doctor get back to the cabin, everything all the evidence, will be in ashes.
What about Stepp? Well, he's the only possible leak.
I'll take care of that tonight.
Partner, I think we're going to be all right.
Yes, come in.
Stepp, come in.
Sorry, I forgot you were waiting.
Sit down.
Thank you.
The reason I asked you to wait, Stepp was because I thought it might be well, a little less uncomfortable for you with the other employees gone.
You see, I'm afraid it's necessary to tell you that we won't be able to keep you.
Now, this business of hiring yourself an assistant while we were gone and telling Edwards I had authorized it and a salary raise for yourself besides now, really, Stepp.
But, Mr.
King, you did tell me to do it.
You did.
Don't you remember? Why, yes.
You really do believe that, don't you? I'm sorry, Stepp, but that settles it.
But Mr.
King, I couldn't be wrong.
Don't you remember when you told me to hire- I'm sorry, Stepp.
There's nothing to be done about it.
I'll tell you what I am going to do for you, though.
You'll receive two weeks extra pay.
Now, I think you need a rest and a change of scenery.
So we're going to buy you a ticket to St.
Now, you go back there and visit your sister for a while, rest a bit.
You'll be as fit as ever.
We'll give you a good recommendation and- No.
No, I don't want to go back to St.
I want to stay here and work for Baldwin and King.
I'm used to it, and I'm sorry, Stepp, but there's nothing more to be done about it.
I know you're upset now but when you think about it, you'll realize it's the thing to do.
Your ticket will be waiting for you at the railroad whenever you wish to claim it.
You sound just like Mr.
That's all, Stepp.
Good night.
Stepp! Good evening, Mr.
Here you are working late again.
Yes, a little.
Baldwin or anyone up there tonight? Can I go right in? Yes, it's all right.
You won't find anyone there.
That was amusing, wasn't it? But, please, don't get the idea it was mere entertainment.
All our stories attempt to point a little moral, such as "Crime does not pay.
"A customer is always right.
"Early to bed, early to rise.
"Slow and sure win the race.
"Virtue is rewarded," or punished, depending on the story I'm not sure what "A Bullet for Baldwin" proved.
But you may have your choice of morals I mentioned.
One of them is bound to fit.
Next time we shall be back with another story.
Join us then.

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