Cannon (1971) s01e22 Episode Script

The Torch

Are you out of your mind? How did you know I was here? -Because I looked.
All over town, last night and tonight too.
Look, it's almost 11:00, and we got to get out of here.
Elaine, Elaine, are you so drunk you don't realize what's gonna happen here? Nothing's gonna happen.
I just decided to call it off.
What do you mean you decided to call it? W-why? Let's say I just realized if something happens to the factory, we won't get the insurance money.
My husband will.
Look, you knew that all along.
He gets the money now, we get it later when something happens to him.
Let's say I don't want to be a murderer.
Murderess is more proper.
Look, you don't have to worry about all of that.
I'll take care of all of that and then it'll be just the two of us.
Everything we ever wanted.
I said I'm calling the whole thing off, all right? What's the matter? No, it's not all right.
What, are you going back to your husband? I don't believe that for a minute.
I don't need my husband.
I don't need him anymore, and I don't need you, either.
And if you want to know the truth, I'll tell you.
I met somebody else.
Just Just cut right there, Elaine.
You're not gonna turn me on and off.
He's very rich and very much in love with me.
Give me everything I want.
So why should I risk my neck for you? Look, Elaine, you can't walk out on me like this, you just can't.
Oh, stop it, Phil, you cheap cornball.
Please, go peddle some insurance.
Operator, I want to make a station-to-station call to Los Angeles.
Yeah, thank you.
ANNOUNCER: Starring William Conrad.
With guest stars: Larry Blyden, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Carlson, Sheila Wells.
ANNOUNCER: Oh, I know, you laugh at my apparatus, but have you or have you not ever tasted a better espresso? There we go.
Now, tell me this, Miss McMahon.
Uh, Annie, please.
What was your stepmother doing sitting alone in her office at midnight? Oh, there was nothing unusual about that.
She was Dad's head dress designer, even before they were married, and she used to like to, uh, work late at night.
It probably made her feel, uh, artistic.
How do you know she was drunk? Oh, the police said so, and, uh, you know, uh, drunks are always starting fires with their stupid carelessness.
You read about it in the paper all the time.
Oh, and incidentally, she smoked like a chimney.
What about the skull fracture? Drunk.
Hit her head.
Well, I must say that's a comfortable explanation.
Uh, what do you mean by comfortable? Well, that means that you obviously love your father and you hated your stepmother.
Oh, no, I didn't hate Elaine.
I mean, well, granted there was, uh, lots of material for a good hate.
But my dad didn't hate her.
The problem is, the police don't know Dad like I do.
And in all their official ignorance, uh, what have they charged him with? Oh, n-nothing yet.
But you expect? Well, anytime there's a big fire and with lots of insurance, they will ask questions, I I suppose.
For $800.
000? I suppose.
Oh, excuse me.
Oh, that's probably Dad.
Oh, listen, Mr.
Cannon, Uh, I didn't tell him that you were a detective.
I just said that you were, uh, an insurance consultant.
Why? Well, you see, I'm a photographer, I have my own studio and I can pay you, so please, uh, let's do it my way? Okay.
Yes? Mr.
Cannon, I'm Owen McMahon.
Yes, please come in.
Your daughter's here.
May I offer you some espresso? Uh, no, thank you.
Hi, Daddy.
Hey, you look tired.
You were supposed to take a rest after lunch.
My problem is too much rest.
You see, for 35 years, I've looked forward to getting up every morning and going to the factory.
Now there's no factory to go to.
Won't you sit down? Thank you.
I'd like to get some background, if I may.
Uh, you were the sole owner of the clothing company, huh? Yes.
I started it in 1938.
Was the business doing well? No.
No, not lately.
You see, we were always known for quality.
Tastes unfortunately change.
You might say we failed to keep up.
Or else, you might say that when Elaine took over the business, she ran it smack into the ground and Annie! That's enough.
Excuse me, uh, Were you and your wife together the night of the fire? My wife and I hadn't been living together for some time.
I had dinner alone that night, went to a movie, came in rather late.
Any witnesses to prove where you were? Mr.
Cannon, I've been over all this with the police.
Is it necessary to go over it all again with you? That means there were no witnesses.
I have to have witnesses to collect my insurance? That depends on certain matters.
Like what? Like, uh was your wife running around with other men? Who the hell are you to ask me that? Annie, I'm sorry.
I I can't do this your way.
Look, Mr.
McMahon, I'm a private detective.
Your daughter brought me into this.
Why do I need a private detective? Because the fire just made you a rich man, and at the same time got rid of a wife that was giving you a lot of trouble.
Cannon, I refuse to discuss my wife with you, sir.
Dad, you were twice her age.
What do you think the police are going to think? Let them think what they like.
They haven't arrested me yet.
And if they do, there's still a judicial process in this country that protects innocent people.
Cannon, please send me a bill for your time.
Come on, Annie.
Cannon, please take the case.
Look, I- -I've got to go with him, I mean, He might run out in front of a car.
Lord, was there ever such a stubborn man? Yes, he's stubborn, all right.
Perhaps a little bit old-fashioned too.
But he just might have an advantage over us.
Because he knows that he's innocent.
I don't know that.
Nor you, right? What are you saying? I'm saying that I like your father.
And I'll take the case.
She was lying right there on the couch.
I'm sorry.
Hey, don't I know you? Yes, Phil Dobson, chief investigator, Solar Insurance.
Oh, yes, sure.
Frank Cannon.
So, McMahon hired you already, has he? Yeah, more or less.
Uh, you're the guy who's pushing this as a murder, huh? Not me.
All I know is what the police tell me.
Nobody with a broken skull like that walks over and stretches out on a couch.
No, the way I look at it, see, somebody slugged her and then dragged her over here and then put her down on the couch and then started the fire, thinking it would cover up the murder, but it didn't.
Do you have any idea how the fire started? Not yet, no.
We don't have any chemical traces.
It's a funny thing.
Anybody covering a murder would wanna be sure they'd set a bonfire, and a source like that should be readily determinable, shouldn't it? Well, it certainly ought to be, but sometimes the boys at the fire department have to kick things around a little bit, and that makes it tough for us.
You, uh, got anything on my client that I should know? Well, his wife was quite a swinger.
Your client must have been aware of it.
Any one particular man? No, just a pack of playboys.
That was one good-looking woman, high style all the way.
All of her boyfriends were the same.
She didn't go for plain guys like you and me.
Well, speak for yourself, young man.
Now, seriously, uh, anything you could do for me, I'd appreciate.
Okay, thank you.
These are, uh, publicity stills.
I took them only a couple of weeks ago.
You have no right to do this.
Annie, I I haven't authorized this man to do one single, solitary thing.
Daddy, these are my pictures and I have hired Mr.
Well, what do you expect to find, anyway? This has got to stop.
Annie, Annie, if you have one bit of feeling for me, any feeling at all Dad, I'm sorry.
I do have feelings for you.
I love you.
That's why I'm doing it.
Something is missing.
That painting.
That's a Renoir, isn't it? Mm-hm.
Who does it belong to? It was Elaine's.
She had to have it.
So, Daddy bought it for her.
McMahon, how much is that worth? I I don't remember.
Look, Mr.
Cannon, I have told you I will discuss nothing whatsoever concerning my wife.
A genuine Renoir is worth plenty.
Now, what happened to it? Well, I I suppose it burned up in the fire.
No, no, that wall is still standing, but it shows the remains of the pictures that hung there, but no Renoir.
Now, somebody had to take it down before the fire.
Either of you? No.
Of course not.
Who could have taken it? Well, somebody who knew there was going to be a fire.
Now, maybe whoever killed your wife or maybe one of her boyfriends.
I'm sorry if that upsets you, Mr.
Uh, I'd like to keep this if I may.
I'll be in touch.
It wasn't an accident.
Somebody did kill her.
Dad, you're going to have to face up to it.
They're going to accuse you.
There we are.
Let's see, one One Renoir painting is insured for It was there that afternoon.
Then someone removed it before the fire started.
Well, that's a common m.
for an arson case.
I mean, a guy decides to burn his place down for the insurance money, and then at the last minute he gets sentimental or greedy and he pulls something out and hides it.
I nail a lot of them that way You know something? You know what's been hanging us up, Dobson? The thing that's been hanging us up is, we can't figure out how the fire started, right? Now, that shouldn't be so difficult to figure out, except if we're up against a professional.
A torch.
No, torches don't kill people.
Not even for top dollar.
Believe me, I got a file on every one of them.
No, maybe the torch set the fire and somebody else killed Elaine McMahon.
Somebody like her husband? An opportunity to remove the Renoir ahead of time.
Can I see your torch file? Sure.
I got everybody in here who's out on the streets.
Take these along with you if you like.
There we go.
Well, you can forget about this guy.
He blew himself up torching a meat plant in Phoenix.
Liked to play with his chemicals.
Oh, this This guy I busted last month.
Look, I know every one of these creeps.
I'll help you if you want.
Who's number one? A Ruby Teague right now.
Ruby Teague? Wait a minute.
"Presently employed Dockside Maintenance Corporation, Pier 9.
" Uh, how do you like leaning on people early in the morning? If you want me, you got me.
Eight o'clock.
I'll pick you up here.
Ruby? Phil Dobson, Solar Insurance.
This is Frank Cannon.
They don't make you guys diet no more, right? Ha.
Yes, they do.
That's one of the reasons I quit the force.
Private stuff? No badges? Drop dead.
Oh, you can talk to us for a minute.
About what? Wednesday night, the McMahon Clothing Factory fire.
Oh Ah! Look, all I asked you to do was talk.
I didn't do it.
McMahon Factory fire.
I didn't do it, so help me.
Then why did you run? A dame burned up.
That's a murder rap.
And I got no alibi.
If you didn't do it, what difference does it make? I'm not holding still for no frame.
You don't know me.
Him I Him I know.
He don't care who he hangs, just so he makes the case.
Not me.
I don't frame.
How come you come after me? I want to talk to the best, Ruby.
The best torch, that's who I want to talk to.
I was never the best.
Your competition's dead.
Doc's not dead.
What? Doc Immelman.
You want the best, talk to him.
Before I forget, I want to thank you.
Gee, I'm I'm really sorry, but I wasn't shooting at you.
I was shooting at him.
What do you mean you were shooting at him? Well, I wasn't trying to him.
I was just trying to stop him.
All right.
Look, why don't your file cards show the number-one torch, Doc Immelman? Oh, we've got him.
Sure, we've got him, but he hasn't been busted in so long he's on the inactive file.
But I brought the card, just in case you wanted to check him out.
There's no question about it, Doc's the best there is.
Yes? Uh, I'm looking for Doc Immelman.
Why would he be here? I'm only his mama.
You're a detective? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I am.
A private detective.
Public, private, what's the difference? You have a warrant? A warrant? Oh, no, no, not at all.
Uh, just a matter of checking a certain thing, that's all.
Yes, well, please don't check in the hallway.
The neighbors have ears.
Come on in.
Please sit down.
Thank you.
Did I understand you to say that, uh, there's a warrant out on Doc? Oh, oh, you policemen.
Always trying to get an old lady to talk.
I know your ways after so many years.
I wouldn't try to con you, Mrs.
But I I would like to ask you something, if I may.
Is Doc back at his old, uh trade? Would you like some chocolate cake? Bavarian chocolate? Well, it would, but I'm not gonna let it have it.
You understand why.
No, all I wanted to find out was, uh If my Herman goes out and does what you're always accusing him of doing? No, not anymore.
He has a good job selling corrective shoes.
How are your feet, by the way? Large men have such trouble.
Well, you know, now and then Uh, but I would like to talk to Doc Uh, Herman, and I assure you that if he's clean, there will be no problem whatsoever.
Oh, he's clean, he's clean.
Um, he's just a Just a little bit nervous lately.
You know, I think the best thing in the world you could do for him is to tell me where I could find him.
I really mean that.
You ever heard of such a thing as a protected crab game? Crab Oh, crap game? Protected crab game.
Uh, well, yes, I'm aware of one or two in town.
Yeah? Frank Cannon.
I'm okay.
Yeah? Who okayed you? How about Doc Immelman's mama? Thank you.
The left-hand side.
I'm a private detective.
A friend of Big Sonny's.
That don't cut no ice.
You get it back when you leave, same as everyone.
You riding shotgun? Yeah, there's heisters everywhere.
Oh, boy, don't I know.
They're coming now.
Good luck, you guys.
Five is the point.
Five will get the money.
There's a man on five.
Put your bets down there.
You know how lucky you feel.
Aw Hey, uh, give me a hundred.
I'll give you my marker.
No, I got three of them already.
Hey, man, you know I'm good for it.
Come on.
Six is the point.
Easy six.
I got to get some of this back or I'm in big trouble.
You were in big trouble when you came in.
Easy eight, no hard way.
The hard way is All right, a new shooter.
Get your bets down.
There he goes, a brand-new shooter.
Come on, get hot.
Say, I'd sure like to talk to you for a minute, Doc.
You'll get your money, okay? You know I'm good for it.
Money? I owe you something, don't I? Well, maybe, but not money.
Yeah, Mama said you were getting edgy.
My mother.
Now he's talking to my mother.
And maybe you should listen to her sometime.
You know that this game is backed by money from Big Sonny, don't you? That's kind of out of your league, isn't it? Hey, what business is that of yours? Well, it just kind of makes you more interesting to me than the average run-of-the-mill shoe salesman.
Shoe salesman.
Is there anything she didn't tell you? She didn't tell me whether you torched the McMahon fire and killed the wife.
Hey One conviction, malicious mischief, 15 years ago.
Hey, Doc, ain't no way that anybody's gonna call the McMahon case mischief.
That's why you're frightened, isn't it? That's why you're trying to run up a deal here so that you can, uh, get enough money to run on, right? Listen, uh, tell me exactly when this building was set on fire.
Uh, last Wednesday night, around midnight.
I see, uh My luck must be returning.
I should get back to the tables.
You know what? What? I was, uh, in San Francisco last Wednesday night.
No kidding? Yeah, on business.
Shoe business.
Stayed at the Beaumont Hotel.
They know me there.
And you know what else? What? I phoned my mother about, uh, midnight.
Doc, you're putting me on.
Come on, now.
You're putting me on.
That's really a coincidence, isn't it? I tell you what: I think I'll go to San Francisco and check those things out.
Be my guest.
Thank you.
Do me one favor though, will you? Don't drink too much, because I have a feeling that I may need you alive and in one piece.
Okay? Yes, he was here.
Came in by cab from the airport.
Not usual for him.
He usually watches his pennies.
Then you do know him? Oh, yes.
Yes, Mr.
Immelman is a regular guest.
Three or four times a year.
What time did he arrive? Oh, um, about 9.
I remember because, well, he just wasn't himself.
Complained about his room rate after all these years.
Almost as if he were trying to bring attention to himself, perhaps, huh? You could say so, yes, yes.
Did be make a telephone call to Los Angeles, by any chance? I was on the switchboard myself.
Called a little after 11:30 or so, and, uh Oh, here's the number.
Did he make any other calls? Well, you know, something odd.
Right after he made that call through the switchboard, here he was at the desk asking for telephone change.
I hope he isn't in trouble.
He's a lovely man, though a bit, um Uh, peculiar.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
Thank you.
Are you alone? Yes.
Annie's staying here with me, but she's not home yet.
I found something.
A piece of an emery board.
Found it inside of the telephone in your wife's office.
What's it mean? Well, there's a method for starting fires with a telephone, with matches and a piece of emery board.
The phone rings, the vibration strikes the matches.
It's a beautiful technique.
The person placing the call can be a thousand miles away.
Well, who? Who? Who'd do that? A man by the name of Doc Immelman.
starting fires.
Did you ever hear the name? No.
Why would I? Let's just be sure.
No, I've never seen him.
He's a pro.
He's what they call a torch.
And he only works when someone pays him.
Well, that That doesn't make things look any better for me, does it? You weren't the only beneficiary.
Your wife might have paid to have the place burned.
And then he killed her, this Immelman? Not a chance, Mr.
I want to search your place now.
Why? It's just a matter of time till the police do.
I want the advantage.
Well What's the matter? It's that Mr.
He's searching the place.
He's what? He insisted.
I've got nothing to hide.
What's going on here? I didn't pay you to go snooping You paid me to find out what happened.
That's what I'm trying to do.
I found this underneath the blotter on the writing table.
What is it? It's a pawn ticket.
I don't know anything about this.
What do we do? I suggest you call your attorney right now, because you've got about five minutes before I have to call the police.
Dad, I can't get you out on bail.
They say there There's no bail for certain kinds of cases.
Capital cases with substantial evidence of guilt.
Cannon, I want you to know something.
If my father is convicted, I will never forget that you did it.
I told you when I took the case I don't withhold evidence.
McMahon, I'm gonna ask you once more, how did you get ahold of that pawn ticket? I told you, somebody must have put it there.
I I never pawned anything in my life.
Who else could have been in your apartment since the fire.
I wish I knew.
I can't think of anyone.
I've I've hardly been there myself.
It's been locked up most of the time.
You were there last night.
Yeah, but not for a couple of nights before that.
Well, somebody had to have been in there during that time if the ticket were planted.
I'm the only other person with a key, but I suppose you've already thought of that.
Yes, I've thought of that.
Well, just you and Annie, is that it? Besides the police and the insurance people.
Hello, Mama.
What do you want? You're not quite as friendly as you were the last time, are you? Is there something wrong? Nothing, I I am busy.
You will have to come back.
Excuse me, but what happened to your door? Uh, nothing, nothing happened.
I'm sorry, Mama, but I think maybe I'd better come in.
Well, you cannot push in here like this.
It It's against the law.
Where's Doc? My son is not at home.
Oh, uh, w-well, I I'm sorry.
I I misunderstood.
I thought you said They were collecting, huh? I told my Herman not to give out these big markers.
I want you boys to go back and tell them to forget about Doc because I'm putting him away, you understand? Now, get out.
Mama, I'm afraid Doc's down the well.
At least he'll be a lot safer in jail than having guys like that after him.
Mama, where is he? Where is he? You're right.
Better jail than dead.
At least he can write.
Yeah? Who is it? It's Frank Cannon, Doc.
You better talk to me.
You're in big trouble.
Yeah, okay, I'll be right there.
Uh, Doc, uh, I'll meet you back inside, huh? I think I'd be more comfortable using the door, okay? Thank you.
Just came from Mama.
Your mother.
Where else? There were two heavyweights there from the crap game, waiting for you Hey.
You didn't tell them I was here? Oh, no, no, no, no.
I did have to roust them to protect her, though.
Thanks, uh, maybe I'll return the favor someday, huh? How about right now, Doc? Right now.
Because I want the name of the man who contracted the McMahon fire.
I always believe what I read in the newspaper.
Well, this time you know better.
How do I know better, huh? I mean, even speaking theoretically.
Even supposing I was the torch on this job, what do you think, they'd tell me everything about it? Okay.
Then somebody has set you up for a murder rap, hasn't he? What murder? Where do you get the murder? I never killed anybody! Never.
You know, I'm gonna have to fill you in on something, Doc.
Any felony that results in a death is a felony murder, and arson is a felony.
So what? So who are you gonna get to tie me in to that fire, huh? Nobody, that's who, because it can't be done.
I was up in San Francisco checking your alibi.
Good, so you know I was there.
I also know how you set the fire from there.
Prove it.
You think I don't know a bluff? If you can make that case, you'd bust me right now.
I'm gonna tell you something, Doc.
I'm gonna make that case and I'm gonna bust you.
And the reason I'm not doing it right now is, I want the name of the man who hired you.
Now, who is he? Give him to me.
I'll do what I can for you.
What do you say? Nothing.
You're afraid of him, aren't you? That's a big mistake.
You should be more afraid of sitting in a gas chamber.
Look, what do you want from me? I got nothing to say.
I'm your big hope, Doc.
Tell you what.
I'll, um I'll give you eight hours, hm? No more.
Why don't you think about it? Give me a call.
By the way, use the telephone, huh? Bye.
I haven't got any money, I told you.
I should never have let you talk me into this.
I'm so scared, my teeth are falling out.
Oh, get off it, Doc.
You gotta have some money.
I gotta get out of the country.
I gotta leave my mother some.
Look, it's stupid to run, especially when there's something better to do.
Yeah, like what? Kill Frank Cannon.
You must be out of your mind.
I can't kill anybody.
You already killed somebody and Cannon is the only one pushing it.
Look, we got no choice.
Why don't you do it? You're a hard guy, you got a gun.
I can't do it.
You can do it because you can make it look like it's not a murder.
You see, you got that talent, Doc.
That's your curse.
Hi, Doc.
Where are you? Uh, at the motel.
Look, I, uh, thought maybe we could make a deal.
I I give the DA a statement and you help kick down the charges.
Look, I told you I'd do what I could for you, but more than that I can't promise.
Well, you come on over, huh? About an hour, okay? I'll be there.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Doc, you gotta stay sober.
I don't want you to mess up now.
Please, I need it.
All right.
One, that's all.
Everything okay here? Everything ready? Yeah.
Everything's closed up.
All we got to do is turn on the gas, go out the back window.
What's that? It's water.
That's a chemical solution.
I make it myself.
No odor.
Looks like water, but you mix them You're the best there is, Doc.
I always said that.
He comes in, he spills the solutions, they mix, we get a good clean blaze, no traces.
There'll be about 2.
000 cubic feet of gas in the room by then.
Ignition point will be about 5, 6 feet high.
We take out the walls.
There's nothing left to do now but just turn on the gas, right? Yeah, yeah, we We got plenty of time.
Easy, just take it easy, Doc.
You Take it easy, now.
Hey, get in, I gotta talk to you.
Well, I gotta get up to the office.
This won't keep.
Come on.
Come on.
Well, I've found our torch.
It's Doc Immelman.
Well, uh That's great.
That's really great.
How did you nail him? He started the fire with a telephone device.
He placed the call from San Francisco to give himself an alibi.
The call traced out to a phone booth around the corner from his hotel.
I can put him there at the right time.
Well, uh, gee, I don't know, Frank.
Uh, it's not gonna be easy to get a conviction on that.
I don't need one.
He's just about ready to spill his guts.
This'll do it.
All I want you to do is to back me up.
That's the cabin.
Well, uh Uh Uh, listen, I'll stand guard here, you see, in case he starts to run like Ruby did, hm? This isn't Ruby and Doc isn't running anymore.
Come on, Phil.
No, no, no.
Now, what's your problem, Phil? Huh? You afraid of your old pal, Doc? You set the fire for Elaine, didn't you? Come on, let go of me And when you killed her, it cost you your cut, so you took the painting, right? Well, you don't have to admit anything because I know.
Because I tailed Doc right to you.
Now, come on.
No, don't.
Don't open it.
He'll blow us to pieces.
There's gas in there.
It's got a chemical starter.
Where's Doc? He's inside.
Phil! Phil! Call an ambulance.
You see, Phil Dobson set you up when he planted that pawn ticket in your apartment.
I think he did it the night I went to San Francisco.
Boy, it must have killed him to give up that Renoir.
How did you know, anyway? Well, you see, the pawn ticket was dated the same day that I told Dobson the painting was missing.
And whatever happened to what's-his-name, uh, the man who started the fire? Doc is alive and he's trying to cop a plea.
I think he'd be happy to settle for 20 years.
I understand Dobson confessed.
Yes, he did, as a matter of fact.
He claims that he really didn't mean to kill Elaine.
I don't think he did.
I believe him.
Well, maybe you believe, young lady, that your old man isn't quite the naive old fellow that you thought.
I told you there's a judicial system that protects innocent people.
Oh, Dad Now, wait a minute, Annie, Wait a minute, wait a minute.
Your father happens to believe in justice.
You know something? I'm with him.