Ellery Queen (1975) s01e20 Episode Script

43623 - The Adventure of the Tyrant of Tin Pan Alley

A few minutes ago, this famous composer stole his last song.
Who killed him? Was it the talented fry cook? I'll kill that crook! The resentful stepdaughter? Well, I didn't know what to say, so I told the truth.
The frightened widow? I had a perfectly dreadful life with that man.
The glib disc jockey? This is my show, remember? The hillbilly song-plugger? That boy has to be your killer.
The washed-up singer? Do you want to know the real truth? Or was it someone else? Match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess who done it.
PARKER: Guys and gals and midnight pals, hoot owls and other denizens of the dark, all my night people out there, this is Buddy Parker, and I love you.
[Applause] Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you very kindly.
Tonight's special platter party is a salute to songwriter, song publisher, composer of the tunes that set a nation's toes a-tappin'.
Alvin Winer is here with us in person tonight, along with his lovely Mrs.
Winer, better known to her multitude of fans as the talented star of Broadway and Hollywood musicals, Miss Dinah Carroll.
And making her first radio appearance is Dinah's pretty daughter, Penny Carroll.
So, stick with us tonight, folks, because we [Clears throat] Oh, by all means, do stay tuned because we are also very pleased to have with us in our studio tonight the star of that popular network radio series, "The Casebook of Simon Brimmer," Mr.
Simon Brimmer himself, with a special surprise for us all.
Plus, a whole flock of surprise celebrities who will be dropping in during the night to pay their respects to the greatest music maker of our time.
And before we hear some of that music, first let's hear from Vita-Creme.
What' the tale, nightingale? What' the deal, McNeal? Coffee.
I got a dream guy, Vita-Creme guy With a shine - Hi, Charlie.
- Hi.
How are you? - Hi, Danny.
- Hi, Ellery.
What happened you write yourself into another corner? Oh, you know, I just had to get away from that typewriter.
- The usual? - The usual.
Oh, I didn't tell you I took my new song to Alvin Winer.
To a songwriter? Well, he's also got his own music-publishing company.
I think he likes it.
Anyway, he hasn't sent it back.
Did he say anything? No, I didn't talk to him.
A friend of mine got the tune to him.
I think it's pretty good.
It goes like this [Clears throat] Da-da-da duh-dum Da-da-da duh-dah It's brand-new, and this is a world premier.
I hope you like it.
And here it is, ladies and gentlemen Alvin Winer's newest composition, "Summer Girl.
" [Plays piano] Dee-dee dee-dee Ba-ba-ba bah-bah Danny, Danny Excu Excuse me.
Isn't that your tune on the radio? - Danny - Take over, Charlie.
- Hey, Danny, where you going? - I'm going to that radio station.
Danny, you watch your temper.
I'll kill that crook! [Applause] PARKER: Dinah, what' it like to be married to a man the whole country loves and admires? Well, if I said how wonderful it is, Mr.
Parker, your listeners wouldn't believe it.
Folks, if you could just see the rocks on her fingers.
Fingers? All the way up to her elbows.
A wife like this comes along only once in a lifetime.
Penny, is it like this at your house all the time? Oh, my stepfather's not home all the time.
When he does come home, he brings jewelry.
Well, Alvin, Dinah, you sound like a very happily-married couple to me.
- Wouldn't you agree, Simon? - Ideal, one might say.
Which leads us into one for the collector's corner.
Here is Dinah Carroll singing the Alvin Winer standard "It Takes Two to Love and One to Cry.
" We're off.
Penny, what brought on that dumb crack? Well, I didn't know what to say, so I told the truth.
What's the matter with you? Herb.
Herb Morrow, come on in here.
- Hiya, buddy.
- Herb, where you been? I thought I told you to bring someone for the show.
Well, he did.
Hey, hey.
Gary Swift.
How are you, Buddy? - Dinah hiya, beautiful.
- Hello, Gary.
- How are you? - Mmm, fine.
You? - You look terrific.
- Thank you.
Is this the best you can do? How are you, Alvin? Get lost.
I don't talk to ingrates.
Oh, come on, now after I made "Rain Flowers" a big hit? You mean "Rain Flowers" made you.
I don't need a cheap band singer to try to make one of my songs a hit.
Uh, Gar, is there anything you want to plug on the air? - Yeah, I brought my new record.
- Oh, good.
And a list of some dates I got coming up.
Oh, good, good.
Let me take a look at that.
Oh, darn it, I I left my glasses someplace.
I'll tell you what fill me in on the air after the record, huh? - Right.
- Hold it.
Hold it.
You're not playing any record made by this cut-rate Como.
- Alvin, it's your song.
- Makes no difference.
Play any other record, but not Swift's.
- Give it to me.
- This is my show, remember? You're the one with the short memory.
Perhaps you'd like to talk about it tomorrow in the station manager's office.
Give it to me! A bit overplayed, wouldn't you say? - Excuse me.
- Where do you think you're going? - Out of this madhouse.
- Penny.
I'll wait for you outside, Mother.
Hey, hey, hey! Wake up there, hoot owls.
A brand-new guest just dropped by our all-night platter party, and he happens to be none other than top recording star Gary Swift.
- Hi, Gar.
- Hi, Buddy.
Hey, what a big thrill it is to be here to honor that that fine songwriter and truly lovable human being, Alvin Winer.
Gary, I understand Alvin played an important part in your career.
Why doesn't somebody tell the truth about Alvin Winer?! That song he played on the piano wasn't his! - It was mine Dan Murphy! - Parker, stop him! It's okay.
It's okay.
The mike's are dead.
We just went to a transcribed commercial.
I'll wait.
Hey, Lou, can you hear me? Play all the commercials, go to a station break, and then go right to the records, okay? Okay, Buddy.
How dare you come barging in here, making crazy accusations? I never saw you before in my life.
Get out! How can you deny that song is mine?! I can recite it note for note! He's assaulting me! Stop him! - Here, let's - Call the police! Why don't we? Quick follow him! Follow him! Come on! - Which way? - Beats me.
Split up.
[Up-tempo music plays] Thousands of records, and I can't find the one I want.
This system's impossible.
What are you doing?! No! No! Fool's mate.
PARKER: Ladies and gentlemen, something terrible has just happened.
I can't talk about it now - Dad? - Yeah? - What? What? - You hear that? until I can furnish you with further details.
[Telephone rings] We return now to the music of America' beloved tunesmith, Alvin Winer.
- Ellery.
- Huh? - Answer the phone.
- Yeah.
Hello? Hello, Queen.
This is Simon Brimmer.
I'm listening to Buddy Parker's radio show.
- Yes, I'm calling from the studio.
- What happened? Murder, plain and simple.
Tell your father to alert his minions.
Someone has killed America's beloved tunesmith.
Didn't you leave something out, Brimmer? When did Alvin Winer go to the record library? A moment later.
He said he was going out to find a better recording of his song to replace the damaged platter.
You were left with Mrs.
She went out to look for her daughter.
Oh, then you were alone in the studio.
I hope you're not suggesting that I'm a suspect in this murder.
Oh, no, no, no.
I was in full view of the engineer at all times.
Nobody said you killed him.
Well, I should hope not.
The truth of the matter is, Alvin Winer was able to identify his killer before he died.
Before he You talked to him? I did not say that, Queen.
I was most specific.
I said he identified his killer.
- A dying clue.
- Exactly.
If you'll look under the body, you will see he fell on a record he was just able to pluck from the rack before death overtook him.
Did you move the body? It wasn't necessary.
Most of the label is still showing.
- It's a Gary Swift recording.
- Swift, eh? Yes, but you're missing the obvious.
Look at the title of the song.
"Danny Boy.
" Don't worry, Inspector.
I can assure you that everything is under control, and I permitted no one to touch anything, including the murder weapon.
- Inspector.
- What is it, Velie? It's called a purse gun.
Also easily concealed in a man's jacket pocket.
Have it checked for prints and ballistics.
Yes, sir.
You touch anything, Brimmer? Of course not.
Though, of course, I had a good chance to take a look around the murder scene, and I can assure you that nothing escaped my attention.
Then I'm sure you noticed that the dead man wore two different colored socks.
Really? How could that have any possible significance? We continue with the music and the memories of Alvin Winer.
[Applause] Buddy Parker, Inspector Queen and his son, Ellery.
- Oh, hi.
- How do you do? Mr.
Do you always broadcast from this studio? Yep, every night, midnight till dawn.
That's funny.
I could have sworn you had an audience.
Parker, did you know the intruder who broke in on your program, this Dan Murphy kid? No.
No, I never laid eyes on him.
First I thought he was drunk, then I decided he was just off his rocker.
What did he look like? Uh, well, let me see he was, oh, about average height Wavy hair, hazel eyes, got a dimple on his chin.
Yeah, that's the guy.
How do you know what he looks like? He works nights at a diner near our house, Dad.
I go there every once in a while when I'm having trouble writing, and I was there tonight, when Dan Murphy heard Winer playing his music on the air.
You mean the music Murphy claims he wrote.
Yes, surely you don't believe a celebrated composer would need to steal from a short-order cook.
I know that Dan was humming his tune to me before Winer started playing his new composition.
Well, if that's true, it provides a whale of a motive.
Yeah, well.
Parker, why didn't Alvin Winer want you to play Gary Swift's record on your show? Oh, that was just some kind of a quarrel between them.
It had nothing to do with me.
Though your other guests have departed, you can still rely on me, Parker.
I am still ready to do my part.
Oh, I don't want to impose.
There's no earthly reason why you should have to carry on alone.
The music of Alvin Winer.
For those listeners who just tuned in, let me read a bulletin prepared by our radio newsroom.
"Tragedy struck tonight when America's favorite melody maker, Alvin Winer, was slain during a broadcast devoted to his songs, shortly after a wild-eyed young man forced his way into the radio's studio.
The identity of the young man is still unknown.
" That's all we can tell you about at this time.
Simon Brimmer, the radio sleuth, was with us this evening as one of our special guests.
Simon, I understand that you were Alvin Winer's last collaborator.
Yes, I prevailed upon Alvin to write a new theme song for my hit network radio series, "The Casebook of Simon Brimmer.
" I wrote the lyrics for it myself.
If I may, I should like to recite them now, in honor of a man who will be sorely missed in the world of music.
I'm sure our listeners would like that very much.
A foggy night the stars grow dimmer.
Murder's afoot.
Call Simon Brimmer.
Policemen snoop without a glimmer.
To solve the case, call Simon Brimmer.
Dad, I think we ought to talk to Mrs.
Tonight? She lives all the way up in Westchester.
I know that, Dad, but Parker hedged when I asked him about playing Gary Swift's record.
Now, if Mrs.
Winer knew her husband better than anybody she's probably got the answer.
You can sleep while I drive.
The way you drive, we can both sleep.
[Ominous music plays] I still can't believe he's gone.
I know, Mama.
There's so much to take care of the funeral, the flowers.
Don't think about it tonight.
Just close your eyes.
He's really gone.
You get some sleep.
Pleasant dreams.
- Good night.
- Good night.
MAN: No, I am not the regular butler.
Dinah didn't expe Mrs.
Winer didn't expect to be home this evening.
She gave the servants the night off.
- Would you like a drink? - No.
No, thank you.
I'll pass.
We'd like to speak to Mrs.
Winer, if we may.
You're too late.
My mother's gone to bed.
May I help you? Penny, this is Inspector Queen and his son, Ellery.
They're investigating the death of your stepdad.
This is Penny Carroll.
- How do you do? - Hello.
I can't say that I'm pleased to meet you.
I don't know what to say.
You were at the radio studio tonight.
So was Herb.
Oh, honey, I I hope you don't mind.
I was holding a one-man wake for the boss with his own liquor.
That's all right.
Finish it.
Well, I'm really not partial to bourbon.
I got in the habit of sipping corn liquors, fresh from the still.
Miss Carroll, there's something I'd like to know about your stepfather.
Well, you know, I think Herb can probably tell you more than I can.
I went to work for Alvin in 1935, when he first started his music-publishing company.
He took me on as number-one song-plugger.
Song-plu What does a song-plugger do? Well, he talks people into using a publisher's songs, talks to recording stars and bandleaders and radio personalities and Broadway star That's how I met Dinah.
I introduced her to Alvin.
Herb was best man at their wedding.
Now I'm fixing to be his pallbearer.
[Ominous music plays] Mr.
Morrow, why didn't your boss let that disc jockey play one of Gary Swift's records? Oh, that was just a little old squabble didn't mean anything.
Didn't mean anything? He smashed his record.
He didn't like Gary's arrangement.
Question is did he like Gary? Oh, sure, Alvin liked everybody.
And everybody loved Alvin.
Even Dan Murphy, the boy that horned in on the broadcast and tried to slug Winer? That boy has to be your killer.
Why do you say that, Mr.
Morrow? Well, it stands to reason.
A boy with that temper if he'd shove him, he'd shoot him.
[Ominous music plays] Aah! Aah! Aah! Aah! Aah! Ohh, the murderer he was here! He was here in the room! Watch out! He was here! Oh, my God! Careful, son.
Oh, I was so frightened.
I was so frightened.
- How about there? - It's all right.
Oh, I saw him the boy from the radio studio.
- He was here.
- It was just a bad dream.
No, I saw him.
He was here.
He's not satisfied with one murder.
He wants to murder everyone in the family.
Mama, it's okay.
[Sobbing] No, Danny never did come back here, Mr.
- Didn't call or nothing.
- Uh-huh.
Well, if he does, ask him to get in touch with me, will you? Sure.
Heard about what happened at the radio station.
Boy sure got hisself in a lot of trouble.
Charlie, do you keep a gun in this diner? - A gun? - Yeah.
Got a ball bat, though, just in case anybody wants to get funny.
It's in the hands of the Westchester Police now till they find Dan Murphy and hand him back to us.
They're combing the area.
Dad, if Danny killed Alvin Winer What do you mean, "if"? If Danny killed Alvin Winer, where'd he get the gun? He didn't take it out of the diner.
All he did was grab up his jacket.
And he didn't have time to buy one before he went to that radio station.
Well, that's easy he already had it in his pocket.
Oh, really? What did he intend to do shoot somebody before the broadcast? How do I know what he intended? Charlie, come here a minute, will you? Did you ever see Danny with a gun? - Danny? - Ever? No, never heard him mention one, either.
Well, that doesn't mean he didn't have one.
Why didn't he shoot Winer in the radio studio? In front of witnesses? No, a record library is a perfect place for a murder nobody around.
- What are you looking for? - "Danny Boy.
" All I've got is a Morton Downey record.
I like Morton Downey.
Here it is Gary Swift.
[Music plays] Dad, if Winer had a choice, why didn't he pick Morton Downey? We know he didn't like Swift, but he pulled Swift's record.
- Why? - Ellery.
To indicate the singer, not the song.
- Ellery, that's not "Danny Boy.
" - So, I pushed the wrong button.
That's the other side of "Danny Boy.
" Oh, really? You can stand around and shove nickels into that jukebox all night long if you want to.
I'm gonna go home and go to bed.
Good night.
Good night, Dad.
Carolina moon - Good night, Mr.
- Good night.
"Dear Dad, I wanted to get an early start and decided to let you sleep.
Love, Ellery.
" "Dear Ellery, I wanted to get an early start and decided to let you sleep.
Love, Dad.
" [Whistling] I got to tell you the truth Just how I got my break Working in the vaudeville show I put my little feet down One by one While everybody' yelling, "You son of a gun" I've got to tell you the truth 'Cause I got my break Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa Men have named you You're so like the lady with the mystic smile Is it only 'cause you're Ionely they have blamed you For that Mona Lisa strangeness in your smile? Stop.
Look I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, but it just doesn't have it.
I mean, who wants to hear a song about a painting? Hey, Errol.
Errol, whatever happened to those catchy novelty tunes like "Chickery Chick" and "Mairzy Doats," huh? Take this back to the publisher and tell him to send me the good stuff.
All right, next what do you got for me? A question, Mr.
You're not a song-plugger.
Who are you? My name is Ellery Queen.
I'm helping the police investigate the murder of Alvin Winer.
- Oh, yeah? - Wait a minute.
I'll handle this.
I'm his agent, Errol Keyes.
Glad to know you, sir, but I still have a question for Mr.
Now, Gary's clean believe me.
What do you want to know? I'd like to know why Winer was so dead set against Parker playing your record on his show.
It was a personal matter.
It was just one of those things, you know what I mean? No.
- You want to know the real truth? - Hey, Gary, come on.
See, Winer owned a piece of a record company, and he wanted me to record his songs for his company so he could have a big slice off the top if it became a hit, only I made a better deal with another company.
He never forgave me.
Well, I can understand that, but why did Parker let Winer stop him from playing your record on the air? - I'll tell you about that - Now, nix, nix.
This is hot subject.
Now, drop it before you get burned.
I got burned, or did you forget how he shut me out? Out? Out of what? The marketplace, the New York radio audience.
See, the buy was in, and I was out.
Listen to me, will you? Look, what we're talking about has a name, and the name is Payola.
- Singers.
- Payola? - Singers.
- What's Payola? Well, you know, slipping a little something under the table to disc jockeys so they'll play certain records over and over.
That's how hits are made.
So, when Winer told Parker not to play your record That mean that Parker was on the take, which came as no big surprise because who do you think laid out the ready cash for the all-Winer salute? Tell him, Errol.
Herbie Morrow made the arrangements.
Alvin Winer paid for his own tribute? Made a nice going-away present, only he didn't know he was going anywhere at the time.
A little like looking under a rock.
Well, hi, gang.
I don't know why, but my ears are burning.
Hey, Dracula, what are you doing out in the daytime? I thought sunlight killed you guys.
No, only a bad joke driven through the heart.
Queen, what's a nice guy like you doing in a place like this? You're right, Mr.
We were talking about you.
Yeah, I was just telling them how Winer had you in his pocket.
I don't believe you said that.
You got to be nuts to talk that way to Buddy Parker.
Now, now, relax, Errol.
I know your boy here got a raw deal.
I'm here to make amends.
Gary, I want you to come on the show.
I'll play all your records, and you'll be my only guest.
How's that? Really? How much will it cost? [Chuckles nervously] He's always kidding around.
I got a clown for a client.
All kidding aside, Gary.
You know I always spin a clean platter no dust, no dirt, no grime.
I'm only here 'cause I like you.
Would you be here if Alvin Winer was still alive? Now, that's not fair, Mr.
Gary here didn't get along with Alvin rest his soul but there was nothing that bad between them.
I'd almost swear to that.
Payola? Sure I know about it.
It's illegal, and it's being investigated by a special unit in the department.
But what's payola got to do with Alvin Winer's murder? Well, maybe nothing, Dad, but the victim and some of the suspects were involved with it up to their eyebrows.
Was Dan Murphy involved in Payola? Dan? I don't see how.
Well, then I don't see how Payola is involved in the murder.
We know who did it.
We just have to find him.
No luck, Inspector.
I talked to the Westchester police they couldn't find a trace of Murphy.
Are they watching the Winer house in case he comes back? Yes, sir.
They've put men on the gates.
They're patrolling the neighborhood.
I also checked with ballistics, and the.
25-caliber found at the scene was confirmed as the murder weapon, but there's no way to trace it.
- What about fingerprints? - None.
Thank you, Velie.
Dad, have you checked the record for prints? "Danny Boy"? Yeah.
The only prints on the record were the victim's.
The only prints? How can that be? That record is in a library on a rack.
It must be handled by dozens of people, maybe hundreds.
Ellery, the only prints they found were Alvin Winer's.
- Dad, now, records - Don't ask me, Ellery.
Ask somebody who knows about these things.
Yes, we do try and keep our records dust-free, Mr.
Surface dust crackles like static on the air.
Ah, you wipe every record before you put it back in the rack.
- No.
- No? When we take it off the rack, before we send it to the studio to be aired.
So, people do handle the records in the racks? Of course.
Does this chart have anything to do with your filing system? - Oh, it has a lot to do with it.
- I see.
If I wanted to find a recording, Gary Swift's recording of "Danny Boy," how would I find it? Oh, it's very simple with our new system.
First you look at the chart.
And you see the standards are in green, male vocals are in blue.
Go to the rack, to the blue-and-green bin, and under "D" for "Danny Boy" Excuse me, but how simple would it be for a man who is dying of a gunshot wound? That's a thought.
Ah, Queen, I see you've met Miss Schramm.
- Hi, Simon.
- Good morning, Mr.
If you'll excuse me.
What are you doing here? Duty I feel I owe it to dear old Alvin to find his murderer.
You know, Queen, I've been giving some thought to his dying clue.
Perhaps we were hasty to assume that he meant to point the finger at Dan Murphy with "Danny Boy.
" Simon, you surprise me.
Queen, do you know what is on the other side of "Danny Boy"? Yeah, "Carolina Moon.
" Yes.
That could be equally incriminating since there are two women named Carroll involved in the case Dinah Carroll-Winer and her daughter, Penny Carroll.
I don't think so.
You see, if Winer wanted to leave a clue accusing his wife, he could have pulled a record of "Dinah.
" Or if he wanted to accuse his stepdaughter, how about "Penny Serenade"? I'm sure they're both in the file.
Naturally, I took that into consideration.
That's why I discarded those possibilities.
Of course, there could be another interpretation.
What interpretation? Oh, another time, Queen.
I must run to a story conference with my writers.
You know, they're so inadequate.
If I had the time, I'd dash off all the scripts myself.
Excuse me, Mr.
Brimmer, are you by any chance going by Buddy Parker's office? Possibly.
Why do you ask? Well, Mr.
Parker's so forgetful.
He keeps leaving things behind.
A couple of days ago, it was his car keys, yesterday his glasses, and today his fountain pen.
That's fascinating, but what does it have to do with me? I thought you might drop it on the way.
I suggest you call a delivery boy.
Excuse me.
Good-bye, Queen.
Can you imagine anyone being that absent-minded? Huh? Oh.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You see, sometimes a person has so much to think about that there's no room for fountain pens or car keys or glasses - Or hats? - Or even hats.
Excuse me, Miss Schramm.
Undersecretary of the Treasury Fred McHenry, please.
This is Simon Brimmer calling.
Hello, Freddy.
[Chuckles] "Simple Simon," indeed.
Ah, those were the halcyon days.
Who can forget the old frat house, the camaraderie, the oaths of eternal brotherhood? Yes, I am calling to ask for a favor how perceptive.
Freddy, I'm going to ask you to check a name against Treasury Department records in two states North and South Carolina.
Well, there's no point in waiting.
We've planned on it.
There's nothing to stop us.
Why not go ahead and do it now? Well, I just think it's a might too soon.
Well, I am not going through a period of mourning.
I had a perfectly dreadful life with that man.
All I want to do is forget about it as quickly as possible.
Well, even so, you announcing plans for a Broadway show now folks are bound to raise an eyebrow.
I don't care what people think.
I have myself to think of now.
Oh, Herb, I want to do a show so much it hurts.
If you've changed your mind, if you don't want to help me with it Now, Dinah, of course I want to help you.
It's just I don't want you jumping into some silly little musical comedy that's going to close in Philadelphia.
I was thinking of Rogers and Hammerstein.
Well, now, those folks are fine, but you don't need them.
You got all of Alvin Winer's songs to draw All I'm saying is wait a little bit before you bust out into song.
What's the matter, Herb? Are you afraid somebody might make something out of your sudden leap from song-plugger to producer? Oh, Dinah.
Well, when did you come in? Just now.
I don't mean to interrupt.
How do you feel today, Mrs.
Winer? Oh, I'm much better.
Thank you.
Do you like my widow's weeds? Well, the truth is I've been planning my return to show business for the past year.
How did Mr.
Winer feel about that? Oh, he didn't know.
If he had, he would have hated the idea.
Alvin didn't approve of other men looking at my legs.
When Dan Murphy turned up at the radio studio last night, Mr.
Winer said he'd never seen him before.
- That's true.
- A stranger to me, too.
Yet Winer played Dan's music on the air.
How do you account for that? We can't.
I'm going to fix myself a bourbon and some branch water.
- Care to join me? - No, thank you.
Oh, I thought you were partial to down-home corn liquor.
That's right, but these poor backward city folk never did put in a still.
I have to take what I can get.
Excuse me.
Um, Mr.
Queen, what were you driving at just now? How did Alvin get that boy's music? Well, Dan said he gave it to a friend.
It must have been someone your husband knew.
Surely they didn't have any mutual friends.
Is your daughter home, Mrs.
Winer? Penny? I haven't seen her all day.
We usually have breakfast together.
Penny? Did the chauffeur who quit last week live on the premises? Yes, in a room over the garage.
[Knocking] Who is it? Open the door.
It's your mother.
Hello, Mama.
What are you doing in the chauffeur's room? Well, I thought maybe I'd take up painting again, and the light's really good.
There are trees in front of the window.
Please step aside.
You can't come in! No? Mr.
Excuse me.
Hello, Danny.
How did you find me? Oh, you weren't hard to find.
Now, I know that you didn't mean to harm Mrs.
Winer last night.
But I couldn't figure out what you were doing in her room till I realized that you were in the wrong room.
You were looking for Penny, not her mother.
Would you care to explain? Isn't it obvious? You can't be in love with that boy.
He's a murderer! He killed your stepfather! That's not true! I didn't kill him, Mrs.
I swear it.
Well, Danny, you were pretty sore when you left that diner last night.
Yes, because I was robbed.
I asked Penny to take my music to Winer because I wanted an honest evaluation.
Queen, I knew it was good.
I was hoping Alvin would want to publish it.
I never dreamed he'd claim he'd written it himself.
That boy attacked Alvin! He lost his temper.
He lost his reason! Stop defending him! Why? So nobody will suspect you? Penny.
You had a better reason for wanting Alvin dead.
I was with you.
No, Mother, don't you use me as an alibi.
You didn't come back to the ladies lounge until after Alvin was dead.
But surely you don't think that l? Ask her, Mr.
Ask her if she didn't resent all those years of waiting on him hand and foot even laying out his clothes so that he wouldn't look like the pathetic clown that he was.
Oh, Penny.
Oh Mother, you're trying to hurt Dan.
He didn't kill Alvin.
I know he didn't.
I paid off new songwriters when Alvin liked their stuff.
"Paid off"Well, I slipped them a couple bucks, I'd pat them on the back, and I told them how lucky they were to be collaborating with the great Alvin Winer.
If they looked like they were gonna make a stink, well, I just told Alvin, "It's no deal," and I gave them back the music.
You didn't give Danny's back.
[Sighs] No, I never saw it.
I just plain didn't know about it.
I wouldn't blame Alvin too much.
I mean, he was truly one of the greatest songwriters of the day the best.
But he just happened to run dry, that's all.
He had a reputation to protect.
By stealing.
Morrow, he had you around to protect his good name.
How far would you go to preserve that image? Well, not that far.
Winer, did you pick out the socks that your husband wore to the radio station? No, I didn't.
I was behind schedule, and I forgot.
He picked them out while I was getting dressed.
- They didn't match.
- I'm not surprised.
Fie! I should have caught on before.
Caught on to what? Alvin Winer was colorblind.
Well, so was your Uncle Willy kept him out of the Navy.
What's so fascinating about a piece of trivia like that? That's why she was always picking out his clothes.
[Sighs] Why don't you go out for a walk instead of wearing out the carpet? A walk.
Yeah, walk.
What did I do with my hat? I must have left it somewhere.
I'm not surprised.
You'd lose your head if it wasn't fastened on.
Can't you get along without a hat? I suppose so.
Of course.
That's it I can get along without my hat.
[Telephone rings] Now I know who killed Alvin Winer, and I'll bet you do, too.
- Hello? - I'll give you a little help.
- It wasn't Dan Murphy.
- Who? - But if you think about the clues - Brimmer? they should all point right to the killer.
Now, remember Alvin Winer was colorblind.
What is it now? And this is the second time I almost left my hat behind me.
All right, who's the guilty party Buddy Parker, Gary Swift, Herb Morrow? Or is it somebody closer to home? - All right, where? - Like Penny or Dinah Carroll? RICHARD QUEEN: We'll be there.
Maybe just maybe it was someone else.
- It was Simon Brimmer.
- What? On the phone.
He wants us to meet him down at the radio studio.
He solved our case for us.
He knows who killed Alvin Winer.
Your hat.
Guys and gals and midnight pals, hoot owls and other denizens of the dark, all my night people out there, this is Buddy Parker, and I love you.
[Applause] No party tonight, gang.
Instead, I'm going to turn you over to my co-host, the star of "The Casebook of Simon Brimmer.
" Good evening.
This is Simon Brimmer, a close and devoted friend of that king of songwriters, the late Alvin Winer.
Tonight, on the same program where last his cheerful voice was heard, I'm going to expose his murderer.
I swear, he's waiting for more applause.
Alvin Winer was not only talented, he was also resourceful.
After he was shot in the radio-station record library and as he felt life ebbing away, he still had the presence of mind to pluck a record from the racks which left a clue to his killer's identity.
As luck would have it, one side of that record was called "Danny Boy.
" Inspector Queen of homicide erroneously leaped to the conclusion that it was meant to point to someone whose name was Danny or Dan, causing a youth to be arrested whose only crime was that his name was Dan Murphy.
Meanwhile, the real killer went scot-free.
- Like a cat in a birdcage.
- Shh.
The truth is the "Danny Boy" side of the record was turned up only because Winer fell forward.
But surely he didn't intend to fall facedown.
If he had fallen back, he would have been displaying the real clue the other side of the record.
"Carolina Moon"? Yes, Mr.
Swift, "Carolina Moon.
" Alvin Winer knew something about his killer and was trying desperately to convey it in the two words of that song title.
What did he know? He knew that his killer was from Carolina, South Carolina, and that, at the age of 19, he was arrested for driving a truckload of illegal corn liquor, otherwise known as moonshine.
"Carolina Moon.
" Okay, but why did he pick my record? Because, Mr.
Swift, Alvin Winer's murderer brought you to this studio last night.
Only one of the suspects has a Southern accent, which is what set me on the trail.
Inspector Queen, arrest Herb Morrow for murder.
You must have bought some of that moonshine, Mr.
One of the things it did was make people a little strange in the head.
Simon, he liked Alvin Winer.
He's probably one of the few people who did.
What possible reason could he have for killing him? As I see it, Morrow, the song-plugger, grew tired of walking in the shadow of a towering talent and struck out to nurture his own ambition.
Congratulations, Simon.
Would you care to say that into the microphone? Congratulations, Simon.
I'm very impressed at the way you developed the clue and dug into Herbie Morrow's background.
Very sporting of you to say so, Queen.
Unfortunately, there's only one trouble with it.
Don't say it.
I'm sorry, Simon, but "Carolina Moon" was not a clue, and Herb Morrow didn't kill Alvin Winer.
Even if Winer decided to die holding a record, he couldn't have found the one he wanted.
The records are color-coded.
Yes, and there's a chart on the wall.
Even a child could find any record in a matter of seconds.
Oh, I'm sure it's a very fine system and probably works very well for people who aren't fatally wounded or colorblind.
You see, Alvin Winer was both.
He couldn't have found "The Star-Spangled Banner" if Francis Scott Key had been the killer.
Well, Queen, I presume you have an alternative theory to toss into the pot.
Yes, I'm working on one that has to do with a form of bribery called payola.
Go to a commercial, Lou.
I'm sorry, but this is radio, and you've gotten into a controversial area.
I don't want the legal department to come down hard on me in the morning.
The police department will come down on you like a ton of bricks unless you let Ellery continue.
If he knows something about Alvin's death, I want to hear about it.
So do I.
You'd better make up your mind, Buddy.
It's only a 30-second commercial.
MAN: Stand by.
This is Buddy Parker.
We will continue with Simon Brimmer and his guest, Ellery Queen.
The opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of station WPIQ or its management.
You were about to say, Queen? I was talking about payola the real motive for Alvin Winer's death.
I didn't find out about it until just recently.
Gary Gary Swift, what chance does a singer have of a hit if his record isn't played constantly on the radio? About as much chance as a snowball you know where.
I see.
Buddy Parker, doesn't that give a disc jockey an awful lot of power? Well, yes, if you want to look at it that way.
Some and certainly not all disc jockeys receive money and other considerations in return for playing the songs of certain publishers, the records of certain companies, certain singers I believe we all get the picture.
What about Alvin Winer? Well, he was one of the publishers that used payola.
Last night, he came into conflict with somebody who didn't want to be under Winer's control, someone forced to do everything Winer's way at the risk of a career.
And last night, in this studio, a young man named Dan Murphy was frustrated in his attempt to tell the truth about a piece of music that he had written.
He had a scuffle with Winer, and he ran out in the corridor, followed closely at the heels by three men.
But this is a big building, and Dan was able to outrun his pursuers and slip out the way he came in through the basement door.
In the meantime, Alvin Winer went to the record library to find a replacement for a broken record.
Someone saw him go into the library and knew he'd be alone, and that someone saw an opportunity to kill him and decided not to let it pass.
After the murder, the killer, remembering that he had heard Dan Murphy's name here in the studio, located a copy of Gary Swift's record of "Danny Boy", and, after handling it, wiped it clean of all fingerprints.
The other side of the record "Carolina Moon"was facedown because, as we all know, a record has only two sides, and the killer didn't want it found faceup.
The killer's intention I believe was to throw the police off the track by letting the victim be found with a clue implicating either Danny Murphy or Gary Swift or both.
But then the killer made a mistake a small one, but it caught him in a lie he didn't wear his reading glasses before the murder.
Simon told us that.
But he had them after the murder.
He used them to read that news bulletin.
Where did he find them? In the record library, where he'd left them.
Would you like to say good-bye to your listeners, Mr.
Parker? Guys and gals and midnight pals, hoot owls and other denizens of the dark, all my night people out there, this is Buddy Parker, and I wish I could say I did it 'cause I love you, but let's be honest for a change.
I did it because there was talk of a wide-scale police investigation into payola.
I begged Winer to let me off the hook so I could run a clean show, but he turned me down, and he threatened to go to the station manager and swear that I asked for money.
But I never did.
He offered it, and I was weak enough to take it.
His ego was so inflated that he never believed the police would involve America's tunesmith in a bribery and corruption probe.
[Sighs] I was the one that was gonna get it in the neck.
L-I had to set myself free.
Okay, hoot owls, this is the sign-off.
The old clock on the studio wall says that the show's gonna be around till dawn, but my time is up.
Be good people, will you? - Velie, take him in.
- Yes, sir.
Simon, it's all yours.
Mine? What am I going to do with it? Oh, Simon, I'm very sorry.
Here's your microphone.
Dinah Carroll, Mrs.
Winer, I'm sure there's much you can tell our listeners.
I can't think of a thing.
- Can you, Herb? - No.
Let's go.
Mama? Mama, wait.
Gary, Gary Swift, come and say a few words to our radio audience, please.
Sorry, I'd love to, but I got a club date.
Bye, Si.
Perhaps I can prevail upon Inspector Richard Queen of homicide to say a word.
The word is "good night.
" Ellery? Simon, I'm gonna listen to the broadcast at home, in bed.
This is Simon Brimmer, inviting you to stay tuned for several entertaining hours of personal reminiscences.
I was a most delightful child a prodigy, one might say.
My only companion was a ragged little teddy bear named Muffy.