The Rockford Files (1974) s05e11 Episode Script

A Fast Count

That buy your help? Well, I I guess I could look into it for a day or two.
I'm declaring war.
Nobody has that kind of clout.
Ruth Beetson-White does.
The used-car queen? You got to be crazy.
What are you talking about? Me, kill somebody? Oh, good old Right On Ruth.
Where's Morry? He went to the gym All right, look, I don't have time to explain, but Morry is in deep trouble.
(PHONE RINGING) ROCKFORD ON ANSWERING MACHINE: This is Jim Rockford.
At the tone, leave your name and message.
I'll get back to you.
(BEEPS) WOMAN: Jim, you give Peg the $200 for the painting.
She owes me $70, and I owe you $46 for the Christmas trees.
Harry's still out $60 for the dinner, but at least it will void that check.
ANNOUNCER ON TV: Jackson takes two more, a couple of solid ones to the face.
Stewart lands an upper cut.
A left jab, another left jab.
Stewart is in control of this fight.
A hard right to the body, a combination by Stewart.
Jackson's hurt.
There goes his mob face.
He's down! (BELL RINGS) We'll be right back after this word from Beetson Motors.
RUTH: Hi there, folks.
I hope you're enjoying the fight.
This is Right On Ruth here.
Yes, sir, that's Ruth Beetson-White.
And, honey, if you want satisfaction, well, you'd better come see me, because I have got acres and acres of fine used cars and such a sweet group of nice young men to help you decide which one is just right for you.
All right, fellas, take 'em off.
Now, honey, if you see anything you like here, you just let me know.
Now, here's a sexy little number coming right up.
This little baby's got low mileage, front disc brakes, automatic transmission, tape deck Well, honey, in short, it's got everything you want.
(GIGGLES) That's at Beetson Motors, folks.
And don't you forget, Ruth's my name, satisfaction's my game.
Oh, I wish you'd come see me sometime soon.
You won't be disappointed.
I promise.
ANNOUNCER: Next week here at the Pico Arena, the number-ten ranked light heavyweight in the world, Bobo Rydell, meets Oscar Jones, that puncher from Bakersfield, California.
Bakersfield! Now don't miss it, fans.
It's bound to be another Jesus, Jesus.
Hey.
How'd it go at immigration? Not so good.
I did everything but take a poke at the guy.
She can't stay.
How long we got? Fifteen days.
She's seventy-three years old, Morry.
It'll kill her.
I know, I know.
Look, Jesus, I told you I wouldn't let them take her away, huh? That still goes.
Now, all you have to remember is keep the right up, huh? Throw the left up, all right? Okay? All right? All right, huh? Okay.
And leave Mama Aguilar to me.
Okay? Okay.
Anything you say, Morry.
All right.
All right.
Hey, there's someone in your office.
Who? Some investor.
Oh.
Here, wipe your face.
(CAR HORN HONKING) (DOOR OPENING) Hey, Jim, good to see you.
I've been, uh, meaning to call you, but you know how it is.
All I know is Bobo Rydell is fighting some clown from Bakersfield next week and not Jesus Hernandez, so what gives, Morry? Well, the match is almost made.
By this time next week That's what you told me last month, and I'm getting a little sick of it.
As a matter of fact, I'd like to sell back my piece of Jesus.
And just for what I paid for it like you said I could at any time.
Hey, Jim, you're in on the ground floor.
You own 5% of the next light heavyweight champion of the world.
Not if you can't get him a fight with a contender.
You can't even get him a fight on TV.
Jim, uh, look, uh, you mind if I level with you? Well, why not, Morry? When all else fails.
Okay.
Bobo Rydell's owner knows Jesus can whip him and won't sign for the match unless I sell her 50% of Jesus' contract in the event Jesus wins.
So, sign him up with another contender, anything as long as you get him a fight on TV.
No, no, no, no, you don't understand, you don't understand.
Rydell's owner has enough clout with the matchmaker at the Pico Arena to keep Jesus off the Tuesday Night fight card altogether.
Nobody has that kind of clout.
Ruth Beetson-White does.
The used-car queen owns Rydell? Yeah.
It's hard talking against the lady, you know.
I mean, her sponsoring Tuesday Night Fights gave boxing in this town the shot in the arm it needed.
She owns fighters, too.
Eight of them.
Collects them like stamps.
So you're gonna get frozen out unless you agree to, uh, sell off a big hunk of Jesus Hernandez? I couldn't prove it, of course.
Then I really want my money.
Come on, come on.
The kid's 10-0 and 0.
I'll keep getting him the best fights I can, huh? Even if it means driving to Diego every three weeks.
Once we build his record, Ruth's got to let it happen.
Hundreds will be fine, Morry.
Jim, I I'm going to level with you, hmm? (DOOR OPENING) Which one is Morris Hawthorne? I am.
Nelson, FBI.
You're under arrest for the attempted bribery of a federal official.
"You have the right to remain silent.
"If you give up the right to remain silent, "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
"You have the right to speak with an attorney "and have an attorney present during questioning.
"If you so desire and cannot afford one, "an attorney will be appointed for you without charge before questioning.
"Do you understand each of these rights I've explained to you? "Do you wish to give up the right to remain silent? "Do you wish to give up the right to speak to an attorney "and have him present during questioning?" What are you talking about? Attempted bribery? You heard me.
Book him.
Put your hands behind your back.
Bag everything in his desk and bring it downtown.
Say, I don't suppose you could tell me what this is all about, huh? I didn't think so.
JESUS: Hey, what is this, huh? What's going on? It doesn't concern you.
What do you mean it doesn't concern me? That's Morry.
(ALL CLAMORING) Come on, man.
You can't do that.
Hey, let him go, okay? You save that for the ring, Poncho.
What do you mean, Poncho? MORRY: Jesus, don't! Come on.
Nelson.
Here, here, this is his coat.
Come on, come on.
Come on, come on.
It's all right.
Come on.
Man, I don't get it.
What'd they want with Morry? Huh? Ah, beats me.
Something about bribing a federal official.
He said he was gonna do something, but I didn't think he'd go that far.
What are you talking about, Jesus? Pay off an immigration official so Mama Aguilar won't have to go back to Mexico.
Who's Mama Aguilar? My wife's grandmother.
She's been here 38 years.
Illegally? What can they do to him? About 15 years.
Fifteen years? I can't let them do that to Morry.
Man, he's in jail for trying to save an old lady's life.
How hard is it to get someone out on bail? Oh, not too hard if you know the mechanics.
Hey, that's great, man.
No, Jesus Morry's always saying what a great guy you are.
Yeah, yeah.
Jesus ROCKFORD: I took the liberty of dropping by your bank, Morry, and picking up two counter checks.
Now, the first one you can make out for $2000 to your bail bondman.
The next one you can make out to me for my piece of Jesus.
Look, Jim, uh I appreciate your taking the time to arrange bail, but the truth of the matter is, uh Two grand's all I got to my name.
If I pay you off, I can't make bail.
What did you do with the investors' money? I spent it.
You think it's cheap to bring a kid along these days? There's more to it than gym fees and sparring partners, you know.
I support that boy and his family.
And you won't find Jesus Hernandez loading trucks between bouts either.
No, sir.
It takes money, lots of money.
So does bribing a federal official.
I didn't bribe anybody.
That's not the way the feds see it.
I checked it out with a contact in the department.
You supposedly sent a high-ranking immigration official $5,000 in cash, along with a note saying that it was, uh, thanks in advance for any consideration he might show in the Aguilar deportation matter.
That's bull, that's bull.
Who's the official? Ever hear of F.
I.
Blassette? Yeah, he's the guy who denied the final appeal.
No heart, you know.
The book's the book.
Mmm-hmm.
The note also said there would be another $5,000 forthcoming along with a satisfactory resolution of the matter.
And it was printed on your typewriter, from a legal pad on your desk, and then placed in a monogrammed envelope just like the ones you keep in your desk drawer.
No way, Jim, no way.
They also found an aborted first draft of the note in your wastebasket.
As far as the FBI is concerned, they got you dead bang, Morry.
Jim, somebody's doctoring my water.
You got to believe me.
(SIGHS) What is that? "You are hereby notified that the State Boxing Commission "has suspended your manager's license "pending resolution of the federal felony charges being brought against you.
"You are ordered to cease and desist all boxing activity until further notice.
"Bernard Caplan, California State Boxing Commission.
" Let me see that.
This can't get out, Jim.
It just can't.
Investor confidence will be shattered.
Well, this is one investor whose confidence is devastated.
You got to find out who's doing this to me, Jim.
If everybody wants their money back, I'm ruined.
You got to help me.
Morry, I'd like to help you, but this is not the kind of case I should get involved in.
Look, I'll make a deal with you, huh? I'll give you another 5% of Jesus Hernandez.
Another 5%? Yeah.
Which should make you a 10% owner of the next light heavyweight champ of the world.
Any idea what 10% of the current champ is, if you could get it? That buy your help? Well, I I guess I could look into it for a day or two.
Thanks, Jim But But if I come up empty, I want a guarantee that I'll be the first investor to get his money back.
Deal? You got it, you got it.
Now, where you gonna start? Oh, I guess with the guy that said you bribed him.
Would you get that fixed? Yes, Mr.
Brown? My secretary said something about an interview? Uh, yes, I'm with Civil Service Life and Times.
Great magazine.
I was written up in it last year, you know.
Yes, well, I'm doing an article called "Anatomy of a Bribe," and I'd like to, uh, talk to you concerning the Morris Hawthorne matter.
Ah, yes.
Deplorable situation.
Well, I'd like to get right to the nuts and bolts of the bribe itself, how the money arrived, when exactly Hawthorne delivered it to you, that sort of thing.
Well, he didn't deliver it personally.
He probably figured it would be too risky.
No, he had a prizefighter type drop it off.
Oh? What did he look like? I didn't see him.
He left the envelope with my secretary.
Well, how can you be sure that, uh, Hawthorne is behind it? Well, he's the only one who expressed any interest in the Mexican national in question.
He's a constant source of agitation and the last time he was here, he was positively desperate.
Besides that, the physical evidence leaves no doubt.
Excuse me, sir, but that was Roland down in the mailroom.
The afternoon paper's in.
And? Your press conference made page three.
There's even a picture of you.
Yeah, does this press conference have anything to do with Hawthorne? You bet it did.
Look, bribery is running rampant in our country and I intend to make a graphic example out of Hawthorne.
Ah.
Okay, okay, Charley, if you don't have more faith in the kid than that, then I don't want you in his corner anyway.
No, I don't have the cash right now.
You're gonna have to stand in line with everybody else and then we'll see Charley? Don't worry, kid.
It'll all come out in the wash.
Yeah, sure, Morry, anything you say.
(PHONE RINGING) ROCKFORD: Who was that, Morry? An investor? Yeah.
They been calling ever since the paper hit the streets.
Don't even care when I tell them I'm innocent.
They just want their money back.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, I'm almost positive you're innocent.
Only a fool would try to bribe a gung ho fed like that.
Whatever else you are, Morry, you're no fool.
How'd you do? Well, Blassette's secretary ID'd the guy who delivered the money as 5'9", about 160, kind of wild-eyed, a scruffly beard.
He's a black dude.
Sound familiar? Could be anybody.
Oh, he had a hole in his ear for an earring, but no earring.
That might be Tony Malavida.
Oh, no, he doesn't have the brains.
How much brains does it take to deliver an envelope? Who is he? Some punk I used to hire for a sparring partner.
You know, five bucks a round, free iodine.
Morry cut him loose when he found out he was a junkie.
Yeah, well, if I can get a line on him, maybe I can find out who's behind this.
Any idea where he might be these days? Last I heard, he was, uh, buffing cars somewhere downtown.
Tony Malavida? Yeah, Norm Solomon, State Attorney General's Office.
What do you want? Where's that S.
I.
T.
Unit? S.
I.
T.
Unit? Special Interrogation Team.
They ought to be here by now.
Well, I might as well get the preliminary info.
Now, when did Hawthorne first approach you to deliver the bribe to F.
I.
Blassette? I don't know what you're talking about.
Of course you do.
Let's not waste our time arguing about it, okay? You were picked out of the mug shots, so if you really cooperate, there's a slight chance that you won't have to take the full rap.
I ain't saying nothing.
Suit yourself.
I'll have to mark down that you were uncooperative.
Look, I'm going to have to call in, find out what happened to that S.
I.
T.
Unit.
Malavida, you stay put.
If you leave this lot, you'll be in violation of Section 814, title 20, subparagraph 6 and 5.
You got that? (INAUDIBLE) I know I have seen that guy in that silver Caddy someplace before, I just can't place him.
I couldn't see the plates on the car.
I don't think it was carrying any.
It doesn't matter anyway.
You know, I called Blassette.
He's gonna have Malavida picked up.
If that secretary identifies him as the guy who delivered the money, well, it's a snap to sweat the truth out of a junkie.
So you're almost off the hook.
Hey, great, Jim, just great.
Hey, Morry? Yeah? Morry, you seen this? Yeah, yeah, I'm busy, huh? Not now, kid.
Morry, everybody in the gym's talking about the ad, huh? What gives? What does the ad say, Jesus? Nothing that concerns you, Jim.
It's just an internal thing.
And you, get back out on the bag, huh? And stop popping in here every time you run out of breath! "The owners of Light Heavyweight Jesus Hernandez, I will buy your shares.
"The Rio Room, the International Inn, at 3:00 p.
m.
"This may be your last chance.
" What's the matter, Morry? I don't have a financial interest in Jesus Hernandez, is that it? No, no, sure you have.
Anybody who really believes in the kid is not going to attend that rip-off.
I know, 'cause I called most of the investors.
Not one's going.
You're not going either, are you, Jim? Who put this ad in here, Morry? How do I know? Bunch of nervous old ladies, I don't know.
Yeah, well, whatever, it may be the best offer we get.
I ought to check it out anyway.
Whoever's trying to capitalize on your troubles may've had a hand in them.
MAN 1: I've had my piece of this kid for three years (ALL CLAMORING) Remain calm, please.
MAN 2: Where is Hawthorne? Can I have your attention, please? Please? Uh, I'm sorry, maybe I'm in the wrong place.
Do you own a piece of Jesus Hernandez? I'm in the right place.
How much do you own? Five percent.
You heard the man, Don.
Morry sold 195% of Jesus? You got it.
Your 5% is now worth You've been cheated, mister.
And there's only one way you're gonna get even a small piece of your original investment back.
Yeah, but twenty cents on the dollar? Come on, that ain't much.
(ALL MURMURING) Listen, you people.
Hey, listen you people.
Wait a minute.
Hawthorne's washed up.
I'm telling you, he's finished.
Now, I'm your last chance.
You can take it or leave it.
My husband is gonna pass out the releases.
Come on, Don, try to stay with me, huh, babe? Pass out the forms.
(STUTTERING) You may be leaning on this a little strong.
I mean, Morry isn't convicted, and there's a very good chance that he won't be.
He's being framed.
Well, all I know is what I read in the papers.
Yeah, well, maybe you should, uh, check tomorrow morning's edition.
The feds are making a move on one of the conspirators right now.
His name is Tony Malavida.
(ALL CHATTERING) You people, you people.
I'm doing you a big favor, believe me.
Well, there's only two reasons why I'm not willing to sell my piece just yet.
You know, Jesus Hernandez won all 28 of his amateur fights, he's won 10 straight since turning pro and 7 by knockout I know his stats.
And I know that Morry is getting a fast count, and it just might be because somebody wants to buy Jesus.
Oh.
Am I being accused of something here? No.
No, Morry is.
But it only makes sense that, uh, whoever framed him might use Morry's troubles as leverage to buy up all the Jesus Hernandez action.
Have you, uh, had any other offers today? (ALL MURMURING) Well, I am being accused of something and I resent it, mister.
The simple fact of the matter is that kid has been grossly mismanaged from the start.
I am the best thing that could ever happen to him.
I can get him fights, I can get him TV exposure, I can get him five-figure purses within one year.
Maybe, but I think I'll hold on to my piece till I see how this whole thing comes out, huh? He can't get a bankruptcy judgment for 15 days.
But he burnt you, too.
How can you stick up for him? I agree.
To forgive is divine, but not in Mr.
Hawthorne's case.
All right, fine, Father, maybe we should all file a complaint, but give it a couple days, huh? It's not going to make any difference in the price of Jesus.
(CHUCKLING) Except, of course, my offer won't be there.
Aw, come on, as bad as you want this thing? No, I figure that's a minimum offer.
The price will go up.
Yeah, I agree.
(ALL MURMURING) What are you people doing? What are you people doing? You gonna listen to that guy? He owns a lousy 5%.
I own eight fighters in this town.
I know what I'm talking about.
You're gonna regret this, you really are, you're gonna be left out with nothing.
Mama's time is running out.
They're going to kick her across the border like some old dog nobody wants.
Hey, Lucy, come on, huh? Worse comes to worst, I'll stash her at my sister's place out in El Monte.
(SPEAKING SPANISH) (POUNDING ON DOOR) Hey, remember, I'm not here.
I know Morry's here.
I saw his car down the block.
Yeah, sure, he's here.
I want to see him.
Morry, could I talk to you in the kitchen? Now, Jesus, this is between me and Morry.
Mama Aguilar, Mrs.
Hernandez, how are you? Hi, kids.
Come on.
How many investors actually showed up? All of them.
And if I hadn't been there, you'd have been stripped of Jesus and on your way to jail.
Hey, wait, Jim, I didn't do anything illegal, honest.
Morry, I'd be interested to hear how selling almost 200% of anything isn't illegal.
Well, for openers, no investor's allowed to own a piece of a fighter.
What they own is a piece of the manager's piece.
Already I don't like it.
You see, a manager's allowed to only own some of which he usually sells off to get things rolling.
In my case, I sold 50% of my piece, which became 100%.
You got in then.
And then when I couldn't get decent purses for the kid, we went broke, so I had to sell my other 50%, which became another 100%.
Simple.
And all legal.
Legal? I hope you don't mind if I get a second opinion.
You own more of the kid than I do! I only got 5% of the second hundred left, which I promised to you if you clear me.
Gee, Morry, you may have to sell off another 100%.
And I'm sorry.
I'm sorry if you think I was trying to cheat somebody.
I mean, what I did, I did for a great cause.
I mean, a great cause.
Funny.
All my life, I wanted the right kid.
Now I got him, I can't seem to do a thing with him.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Hey.
What? We'd like to see Mr.
Hawthorne, please.
Oh, boy, when the locals and the feds team up, look out.
Mr.
Hawthorne? Yeah? Would you like to go downtown with us? What for this time? We just want to have a little chat in connection with a homicide investigation.
Who died? Tony Malavida.
We found him in the bay with a bullet in his back.
CAPLAN: Your implication in the murder of a material witness, a man who would most likely have testified against you, is going to make the morning papers.
This is long overdue.
"The California Boxing Commission regrets "Mr.
Hawthorne's involvement in this seamy affair "and considers it an embarrassment to boxing that will not be tolerated.
"He is to sell all interest in Jesus Hernandez within "If he doesn't, Hernandez, too, will be barred from every arena in the state.
"He is also hereby notified to appear "before a commission hearing at 10 a.
m.
This morning, "where his license will be permanently revoked "for the good of boxing.
" That about does it.
You believe this, Jim? MORRY: Twenty-nine years I been looking for the right kid.
Hard to find a good boy.
Most of them don't have the heart.
Twenty-nine years.
Not one year have I made a living at it.
Yeah.
I've loaded trucks, tended bar.
Right now, I got a job driving forklift weekends at a warehouse.
I've supported some good fighters in my day, Jim.
What happened to them? They weren't hungry enough.
You got to want it, Jim, It's a great sport, but a rotten business.
I love it, though, Jim.
There's nothing Nothing like working with a kid who's willing to go for it.
Well, you may be against the ropes, Morry, but you're not down and out, not yet.
You still got 48 hours.
Thank you, Jim.
Here you go, pal, the rest is for you.
Jim, I really wanna thank you for working my corner during that investors' meeting.
Oh, hey, thank you, Morry.
I'll see you in the morning, huh? After the hearing.
Okay.
All right.
Jesus.
Morry, hey, you okay? Oh, boy, nothing like ringing doorbells at 4:00 in the morning.
Okay.
Hey, now, come on, fellas, come on.
I know it looks like I was messing with your wheels You're making some very nice people very mad.
And this here is just a sample of what's going to happen to you if you don't get your nose out of the Morry Hawthorne thing.
Choo-Choo, give Mr.
Rockford here another small sample.
(EXCLAIMS) (EXCLAIMS) (TIRES SCREECHING) Lousy feds.
Come in here the other day and took everything.
Even my old.
32 I stashed away in the bottom drawer.
Now how am I gonna blow my brains out? Hey.
Hey, come on, Morry.
You heard.
You heard Caplan.
You heard the Commissioner.
"For the good of boxing.
" He must have said it ten times.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Come in.
Hello, Hawthorne.
Well, I figured you'd be dropping by.
Hi there, Jesus, good to see you again.
Hi, Miss White.
Well, I heard what took place at the hearing.
I know you've got till midnight tomorrow to sell your contract.
So I want to be the first to make an offer on Jesus.
You're a little late.
We've already had three offers.
Oh.
Not like mine, you haven't.
Your contract's in hock to investors to the tune of 50 grand.
I figure about the only way you're going to stay out of jail is to pay them 100 cents on the dollar.
Oh, yeah? Nobody's gonna pay 50 g's on a light heavyweight with only ten pro fights.
I will.
Right now.
What? Yesterday I heard you were trying to get him for 20 cents on the dollar.
Today, top buck? Yesterday there were too many people.
Today, it's just you and me.
I want to make the deal now, and if you're smart, so do you.
Give me the contract, Don.
Come on, Don.
Uh I don't know.
Face it, Jesus is a beautiful fighter.
I can give him everything you can't.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Oh.
Well, I hope I'm disturbing something because I'm very disturbed.
Perfect.
I might have known.
Hey, when did you walk into the right cross? That was last night.
The only name I got was Choo-Choo.
Does that sound familiar? (SCOFFS) I don't have any idea what you're talking about, but considering your MO, I'm surprised you're not used to it by now.
It seems I'm in someone's way.
I can believe that.
You sure as hell are always getting in mine.
What's she selling now? A great deal.
The kid and me haven't talked it over yet, but Yeah, well, don't.
You still got till tomorrow night.
The price can only go up.
Rockford, would you Yeah, he's right, he's right.
I need time to think.
I'II, uh I'll let you know tomorrow.
(SCOFFS) You know, Jesus, one week from tonight, you could be fighting a semi-main on TV.
If I were you, I'd talk to your manager.
Remember, he works for you.
I'm sorry, ma'am, but if it weren't for Morry, you wouldn't even be looking at me right now.
That's my main man.
I do what he says.
Suit yourself.
RUTH: I want to talk to you, Rockford.
(DOOR CLOSING) (CHUCKLING) See, it's very simple.
$5000 for your lousy little 2.
5641%, and then you just crawl back in the woodwork.
First muscle and then money.
What's next, huh? The same option Tony Malavida got? You know, your strange little ideas are starting to get in my way.
And I would like to dispel them so I can get on with my business.
Yeah, well, let me tell you how I got it figured, huh? Then you can dispel away, as long as you keep Choo-Choo out of it.
You see, I think you got in over your head because of one little mistake.
Sending Malavida to deliver the money was a nice touch, but you should've mailed it, that way you wouldn't have had to kill him to keep the lid on it.
(SCOFFS) Oh.
I'm willing to go to a lot of trouble to get Jesus, but not that much trouble.
It's a cheap, simple frame, a little snap of the fingers gets Malavida iced.
Doesn't seem like too much trouble to me.
I don't believe I'm hearing this.
You got to be crazy.
What are you talking about? Me, kill somebody? Oh, good old Right On Ruth, huh? Wouldn't harm a soul, just has fifteen lawyers to handle the customer lawsuits.
Now, I don't know you very well.
But I'm going to tell you where I'm coming from straight, fair enough? Gee, Ruth, you sound just like a used-car salesman.
I can't help it.
That's what I am.
My daddy raised me in a tarpaper shack on an eighteen-clunker lot in the San Fernando Valley.
Honest Marv Beetson.
Oh, yeah.
What a laugh.
He was always half bombed.
He couldn't sell dimes to a beggar.
He used to have me out there tap dancing on the sidewalk to get people in.
Honey, I was selling cars and making loan applications when I was sixteen.
When I was eighteen, he had a coronary demonstrating a used Edsel.
Left me everything.
Which was nothing.
Nothing but headaches.
But I dove in, I busted my buns and I worked from seven days a week, and that includes Christmas.
I got myself some hot pants and a cowboy hat and I kept right on dancing out on that sidewalk.
Pretty soon I needed an accountant.
That's right.
Enter Don White.
Anyway, within three years, I had my own acre in South Gate.
I mean, I had flags, I had searchlights.
Yeah, what happened? You and Don get to know too much on each other and had to get married? Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Now it's convenient.
He's a very capable comptroller.
Yeah, but you keep treating him like your accountant.
But I'm gonna tell you something, honey.
The used car business is a man's game, and I beat it.
You don't say.
Oh, but I do.
And I'll tell you something else.
If women woke up and stopped living their lives on hold 'cause of some man, this would be a whole new world, baby.
Because you guys are all trying to keep it a big secret.
See, it's really easy, and your game is to make it look hard.
Just exactly when did it start to get boring? About two years ago.
The only challenge left for me is to come up with new ideas for the commercials each week.
And I don't need to kill anybody.
I sure didn't have any hand in framing Hawthorne, if he was framed, and I do send lawyers around to beat people, not thugs.
Well, it all sounds very plausible since you can afford top dollar.
All right, you see? But if you're not responsible for Morry's predicament, who is? I mean, everything seems to point right to you.
Okay, that's it.
I've had it with you.
You can believe me, don't believe me, I don't care.
You just stay out of my way.
I'm declaring war.
That's right, folks.
War on every dealer in this city.
War on rip-offs and high prices.
I'm sending my troops into battle and only you can win.
All right, boys, attention! I want you to start at rock bottom, and go down from there.
I want you to get ruthless with prices.
I mean, slash them to the bone.
Your job is to move the cars, not waste the good folks' time.
And if they want the wheels, then you make the deals.
All right, Skip, the boys have their orders.
Now, it's up to you to see that they deliver.
Folks, you all know Skip LaForce, my sales manager.
And he's here to make the deal that you want.
Say a few words for our Spanish-speaking friends.
(SPEAKING SPANISH) That's the guy I saw talking to Tony Malavida.
I knew I'd seen that face someplace before.
(SPEAKING SPANISH) RUTH: Well, there you have it, folks, a parade of fine values.
No wonder you couldn't place him.
Who could look at men when Ruth is doing her thing? I've got a deal that is just right for you.
I knew it, Dennis, I knew it.
Knew what? I knew Ruth White was tied into this thing somehow.
I almost fell for that act of hers, too.
You can use my phone.
What for? To have them arrested.
We usually like a shred of evidence before we do something like that.
Besides, it's a fed case, and Homer Nelson thinks that Morry's their man.
No, it's out of my hands.
Oh, great.
At least you could run a make on this Skip LaForce for me.
Since I got to be doing it myself, I'd like to know who I'm dealing with.
WOMAN O VER PA: Nick Williams, line 2.
Nick Williams, line 2.
(KNOCKING ON DOOR) Come in.
I'm looking for Mr.
Skip LaForce.
You found him.
Yeah, my name is Rogers.
I'm answering your ad for dynamic salesmen.
Where'd you work last? Wheels City, Dallas.
Image is important here in the L.
A.
Area.
We don't let just anybody wear the coveted red blazer, you know.
Oh, well, now, come on, you have, uh, sold siding and books, even a little real estate till they lifted your license.
And then there was that consumer fraud beef back in '72.
That was just before you bankrupted that dealership in San Diego.
So let's can that "coveted red blazer" stuff and get down to business, huh, Skip, old buddy? What do you want? A job, like I said.
Yeah, that's quite some lady you're working for, huh? The guys around the coffee machine tell me she's got you all locked up.
Hey, does she know about your past? I don't believe it.
You're actually trying to blackmail me.
Don't waste your time.
Ruth wrote the book.
Now hit the road.
Oh, then she knows about the three years you did for embezzling that other dealership in Fort Lauderdale? Now, come on, Skip, old buddy, I'm I'm not trying to be difficult.
Where'd you get your information? (KNOCKING ON DOOR) Excuse me, Skipper, I don't mean to interrupt, but that station wagon is ready and Choo-Choo wants to run me over to pick it up, okay? Yeah, sure, get out of here.
That's him.
Hey, Chooch! That's Rockford.
Oh, you're a cute one.
The frame, the murders, she doesn't know anything about it, huh? What do you get out of framing Morry? Just trying to help a fine lady latch onto another amusement for her enjoyment.
Where's the pay-off? That's tonight, only you're not even going to make it to sunset.
I caught you breaking into my safe, thought you had a gun, had to kill you.
Now, that would be bad publicity, wouldn't it? I mean, considering your image and all.
Now, I think Hey, there's been a bad accident in there.
You better go check.
Where's Morry? Uh, he went to the gym to meet Mrs.
Beetson-White.
Why? All right, look, I don't have time to explain, but Morry's in deep trouble.
How long ago did he leave? About ten minutes ago.
Hey, Jim, Morry's had a few belts.
Relax.
(TIRES SCREECHING) I'd rather put him up for auction than sell him to you.
You're the one's been throwing all the low blows, lady, and I'd like to put you down for the count! Now, that would really solve all your problems? Yeah, yeah! For heaven's sake.
Come on, Hawthorne, wise up.
Wait a minute.
I'll tell you what.
If Rockford is right and you are innocent, I'll use my clout with the Boxing Commission.
I'll get your license reinstated.
What kind of deal is that? I got my license, you got Jesus.
So then you come to work for me as Jesus' trainer.
What? I'll pay you twenty thou a year, plus 10% of the piece.
We can take him to the title together.
But you always said I mismanaged him.
As a manager, you do stink, but you are one hell of a trainer.
Now, one look at Jesus and I knew that.
I know what you're saying, but I don't understand.
Jim was so sure that you were the one that set up the frame.
Yeah, well, it's supposed to look that way.
It's a frame within a frame.
I fell for it like I had weights in my pocket.
If you don't mind, I am trying to make a deal here.
She didn't frame me? No, no.
Let's get out of here.
We can call the cops.
SKIP: Hold it.
Stay where you are.
Skip? What is going on here? What are you doing with that? What's Stay put or you buy it now.
Don't push it, ace.
You're already working on strike three.
Tear it to bits, right there.
RUTH: What's going on? ROCKFORD: They're staging a murder.
You're gonna get set up, Ruth, just like Morry.
You were supposed to have come in here and, uh, tried to buy a piece of Jesus, but you end up dead.
Morry killed you for framing him.
What the hell can you possibly get out of this? A lot of pleasure shutting your big mouth, for one thing.
Chooch, keep them right there.
Hey, Jim, that's my.
32! I thought the feds had it.
No, no, no.
This whole thing was just a plot to kill Ruth.
Once you're dead and blamed, the case is closed.
Oh, yeah? How are you gonna explain me being dead, huh? What, I shot her and committed suicide? What do you wanna bet that's where good old Don White comes in? I don't believe that.
I don't believe that.
Don couldn't be part of this.
Yeah, good old "kick him in the butt, snap your fingers and he comes running" Don.
I pop you and we split the business.
We've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.
He fires at Don as he comes through the door.
Don had no choice.
He killed you in self-defense.
You do the killing and Don sticks around to testify.
You do have it figured, don't you, Rockford? Okay, Rolly, check the street.
Hey, hold it, there's a bunch of marines going by.
It'll be clear in a second.
LaForce, you're too much.
You think I just walked into this whole thing, huh? I called the cops.
They're going to be rolling in here any minute.
Come on, Rockford, you don't really think I don't watch the late show? Skip, Skip, please.
I mean, for God's sakes, please, I'm begging you, please.
SKIP: Aw, don't punk out on me, Ruth.
You're a liberated lady, so die like a man, huh? (RUTH SCREAMS) Freeze! (GUN FIRES) Skip, what took so long? Skip? Thank God it's over.
Yeah, Don, thank God it's over.
The Boxing Commission deeply regrets that it was used in the plot to disgrace a fine fight manager, Morry Hawthorne.
We have extended him our sincerest apologies by unanimously voting to reinstate his license.
As to the matter of the accounting discrepancy among the Hernandez investors, Mrs.
White has agreed to make full and fair restitution to all involved as a part of her purchase of Hernandez.
However, the original investors must all sell before the new agreement can be ratified.
Come on, now, wait a minute.
What if I don't want to sell? I don't think you've got much choice.
Otherwise, Morry could be liable for criminal charges and Jesus might be sold on an auction block, in which case you'd get nothing.
Don't worry, Jim, I ain't forgotten what you did for the kid and me.
And I got it all worked out so you get a full 5%.
Of what? Of my 10% of Jesus.
You mean your 10% of Ruth's Hey, Jim, did I tell you? Mama Aguilar gets to stay in this country, huh? Don't change the subject, Morry.
Don't worry, Jim, it's gonna work out.
But first, I got to get my boy ready for Bobo Rydell on TV.
Come on, Jesus.
Hey, Jesus, what do you say, hot shot? How's next month sound? You mean that? Uh-huh.
Boy, that's just what I've been waiting for.
Folks, you're looking at the next light heavyweight champ of the world! I told you to get the thing fixed.
Jim? Yeah? Jim, listen.
I know you didn't get the best deal out of this, but I'll tell you what.
If money's your problem, I think I may have a solution.
First, I want to thank you for saving my life.
And I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to express my gratitude.
Yeah, well And I finally did.
You don't really have to do anything, I mean Oh, yes, I do.
As you may know, I'm always on the lookout for a good man.
Yeah, I've heard it said.
And now that I'm going to be devoting full attention to the fight business, the dealer management job is wide open.
I bet you'd look terrific in a red blazer.
Not a chance.
Baby, come on, think of it.
You know, you could do the Spanish-speaking commercial.
You'd become a celebrity.
Yeah, I'm sorry, but I don't tap dance.
At least have dinner with me, huh? We could go to my place.
Well, I'm sorry, Ruth, but I'm, uh I'm a little old-fashioned, you know, I I like to open the doors and light the cigarettes and make the passes.
Oh, you're right.
I'm sorry.
There I go again.
I'm sorry, really.
Oh, that's okay.
We'll go to your place.