Ace Crawford... Private Eye (1983): Season 1, Episode 3 - Inch in a Pinch - full transcript

(dramatic jazz music)


(lively jazz music)


(sinister music)

- What I don't understand is why I gotta take

a treadmill test in the middle of the night, Doctor Sears.

- No one at Restful Hills is more concerned about your rest

than we are, Colonel Penderhurst.

- Ohhh...

- [Dr Sears] Now if you would be so kind

as to step onto the treadmill.

- [Colonel] I don't wanna get on that contraption!

- [Orderly] C'mon, get up there.

- [Dr Sears] Yes you will.

- [Colonel] You can't treat me like this!

- [Dr Sears] I want to thank you in advance

for remembering os so generously in your will.

- [Colonel] My will?

But I'm not dead yet.

- [Dr Sears] Hold the thought.

(audience laughing)

(smooth jazz music)

- [Toomey Voiceover] That's him, Ace Crawford.

I'm his sidekick, Toomey.

We live for danger, like now.

- All right, stick'em up!

- I beg your pardon.

I think you got the wrong guy.

Nobody sticks up Ace Crawford.

- Ace Crawford?

The private eye? You're kidding!

I didn't realize.

- It's an honest mistake.

- Hey, Ace, can I have your autograph...for my kid?

- I guess so.

(audience laughing)

What's his name?

- Oh, you can make it out to, eh,

Little Jimmy, with all my best, Ace Crawford.

- Excuse me, I right my own messages, okay?

(audience laughing)

(fog horn sounds)

Here you are.

- Thanks.

- [Toomey Voiceover] Ever see anybody

handle himself any better?

(door slams)

- Hey, bring me a little something.

- Right.

(singing off key)

- ♪ Won't be a stylish marriage ♪

♪ He can't afford a carriage

♪ But you'll look sweet upon the seat ♪

♪ Of a bicycle built for two

- Hello, Ace.

(singer sobbing)

- I'm glad you're here, Ace.

Luana's got troubles.

- Hey, you're not kidding me.

That's a lousy arrangement.

(audience laughing)


Little light for Chablis, isn't it?

What's the date on the bottle?

- Tuesday.

And it's gin.

(audience laughing)

Listen, you gotta help her, Ace.

She's been crying all night.

- Yeah? Isn't that like a woman?

You know something,

when it comes to troubles in life,

women are like a hummingbird.

You know why?

They can't communicate.

(audience laughing)

That's the problem.

Now you take guys,

they have a way of talking with each other.

Guys, you get them get together and let them...

(audience laughing) out their problems.

(audience laughing)


- ♪ Of a bicycle built for two

(audience laughing)

(scattered applause)

- Hello

- (sobbing) It's so wonderful to see you.

- Yeah, I can see you're overjoyed.

- Yeah, but I'm so upset I can't sleep,

I can't eat, because...

- I know, I know,

because you think there's something

between me and the Palombo sisters, right?

I want to tell you something,

this over, done, finito, gone.

- I didn't know about you and the Palombo sisters.

(audience laughing)

- You didn't?

Then there's no sense discussing it, is there?

(audience laughing)

Here, here, you just wipe those eyes, okay.

That's better now, isn't it?


(audience laughing)

So, now what's causing those old eyes to leak?

- You know the old man that died today at Restful Hills,

he's a resident of the same nursing home

as my grandmother lives in.

And she's afraid she's going to be next.

- Maybe she's right.

I'm mean, look, you Granny probably realizes that

life is like a bus ride.

I mean, you get on at Young Whippersnapper Street

and get off at Old Dead Guy Boulevard.

(audience laughing)

- But it's not natural death she's worried about,

it's murder!

- Murder?

- Murder! Yes!

- Colonel Penderhurst was a the seventh resident to die

in the last three months,

even though the coroner...


(audience laughing)

(words drowned out by sobbing)

- I understand.

Look here, why don't you just let me look into this, okay?

You just dry those baby blues, all right?

- They're brown!

- What?

- My eyes.

- You know, you're right.

Don't worry, I'll take care of your granny for you.

[Toomey Voiceover] Ace's car was in the shop again

so was his loaner

and I couldn't help him out, I had car pool.

But being the pro he is,

he very cleverly hitched himself a ride to the nursing home.

(chickens clucking)

(audience laughing)

- Thanks!

- Family members always have access to our residents,

I just never realized Gretchen Cronenberg

had a grandson your age.

- Aha, well, she's kinda tight-lipped.

She got that way from dealing blackjack

at a Teamsters' supper club.

- Since this is your first visit,

I think I should caution you, Mister...?

- Ahhh...Cronenbarg.

(audience laughing)

- Cronenberg, yes.

Well, frankly, people your grandmother's age

often develop unreasoning fears and fanciful imaginations.

I hope you will be kind enough to humor her,

should she say outrageous things.

It's one of the problems of advancing years.

Have a lovely visit!

- Thank you.


- Don't come any closer!

I heard you talking to Doctor Sears,

and I don't have a grandson.

- I'm Ace Crawford.

I'm here to help you.

Luana sent me.

- Luana's a good girl,

but the deaths that have happened in this home

weren't accidents.

- That's a pretty stiff statement to make without proof.

- Proof you say!

I'll show you proof.

(audience laughing)

Doctor Sears said my friends all died naturally,

but I know they were murdered.

He can call me a crazy old lady any time he likes,

as many times as he likes,

but my friends would still be alive...

- [Ace] Okay, okay...

(door slams)

- Did you enjoy your visit Mister...?

- Err...Cronenberg.

Right, yes, yes.

Well, as you could hear,

Granny's not too happy with the meatloaf,

but, as you say...

- Flights of fancy,

a bit of tarnish on the golden years.

- Tarnish, yes.

(audience laughing)

(muffled protests)

- Magic is Mister Fullersby's hobby.

(audience laughing)

My man, Eugene, is only too happy to help him

practice his Great Escape routine.

Perhaps I should show you around before you leave.

Our music salon has just been papered in a smart ivy pattern

- Ivy?

Wallpaper never did that much for me.

So, err...

I would like to see your therapy room, here.

- Therapy room?

- Therapy room,

like it says here on the door, therapy.

- I'm afraid the therapy room is closed for repairs just now

and the contractor has the only set of keys.

- Didn't I just see...

- No you didn't.

Are you sure you wouldn't like to see our new wallpaper?

- Wallpaper...the,

I'm going to press on.

I think I'll go home and burn these shoes.

- Good idea.

(audience laughing)

- What's up, Doc?

I don't like that look on your face.

- Eugene, we have just been paid a visit by Ace Crawford.

- The private eye?

- He was pretending to be Gretchen Cronenberg's grandson.

Wanted to see the therapy room.

- Hey, if that old bat talked...

- Eugene,

a patient's imagination will never stand up in court.

However, should her grandson decide to pay us a visit again,

perhaps to gather evidence...

(bones cracking)

- I'll make him feel at home, Doc.

- Easy, Eugene.

(audience laughing)

- You'll get your chance.


[Toomey Voiceover] Ace had asked me to get him

old clothes and a wig.


I couldn't wait to see his disguise.

Ace, you in here?

Oh, excuse me, I was expecting to meet someone...

- Toomey,

- Ace,

I would have never recognized you!

- Really?

That's the idea, Toomey.

(audience laughing)

- You look fantastic.

- Where did you get these clothes?

- I bought them off a wino.

- Now listen, you got the set-up straight?

- Yes, you're disguised as my aging father

and I'm your heartless son.

I've already called Restful Hills and made

an appointment to get you in there.

Soon as we go in,

sign the papers and just drop you off.

Another pitiful patient just dumped

by his heartless and ungrateful relative.

- That right?

Toomey, will you quit banging on me.

You're going to wake up the lice.

- I'm sorry.

- Now listen, I want you to stick close on this one.

These guys are knocking off people left and right out there.

- But Ace,

I don't think I'll be able to hang around that long,

you see, I'm in a father and daughter play at school.

It's kind of a pageant.

- Pageant?

- Yeah, you see my daughter is dressed as a pumpkin

and there's this big scene where she

attacks this watermelon,

and I'm the watermelon.

I've got to go for a fitting, it's em...

- Toomey, I'm laying my life on the line

and you can't be there because your kid's

going to be a pumpkin?

- She's the lead pumpkin!

- You're really going to help me,

or go play in Misses Wiggin's cabbage patch.

What's it going to be?

- Okay, okay, I'll help you, Ace.

- All right, and don't call me Ace!

You're going to give the whole thing away.

Matter of fact,

we ought to think of something for you to call me.

What do you call your old man?

- Daddy.

- Daddy. Shoulda known.

I'll tell you what, just Pops will be fine, all right?

- (shouting) Okay, Pops!

- Why are you yelling?

- (shouting) Because my father was hard of hearing.

(audience laughing)

- I'm a lucky guy.


- Ace, did I have a happy childhood?

- No, as a matter of fact, you didn't.

(door opens)

I put a turtle in your mother's bra

and blamed it on you, remember?

That's when she beat you with the curtain rod.

And also, your big crazy brother

took money out of his piggy bank

and told them you did it.

That's when he put your baseball cap in the blender.

I got him to do that.

Loved playing tricks on that kid.

- You know, you're a mean old man.

(loud smack)

(audience laughing)

- Nice talking to you.

- [Toomey Voiceover] Ace had timed everything perfectly

so that Doctor Sears wouldn't be there.

- Let me help you.

(audience laughing)

You're going to like it here.

- No, no I'm not.

I wanna go home!

I'm gonna hold my breath till I die!

- Pops is not handling this too well, is he?

- [Eugene] They never do.

- Will you stop it, Pops.

(audience laughing)

- Am I dead?

- Not yet.

I mean,

I promise your last years here will be pleasant ones.

By the way, how old is your Pops?

- 99 - 82

- What?

- 82 - 99

- It's in there somewhere.

- You can leave now, we'll take it from here.

- Okay.

(shouting) Pops, I'm leaving now.

Don't worry, they won't hurt you.

- What are you talking about?

- Oh, Pops was a little concerned with all the deaths

in the papers and everything,

but I don't take any of that seriously.

- You're doing good.

- We'll get a nurse to help your father to his room.

- Ace, you better be really careful,

did you see the look on that guy's face?

If they find out who you are, you're a dead duck.

- Don't worry about it.

Now look,

while I'm getting a look at that therapy room

there's something I want you to do.

- But Ace, I've got to pick up my daughter's pumpkin costume

- I'm dealing with killers, you gotta make a pumpkin run?

- I've also got to pick up my watermelon suit.

- Toomey...

(audience laughing)

- Okay, Ace, what do you want?

- I want you to check out Doctor Sears' bank records.

I'm making a bet that each time

one of his patients kicks the bucket here

that he's making a pretty large bank deposit.

(footsteps approaching)

- No, no, I don't want...

You can't leave me here.

Listen to me, I tooked you to your first baseball game

when I gave you your first bicycle.

You can't throw me away like an old sneaker!

Can't leave me here!

- All right, I can't do it!

(sobbing) You're coming home with me, Pops.


On second thought, you'll be better off here.

(shouting) Goodbye, Pops!

I'll take care of what you need.

See you after the play.

- Play?

(audience laughing)

Really like that kid.

[Toomey Voiceover] Later that evening, Ace went to work.


- Hi!

- [Nurse] Mister Toomey,

what are you doing out of your room after lights out?

- Is it night?

- Yes

- I thought it was, it was so dark out there.

Thought you might have had a power failure in the generator,

you know a lot of times you get a wheel in there,

had one in ought-nine...

- Go back to your room.

- Right, right.

Going back now.

I dunno where my room is.

When the lights went out and you...

- That way.

- That way...


- Goodnight.

- Goodnight.

(mumbling to self)

- Why aren't you in bed, Mister Toomey?

- I am.

Oh, I'm not!

Thought I was.

I was laying down.

Looking for the water cooler.

- If you want a drink of water,

go back to your room and ring for the night nurse.

- All right, what?

- Room...ring...nurse...water.

- a little boo-boo there,

(audience laughing)

- Return to your room, please!

- Right.

- Stop yelling.

- And don't disturb the other patients.

- That's an awful lot to remember.


(door rattles)

(footsteps approaching)

- Mister Toomey, what are you doing up there?

- The bedpan was cold.

You ever get one of those on a breezy night?

- Get down.

- All right.

- Get down.

- Am I still alive?

- Yes.

But you must return to your room, is that clear?

- Right.

I will, I will.

Lot of people yell around here.

- This way.

- I can get along, don't worry, I'm going.

- And hurry.

- Right.


(audience laughing)

(door rattling)

(audio-tape whirring loudly)

[Distant Voice] I don't want to go for a walk!

Let me be!

- [Doctor Sears Outside] Now just be calm, Misses Cronenberg

(audience laughing)

- [Patient] Help me, help me, somebody help me!

I don't want to die.

I gotta lot of life left in me yet.

- [Dr Sears] I found your visit from Ace Crawford

very disturbing, my dear.

If a detective of his abilities

should become too interested in my little establishment,

it could be disastrous,

and I have too sweet an operation to let that happen.

(audio-tape whirring)

A waltz should be nice, Eugene.

(ballroom music)

- You'll never get away with this.

Nobody will believe I dies a natural death.

- But that's the beauty of it, precious.

Your heart will stop in a perfectly natural way.

And you're forged insurance policies

will make a most welcome addition

to my bank account, as well.

Now, take a deep breath,

relax, and say goodbye.


(ballroom music grows louder)

(treadmill vibrating)

(door closes)

- You know something, you were right.

With the evidence you've given me

and what I've seen around here,

I think that this case is pretty much...

(running frantically)

Ahh, you had better get off that...

Eh, here...

That's locked.



(audience laughing)

(loud smashing)

(audience laughing)

- C'mon, here...whoa

- [Patient] What's happening?

- [Ace] Look out!

- Can't get away!

- It's no use Gretchen Cronenberg,

and Mister Toomey, or whomever you are.

You may as well come to me peacefully,

no one there can or will help you.

- No, no. You're not getting these people

back in that therapy room.

I'm here to see they get a fair shake.

- If you insist, then that's the way it shall be.

But in order to save lives,

I'm going to give you until 10 to think it over.



- All right, now look folks, there's more of us

than there are of him and his goons, right?

- He's right.

- But we can't beat him.

- Are you kidding?

He carried you through enemy lines

just like OJ Simpson in new shoes.

- All right, now look, if an old fudd like me can do it,

- Six

- Well, what do you say?

- Seven

- He's right.

Let's go for it!

- Eight


- Oh, they loved me in the play, Pops!


- Take that!


- That is fantastic, Ace!

Ace, do you like my watermelon suit?

I wanted to show it to you.


(singing in key)

♪ It won't be a stylish marriage ♪

♪ He can't afford a carriage

♪ But you'll look sweet

♪ Upon the seat

♪ Of a bicycle built for two

♪ But you'll look sweet

♪ Up upon the seat

♪ Of a bicycle built for two.


[Luana] Thank you, thank you very much.

- Hi. Luana - Hey

- I don't like to use the word genius, Ace, so I won't.

- But you could.

- But if you hadn't nabbed Sears

while he was trying to murder Granny Cronenberg,

we wouldn't have a case.

- I can understand that...we.

- How did you ever trap a man that clever?

- Oh, I could tell you the whole story,

Ace had this incredible idea

that if you were to dress up as this...

- Toomey, I don't think the lieutenant has time for that,

- Actually I really don't have time to go into it,

the wife is waiting for me.

- Hey, how about a toast to the world's greatest detective?

Ace Crawford.

- He is the greatest.

- Good idea.

- Oh, Ace, I admire you so much!

- Well, thank you, Lu.

- Oh it's not just your detective work.

- Ahh, right, well...

- I think you're a wonderful human being.

- Right, well...

- [Luana] I'd be good for you, Ace.

(audience laughing)

- Lu, I don't think this is the place.

- I could mother you.

And smother you.

(audience laughing)

- Well I think it is getting a little late,

maybe I'll press on.

- [Luana] I'd live for you, Ace.

- Right.

- I'd make you eggplant parmesan.

- Eggplant?

No, I'd better hit the road.

- To Ace Crawford, the world's greatest private eye!

(glasses shattering)

(slow saxophone)

- [Toomey Voiceover] Well, we'd solved another case together

Somehow the fact

that my accounting profession was suffering,

not to mention my marriage,

didn't seem to matter,

not as long as I could continue to work

with the man some people called the Peeping Tom of justice,

the man who sees two steps ahead of everyone else.

(loud splash)

(audience laughing)

Well, maybe one.

(audience laughing)

(lively jazz music)