The Wild Wild West (1965–1969): Season 3, Episode 9 - The Night of the Circus of Death - full transcript

When masterfully forged bills appear in circulation in several Western towns, West and Gordon must catch the forgers to prevent the collapse of the U.S. economy from a flood of nearly perfect counterfeit bills. The trail leads to an emporium and a dead circus performer with a suitcase full of counterfeit bills, and to Harry Holmes, a master forger supposed dead eight years.

( upbeat western theme playing)

Ma'am, would you
excuse me, please?

Thank you.

May I help you?

Why, yes, you may.

This $20 bill was
deposited by your store

at the bank this morning.

Do you remember
who gave it to you?

May I ask your name, sir?

James West.

Oh, that's perfect.

You do believe in dynamic
numerology, don't you?

Um, I'm afraid I don't
even know what it is.

Oh, well, you see, your
name has nine letters,

which is odd, and my
name has 17 letters.

Oh, it's Priscilla Goodbody,

which is odd...

Oh, I...

I mean the letters.

Well, now you see,

if you divide your name
into my name, you get one.

Carry the eight, which is even,

from which you subtract
the month of the year,

which is five, and
that leaves you three,

which is a terribly lucky
number, don't you see?


To think all these
years I didn't know this.

The $20 bill...

Do you remember
who gave it to you?

Huh? Oh, yes, of course I do.

We don't get many $20 bills.

It was Mr. Bronzini.

Do you know
where I can find him?

Well, I think he stays
at the Clark House,

where all the
traveling men stop.

He's a salesman?

I guess so.

About two or three times a month

Mrs. Moore has me
send him special orders

when he's out of town.

Aside from the
fact that Mrs. Moore

has five letters in
her name, who is she?

She's manager and owner.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

You know, you've
changed my whole life

through dynamic numerology.

Thank you very much.


(whimsical theme playing)

Mr. Bronzini?


( dramatic theme playing)

The case.

The case.

There's a fire in
there! Get some water.

( dramatic theme playing)

( upbeat western theme playing)

( dramatic theme playing)

Gentlemen, as
director of this mint,

I think I can speak
with authority

when I say that
this country is faced

with a catastrophic
situation. Catastrophic!

Mr. Farnsworth,
my chief assistant.

Mr. West, Mr. Gordon,

working out of secret service.

How do you do? Mr. Farnsworth.


Read those figures, Bert.

The range and scope
of the Rembrandt file.

Oh, I might mention, gentlemen,

that the "Rembrandt"
file is the code name

we've assigned the
counterfeit product.


Go ahead, Bert.

"Cheyenne, only $5 bills passed.

"Sioux Falls only tens,

Tucson only twenties,
and in Houston only fifties."

Now, since three weeks ago
when the operation started,

there's never been a week when
more than $100 worth of product

has been passed in a given city.

What do you make of
that, gentlemen? Hm? Hm?

Sounds like a lot of
out-of-town dress rehearsals.

Exactly. Exactly.

You've got a hunch
that opening night

could turn out to be
quite a bit moneymaker.

Gentlemen, I know I shouldn't
get so emotional about this,

but my job is to
oversee the production

of a unique product,

which we turn out
with such finesse,

artistry, attention to detail,

that no competing product

has ever even come
close to matching.

Until Rembrandt, that is.

This stuff is giving you

that much of a run
for your money, huh?

At any other time, I'd
appreciate that, Mr. Gordon.

Not now.

You see, this country has
never been put to the task

of seeing whether it
can survive the infiltration

of millions and millions
of dollars on its economy.

Millions of dollars
that even an expert

would have trouble
spotting as counterfeit.

You know, it would help us

if we could borrow
some of those for a while.

Take them all.

thank you, Mr. Lennox.

Tell me, with regard to
the brilliant competition

you've got in this matter,

do you have any idea

who the guiding genius might be?

WOMAN: Abby.


You forgot to take
your pill again.

Mary, may I present
Mr. West, Mr. Gordon.

My wife Mary.

Hello, gentlemen. How do you do?

Hello, Bert. How
nice to see you again.

I can always tell when
my husband forgets

to take his pill...

He starts pounding the
tables, even at home.

Oh, dear, I'm interrupting

one of your
high-level discussions.

No, not really, dear.

Mr. West and Mr. Gordon
were just leaving.

That's quite right, Mrs. Lennox.

Are there any last comments

you'd like to make
on the case, sir?

I'm afraid that's
the crop, gentlemen.

Good day. Good day.

Good day to you, sir.

Artie, why don't we
go to the horse's mouth

for the information we need?

You know, that's exactly
what I was gonna suggest.


A symphony of inspired intaglio.

The engraving, the
printing, the registering.

All worthy of Rembrandt himself.

I didn't know that Rembrandt
went in for forgery, doc.

The one I'm talking about did.

The towering
genius of counterfeits.

He taught me everything
I know about this craft.

The old master
himself: Harry Holmes.

And, uh, this is a
genuine Harry Holmes?

Well, it couldn't
be anything else.

Notice the unique
delicacy of line,

the subtle coloring of the ink,

the masterful imprinting
of the watermark.

One last question, doc.

Where would Harry
Holmes be operating now?

Ah, where, indeed.

Eight years ago, I
had the mournful job

as serving as pallbearer

when we laid his poor,
tormented soul to rest.

Dead, huh?

You wouldn't be kidding
us, would you, doc?

Why, Mr. Gordon,

would I kid the two
gentlemen who sent me up?

( dramatic theme playing)

You know, Artie,

Dr. Keyno's never
lied to us before.

I know. All the same,

I'm checking Washington
on Harry Holmes' funeral.


Artie, you don't, uh...
You don't suppose

that the old man took those
engravings with him, do you?


Wouldn't that be an
interesting thought?

You better have a long
chat with Washington

because if someone
got ahold of those plates,

someone that knew
how to use them...


Artie, I'm starved. What
do you say we have lunch?

That's a great idea.

There's an aged sirloin
and a marvelous bottle

of Chateau Rothschild in there.

No, why don't we go
out for lunch today?

I know a place that
serves memorable food.

Your treat?

(chuckling): Yeah, my treat.

( Stephen Foster's
"Beautiful Dreamer" playing)


next time you
invite me to lunch,

remind me to
eat first, will you?

Artie, you're a snob.

You've got to think
that a hot dog is a...

A portable steak.

It's all in your mind.

Yeah, well, this one's
in the pit of my stomach.

To stay.

Artie, we know that Bronzini

was a part of this circus.

Yeah, but we don't know that
Flame-o, his murderer, was...

Uh, excuse me.

Could you tell us where we
could find Colonel Housley, please?

Red trailer over there.

Oh, thank you.

MAN: Just let me catch
you bums fighting once more,

and I'll bounce you both
so fast your ears will flap.

Now get outta here!

Since we open in two weeks,

publicity for Salt Lake City
should start no later than...

March outta here.

I ain't auditioning
any acts today.

I think you need a wire walker.

I got one.

You had one. He's dead.

That's all I can tell
you about Bronzini.

As I said, he was a loner,

kept pretty much to himself.

Did he get much mail
when he was on the road?

No, only packages as I recall.

Hey, de did give
you a present once.

Wasn't it something to wear?

A petticoat.

Oh, but don't get
the wrong idea.

He used to hand
them out to all the girls.

Oh, fast man with
the dainty things, huh?

I'll say.

I bet he gave one to
every girl in the circus.

Well, maybe with
the exception of Lola.

Why not Lola?

WOMAN: someone paging me?

Strange, isn't it?

That circus played Sioux Falls,

Cheyenne, Tucson and Houston.

The play dates in each case

coincide exactly
with the appearance

of counterfeit money
in those towns.

And in each of those
towns, we know that Bronzini

gets a package from
Moore's Emporium.

Right. Now, that accounts
for the little presents

that he gave to all the girls,

but brings up another
very big question.

I mean, if all he was doing
is giving them little gifts,

why have it shipped
all the way from Denver?

I mean, why not pick up
his presents on the road?

Suppose there was something more

than ladies lingerie
in those packages.

You mean like counterfeit money.

Yeah. Neatly wrapped
in ladies lingerie.

That'd make a very nice tie-up

between Bronzini and
Moore's emporium, all right.

You think that's where the
bogus money's being printed?

I think that's
worth looking into.

You've been there
already, haven't you?

I think it's my turn now.

I'll go back to the circus,

see if Bronzini left
anything behind.


Oh, uh, Jim. Mm-hm?

What was the name of that woman

that took care of
you at the emporium?

You know, the one
with all those numbers?

Oh, yeah, it's
Priscilla Goodbody.

But don't bother, Artie.

I've already got you
beat by two letters.

Not this gentleman, you don't.



(cat growls)

( suspenseful theme playing)

(window breaks)

( dramatic theme playing)


( dramatic theme playing)


When did Colonel
Housley hire you?

He didn't.

He didn't? You'll be killed.

Here, use this.


Just crack the whip
in front of his face,

but don't hit him.

Are you all right?

Yeah, I'm all right.
Thank you, um...

Erika. Erika.

I ought to have you arrested.

You had no business being
in here in the first place.

And if it was up to me,

I'd have Colonel
Housley throw you in jail.

Wait a minute, you are hurt.

I'll go get something for that.

( upbeat western theme playing)

Here you are, Mrs. Folsom.

Oh, and here's your change.

Oh, dear, it isn't as
easy as it used to be.

Thank you, and do come again.

Yes, sir?

Oh, hello.

How nice to see you again.

I... Oh, no.

There was another

very attractive young
lady that took care of me

the last time I was here.

I think you must be
referring to Miss Goodbody,

who only waits on
customers during the day.


I'm Mrs. Moore.

Perhaps I can help you.

Well, what a charming prospect.

Well, as a matter of fact,

I'm so fortunate that
you're open this evening.

I was looking for
something in petticoats.

For my wife, of course.

Oh. Oh, well, in that event,

may I suggest, um...

Oh, uh, this full-fashioned
batiste, you see,

with the white eyelet
here, the ruffles?

Oh, my, isn't that marvelous?

Oh, she'll adore that.

And now, what is she, 12, 14?

Mrs. Moore, my wife
is a fully mature woman.

Oh, I was referring to
her size, not her age.

(both laugh)

Oh, of course. Her size.

Oh, how foolish of
me. There I was...

Well, now, let's see.

I would say that
she's about, uh...

Oh, roughly about, uh...


Mrs. Moore,

if I may be permitted,

purely in the
interest of accuracy.



Oh, yes.

Oh, I would say that your waist

is exactly the same
size as my Charlotte's.


Well, really, in that event,

your wife is a perfect 42.

Yes. Fine.

Oh, dear.

Oh, my.

Oh, dear.

Ah. There you are.

Oh, thank you.


Now, this won't take a
moment, Mr. Uh, uh...

Gentry. Oh.

Emerson P. Gentry,
after the poet.


Oh, here we are.

Your change, Mr. Gentry.

( dramatic theme playing)

(key jingling)

Um, that's perfectly all right.

Why don't you just,
uh, keep the change?

Are you feeling all right now?

Was I lucky it
was only a scratch.

Of all the unbelievable
things to do,

Wandering into a lion's den.

I didn't wander
into a lion's den

any more than Daniel did his.

I had help.

But why? Who could
have done a thing like that?

Maybe the same circus types

that murdered Bronzini.

I didn't know that.

You're a policeman?

Yeah, sort of.

How well did you know Bronzini?

I despised him.

He had a waxed moustache,

and eyes like a pair
of shiny new marbles,

and a lifelong love
affair with himself.

Well, there was
at least one woman

that didn't despise him.

Can you recall ever
seeing him more than once

with the same woman?

Now that you mention it, yes.

Well, can you describe her?


now that I think about it,

she was always
sitting in the shadows.

Or her back was always turned.

Almost as if she
didn't want to be seen?


But I remember she had a
habit of playing with her earring

as she talked with Bronzini.

Playing with her earring?

You know, like so.
Sort of a nervous habit.

Anything else?

No, no. Thank you.

Come to think of
it, you saved my life.

Forget it.

Well, nevertheless,

it's always good
manners to say...

thank you.

Don't mention it.

MRS. MOORE: Let's try
it once more, Mr. Gentry...

Or whatever your name really is.

Where did you get this $20 bill?

My dear Mrs. Moore,
I have already told you

I got it in Wichita from a
tobacconist named Thwing,

I believe, Lionel J. Thwing.

Tsk, tsk. That's not the
right answer, I'm afraid.

Well, how could
you possibly know?

Because this is funny
money, Mr. Gentry.

I know because we make it

in our own funny
factory, you see?

And I also know
that none of the bills

have been passed east of Denver.

So that makes you
a liar, doesn't it?

All right, boys, he's all yours.

No, hold it.

No, y-y-you're right.

I, uh... I-I-I didn't
get it in Wichita.

I, uh... I got it right
here in Denver.


Well, there's this...
character I know

named Bronzini.

I spotted it in his hotel room.

He had a bundle of 'em.

Go on.

Well, I...

I just liberated a
few of the twenties

while he wasn't looking.

That's the truth.


You know, I'm
inclined to believe you.

Mr. Gentry, do you have any idea

what the rest of
those bills were doing

in Mr. Bronzini's
room to begin with?

Well, uh...

I mean, just a
shot in the dark...

I'd say he was one
of your passers, right?

Quite so. Only,
Bronzini was greedy.

He kept a few of those bills.

And if that wasn't enough, why,
he forgot which bill was which

and he spent one of
the twenties in my shop.

And a silly salesgirl
took it to the bank

with the rest of
the day's receipts.

Now, that was
definitely a mistake.


a fatal mistake?

Well, naturally, we
had to discipline him.

Mr. Gentry,

now, where are the rest of
those twenties you liberated

from Mr. Bronzini?

Oh, I-I-I got 'em
right here in my bag.

I'll get 'em for you. I
got 'em right here... Aah!

Mr. Gentry,

don't ever try to teach your
grandmother how to suck eggs.

I'll get them out
of the bag for you.

Put it on the counter, boys.

I was only trying to help.



Kill him! Kill him!

( dramatic theme playing)

( dramatic theme playing)


(all coughing)

Well, at least we're
certain of two things.

Moore's Emporium
was a clearing-house

for that counterfeit ring,
and Bronzini was their passer.

He just got a little
greedy, that's all.

How long before you got
back with the police, Artie?

No more than ten minutes.

In that time someone
had cut them loose

and they'd all skipped.

I went over that place
from attic to basement.

There's no sign at all of
any printing equipment.

And here we are
with a key for Bronzini

from some lady unknown.

To open a door...
equally unknown.

(chuckling): I tell you, I can
guarantee you one thing...

This doesn't open any of
the doors at the emporium.

Well, I couldn't find
anything that it fit at the circus.

You know, we're doing fine.

So far we've done nothing
but wind up in dead ends.

Yeah, but, Artie,
look at the bright side.

We've got someone
terribly worried,

because someone tried
to kill me at the circus.

Yeah, that's a comfort.

Chances are they'll
try to do it again too.

I just wish I knew how
long it'll be before they do.

At least we know they're
on their way to Denver,

So it won't be too much longer.

That's exactly
what I was thinking.

Look, is there any chance

that the circus might be
where that printing press is?

No. No, there's no place
to hide it and besides,

there are too many people
around there for comfort.

I think, Artie, that that
printing press has got to be

someplace near that dress shop.

(bell rings)

Yeah, we know it's
somewhere in the city,

but where exactly?

Hello, Arabella.

How was the trip,
dear girl? Huh?

Hawked any hawks on
the way, did you? Huh?


There you are. Take
your rest, dear girl.

This should be it.

"Dr. Anstruther,
Baltimore physician,

present when Harry Holmes
died. Death certificate authentic."

No doubt about it,
Harry Holmes is dead.

"Holmes' daughter was
with him in the last hours.

"The daughter faded
out of sight afterward,

but is now believed to be
living somewhere out West."

Artie, I'd like to know
more about that daughter.

Yeah, so would I.

Why don't I wire for
a rundown on her?

You know, Artie, the paper
the counterfeiters are using

is so much like the real thing,

for all practical purposes,
it is the real thing.

I wonder where they...

Hey, that's wild.

But there's a zany
kind of logic about that

that appeals to me.

Why not? If you were in
the bogus money business,

where else could you
get an unlimited supply

of the right kind of paper?

The mint involved in
this counterfeit plot?

Gentlemen, that accusation
borders on criminal libel.

No one's making any accusation.

We just want to
know if it's possible

if anyone could be stealing
quantities of paper and ink.

I'm afraid not.

Farnsworth keeps
scrupulous records

of every foot of paper
and drop of ink used.

Fine. May we talk
with him, please?

I'm sorry, gentlemen.
He's in the other wing

where the money
is printed and stored.

That is a high-security area.

Too high for the United
States Secret Service?

Gentlemen, I'd be
delighted to take you to him.

I didn't see very many
guards back there.

There's little to guard in
that part of the building.

I see.

This is the entrance
to the security area.


Mr. Farnsworth,
good to see you again.

I understand that
you keep the records

on the paper and ink used here.

Is that right? Quite right.

Is there any other
check on the records?

Oh, yes. Mr. Lennox checks them.

What about
leftovers, Mr. Lennox?

I mean, ends of sheets
that haven't been printed on.

They're burned in this
building in a special incinerator

under the supervision
of Mr. Farnsworth.

Anything else?

Nor for the moment,
no. Thank you.

Thank you, Bert.

( dramatic theme playing)

Mr. Lennox, I'd like
to thank you very much

for your cooperation.

Not at all.

And where's Mr. Gordon?

He went on ahead.

Well, add this to
whatever neat little record

you and Mr. Gordon
are assembling:

I bitterly resent the
imputations you've made

about my department. Good day.

Good day.

( dramatic theme playing)

( dramatic theme playing)


( dramatic theme playing)

( suspenseful theme playing)

( dramatic theme playing)

What in the devil are
you doing in my office?

I said what in the devil
are you doing in my office?

Oh, no, no. It's
not my office at all.

It belongs to one of the
government big shots.

You can always tell
when you're in the office

of one of the big
government muckamucks

because... Neat
as a pin, you know...

Because they don't...
They don't do enough work

to mess it up. You know?

I've never seen
you in here before.

How's that?

I said I have not seen
you in my office before!

Well, that's because I've
never been in here before.

I just started working tonight.

A fella named, uh, Barnsworth...

Was it Tarnsworthy?


I think it was Tarnsworthy.

(louder) Farnsworth?

Yeah, that's the name.

Told me to report here
for night cleaning duty.

Well, I have a
lot of work to do,

so take your stuff and
clean up elsewhere.

You said it.

Well, I'm sorry, sir, but
that's all I can do here.

I've got to go
clean up elsewhere.

( dramatic theme playing)


( suspenseful theme playing)



Yes, sir, Mr. Lennox.

Why was that door left open?

I don't know, sir.

I don't like it.

I don't like it.

Search this room. Search it.

If you find anyone, shoot him.

( dramatic theme playing)

there's nothing here.
We better lock up.




I know it's not polite to count,

but that's about $20
you've burned, hmm?

I've burned 30.

If they were real, I'd
feel just awful about it.


Now then.

Take a look at that, Jim.

Now, the ash on
the left was taken

from the incinerator
at the mint.

The one on the right is
one of the counterfeit bills.

They're the same. Right.

The question is who is
snitching government property?

It's an interesting
question, Artie.

The answer will probably
even be more interesting.

( dramatic theme playing)

Artie, you cover the back door.


Look at this. Tell
me what you think.

It's beautiful.


I'd hate to have to tell

which one is real
and which one isn't.

Ho, ho ho.

That'd be a chore, all right.


Oh, but it would
never come to that.

Wouldn't it? Why not?

Why, Mary wouldn't
allow it, of course.

"It's all right for you to play
at your engravings, Harry,"

says she, "but it must be
only playing from now on."

You're Harry Holmes
and your daughter Mary...

Is the devoted
wife of the director

of the Denver mint, of course.

Ah. Leave the gun
on the table, Mr. West.

Clever of you to have
drawn us to earth, Mr. West.

Unfortunately, that
will be the death of you.

You've done some clever
things too, Mrs. Lennox.

Like getting the
eminent Dr. Anstruther

to sign your father's
death certificate.

Actually, that was quite simple.

I borrowed a dying old
man, a tramp I found,

and since the doctor
didn't know father,

it worked like a charm.


He's become simple with age,

but his incredible hands
are as sure as ever.

I'm sure you've found
that very convenient too.

Enough of this, Mary.

Let's wrap up Mr. West.

Not down here. Something
like that would upset father.

Very impressive,
very neat, shipshape.

What does your husband
think about all this?

Abner suffers from a
constitutional ailment:

he's a ridiculous fool.

And naturally one
withholds things from a fool.


The less he knows, the better.

Up those stairs, Mr. West,

the sight of your blood

might upset some of these men.

(men laughing)

Nice going, Artie.

Thought you were gonna
look for the back door.

I found it. It's
kind of interesting.

Have a look for yourself.

( dramatic theme playing)

Stay right where
you are, gentlemen.


Your townhouse
adjoining your workshop.

Now, what's all this about?

I think you'd better sit down
before I tell you, Mr. Lennox.


Mrs. Moore and the whole
gang from the emporium

were apprehended in Tucson.

They're being
brought back for trial.

Now let's drink
to a happy ending.

I'll drink to
pleasant beginnings.

I didn't know
Mr. Bronzini real well,

but it's still hard to believe
he was part of that gang.

He seemed so nice.

Which only goes to prove
you can't tell by looking.

Erika for instance.

Would you believe
she's a lion tamer?

Well, you should, for one.

Besides, it's
not that difficult.

You did quite well.

Well, that was
just beginner's luck.

Well, I think that with a
few private instructions,

you could be quite a
good lion tamer yourself.

You know, I always
wanted to be a lion tamer.

(both laugh)

Will you be going
back to Washington

now that you've solved the case?

Oh, no, we're going to be
around for at least a week,

Until the trial.

Well, now, isn't that nice?

I'm sure it'll be most pleasant.

And to start it off,

Why don't we have a big
evening on the town, all of us?

WEST: Artie.


Unless you want to be in
Denver for more than a week,

I wouldn't spend that money.


That's Harry Holmes' money.


how about some scrambled eggs

and champagne right here?

I'd love that. That's marvelous.


( upbeat western theme playing)

( upbeat western theme playing)