Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 5, Episode 28 - Forty Detectives Later - full transcript

A private detective, William Tyre, is the 41st detective hired by Mr. Dean to find his wife's murderer. Only Dean now says he's found his wife's murderer, a bookstore owner named Otto, and all he wants is for Tyre to arrange for the two to meet. In reality, Dean wants Tyre to kill Otto, but Tyre declines and arranges only for the two to meet. Turns out there is a relationship between Otto and Dean, but it's not quite as expected.

Good evening.

If you've been wondering
where it all began...

Here it is.

In fact, here is where the
first flat tire was patched,

some 4,000 years ago.

Patching was more practical, since a spare
tire weighed several thousand pounds.

Of course, once the wheel was invented,
many things became possible.

Things which, before, had
been only dreams.

Things like the pancake,
the pizza and the doughnut.

Of course, it took a long time
for these things to catch on,

since for hundreds of years,
it was naturally assumed

that they had to be
made out of stone.

But now, I must interrupt this scholarly
discussion to bring you tonight's play.

It is called
"Forty Detectives Later".

There are a lot of private
detectives in this country.

And once there was a man who
seemed determined to hire 'em all.

From Rahway, New Jersey,
to Scranton, P.A.,

to the west side of
Chicago, he hired 'em.

And finally, he got
around to me.

I was number 41 on the list
and I wasn't flattered.

Mr. Tyre?

I'm Munro Dean. I called
you this morning.

Oh, sure, Mr. Dean, I remember.
Come on in.

Have a seat.

Seems to me I've heard your
name somewhere before.

You may have.

Were you ever with
the police, Mr. Tyre?

No, not exactly. But I've got a
lot of friends on the force.

It was something
about your wife, wasn't it?

Something about my wife, yeah.

Happened in October, 1948.
A man killed her.

He was a slim, dark man
with bushy black hair.

I came home from work one night and
saw him running out the back door.

My wife was in the
living room, dead.

The police never caught him.

Mm-hmm. But you're still
interested in finding this guy?


Yes, I'm still interested. I've been
looking for him ever since it happened and

you know that, Mr. Tyre.

All you people, all you detectives,
you know all about that.

You think I'm some
sort of a funny joke.

Now wait just a minute.

You think I don't know?

I've had forty detectives working for
me, and not one of them's helped me.

Some of them even
took advantage of me.

Now look, Mr. Dean, let's get
one thing straight, shall we?

Most of us guys are
in this business for money.

Only some of us take a
long-range view, Mr. Dean.

Some of us feel that an unhappy
client is a bad advertisement.

So I'm telling you right now.
I'm no smarter than the police.

And I'm no smarter than most of the
other guys you've already hired.

So here's your hat, Mr. Dean. I think you
better go out and hire detective number 42.

Because I don't think
I can find your man for you.

You won't have to.

I've found him for you.

You found him?

I've found him.

I did what forty
experts couldn't do.

All right, so you found him. Why don't
you go and tell the police about it?

Because it wouldn't
do any good.

The police lost interest in
the case a long time ago.

Besides, I can't really
prove he's the man.

For one thing, he's changed.

He's older. He's fatter.
He's lost some of his hair.

But he's the man.

What makes you so sure?

Because I am.

That face is
engraved right here.

It's funny, you know that? All
those years, all those detectives.

And by chance, I see
him in a book store.

It's possible.
Don't forget, Mr. Dean,

your description
of him was pretty vague.

Maybe you're the only one who
could have spotted this guy.

Now what kind of
book store was it?

It was one of those rundown shops
on the north side of town.

You know the kind of thing.
Books, postcards, old records.

He was working
behind the counter.

Maybe he even owns the place.

He didn't look very prosperous.

Mm-hmm. But you didn't
let him see you?

No. I don't want
it to happen that way.

I ducked out as
soon as I saw his face.

Now, that's why
I came to see you, Mr. Tyre.

I want you to act
as go-between.

I want you to set up a meeting.

What for?

What do you suppose?


Listen, pal, the last time I set
up a target was at Fort Dix.

I'm not interested
in that kind of assignment.

You don't understand.
I just want to talk to him.

Meet him face to face. I want
to be sure he's the right man.

Well, now, wait a minute.
Wait a minute, Mr. Dean.

I thought you said before
you were so positive.

Mr. Tyre.

We're just wasting valuable time. Do you
want to take this job, or don't you?

Well, I don't know.

It could be dangerous.
For you, I mean.

If he really is your wife's murderer
and he knows who you are...

I've thought about that.

There's no reason why he should know
until we're actually face to face.

Now. I'm at the Hotel
Bayshore on Smith Street.

I'm in Room 305, registered
under the name of Adams.

Harry Adams. All you have
to do is get him there.

Harry Adams?

Yes. You may want to use the name
when you first approach him.

It might make things easier.

But then, I don't have to teach you
your business, do I, Mr. Tyre?

All you detectives
are so clever.

Okay, Mr. Dean.

I don't like this kind of work,

but I've got a couple of good
reasons for taking the case.

Such as?

Food and shelter. Now, what was
the name of that book store?

It was just before noon when
I walked into the grimy joint

where my pigeon was roosting.

There was an inch of dust on
everything, including the customers.

I didn't have any trouble
spotting my man.

I tried to place him in my mental
rogue's gallery, but nothing clicked.

He was just a guy. I didn't
even know what kind of a guy.

Hard-boiled. Yeah, two eggs.

And a container of
black coffee.

Nah, I don't
want no Danish pastry.

Look, will
you please hurry it up?

Okay, Sol.

Listen, will you get it here in about
fifteen minutes, on account of I'm starved.

All right. Bye.

Now what was that, mister?

I said, since when do you
call these French postcards?

What's wrong with 'em?

They're the best shots
of Paris I ever saw.

What, are you kidding me, buddy?
I see better on the midway.

Flake off, will you, Mac?

Need some help, mister?

I dunno. I see you got some old
Paul Whiteman records here,

I was just wondering if
Bix was on any of 'em.

That's Bix Beiderbecke.

You don't have to tell me. I'm
an old Bix fan from way back.

Ain't many of us
around these days.

You're a collector too, huh?

Oh, sure. Only these old scratchy
records don't appeal to me no more.

I dig hi-fi, you know what I mean?

Yeah, I guess that's okay. But I dunno,
there's something about the old jazz...

Oh, I'm not putting down the old jazz.
Come here a minute.

You just give me some nice
Brubecks at about 20,000 cycles,

with all those tweeters and woofers going?
Man, you really got something.

Hey, if you're really
interested in the old labels,

I got a pretty good private
collection I'd be willing to dump.

For the right price.

Well, what have you got?

Man, you name it, I got it.

Let's see, I got a bunch of Fletcher
Hendersons on Vocalion, some old Louie's,

a big stack of Bluebirds.
We could make a good deal.

Well, that sounds okay.

Look, you don't suppose
you could bring a few

samples up to my hotel
room tonight, could you?

I'm staying at a joint called the
Bayshore, it's not far from here.

Man, you're kidding.

It would take a truck to haul all
the old records I got anywhere.

Tell you what. Why don't you stop over
at my place and look the stuff over?

Like maybe 9:00?

Well, you sure it wouldn't be too
much trouble?

Heck, no. I'll
give you a treat.

I'll let you listen to
some real hi-fi.


Hello, Gloria.

Huh? No, just chewin' the
fat with a buddy of mine...

Yeah, sure, if you want to. Why not?
My buddy's comin' over, too.

Hmm? Oh, sure.

Sure, he's nuts
about the bongos.

Okay, doll.

See you tonight.

That's my girl. She's a pain in the
neck, but she's good for laughs.

Hey, I forgot to
introduce myself.

I'm Otto.

My name's Adams. Harry Adams.

I called Munro Dean at his hotel
and told him about my progress.

He didn't sound very grateful.
He just told me to come over.

Well, he was paying
for my time, so I did.

Oh. Come in.


I was just having a little drink.
Would you care to join me?

No, thanks.

So, you've met our friend.

Yeah, I got that far all right.

The hook's in his mouth. But the
next part isn't gonna be so easy.

Getting him up here.

But you think you can do it?

Yeah, I can do it.

It's been so long.
So many years.

And so many dollars. This search of yours
hasn't been cheap, has it, Mr. Dean?

No. It cost me thousands,
hiring all those men.

But you're still sure he's the guy?
You're not making any mistake?

Why do you say that?

I don't know. He seems like a
pretty jolly type, that's all.

He's the man all right. If I'm sure
of anything, I'm sure of that.

Okay, Mr. Dean.
I'll keep you in touch.

If there's nothing
else right now...

No. Wait a minute. Wait.

Well, I suppose
that's a good idea.

You might need the protection.

It's not for me. It's for you.

For me?

Take it, Tyre.

I don't know anything
about guns. They frighten me.

Take it.

Well, what do you want
me to do with it?

I thought I could do
it myself, but I can't.

After all these
years and I can't.

I want you to do it for me.
I want you to kill him.

Now that's a real
pretty weapon, Mr. Dean.

Why don't you just hang that
on a mantelpiece somewhere?

I mean it, Tyre!

I want you to kill him for me. He deserves it.
You know he does.

Sure, Mr. Dean. Only I think you better let
the cops handle our friend Otto. Don't you?

If you can prove that he's
your wife's murderer you...

Don't lecture me!

I'm sick of all these lectures!

I want you to kill this man for me. He
killed the most important thing in my life.

And I'll give you $3,000
to avenge me!

Three grand? Yes!

And there'll be no risk, don't you see?
No risk at all!

It'll be self-defense. After all, I
hired you to protect me, didn't I?

When this man comes here and learns who I
am, he's going to threaten me, isn't he?

But before he can do anything, you fire.
Can't you see it?

Yeah, I can see it, Mr. Dean. Only I can't buy it.
Not even at your price.

Four thousand. No!

Five! Now cut it out!

Cut it out before you
hit a number that tempts me,

because I don't want to be tempted.
Do you understand that, Mr. Dean?

All right.

If that's how you want it.

That's how I want it.

I'll be in touch with you as soon
as I get the meeting set up.

And, Mr. Dean? Yes?

I wouldn't try any
do-it-yourself, if I were you.

The law's pretty definite about murder in
this state, no matter what the reason.

I'll remember that.

You ever see a rig like
this in your life?

Man, I hate to tell you what
the speakers alone cost me.

Music's kinda loud, isn't it?

Yeah, ain't it great? Only you're not
gettin' the full effect. Come here.

See, this is stereo,
you know what I mean?

You gotta be in the right position.
There we...

Will you cut that
out a minute, huh?

Ah, that's right. Perfect.

See, I got all the
angles figured exactly.

Come on, Gloria, will you
listen to the music, please?

Why can't I play the bongos?

You can play the bongos later.
Sit here and listen.

Hear that? You hear that?

See, you got the bass coming in on the
left ear and the treble on the right,

they both come together
in the middle.

Am I right or am I right?

Not for me. My ears
are too far apart.

It's because you got
no music appreciation.

Am I right, Harry?

Oh, yeah, Otto, that's
great, that's real great.

Say, I was wondering if we
talk about those records now?

Oh, yeah, the records.
I almost forgot.

Come on!

See, I got just what
I told you I had.

King Oliver and the Dixieland Jazz
Band, Louis and the Hot Five...

All choice stuff.

Yeah, I can
see that, all right.

Hey, Otto, how about some Brubeck?
My bongo's getting cold.

Will you butt out?
I'm talking business.

What about it, Harry? Now how many
records you got in all, Otto?

Two hundred, maybe. I'll make you a
good deal if you take the whole lot.

What kind of deal?

It's worth five
hundred, maybe more.

But for a buddy, I'll make it two-fifty.
How's that?

Two-fifty, huh? Well, the
price isn't so bad, Otto.

You see, I only got
one small problem.

What's that?

Well I haven't got too much
cash on me now,

and I don't want to stick
you with a check.

Suppose I pay you off
tomorrow night, at my hotel?

Are you kiddin'? Come on,
let's listen to music.

I ain't in no hurry.

But, Otto. You see, I am. I'm going
out of town in a couple of days,

and I'd like to
get this thing settled.

So if you could come up
tomorrow night, about 8:30,

I'd have the
cash for you by then.

We'll talk about
delivery later on.

Okay, if that's
the way you want it, fine.

Oh, good. I'm staying at the Hotel Bayshore.
That's over on Smith.

You better make note of that.

All right.

It's Hotel Bayshore,
Room 305. Harry Adams.

Adams. Yeah.

Okay, Otto. Thanks. Hey, wait a minute.
Wait a minute.

Are you ready for this? I want you
to hear something really special.

Wait a minute.

Got it right here.

A stereo recording of two trains
crashing into each other head on.

Man, it's an experience.

Aw, heck, Otto! How can I play
the bongos to a train wreck?

So the hook was in his
mouth, and I was reeling him in.

It had been easy. But somehow, watching
him play with his expensive toy like

an overgrown kid, I wasn't feeling
very happy about my work...

So it's all set. He's coming
up tonight to see Harry Adams.

He thinks he's made
a deal for some records.

You've done well, Mr. Tyre.

You're the only detective I've hired
that's really been of service to me.

Now you said your fee was
fifty dollars a day.

Yeah, plus expenses.
There weren't too many.

It comes to a hundred
and twelve dollars.

That's a fair price.


What's the matter? I thought
you said you preferred cash.

I do.

Then take it.

You act like my money's dirty.

Well, that depends. I'm not
sure what I've sold you.

You sold me justice.
Anything wrong with that?

You plan on letting the police
in on your justice, Mr. Dean?

Or are you just gonna
keep it all to yourself?

Mr. Tyre, I thought you
were a businessman.

I am.

Then don't you know
how business is conducted?

Once a piece of merchandise
is bought and paid for,

the seller has no more
rights in the matter.

The transaction's closed.

Only we're not talking about merchandise, are
we, Mr. Dean? We're talking about a man.

You mean a murderer.

Good day, Mr. Tyre.

And thank you for
a very efficient job.


But just let me warn
you about one thing.

Stay out of it from now on.

Stay away from Otto.

And stay away from those "friends"
of yours on the police force.

Like you said, Mr. Dean.
I'm a businessman.

It was at 6:00 that
night that I typed out

my final report on
the Munro Dean case.

It was pretty skimpy, because
I left out my speculations

about what might happen in Room
305 at the Hotel Bayshore.

That part was out of my hands.

I suppose I should have been
feeling sorry for Munro Dean.

He was a man on a noble mission to
track down the murderer of his wife.

But for some reason, I felt sorrier
for a hi-fi bug named Otto,

who'd knock on Dean's door
in a couple of hours,

and hear a riff like he'd
never heard before.

I wasn't proud to file the
Dean case away.

I had a drawerful of cases
that didn't make me feel

pleased with my
chosen profession.

Divorce cases, runaway husbands,
double-crossing wives...

But there was nothing
on file like this.

Nothing under M... for murder.

But my assignment was finished.
So a little after 7:00,

I decided to leave the office and
visit the chophouse down the street.

I didn't stay there very long. Nothing on the
menu stirred my appetite, so I had a cup of

coffee and went for a walk.

Hard as I tried to think my way out of
it, one thing kept coming back to me.

I was putting the
finger on a guy.

That's the same record he was
playing up in his apartment.

Could be his funeral march.

I didn't think about where I was going.
I let my feet do the thinking.

But somehow, I found myself across
the street from Munro Dean's hotel.

I stood there, waiting, just as if
I were being paid for a stakeout.

But I wasn't being paid.

The report was all typed. The file drawer was closed.
The money was in my pocket.

But I just stood
there, waiting.

It was 8:25. Almost time for
Otto to arrive.

Suddenly, I found myself hoping
he wouldn't show at all.

But there he came,
right on schedule.

My chubby friend, who liked Bix
Beiderbecke, high-fidelity,

and hardboiled eggs.

The job was over. I didn't have
to hang around there anymore.

I had nothing more to do with it. It
was all up to the man in Room 305.

Was it?

Drop the gun! Drop it!

Don't let him get it!

Don't let him
get it! Don't let him...

Now it's your turn, finger man.

Now, wait a minute, Otto. Now wait a minute.
Now don't try...

Now, look, Otto. You know who that guy is?
Do you recognize him?

You dirty crumb!
You set me up good...

Now look, you've got
to tell me! Why did he do it?

Not gonna tell you nothing.

Otto, I'm just a hired hand.
A private investigator.

That's your story.

Now, look, I've got to know.
Did you kill Dean's wife?

Yes. Yes, I killed her.

I was a hired hand, too.

He paid me to kill
her, back in '48.

He got nightmares about it.

And he hired guys all over
the country to find me and

knock me off.

So I wouldn't talk.

I used to think I was the kind of
guy who'd do anything for money.

But I'd done too much already.

It didn't help much,
but I gave it back.

I seem to have been
mistaken about this.

It's not a wheel.

It's a record.

Long-playing, of course.

The title is.

Ten Evenings with the
Stonehenge Philharmonic.

My, their disc jockeys
must've been formidable men.

While you are pondering
my pithy remarks,

I must take leave.

Next time, we plan to show
another story in two acts.

And, of course, your host making
his two appearances in one.

Until next time, good night.