Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 7, Episode 20 - The Test - full transcript

Vernon Wedge is a hot shot lawyer who agrees to defend 17-year old Benjy Marino who is accused of murder. Benjy swears he's innocent but Wedge isn't buying it and feels he should plead guilty. He nonetheless decides to defend him and at the trial tries a chemical test to determine if blood is present on the knife, but the DA objects and Wedge uses the refusal to undertake the test to get Benjy off. But would the test have revealed?

Good evening,

and welcome to Sing Along with Hitch,

I have a feeling this would be much better if we
could hear you singing,

as it is, it strikes me as a rather
limited form of entertainment,

and you have no idea how insecure one
can feel,

when he knows that at any time he can be
replaced by a bouncing ball,

for those of you who are too shy,

or for some
reason have not chosen to join us,

I have an enticement,

perhaps if you sing loud and lustily

you will drown out the commercial,

after which our story,

remember the competition
tends to become rather 'fortissimo',

Yes, yes that's right,

the hearing will be held
at the municipal,

court on the 27th,

no, mr wedge will be speaking
to you before that mrs Hamilton,

no not at all,

yes bye bye.

Please miss, it's almost half an hour,

couldn't you ask him if he's free?

Mr Marino is still out here,

can you see him now?


you’ll send him in.

I am Benji Marino's father.

-Yes I know, now... -You know
about my boy, but his trouble.

Well I read about it in the paper,

and I’m sorry for him but I’m sorry for
the other kid too the one that was killed,

But not by Benji that's the truth,

not by Benji, he didn't do it, that's
why I’ve come to you mr Wedge,

because people tell me you're the
best the best lawyer for my...

You should go to the juvenile authorities
mr Marino they'll recommend someone for you.

That boy is dead mr Wedge, and they say
my Benji did it.

I went to the jail, I talked to him,

he said to me, pop,

I didn't kill that boy,

you believe me pop?

I said sure Benji,
if you say so I believe you I believe you,

-I believe him. -Well let me call
the state's attorney's office for you,

in case you
need that appointment...

Please I have money the
family all got together,

I run a fuel oil business, I’m selling
the truck,

I can pay what you ask mr Wedge.

It's not a question of money mr Marino,
I’ve got a schedule as long as you're armed.

The papers they make it sound so bad,
they say they were witnesses,

they say they saw him with a knife,
how can they say such a thing?

oh I don't say he's an angel, he runs

he fights, a boy without a mother
sometimes became a wild boy,

but what can I do?

I am a 24-hour business,

how much time do I have to be a father?

Well let me recommend a lawyer for
you mr Marino another lawyer there's...

No no, I don't know anybody else,
I only know you.

But I can't work miracles, I only go by

That's all I want, the fact he's innocent,

he's inocent,

what can I say to you?

I am one boy, he's 17 years old,

he's not a grown man,

they got him down in that jail,
they say he's a murderer,

but he's innocent, he's innocent,

I swear on his dead mother's grave,

he inocent, his inocent...

My name's Wedge, I’m your attorney your
father hired me to handle the case,

How am I getting out of here?

Not till after the trial
and that's if you're lucky.

Well what about bail, can I get out on bail?

Bail's been refused.

-When's the trial? -Look don't rush the trial
we need to delay.

-Why not?
-This is gonna be easy.

I didn't cut that guy I
had nothing to do with it.

You admitted to the police that you knew
Kenny Archer didn't you?

Sure I knew him, we went the
manual trades together.

They told me that he ran with a gang called
The Aces, you ever hang out with him?

With that bunch? I was a Bear and the
Bears don't mix with the bumps.

All right,
you were a Bear and he was an Ace,

that makes you natural enemies, isn't it?


mr Wedge,

we don't have that kind of gang,

we're not a bunch of hoods,

-we've got a basketball team.
-Why you carry a knife Benji?

Well it's only a boy scout knife, they
sell them all over.

I just use it for,

you know...

Who you think you're kidding?

Look, who sides you are?

Oh no, I didn't stick Kenny, somebody else
did. I swear I didn't kill him.

I’m not making accusations, kid, that's the
prosecution's job,

sit down,

sit down,

now I’m gonna go over this thing
the way the police have got it,

and then you tell me where they're wrong,

at 10 minutes to midnight on
October 9th you and two other guys,

were walking down Thurman street,

you just come out of a movie house,

Kenny Archer just come out
of an apartment building,

in Thurmond and avenue sea
you bumped into each other,

there was some horse play but
the next thing that happened,

you and the other two guys
were running away and Kenny,

fell to the sidewalk and started
crawling toward the stoop of a house,

now there were two people sitting on the
steps of that building,

they saw you running away and they
saw Kenny die right in front of them,

then a half an hour later,

the cops picked you up
in your old man's store,

and you still had the knife in your pocket.

It wasn't me,

the rest of that stuff it's true,

-but I didn't hurt Kenny.
-All right, who are the other two guys?

-I don't know. -Son't give me that!

I tell you I don't know,

they came out of
that movie the same time I did,

but I never saw him before,
one of them must have done it,

when I saw Kenny was
hurt I ran away, that's how it was.

But you had the knife.

But I
didn't use it.

Look kid, that knife is exhibit A,
you know what that means?

-Leave me alone.
-The witnesses saw you're holding...

You're not here to help me.

Yes, I am kid, the only way you can be help,

now you listen to me and do what I tell you,

I want you to plead guilty,
you understand?

that's the only thing you can do,
if I put this case in front of a jury,

you're gonna spend the
rest of your life in a cage,

you plead gilly the judge might give you
a break.

I won't do it,

I am innocent and I ain't gonna stay
in jail for something I didn't do.

I am talking sense to you, now listen to me...

I’m trying to help you son!

I’m not your son,

I got a father.

Let me out of here, will ya?

you'd better talk some sense into him,

I told him if he'd plead
guilty in a second degree,

the judge is bound to be lenient.

But then he goes to jail for something
he didn't do.

Look mr Marino, because you're his father,

doesn't give you the right
to ignore the facts.

The facts are wrong,

I know,

you don't like to lose cases,

if my boy pleads guilty you lose
nothing your records is still good.

All right, if you feel that way about it,

if you think that's my reason
get yourself another lawyer.

Please please I don't know what I’m

-I don't know anything about the law.
-Well I do,

and I know this much mr Marino,

your faith in your kid is very commendable
but it's no defense in the courtroom,

all right, we plead not guilty,

I’ll do what I can to make it stick.

Why shouldn't it?

it's the truth?

-why shouldn't it stick? -Because the
prosecution has got witnesses.

Mr Dankers you were present at the time
of Kenneth Archer slang, isn't that so?

That's right.

Would you please describe
what happened.

Well, I was sitting on the stoop,

getting a breath,

then the kids come
running up the street,

I didn't pay no attention until they
start fooling around,

next thing I know,

one of them drops to
the sidewalk,

and the rest of them run away,

then the kid crawls up the stoop,

only he dies before he gets there.

How far away from the boys were
you when the scuffle occurred?

Not, not far,

maybe 40 or 50 feet.

I see, close enough for you to get a
look at that.

I only saw one of them good.

There's a street lamp near the apartment
building isn't there?

-Yeah. -So you didn't have any trouble
seeing the boy who stabbed Kenneth Archer?

I didn't see the actual stabbing,

but I saw the boy run away with a knife
in his hands.

Do you see that boy in this courtroom
now mr Dankers?

Yeah I see him,

it's that one over there.

Mrs Archer,

I’m I’m very sorry I’ll try
to be as brief as possible,

but I must ask you these questions,

you said that Kenneth was a good son.

Yes, yes, he was very good.

All right.

He was always
helping me around the house.

-Did he ever get into any trouble?

never, never.

-Was he ever picked up by the police?

No, never before.

Did he ever get into any fights,

with other boys?

All right mrs archer,

would counsil care to cross-examine?

Well what do you say Benji?

Oh, if I could work miracles I’d
work one, you can get life,

even if you got out on parole in 20
years you know what should be worth,

are you gonna plead gilty?

Benji will you please plead gilly?


I didn't do it.

I did it.

Not going so well is it?

Of course it's not going so well,

I wish I could figure out some way to
get that old man on the stand,

he's got a fanatical faith in that kid of
his that might just rub off on the jury,

Do you think he's innocent?

My question is immaterial irrelevant
and it's niot your business.

You do not
look at all well,

you don't look at all well,

and I think when this is over you
ought to see a doctor.

You know that's not a bad idea,

you remember doc uh, Hagerty?

But he's not the kind of doctor I mean,

-I mean a good all-around GP.
-Yeah yeah.

I’m going out, I’ll be at the
Dugan hospital if anybody wants me.

I don't understand you Vernon you say the
police already examined the boy's knife

-for blood stains using the standard
Benzedrine test. -That's right,

they didn't find anything so they claimed
that the kid had wiped the blade clean,

but you told me one time there was some
kind of a test that's even more sensitive.

There is, it's called a reduced
phenolphthalein test.

it's a lot more sensitive in my opinion
but it's not universally accepted.

Yeah but could you make that test now?

It's all right with me just give me the
boy's knife.

I can't do that,
it's court property, but could,

could you demonstrate the test
forming using another knife,

-that's just like.
-I suppose so. -Good,

I picked this up on the way over it's the
same type that Benji Marino carried,

pretty cheap too 98 cents.

The cheaper the better.

Well first we'll put some whole blood on
the blade,

and we'll wipe off all traces of the

yeah, take a look,

see any stains?

Clean as a whistle.

Now we'll try it on the solution,

and the blade may look clean but,

with a cheap knife the blade
metal is usually porous,

so it retains microscopic
quantities of the blood.

Changes color and gets dark, huh?

If the solution changes color, Verny, you
can be sure there was blood on the blade,

there's only one drawback.

What's that?

This test doesn't prove whose blood was
on the knife,

if your boy cut his own finger it'll
work just the same,

he'll look just as guilty.

-Oh Benji...
-What's the words?

You listen to me and listen carefully,

I thought of something that might just
save you it's a test,

now this is a chemical
test that can determine,

whether or not there's ever
been blood on your knife,

now I’m going to make that test in court
tomorrow and if it's negative,

the jury will know that you didn't kill
Kenny Archer.

No, I don't understand that kind of stuff.

I’m not asking you to understand
anything, but if you stab that kid, a jug,

full of chemical is going to turn dark
and you can kiss your freedom goodbye,

there¡s something else,

if you ever cut
anybody with that knife,

the chemical is going to turn dark too,

now you tell me something and I want you
to tell me the truth,

has there ever been blood on that knife?

I told you I never cut one.
-Do you understand my question?

I want to know if there's ever
been blood of any kind on a knife.


-I was brand new I never cut nothing.
-You sure?

you never cut your own finger?

I said it was clean.

Mr Wikers if the prosecution
has no further witnesses,

do you wish to make your summation?

-Yes your honor. -Your honor... -Yes mr Wedge?

Something has occurred which I consider
to be a paramount importance to this case,

I asked the court's permission to
introduce new evidence for the defense.


the defense has had sufficient
time for the introduction of evidence,

I suggest that
this is a delaying tactic.

-What sort of evidence mr Wedge?
-This is a demonstration your honor,

which in my opinion will clearly establish
the guilt or innocence of my client.

If mr Wedge would like a postponement...

I don't want a postponement I want to
make this demonstration if I may describe it.

Very well council you may proceed,

what is this mr Wedge?

Your honor this is a chemical solution,

specifically formulated for the
detection of blood stains,

ladies and gentlemen,

exhibit A in this case is a knife,

the knife which presumably killed
Kenneth Archer,

now this knife,

was found in the possession of Benji
Marino on the night of the sleigh,

however not one word of
testimony has been produced,

in this court concerning
the vital factor of blood,

now this knife has not left the possession
of this court since my client's arrest,

however this clean shiny blade can still,

tell a story of guilt or innocence,

because, as any biochemist knows,
there is one infallible test,

which can determine
whether an object of such porous metal,

has ever tasted
even one drop of blood,

your honor it is my intention
to prove once and for all,

whether I’m defending a boy falsely
accused or a lying murderer,

I intend to dip the blade of this knife
into a solution of reduced phenothalene,

a reduced phenythaline is the most
sensitive of all blood detection chemicals,

-if... -One moment mr Wedge,

-you say that beaker contains what kind
of solution? -Reduced phenolphthalein.

And how can we be
certain that it contains this chemical?

could be lemonade for all that we know.

I have a statement from dr Haggerty of
the Dugan hospital.

Or if you plan to produce expertise...

I plan only to make this test mr Wickers.

Your honor objection.

State your objection, council.

Defense is acting improperly,

the police laboratory has
already made the standard test,

on the weapon and has found
no blood stains on the blade,

the prosecution has stated that the
knife was obviously wiped clean.

Your honor the sensitivity of this test...

No time during this trial
as the prosecution denied,

the absence of blood stains
on Benjamin Marino’s knife,

now mr Wedge is trying to demonstrate
something we already know,

using a test which is not accepted as
standard laboratory procedure,

I suggest that the so-called demonstration
is nothing but pure theatrics,

but with an intention to mislead,

and to confuse the jury.

Mr Wedge,

the court must agree with the

you are not an expert in forensic

the corroboration of the police
laboratory report,

is gratuitous evidence,

must be considered inadmissible.

Your honor my client is willing to have
me make this test,

-the boy is aware of the chance he's
taking. -I’m sorry,

this demonstration is improper, objection
is sustained,

you may not make the test mr Wedge.

Mr Wedge,

if you please make your
summation to the jury.

I believe that Benji Marino is

I believe he's innocent because of a
test that I was not permitted to make,

this boy knew that if the results
of the test were negative,

he would be condemned to prison
for the rest of his life,

and no guilty person would have allowed it.

The former the jury please rise,

has the jury reached its verdict?

We have, your honor.

Please read it to the court.

We find the defendant not guilty.

You can wait right here
in the judge's chamber,

your attorney will be with you in a moment.

Bless you for what you did mr Wedge.

I didn't come here to be congratulated I
wanted to see you both for another reason,

the prosecuting attorney
was right mr Marino,

what I did out there was
theatrics, pure theatrics.

I don't

I mean, I didn't want to make that test,

I would have had to if he hadn't
objected but that's a chance I took.

You didn't
want to?

Look, if this stuff had turned dark it
would have been all over for your boy,

I was counting on the prosecutor's
objection, I figured on it,

I also figured that the jury would be
impressed in the right way,

and that's all I could hope for.

The knife would have been all right, I
know it would.

How do you know mr Marino?
because you've got faith?


Well in that case there's only one
way we can find out, isn't there?

we'll make the test now for our own sakes.


what difference does it make now?

Because I want to know, that's why.


make it test,

make your test now mr Wedge.

Those of you with a passion for
peripheral detail,

will be interested in knowing,

that the actual killers in this case
were ultimately brought to justice,

as for this next detail, it is a
television commercial,

an item for which I have a

frankly I like them because I feel so
wonderful when they're over,

which is when I shall next see you.

I hope you have enjoyed
singing along with Hitch,

it is the best way I know to indulge in
a community sing,

without actually having to rub elbows
with one's neighbors,

next week we should be back
myself and all the gang,

until then good night.