Mannix (1967–1975): Season 3, Episode 25 - Once Upon a Saturday - full transcript

Joe Mannix is visited by an old friend, Beverly Miller, a life-long worker in the carnival world, whose dream of owning her own carnival is threatened when there are several attempts on her life. Mannix visits the carnival on a Saturday as Beverly prepares it for its opening day, to see if he can learn whether someone is indeed trying to kill her. He also brings along Peggy and her son Toby, to atone for bringing Peggy into the office on her day off. Mannix finds that many of the "carny" workers are uncooperative because they deem his presence to be bad luck. And the "accidents" continue, even with Mannix on the scene.

(engines roaring)

That's good, Charlie.

Hold it right there, Rick.


Who's the cool-looking chick?

My mother.

Hi, Bev.

That wasn't funny.

Where'd you pick them up?

I didn't pick them up.

They picked me up.

Well, get them out
of here, will you?

I have enough to worry
about with the carnival opening.

If you can't be of any help,

stay out of the way.

(engines purring in distance)

Bev! Look out!

(theme music playing)

♪ ♪

It won't be much
longer, Toby, honest.

Oh, here are the papers.

Ah, thank you.

Peggy, uh, I'm sorry
I had to drag you out

on a Saturday morning.

You know I don't mind.

It's just that, uh, Mr. Longface

is a bit hard to take.

We were going to go to a movie.

Toby... (sadly): Yes, sir?

I know how you feel.

I mean, Saturdays are
supposed to be a day

for having fun, right? Right.

I tell you what I'm going to do.

I'm going to make
this day up to you.


Bev! Bev Miller!

Hi, Joe.

It's been years.


Oh, uh, this is my secretary,

Peggy Fair. Hello.

Her son, Toby.

This is Beverly Miller.

Hello, Toby.


You're looking great.

Come on in.

What have you
been up to? Oh, well...

tell me, what brings

you to California?

Well, I finally got
what I always wanted.

Oh, no.

You know better than that.

I only wear rings here,
where they don't pinch.

I've got my own
carnival at last.

King Beach.

You're kidding.
Now, that's great.

You can count me
as your first customer.

Sit down.

Tell me, how's Susan?

Oh, too old to spank.

But my hand sure itches to try.

She's home from school.

She's a rebel.

Well, now, that sounds
like Bev Miller's kid.

When does the carny open?


I hope.

You hope?

Joe, I think somebody's
trying to kill me.

Yesterday, a truck
slipped its brake.

I was yanked out of
the way just in time.

Well, that sounds like it
could've been an accident, Bev.

Like the fire in my
trailer last week.

I would have been
asleep when it broke out.

Lucky I was called to a late
meeting of the carny crew.

We found a delayed fuse.


Did you, uh, go to
the police with this?

People won't bring their
kids where there's trouble.

Any other tries?

One, about four months ago.

I was still with the road show.

We were repairing
the roller coaster.

The crane was lifting
half a ton of rails to the top.

Cable snapped.

And, uh, you were below?

I don't like to push
the panic button, Joe,

but three accidents
in a few months?


Anyway, will you come
out to King Beach?

Take a look around?

Well, now, Bev, you know

I've always been a
carny man at heart.

Thank you, Joe.

Oh, uh, Bev, are your
rides operating yet?

Sure, we're having
dry runs all day.

Uh, well, uh, have you got

anyone lined up to try them out?

BEV: No, I sure wish I did.

Yeah... (snaps fingers) Toby!


Well, how about it?

Y-You really mean
it, Mr. Mannix?

Well, of course I mean it.

Now, a promise is
a promise, isn't it?

(calliope music plays)
MAN: No, I was right here

when the truck
crashed the fence.

Bev Miller says she saw
you at the bottom of the hill.

She's wrong.

That was earlier.

Look at these horses.

They haven't been
worked in a year.

48 of them I gotta clean up.

Not counting the spares.

Uh, what about the,
uh, fire in the trailer?


Sure, why not?

Bev seems to think maybe
it was a little too convenient.

Huh, women get funny ideas.

Take the merry-go-round.

Kid falls off a red horse,

mother gets
superstitious about red.

You think that
she's in no trouble?

Not if the crowds
show up tomorrow.


Try your luck, Mister?

Everybody wins.

Three bull's-eyes gives you

that beautiful Kewpie doll
to take home to your sweetie.

Oh, it's probably too
easy for you, huh, Mannix?

Go ahead, it's on the house.

(cocking gun)

You're Rio.

Best all-around carny
man on the circuit.

Bev tells me you were
with her on the road show.

When the cable
snapped on that crane.

Yeah, top of the roller coaster.
Saw the whole thing happen.

The rails almost got her.

How'd it happen?


(cocking gun)

You sure?


Accident, what else?

(calliope plays "The Man
on the Flying Trapeze")

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

She's only a child, my love.

(engine starts)

♪ ♪

I see a trailer in an
empty parking lot.

It's a very dark night.

Suddenly, there are flames.

I see somebody running.

Can't tell whether
it's a woman or a man.

Or maybe just a shadow.

How am I doing?

Pretty good, Mr. Mannix.

You're Donna.

That's right.

You reported the
fire in Bev's trailer.

That's right.

Weren't you supposed to be
at a carny meeting that night,

along with all the others?

I was on my way.

I had to do something first.

It, uh, held me up.

Any idea how the fire started?


It just, um... happened.

Maybe the genie could tell us.

The crystal ball
only tells the future.

And the fortune teller?

The fortune teller only knows
what she sees, and she...

Knows nothing.

You see, you're a
fortune teller, too.

Nothing to it.

Oh, I'd, uh, keep
that crystal ball on tap.

I might need it.

Hi. Hi.

There is no end to your talents.

Every carny worker has to have

electrical know-how
in case of emergency.

How's it coming? Well, it isn't.

Nobody seems to
have any answers.

Or they're just not talking.

Hey, Bev?

What do you know about
the people working for you?

My foreman and I
handpicked them.

We've worked with
most of them for years.

There's nobody better
in the whole carny circuit.

And they're slaving
round the clock for me.

When you applied to the
city for this, uh, franchise,

was there anyone else after it?

Who'd risk it except me?

The place had been
closed for over a year.

They were going to tear it
down, make it a parking lot.

Panel board backstage
belongs in a museum.

Wouldn't light up
a Christmas tree.

Antiques need special handling.

The whole place is a junk heap.

I'll go take a look at it.

My foreman, Rick
Griffith, Joe Mannix.


Oh, by the way,
the wiring's okay.

You can finish
putting the bulbs in.

Bev's told me a lot about you.

Oh, well, we're old friends.

If you got any
questions, ask away.

Hey now, that's a
refreshing change.

Well, I figure anything I
know Bev's already told you.

So shoot.

Were you around the other day

when that truck
slipped its brake?

Would you say it
was meant for Bev?

That truck was ancient,

like everything
else around here.

How about the fire in
the trailer and the crane,

they just happen?

Listen, accidents
are part of carny.

Bev's been around
them all her life.

Rick, you're the foreman.

You and Bev have the top
crew in the carnival business.

hardworking, loyal...

Yet everyone I talked to

knows nothing, saw nothing.

They act as if they
were hiding something.

Joe, this is the carny.

You're fuzz.

It's bad luck.

Bad for business.

So are accidents.

Bev's sunk every penny
she's got into this carnival.

It's a risk.

Bigger than she thought.

I've known Bev a long time.

I've never seen her
like this, running scared.

I can't imagine Bev
being scared of anything.

Nothing falls harder
than a tower of strength.

♪ ♪

You are interested
in magic, Mr. Mannix?

I've developed a
great respect for it.

You're Armando.

I am.

I'm especially interested
in sleight of hand.

For instance,

where there appears
to be nothing...

there really is something.

You, too, are a magician.

You hide your tricks in words.

Allow me to show you
the mignon cabinet.

Your eyes will tell
you it is quite empty.

But you are suspicious, huh?

You're expecting to see... what?


Forgive me.

But as you and I both know,

accidents can happen.

Still, one must go on.


Such is life.

Speaking of hiding
tricks in words, not bad.

I got the message.

Of course, I'm not buying it,

but, uh, thanks for
the show anyway.


You were in no danger.

I never miss.

I'll try not to worry.

Nobody's perfect.

Your knife thrower, have
you ever known him to miss?

Never. Not even in rehearsal.

That figures.

What can you tell
me about Armando?

Nothing to tell.

He's tops in his job.

Yeah, he's good, all right.

Maybe too good a magician
to be in a carnival side show.

Yeah, I was lucky to get him.

He's probably just marking time.

He'll quit if something
better comes along,

which it will, if we make it.

Where is he from?

All the specialty acts are
from Colonel Lee's Circus,

San Antonio, Texas.

The Colonel's getting old.

The outfit's going broke.

And the, uh, fortune teller?

Donna came
built-in with Armando.

Oh, Rick, what's wrong now?

Big trouble, Bev.

Like what?

Well, uh, word's going around

if you don't call him off,

they're all going to quit.

I don't care if they all quit.

I call the shots around here.

I'm the boss,

and this carnival's going
to open on schedule

if I have to run
it single-handed.

You know, I'll bet
she could do it.

Yeah, she's quite a woman.

Yeah, I thought
so for a long time.

All she ever thinks
about is Susan.


What are you trying to prove?


I like you.


What's bugging you, Susan?

Well, I don't know.

All of a sudden I'm
mad at everybody.

I just want to
stand up and yell.

Crazy, huh?




How'd you get to bum
around the beach?

I just took off.

What did your parents think?

I'll find out when I get home.

My folks are okay.

They know I got to do
my thing sometimes.

Then I'll make the
scene, you know,

go to college and the whole bit.

They sound great.

They are.

My mother's a
groovy person, too.

She really is.

It's just that... (gull cawing)




Yahoo! Yahoo!

♪ ♪


Oh, Sue.

Would you check out
these bills of lading?

(typing stops)


I asked you to check the bills.

You didn't ask me. You told me.

I don't have time
for this right now.

I know.

You're too busy
wearing yourself out,

giving me an education.

All the things that
you never had.

Is that what I want?

Have you ever asked me?


It's what you want for me.

You bet it is.

You've already shown me

you're not ready
to be turned loose.

Throwing yourself
around like a...

Like what, Bev?

Like an easy pickup
for any beach bum

that happens to come along.

One of those beach bums
happened to save your life.

Jimmy. I like him... a lot.

(sighs): I'm sorry, Susan.

Why are we always fighting?

Why can't we... He
knew that I was lonely.

We talked about things.

He listened to me.

That's more than you ever do.

You don't care
what I think or feel.

You don't even know me.

Susan, when you're old enough...

Old enough?

That's a blast.

You were only 17,

but nobody could
tell you what to do.

You wouldn't be tied down,

not even by a wedding ring.

You went ahead
and had me, anyway.

Like you, Bev, right or wrong,

I've got to live my own life.

I've got to be me.

This'll make you laugh.

It's really funny.

You know all those fancy
schools you sent me to?

I hated them.

All I ever really
wanted... was to be home.

(door closes)


(calliope plays "Someone's
in the Kitchen With Dinah")

Here's the key to Bev's trailer.

You can make your
phone calls from there, huh?


Oh, uh, try downtown first.

Find out if anybody besides
Bev was after this franchise.

Today is Saturday, and
anyone with any sense

is at home, taking it easy.

Then check out the
carnival employees.

Uh, Bev put the payroll
sheet on her desk.

Oh, you can start
with that theater group.

Check them out through
Colonel Lee's Circus,

San Antonio, Texas.

Mr. Mannix. Yeah.

There's trouble
over at the theater.

Miss Miller wants
you over there.

Got it?

Got it.

Come on, Toby,
gather up your loot.



She's not here, Mannix.

CHARLIE: Hey, fuzz...

you've been
looking for accidents.

Thought we'd show
you one happenin'.


What happened?

Just a slight
difference of opinion.

He's a jinx.

We want him out
of here, or we walk.

Okay, pick up your
gear. You're fired.

Get going, before I turn
you over to the police.

Bev sure didn't need this.

Yeah, well don't
tell her about it.

They're not the
game I'm hunting.




"No" is such an
unpleasant little word.

I've got something to tell you.

Later. About Mannix.

Charlie and Rio
tried to beat him up.


More problems for everyone.

Armando, please
stay out of this.

I'm already in it, my love.

(calliope plays circus tune)

♪ ♪

♪ ♪


♪ ♪

PEGGY: Thank you very much.

(hangs up phone)

Well, how'd you do?

There was someone
else after the franchise.

Miguel Vasco.

Yeah, who's he?

No information on him.

Well, if he applied
for the franchise,

they must have checked him out.

No need to.

His application was too late.

Bev already had the franchise

and the City Board
wrote Vasco to that effect.

Yeah, well, what's his address?

Post Office Box 288,
San Antonio, Texas.

Colonel Lee's Circus.

Peggy, uh, call
Colonel Lee right away.

In the meantime,
I'll check with Bev

and see if she knows
anything about our Mr. Vasco.


(calliope music plays)

Hey, Jimmy!


Hi, doll. Hi.

JIMMY: Hey, what's the scene?

SUSAN: Oh, I'm
making like the operator.

Hey, that's for me,
I'm an operator.

Cool it, man.

Break contact.

Hey, I don't want to,
uh, break up the party,

but how would you
guys like to try the cars?

See if they'll work for
the paying customers.

Hey, great, man. Come on.

Outta sight.




Yeah, Joe?

Uh, Bev, what do you
know about a Miguel Vasco?

Never heard of him. Why?

Well, it seems you beat
him out of this franchise.

Hey, we got no juice.

Hey, we gonna take
a ride or not, man?

Come on.

Hey, start the countdown.

Okay, five...


JIMMY: Three...


One... Blast off!


He's dead.

Bev, get the police.

Well, it's no
accident this time.

Look at that extra cabling.

RICK: Yeah, it runs from the
master control to the Skooter box.

Well, any ideas?

Anybody in the carny
could have rigged this.

Round up that Texas
group for me, will ya?

(engine starting)

(tires squealing)

(tires squealing)

♪ ♪

(calliope playing
"Blue Danube Waltz")

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪


Take it easy, Joe.

You went for quite a ride.


How do you feel, Joe?


People actually pay
to ride on that thing?

I'll get you some coffee.

What happened to Armando?

He got away.

So did the girl, Donna.

We've got an APB out for them.

How'd you do with Texas?

Our friend Armando
has quite a background.

Although he wasn't known
as Armando in Texas,

the description fits.

He's wanted for questioning
in a knifing murder.


Juarez, Mexico, two years ago.

And one of his aliases just
happens to be Miguel Vasco.

The man who was
after the franchise.

He must have sneaked
across the border illegally

and then changed his name again.

We're questioning all
the others about him.

I've got the whole carnival
covered, just in case.

A suggestion, Joe.

Stick to the merry-go-round.

(cup and saucer clattering)

Hey, hey, take it easy. Come on.

Where are all those high hopes?

Hit bottom, I guess.

Bev... Oh, Joe.

I don't know what to do.

I don't know what to tell
everybody about the opening.

You'd better tell
them to get moving,

if you're going to make
the opening on schedule.

The police should have the
carnival checked out by morning.

You've got to take
that chance, Bev.

Or you'll lose everything.

You are a real carny man
at heart, you know that?

(door shuts)

Nice, neat package.

What is?

The whole thing.

All the facts lined
up like tenpins.

I don't get it.

It's as if the whole
thing had been... staged.

Okay, and cover
the midway area, too.

Where is everybody?

We finished our
questioning, Miss Miller.

They've been released.

I sent them home.

There's no sense pushing
for the opening now.

Why not?

Lieutenant, I lose my
shirt if we don't make it.

Those people are my
responsibility. I hired them.

Do you think we
can open tomorrow?

I don't know why not.

You should be
cleared by morning.

Bev, how can we?

BEV: I'll tell you how.

We dig everybody out of
bed and put them to work.

Now, we'll start
with... Me, I hope.

Oh, Susan, get out
the stage drapes.

Get the rods from the basement.

I'm not telling.

I'm asking.


All right, Rick. I'll
check the trailers.

You get the hotel
on the way back.

Check the coffee shop.

Peggy, if a man is
in this country illegally

and wanted for murder,

does he apply for a franchise?

I mean, why would he risk
a deal that had to involve

an investigation
into his background?

After two years of hiding,
maybe he thought he was safe.

No. Not Armando.

He's too good a magician.

He'd never try a trick
he knew wouldn't work...

or kill someone just
to get a franchise.

Wait a minute.

Armando never meant to kill Bev.

I'm not with you.

Well, he knew Bev was too smart

to take a chance
with electricity,

that she would be wearing
rubber shoes to insulate herself.

Oh, I get it.

If she'd pull the switch,

the controls would blow,
but she wouldn't be killed.

Yeah. The whole
thing was planned

to look like an accident.

To scare Bev out.

Then King Beach
would be available again.

Get me Colonel Lee
back on the phone.

I didn't exactly talk
to Colonel Lee before.

Now, what does that mean?

Well, I tried to call
him several times.

And there wasn't any answer.

So I got my information
from the San Antonio police.

This time, I want to speak
to the Colonel in person.

Yes, sir.

♪ ♪


Can't say I'd recommend
anyone in that group, Mr. Mannix.

Oh, it's not like
the good old days

when I got started

under the big top. We
had real performers then.

The human pretzel.

The fat lady. Coochie dancers.

(dove coos)


Do not be afraid, Susan.
I am not going to hurt you.

I just want time to get away.

How the folks loved
that medicine man.

Do you know... Do you know

that they'd line up pantin'
to pay him a silver dollar

for a bottle of that
snake oil of his?!

Colonel, what do you
know about a magician

who used to work for you,
name of Miguel Vasco?

Why, nothing, sir.
Come to think of it,

I don't think we ever had
a magician around here.

You must have the
wrong circus, Mr. Mannix.

You're sure?

Well, as sure as my
name is Colonel Lee, sir.

Yeah, well, uh...
Thanks, Colonel.


♪ ♪



(footfalls approaching)

(man groaning, thudding)

(doves cooing)

If Armando didn't come
from Colonel Lee's Circus...

then who hired him?

There's only one other
person in this circus

with the authority
to hire or fire anyone.

I wasn't trying to kill Bev.

I only wanted to break
her, to make her need me.

You got to believe me, Susan.

I love her.

Was a time way back,

I thought there was a chance.

She's never loved anyone.

Except you.

I have to do this, Susan.

Then Bev'll have nothing left.

Only me.

I was a man once.

A real man, until she took over.

Everything was on her terms.

And I couldn't take any more.

That's when I met Armando.

His record made
him an easy mark.

He had to do what I said,
or I'd blow the whistle on him.

I was going to be boss
of the whole operation.

How 'bout that?

Me, the boss.

Bev wouldn't have liked that.

See, now, everything
fits perfectly.

I had to kill Armando,
in self-defense

after he killed you.

Oh, Bev'll really break then.

You've been her whole life.

She'll have to come to me.

On my terms.

Rick, no!

Please. Please!

(Rick groans)

Well, there's your man, Art.

You'd better check on Armando.

♪ ♪

(theme music playing)