A managing editor of a LA newspaper must put together headlines for the next day in a way that'll attract the potential readers, deal with hectic going-ons at the workplace and have a serious talk with his wife about her wish to adopt.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Gatlin
Jim Bathgate
Earl Collins
Peggy Gatlin
Lady Wilson
Ben Quinn
Nancy Valentine ...
Jan Price
Hymie Shapiro
Carl Thompson
Fred Kendall
John Nolan ...
Ron Danton
Ronnie Dapo ...


Managing Editor Sam Gatlin arrives in the afternoon and departs early the next morning, having assembled a morning newspaper for Los Angeles. During this implausibly active day in the life of a metropolitan newspaper, Sam and his wife Peggy argue about adopting a child. The reporter's grandson pilots a military plane from Honolulu to New York. A child is lost in the LA sewers (Gatlin composes a warning headline with picture: "Children Stay Out of These"). And copy boy Earl Collins considers quitting after failing to properly deliver a bet by city editor Jim Bathgate on the sex of children being born to a famous actress. Written by Paul Schindler <paul@schindler.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Inch by inch a rumor grows into a roar... word by word the teletype starts ticking like a bomb... moment by moment the suspense builds headline-high to a new peak of motion picture excitement! See more »







Release Date:

19 December 1963 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Deadline Midnight  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story of the girl trapped in the Los Angeles sewer was loosely based on the real life tragedy of Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, California. On 9 April 1949, the three-year-old fell down a 90-foot deep, 14-inch wide uncapped well. After 50 hours, rescuers finally reached her, but she had already died. It was one of the first televised "media events," with more than 27 hours of the rescue recorded by television cameras. History repeated itself in 1987 when Jessica McClure fell down a well in Texas, though she was brought up alive after 58 hours. See more »


After a fledgling writer turns in a news story on her first night as a reporter, the editor sends it to be typeset without even reading it. See more »


Carl Thompson: Now this is our art department. And this is Mr. Chapman, one of our staff artists. Mr. Chapman, this is Mr. and Mrs. Jason.
Bentley Jason: [along with his wife] How do you do, Mr. Chapman!
Carl Thompson: Would you draw something for us please, Mr. Chapman?
Chapman: [stares at Thompsons] Draw? Draw? What would you like? A dog? A cat? Or a pig with a squiggly tail? Or how about a house? I was always real big in the house department! Especially on those chimneys with the smoke cork-screwing out!
See more »


Referenced in Law & Order: Criminal Intent: 30 (2007) See more »


Written by Don Ralke and William Bowers
Sung by David Nelson
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User Reviews

A ' lost gem',.. and Who Needs Reality ???
20 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Before I begin, a bit of a 'disclaimer' here.

I grew up watching the old "Dragnet" (the 1950's version), and the second go-round, too in the 60's; as well as the rest of the Jack Webb-produced stable ("Adam-12", "Emergency !").

And I especially enjoyed the movies he made for Warner Bros; my favorites being "The D.I.", the Marine Corps movie and this lost gem, which I had not seen for at least 30 years, until recently.

I finally found a copy of this movie on eBAY, and to my delight I found it to be just as good as I remembered when I first saw on it the Late Show many years ago.

Unfortunately to many in our PC sanitized culture, Jack Webb may be an acquired taste, due to his stiff demeanor and his pro law and order image acquired through "Dragnet"; though to me he is the cornerstone of all I have grown up to love and respect.

We easily forget that he stood for progressive things too, and in this movie, guiding a woman reporter through her first news assignment.

His 1950's demeanor notwithstanding (which seemed humorous now), there was no doubt as Joe Friday that he was the 'good guy', and while as always it would take a little time (with commercials), you knew how the story would end ... HAPPILY, with the crook behind bars; or in this case with the latest edition put to bed.

Okay, many of you purists are a bit too picky about the lack of reality here, probably in reference to what we all liked so much about "Dragnet", and came to expect from Jack Webb; as well as David Nelson being too young to be a Korean War vet.

This is a movie after all, so get over it !!!

And while we can find fault with some of the plot devices in this film, namely the clichés and jokes one has to point out that humor, especially in times of great tension and stress is welcome; unless you go crazy from the experience otherwise.

"Dragnet" was famous for it, and considering the world the policeman inhabits. they need a laugh.

And how about M*A*S*H ???

There was a great deal of humor there as well; and let's remember that the movie and the TV show were set at a front-line Army hospital during the Korean War; and is offered here as a good example of grace under pressure.

And no, David Nelson wasn't there either !!!!!

Though admittedly the humor is a bit heavy-handed, Webb's heart was always in the right place here, and considering what the characters went through in this film, it was definitely called for.

Also a point worthy of praise should go to any movie that includes among the cast of recognizable Webb standbys the talents of William Conrad (radio's Matt Dillion, TV's Cannon), for dramatic as well as comic relief.

Conrad's booming baritone had been a radio staple for many years, and while his equally impressive physical presence is yet another benefit, that he is shown to have a soft side in the role of the beleaguered city editor practically made this movie for me.

This was especially true when the tension begins to heat up, at which point all the humanity possible was needed.

News stories like the little girl lost in the storm drain and the air crash that kills 'Lady 's grandson' were both highly emotional moments, and regrettably happens every day, and must be dealt with in a way that saves the sanity of those who must report it.

While Jack Webb's expertise belongs with the cop on the beat and "Dragnet", and perhaps not with this movie, he gets a solid 'A' for effort in my book here, and it is CRIMINAL that this and much of his film work has been lost in the limbo of OOP home video.

My God, do we need him now; not only his talent, but the integrity he brought to his work in creating those heroic figure we looked up to for so long.

Laughable as they may be now, they truly meant something !!!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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