Past closing time at an out of the way nightclub, the woman that runs it waits for the last customer to leave, then hears on the radio of an escaped killer mental patient is in the area. ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Herself - Hostess / Amanda Prescott
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Past closing time at an out of the way nightclub, the woman that runs it waits for the last customer to leave, then hears on the radio of an escaped killer mental patient is in the area. When another man shows up,she enlists his help-but then realizes HE might actually be the wanted man. Written by WesternOne

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Release Date:

17 April 1961 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Top Television noir.
25 November 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

THE CHOICE is an episode of the anthology series, THE BARBARA STANWYCK SHOW. This series ran for 36 episodes during 1960-61.

In this one, Babs is the owner of a steakhouse and bar just outside of L.A. It is late at night and there is only one customer sitting at the bar. Babs tell the bartender she will close up and sends him home early.

She is sitting in her office doing paperwork as she waits for the last customer, Robert Horton, to finish his drink. Over the radio comes a news alert about an escaped homicidal manic. They give a description and say he is armed and dangerous.

She looks up and sees Horton standing in the doorway. Horton says he could really use another drink. Babs comes out to serve him. As she is pouring she sees a tattoo on Horton's wrist. It is exactly like the one in the radio description.

Stanwyck keeps her cool as she decides on what to do next. Just then, the bar door opens and in strolls James Best.

Best grabs a stool and asks for a large bourbon. Stanwyck happily pours Best one of her finest. While pouring she whispers to Best that Horton is a dangerous… She stops in mid sentence as she sees the same tattoo on Best's wrist.

Stanwyck now grabs a glass and gives herself a big belt of scotch. What to do! Which one is the nut-case? Both Best and Horton seem rather on edge.

Best suddenly yanks a revolver out of his belt and starts waving it around. "Hands up! Where is the cash!" Stanwyck informs Best that the day's take is in the office safe. Best herds the pair into Bab's office and has Stanwyck open the safe.

Just as Best reaches for the loot, Horton jumps him and lays him out with a solid right.

Babs tells Horton they must call the police because Best is the escaped loony. Horton's face begins to twitch as he says, "I don't like being called a loony.'

Oh hell, it seems that Best was just a hold-up man and Horton is the escapee. Horton takes Stanwyck by the hand and heads for the outside door. He wants Babs to take him to LA.

Babs tells Horton she'll need to get her car keys. When Horton releases her, she grabs her purse and bolts for the back storeroom. She slams and locks the heavy door. Needless to say, Horton is not pleased with this turn of events. He grabs a fire axe and proceeds to chop at the door.

Stanwyck looks around the room and sees the main power box for the restaurant. She starts turning the power on and off as Horton slowly works his way through the door.

Several minutes later she hears voices yelling from the other side of the door. It is John Law putting the grab on Horton. A passing prowl car had seen the flashing lights and stopped to investigate.

Truly a close call! The director of this intense little half hour was Jacques Tourneur. His films include, NIGHTFALL, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, CAT PEOPLE, THE LEOPARD MEN, BERLIN EXPRESS and of course, OUT OF THE PAST.

The story and screenplay were by Marion and Francis Cockrell. Both worked on many television series such as PERRY MASON, THE OUTER LIMITS, JOHNNY STACCATO and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. Francis also did the story for INFRENO.

The d of p was noir vet Hal Mohr. Mohr's work includes, THE BOSS, THE BIG NIGHT, BABY FACE NELSON, THE LINE UP and WOMAN ON THE RUN.

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