This is episode nine of the thirty-nine episode P.I series, CORONADO 9. The series ran during 1960 and 1961. Rod Cameron headlines as ex-Navy man who now works as a private investigator based in San Diego.
Lisa Lu, has arrived from the far east to take part in a beauty contest. She is also in town to sell her family's collection of small golden Buddha statues. Her family has fallen on hard times back in the old country and need the cash. She goes to see a jeweller about the collection.
The jeweller, Raymond Bailey, offers her ten grand. She knows that they are worth five times that amount and refuses. She returns to her hotel room where two rather unsavoury types, John Holland and Mark Allen are waiting. They flash a Customs badge and grab the case with the gold statues. "You should have filled out the paperwork on these!" The men tell her. Lu responds that she had been told there was no need for paperwork, by the jeweller, Bailey. Holland and Allen simply smile, then leave with the case.
Several weeks later, P.I. Cameron is called to a produce wholesaler. The woman in charge, Noel Toy, would like to hire Cameron. She is a family friend of Lu's father. It seems that Miss Lu has disappeared. She failed to attend the beauty contest and never returned home. Something bad must of happened Toy tells Cameron.
Cameron agrees to look into the matter. He soon tracks Lu down to a strip tease theatre. It turns out that she was too ashamed to return home after being scammed out of the gold statues. The only work she could get was in the chorus line at the burlesque show. She tells Cameron the whole story about the Customs agents and the badge they flashed.
Cameron is quickly on to a friend at Customs about the statues. They have no record of any such seizure. But they would be interested in whoever is showing the Customs badge. A Customs' agent had been killed the year before and his id and badge taken.
Cameron roots around some more and is soon onto Holland and Allen. The two were in cahoots with the jeweller, Bailey. Bailey had looked at the goods to establish their value, then sent Holland and Allen to relieve Lu of same. Cameron and the boys from the government devise a sting operation. Cameron pretends to be a buyer for the statues. Needless to say, there is a brisk exchange of gunfire before the matter is settled. Holland and Allen go for the big sleep while Bailey gets a crowbar cracked over his head. The statues are returned to Lu.
Miss Lu has been working in film and TV since 1958. Raymond Bailey would become famous as the tight-wad banker, Mister Drysdale, in the long running series, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.
Of note here is the d of p, John L. Russell. Russell was an Oscar nominated cinematographer (PSYCHO). His other film work included, MOONRISE, GUILTY OF TREASON, PARK ROW, THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS, HELL'S HALF ACRE, MAKE HASTE TO LIVE and WHEN GANGLAND STRIKES.
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