The Ford Television Theatre: Season 1, Episode 21

Margin for Fear (19 Feb. 1953)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama | Musical
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Episode credited cast:
Mari Aldon
Robert Anderson
Irving Bacon
Harry Shannon
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Comedy | Drama | Musical

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19 February 1953 (USA)  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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Good Police Procedural
16 May 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is an episode from FORD THEATRE. This anthology series ran for 195 episodes between 1952 and 57. This episode stars Brod Crawford, Elisha Cook Jr, Mari Aldon, Irving Bacon and Harry Shannon.

Crawford plays a big city Police Lt. who has been arrested and charged with brutality and entry without a search warrant. It seems Crawford had went over the top trying to catch a three-time killer. The local DA is up for re-election and decides to make an example out of Crawford.

Crawford gets a year sentence. The court decides to send him to a small rural Sheriff's jail to serve out his bit. The judge is worried that a trip to the State Pen would be the same as a death sentence.

The Sheriff, Harry Shannon, tells Crawford to just behave himself and get his time over with. A couple of months go by and the deputy, Irving Bacon, does not even bother to lock Crawford in. They spend the day playing cards and checkers.

Crawford takes a shine to the county nurse, Mari Aldon. Aldon likewise falls for Crawford and two strike up a relationship.

Every couple of days, Elisha Cook Jr puts in an appearance to see the nurse. Cook is a somewhat slow in the brain-pan local handyman. He makes a living doing odd jobs etc. He lives in a shed out on a local widow's farm.

One day the Sheriff gets a call that the widow has been found stabbed to death. Shannon and the boys pile into a car and go for a look see. The Sheriff checks out Cook's shed and finds some of Cook's pants covered in blood. Shannon now calls for a posse and Cook is soon caught.

Sheriff Shannon slams Cook down in a chair and asks. "Did you kill her?" Cook responds in the affirmative. Shannon says that is all he needs to lock him up.

Crawford says there is something wrong here. He asks Cook why he killed the old widow. Cook looks confused and answers, " I never touched the widow. It was her cat I killed. It bit me and I whacked it with my hoe. I then got scared and ran off. I would never harm widow Jones." Just then a rock comes through the window. A large mob of locals has gathered outside. The want Sheriff Shannon to send Cook out so they can deal with him. "Nothing a piece a rope can't fix!" Shannon is somewhat at a loss on how to deal with the situation. This is something new for him. Crawford tells Shannon to swear him in as a deputy. Shannon does so, but tells Crawford he cannot give him a weapon.

Crawford says he does not need one, and heads outside. He tells the mob to break up. When they do not, Crawford grabs the loudest and biggest of the mob and cracks him in the jaw. The man goes down in a heap. Crawford yanks him up and slaps a set of cuffs on him. "The rest of you people go home and let the law handle this!" The mob disperses and Crawford drags the man inside.

A few hours later word comes from the State Police that they have caught a drifter covered in blood. The man then confessed to killing the widow Jones.

The next day the State Governor calls and gives Crawford a full pardon. He is to return and take up his job again. Crawford, with Aldon in tow, heads back to the big city.

The director of this episode was James Neilson. His only film of note, was the 1957 western, NIGHT PASSAGE, with James Stewart and Audie Murphy.

The story was by Karen De Wolfe. De Wolfe's work on story or screenplay includes, SILVER LODE, COUNT THE HOURS, JOHNNY ALLEGRO, and BURY ME DEAD.

The credits ended before I got to the d of p.

No need to mention Cook or Crawford's noir resume. Miss Aldon had small unbilled bits in, THE LOCKET, INSIDE THE WALLS OF FOLSOM PRISON and TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.

This one was peddled as a pilot for a possible Crawford series. Not bad at all.


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