Murder, She Wrote: Season 1, Episode 11

Broadway Malady (13 Jan. 1985)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama
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Grady Fletcher invites aunt Jessica to be his guest at a Broadway show he's doing the bookkeeping for and meet both his girl-friend and has-been movie star Rita Bristol, whose prima ... See full summary »



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Title: Broadway Malady (13 Jan 1985)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lew Feldman
Rita Bristol
Elaine Giftos ...
Lonnie Valerian
Barry Bristol
Michael Horton ...
Patti Bristol
Marc Faber
Si Parrish
NYPD Det. Sgt. Moreno
Gretchen Pashko
Kate Metcalf
Ed Bakey ...
Monsignor Kelly
Roberto Roman ...
Johnny Seven ...


Grady Fletcher invites aunt Jessica to be his guest at a Broadway show he's doing the bookkeeping for and meet both his girl-friend and has-been movie star Rita Bristol, whose prima donna-attitude and drinking endanger the show that was to be her come-back and the launch of daughter Patti Bristol. They all dine with others including son Barry Bristol, director Marc Faber and banker Si Parrish, the principal investor. On the way home, Pati is shot in the spine by street mugger Manny Farkus, who gets a fatal bullet from Barry. To reluctant Barry's surprise, the show isn't canceled but LA star Lonnie Valerian takes recovering Pati's part. NYPD Detective Sergeant Moreno didn't feel like investigating further, but Jessica does dig into past and present of the Bristol family, the show people, the mugger who she recognizes as unemployed actor Morley Farmer and some New York street witnesses. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

13 January 1985 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vivian Blaine's last role. See more »


While talking to the Milton Berle character, Jessica makes an off-hand remark, and Berle asks her to repeat it. She replies, "Oh, I was just talking out loud." Clearly she means "I was just thinking out loud." See more »


References The Broadway Melody (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

"Dispel All the Gangsters at Forty-Second Street"
13 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks the swan song appearance of 1940's film actress and singer Vivian Blaine, who continued her career in television during the 1950's and beyond.

Grady Fletcher (Michael Horton) has one of his less-visible among his twelve appearances in this series, as Bookkeeper to an upcoming Broadway show, "Always April." He insists upon his Aunt Jessica Fletcher's (Angela Lansbury) visiting the troupe at the request of its major star, Rita Bristol, an avid fan of J.B. Fletcher Mysteries. Grady introduces Aunt Jessica to Understudy Kate Metcalf (Sharee Gregory), for whom he harbors a special eye.

Mother and daughter performing team, Rita Bristol (Vivian Blaine) and Patti Bristol (Lorna Luft) reminisce over Rita's vintage film, as son/brother Barry Bristol (Gregg Henry) enters to announce their return to the theatre with the tentative "Always April."

The memory which Barry interrupts displays a televised clip by Miss Blaine, performing "Somewhere in the Night" from the 1946 Twentieth Century-Fox Film "Three Little Girls in Blue," which her character attributes to a fictional film, "Moon over Rio."

But at the theatre, Director Marc Faber (Robert Morse) continuously expresses disapproval of Rita and Patti's rehearsal displays, before an apologetic Patti, a disagreeable Rita, and a cast and crew expressing bewilderment over Marc's behavior.

A reception dinner, at which Rita Bristol and company meet Jessica, is also attended by Patti and Barry Bristol, Grady Fletcher, Kate Metcalf, Mark Faber, Investor Si Parrish (Patrick O'Neal), and playwrights Jimmy Finley (Bob Gorman) and Carlin Nash (Bert Hinchman).

Afterwards, outside the theatre, there is commotion leading to an incident with a "blind" performer, Monsignor Kelly (Ed Bakey), a card dealer, Taki (Roberto Roman) and a would-be mugger, Manny Farkus / Morley Farmer (Johnny Seven).

This lands a patient into the hospital, under the care of Doctor Peter Weber (Edson Stroll), and an investigation by NYPD Detective Sergeatn Moreno (Gregory Sierra) with NYPD Detective Captain (Dante D'Andre) on hand, but Jessica questions Moreno's dismissal of the case and the fact that he has no time to question obvious witnesses from the streets.

So, Jessica then undertakes an ambitious investigation of her own, to question card dealer Veronica (Irma García), to locate Taki, to discover the dual identity of Manny Farkus / Morley Farmer, to track down his former associate Lew Feldman (Milton Berle), and his landlady Gretchen Pashko (Barbara Whinnery) for additional information.

In the meantime, Director Marc Faber hires Hollywood actress Lonnie Valerian (Elaine Giftos) to add life to the faltering rehearsals, to the dismay of several cast members, amid two shootings, an alcohol-induced overdose and a natural gas leak, creating a "Broadway Malady" for certain.

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