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Leaping Leprechaun, Rumbling Roustabout, Tumbling Acrobat, Fleeing Clown
WeatherViolet from United States
8 September 2009
As the Washington, DC, branch of the Fletcher family prepares for the
wedding of granddaughter Carol Bannister (Courteney Cox), Jessica
Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) arrives three days earlier than expected to
visit with her great niece.
Carol stands up to the demands of her socially-conscious Grandmother
Constance Fletcher (Laraine Day) and Mother Audrey Bannister (Susan
Brown) to insist that she and her husband-to-be not follow their
traditional demand. Father Howard Bannister (Dennis Howard) stands in
his daughter's corner, along with Aunt Jessica.
Carol confides to Jessica that she believes Grandfather Neil Fletcher
(Jackie Cooper) is still alive especially upon receiving the gift of a
leprechaun figurine. "Grandfather always said that a leprechaun would
visit on my wedding day," Carol informs her, causing Jessica to
reminisce that her late husband, Frank, never believed that his brother
perished in that event of ten years ago. Frank himself has been gone
for five years at this point in time.
Jessica reviews the parcel's postmark: "Catlinburg, Arkansas. Well,
that's a start. One way or the other, I'll be back in time for your
wedding," she bids, before boarding a bus for Catlinburg (not to be
confused with Gatlinburg).
When a shoppe owner recall the gentleman's purchasing the leprechaun as
a stranger, who stopped in three times before returning to buy it, and
hadn't been seen since. On the sidewalk, Jessica notices a banner for
Carmody Circus, which had just left town. "Do you know where they went
from here?" she asks a passerby.
The trail leads Jessica to Pullman City, Arkansas, outside of which
Carmody Circus presents a run of performances. She picks up a clue that
Neil, the man in her photograph, may be using the pseudonym Carl
Schulman, a fact dismissed by circus owner Edgar Carmody (Martin
Balsam), who ushers Jessica from the premises.
Edgar Carmody is having a rough time in keeping the operation afloat. A
series of unexplained accidents have increased expenses and have caused
tension among his family and employees.
Son Raymond Carmody (Mark Shera) and his wife, Daniella Morgana Carmody
(Barbara Stock), remain determined, she with reservation, to stay with
Edgar, while Daniella's fashion designer mother, Maria Morgana
(Florence Henderson) arrives from NYC with her secretary, Mark (Robin
Bach), she to convince Daniella and Raymond to return to her business
even if she has to pay off Edgar with a handsome sum, for him to avoid
shutting down the circus.
Rival circus owner Harry Kingman (Joe Dorsey) also propositions Edgar
to purchase his circus, in the hopes of easing competition on the
circuit. Several of Edgar's employees have worked with Kingman Circus
in the past, including the bullying Roustabout Hank Sutter (Charles
Napier), his wife Maylene Sutter (Lee Purcell), Trapeze artist Katie
McCallum (Pamela Susan Shoop), whose husband had lost his life in a
mishap while performing, their son Charlie McCallum (Joey Cramer), his
father figure Brad Kaneally (Greg Evigan), and Ringmaster Preston
Bartholomew (Alex Cord).
And when "Carl Schulman" recognizes Jessica, who returns to snoop
around the circus the next morning, he tells Edgar that he'd really
like to see her, but he mustn't. When Edgar approaches Jessica to tell
her that she's wasting her time, they follow the screams toward the
elephant stable, where a body has been discovered, badly beaten, as
"Death Stalks the Big Top."
Jessica naturally volunteers to assist Sheriff Lynn Childs (Gregg
Henry) in the ensuing investigation, overrun by the ever-politicking
Pullman City Mayor Powers (Ronny Cox). who decides the prime suspect to
be this Carl Schulman, who has fled the scene of the murder.
Angela Lansbury delivers one of her must compelling performances of
this series in a jail house scene with Jackie Cooper and Ronny Cox.
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