Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy? 

A shy ventriloquist is suspected of murdering a ruthless comedy club owner.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Kelley
Teri Copley ...
Brenda McCoy
Sally Templeton
Joe Gelardi
Tom Benzinger
Elwood 'Woody' Perkins
Vic DeMarco
Mike Jolly ...
David Stenstrom ...
Budding Comic
Jeffrey Jena ...
Comic #2


Dennis Stanton tells Jessica, after complaining about a character obviously modeled on him, about a real case: the $10,000 insurance on Billy-boy, the missing, wooden puppet of ventriloquist Elwood 'Woody' Perkins. It turns out that Elwood is too shy, without this sassy prop, to speak to anyone including his girlfriend Brenda McCoy and manager-youth buddy Tom Benzinger, who pushed him to sign up as opening act in Vegas with Vic DeMarco. However Stanton gets a call about Billy's exact whereabouts in the basement of the comedy club where Woody is held 7 months longer to a contract with Kate Kelley, who bosses even her grudgingly 'silent' business partner Joe Gelardi. Alas her corps lies next to the puppet and police lieutenant Catalano arrests Woody, but after interviewing him with Billy Stanton is determined to expose the real murder plot. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

17 March 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is from a line in the song "Billy Boy" concerning the topic of courtship and dates from an unknown source in 19th century America. "Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Oh, where have you been, Charming Billy? I have been to seek a wife, She's the joy of my life, She's a young thing And cannot leave her mother." See more »


References City Lights (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

Venting Ventriloquism, a Tough Thing, and Cannot Leave the Nightclub
17 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks Keith Michell's eighth of nine appearances as reformed-jewel-thief-turned-insurance-detective-and-mystery-sleuth Dennis Stanton. Six of his episodes (third through eighth) are introduced by, and summarized by Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, these typically known as "Book-end episodes," and this marks the end of the "Book-ends."

These six San Francisco, California-based Dennis Stanton Book-end episodes also feature Ken Swofford as Lieutenant Catalano, James Sloyan as Consuladated Casualty Insurance Agent Robert Butler (except for one), and Hallie Todd as Receptionist Rhoda Markowitz.

Hard-as-nails San Francisco nightclub co-owner Kate Kelley (Georgia Brown) calls all of the shots as she controls her business partner, Joe Gelardi (Marty Ingels), whom she puts in charge of booking talent, but disagrees with nearly his every decision.

Sally Templeton (Leslie Easterbrook) has been dropped from performing her stand-up routine by Kate because of Sally's alcohol abuse. Sally pleads with Joe to slip her in the back door to audition after promising to work in sober fashion, but Kate wants no part of her and clicks for bouncer Elmo (Mike Jolly) to show her back to the alley from whence she has arrived.

Timid Ventriloquist Elwood 'Woody' Perkins (Grant Shaud in capable fashion) forms an act with Tom Benzinger (Jim Metzler) as his Manager, Brenda McCoy (Teri Copley) as his Assistant, and Billy Boy (Himself) as his partner in Ventriloquism, who also generally handles his negotiations and serves as his general spokesperson.

Kate Kelley is pleased with Woddy and Billy Boy's drawing in the customers and holds him to his contract to remain at the club after Vic DeMarco (Lyle Waggoner) expresses accolades for the show and invites Woody, Brenda, Tom and Billy Boy to perform in his Las Vegas nightclub.

Tom attempts to enlist Joe's help to break their contract with the club after Brenda threatens to walk if Woody doesn't go along with Tom and her. But the backward Woody remains utterly speechless and even more so once Billy Boy ends up missing and feared kidnapped.

When Lieutenant Catalano (Ken Swofford) receives the call that Billy Boy has been kidnapped, Dennis Stanton (Keith Michell) decides to investigate, with his forlorn Receptionist, Rhoda Markowitz (Hallie Todd), reluctantly agreeing to accompany him to Kate and Joe's club on the same evening upon which she had been expecting her latest beau to propose marriage.

After Dennis and Rhoda slip into the basement after Dennis picks the lock with a blade embedded within the handle of his umbrella, Dennis rescues Billy Boy from inside a footlocker, while Rhoda discovers a body lying in the corner.

When Sally informs the authorities that she saw Woody's running through the alley that night, Lieutenant Catalano sees to it that Woody is arrested, while Stanton is reprimanded by Supervisor Robert Butler (James Sloyan), before Woody receives visitors in the forms of Dennis and Billy Boy, who finally enables Woody to answer a few important questions, such as what Woody knows about the murder, and "Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy?"

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) introduces the action of this Mystery, as presented to her via an audio-cassette tape, which Dennis has mailed. She then steps aside, to return in the Epilogue to summarize Dennis' final book-end series report.

Its title is derived from the lyrics of a popular standard song, "Billy Boy, Billy Boy," a traditional American folk melody and nursery rhyme, which presents a mathematics puzzle in its lyrics.

The cast is rounded out by David Stenstrom as Budding Comic, Jeffrey Jena as Comic #2, Kevin McCoy as Insurance #1 Co-Worker, Jana Grant as Insurance #2 Co-Worker, Matt McCarter as Insurance #3 Co-Worker, and Susan Welby as Insurance #4 Co-Worker.

This episode represents the most recent television acting role to date by Jana Grant, and the only television acting roles thus far by Susan Welby, Jeffrey Jena, Matt McCarter and Kevin McCoy (III). Georgia Brown, acting in film and on television since 1958, has unfortunately since passed.

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