This is the first episode of the 1957-1958 suspense series, PANIC! Each episode was a story about a person involved in an incident of stress and panic. The series ran for a total of 31 episodes. Each episode starts with narrator saying, "You are about to witness a moment of panic in the life of a man".
This particular episode is headlined by James Whitmore. Whitmore is the priest in a small L.A. church. It is late in the evening and a rather flustered man, John Harmon, enters the church and asks to make a confession. Whitmore listens to Harmon has as the man says he intends to kill a man at 9:20 the next morning. Harmon then keels over from a heart attack and lapses into a coma.
Whitmore calls the ambulance and Harmon is hauled to the nearest hospital. Whitmore follows and stays by Harmon as he waits for the man's wife, Peggy Converse to show. He does not call the Police because he is bound by the seal of the confessional. He finds out from Converse that her husband is a watch maker. He asks if he was in trouble with anyone or had any enemies. No luck here.
Whitmore hits the area around Harmon's store and asks the locals for any possible clues. He has a talk with the local bartender, cop and everyone else he can find. Another talk with Converse turns up a clue. Someone had been calling the house looking for a man from New York. Harmon had been acting a bit strange since.
Whitmore takes the name at goes to a newspaper office. He begs the night editor to see if the name is in the files. Lo and behold, the name is of an escaped prisoner from the prison in Sing Sing a decade before.
Whitmore manages to get a key to Harmon's shop and gives it a look over for any info. What he finds is the makings for a large pipe bomb. He also finds newspapers about a trail that is going to take place that morning. Whitmore rushes to the courthouse. It is pushing 9:00 am and Whitmore is desperate to find the device. He breaks into the courtroom and goes over any possible hiding spots for a bomb. The clock in the courtroom is now past 9. The court room will shortly fill with people.
He looks at the clock. Yes! Harmon is a watch maker, so what better place to put a bomb. It is of course not that easy. He does find a thin wire that runs from the clock down the wall and along the floorboards to the witness chair. Whitmore has a look under the chair and finds the bomb. He yanks the timer wires out and pulls the bomb off the chair. He then exits as the courtroom is being opened for the day.
It turns out that Harmon had escaped from Sing Sing and moved west to start over. He was now being blackmailed by a former inmate. The former inmate was being called to testify at a trial here. The man intended to give up Harmon's new name etc if he was not paid off.
Not bad for a first episode. The director was veteran TV man, Rod Amateau. The look of the episode is quite sharp with long time big screen cinematographer, Harry J. Wild at the controls. Wild is well known to fans of film noir. Wild lensed, MURDER MY SWEET, JOHNNY ANGEL, CORNERED, NOCTURNE, THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME, PITFALL, STATION WEST, STRANGE BARGAIN, THE BIG STEAL, THE THREAT, WALK SOFTLY STRANGER, HIS KIND OF WOMAN and MACAO,
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