A woman witnesses a murder during a store robbery but claims the accused man is not the killer. After he is convicted and weeks away from his execution date, she sees the real killer, but the police are reluctant to reopen the case.

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(written for television by), (story)
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Gene Lyons ...
Sgt. Paul Cochran
...
Ellen Morrison
...
Sgt. MacReynolds
...
...
Mrs. Sawyer
Tony Bickley ...
Tommy Elliott
Fred J. Scollay ...
Harry Sawyer (as Fred Scollay)
Henry Sharp ...
Mr. Eugene Krantz (as Henry Sharpe)
Eda Heinemann ...
Sylvia Krantz (as Eda Heineman)
Charles Mendick ...
Lugash - District Attorney
Frank Biro ...
The Man (as Barnet Biro)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Herself - Commercial Spokeswoman
June Graham ...
Herself - Substitute Commercial Spokeswoman
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Storyline

A woman witnesses a murder during a store robbery but claims the accused man is not the killer. After he is convicted and weeks away from his execution date, she sees the real killer, but the police are reluctant to reopen the case.

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Drama

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Release Date:

17 August 1953 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Gowns by Samuel Winston. See more »

Goofs

When Ellen Morrison recants that Joe Palica is not the murderer when sees the real killer in the bar; the police never ask her to look through the mug books as time goes by with Palica on death row. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Betsy Palmer Witnesses Murder
27 February 2009 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Glamorous socialite Betsy Palmer (as Ellen Morrison) goes into a "lower class" drug store for a turkey sandwich, but gets ham instead. While accustomed to champagne and caviar, pretty Ms. Palmer decides she likes tasting how "the other half" lives, and makes a call to arrange to have one of her dinner parties at the drug store. While Palmer is in the telephone booth, the pharmacy is robbed - and, the proprietor is shot dead, in front of his hysterical wife. From the telephone booth, Palmer sees the murderer.

Palmer and the victim's wife are joined as eyewitnesses by a couple who saw the killer exit the drug store. When detectives Gene Lyons (as Paul Cochran) and Ralph Dunn (as MacReynolds) arrange a police "line-up", Palmer is late for the party. In her absence, the witnesses identify the killer - it's James Dean (as Joe Palica). Young Mr. Dean has a record, and cannot account for his whereabouts on the night in question. But, Palmer, when asked to corroborate, isn't sure Dean is the killer she saw. Still, Dean receives the "Sentence of Death".

With Dean's execution approaching, Palmer insists he is the wrong man - especially, after seeing, in a bar, the man she claims in the actual killer. The authorities won't revisit the case, but Palmer's insistence causes one of the detectives, Mr. Lyons, to re-investigate, on his own. Palmer's life may be in danger, and Lyons' job is on the line. And, if Dean didn't kill the druggist, can he be saved in time?

This is an intriguing and well-preformed teleplay. Palmer is the star, and she is exceptional. With pages and pages of script to deliver, Palmer has but one faltering moment, which she manages quite nicely. Of course, Dean is the remaining cast's stand-out. He has a featured role, as the accused killer receiving the "Sentence of Death". Dean evokes the sympathy required for the character very well, and with his inimitable style. The ending is a little too rushed and contrived, but this is a very nicely done "Studio One".

******* Sentence of Death (8/17/53) Matt Harlib ~ Betsy Palmer, Gene Lyons, James Dean, Ralph Dunn


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