Suspense: Season 2, Episode 38

Photo Finish (23 May 1950)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller
6.6
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The former medical examiner who had falsified information in a murder case years earlier returns to town. Lawyer Robert Quartermain, who was involved in the trial, kills the ex-examiner, ... See full summary »

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Title: Photo Finish (23 May 1950)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Ralph Clanton ...
Robert Quartermain
...
Margaret Quartermain
...
Mercer
Don Appell ...
Willy Fergus
Lou Herbert ...
Mack
Rex Marshall ...
Himself
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Storyline

The former medical examiner who had falsified information in a murder case years earlier returns to town. Lawyer Robert Quartermain, who was involved in the trial, kills the ex-examiner, careful to leave no clues behind. But, he hadn't planned on having his picture taken by a street photographer when he was leaving the scene of the crime. Realizing the shutterbug possesses the only evidence against him, Quartermain is frantic to find the man and retrieve that picture. Written by Jay Phelps <jaynashvil@aol.com>

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23 May 1950 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Live Murder
9 March 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

PHOTO FINISH - 1950

A man, Ralph Clanton, slowly rises up from a body lying on the floor. He checks to see if the man is indeed dead, then starts to wipe down the room. Fingerprints, cigarette butts and all trace that Clanton had been there are eliminated. He grabs his hat and coat and slips out the door of the apartment. "Hold it!" a voice booms.

Clanton looks up and sees Don Appell, a street curb photographer, snap his picture. "Only a buck mister and I'll send you three top flight copies! Just fill out this card and send me the buck in coin or stamps." Clanton grabs the card and heads off down the street. At home he burns all the evidence he took from the dead man's apartment. Clanton is soon joined by his wife, Eileen Heckart. She asks how his day was. Clanton responds that he is tired and is calling it an early night. Heckart hangs up Clanton's jacket and finds the photographer's card. She pockets the card.

Next day the scene switches back to the murdered man's room. Police Detective Richard Boone is standing over the body asking the coroner for a time of death. In walks Clanton whom we now discover is the District Attorney. Boone tells Claxton that who ever did the killing knew how to clean up after the deed. The dead man was an ex-medical examiner named Marshall. It seems he had been fired 15 years before for taking bribes to falsify evidence.

Clanton, in private practice at the time, had used the man to help get a client off. Marshall had returned to town several weeks ago and was trying a spot of blackmail on Clanton. This of course did not work out well in Marshall's favor. "I'll keep digging but I doubt we can solve this one." Says Boone.

Clanton leaves and quickly runs into the street photographer again. "Willy Fergus is my name and photos are my game," bellows Appell. Clanton realizes that Appell is a loose end that needs to be taken care of. Clanton returns home to get the photographer's card. Unable to find it he decides to pay Appell a personal visit and retrieve the incriminating evidence. Appell lets Clanton in and then does a look through his files for the photos. The whole time he is yapping about the murder on the street where he works. He finds a picture and pulls it out. Appell looks at the picture, then Clanton, then back to the photo. He sees the address on the wall behind Clanton.

Appell's eyes open wide as he realizes he has a photo of the killer. Clanton reacts quickly and brains Appell with a handy blunt object. Clanton rolls Appell's body out of the way and rifles through the negatives. He finds the card Appell had given him before. It seems wife Heckart had filled out the card and sent it in. The rest of the photos etc had already been mailed to Clanton's house.

Clanton beats the feet home where Detective Boone is waiting with an update on the Marshall case. Heckart enters the room while opening the envelope from the photographer. Clanton grabs for the envelope scattering the contents, which Boone picks up. He looks at the photos, then at Clanton. Boone's eyes narrow as he starts toward Clanton. The game is up! The story was by Robert Stevens and the screenplay by Alvin Sapinsley. The director was vet TV helmsman Robert Stevens.

Again, I'm amazed at how much story can be crammed into a 25 min runtime. An excellent example of early television noir!


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