The Big Story: Season 9, Episode 16

Until Proven Guilty (17 Jan. 1958)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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Episode credited cast:
James Dickey ...
Prosecuting Attorney
Lt. Alameda
William Griffis ...
Defense Attorney
Jock MacGregor ...
Bus Bergen
Himself - Narrator
Katherine Meskill ...
Victor Thorley ...
J.B. Drews


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Release Date:

17 January 1958 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Not bad at all!
17 March 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

THE BIG STORY – Until Proved Guilty – 1958

This television series was a spin-off of the popular radio series of the same name. It features stand-alone stories with no recurring characters. (Except the narrator) The series ran for 293 episodes between 1949 and 1958. Each episode tells a real life story that was broken by a newspaper reporter. (Their Big Story) The series was hosted at various times by Norman Rose, Ben Grauer and Burgess Meredith. The narrator explains where the action takes place, and names the real reporter and the newspaper involved.

This episode takes place outside Cleveland Ohio. A millionaire type, Victor Thorley, arrives at a house and storms inside. A young child playing on the street hears arguing coming from inside the house. Thorley leaves and drives off. Sometime later the child notices the front door open, and goes for a look. Her eyes go wide and she screams.

The Police are summoned and find the woman inside dead. Newsman Lin McCarthy gets a call to look into the possible story. Millionaire Thorley is big news. Thorley is soon grabbed up and slapped in jail. Thorley claims he argued with the woman, his ex-wife, but that she was fine when he drove off.

The coroner does an autopsy and announces that the woman had died of cyanide poisoning. Found on the scene was a large amount of cyanide based rat killer, the fumes of which the coroner says had killed the woman. Thorley admits to buying the rat killer but is not sure how it got spread around. The Police of course are now sure they have their man.

Reporter McCarthy writes a series of articles covering the six week trial. With the trial going bad for Thorley, he calls McCarthy in for a talk. He tells McCarthy that he is impressed with the unbiased writing McCarthy has done so far. He tells McCarthy that he is innocent and can the reporter help. McCarthy agrees to have a deeper look. He discovers that the family dog had survived the cyanide fumes. How could the dog have lived if the woman had died?

Another battery of tests is done and it turns out the woman had really kicked off because of a bum ticker. Thorley is found not guilty.

Also in the cast is, James Dickey and a 30 year old Dana Elcar. Elcar was bald even then. James Dickey is best known for writing the novel and screenplay for DELIVERANCE.

Also of note with this particular episode is the producer, Stuart Rosenberg. Rosenberg started out producing and directing television. He is best known though as the director of the big screen hits, COOL HAND Luke, THE DROWNING POOL, THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN, POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE and BRUBAKER.

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