An apparently legitimate businessman named Masterson provides a "transportation maintenance service" to trucking companies. Jim Hawley's trucking company refuses to sign and experiences numerous costly breakdowns despite careful work by his mechanics. Dan Mathews finds that many of the breakdowns occur after the drivers have visited the Walnut Cafe and that two café employees (Artie and Jenkins) have ties to Masterson. Dan convinces Hawley to subscribe to Masterson's service while making certain that costly breakdowns continue. Masterson pays the claims as agreed but eventually suspects that he is being double-crossed and he confronts Artie and Jenkins at the café. The confrontation has an ironic result. Written by
Sleeper cabs in large trucks were rare in 1955 and this episode provides a look at how some of that era's roadside diners and truck stops attracted the lucrative business of truck drivers. The "Walnut Cafe" had a small detached bunkhouse where shorter-run drivers could sleep for a few minutes or hours and long-haul drivers would occasionally sleep overnight. In a conversation with Dan Mathews, the café owner describes the bunkhouse as "real good for business". See more »
Chief Dan Mathews:
A leaky gas tank can set a highway on fire. A blowout can send a truck out of control and kill a lot of people. The clutch slips today, the brakes don't hold tomorrow, then we have a mass funeral for the victims. Now, if there's no evidence that these breakdowns are premeditated, let's find out fast!
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Phony Insurance is a 1955 episode of the Brod Crawford series, HIGHWAY PATROL. This 50's staple ran for 156 episodes from 1955 to 1959.
There is something fishy going on in the trucking industry. There is an epidemic of breakdowns and cargo that just happens to fall out of trucks going on. But if you sign up with a certain "insurance service", all these problems go away. One trucking outfit has had enough and calls up the cops. The Highway Patrol sends out Captain Dan Mathews. Mathews, played by Brod Crawford, agrees something is amiss and starts snooping around. He sets his sights on the owner of the "insurance service". Said owner, Roy Engel, has people at several truck stops doing the odd bit of sabotage while drivers are having lunch etc. Police surveillance spots one of Engel's men, Bill Erwin, at work and calls Crawford. Crawford jumps in his great beast of a car and comes roaring out to put the pinch on the bum. There is a slight problem though. Erwin has decided his end of the scam is a bit light and has been telling Engel to up his take or he spills. Engel is of course not amused. By the time Crawford shows up they find Erwin has acquired a rather large hole in the back of his head. Now it is murder and Crawford pulls out all the stops. Needless to say the thugs soon cave and after a few shots are exchanged they are all rounded up. The highways are safe again.
The director of this episode was Leslie Goodwins. The d of p was Monroe Askins.
OK time waster. There is a rather creepy short public service message at the end with Crawford saying, "Leave your blood at the Red Cross and not on the Highway".
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