Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
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Where Have You Gone, Billy Boy? 

A shy ventriloquist is suspected of murdering a ruthless comedy club owner.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Fletcher
Dennis Stanton
Kate Kelley
Brenda McCoy
Sally Templeton
Joe Gelardi
Tom Benzinger
Elwood 'Woody' Perkins
Robert Butler
Lt. Catalano
Rhoda Markowitz
Vic DeMarco
Mike Jolly ...
David Stenstrom ...
Budding Comic
Jeffrey Jena ...
Comic #2


Dennis Stanton tells Jessica, after complaining about a character obviously modeled on him, about a real case: the $10,000 insurance on Billy-boy, the missing, wooden puppet of ventriloquist Elwood 'Woody' Perkins. It turns out that Elwood is too shy, without this sassy prop, to speak to anyone including his girlfriend Brenda McCoy and manager-youth buddy Tom Benzinger, who pushed him to sign up as opening act in Vegas with Vic DeMarco. However Stanton gets a call about Billy's exact whereabouts in the basement of the comedy club where Woody is held 7 months longer to a contract with Kate Kelley, who bosses even her grudgingly 'silent' business partner Joe Gelardi. Alas her corps lies next to the puppet and police lieutenant Catalano arrests Woody, but after interviewing him with Billy Stanton is determined to expose the real murder plot. Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 March 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is from a line in the song "Billy Boy" concerning the topic of courtship and dates from an unknown source in 19th century America. "Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Oh, where have you been, Charming Billy? I have been to seek a wife, She's the joy of my life, She's a young thing And cannot leave her mother." See more »


References City Lights (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

A tough act to appreciate
13 August 2017 | by See all my reviews

The Dennis Stanton character is in some ways a male version of Jessica - kindly, thoughtful, widowed - which makes it easier for the viewer to forgive Jessica's absence. That, and the presence of Dennis's likable and level-headed sidekick Rhoda. The portrayal of show business goings-on is laughably improbable - then again, so is the entire premise of a retired schoolteacher from a village in Maine becoming a coast-to-coast publishing phenomenon, and yet we gladly suspend our disbelief for that one. The direction and camera work are great and there are moments of ingenious, laugh-out-loud humor, perhaps unmatched in other stories of the show. Sadly, these are buried under the big weight of that age-old cringe-worthy cliché - the ventriloquist's dummy. Deeper issues the dummy might symbolize - of identity, repression and searching for one's voice in a relationship and in the world at large - are only vaguely hinted at, thus keeping us planted in cliché territory. All in all, a decent episode, although I did find myself hitting the fast-forward button during the dummy's monologues.

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