1947-12-11 The New Will

The New Will is an episode where Cole encourages some empathy for the perpetrator of the crime. In the end, it's a variant of "the butler did it," but we'll excuse it in this case because the reasons are non-traditional. This is almost Whistler-like, with a contentious haggling over who will inherit a fortune when there is severe disagreement with the potential inheritor's marriage plans. There are two interrelated paths of crime in the story, one about the will, and the other about the murder. This is a better than average episode. I gets a little preachy at the end, understandable in light of issues of recovery for post-WW2 Eastern Europe and possibly related to news of the beginnings of the Hollywood blacklist era.

ADC continuity notes...
Ruthless, domineering Bradford Randall has acquired a huge fortune by methods that were questionable. When Agatha, his willful, spoiled daughter and only heir, announces her intention of marrying a fortune-hunting "Count", Randall forbids the match and threatens to disinherit her it she doesn't accede to his wishes. She and the "Count" leave the house in a rage. Knowing she will be back, and to convince her his threat is genuine, Randall instructs his brow-beaten attorney, Howard Devins, to draw up a new will and to bring it to him for signature that night. Devins does so and the will, leaving the estate to charity, is duly signed and witnessed. After it is shown to Agatha and she renounces her marriage plans, Randall means to destroy it. But, in the morning, he is found shot to death. Casey and Ann are assigned to cover the murder and they find good reason to consider Agatha, the "Count" and Devins, prime suspects. When the new will mysteriously disappears, suspicion of the three is heightened and, on its reappearance, a fourth person and then a fifth becomes tightly involved in the web of circumstantial evidence. It is not until after Casey has followed many misleading clues and given himself a severe headache that he finally pins the crime on the true killer.

Bradford was the name of a small road in the park that Cole would have walked through to get the commuter train to Manhattan.

4:40 Cole reuses "Fieldston" as the name of the butler. But he used the name just a few episodes ago in 1947-10-09 Wedding Breakfast. At that time we noted it was a place, not a person.

5:00 We meet Sophie the maid. She is asked to witness the new will, but she says she was told never to sign a document she does not understand. This forces the lawyer to explain the nature of the new will and where the inheritance would go. This scene is key to the story. The sound of signing sounds more like a pencil than it does a pen. The sound effect is exaggerated, and sounds like using a stylus of some kind on fine sand paper. Like many sound effects, they had to be different than what was heard in real life to convey what was happening. This is similar to car engine sound effects which were always much louder and aggressive in radio than they were in real life because the "real" sound would be confusing or too low in volume or sound like something else.

6:25 Walter speaks! Ethelbert asks for more lemons, and Walter says "Okay, Ethelbert." He's asked to bring up breakfast for Casey. Walter says "okay." It's a big day for Walter: three words. No clue who's doubling here.

7:02 Ethelbert is well into his day, and wonders why he was so tired. The man was carb-loading, with 1200 calories. He calls it "a little snack." The average daily calorie count for a "typical" person is 2000.  Casey scoots out before breakfast comes, and he tells Ethelbert to eat it so it doesn't go to waste... but it may go to "waist"... Ethelbert's!
  • 6 wheat cakes = 600 calories
  • half a grape fruit = 60 calories
  • plate of ham and eggs = 200 calories
  • 2 cups of coffee = 300 calories if with cream and sugar, as was common then
  • pineapple, 1 cup = 75 calories

8:06 The A-H commercial is about the freshness of "soluble coffee" when it comes in glass jars. That was the generic description of instant coffee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_coffee. The most successful brand at the time was Nescafe, which was not marketed until 1938. There were many instant coffees coming to market at this time.

9:30 Logan, Casey, and Ann are at Randall's home to investigate his murder. He was found in bed by a servant. He was shot in the heart with his own gun. Logan uses the word "gat."

10:53 There are 16 servants in the house... wow! According to Logan, Fieldston is a suspect as is Devins, the lawyer.

13:06 Sophie's name... is spoken so quickly it is almost impossible to transliterate, intentionally so, to underscore she is from Poland.

14:09 The room goes dark and there is great confusion. Sophie claims someone pulled the signature sheet from her hand before she could verify her signature for Logan. Who did it?

16:20 Fieldston is found on a hallway floor knocked out... and the page of the will is in his pocket! Did someone plant it there?

17:40 Casey figures out Fieldston took the will page and hid it in Casey's film case... and then retrieved it when he left the room. He finally decides to tell Logan that he was double-crossed: Count Ronova offered him $500,000 if he got the page of the will ($6 million in 2020 value! Listeners at home must have gasped at the amount). Fieldston believes they would have killed him instead of paying him. They figured out the sleight of hand with the will, but they still don't know who killed Randall.

19:15 Ethelbert uses the word "culprit" and Casey is amused the Ethelbert would use that word, claiming he got the word from "true detective comics." Our favorite bartender explains that "William D. Shakespeare mentions 'culprits,' Allen Edward Poe, and Charles Makepeace Dickens" bungling the names in the effort to seem educated, to the listener's delight. Then they have fun when Casey asks him a question about the case and Ethelbert asks if it was a "high hypothetical question" with Casey and Ann having fun with that phrase. The rest of the conversation is also amusing. The bottom line is that Devins is eliminated as a suspect.

Ann describes the background of Sophie and what happened when she was home in Poland. Casey starts to suspect Sophie did the crime. They head back to Randall's house, and she quickly admits it. She killed Randall to be sure the money went to the refugees, and she was also the person who slugged Fieldston. She explains more of the story, and Cole builds sympathy for her plight, nearly justifying her act. The two reasons were because of Randall's war profiteering, and to get funds for people who suffered as she did. She says "we who have felt war have died many times; another time doesn't matter."

26:02 Back at the Blue Note, Casey is haunted by Sophie's words. Cole brings focus on the plight of displaced persons after WW2, which was a continuing news story at the time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displaced_persons_camps_in_post-World_War_II_Europe  Sophie ends up being in a mental hospital after her conviction.

A few of weeks before this episode, possibly when Cole was still working on the script, the House of Representatives voted to approve citations of Contempt of Congress against the "Hollywood 10," who refused to co-operate with the House Un-American Activities Committee concerning allegations of communist influences in the movie business. The ten included writer Lester Cole, who was not a relation of Alonzo Deen Cole, even though they shared the same name. They were blacklisted by the studios the next day. This may be one of the reasons behind Cole's Blue Note epilogue discussion about remembering Pearl Harbor anniversary from a few days before and the upcoming Christmas holiday.

I was expecting a different plotline. I thought for sure that Randall's shady lawyer had set up the foundation named in the will as a front for a scheme to gain control of Randall's money. Too complex for this episode's plot, I guess, and not as topical as the plotline that Cole used.

This episode was reworked from Cole's script of 1943-12-04 The Last Will and Testament. Most all of his re-used scripts had new character names and places. He would alter dialogue as needed to keep the story and the banter current.

Casey 47-12-11 215 The New Will UPGRADE.mp3
Degoo https://cloud.degoo.com/e/drive-x9vasff3f8bw
hubiC  http://ovh.to/HeUnA

1947-12-11 Corpus Christi TX Caller-Times
Casey, Crime Photographer - Page 5 1947-196

1947-12-11 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
Casey, Crime Photographer - Page 5 1947-195