1947-12-18 The Life of the Party

The Life of the Party is a somewhat interesting story but there are too many strange misbehaving characters to keep track of, and the core aspect of the crime is complicated and unlikely to work as originally planned. The premise of getting out of numerous negative dysfunctional relationships in one event is very far fetched. The cast is always great to hear, and they do the best they can with a weak, and confusing script.

ADC continuity notes...
Casey and Ann, completing a routine assignment in an artist's colony known as Whittaker Grange, are about to enter their car and return to the office when they see a strangely-attired man emerge from a huge barn-like studio across the street -- which belongs to a famed sculptor, Andre Higgins. The man suddenly pulls a gleaming knife from his pocket and stabs himself. Casey and Ann rush to his side.. and are about to summon the police when a laughing crowd pours of Higgins' studio and surrounds them, as the apparent suicide victim rises to his feet and pulls a trick, collapsible knife from his chest. The incident has been a deliberate hoax and Higgins, an old acquaintance of Casey introduces the practical joker to Casey and Ann as Bert Fallon. Fallon is a wealthy middle-aged salesman who is always the life of the party. Casey and Ann join a party at the Higgins' studio. Among the guests, they meet a rich, art-patronizer, Mrs. Leland-Carmichael, noted for the diamonds she always wears - and "Blister" Hoagland, a racketeer and suspect killer. The party is beginning to get rough when Mrs. Leland-Carmichael suddenly finds that a large solitaire diamond is missing. On the heels of this discovery, Fallon, the practical joker, is found really dead. Casey gets to work - and the exciting mystery is solved.

1:50 "Gedney's Close" is the name of the street. "Gedney" is a main road in White Plains, not far from Mount Vernon. "Close" is a common designation in the UK for a "cul de sac" or "dead end." The selection of the street designation is to make it sound more cultured than "alley."

2:06 Casey and Ann are visiting an art studio to view some new sculptures. The dialogue sets up all of the characters and their backgrounds. One of Cole's funnier criminal names is used in this episode, "Blister Hoagland." Other key characters are a model named Marcelle and an artist named Thompson. Marcelle has a habit of chewing gum. Remember that.

3:20 The story begins... an artist figure stabs himself. Note how quiet it is in the background. Cole set this up with the dialogue with Casey saying it was a "deserted alley" which explains the lack of sound effects. A suicide in a typical street would be noisy and a crowd would gather around such an incident with lots of murmuring and shouts. So we suspect already something is up here, but we don't know what. We soon learn it's a practical joke, and Cole writes it in such a way that we're confused just as Casey is confused, and the fog lifts as his lifts, which seems to be particularly good writing that engages the listener. At 6:37, the "late corpse, Bert Fallon" gets up. The party continues with lots of chatter (much of it enhanced by inebriation) that identifies the characters and their grudges, getting the listener on the path of suspicion for a crime that has not happened... yet.

12:56 Daisy's (Mrs. Leland-Carmichael) ring is stolen! and 13:20 Bert is found dead... for real! Note that he was the practical joker who was called the "life of the party" early in the episode, and now he is definitely not.

15:02 Everyone is at the scene of the crime. Fallon was stabbed in the neck so there would be no sound, no scream. There's a bit of arguing at the scene over who did it.

15:40 Hoagland panics that he's being accused of killing Fallon, and pulls a gun, but Andre Higgins shoots first, getting Blister "between the eyes."

18:06 Logan is told that the ring -- without the diamond -- has been found. Someone pried it out from the setting.

20:25 Brief line stumble and quick pickup - Marcelle has trouble saying "do not say I lied."

21:00 Casey thinks he solved it... Marcelle hid Daisy's diamond in her chewing gum... or did he? Thompson admits he stole the diamond and hid it in the chewing gum. Thompson has a crush on Marcelle and was trying to protect her. This is not the solution to the case.

22:25 Casey leaves the Blue Note to do some thinking about Ethelbert's comment about getting rid of "pests"... and goes to visit Andre, alone. Casey starts talking about all of the people at the party, reviewing personalities and motives. Casey thinks the collection of personalities annoyed Andre, and he planned the events knowing that there would be conflict, and he could get rid of them all of once and be free of the "friends" who were wrecking his life.

24:35 After Casey realizes his theory is correct, he says that Andre's reaction tells him it was correct. Cole gives us another way of letting us know there's a firearm in the room. "What does this reaction tell you?" says Andre. We know it's a gun because of the well-timed silence before the next line of dialogue. Shortly after, Logan and other cops are there to stop Andre, just in time.

26:54 The Blue Note epilogue has Casey telling Ethelbert it was their conversation about "pests" that led him to figure out the case.

28:05  Ethelbert says he'd like to "make a clean sweep of a lot pests..." and he can't finish the line because Grace says "Goodnight, Ethelbert." He realizes that he didn't want Casey to think that Grace was a pest, so he stumbles over his words and says, chuckling, "Goodnight, Grace." We don't know who was doubling as Grace.

Casey 47-12-18 216 The Life of the Party UPGRADE-2.mp3
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1947-12-18 Cincinnati OH Enquirer
Casey, Crime Photographer - Page 5 1947-197

1947-12-18 Corpus Christi TX Caller-Times
Casey, Crime Photographer - Page 5 1947-198

1947-12-18 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
Casey, Crime Photographer - Page 5 1947-199