1950-04-13 The Disappearance of Mr Dizzel

Disappearance of Mr. Dizzel was a re-use of the script from 1945-06-12 The Strange Case of Mr. Strange. It's an interesting script for a while but the details of the disappearance end up being simplistic and defy the mildest application of practical scrutiny.

For many years this episode circulated in bad sound, and no one was able to figure out the title or the spelling. In the 1970s, it would be listed as "The Disappearance of Adam Gazelle" or other approximations.

ADC continuity notes (the same for both broadcasts)...
The servants of a wealthy dealer in rare books return from their night off to see two men helping a third out or the house and inside they find bullet holes and bloodstains, but no body. Police believe that someone broke in and kidnapped the old man, and his nephew who has been friendly with several questionable characters is suspected. Ransom notes arrive at the nephew's door. The old man has been hiding in the fireplace chimney of his own den and has slipped the notes under the door himself at night in order to secure money to leave the country because his crooked dealings in book have been discovered by the other dealers.

00:50 There are some what may be considered caricatured portrayals of black servants (Louella and Henry Clarence) who work for Mr. Dizzel, speaking with exaggerated accents. It sounds like actors of that background (I suspect portraying the parts as they were "supposed" to sound) and are not imitations by other actors. They are not identified in the credits, but we know Casey only identified central characters and not supporting ones. Since we don't have the network copies of either broadcast or the scripts, we may never know. Cotsworth was very active quietly behind-the-scenes in getting helping actors get into roles on Broadway and radio and situations that broke some barriers. Perhaps that is the case here; again, we're 70 years removed from the day of broadcast so we can't be sure.

It's assumed from the beginning that Dizzel was kidnapped and there will be a call for ransom.

Professor Ishka is rare book thief who wants to do well and make amends after his release from prison. He goes to Casey because he knows the authorities won't believe him and doesn't want to be considered a snitch.

Bruce Madden, Jr. is a well-known extortionist. Neil Lawrence is Dizzel's nephew. Logan thinks they're in cahoots. Madden, Sr. cut his son off for his playboy and spendthrift ways. The Maddens are only referenced; they have no lines.

Another book dealer, Paul Vladimir, is killed later, at the same time as the Dizzel incident occurs, and the same kind of gun was used. We learn he was Ishka's brother.

8:00 Ann is suspicious of a kidnap plot from the beginning.

9:05 The ransom letter appears, placed under Lawrence's door. It's Dizzel's handwriting and says the kidnappers want $150,000. That's more than $1.6 million in 2020 dollars.

11:15 The indication is made by Louella that the building has been renovated with an impractical layout in the conversion from home to book shop. Moving from room-to-room is not intuitively navigated. This plays into the solution. 12:35 It's noted that there are phone extensions all over the house. In 1950, this was considered to be a sign of affluence because of the high costs. More than 35% of homes did not have phones in 1950.

14:15 Ann is still skeptical of Lawrence as the kidnapper.

14:46 Mr. Evans, a new customer at the Blue Note, diverts Ethelbert's attention; not sure which actor is doubling here. While Ethelbert steps away, Professor Ishka gets Casey's ear for a while and gives him some insights into Dizzel's dealings, which were not always ethical. He says that Vladimir was his brother and Dizzel killed him. Dizzel was a fence for stolen books, and that Dizzel was not kidnapped and is still alive, hiding.

18:45 Another envelope has been found. 19:05 It's a letter of instruction from Dizzel to his nephew. Casey gets suspicious. The note was tied to a piece of fire brick, not a rock. For some reason, this is a clue to Casey. He asks for some tear gas canisters.

20:58 The tear gas is dropped into a chimney -- and Dizzel comes out, gasping for air, from behind a bookcase with a gun! He drops the gun and surrenders.

21:35 The tear gas spills into the area, affecting Casey. He says he hasn't "cried so much since the Dodgers... well, you know..." He's could be referring to the 1949 World Series where the Dodgers lost to the Yankees in five games https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1949_WS.shtml but more likely the 1947 series where the Dodgers lost in seven games https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1947_WS.shtml Since this is a re-used script, this line may have been added. If the 1945 script had a World Series reference that was left intact, it would refer to the 1941 series https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1941_WS.shtml  This is another reference that implies Casey is based in New York.

Back at the Blue Note, Casey explains that Dizzel had a hiding place in the house where he could store stolen books and was using the room hide until he could escape with his own ransom money. It's unlikely his staying in the room could be pulled off in practical daily life. There's no mention of a lavatory in the hiding place, and servants and his nephew would have heard him using such for personal hygiene, or his having to leave the room for that. Dizzel was raiding the kitchen when everyone else in the house was asleep, and eventually he would have been detected, even accidentally by spilling something or dropping something. He would have been found out, just by moving around in an older home with its usual creakiness of floorboards and doors.

23:40 Ann is having a date with Mr. Lawrence, whom she always knew was innocent. Casey is mildly jealous.

The AFRS closing is "This is the United States Armed Forces Radio Service, the voice of information and education."

Casey 50-04-13 336 The Disappearance of Mr Dizzel AFRS.mp3
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There are no newspaper clippings associated with this particular presentation.

This was not the episode originally promoted for this date. The substitution was made after the press releases were sent. The announced performance was done on another date, likely with a slightly different title.

1950-04-07 CBS Press Release
Casey, Crime Photographer - Page 7 1950-140