The Case of the Lost Last Act
Airdate: Saturday, March 21, 1959
This page contains plot information, including
the resolution to the murder.
Enter at your own risk.
PlotA play is being put on. Ernest Royce is writing a play in which nobody likes, and during the reading, the last act turns up missing. This play, which is based on real life, is one that nobody seems to like. John Gifford, the producer, wants the play rewritten, as does most of the cast. Royce refuses. As backing, Royce has borrowed money from Frank Brooks, and also cast his girlfriend in the show. Brooks decides to pull out and wants his money back because Ernest is having a fling with his girlfriend, Faith Foster. Later that evening, while rewriting the lost last act, Royce is killed. Brooks visits Perry and offers $10,000 to represent him because he thinks that the police will be looking for him for Ernest's murder. Brooks has a record, and is worried that this will be all the reason the police need to arrest him. Perry refuses the money because he doesn't see any reason for Brooks to be worried. Brooks goes back to Faith's apartment, and tries to get her to leave town. During the conversation, he finds out that Faith was eavesdropping on the conversation he had with Royce, and that she thinks he killed Royce. As he is leaving, Lt. Tragg shows up and arrests him. Perry begins investigating and starts talking to John Gifford. Gifford has previously produced 4 of Royce's plays, all of which were flops. Perry wonders why Gifford would produce another play when none of the other ones were any good. He also wonders why James West, Gifford's publicist, has a strong dislike for Royce. Upon more digging, Perry finds out that Helen Dwight, the star of the play and Gifford's wife, has a run of the play contract. This means that Helen Dwight was bound to the play until it closes. Perry then asks more questions of Michael Dwight, Helen's brother. Michael is not shy about his hatred for Royce. Paul finds out that the police have found that the bullet that killed Royce came from the same gun that was used to kill a criminal named Rick Valponi in New York 12 year previous. Turns out that Brooks was also operating in New York at the same time. At this point, Perry deduces that Royce must have been killed by one of the real-life characters he was writing about in the play. During the trial, Burger plays a tape recording of the conversation between Brooks and Royce on the evening of the murder. Using this, and testimony from other witnesses, Burger is able to paint a strong circumstantial case against Brooks. Perry attempts to tie the events of the Valponi murder in with the Royce murder. His theory is that the play Royce was writing was about the Valponi murder, and the lost last act reveals the real killer. Proceeding along this line, Perry attempts to bring the person guilty of both murders out into the open. Perry starts to ask Gifford why he would pay money to back a play that he had not read, and by someone who hadn't had a hit play. When confronted by all of the evidence, a copy of the lost last act, and asked where the gun is that killed Valponi, pulls it out of his pocket thinking that Helen had killed Royce. About to take the blame, Perry tells him that Helen did not kill Royce, or Valponi for that matter. This causes West to jump up and accuse Michael of the murders. Naturally, he then confesses. After the trial, when Tragg asks Perry where he found the lost last act, Perry shows him that it was just a bunch of blank papers.