Well! This episode does go on, doesn’t it. Let’s wrap this puppy up.
We left Mr. Steele contemplating Alan’s wardrobe.
Now we’re watching somebody fumble through a file cabinet.
The Scooby Gang is sorting through the dead man’s files.
“His business was off thirty percent,” Laura tells them. “He let a lot of people go.”
“Murphy, why do people put an elevator in their homes?” Don’t ask Murph hard questions, Laura. You’ll only embarrass him. And Carl – ever heard of a little thing called “personal space?”
“Ummm …” See?
“‘Charles Laughton. Witness for the Prosecution,” Steele provides, while thumbling through recipe cards. Still planning that lunch?
“Had a stroke,” he adds.
“Couldn’t walk upstairs.”
Witness for the Prosecution. Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton. MGM, 1958. Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.
“He’s good,” Carl informs Laura. (So Donald is the only one who doesn’t think our detective is the bees’ knees. Guess who’s not getting a Christmas card from Steele Investigations this year.)
“Oh, brother,” grouses Murphy, silently.
“You know what I think?” Laura says. “I think Alan was a very sick man.”
I’d have thought we’ve pretty well established that, Laura. Alan was a sociopath at the very least.
Laura returns to the scene of the crime. She presses the elevator button.
When the door opens … surprise! Somehow the whole crowd has materialized behind her. Sneaky devils.
“What are you doing?” Donald asks. Laura isn’t inclined to share her theories with him.
The door closes. Inexplicably, Laura makes a peace sign … or V for Victory sign? as the door slides shut.
Laura presses the UP button.
Then checks the walls.
Makes jazz hands!
Finally, she looks heavenward, presumably asking for guidance.
What’s this? Some sort of grate in the ceiling?
Aha! That’s Laura’s “I’ve got this thing figured out” look.
We get a look at a very neatly taped outline of the corpse. Really, it must have taken Donald hours to create that little homage.
The scene ends, inexplicably, on a view of the empty corridor outside the elevator.
Next we see Laura is sitting in Alan’s throne-like chair.
“Best murder,” she says. Wait. Isn’t this where we came in?
“A man gets on an elevator. He’s all alone.”
“It makes no stops, but when the doors open, he’s dead.”
Aw, Laura. That was Alan’s best murder story. You couldn’t come up with one of your own?
Now we get a voiceover as the crime is recreated in flashback.
There’s creepy Alan pressing the elevator button.
“Sometime during the day, he must have taken the belt from Sandy’s robe,” Laura’s voice continues as we see Alan not taking the belt from Sandy’s robe.
Alan gets into the elevator, closes the door. “It was already attached to the elevator cables, and sitting on top of the vent.”
Alan pulls out his tool.
Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!
“Now, I don’t know what he used, but he pulled it through the vent,” Laura explains.
“And he must have transferred MY fingerprint to the elevator button.”
Wait … what? Is that even possible?
“And then he hooked it up into a noose. He put it around his neck …”
“… and then pressed UP.”
Apparently we’re not going to see the actual demise. This was a primetime network show.
“As the elevator rose, the cable jerked the belt tight, breaking his neck,” Laura concludes. “Only that wasn’t good enough. Suicide wasn’t what he had in mind.”
Really? Then it was a pretty dumb idea to rig up this self-hanging contraption.
“So he set it up so the noose would tear. That way, by the time the elevator reached the second floor, the cable would have pulled the belt back up through the vent.”
Dead Alan again.
“So it just disappeared,” Carl notes. (Presumably he’s referring to the belt, not the coherence of this plot.)
“In every way it looked like a murder,” Donald adds.
“Why, Laura?” Sandy wants to know. “Why would he do something like that?”
Laura’s got the answer!
“It takes MONTHS to lose 35 pounds. If Alan didn’t have clothes, it was because he was somewhere he didn’t need them.”
“A hospital.” Murphy has his thinking cap on!
Okay, here’s a problem. If Sandy was Alan’s mistress, wouldn’t she notice if he went missing for several months. And when he returned, wouldn’t she say, “Hey, Alan! What’s up with the massive weight loss?”
“Remember the dog food?” Laura asks Donald. “Shelves of it. The only thing missing was-”
“A dog! We haven’t seen one all weekend.”
Well, but obviously it’s a ghost dog, like the ghost servants who cooked Mr. Steele’s breakfast and removed the funeral spray-like floral arrangements from the drawing room. Pay attention, Donald.
“When a man knows he won’t be able to take care of it, he’d probably find it another home,” Laura concludes.
Actually, creepy Alan seems more the type to take his dog with him to the grave.
“The threads. The fingerprints. He probably put the gun in Carl’s bag, then in mine,” Donald says.
He rests a hand gently on Carl’s inner thigh. I feel a new romance starting! “Why would he DO that to us?”
Carl has the answer!
“Alan was always letting us know he was better than us. He invited us here for one final, joke.”
“A last vanity, so to speak. Something to remember him by.” Oh, there you are, Mr. Steele. I thought perhaps you’d gone home.
Murphy is belatedly chivalric. “Laura, they might not have found out for years. You could have been convicted of murder. That’s no joke.”
It occurs to me that Murphy is the only one that Alan didn’t make a suspect out of in this little game. Wonder why?
“Alan was always true to his word,” Laura pooh-poohs.
“He said if we didn’t solve the murder, he’d explain it to us before we left.”
She opens Alan’s appointment book. “The elevator servicemen are coming on Monday. I’m sure they’re checking the cables. It’s just like him. They’ve have found the belt.”
And doubtless just thrown it away. Because elevator servicemen aren’t detectives or police or anybody who would know or give a damn about dead Alan and his slightly bumbling former colleagues.
Anybody else get the feeling the writer of this episode got a little sloppy about the denouement?
Next up … the tag!