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Three Sides To A Story

Episode #13
Aired 1947-09-07
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Three Sides to a Story

"Quiet, Please!"

Wyllis Cooper
No. 12

Sun., Sept., 7, 1947 - 10:00-10:30 PM EDST (Network)
Mon., Sept., 8, 1947 - 10:00-10:30 PM EDST (WOR)


REHEARSALS:
Sun., Sept. 7, 8:00-10:00 PM Studio 15

"THREE SIDES TO A STORY"

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(SEVEN SECONDS SILENCE)

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.

(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)

ANNCR: "Quiet, Please!" for tonight, written and directed by Wyllis Cooper,
and featuring Ernest Chappell, brings you two noted guest stars of the stage,
the screen and radio in Ralph Morgan and Claudia Morgan.

The story tonight is called "Three Sides to a Story."

(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE)

---

CLYDE: We were walking along this road, and it was dark, sort of like
twilight; a long straight road, and there wasn't anybody else on it. Just us
three: Victor and Frances and me, and we were walking along. It was kind of
funny we were WALKING along; as long as I can remember, I mean as long as I'd
known him, Victor has gone around in a wheel-chair. But he was walking down
the road with us. And then we came to three stones alongside the road; you
know, like milestones, sort of, and they were the only things you could see
along there in the twilight. Three stones, and there were three of us.

And I said to Victor I wonder what those stones are, and Victor said I don't
know, and then Frances spoke up, and she said I bet I know what they are,
Clyde, and we said what, and she said I bet they're our tombstones. And so we
kind of laughed and walked on a little farther, and all of a sudden there was
a big red glow in the sky ahead, and it looked like a fire, and we wondered
what it was. After a minute or two we could see the flames, even, and it
looked like it was the biggest fire any of us had ever seen. And we kept
walking down the road toward it. And we still didn't know what it was.

(MUSIC ... HAS COME IN QUIETLY AT ABOUT "ALL OF A SUDDEN THERE WAS..." AND NOW
COMES UP TO A LONG ACCENT. THEN THERE IS SILENCE FOR A FEW SECONDS.)

CLYDE: I want to tell you the story, how we three came to be walking down this
road at night toward this fire. We lived in California. Beautiful little house
up on top of a hill, 'way up in Topanga Canyon, which is one of the passes
across the mountains from the ocean to the San Fernando Valley. Beautiful
view, you know, with a little private road running up to the house, and a drop
of six or seven hundred feet practically right off the front porch. Victor was
retired. Been a doctor in Michigan, got some disease that put him permanently
into a wheelchair. Came out to California in 1938. Married Frances two years
ago. They hired me as a kind of handyman, companion, what have you: push
Victor around in the wheelchair – and the top of a mountain in Topanga Canyon
is a swell place for a wheelchair, believe me. Well, so I got to be kind of
one of the family. You know how it is. You know, there's more than one side to
every story. This is my side. Honestly, I hadn't noticed it till one day last
fall, when Frances and I were sitting on the porch having a cold drink. Victor
was in the house taking a nap. I was just sitting there, looking down the
hillside.

FRANCES: You know what, Clyde?

CLYDE: What?

FRANCES: You're awfully good-looking.

CLYDE: Well, thanks, Frances.

FRANCES: No, I mean it.

CLYDE: You're good-looking too.

FRANCES: Mm-hm.

CLYDE: I got to drive over to Canoga Park for the groceries.

FRANCES: Ah, stay here a while. There's no rush. Maybe I'll go with you.

CLYDE: Well ... have to go pretty soon.

FRANCES: You've got the nicest hair.

CLYDE: I ought to give you a quarter.

FRANCES: No, really.

CLYDE: I ought to get a job in pictures.

FRANCES: You'd be terrific.

CLYDE: They put caps on your teeth.

FRANCES: You got good teeth.

CLYDE: You want another drink?

FRANCES: I don't think so. (A PAUSE) Yes, sir, you're quite a hunk of man,
boy.

CLYDE: You ain't so bad yourself.

FRANCES: Oh, ME! You know, if I'd met you before I met Victor, I could have
gone for you.

CLYDE: Well, I'm going for the groceries.

FRANCES: Oh, sit still. There's lots of time. And we're having fun.

CLYDE: You are.

FRANCES: What d'you mean?

CLYDE: Ribbing me.

FRANCES: I'm not ribbing you, Clyde.

CLYDE: What do you call it, then?

FRANCES: (LAUGHS) I'm making love to you.

CLYDE: Cut it out, Frances.

FRANCES: Yes, sir, if it wasn't for Victor ...

CLYDE: Maybe we out to knock him off.

FRANCES: Maybe we ought to.

CLYDE: Well, I'm going to get the car. (HE GETS UP)

FRANCES: Wait a minute.

CLYDE: Huh?

FRANCES: Gimme kiss.

CLYDE: Ah, come on, now...

FRANCES: I said gimme kiss. (A PAUSE) Come here. (HE MOVES TO HER) Now.

CLYDE: Listen, Frances, Victor –

FRANCES: Now (THEY KISS) Why, Clyde! How nice!

(MUSIC ... FOR A QUICK TRANSITION)

VICTOR: As Clyde said, there is more than one side to a story. I want to tell
my side. Victor, Frances' husband. The man in the wheelchair.

I wasn't asleep. I had been, but Frances' voice is sometimes louder that she
thinks it is, and it awakened me. There's one thing about a wheelchair. It
moves quite silently. I had rolled over to the doorway just in time to see
Frances and Clyde embracing. And I quickly slid it out of sight. I don't know
why. I suppose it was more or less instinctive. And I waited till he went down
the porch steps before I pushed the door open.

SOUND: (A DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES)

FRANCES: Oh! Are you awake?

VICTOR: Obviously, my dear.

FRANCES: Clyde's gone for the groceries.

VICTOR: I thought I heard his voice.

FRANCES: He just left. Have a good sleep?

VICTOR: Very nice.

FRANCES: Like a drink?

VICTOR: I think I'll wait.

FRANCES: There goes Clyde now.

SOUND: (AS A CAR IS HEARD TO PASS)

VICTOR: (CALLS) Hi, boy!

SOUND: (AND THE CAR DISAPPEARS)

VICTOR: What's the matter with him?

FRANCES: Why?

VICTOR: Why, he looked sort of embarrassed or something.

FRANCES: Oh, you're crazy, Victor.

VICTOR: He's a big handsome brute, isn't he?

FRANCES: Who, Clyde? Oh, sure.

VICTOR: Wonder how tall he is.

FRANCES: I'm sure I don't know.

VICTOR: You know, I was five feet ten before I took to this chair.

FRANCES: I know.

VICTOR: These big huskies; you know, they never realize how lucky they are.

FRANCES: Why?

VICTOR: I mean compared to me. I know I never gave it a thought when I was in
good health.

FRANCES: Oh, don't talk that way, Victor. You've got a lot of things Clyde
hasn't got.

VICTOR: I've got you, dear.

FRANCES: I mean like money.

VICTOR: Money really isn't so important.

FRANCES: You know, Victor, I wonder why it is ... (SHE STOPS)

VICTOR: Why what is, dear?

FRANCES: Why people who have lots of money are always the ones who make that
crack. About money not being important.

VICTOR: Well, I suppose you have to have money first to discover how
unimportant it is. I suppose that's it.

FRANCES: I'd sure like to have the chance to find out whether it is or not.

VICTOR: Are you hinting that I ought to increase your allowance?

FRANCES: No; no, I don't mean that. I mean I'd like to have just – just
buckets of money!

VICTOR: We're fairly well-fixed, you know.

FRANCES: I know, but that's your money, Victor! I'd like to have bags and bags
of my own!

VICTOR: Well, all you have to do, my dear, is wait till I die.

FRANCES: Oh, but I want it – (SHE STOPS) I'm sorry, Victor.

VICTOR: (CURIOUSLY) What would you do with it?

FRANCES: Why, I'd – buy all the clothes in the world, and I'd travel – I'd go
to San Francisco and Santa Barbara and New York, and –

VICTOR: And leave me here roosting on a mountainside. I'm glad you haven't got
it.

FRANCES: Oh, Victor, I didn't mean – I'm sorry.

VICTOR: Oh, forget it, darling. I couldn't resist the temptation to kid you a
little.

FRANCES: Well, I am sorry.

VICTOR: I'll tell you what. It is rough on you being cooped up here. Why don't
you have Clyde drive you up to Santa Barbara tomorrow or the next day?

FRANCES: Oh, Victor! Really?

VICTOR: I guess we can afford it.

FRANCES: Oh, gee, and I can get some new clothes –

VICTOR: And I think I can trust Clyde with you.

FRANCES: What!

VICTOR: I mean trust him not to let you buy too much.

FRANCES: Oh! (A PAUSE) Shall I get you a drink now?

(MUSIC ... UP FOR A SWIFT TRANSITION)

FRANCES: So now you want to hear my side of the story.

Well, I'm not quite ready to tell it yet. And I may surprise you when I do
tell you.

Let Clyde tell you some more.

Here, Clyde.

CLYDE: Well, I drove her to Santa Barbara. Victor said he'd be all right in
the house alone for one day. He said be back by evening, though. So we started
just before sunset, coming down the Coast Road. I was kind of wondering about
Frances, you know ... but she didn't say a thing out of the ordinary, so I
figured well, let it pass. We were just passing Point Mugu, you know, where
the Japanese fishing village used to be before the war and now the Navy shoots
rockets or something like that, and Frances said pull up, so I pulled off the
road. Well, I said?

FRANCES: You can kiss me now, Clyde

CLYDE: Oh, I can, huh?

FRANCES: Yes.

CLYDE: Listen, Frances.

FRANCES: Please, Clyde.

CLYDE: Well ...

FRANCES: Clyde, I think Victor saw us.

CLYDE: What? When?

FRANCES: Yesterday afternoon. When you kissed me.

CLYDE: He was asleep!

FRANCES: I don't think he was.

CLYDE: Oh, my gosh, Frances.

FRANCES: So one more kiss won't hurt.

CLYDE: Listen, Frances –

FRANCES: Just one more, though.

CLYDE: I –

FRANCES: Don't you love me?

CLYDE: Frances, listen to me. You're Victor's wife, and I like Victor, and –

FRANCES: Why, I like him too, Clyde. I guess maybe you better not kiss me,
after all.

CLYDE: Well, I –

FRANCES: You're right. Let's drive on. It's getting dark, and I worry about
Victor.

CLYDE: So do I.

FRANCES: Gee, it was fun today. With a lot of money to spend. I wish I really
had a lot of money –

CLYDE: Gosh, Victor's got a lot, hasn't he?

FRANCES: Oh, sure. And if he dies I'll get – oh, I mustn't talk that way!

CLYDE: No, don't.

FRANCES: I worry about him sometimes, Clyde. You know, in that wheelchair ...
if he'd ever roll off the porch up there, why, he'd fall all the way down the
mountainside. Why, he'd be smashed to pieces! Wouldn't he? (A PAUSE) Wouldn't
he?

(MUSIC ... FOR A TRANSITION)

VICTOR: Frances kissed Clyde again today.

I said a wheelchair is remarkably silent.

They didn't hear me as I wheeled myself from the living room to the kitchen.
And they didn't see me.

I didn't speak until they had moved away from each other, but if I have ever
seen guilt written on two persons' faces, I saw it then.

It's been two months since I saw that first kiss, on the porch.

Was this the second? Or ...

I'm a suspicious fool!

Of course my wife loves me!

Of course Clyde is a loyal friend!

What am I thinking of?

FRANCES: (DISTANT) I mean I'd like to have just – just buckets of money.

VICTOR: I am a suspicious fool

FRANCES: (DISTANT) Oh, but I want it –

VICTOR: I am a suspicious fool.

I must have Clyde oil this wheelchair. I think I detected the faintest squeak
in this right wheel ...

(MUSIC ... FOR A TRANSITION)

CLYDE: It would be nice to be married to Frances, wouldn't it? I think she's
the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. It's funny, how long have I been here
with them, and I never particularly noticed before how beautiful she is.

Victor's changed, though, hasn't he?

I never used to notice how stingy he is.

Poor Frances.

She deserves everything in the world. Money and good times and everything.

Well, I like Victor, sure; but it'll be a great break for Frances when he
dies.

She'll be rich, like she wants to be.

I wonder where I'll fit into the picture then.

What am I thinking about?

Victor's my friend, even if I do work for him.

And Frances is his wife!

I've got to stop this!

I'll be thinking about murdering the guy next thing!

SOUND: (A DOOR SWINGS OPEN)

CLYDE: Why, hello, Frances ...

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT AND SEGUE TO TRANSITION)

FRANCES: What were you thinking about then, Clyde?

CLYDE: What d'you mean? When?

FRANCES: When I came out on the porch just now.

CLYDE: Why...just thinking.

FRANCES: About me?

CLYDE: Well...

FRANCES: Were you?

CLYDE: Kind of.

FRANCES: You're a nice boy. And Frances loves you.

CLYDE: Where's Victor?

FRANCES: Upstairs. Reading. You know what I wish?

CLYDE: What?

FRANCES: I wish you and I could go for a ride.

CLYDE: Well, we can't. You know that.

FRANCES: Sure, I know it. But the moon's so nice. Wouldn't you like to,
though?

CLYDE: But we can't.

FRANCES: I know it. But there's no harm in saying we'd like to. Is there?

CLYDE: Course not.

FRANCES: What would we do? Would we drive down to the beach?

CLYDE: I guess so.

FRANCES: Would you kiss me?

CLYDE: Frances!

FRANCES: Would you?

CLYDE: Stop it, Frances.

FRANCES: Don't you love me, Clyde?

CLYDE: Frances, please –

FRANCES: Don't you?

CLYDE: Please –

FRANCES: Clyde- -

CLYDE: (BURSTS OUT AT LAST) You know I love you –

FRANCES: (QUICKLY) Shhhhh! Be careful!

CLYDE: You said he was upstairs.

FRANCES: Well, he's not deaf.

CLYDE: I'm sorry.

FRANCES: I'm not.

CLYDE: Well, now you know.

FRANCES: Yes, now I know. (A PAUSE) Clyde.

CLYDE: What? I'm going in.

FRANCES: No. wait. (A PAUSE) It'd be awfully nice being married to you.

CLYDE: Frances! Don't say that!

FRANCES: Wouldn't you like it?

CLYDE: Yes, but –

FRANCES: But what?

CLYDE: Victor.

FRANCES: Mm-hm. Clyde, do you love me enough to do something for me?

CLYDE: Pretty near anything.

FRANCES: Anything?

CLYDE: Anything. What do you want me to do?

FRANCES: Nothing, now.

CLYDE: What d'you mean?

FRANCES: I'll ask you to do something for me some day. Will you do it then?

CLYDE: What is it?

FRANCES: I'll ask you some day. Promise you will?

CLYDE: I promise. But I wish –

FRANCES: Kiss me, darling.

CLYDE: Wait! Listen!

FRANCES: What is it?

CLYDE: I thought I heard a squeak...like that one wheel on Victor's chair...

(MUSIC .. .FOR A TRANSITION)

VICTOR: I was a surgeon, as I think Clyde told you; I was formerly a rather
expert diagnostician.

I possessed, also, I flatter myself, that detachment that is such an important
asset in my profession. I have performed operations on close friends with the
same objectivity that I employed upon unknowns.

Therefore I was able to apply the same impersonal approach to the diagnosis of
a case in which I might be presumed to be the most interested party.

It is interesting.

My conclusions were easily arrived at.

I was in danger of my life.

Frances had spoke of marrying Clyde.

Clyde was obviously under an influence that I at least recognized as sinister.

My wife, the woman that I married for love, the woman that I had cherished: my
wife was plotting my death.

For the most sordid of all motives.

Money.

I do not deny that I am careful with money.

Remembering back through the years of our marriage, Frances had always been
impatient about money matters. I remembered the talk we had that first brought
the whole thing to my attention.

I was certain that I was right.

She would, when Clyde had been properly brought to heel, demand that he murder
me.

And Clyde would do it.

I had only two uncertainties.

One, when; the other how.

If I could learn these, I could defend myself.

And I intended to defend myself to the utmost.

To the utmost, my friend.

If they plotted murder, I could plot murder.

And I might succeed where they could fail.

It was an interesting problem.

The professional against the amateur.

My wife, whom I had loved.

Well...

(MUSIC ... A TRANSITION)

CLYDE: I can't, Frances.

FRANCES: You promised, Clyde.

CLYDE: I didn't know what you meant.

FRANCES: Yes, you did.

CLYDE: I didn't!

FRANCES: You did, Clyde.

CLYDE: I tell you –

FRANCES: You knew what I meant the minute I said it.

CLYDE: I –

FRANCES: Didn't you?

CLYDE: I tell you –

FRANCES: Didn't you?

CLYDE: Well, I –

FRANCES: And you promised.

CLYDE: I can't do it, Frances!

FRANCES: It'll be so easy, Clyde.

CLYDE: No!

FRANCES: Just a little easy push on the back of the wheelchair...

CLYDE: No!

FRANCES: And then we'll go away, and be married, and have so much money,
Clyde...(NO ANSWER) Don't you want to marry me?

CLYDE: You know I do –

FRANCES: Well, then...

CLYDE: (AFTER A PAUSE) Can't we wait?

FRANCES: Darling, I've waited and waited and waited for you, and I won't wait
any longer. I want to marry you, and you know – well, you know.

CLYDE: Frances, do you really mean you'll marry me?

FRANCES: What do you think?

CLYDE: Oh, Frances, Frances –

FRANCES: No – no, not now! No more kisses, darling – until...

CLYDE: We can't do this –

FRANCES: We can, and we will.

CLYDE: But –

FRANCES: Look, darling, sit down and I'll tell you exactly what to do. Now,
listen it'll be so easy.

(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT AND FADE FOR)

VICTOR: Clyde has been looking at me very strangely today. I think perhaps the
time is getting short.

(MUSIC ... ACCENT AND DOWN)

CLYDE: But how can we be sure he won't fall out of the chair, Frances, and
just get hurt a little?

FRANCES: You'll have to think up some way to keep him in it, darling.

CLYDE: But I can't – I don't know how –

FRANCES: You'll get an idea, darling! But do it soon!

(MUSIC ... ACCENT AND DOWN FOR)

VICTOR: Today Clyde installed a strap on my wheelchair to hold down the
blanket I usually wear across my knees, he says. Now I know how it is to be
done....It's a long drop down the canyon from the porch.

(MUSIC ... ACCENT AND DOWN FOR)

CLYDE: But when'll we be married, darling? I mean how soon.

FRANCES: Just as quickly as we possibly can. We'll have to wait a little
while, at least until his will is probated, and I get the money...and then –
but we mustn't do it too quickly and make people suspicious, you know.

CLYDE: We could go to Mexico, couldn't we?

FRANCES: We'll go wherever we want to.

CLYDE: I wish there was some other way –

FRANCES: There isn't. Now go away; he mustn't see us talking together so much!

CLYDE: Do you think he's got any idea –

FRANCES: Of course not! He hasn't the faintest idea in the world!

(MUSIC ... ACCENT AND DOWN FOR)

VICTOR: I have armed myself. Found an old favorite hunting knife that I
haven't used for years. It will fit nicely under my blanket, and I hope that I
have not forgotten how to use it. I think I shall not have long to wait. And I
have discovered still another curious thing. There is a revolver in Frances'
purse. A short-barrelled, ugly little weapon, and it is loaded. I wonder.....

(MUSIC ... ACCENT AND DOWN FOR)

CLYDE: Well, this is the night.

This is the night I keep my promise to Frances.

It is a hot night. We don't usually have hot nights up here in the canyon. As
we sit on the porch, we talk about it.

VICTOR: Awfully warm, isn't it?

FRANCES: I've never seen it as hot.

CLYDE: Earthquake weather.

FRANCES: What?

CLYDE: Earthquake weather. They say when it's hot and sultry like this it
breeds earthquakes.

VICTOR: Oh, that's silly, Clyde.

FRANCES: Clyde.

CLYDE: No, it isn't Victor. I remember –

FRANCES: Clyde.

CLYDE: What?

FRANCES: Now!

CLYDE: And for a second I don't know what she means, but she says it again.

FRANCES: NOW!

CLYDE: And her voice cracks like a blacksnake whip, and I jump to my feet, and
she's staring at me, and I stretch out my hand to the back of Victor's
wheelchair.

(MUSIC ... TOPS HIM AND FADES)

FRANCES: And now listen to my side of it – I told you I'd surprise you! Unless
you've guessed it already! That's just the way it was –

VICTOR: Awfully hot, isn't it?

FRANCES: I've never seen it so hot.

CLYDE: Earthquake weather.

FRANCES: What?

CLYDE: Earthquake weather. They say when it's hot and sultry like this it
breeds earthquakes.

VICTOR: Oh, that's silly, Clyde.

FRANCES: And I said Clyde.

CLYDE: No, it isn't Victor. I remember –

FRANCES: And I said NOW! And he started to move slowly toward Victor's chair,
and just as he reached out for the back of it I yanked the little revolver out
of my purse and I aimed it straight between his eyes – yes, Clyde's eyes!

(MUSIC ... TOPS HER AND FADES)

VICTOR: Shall I tell you the third side of the story now? I was sitting there,
and I said: Awfully hot, isn't it?

FRANCES: I've never known it so hot.

CLYDE: Earthquake weather.

FRANCES: What?

CLYDE: Earthquake weather. They say when it's hot and sultry like this it
breeds earthquakes.

VICTOR: Oh, that's silly, Clyde.

FRANCES: Clyde.

CLYDE: No, it isn't Victor. I remember –

VICTOR: And I heard Frances speak again.

FRANCES: CLYDE!

VICTOR: and he stumbled to his feet, and I knew this was it. Over my shoulder
I saw him coming toward me, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the ugly
little nose of that pistol in Frances' hand, pointing straight at Clyde. And I
flung myself out of the chair, and I knew I had won! I drew back the hunting-
knife to hurl it straight at Frances' heart, and

SOUND: (THERE IS A VERY LOUD CRASH AND MUSIC TAKES IT AWAY)

CLYDE: (AFTER A SILENCE) Yes. It was earthquake weather. No, nobody actually
murdered anybody. But there are three bodies up there in Topanga Canyon,
buried so far under wreckage and a thousand tons of hillside that nobody'll
ever find them.

And the three of us: Victor, Frances, and I ... we're walking down this long
straight road together, toward that fire I told you about. I guess you don't
actually have to commit murder to be guilty of it. If you think about it, and
plot and plan it, well, that's enough. You get punished anyway.

You know what that big fire we're walking into is? We know.

(MUSIC ... THEME. FADE FOR)

ANNCR: You have listened to "Quiet, Please", which is written and directed by
Wyllis Cooper. Clyde, the man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.

CHAPPELL: And our two guest stars, Ralph and Claudia Morgan, played the parts
of Victor and Frances. Thank you, Claudia; thank you, Ralph. It has been a
privilege and a pleasure to have you with us.

The music on "Quiet Please" is composed and played by Gene Perrazzo.

And now for a word about the next Quiet Please, here is our writer-director
Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: We have an unusual mystery story for you on our next appearance; a
story in which you yourself play a most important part. It's called "How are
You, Pal?". I hope you'll listen, pal.

CHAPPELL: And so until our next appearance – which will be at 8:30 PM EDST on
Wednesday – yes, that's a time change for Quiet Please – Wednesday at 8:30 PM
EDST – until next Wednesday, I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell.

(MUSIC ... THEME UP. FADE FOR)

ANNCR: This program came to you from New York.

This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.