To millions of people, the name Stannard used to be just the name of a vacuum cleaner.
But just a few months ago, it suddenly became more than that.
To people all over the country, it became... a man and his family, a man who lived here in this house, one of the most beautiful houses in town, a man with a wife and an eight-year-old boy, and a warm family life.
Watch yourself, Shirley Lorraine. Watch who-self?
Whichever self that's thinking all those sinful expressions.
Uncle Jesse, it's you that's thinking sinful to think that I'm thinking sinful.
Watch yourself, Shirley Lorraine.
Good morning, Chapman. Good morning, ma'am.
Your orange juice. Thank you.
Which tie today?
Oh, never mind, darling.
It's the brown knit one there.
You'll get an ulcer doing that.
This country was built on ulcers, my dear.
Hey, why all the unholy quiet around here this morning, huh?
No space bandits, no cattle wrestler, no.
Your son and heir rose as usual at 5:30, tiptoed down the stairs like an avalanche with rocks in it, and is now engaged in some tremendous engineering project among mice and others.
Where do kids get all that energy, huh?
From the male parent, I daresay.
Oh, you daresay?
Hey, look at that time.
Dave, are you all right?
It's a booby trap, huh? Are you hurt?
No, I merely fractured myself, pulled.
Let's take a look at this. Now, isn't this spooky?
Now how come there's only one slat in this bed?
Hi, Andy. Hi, Mom.
Oh, now, Dave, wait a minute.
You know Andy is just exactly like you.
Was that supposed to be a compliment?
You talk that way to Andy, you're ready to wail the daylights out of him.
Oh, where's your sense of humor?
Whack him a couple for me, too.
This new vacuum cleaner and me just don't seem to take to each other, Mr. Stannard.
Old man sales business is down on anything that wasn't used back in the Stone Age.
Watch yourself, Uncle Jesse.
It's your dad.
Oh, no. Hold it, son. Hold it, son.
Just a minute.
Just a minute, son, just a minute.
Hi, Dad. Never mind the amenities.
How many slats are there to a bed?
On the average? On the average.
How many? Well...
About three. About three, huh?
How many slats are there in the beds in this family's house?
Right now? Uh-hmm, right now.
Well, on average, about one a piece.
It's what I thought.
Andy, one of these days, boy.
Well, I can't figure out how you're able to lift all eight of those box rings by yourself.
I didn't lift them.
What do you mean you didn't lift them?
I just sort of slid under them and give them a big twist. I see.
I'll give your neck a big twist.
Go ahead. Don't stop.
Go ahead. Let me see.
Wait a minute, wait a minute.
I told you a dozen times you don't hold a hammer up by the...
This is my hammer.
I've been looking for that hammer for about a week now.
Come here. Give me a nail. I'm gonna show you how to do it.
You just watch your old man here.
Main thing, keep your eye on the nail.
Oh, Dad. Oh.
Let's see it.
That's how I did when I first began.
Oh, it was, huh? Get along with you.
Hey, you know what, Dad? What?
I'm getting awful short on planks.
Well, don't forget there's the ironing board and there's a leaf from your mother's mahogany dining room table.
Gee, that figures.
Wait a minute.
It's supposed to be funny, son.
I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll stop on the way home from work, I'll buy you some lumber. How's that, huh?
Buy it? Yeah.
Oh, that wouldn't be fair, Dad.
Why? Oh, I see. I think so.
Okay. I'll see if I can swipe some lumber for you.
How is that, huh? And you and me will build this fort together.
You mean you'll really build my fort with me, Daddy?
You bet I mean we'll really build this together.
In fact, I'll leave work early and come home.
And you and I, we have a date right here after school, all right?
Now, the first thing we got to do is we got to put a door in this place, you know.
You got to have a door, about here, right? Gee.
I bet there aren't many fathers who would neglect their businesses for their kid.
You know, I think so far, it's been the other way around, Andy.
I'll try to do better.
Are you kidding?
Where does he like his Times Chronicle?
Anywhere but in the jelly.
I just can't make this contraction work right.
Mrs. Stannard, at least the old 1938 Grover didn't throw her belt every time a man took off down the road.
Chapman, don't mention that name in this house.
Besides, our new production schedule calls for a quarter of a million of this very model during the next fiscal period.
Well, fiscal or not, this one has bugs in it. Bugs?
Chapman, if you insist on getting string wrapped around that master pulley, there isn't a machine on the market that won't throw its belt.
Now, you look inside. Your eggs and bacon.
Now, wait a minute. I want you to look inside while I'm here.
You'll see what I mean. Inside?
That's right. Inside.
You know, I'm getting a little... hmm, bugs, huh?
I don't know.
That a wonderful sound?
Stannard switched the country for sure.
For Stannard is sweeping the country. All right.
The floors were never so clean. All right. All right.
Honestly, if I have to listen to that just once more on an empty stomach. I know. I know, you'll scream.
Well, that's exactly what we intend for you to do.
What do you suppose we're paying interstate TV $3,700 a week for?
Sometimes, I wonder.
Oh, that dear, nice, sincere Mr. Portalis.
His hair is so slick and he wears that beautiful cashmere jacket.
Working all right now.
My bus. Oh, Andy, you can't go that way.
Dave, hold him right here until I get a clean shirt.
Hey, buddy buddy, come here.
Well, at least you can't get to my neck this morning.
Mrs. Partridge doesn't like for us kids to be late.
Yeah. Hey, tell me something, just between you and me, are you the dirtiest boy in your classroom?
Richie Will is the dirtiest. Oh.
I'm only second dirtiest.
Well, I'd tell you maybe we're not really trying, hmm?
Just this dress up one left.
I'd hate to think of what it'll look like during the night.
Oww, my ears. It's all right.
Now, they get pulled in the other direction.
Come on. There. Here we go.
Don't forget about after school.
That's it. Go naked.
Go on, boy.
At least we have only the one, huh?
Oh, don't even mention that.
Your car is ready, sir. All right, Chapman.
I'll be right there. What's this about after school?
Oh, he and I have a big deal. I'm coming home from work early.
Bye. What? Good. David?
Honey, look, I'm five minutes late already.
All right. Come and get it.
What does a girl have to do for a kiss around here?
We're four months early.
Why, we put an all new machine just eight months.
And get a jump on the industry for the next three.
But that's plowing the profit back as fast as you make it.
We'll keep some.
Look, Al, will you go along with me this time?
I tell you, I'll have Stannard right up there on top with the very best of them, coast to coast.
Now, hold it, kid.
I'm Stannard, too, you know.
I remember Dad used to come home, take me up on his knee.
You were in your playpen, then.
And he'd say, "Son, remember the dog that was crossing the bridge with the bone in his mouth.
He looked down, saw his own reflection, snapped at the bone in the water and lost the one he already had."
Dad manufactured carpet sweepers.
All the same, Mr. Stannard, our present model is still going like hot cakes.
And right now, we're not morally justified in gambling with the stockholders' money.
Look, it's my job to take calculated risks with the stockholders' money.
So far, a return of nearly 800 percent on their original investment.
Will you tell me what's wrong with that? I'm sorry, Dave.
I can't go along with you on that. And as far as I remember, I still have a veto around here.
Al, if you would've kept your ear to the ground, you'd realize that the real veto belongs to the purchasing public.
And just what is that supposed to mean exactly?
All right. I'll tell you, Al.
I'll tell you what it means, Al.
It's the rumor that's starting to spread about out current model. What rumor?
Bugs in the master pulley.
It's a dirty lie. Every time a chunk is stringed, it's got...
Now, Mr. Stannard...
Oh, this time it's bugs in the master pulley?
Okay, Dave, you are president of the company and I have to admit, so far, you've been money-lucky.
But just be careful that you don't fall in the creek and have to holler for your big brother to pull you out like in the old days. Al, come on now.
What's the matter with you, huh? Huh?
Now, I knew you'd get along with me.
Hey, I got to get going home right now.
So, go ahead and tool up just like you told me this morning right, Mr. Stannard?
That's the general idea, Mike.
♪...is going up, going up, going up ♪ Dave, Mother's anniversary present.
What would Freud say about that?
Now, never mind Freud.
You can't bring those filthy things into my living room.
What-- It's construction materials.
Grand larceny at the site of the new commercial building.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that all men are certifiably insane.
You know, that's because our wives and mothers are usually women, you see.
Nice headlines in the Times Chronicle.
They dragnet you. It's okay.
I slipped the honest foreman five bucks and he wanted to throw in twenty feet of copper tube.
And now, don't tell Andy about it, huh?
It kind of destroys the kid's ethics if he thinks this stuff isn't 100 percent stolen.
Well, that's a fine example you're setting.
No, Dave, don't laugh. It isn't a bit funny.
A child can't distinguish between big and small.
And if his own father goes... Why do you look so attractive every time you get righteous.
Now, Dave, I'm serious... Honey.
I wish you'd come home two hours early every day.
All I usually get from you is a...
"Hey, kid, when do we eat?"
Yeah, when do we eat, huh?
Well, now, let me fix you a drink and I'll see where all this is going to lead to.
Wait, come here.
Hey, Chapman might come in.
It's all right. Let him come in, broaden his outlook.
And now, I know why the unemployed have such big families, huh?
Hey, where is he? Who?
What do you mean who? Him.
Oh, well, he's not home from school yet.
What are you talking about? The bus was pulling out of the butter fields when I was pulling down the street here.
Are you sure?
What do you mean am I sure?
Course I was. Look at the time.
What do you suppose... that little demon's run off somewhere again.
Oh, he knows perfectly well he's supposed to check in here before he goes any place.
How do you like that, hmm?
He and I had a date to finish building that fort of his this afternoon.
Oh, Dave, he's only eight years old. He probably forgot all about... Of course he forgot.
Besides, he isn't eight. He's nearly nine.
If you do that every time you lose your temper, you'll turn into an alcoholic.
Look, I haven't got time to turn into an alcoholic.
"Share your children's hobbies," the Board of Education said, huh?
The Stannard residence.
Look, I leave in the middle of a board meeting.
I leave the whole company, just standing on its ear.
I come home and I at least expect...
Will you hold the line a minute, please?
It's for you, ma'am.
Mrs. Partridge at the school.
Thank you, Chapman.
I'll take it right here.
Thank you, Chapman.
Yes, this is Edith Stannard.
Oh, I'm fine, thank you. And you?
Yes, hasn't it? Just pleasantly warm.
I beg your pardon? I'm sorry, Mrs. Partridge.
I didn't quite understand what...
Dr. Gorman's nurse?
Well, that's strange.
Did Andy seem to be ill?
Oh, I see.
No, I-- I-- I most certainly had not heard, Mrs. Partridge. but... perhaps my husband was afraid that if he-- he told me...
well, no, I'm sure that if it were something contagious, he...
Yes, I-- I understand your position.
Yes, I'm delighted you take such an interest but...
Yes, yes, Mrs. Partridge, I will.
I'll call you right back.
That's the most peculiar thing I ever heard in my life.
Come on, come on, what is?
It seems that Dr. Gorman sent his nurse for Andy in a taxi about 11:00 this morning.
It seems that Dr. Gorman thought that Andy ought to be brought down to his office right away.
The laboratory test came...
Dave, it's-- it's been five hours.
You know, you ought to keep me posted on a thing like this, honey.
You mean you don't know anything about this?
Look, I don't know anything.
I just work around here, that's all.
David, you're keeping something from me, please.
Never mind, it's all right.
Mrs. Partridge seemed rather concerned that it might be polio.
Hello? Hello? Dr. Gorman's office.
Hello, I'd like to speak to the doctor, please.
This is Dave Stannard speaking.
The offhanded way they treat other people's kids nowadays, huh?
Hello? Hello, doc?
This is Dave.
Hey, what are you trying to do that boy of mine down there, huh?
Gonna repossess him or something, hmm?
Well, he's still down there with you, isn't he?
What are you talking about? Your nurse, she... she picked him up at school this morning in a taxi.
No, I'm not clowning, are you?
Are you sure?
Was she wearing a uniform?
Yes, Partridge mentioned something about a... a white uniform and a cap.
Yes, a white uniform, uh- hmm, and a cap.
Yes, it does look like that, doesn't it?
Just a minute, doc.
Um, look, would you try and drop by the house this afternoon for a minute if you can?
What's the matter?
Sit down, Edith.
Please just sit down.
What is it?
Andy isn't at the doctor's office.
He hasn't been there all day.
But that nurse, she...
It wasn't no nurse.
Edith, Edith, wait, listen to me, please.
Edith, have I ever lied to you?
Have I ever broken my word, darling?
Have I ever?
I swear to God and I swear to you right here and now that we'll get Andy back.
We'll get him back, darling, you hear?
Operator? This is an emergency.
I'd like to speak to the chief of police.
Hello, Chief Backett?
This is David Stannard speaking, of 1411 Elstead Avenue.
My son, Andy, was taken from the Covey Lane Day School at approximately 11:00 this morning.
I have reason to believe.
All units, special orders.
Report to the nearest phone box for instructions. That is all.
A phone box?
Why don't they use the shortwave?
Somebody may be listening in.
Oh, Chief, come in. Have you heard anything yet?
No, nothing. You? No.
Well, it's a little soon yet.
Well, you know my wife, Mrs. Stannard, this is Chief Backett.
Oh, hello, Mrs. Stannard.
Thank you for coming. Ma'am, I want you to know the entire department is out looking for your little boy. I believe you know Dr. Gorman.
Oh, hi, doc. Why don't you sit down, please?
Mr. Stannard, do you have any family problems?
Oh, not like this. Business beefs?
Big personal enemies? I have half a dozen.
They'd steal my shirt, they wouldn't steal my son.
Well, this could be quite a wait.
These people usually let the families sweat blood for a while.
Then it's practically certain of the motive, is it?
Nothing is certain, Mrs. Stannard, until that telephone rings or we receive something through the mail.
And even then we can't be sure.
So you mean at this time, you don't want us to know what measures are being taken?
Well, in my opinion, it's better if you and your wife aren't in on everything at this stage.
Well, I think it make sense we... put ourselves in the hands of the police department.
Now, one thing you can depend on anyway, we are not going to jeopardize any possible arrangements you might care to make on your own responsibilities as the father and mother.
Very well, sir.
It's your brother, sir.
He's calling from the golf club.
Look, is the door to the phone booth shut?
Yeah, it's just the way Edith explained already.
I'm afraid so.
She's been wonderful, just wonderful.
What? Don't come over here, Al.
What-- you oughta know better than that, Al.
I'm waiting here for a contact.
Now, you stay right where you are until I call you.
Now, wait a minute. There's one more thing, Al.
I don't want you to talk to anybody, understand?
Nobody at all.
I'm sorry, kid, it's just that I'm so...
Okay. Okay, kid.
I'll call you if I hear anything, huh?
Chapman, did you call the plumbers?
Me? No, ma'am.
Well, tell them to come back some other time, Chapman.
Hold on, just-- I'm expecting them.
You're expecting them? Why?
I'm having your phones monitored.
This is Mr. Fred Benson with the city telephone company and my communication's man, Sergeant Wenzel.
How many phones do you have in the house?
Four extensions, the upper hall...
There's the playroom, too. Yes, and the study.
The playroom's downstairs. You can make yourself-- in fact, you can have it all to yourself.
How long will it take, boys?
Forty-five minutes. Make it a half an hour.
Okay. It's all yours. Now, here you are.
Here's your new second line. It's unlisted.
Better use it for all outgoing calls.
That'll leave your regular phone open.
Now, the sergeant will be listening on the extension with a tape recorder. I see.
Just a moment, dear.
Won't there be some sort of click that might warn whoever's phoning us?
Oh, no, ma'am. You see, this unit is what we call our secretarial set.
Now, if the call isn't the one that we're looking for, the sergeant turns off the tape recorder, switches to the technicians on the phone company.
Okay, Dan, she's all tied down. Good.
Now, the alarm will ring when this number is called then get going.
I'll hold contact with the police.
It must be something pretty big.
We just place the circuits down to the source of the call, got it?
Hello, switch room.
You can skip this one.
Just a minute, please.
It's Mrs. Blanchard.
She wants to know what time for dinner tomorrow.
Tell her-- tell her I'll call right back.
It'll have to be called off, ma'am, but your friends mustn't suspect anything.
Now, look, we got to figure out some kind of a story to tell the Blanchards, you know, we just can't...
I'll take care of it. Yes, you do.
Are you sure you can handle it? Yes, certainly.
You and the chief have enough to worry about.
May I use the new telephone?
Yes, ma'am. Of course, you'll have to hang up fast if number one rings.
Well, hello, may I speak to Mrs...
Oh, hello, Mitch. This is Edith Stannard.
Well, about tomorrow night, I-- I don't think we'd better plan on it.
I've got a virus or something.
Well, the whole household seems to be coming down with it.
Yes. Andy, too.
Well, he'll be out of school a few days.
Well, that's-- that's very sweet of you, Mitch, but there's nothing you can do.
The-- the doctor is here.
Yes, well, I'm-- I'm very sorry about tomorrow night but we'll see you real soon.
When you catch that kidnapper, I want you to lock me in the room with him for 20 minutes and throw away the key.
If you do that for me, I'll never forget you.
I couldn't do a thing. Please.
For God's sakes, a man has a right to anybody who'd steal his son.
Dinner's been called off.
I'm fairly certain no one suspected anything.
Okay, dear. Well...
I'd better be getting along.
Thank you, Paul.
Woohoo, woohoo, woohoo, woohoo.
Andy! Andy! Edith, Edith, wait.
Edith, Edith, wait, Edith, please.
Ms. Edith, it's all right. It's all right.
It's-- it's little Chuck Butterfield and Butchie Ritter.
I'll-- I'll go send them home. Thanks, Chapman.
It's all right, dear.
It's all right.
This is the sort of thing they rely on, Mrs. Stannard.
Is he sick? No, he just isn't able to come out right now.
But how about finishing the fort?
Well, I'll-- I'll say that you were here and send him over just as soon as he's free.
Here, Edith, you take these.
No, I don't want anything to make me sleep.
Oh, no, these will just relax you a little.
Come on, Edith, please. I'll be all right.
I'll get a hold of myself. Stop it.
You've been hit by a street car.
I'm-- I'm going to go through this just the same as Dave.
Edith, you carried that child in your body.
David didn't. Come on, Edith.
It's the sheriff.
Yeah, yeah, Jake.
Oh, no, no, no.
It's just a plain white, size eight T-shirt with a blue and red band.
Well, 70 pounds, give or take a couple.
All right. First molar, second incisors.
Bicuspids and canines, either missing or partly grown.
Yeah. Just a minute.
Any distinguishing marks or blemishes?
He had some freckles here...
Oh, it's freckles, Jake.
Well, I-- I-- I don't know.
You check with the coroner's office.
I think they ought to be able to tell you.
I should think they'd show up in either case, Yeah. Yeah. Yup, yup.
We're running the MO list right now.
And Jake, next time, call me on central 77409.
It's a new-- new line here, yeah.
What exactly is being accomplished here?
We're handling this the best we know how, ma'am.
Then why haven't you located him?
Edith, please, they're doing what they can...
You, too, Dave Stannard, acting as if we had all the time in the world.
Please, will you, Edith?
What is an MO anyway?
It's time every house in this city were being searched.
Mrs. Stannard, if we push these people too far, they might get nervous.
Look, Edith, why don't you stop fighting my sedatives?
Please, Paul, you don't understand.
Andy has to be brought home this evening.
He's never been away from home before.
He won't understand.
He'll be frightened, he-- he...
Move in there.
Don't try anything cute.
Oh, Charlie, for Pete's sake.
How did you latch onto this?
Who is he? Oh, he's a friend of mine.
Charlie Telfer of the Times Chronicle.
What are you talking about? I thought you said that was the thing we were supposed to avoid.
No newspapers, no publicity, then what's he doing here?
So, it is a snatch, huh? Now, Mr. Stannard you can't.. you can't fool a good newsman any more than you can a good detective.
How long do you expect to keep this thing covered up anyway?
Besides, you don't really think the guy who made this grab doesn't know we're looking for him, do you?
Just the same, if your print this, we'll have every crime... this side of the Mississippi ringing that telephone, and we will have no idea in the world which one really has the boy.
All right. I'm pretty sure the policy in my paper would be able to hold up until they make a contact.
When do you plan on calling Washington?
I hope it won't be necessary.
Oh, you wanna yourself.
Oh, Charlie, you know me better than that.
Put it down.
My paper's on your son's side.
We wanna see him back in his mother's arms just like you do.
I said put it down.
It's for you.
Oh, yes, yes, Danny.
Oh, are you sure then?
Well-- well, Danny, look, run a routine recheck anyway.
You got a pencil handy?
Now, write this number down. central 77409 and next time, call me on it.
Three hours ago, I had 21 possible MO suspects.
Last three alibis just checked out negative.
So, probably can't be professional mobsters, huh?
Pretty well-planned job though.
Well, and our plan to rule out the psycho angle?
That's just a technical point, Mrs. Stannard.
I don't believe any of this.
That poor woman must have seen Andy some place.
You know wherever we go, everybody always notices him.
It was only natural with no little boy of her own.
But, you see, the thing we must do is get in touch with her right away and let her know that everything is perfectly all right.
As a matter of fact... Get her upstairs.
I'll give her a shot to make her sleep.
...only-- she must bring him home right away.
Tonight, do you understand me? Tonight.
Edith, Edith, let me take...
No, please... Edith.
No. I'm all right.
I'll just sit right here.
I won't say a word.
You know what they do to them, don't you, Dave?
They hurt them.
They do all sorts of things to them.
They make you listen on the telephone.
I'll get it, Mr. Stannard.
Good evening, Chapman. Good evening, ma'am.
The family isn't home.
Chapman, under the circumstances, I'm sure that is meant to apply to me.
I'm sorry but those are my instructions.
Who is it, Chapman? Oh, Mr. Stannard...
Mr. Stannard, now, don't worry about a thing.
I've seen the police...
Ah, Chief Backett, I know exactly what I'm supposed to do.
I haven't mentioned a word about this to anybody. oh, Mrs. Stannard, what a dreadful day this has been.
If there's anything I can possibly do.
Why don't you arrange to call us in a day or two?
Mr. Stannard, I certainly didn't expect you to take this attitude.
This is no attitude.
Mrs. Stannard and I don't, in any way, hold you responsible for what had happened.
Responsible? That's right.
I'm sure nobody could give the children more devoted care than I and my girls do.
After all, it is a matter of actual fact, Mr. Stannard.
I was the first victim.
Now, I've heard everything.
And who is this gentleman?
Jack The Ripper, Times Chronicle.
I wish it clearly understood that if you or anybody else should give out the least bit of adverse publicity regarding me or Covey Lane School, I should be obliged to put this whole...
I must ask you to leave now...
...matter into the hands of my attorneys.
Mrs. Stannard, you're a woman.
You understand, I'm sure.
Mrs. Partridge, please, you better go.
Stop it, Edith.
Chapman, please take her out.
Look, Edith, Edith, I'm sorry, Edith.
Look, please, you've got to stop this.
You've got to stop this calling and calling.
Who did you say?
Yes, I-- yes, I can hear you.
Switch room, this is it.
Get your standby line to headquarters.
May I speak to my son, please?
Well, would you... would you tell me the color of his eyes then?
What-- what kind of... what kind of clothes is he wearing now?
Route 20, terminal 6.
Record, route 20, terminal 6.
I beg your pardon?
All right. Will you just... just one minute, please.
No, it's not a trap.
No, I'm not stalling...
I'm not stalling, really.
I just wanna get a pencil and piece of paper.
Just please, just one minute.
Yes. I-- I follow you.
What-- what denominations?
The number is located at the corner of...
Captain, your call originated at Andover 31598. Located.
No, I-- yes.
Yes. I understand.
Wait a minute, how long-- hello?
How long afterwards?
Now, everything is going to be all right, Edith.
It's gonna be all right now.
It's so funny.
He sounded just like anybody.
It will be so wonderful to have him home again.
See that this girl gets some sleep, please, Paul.
I want to take you upstairs now.
I'm sure no one else could do it half so well... only Dave.
You won't let anything go wrong, will you?
Nothing will go wrong, darling.
Oh, dear Lord in heaven... send him home soon.
Send him home soon.
He got out ahead of us.
Will you join me?
We've had contact.
Well, get a hold of Langly, will you?
And both of you come on over to the house and bring the books.
Okay, kid, I know.
What's the matter?
Chief wouldn't let you hear the recording?
Well, give us until 4:00 tomorrow, will you?
Well, you know, we're gonna have to hold out some of the terms.
You can understand that.
Well, this is Stannard stock in government and city bonds, property deeds.
If that isn't enough, everything I have goes on the line with it.
That's mighty fine, Mr. A.
Well, I have to look in that mirror every morning when I shave, don't I?
Well, this seems pretty much to cover it, and I'm sure the rest of the board will go along when they hear the circumstances.
Will you excuse me, Mr. Danbo. Yes?
The sack has just come from the Milford City branch.
Will you countersign with me?
Will you clear a table, please?
All right. Pardon me, gentlemen.
Have you got the key? Yes, here it is.
Well, another six hours getting the papers drawn.
Have you called Martin Dale and Silverman yet?
Mr. Martin Dale, Jr. is waiting in his office.
Fine. Well, Mr. A...
I guess when the heat's on, your kid brother still has to count on the old wheel horse.
One moment, please, everybody.
May I have your attention, please?
I wanna thank each one of you individually for getting out of your beds and coming down here tonight.
I'm sure I can count on the discretion of anybody within these walls.
All of you realize, of course, this is a life and death matter.
Thank you very much.
And thank you for the coffee, Mr. Stannard.
I want every one of these people to get a $25 cash bonus and charge it to my personal account.
Thank you very much, Mr. Stannard.
All the documents will be in order by the time you deliver the money to the house.
Boy, 25 bucks.
Hey, you look better than I expected.
We've got everything here now?
Yeah, title deeds, security pledges.
Oh, the attorney covering the bonds, quite a few signatures.
Well, let's get started, huh?
Langly is bringing the money.
I don't know what I'd do without you, Al.
Stop it, will you? What's a brother for?
I have to get downstairs and check with Wenzel.
Now, look, leave the guy alone until after the deadline.
Good afternoon, sir.
Which way to the kid's room?
Look, all I wanna do is get a picture of his little bed with a teddy bear on it for the second edition.
He doesn't have a teddy bear.
See, now, you look through this, you press that.
You take the picture, same five bucks.
Mister, you're insulting me.
Fifty bucks is an insult?
Huh. Fifty bucks is an insult.
Big edition down the street, Mr. Stannard.
Okay. We'll play ball with you.
The ransom agreed on is $500,000.
A half a million? That's right.
Man. What denominations?
Fives, tens, twenties, used money.
Oh, this should make a pretty package in tabulating all those serial numbers.
Can we talk in front of this man?
Relax, Al. How do you make payment?
What's your arrangements for getting the kid back afterwards?
We haven't got that far yet.
Well, first, we notify them that the money is ready, that the police will keep their distance, and then we stand by for further instructions.
Well, how do you notify? You're out on a bed sheet on the roof?
The standard TV program.
George Portalis will wear a white dinner jacket on tonight's show.
Can watch on any TV set in the whole area, another chance for a stakeout. Portalis in on this?
George will just do as he's told.
Yeah. I'll bet.
Of course, you realize, Mr. Stannard, this isn't strictly legal.
Boy. It's FCC ruling.
No person-to-person communication on public network.
You mean they'll keep a man from trying to get his son back?
Charlie, in a case like this, public opinion would never stand for it.
Yeah, I know. By this time tomorrow morning, your brother's gonna have a hundred and sixty million personal friends.
Look, let's just stick to getting the boy back before morning.
What was that for?
I asked you a question.
You wouldn't wanna be babied on this, would you?
Come on. Let's have it, Times Chronicle.
Good talk. Well, Mr. Stannard, under these circumstances, well, no man could absolutely guarantee...
Let's have it.
As of right now... your boy could be dead for 30 hours.
Well, look at it yourself, Mr. Stannard.
I mean, how does a crook figure?
If he's hot, he drops his gun in an ash can.
So these-- these jokers who were holding your boy, how do you think they feel being tied down in one spot with him.
Maybe after a while, they-- well, they start to tell each other that maybe if they had a little more elbow room, it's-- they're not working for the PTA, you know.
It doesn't make sense. Here, they have a valuable piece of merchandise now.
Shut up, Al.
Think it over.
Now, let me get this-- let me get this real straight.
The possibility of what might happen to my son that you two gentlemen have been good enough to point out.
They... you see, that doesn't mean anything.
It doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
Hot or cold, I have got to go ahead under the presumption that my son is alive.
That's the barrel they've got me over.
They don't have to trust me.
I have to trust them.
Trick or treat.
I'm supposed to be a big businessman and... they call me hardheaded... they call me shrewd... and here I am faced with the most important negotiation of my life and I don't know what is starting.
I don't even know what I'm up against.
You have to advise me.
Now, hold on. I-- I just enforce the law around here.
I don't know. Don't look at me either.
I'm-- I just report the news like it falls.
You're in there on your own, Stannard.
Not while I'm here. We'll see.
Wait a minute. I needed a word of advice.
That's a little extreme.
I think what I need most is some expert information.
I-- that's right.
I have to have somebody who can tell me what the true percentages are.
If I do pay the ransom.
Dave, we haven't got time for this.
We'll take time.
If I do pay the ransom, then what are the odds I'll get my son back?
You want him?
That's your odds.
On the record, it's two to one you'll get the boy back whether you pay or not.
You mean my paying the ransom,
that won't affect the outcome at all?
Mr. Stannard, you can pay and get him back or you can pay and not get him back.
Or you can refuse to pay and lose or you can refuse to pay and still get him back.
You see, it's still two to one your favor either way.
Take your pick.
But why pay?
Why do people pay?
It'd be a lot easier for the police if they never did.
What do you mean?
No pay-off, no kidnap racket, the old profit motto.
Then why doesn't the law step in?
Why don't you prevent people from paying? Me?
How long do you think I'd hold my job in this community if I went around doing what I thought was right?
When I was a kid, I saw this guy kick his way into a liquor store where two cons were waiting for him with shotguns, just in case you think that limp is from fallen arches.
What do you want, Charlie? A criminal code with guts?
So I can get a court order and freeze his assets or I can grab him for compounding a felony if he pays the ransom?
This is the USA for Pete's sake. We're a very humane people.
But you've seen it yourself.
The biggest man in this country openly making deals with kidnappers and the voting public wouldn't have it any other way, even though the child were dead right straight through from the beginning.
I'm-- I'm sorry to be so frank in front of you, Mr. Stannard.
What? No, no, that's-- that's okay.
That's my traffic detail.
There it is. 1411.
That's the house.
All right, kids, move it on.
Yes, I'm positive.
The Stannard boy Andy.
Chuckie, Chuckie, come back here.
You hear me?
Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program for a repeat news bulletin.
The eight-year-old son of one of West Bridges leading citizens has disappeared from his home, little Andrew Stannard, only child of D. G. Stannard, millionaire manufacturer of a well-known household appliance.
Kidnapping is feared.
Both parents are, at present, in seclusion.
However, this program will be interrupted when we receive further bulletins regarding little Andy Stannard.
Here come the newsreel truck. Shall we admit them?
No. No, wait, wait.
Shortwave headquarters, just six or eight more men.
Look at those people. Just look at them.
Here they come.
This time tomorrow morning, the bus lines will be running excursions.
There'll be ice cream wagons, hotdog stands, kids to wipe your windshield.
Come on. Step right up. Get you picture taken.
Get your pocket things. Everybody will be a friend.
There's not a thing in the world they wouldn't do for you.
They'll tear down that picket fence out there to get souvenirs the size of toothpicks.
Hey, chief, here's my car.
Hey, they're not letting him in.
Of course they're letting him in.
All right, put them right on the table.
Let me pour you a drink, Mr. Stanner.
All right. Stack them up there.
That's right. We got a column. Stack them.
It's all here, Mr. Stannard. Care to check it yourself?
No. That's a personal favor, DG.
This has been a pretty big responsibility, you know.
What good is it?
What good is the money?
What's that you said, Dave?
I said what's the good of paying the ransom?
But you have to... Half a million dollars? What for?
To please the neighbors, or because it's the socially accepted thing?
What's your point, Dave? Look, you were there, Al.
You heard, my son might be dead right now.
And if he is dead, why?
Because they felt absolutely certain that that ransom money would be paid.
These babies don't fool around with a murderer unless they figured they're onto a sure thing.
But I'm assuming that my son is still alive.
And on what terms might he still be alive?
A simple insurance against the risk of that ransom money might not be paid.
Right. Now, just a minute.
No, you just a minute.
The moment Portalis walks on in his white dinner jacket, they've got their green light. You know that.
Mr. Stannard, with your 500 G's, you could be buying your little boy a hole full of quicklime.
That's exactly my point.
Maybe you're right, Dave, but I'm not sure.
But I do know you have to think of protecting yourself a little bit.
Well, how would you feel about it afterwards if you refuse to pay and, well, if, if anything goes wrong.
You mean if my son is murdered, how will I feel then?
Al, is there a "better or worse" in hell?
Lang, you talk to him.
Of course, I'm not exactly a member of the family here, Mr. A... but as a-- as a long-time loyal employee with the best interest of Stannard Vacuum, mighty close to my heart-- I...
It's all right, Langly, go ahead.
Then what about your obligation to the stockholders?
How is the public going to like it with our new line just hitting the display windows.
Langly, you better get back to the plant.
No, wait a minute.
Just-- just wait a minute.
You know, in your own way, you might have something there.
Just what is my public obligation in this whole thing?
Perhaps that's the real issue here.
And why do we find ourselves in a situation like this?
My son, my wife upstairs.
Well, you two gentlemen have given me the answer to that.
It's the profit motive.
That's why my family has been wronged, not so much by the kidnapper as by every grief stricken parent who's been allowed to grovel to these people in the past.
So now... in spite of the possible consequences to my son,
am I justified in handing this insane thing onto some other unfortunate family?
I always said if I ever saw you heading for a real man-sized smash-up, I think you better let me take over for you, Dave boy.
I don't care what you think, Al.
I'm the one who has to make this decision.
But that's gambling. It's a gambler's decision.
Either way... so that brings it down to a very simple issue, right or wrong.
What about Edith upstairs?
Would she let it go at that?
At the present time, probably not.
That's all I needed.
Gentlemen, the ransom will be paid and Dave, if you force me to pick up the tab, that'll be on your conscience, but the whole country will be with me.
Wait a minute.
Before you bite off more than you can chew, if you do step into my shoes, are you prepared to assume the full responsibility for your nephew's death?
What I'd like to know is how can you?
I happen to be the boy's father, Al.
How long will it take to drive to the Milford television studios?
In light traffic, thirty minutes.
I want a police escort at 6:15.
Is everything all right?
Hold my hand.
Put your head down.
I've been saying my prayers.
Dave, do you remember when he was born?
It snowed the day before.
That night, it froze, and the next morning, all the trees in town were covered with diamonds like an honor, like some wonderful promise.
And just towards sunset, they brought him in for the first time and left him with me.
He looked at me, so big and serious, like he was wondering whether I was really his mother.
I nursed him.
And they arrest people for speeding.
Fancy! I'm in the control room.
We've got three minutes, folks.
It's not so bad, Mr. Portalis.
Not bad? No.
It looks like a zoot suit.
Look at these lapels.
I don't mind playing straight man to a vacuum cleaner.
When the sponsor required me to appear before my public in a men's ready-to-wear garment, then it's time my agent started hunting for the escape hatch in my contract.
Hey, wait a minute, wait a minute.
What is this?
What's going on here?
Now, what's going on?
Oh, Mr. Stannard.
There's a slight change of plan.
No white dinner jacket.
You just introduce me.
They're all ready for you, Mr. Stannard, just like a telephone.
All right. Now, 20 seconds.
All right. What do I say?
Over here, Mr. Stannard.
Stand by, everybody, 20 seconds.
Quiet, everybody. Quiet, quiet.
Stand by. ...nine, eight... Stand by...
...seven, six, ...five, four... Roll the film.
...three, two, one.
Super camera one.
The EG Stannard Vacuum Cleaner Corporation presents, The George Portalis Show.
This evening, ladies and gentlemen, before going on with our usual program, there will be a few words from the president of our company, Mr. David Stannard.
I guess most of you have heard about the kidnapping of my eight-year-old son, Andy.
This is his picture.
His mother was unable to appear with me here this evening but we both want to thank you from-- from our hearts for the very, very kind messages that you've sent us.
However, my words aren't directed at you, good people.
Now, tonight, my words are directed exclusively to the man who telephoned me at my home last night.
He, like yourselves, somewhere, fifty, hundred miles from here, he's watching a television set, secretly waiting to hear my reply to his demands.
On this table, you see a large sum of money, $500,000 United States currency, exactly as by you stipulated.
It's our only hope, our one defense, our single weapon.
But you, Mr. Child-stealer, sitting out there so confidently, will never come any closer to this money than you are right at this moment.
I wanna be very, very clear about this.
No ransom money will ever be paid for my son.
Not a dollar, not a penny.
And listen to this very carefully, because this is a matter of life and death to the both of us, the minute that-- that my son is injured or-- or killed, every last cent of this money goes on your head as a reward, dead or alive.
So, why don't-- why don't you be fair to yourself and think this over before you incur the penalty for a murder that can't possibly pay off.
Instead, every police officer, every detective in the whole country will be looking for you.
Every petty gangster, every greedy corrupt man and woman, your own accomplices in this very crime, even your own blood relations.
You don't believe that?
Well, look into the face of whoever is listening to this broadcast with you right now, and then look into your own soul.
What loyalty can stand up against a half a million dollars?
None of them.
Wherever you go, whatever rattle you try to hide in, this money that you so greedily coveted will track you down, will smell you out, and will finally bring you to justice.
One word more, for whatever human feelings you might still have,
if you will turn my son loose on any public thoroughfare in this nation, and you are later arrested for this crime, my wife and I will bear witness to the fact that in our time of-- of trouble, you heard a mother's appeal, and you had pity on a child.
And now, so that you know that I mean business,
with my hand on this testament, I swear to you that as long as I have life and reason, I'll carry out every item of what I have just said.
God hear me.
Listen, don't push me again. I'm warning you.
No. So, what if I do?
What are you gonna do about it?
Listen, I got a right to think and say whatever I want without guys like you pushing me around, or any of you.
Even though nobody around here agrees with you?
That's right, ain't it folks?
Even if the president don't agree with me, I got a right.
Just as much as that poor guy in there has got a right.
And why don't you go home and leave...
What's the matter with you? You're blowing the entire...
And why don't you shut up?
Guys, come on, break it up.
Let me at him.
Aren't things tough enough around here without all this?
They are juvenile.
...clear at all times.
Oh, how about the reward, you heard he was on the level?
Oh, grandstand play.
I've seen it happen a dozen times.
Excuse me. Oh, but I know.
What a terrible thing to say, his own child.
Yeah, I say five bucks, they return the kid.
Even money, are you kidding?
Why don't you take a buck on it, boys?
Excuse me. Come in, Charlie.
Hey, Fred, how are you?
What makes this joker a privileged character?
It's his town.
Look, I'm giving you all the news just as it happened.
Hey, Charlie, what about some pictures?
Yeah, just one little candid shot with the mother in it.
No, I got to deal with these people. No pictures.
We're all over 18.
Now, what'd you say if every one of us would chip in $25 dollars apiece?
Now, believe it or not, honey, I'd say you're insulting me.
And so it was that David Stannard went on the air with a dramatic message, a message that said, "No ransom for Andy".
There's still no news, no slightest inkling of how the broadcast may have affected the kidnappers.
Now, there's nothing for you and me to do, friends, but to suspend judgment and hope for the best for little Andy Stannard.
I, for one, don't intend to question the father's motives.
Of course, if it had been one of my own kids, I know I could never have refused to pay the ransom.
Mr. Al is here, sir.
It's been 14 hours since your broadcast.
Have you seen these yet?
They're all against you except the Times Chronicle.
Langs is tabulating the telegrams over at the plant.
So far, it's three and half to one, thumbs down.
Thought of still changing your mind?
That is if it isn't too late.
Well, there's nothing I can do around here.
Has Edith heard about what you've done yet?
I'll be at the plant if you need me.
Oh, I'm sorry to break in on you like this, Mr. Stannard, but I got the mayor right on my back.
You see, I'm-- I'm just an appointed official and if we can't convince him that I didn't put you up to this, it can mean my job.
Look, you can't blame the mayor.
Next fall, he's got to go out there and beat the bushes for votes.
He can't afford to be identified with this kind of a crackpot idea.
Now, Mr. Stannard, you know Sheriff Kessing.
Mr. Stannard, that broadcast of yours fixed this case up but good.
I mean, you really chucked the monkey wrench in the soup.
Take it easy, Sheriff.
Oh, sure, I'll take it easy.
Right now, I've got my whole technical staff and three speech specialists from the university playing back the tape recording of the contact.
So far, we found out that the kidnapper was born north of the Ohio River, west of the Rocky Mountains, and has a post- nasal drip.
Now, that figures because my boys ran a sputum analysis on the cigarette butt we found in the telephone booth and they found traces of a codeine cough syrup that can only be bought with a doctor's prescription.
Yeah, and the 18 doctors in West Ridge going without sleep to keep up with the virus flu epidemic.
Oh, we'll trace the prescriptions down all right, Mr. Stannard, all 2,000 of them.
But that's keeping our fingers crossed that the cough mixture was even bought in this state.
Look, Mr. Stannard, the chief and me are police officers.
It's our job to apprehend criminals.
But Jake, our first concern was to get the boy back safely.
Well, of course it is.
But everybody in this country knows that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the law picks up the kidnappers the minute they start passing the ransom money, and that goes whether the victim is returned or not.
Gentleman, look, uh, how about stepping outside.
I'd like to get some pictures of...
Keep your hands off of me.
Listen, Sheriff, how would you like a front page cartoon of yourself with bowlegs and six shooters?
You wouldn't dare do a thing like that.
Listen, listen, I could put you in a space suit if I want to.
Take it easy, Charlie.
Who gave you that?
You bribed the doctor to keep me drugged?
Edith, can you listen to me?
I can hear you. Then you remember right after the phone contact, you wanted me to handle everything.
Well, everything I've done I still believe was advisable.
Why did you do it, David?
Why did you do it to our son?
Let me take you upstairs, Edith.
No, don't come near me.
I want you to take it back.
Tell him you never meant it.
Tell him that you were-- you were influenced by the police, by the newspapers.
Promise that we'll raise twice the ransom they asked, anything they want.
You don't understand, Edith.
You just don't understand.
Oh, but I do.
The great D.G. Stannard, always has to have his own way.
No matter what, he has to be the big wheel.
I'm sorry, Dave. I didn't mean that.
They keep giving me that stuff.
I'm so confused. I don't--
I can't think.
But you will do as I ask.
It's too late.
How can you say that?
They have him out there some place.
As soon as I finished that broadcast last night, the whole thing was settled for good one way or the other.
Oh, we'd have heard by now.
Look, they may not want to run the risk of exposing themselves right now by returning, but it could mean that, Edith.
It could mean-- it could.
Lord God, please...
Please, Dave, just this one thing, this one thing.
I'll always remember that you did it for me.
I'll never go against you again as long as I live.
Please look at me, Dave.
Please, he's your own flesh and blood, please.
I can't stand any more of this, Edith.
Will you get on your feet?
Get on your feet, Edith.
I ought to realize this all along.
No matter what you pretended, you never really loved Andy.
You're jealous of him.
Oh, give me your hands, Edith.
No. Please give me your hands.
Those people out there, they'll help me.
They'll give me the money.
Help, help, help.
Please, Mrs. Stannard.
Oh, God, stop holding me.
You can't do this.
What is it?
I can manage her. You call the doctor.
I'll get you upstairs.
Dr. Gorman, please.
I didn't mean it, Uncle Jesse.
I meant right.
Mr. Stannard, I don't know how you hold up at all.
Sometimes I-- I-- I--
I can hardly hold up my own self.
May I get you something, sir?
No, thank you.
You haven't as much as laid your head down in two days.
That's not intelligent, Mr. Stannard.
Who've we got without you?
You're-- you're the powerhouse around here.
I'll just sit in here for a while, just a little while.
Very likely I have mentioned it to you, sir, that I'm one of the deacons down at our little church.
And we want you to know that we're all praying right around the clock.
How's your boss?
How do you think it looks, Mr. Telfer?
After 10 years in this racket, I know enough not to think.
Eighteen hours since the broadcast.
I guess there's nothing left to do now but to pray.
Care to join me, Mr. Telfer?
I just report the news, never attempt to influence it.
I just can't believe that your good Lord would pull the rug out from under this guy, yeah.
You think He could?
Hell, I know I couldn't if I was the good Lord.
You're-- you're saying there's still hope?
I'm not saying anything.
I just said ever since that broadcast, I've had those kidnappers right here.
I know what they're up to.
What would you be up to?
Supposing you're holding the kid out in some crummy chicken ranch, and you and your fat girlfriend are sort of this way, whether you should knock him up so that maybe someday he won't jump up in court and identify you?
And you start to think about this Stannard character camping on your tail and all that dough.
You tell me something, Jesse, you feel good?
Not me. Right.
Those babies are scared.
They're scared stiff.
They're scared of him.
They're scared something will happen to the kid.
Right now, they are worried spitless that that kid will get hit by some street car while they bring him back here.
They're luring the press.
All right, all right, everybody, be quiet.
You're gonna get your story.
Mr. Stannard, I'm afraid I got some bad news for you.
We found this behind the cushion of a stolen car.
Could you identify if...
Look at that. Oh, it's a shirt.
Where'd they find it?
Grab the details while I phone the desk.
I guess this winds it up.
And this is my letter to the mayor exonerating you from all responsibility in my decision.
Thank you, sir.
Has the money been returned to the bank?
No, they haven't found him yet.
There were six in the field on both sides of the highway.
They're already flying in dogs.
Flying dogs, latest mythical animal, that's a very funny joke.
He's made of iron.
I never saw anything like him.
Okay, I'm, uh, I'm gonna stay here for the identification and see if they find the body.
All right, I'll get back to you.
We'd better finish this in the kitchen.
I take it this includes all my personal property.
That right? Yes, yes, sir.
Hey, let him alone. That guy deserves it.
All right, let this car through.
You people wanna stand clear of those driveways.
We'll have to close the whole street off.
All right. Come on, you heard the speaker.
Nice and easy.
Wait. Cut it out.
What are you trying to do?
Leave him alone.
Run along, that mob's turning ugly out there.
Now does this issue carry a redemption penalty of any kind?
1.3% I see.
Could I just have a minute, please?
Now, listen, I have taken Edith in with us for the present.
Dr. Gorman seems to think it advisable.
And of course, it's what she wanted herself.
The last time she was able to talk to us, that is.
I left word with Chapman to call if we're needed.
I'm sincerely sorry for you, David, in every possible way.
See you at the plant tomorrow, Mr. A.
Now, I'm disposing of this large block of standard preferred.
I don't wanna depress the market so we'll conduct our operations over several months' time.
Yes, of course.
What's the matter, Charlie?
What do you want me to do, win the Pulitzer Prize?
Is there something you want of me?
Not anymore, sir.
Look at him.
He's got nothing left.
He's sitting there trying to make good in his promise and those goons outside, buzzing rocks through the window.
Yeah, the party's over.
Why are they hanging around?
Why? They're buzzards.
I'll get my boys.
I'll break this up.
Around the back way, Chief.
I guess that takes care of it.
Well, what I have in mind is a permanent foundation, one which will operate without my constant supervision.
Oh? And Mr. A will be giving orders at the plant?
The end of, say, 10 years of the murderers of my son are not brought to justice, then this entire fund...
Will be applied to the next case of a similar nature, huh? I'll get on it first thing tomorrow morning, D.G.
Get on it tonight.
At least you'll have the comfort of knowing you did what you thought was right.
Break it up. Show's over.
All right, folks, move along.
King David was much moved and thus he said, "Oh, my son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee.
Oh, Absalom, my son, my son."
Where's-- where did you get the-- the shirt?
The other one was all bloody.
They gave it to me after I bit that nurse lady.
You shaved, Dad.
Come on, son.
Your mother needs you.
Did you remember to bring my planks home, Daddy?
Look, it's the kid.
Leave them alone.
"This my son was dead and is alive again.
He was lost and he was found."