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Title: The show must go on

Author: Henry Slesar

Illustrator: Robert Engle

Release date: September 4, 2023 [eBook #71568]

Language: English

Original publication: New York, NY: Royal Publications, Inc, 1957

Credits: Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


The Show Must Go On


Illustrated by ENGLE

Actors wanted: experience unnecessary,
salary excellent, life expectancy brief....

[Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
Infinity July 1957.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

He awoke in darkness, trembling with the thought of escape.

His hands groped around the floor, trying its solidity. Then he crawled forward with agonizing slowness until his fingertips found a wall. He raised himself to his feet, his cheek scraping the cool surface of the enclosure.

An idea came to him, and he slapped at the pocket of his shirt. His palm struck the outline of something. Matches!

He lit one, and raised it to the level of his wide, frightened eyes. He was facing a door, a barricade of steel, without sign of latch or doorknob. But there was a sign, and he read it in the flicker of the matchflame. It said:


He made a noise in his throat, and shoved against the door. It gave in to his weight, and he was outside the building, standing in a courtyard washed softly by moonlight.

He circled where he stood, and knew he was a prisoner still. A wire fence, four times his height, surrounded him.

He came closer to it, and plunged his fingers through the mesh, rattling it helplessly in his misery. Then he saw the second sign, and held his breath. It read:


Encouraged, he began his climb. The toes of his rubber-soled shoes fit neatly into the openings, and he gained the summit of the fence quickly. He swayed uncertainly at the top, and almost dropped the twenty-five feet to the other side. But he regained his balance, clambered down the mesh, and dropped panting to the ground.

A voice boomed at him.

"All right, let's go! We haven't got all night!"

He forced himself to his feet, and looked for the source of the sound with wild movements of his head. He could see nothing but the menacing shadows of a crowded forest. With a frightened glance over his shoulder, he plunged into the thick of it, hoping to find a pathway to the unknown freedom he sought.

He thrashed through the tangled vines for a small eternity, and then gave up with a sob. He fell against a tree trunk, dampening the bark with his tears.

This time, the voice was quieter, but its tone was impatient.

"Keep going, keep going! To the right. The right!"

He clung to the tree as if for protection, and then, with a gasp, plunged once more into the darkness.

He found the clearing, to the right.

It was like an arena, with spectator trees, and with bright eyes winking at him through the leaves.

There was a log to the left of the cleared green circle, and a frail young girl in torn clothing sat on it, huddled with either fear or cold. She was clutching something like an infant to her chest.

He came closer and saw that it was a broadsword. He paused.

"Who are you?" he said.

She looked up at him, her expression savage.

"You're here!" she said.

He took a step forward, and the voice spoke once more.

"Kill her and you go free."

"No!" he shouted.

"Kill him and go free," said the voice.

The girl put her head in her arms. Her shoulders shook.

He walked towards her and she screamed.

"No, please!" he said painfully. "I won't hurt you. Why should I hurt you?"

She looked at him narrowly. Her hand tightened around the handle of the sword. "You know why," she accused.

"You must trust me," he said. He put his hand out gently to her. She backed away from his touch, and leaped off the log. She moved away cautiously, gripping the weapon with both hands.

"Use the sword," said the voice. "Strike, and go free."

She trembled, and lifted the sword from the ground. The man whirled, eyes penetrating the forest for an escape route. He backed up, and fell over a trailing root.

"Now," said the voice. "Strike!"

The girl moved towards him hypnotically.

"I hate you.... I hate you ..." she moaned. She lifted the blade high, and the man lashed out with his foot as she towered over him. The broadsword flew from her grasp.

"Now kill her," said the voice. "And you can go free."

"I WON'T!" he shouted again. He scrambled to his feet and made a dive for the weapon. He took it in his hand and waved it threateningly at the surrounding woods.

"Come out! Come out!" he screamed. The eyes of the forest blinked back at him in silence.

He flung the sword from his hand, as if in loathing. Then he crashed into the forest once more.

The Producer gurgled through his hookahmatic. Frick, his assistant, recognized this symptom of official disgust, and jumped to his feet.

"Turn it off!" the Producer said, gesturing towards the fidelivision screen. Frick turned it off. "No, leave it on," the Producer moaned, peeping at the white oblong through his chubby fingers. "Let's see what Manford does in this pickle." Frick turned it on.

"He'll probably drop in the dinosaur film," he said.

"If he does, I get a new Director," the Producer answered in a rumbling voice. "He's used that spot three times in the past month."

The fidelivision flashed. A screaming red title dripped bloodily across the screen. "Man Against Dinosaur!" it said. The Producer's angry cry almost drowned out the horrific roar of the live-prop brontosaurus that appeared.

"Meeting, meeting!" he cried. "We're going to have a staff meeting—right after the show!"

"A live meeting?" Frick gasped.

"A live one," the Producer said. "Everybody here—right here—in person! This is an emergency!"

"Gosh, T.D.—" Frick frowned disapprovingly. "That's kind of rough, isn't it? I mean, a phonescreen session would be a lot simpler. It'll take hours for Manford and the rest of 'em to get through the Jam."

"I don't care," the Producer said petulantly. "This kind of bumbling inefficiency has gone far enough. It'll do 'em good to get crushed in the Traffic for a change—"

Frick paled, obviously disturbed by the severity of the punishment the Producer was meting out. Only the lowest ranks of employees, the non-executives, the factory people, were forced to suffer the indignities of the Jam.

"I'm sure they'll get that fellow," Frick said. "After all, T.D.—how far can he get? When he gets out of the forest, he'll reach the Studio Barrier, and he'll be stopped. Simple as that."

"And what if he finds the exit?"

Frick scoffed, "Well, the odds on that—"

"Odds? Don't talk to me about odds, Frick!" The Producer winced as man and brontosaurus came together on the screen. There was a closeup of the man's face, and his expression wasn't pretty when he saw the imitation beast. But of course, he couldn't know it was harmless—

"The letters!" the Producer groaned. "The complaints! I can see 'em now—"

The office door opened. A pretty redhead with vacant eyes and a frozen smile poked her head inside.

"What is it, Miss Stitch?"

"Will you take a call from Mr. Manford? Phonescreen Seven."

"You bet I will," the Producer said menacingly.

Frick lowered the fidelivision sound and flicked on P.S. 7 with a few efficient motions. The face of Joe Manford, the Director of the night's Thrill Show, was haggard, despite the jovial smile.

"Hi, T.D.," he said. "Been watching the show?"

"Yes, Joseph," the Producer said gravely.

"Oh." The smile faded, but only for a moment. "Well, nothing to worry about. Our boys will have that fellow rounded up in a few minutes. Can't imagine how that got fouled up. But that's the Thrill Show for you. Full of surprises."

"Is that a fact?" said the Producer. He picked up the butt of his hookahmatic and sipped smoke calmly. "I presume this fellow was fully authorized before you put him on?"

"Oh, yes," Manford said hastily. "He passed the routine FCC physical, and had the usual adrenalin and hypnomecholyl dose. I mean, you saw the girl didn't you? She was fine, wasn't she?" He beamed.

"Yes," said the Producer. "She certainly was fine." Frick stirred uncomfortably behind him.

"Anyway," the Director continued, "we're dropping in the dinosaur film—that's always good for a few shivers—and we've sent a crew into the Studio to get that man out of there—"

The Producer nodded his head toward his assistant. "Frick," he said, eyes on Manford. "You tell him."

Frick stepped into range. He cleared his throat and looked at the floor. "There'll be a meeting after the show," he mumbled.

"Meeting?" Manford said. "What for?" He blinked, and looked at Frick's bowed head. Then he looked dazed. "You don't mean a—a live meeting?"

Frick nodded. The Producer puffed contentedly on his hookahmatic. He blew a smoke ring, and it puffed itself to pieces against the phonescreen.

The man raised himself from the ground. His limbs felt weak, and he had to force the breaths through his lungs.

He got to his feet, feeling somewhat stronger. The forest seemed as impenetrable as ever, but he faced its challenge now with more confidence.

That girl! he thought. My God—she was really going to kill him! He shook his head bewilderedly. Such a young, pretty girl! What had he done to her? What made her want to do it?

He moved through the forest slowly, ducking branches, trailing the sources of dim lights in the distance. But as he approached, they proved to be illusory, odd reflections of moonlight among the trees.

She didn't want to kill him, not really. He could sense that. It was something more. She was compelled to do it—that was it. Someone had put her up to it. But who? Who hated him enough?

The speculation made his head ache. He blanked out his thoughts and decided to concentrate on his predicament. There had to be a way out. The girl had entered the forest at some point. But where?

He heard the sound of voices, and he stopped breathing.

"Manford means business," one of them said.

"He's plenty worried. T.D. was watching tonight—"

"The sponsors kick T.D., T.D. kicks Manford, and Manford kicks us. Who do we kick?"

"I don't know about you. I got an old dog home—"

"Okay. Let's separate and find this bird."

"Right. Hey, Lou! Let's have some tracer lights!"

He concealed himself in the brush as a burst of light exploded over the treetops. He watched the men parade past; ordinary-looking men, executive types, with white collars and knit ties and flannel suits. Strangely enough, they seemed quite at home in this wilderness.

He waited until they passed his hiding place. Then he started on a nimble run in the direction from which they had come.

The producer fitted himself snugly into Executive position: desk, swivel-chair, and man welded into one solid, efficient unit. He sighed a comfortable sigh, and glanced up at the wall clock. Ten-thirty. The Thrill Show would be over in half an hour; the dinosaur film would wind it up neatly. He'd probably have some explaining to do to the sponsors tomorrow, but he was all prepared to give the usual "popular demand" argument.

He regretted the live meeting he had called. It would be two hours at least before the Staff plowed through the Traffic Jam. That meant he couldn't leave the office until after one-thirty.

He looked at the hopeless tower of papers on his desk blotter. Most of them were letters, and his secretary had never quite gotten the hang of weeding out the chaff. Once he found a letter from an FBC Vice-President in the Discard File; since then, he ordered all mail to his desk. He wished he could get a better secretary than Miss Stitch, but the shortage of A1-rated secretaries (A for "Attractiveness," 1 for Efficiency) was acute.

He skimmed through the top of the pile quickly.

"Dear Mr. Donnelly.... Certainly enjoyed 'Death in the Ring' ... one of the best Thrill Shows I've ever seen ... wonder if you would consider a football thriller I have in mind called 'Murder Kicks Off'...."

"Dear Mr. Donnelly.... Let's have more shows like 'Snake Pit' ... that Mother and Baby idea was the greatest.... I really thought that woman would go nuts when she saw her kid with the cobra.... A shocker all the way...."

"Dear Mr. Donnelly.... If 'Kiss of Death' was your idea of entertainment, you ought to retire ... sort of sex shmaltz went out with television ... give us real gutsy stuff and never mind the mush.... I'm only eleven years old, but I'll bet I could write a better scenario than that.... I have this idea for a show called...."

"Dear Mr. Donnelly...."

The Producer sighed again. He reached into his pill drawer and took an ulcer capsule. Then he went back to his correspondence.

When the man entered his office, he didn't even glance up.

"That you, Frick?" he said, eyes on a letter of praise from a Yonkers housewife.

When the man didn't answer, the Producer looked up.

He gasped. "Hey!" he said.

"Shut up!" the man said harshly. He moved swiftly towards the desk and lifted a bronze ashtray in a lightning motion. He raised the object threateningly over the fat man's head.

"Keep quiet!" he said.

"What is this?" The Producer's voice quavered. Then he recognized the face. "You're the one from the Show—"

The man blinked. His face relaxed, and he lowered the impromptu weapon. "I—I'm sorry...."

The Producer came around the side of the desk. He took the ashtray from his hand, and helped him into the interview chair. The man collapsed limply at his touch.

"How'd you get here?" the Producer said.

"I don't know," the man mumbled. "I found a door ... back there...." He buried his chin on his chest. His clothes were shredded, and his hands were trembling.

"Just take it easy," the Producer told him. He stabbed his finger on a desk button. The signal brought Frick into the office.

"What's up, T.D.?" Then the assistant saw the man in the chair. "My God," he whispered, swallowing hard. "Gosh, I'm terribly sorry, T.D.—"

"Never mind being sorry," the Producer said gratingly. "Let's just be thankful he found his way here instead of into the street. If he'd been picked up by the Police—"

The assistant mopped his brow. "That would have been terrible. They'd surely recognize him from the show. If the FCC saw him in this condition—"

"Yes," the Producer said grimly. "If they saw him in this condition, their medical office would slap an injunction on us so fast—we'd all be out in the Jam. Do you realize that?"

Frick blanched. "I'll get Dr. Stark in here right away. We'll get him an anti-dope shot immediately—"

"That girl ..." the man said.

"It's okay, fella," Frick said. "You're okay now."

"Never mind him," said the Producer. "Get Spier in here. Right away!"

Frick hurried out. The Producer poured a slug of brandy into a cup and held it to the man's lips. He gulped it gratefully, and then exploded a rasping cough. When the cough subsided, he buried his head on his chest again, breathing heavily.

The Producer studied the man's face. It was oddly familiar.

"Say," he said. He put his hand under the chin and lifted the face up. The eyes opened. "Aren't you Jerry Spizer?"

The man stared blankly. The Producer grunted. "Huh. Guess you don't know who you are right now, fella. But you're Jerry Spizer, all right. Imagine that!" T.D. shook his head. "The great Spizer. In a Thrill Show!" He chuckled dryly.

The doctor bustled into the office, a small cyclone, trailing the nervous assistant behind him like a flurrying dust cloud.

"Roll up his sleeve," he told the Producer commandingly. He removed the hypodermic spray-gun from his bag and carefully filled it with a dozen cc's of the anti-dope. He dabbed the man's arm with a shred of cotton, and pressed the spray against his flesh. "Good thing I hung around tonight," the doctor grumbled. "If this man ever got away in this condition—"

"We know, we know," the Producer said testily. "Fix him up and cut the chatter—"

"I saw that show," the doctor said. "Somebody sure fouled up. Probably gave him an overdose."

"We'll get to that later," the Producer promised. "Just do your job, Doc."

"I'm through," Stark said crisply. "Put him on that couch over there and raise his legs. He'll come to his senses in about ten minutes—I hope."

Frick and the Producer helped the man to the sofa. He sprawled on it full-length, fingers trailing on the carpet.

"Do you know who he is?" T.D. said. "He's Jerry Spizer."


"Spizer. The big TV star. You remember."

The doctor halted in the process of clasping his bag, and came over to the sofa. He looked at the man's relaxed face. "By God," he said. "You're right. Now what the hell is Spizer doing on a Thrill Show?"

The Producer shrugged. "I don't know. I haven't heard anything about him for the past eight or ten years."

"He must have had it tough," Frick said musingly. "I mean, a big star like that on a program like this—"

"What do you mean, 'a program like this'?" The Producer looked displeased. "If the Staff had a nickel's worth of imagination, they would have played this up big—"

"Gosh," said Frick. "That's true. We could have used a credit card—"

"I'll bet he wouldn't have permitted it," the doctor said. "You know what Spizer thought of the Thrill Show."

"Yeah?" The Producer's face reddened. "Well, we proved how wrong he was, didn't we? The public was just sick and tired of that namby-pamby stuff. There had to be a Thrill Show!"

"Sponsors demanded it," Frick said loyally.

"And besides," T.D. added, "if he doesn't like us, what the hell did he sign up for?"

The doctor pursed his lips. "Maybe he was hungry."

Frick said: "He's still not coming around, Doc."

"He'd better," Stark said warningly. "If the anti-dope doesn't work, it could mean a lot of trouble for the Thrill Show, Mr. Donnelly—"

The Producer looked frightened. "That's ridiculous. It's got to work. It's always worked—"

"You better call your Staff," the doctor said. "Find out what dosage they gave this man. Check his FCC medical authorization. And do it fast, Mr. Donnelly. This is just the kind of thing the FCC can hang you on."

"Thank God I called that meeting!" the Producer said.

"Here's the straight poop."

Manford, the Thrill Show director, looked briskly around the room. They had gathered around the table in the conference room, the Staff members still hollow-cheeked and shaken by their experience in the Jam.

"This fellow came into the office last week and signed up for a spot in the Thrill Show. We needed somebody for the 'Battle of the Sexes' show, and he was a pretty nice-looking guy. A little seedy, maybe. But all right. He gave his right name—here's his record—but nobody on the interviewing staff recognized him. Guess they're all a little too young to remember Jerry Spizer very well—"

"All right," the Producer prodded. "So what happened?"

"Well, just the routine things. The FCC medical officer gave him the standard physical. His psych check wasn't the best we've ever had, but that's always a debatable business. When he showed up for work yesterday, we gave him the regular dose of ten cc's of adrenalin and four cc's of hypnomecholyl. That's s.o.p. for an Anger-Emotion Show, of course."

The Producer looked at Stark. "Did you give him the shot?"

"No." The doctor shuffled the papers in his hands. "That new fellow, Grayson. Do you want to see him?"

"He's gone home," Manford said. "It'll take an hour to get him here. Why not phonescreen him?"

They took the Director's suggestion. In a few minutes, the image of Dr. Phil Grayson appeared on Phonescreen Four. He was a young man, with a high, balding forehead and a rabbity mustache. He looked worried when his home screen brought him the picture of the intense group around the conference table.

"What is it?" he said.

"Just checking back on some records, Doctor," T.D. said smoothly. "Remember the man you injected today? This fellow Spizer, for the 'Battle of the Sexes' Show?"

The doctor nodded. "Of course."

"Was there anything unusual about the dosage?"

Grayson looked puzzled. "Naturally not. I gave him the prescribed dosage, just like Dr. Stark told me. Ten cc's of nor-adrenalin, forty-four cc's of that—what d'you call it—hypnomecholyl. Why?"

Dr. Stark paled. "I told you that?" he said. The color rushed back into his cheeks a bright crimson. "I told you adrenalin, you fool. Not nor-adrenalin! And four cc's of hypnomecholyl." He looked wildly at the men around the table. "I swear I told him!" he said.

"You didn't!" the young doctor gasped. "You told me forty-four—"

Stark jumped to his feet, his face livid. He started towards the phonescreen as if to throttle the two-dimensional image on the glass.

"You're a liar!" he cried. "You knew it was an Anger-Emotion Show! You knew what was required—"

"I didn't know," Grayson answered, his mustache twitching. "You didn't tell me that. I just assumed—"

"You assumed!" The Producer stood up, looking thunderclouds at Dr. Stark. "You knew what kind of show it was, Stark. Why didn't you tell him? We needed an Anger reaction—not Fear! That's what loused up the whole show!"

Manford groaned. "What does that matter now? Forty-four cc's of hypnomecholyl! What kind of a doctor are you, Grayson? Don't you know you could kill a man that way?"

"I—I didn't know. I never worked with these mecholyl drugs. I studied antibiotics—"

"Better if it had killed him," the Producer said darkly. "We might have covered that up. But we can never get him past the FCC examining officer now—"

"I swear he told me forty-four! I swear it!"

Dr. Stark made a rush at the phonescreen. Grayson backed away in terror, despite the many miles that were between him and Stark's intended violence. With a snarl, the older doctor reached up and turned off the instrument.

"Now we're in for it," he told the others.

"Maybe he'll be all right," Manford said. "Maybe he'll snap out of it. A little more anti-dope—"

"Nonsense," Stark snapped. "If it hasn't worked by now, it'll never work. The overdose has permanently affected his nervous system. He's an amnesiac for good—an amnesiac with a permanent case of the jitters—"

Frick shivered. "God! What a fate!"

The Producer looked wise. "Yes," he said solemnly. "He'd be better off dead, wouldn't he?"

The Staff stared at him.

"You know what I'm talking about," T.D. said. "He'd be better off dead. Better for him, for the Thrill Show, for us."

"Well," Manford said feebly.

"Well, nothing!" The Producer's voice was harsh. "Do you get the significance of all this? Do you know what happens when the FCC medical officer wants to re-check Spizer? An injunction! A court battle! Then Spizer goes on the stand as Exhibit A, and we lose. No more Thrill Show." He looked at their faces individually. "No more jobs. Bankruptcy. Poverty. The Jam."

This time, the shiver was collective.

"We can't let that happen!" Manford licked his lips. "What about the sponsors? They got pull, don't they? They need us, don't they? I mean, nothing else will give 'em the kind of ratings they get from the Thrill Show—"

"Their hands will be tied," T.D. said. "One slip is all the Federal boys have been waiting for. And with all that foreign criticism our State Department's been getting—"

"They still buy our films abroad," another Staff man said glumly.

"That won't matter." The Producer sat down heavily, and put the cold end of his hookahmatic in his mouth. "The Thrill Show is doomed. Let's face it."

The group dropped their eyes to the table.

"Of course," the Producer said quietly. "There's one way out."

They looked up at him hopefully.

"Remember Juan Esprenzo?" he said.

They stared at him.

"That was a troublesome situation, too. But we came out of that one, didn't we?"

They gaped, silently.

"Juan Esprenzo was killed on the 'Angry City' Thrill Show of November 19th, 1985. It was purely an accident, of course. He wandered out of the guidepaths in the studio and was struck by a falling prop. Nobody could have foreseen it, and nobody could have prevented it. His family received $50,000 in insurance. The FCC investigation described the incident as unfortunate, and there was a special Juan Esprenzo Memorial Show held on January 3rd. But these things happen—just as they once did in boxing, football, racing. Nothing unusual. Nothing to ban a program about."

They turned their eyes to the outer room, where Jerry Spizer lay in a coma on the studio sofa.

"Do you get what I mean?" the Producer said. "Don't you think we could pass another investigation a la Esprenzo—better than we could pass the one we're facing right now?"

They looked hopeful and frightened in turn.

"You mean—deliberately kill him, T.D.?"

"Cause an accident?"

"Kill him right on the program?"

"Exactly," the Producer said, with a satisfied smile. "Put him on again tomorrow night. Make it a set-up. Have something go wrong. Then keep the cameras trained on him while we rush out of the Studio Control Room to find out if he's all right. The whole country will see it was an accident—only an accident."

He turned to Wilson, the head script-writer.

"Wilson," he said. "You've got an assignment."

He awoke in darkness, trembling with the thought of escape.

His hands groped around the floor, trying its solidity. When his fingertips found a wall, he raised himself with agonizing slowness, his nails scraping along the ridges in the damp stone.

He pressed his hot cheek against the cool surface, and sobbed pitifully.

When his eyes adjusted to the feeble light, he measured the strength of his prison, and felt the added terror of hopelessness. He turned his eyes to the pool of darkness in the center of the dungeon, and ventured forth a cautious foot.

He had taken only three steps before he heard the voice.

"Look out!" it said.

Then he saw the Pit.

He looked with horror at the writhing beasts inside.

He sank to his knees, and stared in terrible fascination at their swaying bodies. Then he buried his face in his hands.

He looked up when he heard the swish! above him.

Gleaming, swinging, evoking a memory in an impossibly distant past—it was a pendulum, of razor-sharp steel.

And it was descending.

He screamed, and lifted his arms above his head. The pendulum ground to a halt, the mechanism groaning and screeching in protest. There was a second of silence, and then the blade fell to earth with the suddenness of an avenging sword. This time, the scream was cut off in his throat, and the giant weapon flattened him sickeningly against the edge of the precipice.

Vaguely, as in a dream, he heard the sound of speech, and running footsteps.

"My God! It broke! The pendulum broke!"

"Somebody get the doctor!"

"Look out for that Pit! It's a forty-foot drop!"

"Come on!"

A hand touched his shoulder, and a ring of anxious faces floated like pink balloons over his head.

"I think he's still alive!"


"He can't be! That thing weighs a ton!"

"Well, he looks pretty bad, but I can see his eyes moving and he seems to be—"

"Get that blade off him!"

He knew that the great weight had been removed from his body, but he could feel no difference. He was looking with almost objective interest into the face of a fat man, a familiar face with wide eyes and an open, bow-lipped mouth. The face was covered with a film of nervous perspiration, and there was a strange sort of anxiety in the man's movements.

"He's got to be! He's got to be!" The fat man was whispering intently.

"But T.D.—"

"Shut up! When you lift him up, I want you to—"

He heard nothing more, but his eyes remained open, fixing the face of the fat man. Then he felt arms around his shoulders once more, and he felt himself slipping, slipping back towards the edge.

With a spurt of strength, with a flash of sudden intelligence, he raised his left arm, and the fingers caught the collar surrounding the fat man's neck in loose folds. He held on grimly, until the fat man screamed with satisfying terror.

"Look out, T.D.!" somebody shrieked.

"He's dragging me with him!" The fat man flailed out helplessly. "He's pulling me over the edge!"

Somebody else leaped to his aid, but the dying man's grip was tenacious, his purpose certain.

"We're going over!"

They did: the fat man and his victim, and Cameras Three, Four, and Five caught the action beautifully.

Miss Stitch slipped her compact back into her purse, and straightened the corners of the stack of mail on her desk blotter. She looked towards the empty office of the Producer, and smiled with secretive pleasure. Then she slit open the envelopes in front of her, and leisurely read the morning mail.

"Dear Mr. Donnelly.... Boy, oh boy! What a thriller you gave us the other night! I thought 'Pit and the Pendulum' was one of the best Thrill Shows yet.... I sure was disappointed when I saw the title card and thought you were going to re-hash that old Poe bit, but that new ending of yours really knocked me cold.... I sure got a kick out of seeing that fat old guy going over the edge of the Pit. What a terrific wind-up!... I wonder if you would be interested in a really great story idea?... You see, there's this crazy old guy who has a secret laboratory on a mountain-top.... Well, one night it's raining and lightning like mad.... And this beautiful blonde comes along in a classy convertible...."