The House on Punchbowl Hill



















 
 

Episode 1: Your Money or Your Wife

 
 

Copyright 1957 by Vision Productions, Ltd. 
An Incorporated Television Corporation (ITC) Production
Distributed by: Television Programs of America, Inc.
Sound facilities: Ryder Sound Services, Inc.
Running Time: 26 minutes
"Filmed in Hollywood" 
Production Code: 401
First aired: August 9, 1957
 

Director: Charles Haas

Producer: Sidney Marshall

Executive Producer: Leon Fromkess

Writer: Richard Grey

Story: Brock Williams

Associate Producer: Rudolph C. Flothow

Director of Photography: Kenneth Peach, Sr.

Film Coordinator: Alex Horwitz

Film Editor: Monica Collingwood

Sound: Al Overton

Assistant Director: Ivan Volkman

Script Supervisor: George Rutter

Art Director: William Ross

Set Decorator: Herman N. Schoenbrun

Wardrobe: Einer Bourman         

CAST:

J. Carrol Naish: Charlie Chan
Lowell Gilmore: Kramer
Virginia Gregg: Constance Parsons
Dayton Loomis: Lt. Hess
Liam Sullivan: Andre Patton
Howard Culver: Lab Technician [George]         

 
 

PROBABLE LOCATION: Malibu, California

PROBABLE DATE: Early 1957 (Problematic as Contance Parson noted to Mr. Kramer: "The summer season is going to start in a few weeks..."  However, still possible if we consider Miss Parson's mental state at the time of her statement.)

DURATION: 2 days

SUMMARY: 

 

Mr. Kramer, a wealthy resident of a beach community, calls on Charlie Chan to learn who is trying to kill him.  Soon, Chan and Kramer discover that Kramer's wife, Marsha, is missing and a ransom note that is left behind.  Constance Parsons, Kramer's personal secretary, is interviewed, expressing her passionate hatred of Marsha.  Andre Patton, an artist who painted a commissioned portrait of Mrs. Kramer tells Chan that Marsha used to be his model and that it was he who had introduced her to Mr. Kramer.

 

Later, Kramer finds a package addressed to him in Marsha's handwriting, containing a tape of her pleading for her husband to pay the $50,000 ransom demanded by her abductors.  Police analysis of the tape proves it was recorded at Mr. Kramer's home on his own machine, indicating an inside job.  Staking out the location of the money drop, Chan and Lt. Hess follow the shadowy figure who takes the money and who turns out to be Andre Patton.  At the artist's studio, Marsha’s lifeless body is discovered with Andre protesting his innocence while admitting to working with her to defraud Mr. Kramer.  Soon, an autopsy report indicates that Marsha had been dead for at least eight hours before her body was found.  Chan reasons that Patton would not have killed her only to leave her body in his studio and not making an escape.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Later, Chan returns to speak with Miss Parsons, telling her of his belief that Andre Patton is innocent and that someone else was responsible for Marsha's demise.  Soon, speaking with Mr. Kramer, Chan details his thoughts on the case, suggesting that Kramer may know the identity of the one who actually killed his wife.  Back at the beach house, Kramer finds Constance cleaning the residence, noting that she is preparing it for the approaching summer season.  Pressed, she admits her guilt, stating that she would do anything for Mr. Kramer, who then pulls a gun to kill her.  Chan rushes in and stops him, and taking Constance to the police.  As they leave, Constance tells Kramer, "I killed her to make you happy."

OF NOTE:
 
Mr. Kramer (to Charlie Chan): "When I saw a news story that you were in town working on some cases, I called you."  (Charlie Chan is at the beginning of an extended "vacation," which will take him, as well as his Number One Son, Barry, soon, from the United States to Europe and beyond.  Obviously, his celebrity status has preceded him.) 

CHARLIE CHAN'S APHORISMS:
 
It is indeed a rare artist who can capture a woman's soul in a painting.
 
Even the frightened fawn is aware of the hunter that seeks its life.
 
I have a profound respect for female intuition.
 
An artist's relationship with a married woman should be confined to paints and canvas.
 
Strange, is it not, how wishes can sometimes turn into reality.
 
There are very few motives for murder; one of the most profound is hate, and the most powerful hate grows out of the loss of a most powerful love.
 
When a heart is full of tears, there is no room for understanding. 

 
 

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