The House on Punchbowl Hill



















 
 

Episode 19: The Sweater

 
 

Copyright Television Productions of America, Inc. 1957
Distributed by: Television Programs of America, Inc.
RCA Sound Recording
Running Time: 26 minutes
"Made on Location in England"
Based upon characters as created by Earl Der [sic] Biggers
Production Code: 419
First Aired: 1958

Executive Producer: Leon Fromkess
Producer: Sidney Marshall
Associate Producer: Rudolph C. Flothow 
Director: Charles F. Haas 
Assistant Director: Ivan Volkman
Teleplay:  Richard Grey
Story: Brock Williams
Director of Photography: Kenneth Peach, Sr.
Film Coordinator: Alex Horwitz
Film Editor: Monica Collingwood
Sound: Al Overton
Script Supervisor: George Rutter
Art Director: William Ross  
Set Decorator: Herman N. Shoenbrun
Makeup: Lee Greenway      
Wardrobe: Einar Bourman         
 

CAST:

J. Carrol Naish: Charlie Chan
Margot Grahame: The Contessa Forzano
Conrad Phillips: Derk
Robert Cawdron: Inspector Van Der Reyden
Billy Milton: Van Horn
Sandra Francis: Verna Martin
Nicholas Stuart: Dick Martin         

 
 

LOCATION: Amsterdam, The Netherlands  (First title reads: "Amsterdam"; second title reads: "American Hotel")

PROBABLE DATE: 1957

DURATION: 3-4 days (ends on a Friday)

SUMMARY:

Dick and Verna Martin who are seeking to save their failing marriage check into an Amsterdam hotel.  Dick hands his wife a large amount of cash, telling her to enjoy it.   Replacing a gun in his suitcase he tells her that he never intends to lose her – ever again.  Later, the couple is at a fashion show as Charlie Chan arrives.  Verna recognizes Chan, having previously met him in Honolulu.  Chan explains that he is at the fashion show seeking a gift for his daughter.  Verna suggests that Chan buy a sweater such as the one Dick just bought her, an original by Derk, "one of the top designers in Europe."  Declining an invitation to meet them at their hotel for drinks due to a previous engagement, Chan agrees to meet the Martins the next day instead.  As the Martins leave, the Contessa Forzano arrives to pick up the same sweater that Mrs. Martin has just left with.  Derk is surprised by the mix-up, and Van Dorn, the design house owner, promises to retrieve the sweater from Mrs. Martin immediately and telephones Verna who refuses his offer of a replacement.

 

At their hotel, the Martins prepare for an evening out, but the joyful mood quickly sours as Verna's old flame, Bob, calls her from London.  Incensed, Dick says he will never let her go even though she wants a divorce.  Amid the turmoil, the Contessa arrives to request the sweater from Verna.  Even though she wants to leave Dick she refuses the Contessa's offer.

 

While visiting his friend Inspector Van Der Reyden, Chan receives a telephone call informing him of the murder of Verna Martin with Dick being held as the prime suspect.  Chan and the Inspector visit the detained Dick Martin at his hotel.  Dick's story is that he had left his wife with the Contessa and took a walk.  Upon his return he found Verna dead from a blow to the head.  It has been determined that Dick's handgun, which was wiped clean of fingerprints, was the object causing the fatal blow.  It seems that nothing was taken from the murder scene, seemingly ruling out robbery as a motive.  However, Chan points out that one item, the sweater desired by the Contessa, is nowhere to be found.

 

Visiting Van Dorn, Chan is told by him that "women would kill each other for a sweater by Derk," to which he expresses his opinion that the Contessa is ruthless enough to have killed Verna Martin for her sweater.  After obtaining the Contessa's address, Chan, noting that Derk is engrossed in his work, adding rhinestones to a new, replacement sweater for the Contessa, the detective notes Mrs. Martin's death as well as the fact that the original sweater.  Finding the Contessa at her apartment, packing for a trip to America, Chan probes for information, mentioning her distinctive walking stick and how it could double as an effective weapon.  It turns out that the Contessa has the original sweater in her possession.  She explains that Verna was convinced to give it to her on the condition that Derk would make her a duplicate sweater.  As Chan leaves, the Contessa signals from her window to someone outside.  Soon, while aboard a canal boat, Chan quickly overcomes an attacker by tossing him overboard by a quick Judo move.

 

Back at police headquarters, Chan asks Inspector Van Der Reyden if he has any knowledge of diamond smuggling activity in connection with the United States and the Inspector notes that there has been such activity recently.  Chan poses the theory that Derk and the Countess could be working together, smuggling cut diamonds to the U.S. through the used of the sweater containing "rhinestones."  Chan returns with the Inspector to the Contessa's apartment.  As the Inspector questions the Contessa, Chan, outside, stops Derk who was in the process leaving through the servant's door.  Derk explains that he was returning the Countess' sweater after making a few small alterations.  Carefully checking the stones on the sweater, the Inspector finds them to be rhinestones.  As no other sweater is found, the two leave with apologies.  After they leave, the Contessa shows Derk how she had hidden the original sweater inside the bust of Admiral Von Tromp.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

At the docks, the Contessa  enters her cabin aboard the ship that will take her to America.  Chan, surprising her demands the sweater, but Derk enters, holding him at gunpoint.  Chan quickly disarms and subdues Derk as the Inspector enters the cabin and takes both he and the Conterssa into custody.  Regarding the Contessa’s walking stick Chan states to the Inspector, "As far as being murder weapon, perhaps yes, perhaps no."  At Dick Martin's hotel room Chan informs him that tests showed no blood residue on the Contessa's walking stick, but that blood was detected on Dick's gun, to which Chan adds, "You killed your wife, Mr. Martin."  Allowing martin to finish dressing before taking him to police headquarters, Chan watches his reflection in a mirror.  Suddenly, Dick pulls a gun on Chan which the detective shoots from his hand with his own weapon. 

OF NOTE:

Verna Martin (to Dick Martin):  "That’s Charlie Chan the famous detective."

 

 

Verna Martin (to Charlie Chan): "Hello, Mr. Chan.  Remember me?  Verna Martin.  It was Verna Thompson when we met in Honolulu."

 

Charlie Chan (replying to Verna Martin):  "Ah, yes, with your honorable father.  Most happy to meet again.  Also, recollection of first meeting most pleasurable."

 

 

Verna Martin (to Charlie Chan as to why he is at the fashion show):  "Primary purpose is to secure suitable gift for daughter."

 

Charlie Chan (to Inspector Van Der Reyden regarding why his friend has lost to him again in a game of chess):  "Your humble opponent being on vacation has relaxed contented mind while you have half brain on duty." 

 

Second title reads: "American Hotel."        

American Hotel - The American Hotel, located at the center of Amsterdam was built in 1882.

Van Horn (to Chan when asked the address of the Contessa Forzano): "28 Brockhorststrasse (Bronkhorststraat)."

28 Brockhorststrasse as it appears today.

Charlie Chan (to the Contessa upon seeing a distinctive bust on a table at her apartment): "Oh, Admiral Van Tromp, I believe."

Admiral Maarten Tromp (1598-1653) - Maarten Tromp (wrongly called Van Tromp in some histories) was a famous Dutch naval figure who, in 1639, during his country's struggle for independence from Spain, defeated a large Spanish fleet which was bound for Flanders, thus marking the end of Spanish naval power.

CHARLIE CHAN'S APHORISMS:
 

Loss of a loved one is difficult even for strongest shoulders.

 

Genius cannot be interrupted by mundane affairs.

 

Walk in air sometimes helps clear mind, particularly if walk is in right direction.

 

Things of beauty, lovely ladies included, are joy forever.

 

Perhaps like foolish but eager dog we bark up the wrong tree.

 

More than one way to skin a cat.

 

Old Chinese saying: "Never argue while looking in mouth of tiger."

 
 

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