A view of a wrestling ring, within which two professional wrestlers are engaged in a match. The one dressed in a black leotard and bow-tie has the other man, with feathers in his hair, in a head lock and is punching him.
In the audience sit Mildred and Laura. "Aren't these seats great?" Mildred asks Laura as she munches on popcorn.
Back to the two wrestlers, who are throwing each other around. Boos erupt from the audience in response to the actions of the bow-tied man.
"That Dangerous Darryl is some hunk. Woof!" Mildred comments.
"Who's his feathered friend?" asks Laura.
"Chief Goody Two Shoes. Don't you just love the name?"
Dangerous Darryl slams Chief Goody Two Shoes into the ropes. Leaping up Mildred yells, "Boo!"
"Mildred, sit down. Behave yourself." Laura tells her, embarrassed, as she pulls her back into her seat.
"Miss Holt, Dangerous Darryl's the bad guy. You're supposed to boo."
Dangerous Darryl pins the other man to the mat.
"I thought you said this was your first time here."
"Well, maybe just one other time." Mildred admits sheepishly as she continues to watch.
Dangerous Darryl leaps up the winner. Ding, ding, ding. The crowd boos.
Pulling down the microphone the ring announcer states, "The winner and still the number one challenger, The Velvet Vandal, Dangerous Darryl."
Grabbing the microphone from the ring announcer, Darryl challenges, "Listen, you're next Crunch Kramer! That championship belt belongs to me! That is, if you're man enough to defend it! Come on!"
Out of the audience a very muscular young man appears and calls out. "Ok Darryl. You want me? You got me, pal. Or should I say sweetheart?"
Climbing in the ring he confronts Darryl who punches him a few times, drags him over to the ropes and twists him up in them. Two security men stop Darryl from bouncing Crunch in the ropes.
Freed, Crunch yells at Darryl, "Saturday night, Georgie! Right here! No holds barred! You wimp."
"Get him outta here! Get him out!." Darryl yells back.
"Isn't this great?" asks Mildred.
As he steps out of the ring, Crunch recognizes Mildred. "Hat Pin Millie!" Mildred sits down, embarrassed.
"Hat Pin Millie?" Laura asks in disbelief.
"How you doing Millie?" asks Crunch.
"Hi there Crunch. I'd like you to meet Miss Holt."
"Well, all right. You did it, Millie." Crunch says as he shakes Laura's hand. "Glad to have you on the team Miss Holt. Tomorrow huh?"
"A night out for the girls, hey?" Laura says to Mildred.
"You're afraid for your life?" she asks.
"Embarrassing huh? Somebody's out to get me."
Remington enters her office. Laura introduces, "Crunch Kramer, Remington Steele."
"Yes we've had the pleasure. Uh, would you excuse us a moment? Miss Holt." He gestures for Laura to come with him.
Entering his office through the connecting door Steele asks, "Laura, are you aware I've already turned Mr. Kramer down?"
"Two days ago. You can still see his shoe prints in the carpet. Ask Mildred."
Laura opens the door to the outer office. Clearing her throat she calls out to the secretary, "Ok Millie. Front and center."
Mildred enters and to Steele says, "I know this case has been rejected, but I think Crunch really needs our help. I had to go to the boss for a second opinion."
"The boss has spoken, Mildred," he replies.
"She means me and she has a point," Laura comments.
"Aaaahhh," smiling Mildred nods in agreement with Laura.
"You keep out of this," he says to Mildred. Turning
to Laura he asks, "I thought
we had a partnership?"
"We do. But it remains my agency and I have to be involved in all major decisions. Now I think that Mildred may be right in this case. Crunch appears to be on the level. So, if you'll excuse me." Laura heads back to her office.
"I just wanted to help, boss," Mildred apologizes to him. Steele glares at her.
Back in her office Laura asks Crunch, "Surely you receive a lot of crank mail. What makes you think that whoever's behind these death threats is serious?"
"Well, two days ago, I was working out in the weight room, when zappo!" he answers.
"Zappo?" she questions.
"Yeah it was like this." Laying down on the floor, Crunch demonstrates what happened. "I put the barbell down on the supports and zappo, the legs collapsed. Four hundred pounds across the throat. I would have been dead for sure if my pop hadn't have been there."
Steele who has re-entered the office as Crunch explains his accident comments, "Remarkable," he says drily. "And when you checked the supports, you found they'd been tampered with. Right?"
Crunch looks up at him from the floor. "Yeah. How did you know?"
"Oh, call it a hunch." Steele once again gestures for Laura to join him.
"Another moment Crunch." Laura follows Steele to the other office.
Steele sits down beside a plant. "Laura this, ah, death threat routine is as transparent as the man's occupation. It is pure hype."
"I disagree. I think Crunch is genuinely afraid for his life."
"Based on what? That gym incident could easily have been faked, and those threatening letters of his are so general anyone could have written them. Even Crunch, with his limited vocabulary."
"You're over reacting."
"Am I? Are you about to ah, risk my good name in order to prove who's in charge here?" Steele asks.
"If you're so concerned with your name, which incidentally I gave you, why don't you dig up some proof that Crunch is faking it. Or would a little leg work prove fatal to your system?" Laura jabs playfully at his tie as she offers this challenge.
"On the contrary. Those are precisely my intentions." Answering the challenge, he stands, bumping his head into the plant. Brushing the leaf away from his face, he walks past Laura who has a playful smile on her face.
"You can see, Mr. Steele, that Crunch is in with some pretty impressive clients."
"Indeed, Mr. Shelby, indeed. What's this?" Steele asks as he picks up a trophy shaped like a basketball and reads, "To Art, thanks for making it happen."
"Ah yes," Shelby comments. "That was the year he broke the record for the highest salary in the NBA."
They walk over to a poster of the up coming wrestling match. "Touching moment I'm sure. Ah, promotion. That's the name of the game, eh Shelby? Take these, ah, threats on Crunch's life. The press will really run with that, won't they?
"I resent the insinuation, Mr. Steele. I love wrestling too much to make a travesty out of it."
"Of course, my apologies. I see also that, ah you manage Dangerous Darryl. Is that cricket?" Steele asks.
"Oh yes. I've got all the top contenders signed."
"No doubt he'll dearly love to wear Crunch's championship belt. Eh?"
"Like all the others."
"Any chances?" Steele prompts.
"Hmmm, some day."
"Ooo, the poor boy must be devoured with jealousy."
"Naturally," Shelby adds with a sly laugh. "That's what makes for a record breaking gate."
Steele shakes Shelby's hand. "Thank you Mr. Shelby for
the inspiring discussion about this, um, sport of yours."
From the other side of the door a man asks in a gruff voice, "Mike?"
"My real name's Mike Molinski," he explains. "Yah Pop.
Crunch's father opens the door. "Hey, Pop, this is Miss Holt, a private investigator."
"Oh? Pleased to meet you. Come on in. I heard a woman's voice. I thought it was Mary. Such a sweet girl. Always bringing me almond fudge ice cream. Calls every day."
"Pop, Mary and I are divorced, remember?" Crunch reminds him.
"Ok, ok, I get the message. Sit down, won't you Miss. Have a piece of fruit?"
Crunch and Laura sit on the sofa. Laura answers him. "Ah no, no thanks. I just wanted to ask you about the accident at the gym."
"Ok, my son the jock here, sets down the weights and all of a sudden the supports look like a pretzel. Next thing I know he's strangling to death. Thank God it was me there, instead of Miss What Not in the silk pajamas." He says this last part with a touch of scorn.
"Hey Pop! Her name is Whitney." To Laura, Crunch adds, "Whitney Chambers, my girl friend."
Laura asks, "Whitney Chambers, the soap opera star?"
Crunch says to Laura, "Guess you don't read People magazine, huh?"
Pop continues with his opinion of Crunch's girlfriend. "Yeah, Whitney, Whatney. To me, next to Mary she's a What Not."
"Pop, it's over with Mary and me. It's dead."
"A lot of people get together again after a divorce," says Pop.
"Pop, she tried to kill me coming out of the court room." At that revelation Laura looks sideways at Crunch.
Laura asks Crunch, "You were serious about your ex-wife trying to kill you?"
"Mary? Nah. She's just a little ticked off. I mean, here
she tries to sock me for more alimony and the judge reduces it
to a buck a year."
"That seems a bit harsh."
"Well, she's been dragging me in to court every three months to up the ante and I . . . I guess the judge got a little fed up with it."
"But she did say she wanted to see you dead?" Laura asks.
"Yeah, right after she threw the court room steno machine at me. The judge left her with nothing except a life insurance policy on me."
"How much is that worth Crunch?"
They stop at the Rabbit. "A million even." Crunch answers. He opens the car door for her.
"All those zeros can add up to quite a motive for some people. I think it's time we dropped in on your ex."
"I think I'll stay here. Mary's kind of turned the neighbors against me," Crunch explains.
After Laura leaves him, Crunch walks around to the side of the house. He opens a window and climbs through. Entering the room he looks around and heads to the mantle where his wrestling belt is on display.
"Crunch? Is that you?" A woman wearing a robe, her hair wrapped in a towel asks.
Turning Crunch says, "Ah, hi Mary."
"You've come back," Mary states, strange smile on her face.
"For my championship belt. Ah, I rang the bell."
"You don't know how long I've dreamed of this moment."
"You have?" he asks.
"Here we are. Just you and I, alone. I was upstairs in the shower and I heard a noise. And so I ran downstairs and you were climbing through the window, an intruder! So I grabbed the gun that you bought me to protect myself." As Mary says this she pulls a pistol out of the drawer in the table behind her.
"Mary what are you doing?" Crunch asks in a concerned tone.
"And I couldn't see who it was, so I just closed my eyes and squeezed." BAM, BAM. As she blindly shoots at him Crunch runs out of the line of fire.
Laura, talking to one of the neighbors hears the gunshot and starts running. "Call the police!" she tells them.
Mary continues, "Look at this place! The paint is peeling,"
she fires another shot, BAM, "and the lawn. You see the lawn?
It's brown! - because I can't afford a gardener!" Cornered,
Crunch stares at her.
Suddenly out of nowhere Laura tackles her and wrestles the gun from her hand. "The ex-Mrs. Molinski, I presume?" she asks. Looking at Crunch she adds, "Any questions about a motive?"
Crunch still shook up can only say, "I'm sold!"
Entering the gym Laura finds Steele and Mildred. "Mr. Steele I hate to destroy your hype theory but I've just come from the police station. They're holding Crunch's ex-wife for attempted murder."
"What?" Steele asks.
"Now it's up to Crunch to press charges," Laura tells him.
A man calls out, "Hey! Somebody help!" Steele, Laura and Mildred run down the hallway in the direction of the call for help.
A man is trying to open the steam room door which is jammed. "Quick give me a hand. The pressure gage is ready to blow," the man asks. Steele grabs the handle of the door and pulls. Suddenly the door flings open and a man in a white robe, falls face down in front of them. The name Crunch Kramer can be read on the back of the robe.
"Crunch!" Laura calls out.
"He shrunk." Mildred says.
A man seeing the name on the back of the robe starts yelling. "Crunch Kramer's dead! Call the cops. Call somebody. Crunch is dead." He runs off still yelling.
"Hey! What's all the noise?" Crunch approaches clad in a towel. He bends down to look at the body on the floor.
Steele flips the man over. "Arthur Shelby?"
"We were gonna talk business in the steam room, like always," Crunch explains.
Looking up at Laura Steele says, "Well Miss Holt, at least we can be certain of one thing. Crunch's ex-wife isn't responsible for this one."
Laura's only response is to push back her hat and shake her head.
The police and authorities are on the scene attending to the body. A crowd of mostly athletic men stare curiously at the sheet covered stretcher. Mildred chases off the onlookers. "Ok you guys, come on, move your buns. Back off the show is over." The men begin to leave the area and the authorities wheel the stretcher away.
Laura and Steele have been watching the events from the far side of the room. Noticing something on the floor Laura bends down and picks it up. "A parking token," she says as she looks at the item in her hand.
"Hmmm, yes I must confess Laura, the hype theory's looking a bit pale right now."
"Someone deliberately jammed the latch so Shelby couldn't get out. Obviously someone who saw the robe and thought it was Crunch. Any ideas, Mr. Steele?"
"Yes as a matter of fact, Dangerous Darryl, heir apparent to Crunch's throne. The very man I came to see. Where was he when Shelby was being par-boiled, eh?"
As the stretcher is being wheeled out a woman races in and hugs the body on it. "Crunch! Oh. Oh no! Crunch no! Oh!"
"Whitney," Crunch says.
"Crunch?" Whitney says in surprise. She pulls back the sheet revealing, "Shelby?" Crunch approaches the confused woman and embraces her.
"Who is that?" Steele asks.
"Whitney Chambers, star of Rage To Live," Laura replies.
"Rage To Live?" he asks.
Without missing a beat Mildred explains, "She plays Tiffany Ames, the sophisticated, socialite, heroine. Who, despite all of her money really has a good heart but is constantly being hounded by the. . ."
"Mildred" Steele interrupts, "I thought you were going to check on Dangerous Darryl's whereabouts?"
Still watching Crunch and Whitney, Mildred adds, "I just love happy endings."
"Mildred, a man is dead and his murderer is on the loose. I'd hardly call that a happy ending," Laura says to the woman.
"Good point. Catch you later." Mildred leaves on her errand.
A man enters the gym, pushing past the photographers. "Ok Whitney, everything's cool. Crunch is ok. Let's get back to the studio and finish taping, huh?"
"Thank you Todd, but my place is with Crunch right now. Tell them to shoot around me. I'll come in early tomorrow," Whitney tells the man.
Todd is adamant, "I want you back in the studio now. We have a career to think about. Or at least, we had one until you started mooning over old Crunchie here. Your image is slipping badly baby, from high-class right into the dumper."
Crunch says, "You heard her Myerson. She'll be at the studio tomorrow."
"You know something, Crunch. When I heard that bulletin you were dead I didn't care. No, that's wrong, I was glad. Glad you were finally out of my life for good."
"Getting interesting, isn't it?" Laura says to Mr. Steele.
A man holding a phone, calls out, "Crunch! The retirement hotel just called, your father's collapsed."
Entering Pop's room they find him sitting up in bed. Crunch asks, "Pop, what happened?"
"Oh, I heard the radio say you were dead. I figured why live. Then I heard the radio got it wrong. So I guess I'll survive," Pop explains.
"I can't tell you how relieved we both are Mr. Molinski. You really had us frightened," Whitney tells him.
"Thank you Whitney. It's nice of you to come." He glances at the nightstand and picks up a bottle. "Oh, darn it. No water for my pill. Whitney, sweet heart, would you be good enough to get me some ice water, please?"
"Sure dad, my pleasure." She turns and leaves the room.
"Why don't I ah, give Whitney a hand, hey?" Steele follows Whitney out the door.
Once she's left the room Pop says, "I won't talk with that phony in here."
"Pop will you stop?" Crunch asks his dad.
"Let's face it, she's tinsel. I wouldn't give you two cents . . . "
"Come on Pop." Crunch says in irritation.
"Mike I know you think I'm being a hard guy but I'm only thinking of you. Oh, the plans your mother and I had for you. College graduate, the first in the family. Yeah, what have you done with it?"
"Hey Pop wrestling's the hottest thing going today."
"Yeah, what about tomorrow when wrestling's not so hot. Look, your manager's dead. Where are you, without him? It's time you find a career. Get some foundation. And another thing, you think Miss soap opera star is gonna give you a family?"
Walking down the hall Whitney explains the situation to Steele. "It's like a ritual. I come to visit. The old man sends me out for ice water so he can tell Crunch to drop me."
"He hates me. He thinks I don't really care for Crunch." Picking up a pitcher she adds, "That I'm just a flighty actress, who's using his son for some cheap publicity." Whitney sees Steele staring at her and questions the look. "What?"
"Nothing, I ah . . . ," he hesitates.
"You don't know what a nice girl like me is doing with a muscle-bound cartoon like Crunch?" Whitney opens the refrigerator and fills the pitcher with ice.
"I wouldn't have put it quite like that."
She finishes with the ice, then looks at Steele. "I love him, Mr. Steele. For some reason, I felt like you'd understand."
"Ah, tell me, Whitney, when you and your manager arrived at the gym today . . . "
"Oh, Todd wasn't with me, I had my limo. I don't know where he came from."
"Even so, he doesn't seem too keen on your relationship." Having filled the pitcher with water, they head back.
"The press has labeled our relationship, Beauty and the Beast."
"Todd thinks the publicity will ruin my acting and singing career."
"You sing as well?" Steele asks.
"Soaps don't last forever. My first musical special shoots live tomorrow night."
"I'll tell you with Todd, the whole thing comes down to money. He's been so concerned that Crunch is getting more mileage out of our relationship than I am, that he actually accused Crunch's manager of arranging the whole thing."
"He accused Shelby?"
"Oh, it was a big fight. Can you believe it?"
Stopping outside Pop's door Steele says, "On the contrary, the more I think about it the more sense it seems to make."
As the Rabbit pulls into a parking lot Laura asks Steele, "Do you really think Myerson might have been gunning for Shelby?"
"It's Hollywood Laura, anything's possible."
Stopping at the gate Steele notes, "You need a token."
"You don't realize how brilliant a deduction that is, Mr. Steele."
"Done it again, have I?"
"The token I found near Shelby's body." She hands him the coin.
"Hmmm," looking at the token he reads, "BBP." He looks at the large sign that Laura points to. "Blueberry Productions." Realization as he adds, "Todd Myerson's management company."
"Perhaps it wasn't a case of mistaken identity after all,"
Laura backs up and drives over the curb and around the gate. As he holds on, Steele tells her, "Good thinking Laura, hold on to the evidence at all costs."
A woman is showing Todd Myerson a poster of Whitney Chambers. "Oh, no, no, no, no," he complains. "The hair, it's all wrong," She shows him a second poster. "What am I looking at here? What? Is she in pain or something?" he asks the woman. As Laura and Steele enter the office Myerson asks them, "Would you buy that poster?"
"Eh, Mr. Myerson," Steele begins.
"In a minute." Myerson interrupts him as he"s shown a third poster. This one he likes. "Ok! Ah, that one has some possibilities." He rises from his chair. "Class, that's what we're selling here." Then to Steele and Laura he suddenly asks, "Weren't you at the gym today?"
Steele introduces himself, "Remington Steele. My associate, Laura Holt,"
"We're private investigators," Laura adds.
"So?" Myerson appears unimpressed.
"We'd like to have a little chat," says Steele.
"Specifically about your relationship with Arthur Shelby," Laura continues.
"Get out!" Todd demands.
"What were you doing at the gym when Shelby was murdered?" Laura asks.
"I was with Whitney-Ok?"
"Ah, she disagrees old chap," says Steele.
"Get out or I'll call the police," Todd threatens.
"Please do. Go right ahead," Steele tells him.
"So I happened to be down at the gym. Big deal."
Laura comments, "That cut on your knuckle."
Myerson looks at the back of his hand and rubs his knuckles. "I ran into some coral SCUBA diving."
"Ah, judging by the bruises on Shelby's face it looks more like your fist connected with his cheek bone," Steele deduces.
Myerson realizing they don't believe his excuses tells the truth. "All right, so I hit him but he had it coming, the slime ball. Do you know how often a Whitney Chambers comes along? Maybe once in a managers life-but Shelby and that freako Crunch have been destroying everything I've worked for. I created a Cartier necklace, they're turning it into rhinestones."
"You had it in for Crunch too?" Steele asks.
"You bet I did."
"And sent anonymous death threats?" Laura asks.
"Whatever it took to get him and Shelby to back off."
"Eventually murder," Steele prompts.
"Yes! . . . I mean no. Oh, now look, I didn't kill him."
"Hmmmm," is Steele's only comment.
"Well done, Mr. Steele, Laura tells him. "I think we can call the police now." Laura and Steele begin to leave the office.
The phone rings and Myerson answers it. "Yes." Handing the phone to Steele he tells him, "It's for you."
Steele turns, "Thank you," he says taking the phone from Myerson.
"Yes, Steele here . . . Mildred . . . What? . . . Ok
. . . . Thank you, bye." He hangs up the phone and turns
to leave. "Come along Miss Holt, we won't take up any more
of this gentleman's time."
"What are you talking about?" Laura asks in confusion. "This gentleman murdered Arthur Shelby and tried to kill Crunch."
"Negative," he answers. "While we were here with Myerson, someone made another attempt on Crunch's life." To Myerson he adds, "Good day."
After Laura and Steele exit the office, Myerson takes a deep breath.
Laura and Steele walk across a television sound stage. Props for Whitney's upcoming special fill the area. "Wonderful Laura, thus far we've produced two prime suspects and personally provided them both with air tight alibis."
"Hazards of the trade Mr. Steele."
"Great," he agrees.
Crunch is sitting in a chair rubbing his arm as Whitney massages his back. "What happened?" Steele asks them.
Whitney explains, "I was rehearsing, It's Only a Paper Moon and Crunch came crashing down."
"I must have dropped thirty feet," Crunch admits.
"Thank God he landed on that." She nods to a large red piece of furniture. "Saved his life."
"What were you doing on the moon, Crunch?" Laura asks him.
"We were planning on me making a surprise entrance," he replies.
"I thought the audience would love it," adds Whitney.
"The chain just snapped?" asks Laura.
A man walks toward them carrying a length of chain. Whitney introduces him. "Jake Reilly my stage manager."
"It sure wasn't any accident," Reilly states. "I checked the chain myself an hour ago. It was fine. Now look." He hands Steele the chain and walks off.
Examining the broken chain Steele notes, "File marks."
Whitney tells Crunch, "Now that you're in good hands hon, I've got to get back to the soap opera taping or Todd will kill me." Realizing how that sounds she adds, "Bad line."
"Well, I gotta go too. To meet Darryl."
Steele says, "Ah, the elusive Velvet Vandal."
"If you don't mind Crunch, I think we better tag along."
"Ah, sure." With his hand on his back for support Todd stands up slowly.
Back at the gym Crunch and Darryl rehearse the moves for their upcoming match.. Crunch drives an elbow into Darryl's back sending him to the mat. Crunch walks to the ropes and does his cheer. "Crunch!" he cries and claps. He repeats his cheer and ends with a double bicep pose. As he stands there Darryl approaches him from behind. He hits him and slings Crunch on to the mat.
"What was that?" Crunch asks.
Darryl shrugs and smiles, "Hip toss. I thought it would look good."
"You just stick to the routine," Crunch tells him.
They resume their practice. Crunch puts Darryl in a head lock. Suddenly Darryl bites Crunch. "What in the hell was that?" Crunch asks in surprise as he rubs his hand.
"Crunch this is a grudge match. I should be pulling out all the stops so the crowd really hates me." Darryl explains.
"For the last time Darryl stick to the routine, huh?" Once more they resume their routine.
Steele and Laura have been sitting, watching the rehearsal. Mildred joins them. "Hello Mildred. What's the word on our challenger?" Steele asks.
"Not much," she tells them, watching the practice session. "Real name Darryl Simmons, former professional body guard. Had his own florist shop for a while. Un-married, lived alone."
"Florist shop?" Steele looks slowly up at her in surprise.
"One!" says Mildred who has been watching the rehearsal. "Watch this boss. Two!" Crunch bounces off the ropes past Darryl. "Three!" He bounces off another side of the ring and once again past Darryl. Mildred calls "Here it comes. Four!" she laughs. With four, Crunch bounces off the last side of the ring and flings himself against Darryl and sending him to the mat.
"All right that's more like it! See you tomorrow night." Crunch says to Darryl as he stands up.
Laura says, "I do know one thing, Crunch shouldn't go home tonight for his own safety. So why don't I, ah drop him off at his father's?"
"Hmmm, good idea, Steele agrees. "Then I think we should concentrate on how to get the inside story on Dangerous Darryl, hmmm?"
"Hey Mike what a pleasant surprise. And you brought Miss . . ."
"Holt," Crunch supplies.
Father and son pretend to spar "Yeah sorry. So you wanna spend another night with the old man, huh? Just like old times, hey, kid." They end up in a clinch and hug.
"Let me get my bags," Crunch says leaving the room.
"So, Miss Holt, you taking good care of my son?" Mr. Molinski asks Laura.
"On the professional level. But on the emotional level, I'm afraid only you can help."
"Oh yea, how's that?"
"By coming to the match tomorrow night."
"No! Absolutely not. When he starts wrestling an executive chair like a normal college graduate, then I'll come."
"But it's important to Crunch. He wants you there."
"Wrong. Whitney, that's who he wants there, so she can take over his entire life."
"Aren't you being a little harsh? Whitney's a talented actress, very much in love with your son."
"Actress you can have. And love, huh, that girl is nothing but a gold digger. You should have heard her and Shelby. You'd blush."
"Talk about hate. Whitney was after Mike to dump Shelby."
"Oh, seems she wanted Mike to be on her TV show. When Shelby refused to re-arrange Mike's schedule to allow it. She went nuts."
"I'll bet. Having Crunch appear on Rage To Live would certainly boost her ratings. I wonder how much she thought that was worth?"
A man approaches a house carrying a water bottle on his shoulder. The logo Filter Pure can be read on the back of his shirt. He walks up the steps and presses the bell.
As the door opens we see that it's Steele. He smiles nervously and says in a soft effeminate voice, "Filter Pure man."
Darryl, drink in hand says, "There must be some mistake."
"Oh wow!" Steele says placing his hand to his chest. "It's really you." Lowering the bottle he introduces himself. "Uhm, Harley Ferguson president of the Velvet Vandal fan club, Reseda Chapter. Wow!" He removes his cap and apologizes. "Oh, I'm sorry for the disguise but I just wanted to tell you how much pleasure you've given our forty-two members."
"Forty-two?" Darryl says in pleasant surprise.
"Harley would you like to come in?"
"Wow! Oh thank you very much, yes. Oh, look at this." Steele enters Darryl's home still carrying the water bottle.
"You know I never even knew I had a fan club."
"Really? You've never seen us up in the balcony in our velvet sweats, uh?"
"No, bless your heart." Darryl takes a bottle of wine from a bucket of ice. "Here, a lovely '83 Fumé Blanc from Endicino County." He pours a glass of wine for Steele and offers it to him.
"Oh, oh thank you. Let me put this down. Thank you very much." He sets down the water bottle and takes the glass of wine. "What about a toast, eh? To the Velvet Vandal. May he tear that bum, Crunch Kramer's guts out tomorrow night and turn them into sausage."
"What a beautiful sentiment." Darryl says, and they take a drink.
"But, hey, I guess you guys are really big buddies outside the ring, huh?" Steele asks.
"Oh contraire Harley, Kramer's the bane of my existence."
"Some brie?" Darryl offers.
"Oh, thank you." Steele says taking a piece of cheese. "So the, so that's all, that's for real, everything there?"
"I'm snarling on the outside but I'm dying on the inside. I mean, here Crunch is mister everything, while I'm the big bruising bad guy. Me, Darryl Simmons who sang in the church choir for fifteen years." They sit down in the living room. "Who's never even had a parking ticket. When I think of all those impressionable kids out there. Ah, what's the use?"
"Major bummer, huh?" Steele asks.
"Do you have any idea what it's like to be hissed and booed every day of your life? Or having some loud-mouth biddy jab your derriere with a hat pin where-ever you go?"
"Some baba rum balls?" Darryl holds out a plate to Steele.
"But you're a star. I mean your picture's in all those magazines. Your, your velvet bow-tie and briefs are a fashion craze." Steele takes a bite.
"If you only knew." Darryl rises. "That was his idea. Everything was his idea."
"Crunch Kramer, he owns my contract."
"You're joking? You mean to say... "
"Two years ago in Sausalito, an aspiring young wrestler named Darryl Simmons saw his flower shop going under. He needed cash fast. Cramer had me by the biceps. What could I do? I signed my future away to him. I wish he was dead. God, I wish he was dead." He throws his glass into the fireplace.
Steele takes a sip of wine and flings his glass into the fireplace too.
"What are you doing?" Darryl asks him. "That's Waterford crystal."
"I'm sorry. I thought it was a ritual. Unh" He finishes his rum ball.
A man throws a glass into a fireplace. "Damn it Tiffany, what will it take to convince you? Eileen and I had an affair back then, but Julian is not it my child." The man talking can be seen on a television monitor.
"I hate it when you lie, Richard. Almost as much as I'm learning to hate you." Whitney and the other actors can be seen filming their soap.
"He's telling the truth." Another actor enters the scene.
"Because Julian is my son." The second man finishes.
Laura wearing red-rimmed glasses and carrying a clipboard can be seen hovering in the background.
"Stop tape," the director says. "Terrific that's
a buy. Let's go to the next set. Good one! Jimmy listen, I am
getting very far behind here. I'm going to need your help over
here. Ok?" He turns and bumps into Laura. "Excuse me."
"Laura Holt," she introduces. "AFI intern in television directing. Will be observing for two weeks. Love your work."
"Really I didn't know that they put interns on soaps."
"We don't refer to them as soaps, sir. We call them continuing dramas, an extremely important part of our native culture."
"Well, I've always thought so." The director sounds pleased.
"Absolutely. I have a question."
"Ask, my child."
"I ah, understand that Whitney Chambers walked off the set yesterday. How do you handle something like this?"
"Uhm, actors. Should lock 'em up each night, truck 'em to the set in the morning. You'll learn," he says.
"Well, what happened?" Laura asks.
"Whitney told me that her character would never do what was in the script. I told her there wasn't time to make a change, so she promptly marched off and locked herself in the dressing room."
"Ahh! When did she go in there?"
"About eleven o'clock. Didn't come out - til two."
"So what did you do?"
"The only thing you can do in a situation like that honey. I caved. I re-wrote the scene. Even read it to her through the locked door, but she wouldn't answer. Then I gave up. When she finally came out, she acted as if nothing had happened. Ten minutes, later she finds out that her boyfriend's had an accident, and she splits for the rest of the day. Actors!"
"Are you sure Whitney was in her dressing room the entire three hours?"
"You're really a nut for detail, aren't you?" he comments.
"It's- the academic in me, I'm afraid."
"No, no, it's charming. Keep it in. To be technical, no I can't vouch that she was there but - where else would she have gone?"
"One can only guess."
Steele is sitting at his desk, talking on the telephone. "Ah, Benito, my friend, Steele here . . . Yes. I'm very well and you? . . . Good, good. Listen, ah the usual table for two tonight at eight . . . Yes, something of a celebration . . . Ok, my man, thank you. Mille Grazie . . . Yes, bye." He's saying as Laura enters the office and he rises from the desk says to her. "Laura, great news, we have our man - dead to rights."
"Who?" she asks.
"Dangerous Darryl, just as I suspected."
"What if I told you that the killer is not a him but a her. A her named Whitney Chambers."
"Laura don't do this to me. My stomach is preparing for antipasto. . ."
"And Shelby was the intended victim all along."
". . . linguine and clam sauce. . ."
"Now Whitney was supposedly in her dressing room from eleven to two."
". . . a little veal. . . "
"Shelby was killed at one."
". . . Chianti. . . "
"Now you think about it," she finishes.
"Now Whitney wants Crunch to appear on her show but Shelby refuses to give in. Whitney would have been carrying the same parking token found near Shelby's body."
"Oh yes but it can't be Whitney," he defends. "I mean she loves Crunch too much to jeopardize anything . . ."
Laura interrupts him, "Oh, oh, oh! Is this the same man who refused this case because everything was pure hype?"
He thinks for a moment. "Ah, hype on the professional level Laura, not on the personal level. Heh?"
"Ah, just like you and me, hey?" He pulls her into an embrace.
"Oh, how?" she asks.
"Little bit of hype on the professional level."
"And on the personal level?"
"Oh I don't know," he says as he begins to kiss her.
Just then Mildred enters his office and stops. "I knew I should have buzzed. Our tickets for to-nights championship match." She holds them out for them to see.
Whitney Chambers wearing a red and white skintight dress begins to sing a glitzy pop version of the National Anthem.
In the audience Steele, Laura and Mildred stand. "I know I'm a relative newcomer to your country Laura but I thought the Star Spangled Banner was your national anthem," he comments.
Laura, her hand over her heart replies, "This is the Star Spangled Banner, Spangled by a star."
"Shhh!" Mildred hushes them.
Whitney finishes singing to cheers from the crowd.
The ring announcer begins to introduce the contestants. "Now, introducing the worthy challenger, at 250 pounds of marvelous muscle, DANGEROUS DARRYL!"
Two young men, dressed in black velvet lead Darryl down the aisle. The crowd erupts in boos.
"Boo! Sit down, ya bum," Mildred joins the crowd as Steele and Laura look at her.
The two velvet-clad men hold open the ring ropes for Darryl to enter the ring. He bounces around the ring. Noticing, Steele in the audience Darryl smiles at him, "Hi guy."
Laura looks at him quizzically. Smiling sheepishly back at her he explains, "All in the line of duty, Laura."
Back in the ring, the announcer continues, "And his challenger and the worthy champion of the All World Association, at 235 pounds, the popular Crunch Kramer."
The crowd begins to cheer. "Crunch, Crunch, Crunch, . . . " Crunch is escorted by two security guards. He's dressed in white trunks and a blue satin cape. Entering the ring he kisses Whitney.
"Whew!" Mildred cheers.
Laura turns to Steele, "Look who made it after all." In the audience is Al Molinski, Crunch's father.
Steele also notes "I see Mrs. Molinski made bail." In the audience Mary Molinski is booing Crunch.
"I hope you have a score card." Laura points out Todd Myerson sitting with a young lady.
The bell rings and the match begins. Crunch and Darryl circle each other.
Steele calls out, "Com'on Crunch! That's my boy!"
Crunch grabs Darryl in an arm lock and flips him onto the mat.
Crunch then turns to the audience and yells out, "Crunch!"
and claps twice. The crowd cheers in response. As Crunch poses
for the audience, Darryl hits him from behind, knocking him into
the ropes. Crunch recovers and grabs Darryl. They fling each other
and Darryl bounces off the ropes only to be grabbed and held in
a head lock by Crunch. Darryl then flips Crunch over his head.
Crunch lands flat on his back and flops around like a fish out
of water. Boos from the crowd except for Mary Molinski, who is
cheering. Darryl holds Crunch in a head lock
until Crunch bounces free and into the ropes. Darryl punches him and puts him in another head lock. Crunch then swings Darryl into the ropes and when he rebounds back Darryl knocks Crunch to the mat. As Darryl leaps into the air Crunch rolls out of the way. Crunch then kicks him and turning fires up the audience. Crunch then begins running and bouncing off each of the four sides of the ring. As he rebounds off each side the crowd calls out. "One, two, three, four." As Crunch runs into the fourth side, the ropes break, sending Crunch flying into the audience, knocking over people and chairs.
Steele, Laura and Mildred stand in surprise and hurry toward
Darryl turns to the referee and tells him, "Count, count. He's got twenty seconds to get back in."
The referee begins to count, "1 . . . , 2 . . .,
"Mind your back," Steele says arriving at where Crunch has fallen. "Excuse me there darling. Up you get." He helps a person up and bending over Crunch he pats his face. "Crunch, Crunch!"
Whitney reaches Crunch's side and hugs him.
"Someone get a doctor will you." Steele asks.
Laura and Mildred reach Crunch and also bend down to look at
Back in the ring Darryl turns to the referee and tells him, "Go ahead, raise my arm! I'm the new world champion! Raise my arm!" The referee lifts Darryl's arm. "Yes, yes, yes!" Darryl screams.
Walking toward the ring in the now empty auditorium Steele and Laura are in discussion. "Are you sure?" she asks.
"Positive," he replies and picks up the rope for her to see. "There you go. Cut right through with a sharp instrument. Wouldn't you think?"
Looking at the cut rope Laura asks, "Dangerous Darryl?"
In the locker room Darryl is packing his things in a gym bag as Steele and Laura enter. "All hail the champion. Hmm, quite an upset, eh?" Steele asks.
"Sorry, no autographs, Harley. If you'll excuse me, the press is waiting."
"Anxious to hear how you cut the ropes, are they?" Laura asks.
"I beg your pardon," Darryl answers.
Steele pulls out his identification and holds it out for Darryl to see. "Remington Steele," he introduces. "My associate, Laura Holt."
"And I thought you were a fan," Darryl says to him in disappointment.
"Neat trick." Laura notes, "Winning the championship despite following the script to perfection."
"Out of my way." Darryl tries to leave the room.
"Two days ago, when Shelby was murdered, exactly where were you Darryl?" Steele asks him. In response, Darryl picks up Laura and throws her at Steele. Catching her, the two of them bounce off the lockers, recover and give chase. Darryl, only slightly ahead of them, has reached the ring.
Seeing Mildred, Laura calls out, "Hat Pin Millie!"
Mildred pulls out a hat pin and as Darryl tries to side step her, she jabs him in the rear end. "Aaahhh!" he cries out.
Steele grabs Darryl and spins him around. As he's about to punch him, Laura picks up the bell hammer and hits Darryl knocking him out. Steele takes the hammer and looks at it. "Excellent Laura. Championship belt if ever I saw one."
Inside Steele's apartment there remains of a candlelit dinner can be seen. Soft music can be heard and Steele and Laura can be seen slowly dancing their arms wrapped around each other.
"Not exactly a shabby day's work. Darryl behind bars for the mistaken identity murder of Arthur Shelby," he says to her softly.
"Are you sure Darryl's alibi won't hold up?"
"Hmm" he answers. "Now on to more urgent matters." Their lips brush softly.
"Pleased?" Laura asks.
"Case closed. You in my arms. What more could I ask for?" Their lips touch again deepening into a real kiss.
"Hmm, I think you just answered my question." He starts to kiss her again.
Buzzzz! The doorbell sounds.
"Don't answer it." Laura whispers and kisses him again.
The buzzer becomes more insistent.
Steele goes to answer the door. "Yes?
"Mildred!" They both say in exasperation. Laura throws her hands up and sits down.
"Your phones out of order," she tells him.
"For a reason, Mildred," Steele says in annoyance.
Mildred walks into the apartment. "Turn on the TV. Maybe they'll do a recap on the late show."
"A recap of what Mildred?" Laura asks. "Couldn't this wait till morning, on company time?"
"I'm telling you, I am so consumed with the Crunch Kramer case that I forgot to eat." She goes to the table and picks up a bread stick.
"Ah, consumed by what Mildred?" asks Steele.
"The thought that you nailed the wrong guy for murder." She takes a bite.
"What?" Steele asks in surprise.
"I'm telling you, when I left the arena something didn't sit right. So I went home and I did what you did."
"I doubt that very much Mildred." Steele says. Laura and Mildred both look at him.
"I paced back and forth, reviewing every detail. Now, we eliminated Crunch's ex-wife because she was with you when Shelby was murdered. So was Whitney's manager when someone tried to turn out Crunch's lights at Whitney's rehearsal. But what about Darryl, hmmm?" Laughing she continues, "And it hit me. Darryl, too, has an air tight alibi."
"He does?" Laura asks.
"There it was on the TV. I caught the last bit of Whitney's special tonight after the match. They showed her coming down on that big moon and it hit me." She punches her palm for emphasis.
"Not hard enough as far as I'm concerned." Steele comments.
"I picked up the phone and called the sound stage. Sure enough, the stage manager told me that the moon is part of Whitney's routine. Yesterday when Crunch Kramer came down on it, it was simply a gag."
"Which means . . . " Laura begins.
". . . that the mystery killer assumed Whitney would be sitting there, not Crunch." Mildred finishes.
"Meaning that whoever cut the cable was out to kill Whitney. Which leaves - Dangerous Darryl without a motive," concludes Laura.
"Pretty good, uh?" Mildred asks.
"Hmmm?" Steele replies. "Oh absolutely magic Mildred. You made a perfect evening disappear," he snaps his fingers, "like that." Walking past the two women he picks up a small pillow and begins to pace back and forth.
Laura asks, "Now the question is, with Mary Molinski, Todd Myerson and Dangerous Darryl out of the picture, whom does that leave?" She waves at him. "Mr. Steele would you stop pacing?"
"What? It worked for Mildred."
"All right, think now. Who would have it in for both Whitney and Shelby?"
Mildred shrugs and Steele looks blankly as Laura realizes. "Of Course."
The limo is heading down the street. Inside, Laura is on the phone. "Busy."
"Keep trying," Steele tells her.
In her dressing room Whitney is on the phone. "Ah, I love you too Crunch. See you in a little bit. Bye." She hangs up and starts to leave. She picks up her jacket as the phone rings.
"Whitney. Thank goodness we caught you. This is Laura Holt. Now I want you to listen very carefully. Lock your door."
"Lock my door, why?" Whitney asks.
"We think the man who killed Shelby is going to come after you."
"Al Molinski, Crunch's father."
"Mr. Molinski?" she asks in surprise.
"We'll explain later. The important thing is that you stay put until we get there."
"Yeah. Yeah, sure. Will do." As Whitney turns to leave All Molinski walks in.
"Pop so good to see you," she greets him.
"Likewise, I'm sure," he answers.
"I was just on my way to see Crunch. If you'd like to get the car, we could go together."
"I already got it."
"Terrific. Here, could you help me on with my coat?" She places her arm in the sleeve and turns so he can assist her, then slams into him, knocking him off balance. She runs to the set full of props from her special.
From behind on of the large props she confronts him. "They'll know it's you."
"Me? Ha! A feeble old man everybody thinks can't even stay awake for Merv Griffin. And you, a young bimbo all alone here after midnight." She shoves the over-sized rocking horse at him and runs away.
The limo pulls up in front of the studio. Steele and Laura race into the building.
Whitney reaches a corner and stops. "Please! For Crunch's sake," she calls out.
She screams as Mr. Molinski grabs her from behind.
Laura and Steele enter the control room.
Laura points, "Over there."
"Get the lights," Steele tells her as he heads out the room.
Laura looks at the panel and flips a switch. "Stars and Stripes Forever" fills the studio.
Steele walks through the props. One of them starts to come down right beside him. He turns and looks at it
Laura reacts in surprise and tries another switch.
Lights come on but they're focused on Steele. Shielding his eyes from the blinding light he calls to her, "Not on me Laura, on the stage."
Laura, muttering something inaudible tries yet another switch and a large chandelier crashes down behind Steele. Suddenly lights begin to flame on a large sign reading, WHITNEY.
Laura, her mouth open, looks stunned.
Steele also looks stunned, but he is now able to see Mr. Molinski hovering over Whitney, strangling her. He runs over to them and pulls Molinski off her, and slings him on to a piece of furniture.
Steele tells him talking loudly over the blaring music, "It's all over Mr. Molinski. There you go."
Laura arrives and checks on Whitney. "Are you all right!?"
Rubbing her throat Whitney replies, "I think so! Thanks!"
Laura enters Steele's office carrying a folder. He's sitting behind his desk looking at a file.
"Al Molinski's psychiatric evaluation just arrived. He may never go to trial." She slides the folder on the desk. "The poor guy." Sitting on the desk she continues, "The thought of loosing his son to show business was more than he could stand. To him, Whitney symbolized the entire industry."
"Hmmm," Steele replies looking at the report. "and he thought Shelby was responsible for Crunch's success. By killing Shelby, he thought Crunch's career would collapse."
"I just thought of that old movie," Laura says.
Looking up at her, Steele asks, "What old movie?"
"You know. A Bill of What-cha-ma-call-it with Who's-its and What's-his-name."
"Ah yes, A Bill of Divorcement." He looks up. "John Barrymore, Katherine Hepburn, RKO 1932. A mentally disturbed father tries to disrupt his daughter's marriage. Not bad for a beginner Laura." He smiles at her.
"I'm learning, Mr. Steele," she says softly and leans across the desk . She flashes her eyes at him, suggestively.
"So you are, Miss Holt," he says seductively. "So you are." Slipping his hand behind her neck he draws her closer and they kiss.