Roscoe Karns found himself ill and could not go on the air. A popular misconception claims his real-life son, Todd Karns, took over the lead rôle for that episode. Todd, however, had not yet joined the cast. Instead Earl Hammond, who portrayed Sergeant Lane, led the investigation that day.
The series was noted for sly touches of humor and in this case, the inspector made an appearance of sorts… banging on the wall. The dialogue also references live performances going on, no matter what.
Careful listeners could catch little quips to the audience. One of the cleverest subtext jokes came in the episode, ‘Return for Death’ in the domestic badinage between Rocky and his beloved wife, Mabel. As they discuss growing older and the wisdom of picking out a burial plot, Detective Hart phones in to say that a case has erupted in the local cemetery. Hart fumbles a joke about the graveyard shift, and then we’re treated to this double entendre:
Mabel: “Do you think you should go there, dear, after our conversation?”During the homicide investigation of a famous mystery writer in ‘Murder in Advance’, Hart asks Rocky King to name his favorite television mystery. King says, “It’s kind of personal.”
Rocky: ”Yes, dear. We should plan on having a little plot somewhere.”
Of course it is!
One Minute for Murder
in which a scandal sheet gossip columnist is found murdered in the theatre. Shockingly some people regard that as a crime…