Half hour anthology series that ran on Friday nights on NBC.
“Something In An Empty Briefcase” – July 17, 1953. This was the second episode of the season and it is beyond awful. The writing is horrible and James Dean is embarrasing to watch. Susan Douglas and Robert Middleton also appear.
Joe (James Dean) is a petty thief. He’s twenty-two and is just back from serving four months in jail. On a stoop with his pal Mickey he sees a man walk by with a briefcase. He says that’s what he wants, to be somebody and carry a briefcase.
That night he grabs a purse from a girl. She says it’s her rent money. Joe says his mother is in the hospital and needs an operation. She believes him. A cop comes by and Joe quickly hands the purse back to her and she doesn’t say anything.
He goes to the pool hall and wins some money. He buys a briefcase. Then he calls on the girl. Her name is Noli (Susan Douglas) and she wants to be a ballerina. They become a pair. She once called him a philistine. She gives him a dictionary to put in the briefcase so he can look it up.
Joe’s boss Sloan (Robert Middleton) has a string of robberies all planned for Joe and Mickey. Joe says he’s not taking part. Sloan pulls a gun and says for Joe to be ready that night. Mickey comes by to pick him up. Joe refuses to go. Noli calls and Sloan walks in while he’s on the phone. He quickly hangs up. He tells Sloan he’s not going and Sloan works him over. He and Mickey leave. Noli comes by to administer TLC. Joe tells her about the book he just bought to put in the briefcase. He says he’s learning from it.
This whole episode makes no sense and Dean either got some bad direction or thought he was doing some method acting. He’s almost impossible to watch.
For ten years Susan Douglas was Kathy Roberts on “The Guiding Light.”