One in this series of private detective dramas about Johnny Staccato, a jazz pianist who supplements his income by working as a private detective in New York City, often meeting clients and jamming with other musicians at Waldo's, a Greenwich Village club. In this episode, fading musician Lester Prince arrives at Waldo's and announces to the eager crowd that he is finally making his comeback with a dazzling new piece called "Life." Later, he confides to Johnny that someone is trying to poison him and names four suspects: his estranged ex-wife Rosemary Lawrence, his arranger Jerry Lindstrom, his latest female singer Ellen Roget and his business manager Malcolm Simpson. He begs Johnny to unearth the culprit of the "Borgia act," and Johnny first visits Rosemary, who reveals that she was one of Lester's many "girl singers" before becoming his first and only wife, frankly admitting that she now hates him. He next finds Ellen and Jerry rehearsing together, both seemingly happy to work for Prince.

Prince then dies of arsenic poisoning before Johnny can track down Malcolm, but he continues on his quest, determined to avenge his friend. He finds Rosemary at Prince's apartment, and she angrily reveals that he was a con man and did not actually write "Life" himself. Ellen barges in and demands her mink stole back, hinting that Lester bought it for her during their romantic affair, and she callously ignores Rosemary's angry declaration that, as Lester's only wife, she now owns all of his possessions. Johnny comes to a conclusion and calls Sergeant Jack Thomas, telling him to go get the real culprit: Jerry. Jack brings Jerry to Waldo's, where Johnny calmly sits, playing "Life," and he accuses Jerry of murdering Lester over the stolen composition. Jerry emotionally admits that he wrote the beautiful piece himself and that Lester then took it from him, feeling that it would "sell better" with his famous name on it, sure that no one would believe the unknown Jerry's claims of ownership. Before he is hauled off to jail, Jerry begs Johnny to continue playing "Life" at Waldo's, wanting the music to live on beyond him. Commercials deleted.


  • DATE: September 17, 1959 8:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:25:44
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: B:82946
  • GENRE: Drama, police/private detective
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, police/private detective
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1959-1960


  • William Frye … Executive Producer
  • Everett Chambers … Producer
  • John Cassavetes … Director
  • Richard Carr … Writer
  • Laurence Mascott … Writer
  • Elmer Bernstein … Music by
  • Pete Candoli … Instrumentalist
  • Red Mitchell … Instrumentalist
  • Bob Bain … Instrumentalist
  • Johnny Williams … Instrumentalist
  • Mel Lewis … Instrumentalist
  • John Cassavetes … Cast, Johnny Staccato
  • Eduardo Ciannelli … Cast, Waldo
  • Charles McGraw … Cast, Lester Prince
  • Martin Landau … Cast, Jerry Lindstrom
  • Marilyn Clark … Cast, Rosemary Lawrence
  • Mel Berger … Cast, Malcolm Simpson
  • Bobbi Byrnes … Cast, Ellen Roget
  • Jimmy Joyce … Cast, Sergeant Jack Thomas