KRAFT TELEVISION THEATRE: THE FOOL KILLER (TV)

Summary

One in this series of dramas presented by Kraft.

During the post-Civil War period a young boy, George Mellish, sneaks back into his house after staying out late, but his foster mother catches him and chastises the frightened youth. She warns him that if he tries to run away again he will be set upon by the “Fool Killer,” which she describes as a large hideous monster. Despite this warning, George runs away from home again and hitches a ride on a train. He stops on a farm to get water and meets an old man calling himself “Dirty Jim Gentleman.” George explains that his parents are dead and Jim invites him in to his dilapidated house for a bite to eat. The two of them talk about George’s plans for the future, and Jim offers to let George stay with him for the time being; George intends to head west and become a prospector. He eats dinner with Jim, but afterwards hears a mysterious voice calling his name, believing that it is the Fool Killer. Jim tells George not to worry about it, claiming that the Fool Killer is his friend. George becomes sick and Jim carries him to the local constable’s house to get him some help. The constable can’t be roused, but his wife answers the door for Jim and brings George inside to treat his sickness.

While recuperating George tells the constable’s wife about his dead parents, but claims that his foster family is also deceased. He hears the Fool Killer calling his name again. He is visited by Blessing Angelina, the constable’s daughter, who does not appreciate his presence in her house and threatens him. He is not cowed by her behavior and asks to have his clothes back, but she tries to get him to kiss her in exchange. George reluctantly complies, much to Blessing’s joy. That night George runs away again and get on board another train, but hears the Fool Killer threaten him in the night as his silhouette looms over him. Eventually George comes upon a man in a soldier’s uniform camping out in the woods who snatches him from the brush. Realizing that George is only a child, the soldier brings George over to his campfire to warm him up. He spends the night sleeping there and awakens the next morning to talk with the man: he reveals that he has amnesia, supposedly from a war injury, but calls himself “Milo Bogardis,” taking the name of the soldier who died on a hospital bed adjacent to his.

George travels alongside Milo and they hop another train. Milo recounts what few memories he has, and how he learned to talk again after contracting amnesia; he puts particular emphasis on his rediscovery of religion. The two of them decide to become “brothers” and continue traveling together into the wilderness. George suggests a camping spot for the night, but Milo sees signs of people nearby and wishes to move on, as he is afraid of encountering his “enemies.” George hears the Fool Killer again and becomes frightened, and they decide stay there after all. Milo is wary of towns and villages, as he believes that his “enemies” reside in such places. In the middle of the night George is awakened when Milo starts acting oddly, gripping his head and making strange noises. He gets up and shouts various Biblical quotes, picking up a nearby axe. George runs away in fear, but soon returns to find Milo missing.

Eventually George falls back asleep, and is found in the morning by a pair of kids with fishing poles. They claim that it is dangerous to be out since “Whisky Pete” has committed several axe murders recently. George goes into town and tries to buy some cheese, although he has no money for it. He offers to do chores instead, and the shopkeeper slowly realizes that George has no family. She offers to hire him as an assistant and gives him dinner. She introduces herself as Louisa Galt, and runs her store with her husband Samuel Galt. Slowly George opens up to her and tells her about Milo, and Louisa seems very happy to have him around. Soon George settles into a routine around the store and starts making friends in town; he considers Louisa and Samuel to be his “aunt” and “uncle.” Samuel leaves to restock their inventory, and while he’s gone Milo comes into the store. He and George share a happy reunion, and Milo explains that he was at Lake Michigan for a while. He offers to take George with him to see it, but George is reluctant to leave Louisa. Louisa sends George to bed to allow him to think about his decision to leave with Milo, and shows Milo out.

Louisa reveals to George that she and Samuel had a child of their own who died years ago. Their attempts to have another child failed, and thus they were eager to take in George, feeling that he was “sent” to them. She says that if he plans to go off with Milo the least he can do is say goodbye to them beforehand. George hears the Fool Killer’s voice again while he sleeps. He gets up and awakens Louisa, afraid that the Fool Killer has finally come for him. Louisa does not believe in the Fool Killer, but they see a tall man with an axe outside her window, apparently the Fool Killer himself. Louisa instructs George to fetch her gun, and she attempts to shoot him, only to find that the man is Milo. George, relieved, goes out to greet him, but Milo seems distant and tells George to stand aside. George notes that he prayed for Milo’s safety and soon Milo clutches at his head again and loses his balance, falling off of Louisa’s roof. George becomes depressed after Milo’s apparent death, and Louisa tries to give him some advice, pointing out that he saved her life. She praises his actions, calling him “smart” and denying that he is a “fool.” This reinvigorates George and he returns to his life with Louisa and Samuel. Includes commercials.

Details

  • NETWORK: NBC
  • DATE: March 7, 1956 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:56:48
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: B:02711
  • GENRE: Drama
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1947-1958
  • COMMERCIALS: TV – Commercials – Kraft food products^TV – Promos – “Kraft Television Theatre”

CREDITS

    • William A. Graham … Director
    • Dale Wasserman … Writer
    • Helen Eustis … Based on a novel by
    • Wladimir Selinsky … Music by
    • Lee Marvin … Cast, Milo Bogardus
    • Audra Lindley … Cast, Louisa Galt
    • Larry Gates … Cast, Dirty Jim
    • Malcolm Brodrick … Cast, George Mellish
    • Marcie Stringer … Cast, Customer
    • Arthur Tell … Cast, Mr. Bradshaw
    • Tommy Halloran … Cast, St. Elmo
    • Chris Barbery … Cast, Lem
    • Karl Swenson … Cast, Samuel Galt
    • Lynn-Rose Kohan … Cast, Blessing Angelina
    • Jane Rose … Cast, Mrs. Fanshaw
    • Cavada Humphrey … Cast, Foster Mother