The Law of Contact

I Live on Danger (June 16, 1942)

Chester Morris in I Live on Danger

Released on June 16, 1942: A hot-shot radio reporter helps the sister of an accused killer prove his innocence.

Directed by Sam White

The Actors: Chester Morris (Jeff Morrell), Jean Parker (Susan Richards), Elisabeth Risdon (Mrs. Morrell), Edward Norris (Eddie Nelson), Dick Purcell (Norm Thompson), Roger Pryor (Bert Jannings), Douglas Fowley (Joey Farr), Ralph Sanford (Angie Moss), Edwin Maxwell (Wingy Keefe), Patsy Nash (Dilly), Joe Cunningham (Inspector Conlon), Bernadene Hayes (Jonesy), Billy Nelson (George 'Longshot' Harrison), Vickie Lester (Keef's secretary), William Bakewell (Mac), Charlotte Henry (nurse), Anna Q. Nilsson (Mrs. Sherman), Herbert Rawlinson (unknown).


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This is a great movie about a hot-shot radio reporter who is chasing the 'big story' that will make him a star reporter, but all I can think about is a crossword puzzle. Chester Morris is the reporter who falls in love with beautiful Jean Parker, who is the sister of an accused murderer, but I keep thinking about the police inspector and his answer to a crossword puzzle clue. Eddie Nelson, played by Eddie Norris, just finished serving time for his crime boss that he didn't deserve, and now that he is finally out of jail, he is framed for the murder of his old crime boss, but I'm still thinking about that three letter word. Dick Purcell plays the part of another hot-shot radio reporter who is competing with Chester Morris for the next big job in London, but that crossword puzzle keeps nagging at me. Chester Morris hunts down the real killer, but he may skip town or get murdered himself before the cops can catch up with him. And I'm still stuck on that crossword puzzle. You see, the clue and the answer to a crossword entry is used as a double entendre witty plot line, and it was a word that you will not have any knowledge of if you are under 40 or so years old, but it gave me a vivid memory of my mom. My mom loved to do the daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper, and was very good at it, but it was the word used in the crossword puzzle that one of the gangsters was working on that got me, not the puzzle itself. The gangster asks out loud about a three letter word that is something women put in their hair. The Police Inspector, without even thinking about it, blurts out the answer . . . the word that brought back a memory of the mid 1960's and a sunny afternoon in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

I was ten or eleven years old, and I was in the front bedroom of the church parsonage where we lived. It was mom and dad's bedroom, and mom was getting ready for something, primping and fussing about her outfit and her hair. It was while she was fixing her hair that I learned about that three letter word. Dad had thick voluminous hair, but mom had very fine hair, not the kind of hair that could be teased into the 'big hair' of the time, like a beehive. As she was an older lady in the 1960's, she wouldn't have gone for the new hair styles even if she could, most likely. This day she picked up a little 'thing' from the dresser and started to wrap her hair in it. "What is that?" I asked, like the always curious boy that I was. She usually had the back of her hair arranged into a 'bun' - but that isn't the three letter word that she put into her hair - it was a 'rat.' Her hair rat, as I remember it with my imperfect memory, was a little smaller a Hostess Twinkie. It was a round wire frame thingy that she would wrap the hair at the back of her head with to form her 'bun,' and it would give the impression that there was plenty of hair wrapped into her bun, but most of the space was taken up with her hair rat, hidden underneath. Silly me . . . as our actors braved danger to catch the real gangsters, all I could think about was mom's hair rat and that sunny afternoon so very long ago. It's funny how old movies can unexpectedly bring back memories that have long been forgotten.

Anna Q. Nilsson, playing the part of a survivor of the shipwreck.
Billy Nelson and Douglas Fowley
Billy Nelson holds a gun on his gangster boss, played by Douglas Fowley, in an attempt to get what's coming to him.
Billy Nelson
Billy Nelson, playing the part of the gangster's driver, tries to solve a crossword puzzle.
Chester Morris and Elisabeth Risdon
Chester Morris and Elisabeth Risdon
Chester Morris and Ralph Sanford
Chester Morris and Ralph Sanford
Chester Morris and Roger Pryer
Chester Morris and Roger Pryor
Dick Purcell and Chester Morris
Dick Purcell and Chester Morris discuss the case.
Dick Purcell
Dick Purcell, doing his live radio report
Dick Purcell
Dick Purcell, as Norm Thompson, ace radio reporter
Douglas Fowley
Douglas Fowley as Joey Farr, gangster
Edward Norris and Douglas Fowley
Edward Norris and Douglas Fowley
Edwin Maxwell
Edwin Maxwell as Wingy Keefe, head gangster
Elisabeth Risdon
Elisabeth Risdon as Mrs. Morrell
Jean Parker after the shipwreck
Jean Parker after the shipwreck, about to be discovered by Chester Morris
Jean Parker
Jean Parker, as Susan Richards, brother of the accused killer.
Joe Cunnningham
Joe Cunningham, as Inspector Conlon
Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham
Patsy Nash
Patsy Nash as 'Dilly' a survivor of the shipwreck
Ralph Sanford
Ralph Sanford as Angie Moss, partner of the ace radio reporter.
Vickie Lester
Vickie Lester as the dead gangster's secretary, testifying at the trial.