The Law of Contact

The Pay Off (November 24, 1942)

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The Pay Off
 

Released on November 24, 1942: (running time 72 minutes) Hot shot reporter Brad McKay is on the trail of the city's big crime boss, but he may not put the clues together fast enough to save his life.

Produced by Jack Schwarz

Directed by Arthur Dreifuss

The Actors: Lee Tracy (Brad McKay), Tom Brown (Guy Noris), Tina Thayer (Phyllis Walker), Evelyn Brent (Alma Dorn), Jack La Rue (John Angus), Ian Keith (Inspector Thomas), Robert Middlemass (Lester Norris), John Maxwell (Vince Moroni), John Sheehan (Sergeant Brenen), Harry C. Bradley (Doctor Steele), Forrest Taylor (Hugh Walker), Pat Costello (reporter Pat), Roy Butler (desk clerk / henchman), Bill Hunter (Pete, night club bouncer), Sheldon Jett (cashier), Carl M. Leviness (typist), Tony Martelli (croupier), Merrill McCormick (detective), 'Snub' Pollard (stubby, cab driver)), Arthur Thalasso (police officer)), Herb Vigran (reporter).

 

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Whodunit Noir Murder Mystery

With Jack La Rue, one of the busiest bad guys of classic old movies, we can easily guess who the big boss is . . . ahh, but wait just a minute - this adventure is a lot more complicated than that. Jack La Rue, as gangster and casino operator John Angus, is NOT the big crime boss, only his number one henchman.

Mr. Big will be a surprise revelation later in the show. As this crime thriller opens we watch the District Attorney get murdered just as he is about to write a report revealing the big crime boss of the city. Hot shot newspaper reporter Brad McKay, played by Lee Tracy, is playing cards all evening with the number one suspect, and giving him a perfect alibi.

As the fast paced adventure moves along we are handed all the clues and the suspects one by one, but without that one little piece of evidence that will tie it all together. We get deliciously close to the solution and then are pulled away by more adventure and chaos until we are clearly in the dark, much like our hero reporter. The MacGuffin for this adventure is a large office envelope stuffed with a hundred thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills that young Phyllis Walker, played by Tina Thayer, puts in a locker at the train station.

And oh, by the way, near the end of the adventure keep an eye out for reporter Pete, who gets involved with the final showdown. He is actor Pat Costello, older brother of the famous comedian Lou Costello. He was the stunt double for younger brother Lou in several of the Abbott and Costello adventures, but in this one he plays it straight as a fellow reporter. If you listen closely you can even hear the family resemblance in his voice. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Lee Tracy as reporter Brad McKay in The Pay Off
Lee Tracy as reporter Brad McKay in The Pay Off
Bill Hunter and Lee Tracy
Bill Hunter and Lee Tracy
Evelyn Brent meets Lee Tracy
Evelyn Brent meets Lee Tracy
Evelyn Brent, as Alma Dorn, calls the reporter
Evelyn Brent, as Alma Dorn, calls the reporter
Evelyn Brent gives Lee Tracy a drink
Evelyn Brent gives Lee Tracy a drink
Evelyn Brent in The Pay Off
Evelyn Brent in The Pay Off
Evelyn Brent thinks that she shot Lee Tracy
Evelyn Brent thinks that she shot Lee Tracy
Forrest Taylor and Lee Tracy
Forrest Taylor and Lee Tracy
Forrest Taylor and Tina Thayer
Forrest Taylor and Tina Thayer
Forrest Taylor as Hugh Walker
Forrest Taylor as Hugh Walker
Ian Keith and Arthur Thalasso
Ian Keith and Arthur Thalasso
Ian Keith as Inspector Thomas
Ian Keith as Inspector Thomas
Jack La Rue as casino operator John Angus
Jack La Rue as casino operator John Angus
Jack La Rue in The Pay Off
Jack La Rue in The Pay Off
John Maxwell and Snub Pollard
John Maxwell and Snub Pollard
John Maxwell as hoodlum Vince Moroni
John Maxwell as hoodlum Vince Moroni
John Maxwell gets ready to shoot Lee Tracy
John Maxwell gets ready to shoot Lee Tracy
Lee Tracy, Harry C. Bradley and Tom Brown
Lee Tracy, Harry C. Bradley and Tom Brown
Lee Tracy and Ian Leith
Lee Tracy and Ian Leith
Lee Tracy and John Maxwell playing poker
Lee Tracy and John Maxwell playing poker
Lee Tracy as reporter Brad McKay in The Pay Off
Lee Tracy as reporter Brad McKay in The Pay Off
Pat Costello and Lee Tracy in The Pay Off
Pat Costello and Lee Tracy in The Pay Off
Pat Costello in The Pay Off
Pat Costello in The Pay Off
a reporter with Ian Keith and Harry C. Bradley
a reporter with Ian Keith and Harry C. Bradley
Robert Middlemass and Lee Tracy
Robert Middlemass and Lee Tracy
Robert Middlemass and Tom Brown
Robert Middlemass and Tom Brown
Robert Middlemass as newspaper owner Lester Norris
Robert Middlemass as newspaper owner Lester Norris
Robert Middlemass calls the mobster while Lee Tracy looks on
Robert Middlemass calls the mobster while Lee Tracy looks on
Robert Middlemass holds a gun on Lee Tracy
Robert Middlemass holds a gun on Lee Tracy
Roy Butler in The Pay Off
Roy Butler in The Pay Off
Snub Pollard as Stubby the cab driver henchman
Snub Pollard as Stubby the cab driver henchmann
the hunchback
the hunchback
Tina Thayer tries to call Lee Tracy
Tina Thayer tries to call Lee Tracy
Tom Brown and Lee Tracy
Tom Brown and Lee Tracy
Tom Brown, Pat Costello and Tina Thayer
Tom Brown, Pat Costello and Tina Thayer
Tom Brown, Tina Thayer, Pat Costello and Lee Tracy
Tom Brown, Tina Thayer, Pat Costello and Lee Tracy
Tony Martelli and Lee Tracy
Tony Martelli and Lee Tracy