New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate, but too often a time for tragedy and death. The memorial roll for New Year’s Eve—day, or the eve itself—includes:
Donald Douglas II, whose father founded the Douglas Aircraft Company.
Albert Plesman, the first president of KLM, the Dutch national airline now the world’s oldest airline still flying under its founding name.
Pete Duel, the actor and co-star of television’s Alias Smith and Jones, who committed suicide unable to overcome depression triggered by a drinking problem.
Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, in a plane crash while trying to airlift supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.
Cultural philosopher Marshall McLuhan, two years after a stroke forced his retirement.
Pioneering film director Raoul Walsh, of heart failure.
Rick Nelson, once a boy growing up on radio and television in his family’s The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, then a rock and roll star and eventual country-rock pioneer, in the plane crash that also killed his Stone Canyon Band.
Thomas J. Watson, Jr. who succeeded his father as IBM president and steered the company where his father declined to drive—the computer age.
Floyd Cramer, the legendary Nashville Sound studio pianist, of lung cancer.
Billie Dove, the silent film star who was Howard Hughes’s first love following the end of his first marriage, but never explained why she broke up with him after a three-year romance. Pneumonia.
Elliott Richardson, the attorney general who refused Richard Nixon’s order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
Vic & Sade co-star Bill Idelson, later a respected television writer, director, and character actor—complications following a hip injury.
But New Year’s Eve, day or the eve itself, has also known its share of murder. Even along the gaudiest, the most violent, the lonesomest mile in the world, as on tonight in 1951.
Approaching New Year’s Eve, welterweight boxer turned industrial model maker Ross Locke (Roy Glenn) is suspected of killing an obscure shoe salesman and his possible blackmailer . . . before turning up bludgeoned unconscious in a vacant lot, with his attacker making a particular point of mutilating his hands.
It’s the usual semi-loud ambience you expect from this show, in hand with the usual understated delivery and sense of shame over what humans are capable of wreaking upon each other.
Additional cast: Clayton Post, Herb Buttefield, Charlotte Lawrence, Jenny LeGrand, Jester Hairston. Clover: Larry Thor. Muggavan: Jack Kruschen. Tartaglia: Charles Calvert. Announcer: Bill Anders. Music: Alexander Courage. Director: Elliott Lewis. Writers: Morton Fine, David Friedkin.
Further Channel Surfing . . .
The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show: Not Invited to the Party (comedy; NBC, 1944)
Drene Time: Blanche Lends Amos $1,000 (comedy; NBC, 1946)
Quiet, Please: Rain on New Year’s Eve (fantasy; Mutual, 1947)
Duffy’s Tavern: The Missing Christmas Cards (comedy; NBC, 1948)
The Great Gildersleeve: A Wedding is Iminent (comedy; NBC, 1948)
Fibber McGee & Molly: Exchanging Gifts at the Bon Ton (comedy; NBC, 1953)
Rocky Fortune: Prize Fight Setup (crime drama; NBC, 1953)
21st Precinct: The Wife (crime drama; CBS, 1954)
Gunsmoke: Where’d They Go? (Western; CBS, 1957)
Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network: Charlie Chu, Oriental Sleuth (improvisational comedy; no peeking, 1959)