Joseph N. Welch: Who can be calm when a window rattles or a floor creaks and the wind is screaming around the house, especially if you're going to see a mystery story? Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote some of the American classics in this field and we are going to begin this series of great mysteries with her play, The Bat. As you will see the Bat is a very busy fellow, talented too: theft, arson, murder, all in a night's work. He is in short one of the master criminals of the 1920s. Those were the days, fond, foolish days when people loved to be scared by a hidden hand, a sudden scream, and a creaking door. The first time The Bat was produced, the playwrights withheld the last 3 pages of the script, so that none of the actors knew which one of them would turn out to be the Bat. Just before the play opened the actors were given the last 3 pages, and I am told that the actor, or actress, who turned out to be the Bat was furious, who wants to be a villain? Will the identity of the Bat fool you? Well let's see. In our wisdom let's not begin at midnight when things are at their thickest, but on the morning of the same day the coffin of banker Courtleigh Fleming is about to be lowered into its grave.
Lizzie Arlen: Miss Neely, can't we go back to the city and come back next summer? Because I know what's going to happen to us, we're all gonna be murdered in our beds.
Cornelia Van Gorder: You were born on a brick pavement, Lizzie, anything in the country would frighten you, even the crickets.
Dr. Wells: I think you ought to leave, have you any enemies?
Cornelia Van Gorder: Don't insult me; of course I have. Enemies are an indication of character.
Detective Anderson: You women are here alone?
Cornelia Van Gorder: I have this.
[takes gun out of purse]
Cornelia Van Gorder: I don't know much about it but I should be able to hit something.
[points it at Anderson]
Detective Anderson: Would you mind putting that away? I like getting in the papers as much as anybody, but not on THAT page.
Cornelia Van Gorder: I've been reading your statement tonight about The Bat.
Detective Anderson: You don't think he's trying to get in here.
Cornelia Van Gorder: Someone is for some reason.
Detective Anderson: Any liquor stored in the house?
Cornelia Van Gorder: Yes.
Detective Anderson: What?
Cornelia Van Gorder: 11 bottles of homemade elderberry wine.
Detective Anderson: You're safe.
Detective Anderson: The newspapers started calling him The Bat because he always works at night and very fast. In the last 6 months he's taken up the name himself, pure bravado. Sometimes he just draws the outline of a bat to leave his signature, once he got a hold of a real bat and nailed it to the wall.
Cornelia Van Gorder: [hands Jack a candle] You keep this with you, the local light company crawls under the bed whenever there's a thunderstorm.
Cornelia Van Gorder: I couldn't verify your references, the Brays are in Canada.
Jack Bailey: I'm sure if Mrs. Bray were here...
Cornelia Van Gorder: Were here? Are you a professional gardener?
Jack Bailey: Yes.
Cornelia Van Gorder: You know anything about hardy perennials?
Jack Bailey: Yes, they're the ones that keep their leaves in the winter.
Cornelia Van Gorder: Come over here. Any experience with rubeola?
Jack Bailey: Oh yes, yes indeed.
Cornelia Van Gorder: Alopecia?
Jack Bailey: The dry weather is hard on it.
Cornelia Van Gorder: How would you treat urticaria?
Jack Bailey: I'd thin it.
Cornelia Van Gorder: You'd scratch it, you mean. Young man, urticaria is hives. Rubeola is measles, and alopecia is baldness! Now why did you tell me you were a professional gardener? And what are you doing here this hour of the night?
Cornelia Van Gorder: Before he died, could Courtleigh Fleming have robbed his own bank?
Dr. Wells: Well if he did, I can testify he didn't have the money with him in Colorado, I was there I persuaded him to take his first vacation in years, and his heart acted up, and I found myself with the unpleasant duty of bringing home the body of my best friend. He had his faults, but not that.
Cornelia Van Gorder: [reading a note thrown through her window] This is fair warning. Leave the house before anything happens to you.
Dale Ogden: Well who do you think wrote it?
Cornelia Van Gorder: A fool, that's who. If anything were calculative to make me stay here, this sort of thing would do it.
Cornelia Van Gorder: Arson, a new murder. Police have found no clue as yet to the identity of the Bat, but city detective Anderson said today 'It is useless combing the underworld for him, the Bat is too intelligent, we will have to look higher.'
Cornelia Van Gorder: Lizzie, what did you really see last night?
Lizzie Arlen: Right over there, I was standing at the top of the staircase, the lights went out and when I looked down here I saw an eye. A gleaming eye, and it winked.
Cornelia Van Gorder: That was your chance, Lizzie, a ghost that wanted to flirt with you.
Lizzie Arlen: Ghost nothing, how do we know it wasn't the Bat?
Cornelia Van Gorder: Because the Bat wouldn't come within a thousand miles of you, you'd scare him to death.
Cornelia Van Gorder: Billy, how long have you worked here for Mr. Fleming?
Billy: 13 years, Missy.
Cornelia Van Gorder: And this is the first time there have ever been disturbances in this house?
Billy: Last two days only. Find window open, nobody there, door slam, nobody there.
Cornelia Van Gorder: See here Lizzie, I may as well tell you to stop all this foolish screaming, I'm having a detective sent down tonight from police headquarters in the city.
Lizzie Arlen: A detective?
Cornelia Van Gorder: Yes, the one in the papers, Mr. Anderson.
Lizzie Arlen: Miss Neelie, you're keeping something from me, you know more than I do.
Cornelia Van Gorder: I devoutly hope so. I'm not sure I'll need him, but detective work fascinates me, it'll be interesting to see how a good one goes about it.
Cornelia Van Gorder: Well it's perfectly clear, isn't it? Dr. Wells has the blueprint. Now all we have to do is keep him from going up those stairs.
Dale Ogden: But why Dr. Wells?
Cornelia Van Gorder: My dear girl, WHO has been standing guard over the body since he first got here?