The Suspense Project: To Find Help -- with Frank Sinatra

Joe Webb

Today's Suspense episode is To Find Help, and stars Frank Sinatra in his only appearance on the series. It took a lot of work and rearranging of schedules to get him there, scheduled three different times that fell through. The fourth time it finally worked. The story turns out to be one of Mel Dinelli's biggest and most enduring successes as a writer, script writer, playwright, and screenwriter. Agnes Moorehead co-stars.
A lonely middle-aged woman needs maintenance work done around the house. Because able-bodied men are in wartime service, such help is hard to find. She hires Sinatra’s character. It starts well but turns to an simmering undercurrent of danger.
Getting Sinatra onto Suspense was challenging and took big bucks: $200,000 in today's US dollars. The twists and turns of getting the play and him before the microphones is too detailed to summarize here. Read how a bad publicity incident sent Sinatra and MGM and Hollywood into a tizzy, and how newspaper reviewers misinterpreted Sinatra's portrayal, which he played exactly as directed. There are also links to other presentations of Dinelli's disturbing play. Enjoy? Yes! Once you know the story...

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