Murder At Midnight - Trigger Man

(4.2 stars; 2 reviews)

Chicken Charlie: Chicken No More Murder At Midnight - Trigger Man William Quinn "Nobody knows how I feel.  Except maybe a guy in the death house." You've just learned that you only have six months to live.  What do you do?  Would you let it change your life?  Should you let it change your life?  Does an abbreviated life become more valuable or less valuable?  These are the questions faced by 'Chicken Charlie' Nix, the central character of Trigger Man. Charlie Nix had always wanted to be a tough guy, had always wanted to be a trigger man for the mob.  Charlie's problem is that every time he's challenged, he gets cold feet.  He's tough enough to point a gun, but he doesn't have the guts to pull the trigger.  Because of this, he is the butt of jokes by the other members of the gang, and has earned the moniker 'Chicken Charlie'.  All this may be about to change, however.  Chicken Charlie has just six months to live. Mob boss Angelo 'Angie' Dinelli arranged for Charlie Nix's medical check-up, upon his release from a year-long prison sentence.  Angie even paid for Charlie to see his own private doctor.  When Charlie learns that he has only months to live because of a fatal aneurism, Angie is there to provide Charlie with a new outlook: "Listen, kid; you've got six months to live.  Okay.  You know what I'd do if I had six months to live?" ~ "What?  What would you do?" "I'd live!  Yeah, I'd spend all my time living.  Champagne, dames, I'd have them all.  I'd do all the things I wanted to do, but didn't have the nerve to do before." One of the things that Chicken Charlie "didn't have the nerve to do before" is pull the trigger, and Angelo Dinelli knows it.  He offers him a deal.  If Charlie will become the boss's trigger man, Dinelli will pick up the tab for his extravagant new lifestyle.  It seems like a good deal for both parties.  After all, they both know that Chicken Charlie has just six months to live.  What can they lose? We know that we are mortal, yet we all carry within us a 'denial of death'.  The question posed by Trigger Man is how we would react to having a timeframe for the end of our life.  Would it change our lives?  Would it change Charlie Nix?  Could it turn Chicken Charlie into a cold-blooded killer? Trigger Man writer Max Ehrlich does an excellent job of posing these questions, adding a further dimension of introspection to a very exciting crime story. Four of Max Ehrlich's stories on Murder At Midnight are currently available; all four are high quality radio. The other episodes are The Secret Of XR3, Death Tolls A Requiem, and The Ace Of Death, a fine adaptation of Story Of The Young Man With The Cream Tarts, part one of Robert Louis Stevenson's fatalistic short trilogy The Suicide Club. The three lost episodes that were written by Ehrlich are The Black Curtain (episode 28, with Eric Dressler, Winston O'Keefe, and Santos Ortega), Outcast (episode 32, with James Monks, Martin Wilson, and Able Lewis), and The Dark Cellar (episode 39, cast unknown).  Note: Cast information was taken from The New York Times radio listings; it is likely that the 'Able Lewis' of Outcast was a misprint of actress Abbe Lewis. Max Ehrlich also wrote scripts for such shows as The Shadow, The Big Story, and the 1948-1949 Sherlock Holmes, starring John Stanley.  He would go on to write for such diverse television series as The Untouchables, Star Trek, and The Wild Wild West.  Ehrlich's final work would be adapting his own novel for the screenplay of the 1975 film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. Also worthy of note is a fine acting performance by William Quinn, who plays 'Chicken Charlie' Nix.  While never one of radio's bigger names, Quinn does have an extensive list of credits on a wide variety of programs, and his dark portrayal of the cowardly gangster in Trigger Man is one of the most memorable in radio. Links: To visit Introduction To Old-Time Radio's Murder At Midnight page, click here . To visit an Internet Archive page with more than half of the fifty-two Murder At Midnight episodes, sorted by copyright sequence, click here . To view the entire ITOTR collection, click here . Note: The mp3 file name (but not the metadata) includes a date.  This does not represent a broadcast date, but rather the date of the original copyright of this episode. Text © 2018 W.H.Wilson

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.


Trigger Man (Episode #05) 26:04