'Spotlights & Shadows' by Sandra Grabman


Who On Earth



Albert Salmi

Peggy Ann

Pat Buttram

No Retakes!

Lloyd Nolan


“‘Impossible’ is
Just a
Frame of Mind”

“A Book That’s
Meant to Be”

“A Day in the
Life of a

“Problems Are
for Creativity”

“It’s Not
All Bad, Folks”


“House of Esther”

Spotlights & Shadows Credits Fan Forum Fan-Fiction DVDs

Lighthearted Scenes
Created for Albert Salmi
By His Fans

Albert had a wonderful sense of humor, but he very rarely had a chance to show it to us. Let’s be his script writers and give him some roles that he could’ve really had fun with!

Poems and Sketches:
Ballad of Albert
Albert Settles Actors’ Residuals
Albert on The Beverly Hillbillies
Jonny Cobb Sketch
Cliffordville Sketch
Albert and Dino

Cliffordville Revisited
The Devil and Mr. Feathersmith
Power Play Revisited
Something Big – Revisited

Would you like to write a comedy scene for Albert? Feel free to contribute your ideas. Contact Sandra Grabman at srgrabman@cableone.net.

Power Play Revisited
“Don’t Keep Wild Things
In a Cage!”

By Klaus D. Haisch
Title illustration by Mike McKiernan

Mike’s Drawing

The original Untouchables episode was filmed in 1961.

Albert was born in 1928 and was 33 at the time. He is 6’2”.

Mary was born in 1932 and was 29 at the time. She is 5’8”.

Cast of Main Characters. . .

1) Steve “Country Boy” Parrish (Albert Salmi), a loveable, simple country boy who got caught up in crime. He just wants to return to the simple country life.
2) Emmy Sarver (Mary Fickett), man-hungry woman whose biological clock is ticking – like a time bomb!
3) Eliot Ness (Robert Stack), head of the Untouchables.
4) Agent Enrico Rossi (Nicholas Georgiade), Ness’ Italian 2nd-in-command.
5) Agent Lee Hobson (Paul Picerni), Ness’ trusted pal.
6) Willard Thornton (Wendell Corey), on the surface, a Reformer out to clean up crime – but secretly a big crook himself.
7) Barney Lubin (Carroll Connor), a crooked lawyer, isn’t that redundant?

NARRATOR: Toward the end of 1932, the power of Chicago’s Underworld seemed to be waning. But by summer of the following year, a new wave of crime had engulfed the city. Gangsters firing machine guns. Car bombs exploding. Summer of 1933, the city of Chicago has voted Willard Thornton to the post of heading a civic group designed to eliminate crime, and get some arrests. At a press conference, Thornton promises to get some arrests, while saying a bit ironically that he does not “criticize any established law enforcement agency” (Eliot Ness is standing right next to him), for failing to do so. Thornton makes the sly implication that Ness is not “really” responsible that there have been no major arrests lately. Eliot does not trust this guy!

Late one night, Eliot Ness, Enrico Rossi and Lee Hobson follow a small-time crook named Joey Loomis to the Central States Pharmaceuticals warehouse. The Untouchables break in and find something not in the official inventory – heroin. Joey’s capture, and the $80,000 heroin bust, causes a meeting of 5 big-time gangsters, early afternoon the following day, on a south-bound train from Chicago. Barney Lubin is serving drinks to Felix Varsack, representing the Al Capone mob. Wally Jater, former lieutenant of Bugs Moran. Steve Parrish, the Enforcer, they called him “Country Boy,” or “Country” for short. And one more, known only to the other 4 – he had organized this merger in crime – Willard Thornton! Even though Eliot Ness couldn’t hold Joey, because he knew nothing of the heroin deal, the Big Bosses decide Joey must be rubbed out.

Thornton says, “Take care of it, Country.”

Steve Parrish

Steve is a tall, good-looking, country boy type. Clean cut, with a neatly trimmed moustache. He had been standing there, leisurely leaning against a wall, peeling an apple with his pocket knife, when Thornton gave him that order. More surprised than trying to argue with him, Steve says, “Me? You know I’m pullin’ out.” Yes, he is such a simple, good-natured, and naive country boy, he actually thinks that someone in so deep with the Syndicate as he is, can just retire anytime he likes, and no one will have any objections. (Like any long-time employee could just retire when he’s put in his time, and the company would tell him, “happy retirement.”) He doesn’t realize that Thornton could just as easily give someone the order to kill him, and Country would never knew what hit him.

Thornton tells him, “One more job.” All the mobsters give Country a steely, icy glare.

“Well, I don’t know,” Steve says, almost in a conversational tone. “I bought the farm, my train leaves first thing in the morning.” Ironic choice of words – he doesn’t realize that if he disobeys a direct order from Thornton, he will “buy the farm” alright!

Thornton accommodates, and tells him, “Then do it tonight. You owe it to us.”

Steve thinks about the situation for a moment. Joey Loomis used to be a dope pusher. He got a lot of young people hooked on drugs, and several had died from overdosing. Rubbing out Joey was removing a stain from society. Joey had had the bad habit of using too much dope himself instead of selling it. Now, he was no longer a pusher, just a junkie. Steve says softly, “This once. Okay?” He is so naive, he still thinks that by doing one last job, he will be able to leave the Syndicate with their blessings. Steve doesn’t realize, when you are in this deep, you are in for life. The only way you leave is by being thrown in jail for the rest of your life, or by dying (usually by being rubbed out).

Steve Parrish

Thornton tells Country to get off at Kankakee (about 59 miles south of Chicago), and he can do the job, and get back in plenty of time. So as not to arouse any suspicion, or to establish alibis in case Country gets caught, they all get off at different stops. Thornton will travel all the way to Springfield (200 miles south of Chicago) before taking a plane back to Chicago – he is having dinner with the Governor in Springfield!

In town, on a sidewalk, Steve is combing his hair. A street vendor is heating peanuts; Steve helps himself to a free handful, and walks away. This “outlaw&rldquo; mentality is something he enjoys, on a small scale. He doesn’t notice the car behind him – he is being tailed by Ness and his men. The Feds don’t recognize him just then, because it’s too dark. They watch him as Steve goes into a dive with the sign “Rooms for Rent.” Upstairs, Steve knocks on the door of room 32. Joey thinks Steve is there to give him a fix. Instead, Steve slowly unfolds his shiv. For a moment, Steve’s face lights up in a grin; to him this is fun, just like hunting possum or bear or rabbit.

Ness and his men run upstairs, and find Joey stabbed to death. Since the back door to the building is locked, Steve must still be in the building. The Feds go door to door. When Ness kicks in the door of room 34, there is a man calmly reading the newspaper. Ness gets a good look at him now, and says, “Country Boy Parrish.”

Country Boy is NOT a hardened criminal. He couldn’t even lie with a straight face, which is a prerequisite. And he knows he can’t lie, having been brought up an honest country boy. So he is just toying with Ness when he says, “You got a nerve bustin’ in here. Can’t a man read his paper?”

Steve knows Eliot is seeing right through his little “playing innocent” routine. Poor Steve still thinks this is all a big joke – he is retiring from the mob (he thinks). Eliot won’t be able to make any charges stick, for knifing Joey (no witnesses, and the mob will bail him out, he thinks).

Steve Parrish

Eliot Ness does NOT have a sense of humor with crooks trying to “play cute” with him! As big and strong as Steve is, an angry Eliot Ness pulls him out of his chair with one hand, and pushes him backwards into the waiting arms of Lee Hobson, who quickly frisks Steve.

Some muffled groans from the closet reveal the real tenant of room 34. Steve is calm as he tells Ness, “I’ll come along for the ride,” and adds, “I’ll be out on bail before your booking slip is dry.” (He still doesn’t realize that a possible manslaughter charge brought against him by the Feds is nothing compared to what the mob will do to him.)

Because of that wisecrack, Eliot “hands” Steve’s hat to him – with a thrust to his bread basket that knocks the wind out of Steve. And Ness, known for not being able to restrain his temper at crooks, pushes Steve out the door with such force that Steve is off-balance for several steps. Good thing the stairway wasn’t directly outside the door – he would have fallen down the stairs, with his behind feeling every step!

Later, at Barney Lubin Bail Bonds, Barney gets on the blower and gives a quick message to Thornton, “Ness again!” he says with irritation, and adds, “He’s got the Country Boy.”

In Fed headquarters, Ness, Rossi, Hobson and Captain Johnson grill Steve Parrish, giving him the 3rd degree. Ness is rolling up his sleeves; Country Boy is calmly adjusting his tie and vest, to keep his neat, cool appearance. Usually it’s the suspect who asks for a glass of water; but Steve is acting real cool, and says a bit sarcastically, “You better get yourself a glass of water, Mr. Ness. It sounds like you’re losing your voice.”

Steve Parrish

He is really playing with fire. He knows Ness would like nothing better than to punch him for his sarcasm, but Ness has to control himself.

When Ness explains the scenario of the mob wanting Joey dead, Steve says playfully, “And YOU think I killed him. Tsk, tsk, tsk.” After saying how there are no witnesses, Steve adds, “I’m not gonna be here long,” and starts to rise out of his chair. Ness pushes him back down in his chair with a plop.

Steve’s face lights up when shyster attorney Lubin shows up, offering to post the $100,000 bond using a property on Erie Street as collateral. Ness keeps Parrish in jail overnight, while he checks to see what the property is really worth.

At the Public Library, Lubin meets with Thornton. Thornton has decided to use $100,000 cash to spring Parrish. Lubin is afraid Parrish will sing, even if he’s free on bail. Thornton says with finality, “Dead birds don’t sing.”

The collateral property is only worth $38,000 – minus $31,000 in liens! Then Ness gets the bad news from Capt. Johnson that Parrish was sprung on $100,000 cash. Eliot’s frustration is obvious – once again, he caught a crook, only to have the legal system set him free. That night, Lubin takes Parrish for a ride. In gangster parlance, this is the infamous “one way ride,“ where one person never comes back. The only unusual thing about this is that Steve, the one fingered to be rubbed out, is doing the driving.

Lubin pulls out his gat and tells Steve to turn right down a dirt side-road.It isn’t until Lubin comes right out and tells him, that Steve finally realizes they aren’t driving to Thornton’s place – Thornton has double-crossed him and wants him dead. In desperation, Steve fights with Lubin to get the heater away from him. The car crashes, and hits a telephone pole with such force that the pole is split in two. From the crashed car, there is the sound of 2 slugs being fired. Steve crawls out of the burning car. His clothes look a mess.

Steve Parrish

In the small town of “Five Points” (so named because there are 5 roads leading in and out) we first see Emma Sarver, who runs the local diner. 29 years old, she is the most man-hungry woman in the county. Tall (5’8”) and slim, she could be attractive if she dressed nicer, but is dressed in tomboy fashion. Baggy blue jeans, plain working shoes, and white socks (no stockings for her). A shirt instead of a blouse (and a dark shirt with two pockets, the kind that a male gas station attendant might wear, at that), and an old knitted sweater with oversized buttons. Her light brown hair is done up in a practical, but not very flattering, style.

Emma also runs the gas pumps. She is fueling a truck for a couple of middle-aged, overweight truckers, as an attractive motorcycle cop pulls up. His name’s Pete, and he fills her in that a killer is on the loose (Parrish) and about the murdered Lubin. The first fat trucker quips the guy must have killed himself rather than eat Emma’s cooking. All the men kid Emma just like she was “one of the guys.” She usually takes the kidding good-naturedly (or pretends to, on the outside), though her heart aches to have a man – any man – treat her like a woman.

When policeman Pete asks her if she’s seen Parrish, the knucklehead truckers quip that if there is a MAN on the loose that Emma hasn’t seen, he’s not in the county – or even the state! (Well, the fact that Emma is man-hungry is no secret in this town.)

She smiles broadly, flashing her teeth, and fluttering her eyelashes at the nice-looking cop, telling him, “Waffles wouldn’t take too long.” He has to leave. As the truckers leave, one of them says Emmy is just “one of the boys,” a phrase she has heard a million times, and probably never wants to hear again for the rest of her life. (Emma must be thinking to herself: “Forget the truckers, they’re married anyway. But that nice, single policeman Pete. . . ” )

Emmy had known Pete for years. He was the only man who was nice to her, treated her like a lady. They had even dated a few times, though that was a few years ago. One time, when some yokel had said that Emmy “looks like a man,” Pete punched him. His chivalry didn’t lead to romance with Emmy though; instead his reputation as an enforcer encouraged him to enter the police academy, and now he’s a cop. Now, Pete was dating a very nice girl named Louise. Emmy was still good friends with Pete.

Emma stopped for a moment to feed her pet raccoon, which she kept in a big cage. There is a big sign on the cage: “Do not feed raccoon. This means you!” This raccoon is a bit symbolic of how Emmy had the bad habit of trying to keep wild things in a cage. There was also a sign on her diner: “Truck Drivers welcome” – this was not so symbolic, it’s in plain English.

The customers gone, Emma walks inside her diner, pauses and smiles. She can’t believe her good luck, she has found a man. Emma brushes some hair from her forehead. She walks into the back room. Imagine a prospector who finds gold; an archeologist discovering a rare find; someone who finds a pirate’s buried treasure.

For the longest time, Emma had prayed, “Dear Lord, send me a man – any man.” Bingo! She hit the jackpot. Steve was sleeping on the floor, and she eyed him from head to toe. . . tall, handsome, strong, Nordic good looks – so doggone cute! The local men are okay, but he had Scandinavian fair complexion, light hair and (though she hasn’t seen his eyes yet) she bet his eyes were blue. Emma is man-hungry, and she’s going to gobble him up. He is Thanksgiving dinner. She thought to herself, “Thank you, Lord – I’m going to church next Sunday for sure!”

She wakes him up. Emma has to do the talking, since Steve won’t say a word. She likes the way he dresses – suit and tie, so distinguished. Not like the truck drivers and farmers around here. He must be from a big city, maybe Chicago.

Steve Parrish

She explains that she found him in her back room. Yet, she asks for no explanation from him (even though he is technically guilty of breaking-and-entering, and trespassing). Speaking calmly and sweetly, Emma says, “What you need is a good cup of Joe” – (and thinks, “and one serving of me, served steaming hot!”).

A bit later, Emma serves him some hot Java from a coffee pot, as he is sitting there eating, at a barrel which he uses as a table. Finally, the laconic Steve asks, “Look, how come you do this for a stranger, huh?”

Without missing a beat, Emma says sweetly, “Oh, a fella needs something to eat, a place to sleep, you give it to him. That’s the way it is in farm country.” Then, leaning over the makeshift table, looking Steve directly in the eyes, from only about 8 inches away, she smiles broadly and adds, “my Pa was a farmer.” (Yep, country folk are very friendly people. In her mind, she’s thinking, “Country girls make the best wives!” She almost feels that if she thinks it hard enough, Steve will know what she’s thinking.)

Her eyes gaze into his, looking for any sign that the love she feels might be mutual. But all Steve does is give off a short grunt, and he keeps on chewing his food.

Emma goes on, and tells the story of how her dad worked the farm, then bought this place, then died. Steve isn’t really listening. To him, her talking is like having the radio playing in the background – just background sounds.

Finally, she comments how he is so smartly dressed, and must l ike the big city life.

Steve says, “I was a farm boy once. I guess it sticks.”

Steve Parrish

Suddenly, a ray of hope – Emma sits down next to him. Even though it is hard for her to come right out and ask a man for a dance, or a date, let alone to live with her, she is desperate. A few minutes ago, she only thought it – now she is putting it into words: “You should stay.”

Steve says he’s moving out.

(“Rats!” Emmy thinks to herself. But, all is fair in love and war, and she is already two steps ahead of Steve. Step one. . .) As Steve wants to pay the 4 bits for his breakfast, he discovers his wallet is missing. He had hitchhiked to Sycamore, then walked the last 3 dusty miles to Five Points. Without any money, it’d be harder to leave.

He is still determined to leave, but (here is Step two), the fast-thinking Emma is way ahead of Steve, who is a bit slow this morning. She hands him the morning paper, with the headline “Commissioner to give reward.”

“Pa’s room is real nice,” she says, offering him guest quarters. Then adds,“It’s big.” (She eyes Steve and thinks, “Big room for a big man.”) She almost bites her lower lip in anticipation.

She finally gets him to say he’s thinking to stay. She closes her eyes again for moment, as if in prayer. Thank God he is staying.

Though after she leaves the room, an angry Steve throws the newspaper at the door. He is not happy at the prospect.

Steve Parrish

Emma had taken 3 things from Steve, as she’d gone through his suit and pants when he was sleeping in the store room that first day: his wallet; a letter-sized envelope with a paper in it, with Barney Lubin’s signature on it; and Steve’s handgun.

Next day, Eliot Ness and Enrico Rossi drive into town; they drive very slowly and politely, and stop by Emma’s diner.

Wally Jater, with orders from Thornton to find Steve (and Thornton has put up a $5,000 reward), drives into Five Points like a wild man, almost running over a flock of geese. No respect.

Meeting with Ness, Emma is wearing the same clothes she had on the other day, including that light brown belt that looks like a large Boy Scouts belt, the end of which hangs sloppily to the left side. Ness gives her his card, saying she can “reverse the charges” since Chicago, 71 miles away, is a long distance call.

Social Eliot stops for a second to look at the raccoon in her cage and quips, “Didn’t know raccoons made good pets.”

“They don’t,” Emma replies. She just keeps wild things that she likes, whether the animals or men like it or not.

(Emma thinks to herself, “that handsome Eliot Ness, and that good-looking Italian Enrico Rossi. So many gorgeous men.”) She is not used to seeing men dressed in nice suits, and on a weekday yet. They look nicer than the local men in their Sunday go-to-meetin’ clothes. Seeing these handsome men, she is in heaven. Emma is positively smiling as she walks into the back room to see Steve.

Emma is pleased that she fooled the Feds so easily, they didn’t even search her place.

Steve is very nervous; he wants to leave. Says he has to get back to Chicago to take care of a few things.

Emma tells him he must stay at least a week or more. That should give her plenty of time to get Steve to fall in love with her. And then she spills her real plan. She says, “Comes a dark night,” (that would be 2 weeks from now – today is Wednesday, July 5, and there will be a full moon tonight), “I sneak you out of here. And the next day I bring you back, say from Springfield, maybe.” Her blue eyes are staring intensely into his. Emma continues, softly, yet oh, so firmly, “You’re my cousin Ame.” (She means kissing cousins – and for country folk, they usually marry their cousins!) She goes on, “You’re coming down here to work for me. Ain’t nobody gonna guess. You stay with me. . . for the rest of your life.”

Steve looks tired. He has a 2-day growth of beard. He can not fight her, as he might like, not under these conditions. “You’ve got everything figured out, haven’t you?” is all he can say in way of protest.

Steve Parrish

A man he could fight, even stick with a shiv. But how does he fight a woman? Especially THIS determined woman who has made up her mind.

Still looking him straight in the eyes, letting him know he has no choice at all, Emma says softly, “Me. . . or the police. Take your pick.” As if to rub it in, she adds, “Walk out. . . anytime you like,” as she heads out the door. And she runs right into Wally Jater (unlike Ness, who didn’t ask to snoop around, Jater just barged in).

Wally Jater takes out his gun. He tells Country Boy he is going to take him back to Chicago, where he will be rubbed out.

Steve vainly protests, “You don’t have to kill me, just because I bungled the Joey rub out. Okay, I got caught, but I wasn’t gonna squeal to Ness. Honest! That’s the only reason Thornton turned on me, he thought I was gonna sing. Thornton’s my pal. Thornton will tell ya – ”

Jater yells, “You idiot! Thornton gave me the order to kill you 2 days BEFORE he even sent you on the Joey job! As soon as you said you were gonna retire, you’d signed your own death warrant. Nobody walks out on the mob – never! You were living on borrowed time. Thornton only let you live a couple more days, so he could kill 2 birds with one stone: have you rub out Joey, and then we were gonna make it look like one of Joey’s pals killed you!”

Steve couldn’t believe it. All this time, he thought the boys in the mob were his pals. They got along. He did jobs for them. They all made good money. And now, he was going to be rubbed out!

And the story continues. . . . .

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Would you like to write a comedy scene or a script for Albert? Feel free to contribute your ideas. Contact Sandra Grabman at srgrabman@cableone.net.

Spotlights & Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story, by Sandra Grabman, is available in both print and audio formats. Read by author Michael Hoctor, the unabridged audiobook runs 6 hours and 58 minutes.

Print edition ~

eBook edition ~

Audiobook ~