BrianRxm Coins on Television 21/24
The Thin Man - Fatal Cliche (1957)
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This episode of the NBC television program "The Thin Man" shows a collection of coins,
and a discussion of fictional coins including a "Prince John Tuppence" and a "Teak Arrow".
 
The television series ran from 1957 to 1959.
 
This episode is titled "Fatal Cliche" and was first broadcast on November 15, 1957.
 
The story is about husband and wife detectives who solve a case of stolen rare coins and a murder.
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
1. Title
 
Nick and Nora Charles are a sophisticated married couple living in a New York City apartment.
Nick had been a detective and Nora an heiress before they married and Nick is now "retired".
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
2. Nora and Nick Charles
 
The couple are visiting the Vandrey Modern Art Museum when businessman August Vandrey
asks them to recover a rare coin collection stolen from a safe.
 
Nick is "retired" until he meets the son Crane and Crane's beautiful fiancee Joan Dalt.
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
3. Nick and Nora meet father, son, fiancee
 
Nora tries to pull Nick away but they stay.
 
August describes one of the stolen coins as a "Prince John Tuppence" (two pence),
supposedly "a commemorative struck off in the year 1215 for the signing of the Magna Carta".
 
August introduces his son Crane as the "real" coin collector and describes it as a "stupid hobby",
"why not buttons, feathers?". August implies that he also disapproves of the son's "other hobbies",
meaning the blonde girlfriend.
 
Nick then goes to see a coin dealer for more information on the coin.
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
4. Coin dealer
 
The dealer states that the Tuppence is extremely rare and would be hard to sell unless
the seller took it to Europe and claimed that "it had been dug out of the ground".
He estimates that the coin is worth $50,000, "a small piece of copper worth a big piece of change".
 
Nick then visits a "stool pigeon" Angy who constantly uses cliches like "the early bird gets the worm".
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
5. Stool pigeon
 
Angy tells Nick that the thief might be a safe cracker named Brown who has come into some money.
 
They visit Brown's apartment and find him shot dead with a lot of coins on the floor.
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
6. Coins on floor
 
The coins appear to be standard movie prop coins.
 
The police arrive along with Nora and the Vandreys, and after an inventory, find that whoever shot
Brown took a coin, not the "Prince John dingus" but another coin, a "Teak Arrow",
"a clean specimen from the Mariana Islands, nineteenth century, not worth more than ten dollars".
 
Asta bites a coin on the table and runs off with it.
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
7. Asta steals coin
 
Nora follows Asta and recovers the coin, which is made of bone.
The stolen teak coin is then found where the shooter dropped it.
 
Nick learns that August has left all of his money to his museum and that his son will get nothing.
 
He meets with Joan who tells him that she has broken up with the son and implies that she
could become interested in Nick.
 
He discovers that Joan knows nothing about coins except "coins in quantity", i.e. a golddigger.
 
Nick tells Joan that he knows that she hired the safecracker and then after killing him,
stole the wrong coin.
 
Joan then pulls out a gun as Nora arrives to check up on her husband.
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
8. Joan with gun
 
Nick uses the old ruse "the gun safety is on" to get the gun away from her.
 
Back home, case solved, Nick and Nora are together.
 
Thin Man Fatal Cliche
9. Together
 
Nick mentions that one of Angy's cliches "Don't take any wooden nickels" solved the case,
as the stolen teak coin was originally worth five cents, hence it was a "wooden nickel".
Notes:
 
Cast:
Peter Lawford as Nick Charles
Phyllis Kirk as Nora Charles
Asta as Asta (The dog, a Wire Fox Terrier)
Morris Ankrum as August Vandrey
Penny Edwards as Joan Dalt
Percy Helton as Angy
 
Director: Robert B. Sinclair
Writers: Bruce Geller, Dean Riesner, Dwight Taylor
 
The characters Nick and Nora Charles came from the 1934 book The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett,
but he is not credited in television program.
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