Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife.
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was reported to have gotten up and walked off camera while playing a dead man in this episode. However, Coffin disputed the story: "CLIMAX! [The Long Goodbye] Dick Powell. The corpse walks off the stage. It certainly was I. But the whole story was a damn lie. I never got off of my belly. There were even stories in Time magazine. "The character was seen to get down from a stretcher and walk nonchalantly off the set." There never was a stretcher. I was on a blanket underneath, on my belly, and on a cue, I had to scramble like a snake out of the way of a dolly camera coming across to pick up Dick Powell so dialogue could continue in the scene. It was just a mess up with a cue guy. It never happened. Johnny Carson has used this on his show I guess half a dozen times. The truth has never been told. The fact that my name was Coffin, they played this real, real fun, you know, had fun with it, the corpse walking off the set. It never happened. Johnny Carson, Time magazine, and newspapers all across the country picked it up. They played it because they had a lot of fun with it, and it didn't happen the way they all have said it did. I was never seen. What was seen we didn't know it at the time, because it was done live, we didn't see it till we got home that night and watched the show later, it was done on kinescope in those days. All you see, at the bottom of the screen they had covered me with a blanket, because I had been killed, and the autopsy people, Dick Powell had a line of dialogue, "You better remove the body," and you see the blanket right at the very bottom of the screen, you see the blanket kind of move off, and that was me crawling off on my belly. They hadn't raised the camera up high enough, from the cue being too early, the camera hadn't gotten up off of me enough, so they picked up Dick Powell and Horace MacMahon coming in through the door across the set, picking up their dialogue. It was just a fraction of a second too soon, and all you saw was just the blanket moving just as Powell says "You better have your men remove the body." You see the blanket moving off the set, about a quarter inch at the bottom of the screen. That was where they said "the corpse was seen to get down off a stretcher and walk nonchalantly off the set." There never was a stretcher in the place. I called Dick Powell the next day after it happened and said, "Gee, I'm sorry to see a thing like that happen." Of course, in those days in live television, everything would happen. People would walk across carrying a ladder, a prop man would walk across a set, a lot of funny things. He said, "Tris, don't be upset about it. The only way that you and I can get any publicity today is to get wound up on some kind of cocaine or dope or something." That is what actually happened. It was a fun thing for some of the correspondents to write about it. Johnny Carson has at least five or six times said it on his show, they'll be talking about funny things that happened in live television. One time I sent Johnny a telegram and I said, "Johnny," I've known Johnny since before he was doing this thing I said, "Have blanket, will travel." I got a nice response from him." See more
A murdered character (played by Tristam Coffin covered with a blanket) crawled off-stage on all fours in view of the live TV camera. See more
Remade as The Long Goodbye