Saturday, December 23, 2017

JK in "The Night Holds Terror" Pt. IV

This very photo of a pensive JK was scanned and used in
Linda Alexander's 2011 print bio
'A Maverick Life--The Jack Kelly Story'
The terrifying night finally ends at the Courtier home and it's time to pick up the balance of the $2000 from the car dealership. Batsford decides that Gene will accompany the thugs to ensure that Doris won't call the police.

The frightened Doris tells him that she'll notify the police if Gene doesn't contact her within 30 minutes. Batsford becomes nervous and threatens Doris before the trio and Gene leave.

After they stop at a gas station, Logan reminds Batsford that Gene, while earlier pleading for his life, had mentioned that his father was the wealthy owner of a chain of grocery stores and could afford to pay a sizeable ransom for him.

Batsford calls Doris from a phone booth and demands a $200,000 ransom from Gene's father. By this time, Doris has already called the police, since she hadn't heard from Gene in the specified time. When Batsford puts Gene on the phone, he blurts out that the trio is monitoring the police frequency on the radio. 

(Phone booth appears to be located outside the Alibi Room at Larry Potter's Supper Club on Ventura Blvd. in North Hollywood, CA)
Doris contacts the police again and they cancel the radio dispatch on the case. A reporter learns about the kidnapping, but the police also silence the press to help ensure Gene's safe return. 

When Batsford phones Doris again to ask about the ransom payment, the police are able to partially trace the call and narrow down the kidnappers' location.

While Batsford goes to find another vehicle, Gene is able to knock Gossett out. Logan, who had told Gene he barely knew Batsford and Gossett, tries to help Gene escape by hotwiring a car. 

However, Batsford catches them, killing Logan and forcing Gene to make one last call to Doris as proof of life. Gene stalls on the phone, giving the police more time to trace the call and arrive at the scene. Doris is still on the line as shots are fired and is relieved when Gene comes on to tell her that he is indeed safe. 

The Night Holds Terror and JK generally received kudos from the critics. For example, The Oakland (CA) Tribune noted that JK and Ms. Parks were "especially good" as Gene and Doris Courtier. 

Here are some other interesting tidbits about the film:

  •  The film's cinematographer was Fred Jackman, Jr., who at one time was married to JK's sister, Nancy.
  • Virginia Stone edited the film on the pool table in the basement of her home.
  • In a bizarre postscript following the film's release, one of Gene Courtier's real-life kidnappers sued Columbia Pictures for damages! Portrayed as "Batsford" in the film, the convict claimed that the film invaded his privacy and damaged his reputation. It's unknown how the suit was resolved. 
Well, we've wrapped up the story of The Night Holds Terror just in time for Christmas. What's up next? "Yule" just have to stay tuned and find out! :)