Riverboat

Season 2 Episode 13

Listen to the Nightingale

1
Aired Sunday 7:00 PM Jan 02, 1961 on NBC

Episode Recap

In Memphis, Grey and Bill are walking down the street when they notice a young woman, Julie Lang, and a fancy-dressed beau, Alex Jeffords, crossing a plank over a mud puddle. Two local toughs get on the other side and jump up and down to knock them off. The toughs shove Alex into the mud and try to send Julie after him, and Grey intervenes. He knocks both men into the mud, picks up Julie, and carries her to safety. The attractive woman thanks Grey, who stares at her in shock at her good looks. Bill ushers Grey away while Alex comes over and suggests that Julie should give Grey a reward. Julie admiringly says that Grey is too basic and uncomplicated to want money.

At the Enterprise, Bill tries to work out if they'll break even on their next trip while Grey stares out the window. A troupe of actors pulls up at the dock and their leader, Samson J. Binton, comes aboard. He asks the partners for transportation to New Orleans and immediately makes demands for the best cabins and food. However, when the partners ask for the fare in advance, Samson tries to stall them. When that doesn't work, he finally admits that he doesn't have the money. However, he says that he has something that guarantees he can pay them when they reach New Orleans and takes Grey over to show it to him.

Carney comes over and recognizes Samson as a famous showman who taught P.T. Barnum everything he goes. When Bill goes over to his partner, Grey tells him that they're receiving full fare, a $500 bonus, and band performances in the grand salon during dinner. Bill explains who they're dealing with and Grey goes over to turn down Samson's offer. However, the showman opens his carriage and reveals Julie inside, and explains that she's their star attraction. Grey immediately tells Bill to have the crew load the actors aboard and walks away.

Once the Enterprise departs, Julie moves into the deluxe cabin and gets dressed for supper with the help of the tatted woman, Billie. Grey comes in to pick her up and sweet-talks Julie, but she says that she's just a simple woman and is tired of being sweet-talked. After leaving a prized necklace in its case, Julie leaves and Grey locks the cabin door behind her. Once they leave, the troupe's escape artist, Gabe, goes over to Billie's cabin. When she lets him in, he presents her with an expensive necklace.

In the grand salon, Grey and Julie dance and then go out on deck. Julie talks about how she wants to travel the rivers and give up her life as a singer. Grey points out that she has everything a woman could want, but Julie insists that she just wants a normal life. When the captain asks why she doesn't have one already, Julie says that she's under contract to Samson. They go back to her cabin and Grey lets her in. Julie kisses him briefly and then goes inside. However, she screams almost immediately and Grey runs back in. Julie tells him that someone stole her necklace. Across the hall in her cabin, Billie looks out and nervously fingers the necklace that Gabe gave her.

Grey and Bill meet with Julie and Samson, and Julie insists that she and Grey were the only ones with the key. The captain confirms that the master key is locked in the safe in his office and there are no duplicates. Samson plans to announce the lack of security aboard the Enterprise to every newspaper, but gets nervous when Julie explains that her necklace is insured for $10,000, Bill realizes the truth and forces Samson to confirm that he didn't insure the necklace. Julie, furious, tells the promoter that she won't sing until she gets the necklace back.

When Bill and Grey leave, Bill tells his partner that the whole thing is a staged publicity stunt. Grey doesn't believe it but Bill points out that the thief only took the necklace and ignored the other jewelry. Samson catches up to them and warns them that if Julie doesn't sing then he doesn't get paid... and neither do they. Once Samson leaves, Bill tells Grey to get Julie to sing no matter what it takes.

Grey goes back to see Julie, who is happy at the thought that she now has a way to break her contract and live the simple life. The captain tries to convince her that Samson did the best he could but Julie demands honor in her man. She kisses Grey, who agrees with her about honor and kisses her back.

Later, Bill finds Grey checking the hallway outside of Julie's cabin. The pilot realizes that Grey didn't ask Julie to sing, but Grey is more interested in a small piece of wax on the keyhole to Julie's cabin. As they talk, someone shoots out a nearby wall lamp, forcing them to duck for cover. Bill admits that it looks like the robbery was real after all.

The next day, Julie visits Grey and bandages up a wound caused by flying glass. As they kiss, Bill comes in and Julie quickly excuses herself. Bill tells his partner that he's confirmed that nobody used the ship's tools to make a duplicate key. Grey suggests that they search for the necklace instead and go through the troupe members' cabins. Bill reluctantly agrees and they find a necklace in Billie's shoe in her closet.

Billie and Gabe return to her cabin. Before they go in, Billie wonders how Gabe could do such a thing, but he doesn't know what she's talking about. They go in and find Grey and Bill waiting. When the partners confront Billie with the necklace, she says that she hid it to protect Gabe because she thought he stole it. Gabe explains that that necklace, and all of the other jewelry that he's bought her, is paste. Grey reluctantly apologizes, leaving the couple to hug. Out in the hallway, the partners worry that it could hurt their reputation if word gets around they were searching their passenger's cabins. Bill worries about the consequences and Grey offers to buy him out, but Bill reminds him that he doesn't have any money and tells him to convince Julie to sing.

Julie is on deck watching the farmers take their product to market via a raft. Grey finds her and wanrs her that it may look idyllic but the farmers will have to break down their raft when they arrive and then walk upriver to their farm. Despite that, Julie still believes that it's a simple life. Grey finally comes out and asks her to sing, explaining that he'll lose the Enterprise if she doesn't. Julie seizes on the idea and says that if he loses his riverboat then he could go off with her and they could live the simple life together.

Frustrated, Grey gets an idea and tells Bill that when they arrive at Chandler's Creek, he'll show her what the simple life is really like. When they arrive, Samson learns that Grey and Julie are leaving the Enterprise. He protests but Julie reminds him that he broke the contract, freeing her of her obligations. Meanwhile, Grey tells Bill to stick around because he doesn't think his demonstration will take too long.

Once they get to a clearing in the woods, Grey has Julie cook soup over a campfire. While she tries to cook supper and chokes on the wood smoke, Grey sets up two tents and tells her that he'll have a log cabin for them in a few months. He then tells Julie to milk the buffalo he's going to bring back and warns her about poisonous snakes. Grey goes a short way out into the woods and then makes coyote noises, startling Julie into spilling the soup. He comes back and she admits that she ruined their supper, and Grey hands her a dead muskrat and tells her to skin it. At her wit's end, Julie runs back to the Enterprise while Grey watches and laughs.

Once the Enterprise leaves Chandler's Creek, Grey checks in on Julie. She admits that she's not cut out for the simple life and Grey nobly agrees to stay with her. However, Julie still refuses to sing in New Orleans, preventing Samson from profiting.

A day out of New Orleans, Bill and Grey sit in the grand salon and try to come up with a plan. They finally realize that they need to continue searching the passenger cabins, and Bill tells Grey to convince Julie to perform a song in the grand salon. Once everyone is there, they can search the cabins with no one the wiser. Grey agrees and goes over to Julie, who reluctantly agrees to sing for him even though she suspects Grey is up to something. She begins with the band, including Alex on clarinet, accompanying her.

Bill and Grey search the musicians' cabin and find a block of beeswax. It has an impression of a key, and they find a key carved out of a clarinet reed. They take it to Julie's cabin and confirm that it opens the lock, and then go to the grand salon to confront Alex. Julie sees Grey and complains that he didn't stay for her performance. Grey ignores her and sits down with Bill, staring at Alex. When Grey shows him the duplicate key, Alex walks outside, taking his clarinet with him. The partners go after him and show him the key, but he denies any knowledge of it and quickly throws it overboard before they can stop him. Alex dares them to search him and they do, but there's no sign of the necklace. However, Grey realizes that Alex took his clarinet with him rather than leave it with the band. Realizing that they're onto him, Alex tries to run but the partners restrain him and open up the clarinet. Julie's necklace is hidden inside.

Grey and Bill summon Julie and Samson to Grey's cabin and tell them what happened. Alex insists that he didn't hurt anyone and that he just took the necklace to finance a trip to Europe so he could study with the masters. The partners are ready to lock him up until the next town. However, Julie sympathizes with a fellow artist and gives him the necklace as gift, refusing to pressing charges. Grey points out that Alex shot at them, but the musician insists that he's an expert shot and only meant to scare them off. Despite that, the partners plan to arrest him on assault charges. Once Bill takes Alex away, Julie tells Grey and Samson that if they press charges then she'll refuse to sing in New Orleans.

When the Enterprise arrives in New Orleans, Julie tells Grey that she wants to give him a reward. However, it's a pass to her next performance rather than the kiss he expected. Once she leaves, Bill tells Grey that no matter how good her performance is, it won't be as good as the one she gave on the Enterprise.

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