Jessica visits a rural revival of a play she was a part of with her late husband Frank and present stars Julian Lord and Maggie Tarrow. On opening night, something scares Maggie out of performing, and her understudy, Barbara Bennington, is killed by cyanide poisoning on stage. Local Chief of Police Merton P. Drock, who plays the butler, never solved a real murder but trusts Jessica will provide him with the 'script', yet keeps on making precipitous conclusions and accusations as the links appear with the breaking off of a production 30 years ago, when Maggie took a year off by ruse, as now appears to have given birth in secret. Julian prevents a second cyanide killing which would murder Maggie. Who knew and resented what exactly?Written by
This episode marks one of the most recent appearances to date for Classic film star Eleanor Parker, who began her illustrious acting career in 1941. Edward Mulhare and Dan O'Herlihy have since unfortunately passed.
Maggie Tarrow (Eleanor Parker) and her ex-husband, Julian Lord (Edward Mulhare) rise above their personal differences, to co-star on stage in a romantic comedy at Applewood Theatre, in New England, to which they invite dear friend Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) to opening night festivities.
Jessica arrives early enough to meet the play's cast members, including understudy Barbara Bennington (Ann Turkel), actor Larry Matthews (Shea Farrell), and Applewood Police Chief Merton P. Drock (John Schuck), who doubles as the actor playing the role of the butler.
Alexander Preston (Dan O'Herlihy), Nicky Saperstein (John Pleshette) and Pru Mattson (Christopher Norris) serve as the play's crew, producing, directing and assisting where necessary.
Applewood Pharmacist Eddie Bender (Bob Hastings) doubles as delivery man, to fill orders to the theatre, while Reporter T.J. Holt (Don Most) uncovers a secret from someone's past.
But after Jessica discovers a body in the dressing room, she suspects that the victim who has been poisoned was not the intended victim, Jessica thus trying to prevent another murder of one who is "Stage Struck." If "the show must go on," then Jessica must figure who is trying to stop the show and why, as Chief Merton P. Drock doubles as law enforcement investigator.
The cast is rounded out by Jeffrey Lippa as Reporter #1, Annie Gagen as Reporter #2, Richard Hoyt-Miller as Young Reporter, and Weldon Bleiler as Young Doctor.
Extra points for the presence of Eleanor Parker and Edward Mulhare.
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