“The Rise and Fall of Eddie Carew.” An episode of Kraft Suspense Theatre (Season 2, Episode 30). First air date: 24 June 1965. Dean Jones, Sheilah Wells, Alan Hewitt, Jerome Cowan, Harry Townes, Ken Lynch, Stanley Adams, Ian Wolfe, John Hubbard, Barry Kelley. Story: Robert Thom; adaptation: Don Brinkley. Director: Joseph Pevney.

“Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.”

               — Romeo and Juliet

   Senile nonagenarian Ellis Stone (Ian Wolfe) manages to get himself locked in the vault of his own bank; unless he’s very good at holding his breath, by the time the electronic lock opens the door three days hence he’ll be very dead.

   The bank manager, in full panic mode, phones Sam Becker (Jerome Cowan), the public relations man for “our party.” He immediately sees the PR disaster (not to mention the financial catastrophe) that he and his cronies would suffer if dotty old Stone, a million-dollar-a-year party contributor, were to go toes up.

   In a moment of inspiration, he plumps for making use of the talents of Eddie Carew (Dean Jones), “The Human Can Opener,” currently serving time in the state pen.

   But Dr. Farley (Harry Townes), the prison psychiatrist, has been making progress weening Eddie away from his compulsion to steal and is flatly opposed to letting Eddie anywhere near piles of money. It would be, as he says, like having an alcoholic become a wine taster.

   The prison warden (Alan Hewitt) overrules the doctor, however, and takes Eddie to the bank. Before he goes, Eddie tries to warn everyone of what could happen; but even his girlfriend, Sally McClure (Sheilah Wells), encourages him to do this because she has faith in his rehabilitation.

   Eddie is now in a position to call the shots: no prison uniform (“something in charcoal gray” would be nice) or handcuffs, deciding who can be present when he does the job (others can be a distraction), and especially having “the best jelly man in the business,” Pinky Ferguson (Stanley Adams), assist him.

   Yes, you guessed it: Eddie has ideas that go way beyond rescuing the old guy, which he almost betrays when he first lays eyes on the safe. (“Well,” says Becker, “is he going to open it or make love to it?”)

   What Eddie doesn’t know is that before the sun rises he will have to crack this same safe three times: once out of greed, once out of duty (and self-interest), and once out of love ….

   This one has a great comic cast as well as normally serious actors doing a humorous turn. Dean Jones is well-known for the many Disney films he’s appeared in. Stanley Adams always seemed to be an affable fast-talker just on the other side of the law (e.g., Cyrano Jones in the immensely popular Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”).

   And Ken Lynch must have played a cop hundreds of times over the years. Jerome Cowan was a low-rent version of William Powell; he could do light comedy (Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.), but most movie fans remember him as Miles Archer in The Maltese Falcon and the spineless architect in The Fountainhead.