With a potentially hot new film, Man On A Ledge, on the verge of being released, it is appropriate to review four intriguing similarly themed entries from the 1950s, one from the cinema and three from TV, as follows:
Fourteen Hours(1951): A man, Robert Cosick (ably portrayed by Richard Basehart) is psychologically devastated by his family's lack of love for him and his fear of being unable to bring happiness to his galpal (Barbara Bel Geddes). As he stands on a ledge contemplating suicide, a police officer, Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas), endeavors to talk him out of his planned death, and ultimately succeeds after 14 hours!
"The Big Jump" (1952 Dragnet episode): On his way home, Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) stops to check out a crowd gathered, looking up at a man, Walter Harrison (Paul Richards), on a ledge threatening to off himself. Finally, he is able to dissuade him from his planned felo-de-se. But, in the epilogue which was presented at the conclusion of each show, it was reported that the gentleman leapt to his death three months later!
"The Human Bomb"(1953 Adventures of Superman episode): A gambler, Bet-A-Million Butler (Trevor Bardette) has wagered $100,000 that he can keep Superman at bay for 30 minutes while two henchmen rob the local museum. To execute his plan, he drags reporter Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates) out onto the ledge of the Daily Planet building, threatening to kill them both with dynamite strapped to his chest unless the Man of Steel sits in an office for half an hour where he can both see and hear him. Clark Kent (George Reeves) leaves the scene in disgust in order to reappear as Superman where he records his voice to answer Butler and has a detective sitting in shadowed profile to make the gambler think he is cooperating. Of course, he thwarts the robbery and eventually subdues Butler.
"Man With A Problem" (1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode): An apparently moribund man, Carl (Gary Merrill), threatens suicide on the ledge of a hotel. In flashback, we see that his beloved wife Karen (Elizabeth Montgomery) fell in love with another man, Steve, who refused to leave his wife for her. Consequently, she committed suicide. Carl indicates that he will only speak to the officer on the beat (Mark Richman) who comes out on the ledge to attempt to bring him in. It turns out that this was a well-conceived plan, as that cop is actually Steve, whom Carl pushes to his death!
A trio of relevant video reports:
George "Superman" Reeves Was Murdered:
1st Actress To Leap Off The Hollywood Sign:
The Suicide of All About Eve Actress: