Written By: Chandler
In my opinion, this is the first five star episode produced by AIO. Keeping the identity of the crook concealed right up to the end is a major factor in my enjoyment of this show. Unfortunately, I received the tape with the second half of this show from Chick-fil-A in 1990--years before I ever heard the first half! When I finally heard the first half, things made a lot more sense. Much like "The Day Independence Came", I had the Chick-fil-A tape memorized so I still notice the "extra" lines in the version from the album.
A couple things in the opening scene stand out to me. The first is Whit's "invention." Compared to his later inventions, Whit's first attempts are rather unimaginative--the photocopier in "Whit's Flop" and now the instant freezer. Commenting on Whit's cabinet, Tom says it covers from floor to ceiling. And yet, when he and Whit moved the cabinet, they lifted it! To everyone's surprise, there's a door behind the cabinet. Opening the door, Whit and Tom discover a secret room with a skeleton inside. They call the police and the investigation begins.
In the next scene, Whit and Tom are talking to Inspector Howards, the detective from the police department. He informs them that the skeleton was Spencer Barfield, a man believed to have been involved in a bank robbery that occurred shortly before he disappeared over forty years before. It now appears that Barfield had a partner who double-crossed him and ran with the money. But that is it--the detective just brushes Whit off when he suggests that they look for the partner. "It's a closed case," says Howards.
Not convinced, Whit begins to investigate on his own and starts putting the pieces together. Five people emerge with ties to the case: Inspector Howards, former bank manager Percival Fenwick, Spencer Barfield, Spencer's sister Miss Barfield, and Alfred Myers. Still puzzled, Whit, Connie, Tom, and Jami discuss the various possibilities. Tom then brings up the question about where the money went. Not only that, but in a surprising twist, Tom correctly guesses the money's location.
Since Tom had to take Jami home, Whit is alone in the basement when he digs up the box holding the money in the floor. Just as Whit pulls the box out of the dirt, the Inspector shows up. Now it appears certain that he's the bad guy. But when Whit questions him, the Inspector still claims innocence. He says that he wants to use the money as bait but he can't trust anyone. Suddenly someone else appears announcing the he can't trust anyone either. Percival Fenwick! The real crook! Or is he? Yes, Fenwick now admits that he and Myers were the partners who executed the robbery. Myers was the one who hid the money. Fenwick had nothing to do with Spencer Barfield's murder, but believes that Spencer saw Myers hide the money and was shot by him. Myers had perished in a car accident on his way to tell Fenwick where the money was. Now, after all these years, Fenwick is here to claim the money. He threatens Whit and the Inspector with some knockout darts. However, someone else is lurking--Spencer's sister. She calls the police and Fenwick is caught and put in jail.
Although justice has finally been served and some of the money is going to charity, Whit points out that it is a sad lesson that they have learned. Everything that had happened, including Spencer's murder, was because of money--something that won't last or bring real joy to the person who has it. "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil...." 1 Timothy 6:10a