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The Untouchables: The Tommy Karpeles Story

Tommy Karpeles is convicted of murder during the course of a train robbery and sentenced to life in prison when his estranged daughter, Sally, refuses to provide him with an alibi. Eliot Ness, trying to recover the money stolen in the robbery, comes to believe that Karpeles is innocent. Meanwhile, the real train robbers, Arnie Mendoza and Phil Collier, move to cover up loose ends with Sally.

Episode Info

Episode number: 2x11
Airdate: Thursday December 29th, 1960

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9/10 (1 Vote cast)
Special Guest Stars
Joseph WisemanJoseph Wiseman
As Arnie Mendoza / Albert Maras

Guest Stars
Harold StoneHarold Stone
As Tommy Karpeles
Murray HamiltonMurray Hamilton
As George Varsey
Madlyn RhueMadlyn Rhue
As Sally Karr / Karpeles
Vladimir SokoloffVladimir Sokoloff
As Stanley Tannenbaum
Herman RudinHerman Rudin
As Mace
Vic MorrowVic Morrow
As Phil Collier
Joseph JulianJoseph Julian
As Fritz Herling
Leo PennLeo Penn
As Milton Tannenbaum
Gage ClarkeGage Clarke
As Oscar Termin
William NewellWilliam Newell
As Rawlins

Robert J. StevensonRobert J. Stevenson
As District Attorney
Glenn StrangeGlenn Strange
As Prison Warden
Main Cast
Robert Stack
As Eliot Ness
Paul Picerni
As Agent Lee Hobson
Nicholas Georgiade
As Agent Enrico Rossi
Abel Fernández
As Agent William Youngfellow
Walter Winchell
As Narrator


On May 18, 1931, the Rock Island Special, a mail train, is stopped by emergency flairs on the tracks just outside of Hilldale, Illinois. Robbers wearing gas masks toss tear gas bombs onto the train. They shoot a railroad employee and make off with over a million dollars worth of negotiable securities. Three months later, Tommy Karpeles, a former big-time Chicago hoodlum, is arrested for complicity in the case. Though his two accomplices remained uncaught, Karpeles was convicted of train robbery and murder and sentenced to life in prison. ..

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Episode Notes
This is one of two episodes which deal with the subject of a train robbery. The other episode is Season Three's The Stryker Brothers.

Leo Penn's son, Sean Penn, and Vic Morrow's daughter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, would later co-star together in the classic 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Joseph Wiseman would return later in Season Two in The Antidote.

Vic Morrow would return in Season Three's The Maggie Storm Story.

Locations: Chicago, Joliet, IL

Murray Hamilton would return in The Troubleshooter, The Whitey Steele Story, and The Chess Game.

Episode Quotes
Karpeles: Five years. For five years I play it straight and they nail me on a bum rap.
Ness: Sure, Karpeles, you're as innocent as a newborn babe.

Karpeles: That jury didn't want evidence. They wanted a patsy.

Ness: (to Karpeles) I just wanted to look at the number one sucker of all-time. A guy who's rotting in prison while someone outside's sitting on a million bucks laughing his head off.

Mendoza: (about Karpeles) A man in for life for something he didn't do is liable to be annoyed.

Sally: Sometimes you disgust me.
Varsey: But not all the time, huh, baby?

Episode Goofs
Though the episode is set in 1931, a poster on the movie theatre window announces an upcoming movie entitled Escapades of 1933.

The train keeps a rollin' in this episode with excellent turns from Harold J. Stone, Madlyn Rhue, and Murray Hamilton that offset a somewhat average performance from Joseph Wiseman as the lead villain. Fortunately for us all, Wiseman would redeem himself a few episodes later in The Antidote.

Other Episode Crew

Executive ProducerJerry Thorpe
ProducerHerman Hoffman
CastingJames Lister (2)  |  Lynn Stalmaster
Music SupervisorRobert H. Raff
HairstylistIrene Beshon
Make-upKiva Hoffman
Set DecoratorSandy Grace
Property MasterAllan Levine
Director of PhotographyCharles Straumer
Story EditorHarry Fried
Production SupervisorArgyle Nelson
Art DirectorRolland M. Brooks  |  Ralph Berger
Production ManagementMarvin Stuart
Sound EditorJoseph G. Sorokin
Based On The Works OfEliot Ness  |  Oscar Fraley
Film EditorBen Ray
CostumerFrank Delmar
Assistant DirectorSergei Petschnikoff
Sound EngineerT.T. Triplett
ComposerNelson Riddle
Editorial SupervisorBill Heath
Warning: The Untouchables season 2 episode 11 guide may contain spoilers
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