Cast & Crew
Just as peanut-loving Los Angeles private detective Michael Shayne and his dedicated secretary and girl friend, Phyllis Hamilton, are about to leave on a long-awaited vacation, Shayne is visited by Gil Madden, who offers him $2,000 not to take a particular case. Assuring Madden that he could not take the case because of his vacation plans, Shayne refuses the money, but then receives a telephone call from a mysterious woman named Mayme Martin, who offers to sell him valuable information for $1,000. Over Phyllis' heated protests, Shayne leaves for Mayme's apartment and is tailed there by two thugs, Joe and Punk. Mayme tells Shayne that her information has to do with the Santa Rosita Racetrack, but, unaware that Albert Payson, an influential banker and owner of the Santa Rosita Racetrack, has been trying to contact him, Shayne refuses to buy. As he is leaving Mayme's building, Shayne is ambushed by Joe and Punk, who drill him about Santa Rosita. Phyllis, meanwhile, becomes fed up with waiting for Shayne and, after giving a telephone message from Albert to Shayne's friend, reporter Tim Rourke, she quits. When Shayne, who has been beaten up by Joe and Punk, returns to his office, he reads Albert's message, directing him to the Santa Rosita hotel. Shayne sends Tim to Mayme's with $1,000, while he goes to the hotel to meet with John Hardeman, Albert's track manager. Tim soon discovers that Mayme has been murdered and is interrogated by Inspector Pete Rafferty. When the ever-suspicious Rafferty learns that Mayme had called Shayne just before her death, he demands information from Tim, who reveals what he knows about Santa Rosita. In Santa Rosita, meanwhile, Hardeman tells Shayne that the racetrack has been plagued by a rash of counterfeit tickets and is on the verge of bankruptcy. As Shayne agrees to take the case, Joe and Punk burst into Hardeman's office and shoot the detective. The slightly wounded Shayne is immediately comforted by Phyllis, who was unable to stay away, and is interrogated by Rafferty. The next morning, Hardeman confesses to Shayne that both he and Madden had been romantically involved with Mayme. Hardeman also reveals that Madden, the local newspaper publisher, had tried to secure the track's ticket printing contract, which has always been controlled by a company owned by Albert. After Hardeman suggests that Madden may have turned to counterfeiting as revenge for losing the printing contract, Shayne questions Albert about Madden. Albert states that Madden acquired the newspaper from a Jolliet Penitentiary convict named Theodore Ross. Later, as Shayne talks with Madden in his office, printer Ben Edwards bursts in, announcing that he has perfected a new printing camera. When he sees Shayne, however, Ben runs off, obviously frightened. His suspicions aroused, Shayne goes to Ben's home, where he chats with the printer's unsuspecting wife and young son and learns that Ben was married in Illinois, near the penitentiary. Ben then shows up, but refuses to be helped by Shayne. Later, Phyllis informs Shayne that Theodore Ross was convicted in Illinois of sweepstakes ticket counterfeiting with a man named Claude Bates, who escaped two years before from Jolliet. After Shayne asks Phyllis to check on Ben's marriage certificate, Hardeman is shot by an unseen assailant. Phyllis then tells Shayne that Ben's real name is Claude Bates, but before Shayne can re-question the printer, he is killed by Joe and Punk, who were acting on orders from Hardeman. Shayne then discovers Hardeman's body in his office and removes a newspaper clipping from his wallet. Later, Shayne returns to the manager's office to search his desk and is attacked by Joe and Punk, who are unaware that their boss is dead. Shayne soon gets the better of them and threatens Punk into implicating Joe in the murder of Mayme and Ben. When Rafferty shows up, Shayne reveals that Hardeman was blackmailing the reformed Ben into counterfeiting the track tickets, but was then killed by Ben, who was about to file for a camera patent. To protect the Edwards family, Shayne asks Rafferty to keep Ben's involvement in the case quiet. He then gives Madden the clipping from Hardeman's wallet, which identifies Madden as Theodore Ross. After Madden thanks him, Shayne finally begins his vacation with Phyllis.
Maurice B. Mozelle
Glenn [p.] Thompson
The title cards of the viewed print read: "Michael Shayne Detective in Too Many Winners." Onscreen credits state that the film was based on "original characters" and a story by Brett Halliday. Although one contemporary source lists the story as a screen original, it is possible that it appeared in print prior to the film's production. For more information about the Michael Shayne series, consult the Series Index and see entry above for Michael Shayne, Private Detective.