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Produced 2003, Storytellers Media Group, LTD.
Who stole Beverly Potts?
Ten-year-old Beverly Potts left her parents’ Cleveland West Side home with her best friend Patsy a short time before sunset. It was an August evening in 1951, and Halloran Park was just a three-minute walk away, where neighborhood children were singing and dancing in an old fashioned Showagon performance for a thousand people or more. Her mother had been a dancer and her father was a stagehand in Cleveland’s theater district. They understood Beverly’s love of show business, and her wish to stay – even though it would soon be dark – for the end of the show. However, Patsy had to be back, and left her friend at the park.
That Friday night, Beverly Potts vanished without a trace and the case is unsolved to this day. Beverly’s imprint remains, her inscrutable eyes made indelible by time. With every clue that has emerged in the half-century since she disappeared, she has returned as young and vulnerable as ever in the hearts and minds of Clevelanders, some of who search for Beverly to this day.
Dusk & Shadow, torn from today’s headlines and told in the true crime manner, is not a story of murder and the macabre, but of loss and irresolution. Drawing upon the recollections of Beverly’s family, as well as discoveries by police officers and other authorities, Beverly’s disappearance is as much a cautionary tale as it is a story of deep sadness and powerful mystery. The program features interviews with a surviving sister, Anita, who was 22 when Beverly disappeared on August 24, 1951. Others interviewed include retired Cleveland detectives Robert Wolf and John Fransen, eyewitness Fred Krause, author John Stark Bellamy II, Plain Dealer writers Brent Larkin and Dick Feagler, veteran Cleveland reporter Doris O’Donnell Beaufait, and author James Jessen Badal.
The documentary is based in part on the companion book Twilight of Innocence – The Disappearance of Beverly Potts by Badal, released by The Kent State University Press. Dusk & Shadow is produced by Storytellers Media Group, Ltd, makers of Emmy-nominated The Fourteenth Victim – Eliot Ness and the Torso Murders (2003), Double A (2002) and the upcoming documentaries The Golden Age of Potter & Mellen (2005), The Dolezal Affair (2005) and High Fresco (2006). Mark Wade Stone, producer & editor; David A. Brodowski, director of photography; Marie Studniarz Rudolph, associate producer; Carl Michel, original music composer. Produced in partnership with the Cleveland Police Historical Society.
When Eliot Ness came to Cleveland, Ohio in 1934 to clean up “the most dangerous city in America,” this inspiration for Chester Gould’s “Dick Tracy” brought with him fresh law enforcement procedures that in a few short years helped turn Cleveland into a model of safety. Ness’ innovations included radio cars, suspect profiling, sharper undercover operations, wiretapping and enhanced traffic control. He instituted heightened police training by creating what would become the Cleveland Police Academy, conducted professional forums, activated Boy Scout Troops, improved fire codes, established emergency medical patrols, utilized the media adeptly, cultivated informants, increased staffing and generally reasserted public service and security as top priority – all this without carrying a gun. This might have been story enough to secure his place in Cleveland history.
But crime fighting is one thing – sheer homicidal madness is quite another.