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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
A Bargain in Blood
Plot:
When a strange turn of events allows a young man to switch illnesses with the diseased, a young man uses his gift to win the approval of his sweetheart's father.
Episode:
0103
Air Dates:
First Run - June 10, 1974
Repeat - August 27, 1974
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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14 Responses to Episode 0103


I listened to Radio Mystery Theater growing up. We heard it everytime we were on a road trip or I listened to it before I went to bed. I still enjoy it. Now I have my kids hooked.

I didn't quite buy the ending. I thought that someone would force a trade from him to lose everything or the dad would make him take his stroke if he had no compassion. The ending didn't make sense since the father would lose what he was trying to gain.

This is a worthy "remake" of the Twilight zone episode "the self improvement of salvadore ross", moreso because Henry Sleser was the original author and prrpared the adaptation of his own work. It is interesting to compare the application to two different media.

I listened to the Mystery Theater long before I ever watched The Twilight Zone. (We didn't have cable, and it wasn't syndicated in our area.) However, this was not an episode I ever heard back in the day. But, yes, it is exactly "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross." More recently, this episode was done as Episode 73 of "The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas," so there are now two audio versions of this story floating around. Fantasy, supernatural abilities.

A young man acquires the ability to trade afflictions with sick people. He tries to make a living at it to impress the woman he loves and her father. It's not hard to sympathize with the character in this episode

A rough young man discovers he can make verbal deals for anything and have it come true. He bargains a broken leg for a flu, he bargains his hair for $110. After these initial experiments, he goes for larger deals. He begins to make deals that will win him the affection of his love interest, and the respect of her cultured father. This episode was extremely well developed. The plot moved along at an appropriate pace, and the twist at the end was unexpected… “Thankyou for swapping that television program for this one. We trust that you have seen pictures in your own mind that no television screen could ever match.” - E. G. M.

I have been listening at work and this episode stood out. Great voice acting in this one....and with a driving force of love to move this episode along. With every trade the tension builds.....how much would you trade to gain the love of someone you love?

It's a favorite of mine, and I welcomed the chance to listen to it again. As many people here already know, the original Henry Slesar short story (published in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1961) is best-known in its TWILIGHT ZONE incarnation, titled "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross." No one loves TWILIGHT ZONE more than myself, but "Salvadore Ross" is a lesser episode, and the RMT version is a marked improvement on it; the 3-act, 45-minute structure allows the story more room for development and for clearer establishment of motivations. (Ironically, the longer running time was generally a detriment to the program--anybody who has heard many episodes knows that RMT had a terrible tendency to pad for length. Here, though, it works just right.) The only real problem with this otherwise wonderful show comes at the end--and its the same problem the original story and the TWILIGHT ZONE version had, too. We learn that the lady's father is Mr. Compassionate, and yet he knowingly takes advantage of Salvadore Ross, accepting a large amount of money from a young man he believes to be insane. Look at it this way: If someone you believed to be mentally ill offered you a huge amount of cash in exchange for your compassion, and you accepted the deal, wouldn't that pretty well prove that you lacked all compassion in the first place? So, the ending is a bit forced. And yet this story is, for the most part, a great RMT.

good point on "Mr. Compassionate". In fact, the way Mandel Kramer (always one of the RMT's finest actors) played him, I never thought he sounded sensitive and/or compassionate, only disdainful. Kramer as the "bum", however, made for some fun interplay: Quote: TONY ROBERTS/SALVATORE ROSS: "Hey, that's a nice head of hair you got there, Pop." MANDEL KRAMER/THE BUM: "What are you, some kind of pansy or somethin'?" GRRRRRREAT SELECTION

i agree fully. this was a sheer joy to hear again and glad it was tossed out there for us! perhaps i'm being too persnickety about it, but the one thing that intrigued me was that our "hero" was smart enough to figure out how to trade off the one-year-for-a-thousand-bucks. he didn't strike me as a very advanced thinker and it's easy enough to suspend disbelief and suppose he either had some amazing brainstorm or perhaps assistance from someone to come up with the idea, but in my opinion, Salvatore just wasn't smart enough to come up with that schtick all on his own. That was a great line and i'm glad you posted it. as soon as it was said, i cracked a smile. funny stuff!

The reason why I like this episode so much is because it does remind me of The Twilight Zone. Even the music at the end with E.G's closing was very good stuff. "You have just heard the incredible rise and fall of Salvadore Ross,....it isn't easy to make the right bargins in life.....sometimes we create our own devils the way Sal Ross did". Really good stuff.

Perhaps the reason why this episode reminds you of The Twilight Zone is because the music used in the CBSRMT *is* from The Twilight Zone TV series. The network owned the scores used in the series so it was logical for it to provide them as the basis for the canned music used for the radio shows. Some of the best (IMHO) cues were written by Bernard Herrmann, the legendary film composer who wrote spooky film scores such as Psycho and The Day the Earth Stood Still, and can be found in the first season episodes "The Lonely", "Where is Everybody", and (I think) "Judgment Night".

Fantastic story--5 stars. As the story moved through the acts, I wondered what I would give up for money, love, peace, etc... Well done story that allows the listener to come up with their own moral lesson.

Even though I did enjoy the episode, I didn't really "get" the ending. Even if he took the father's compassion, it doesn't seem to follow that the father would kill him to stop him from taking his daughter. Specifically, he would be easy found guilty of murder and, if he had thought about it, he would have been taken care of by Salvadore now that he has compassion for him. I don't remember the TZ episode, but now I can look for it.

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