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CBSRMT Episode Information
Prisoner of the Machines
A group of rebels are taken prisoner by robots during a war between man and machine; and their commander plans to liberate them from Asteroid Prison One.
Air Dates:
First Run - January 16, 1980
Repeat - May 1, 1980
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10 Responses to Episode 1051

This episode re-introduce my Mother to the World of Radio Drama. She really enjoyed it!

This is one of the episodes I taped on a cassette tape and listened to over and over again till the tape broke! I am about to sit down and listen to this after many years. lol I have quoted lines from this particular play.

In some future time, a group of soldiers are held prisoner by their enemy and are gaurded by a group of conscience-less robots. Lithgow is great in this interesting story of man versus machine. Genre: Science-Fiction

First rate production—Lithgow is terrific, the story moves at a good pace, and generates some real tension. While I have not heard every episode of RMT, this is my choice for the best of the shows I've heard so far.

1400 captured prisoners of a future war are sent to a POW camp on a remote asteroid operated solely by machines. However, nobody bothers to inform their robot jail-keepers when the war ends. Stars John Lithgow.

I rate Prisoner of the Machines as one of my top ten favorite CBSRMT episodes of all time. As such, it is one I can enjoy listening to over and over again. Most of this is due to the combination of John Lithgow’s strong performance in such a prominent role as main character and story narrator Major John Gulliver; and Henry Slesar’s descriptively packed original science fiction tale set during humanity’s future war with the slave robots they built (ironically called the ‘Macs’ – in a story broadcast four years prior to Apple’s introduction of their thinking machine with the same name). As I’ve found him in every role throughout his career, John Lithgow is brilliant. He plays an understated, unflappable, and seemingly reluctant military officer who finds himself a POW on a Mac-run penal colony. “The prison uniform came in one size… wrong.” Lithgow provides a diary-like narration which then blends into individual incidents and dialogues that make up the story. A large portion of the story is actually a flashback which makes the listener interested in what has resulted in Lithgow’s helpless current circumstance and how our hero will survive to someday see home again. Also strong are the minor roles of Major Gulliver’s (Lithgow’s) brothers-in-chains such as the nervous Sergeant Zilkowski, the bull-headed Corporal Klybourne, and the solitary-confinement-maddened Lieutenant Lamar Jackson: “Tell the boys to stay out of trouble, Major! Stay out of trouble… stay out of the bubble!” The epilogue is a bit anti-climatic, however, I can see the difficulty in concluding such a dark narrative with a rosy ending. I am stingy with stars but I give Prisoner of the Machines the five-star maximum. - Juror 4

John Lithgow's acting carries this episode where a group of humans are taken as prisoners of war by robots. Ian Martin's robotic voice of one of the Macs (or is it Max) is amusing at times. Lots of Saturn 3-esque mood music helps give it a spacey feel. Will the men escape from Prison Camp One asteroid?

I think the supporting character Lieutenant Lamar Jackson is played by Himan Brown. His money line stays with you “Tell the boys to stay out of trouble, Major! Stay out of trouble… stay out of the bubble!”

this episode was also recorded on to a cassette tape and listened to until it broke. I wish someone would make it into a movie. It would be a block buster movie. update it a bit. Bring back John Lithgow in his starring role. man that would be great.

Juror #4 is right—Hi Brown has a much larger role than usual as Lt. Lamar Jackson, who survived solitary confinement in "the bubble."

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