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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
And Death Makes Even Steven
Plot:
In order to seize control of his father's wealth, a slighted brother plans the murder of his twin whom he believes robbed him of his fortune.
Episode:
0116
Air Dates:
First Run - July 9, 1974
Repeat - September 18, 1974
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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15 Responses to Episode 0116


Diabolical story. Goofus kills Gallant. Gallant isn't as gallant as we thought. Oddly amusing at times for such a dark storyline. Not for the characters so much as the twists.

That the good twin wasn't really good was a nice twist I didn't see coming. However, what was only barely explored was why the evil twin became evil. ("Dear John"ed in Vietnam, probably some PTSD in there, too.) Ghost story.

Is the song they are whistling in this episode \"Sweet Sue\"?

Identical twin brothers, one good, one evil, learn of their inheritance after their father’s death. Good one gets everything. Evil one gets only a small allowance. Evil one schemes the death of the Good one and switches places with him taking control of the inheritance, the girlfriend, and the brother’s business dealings.

I'll wait to comment save this...the RMT had more than one "twins" episode and some of them were kind of, er, different ("An identical murder" wasn't bad, but somehow the ending felt just a bit "forced" (for lack of a better word), and while I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier I've never quite gotten the ending of "Two plus two equals death"). THIS episode, however, was penned by Ian Martin (still one of and perhaps my favorite RMT writer) and has the richest (IMO) character development one could ask for in a show this length. Again IMO this is the best "twins" episode the RMT ever produced (that I've yet heard).

It's funny how long it takes the police to get around to checking fingerprints in identical twins stories, whether radio, TV, or film. Especially when one is a member of the US armed forces, a vetern, entitled to benifits, etc. Straying a ways off-topic here, I'm also a fan of Columbo. A series that was/is delightful to watch for the interplay of characters, but . . . the writing and "logic" of the eventual solving of the crime was sometimes horribly flawed. Anyway, they had at least one episode on twins; "Double Shock" (Season 2), where the twins hate each other, as in our episode here, and together they plot the death of a wealthy relative, and provide each other with solid alibis. Of course they are exposed in the end . . . Back to our show. It does seem to stretch the imagination that a person in love can't tell the difference between an imposter and the one she loves. No first-hand or even second-hand experience here, but I think that's somewhat unlikely. Identical twins aren't too common yet aren't extremely rare either. And here's something weird. I've worked in theatre for some time at the college and community level, and run into 4 sets of identical twins in that regard. But in other avenues of my life I've never run into any; strange. This story carries a couple of morals or messages that are simple enough for the listener to understand. But here's a lesson that might be missed by some: When you murder your twin, and his/her ghost won't leave you alone, and keeps saying to you, "Don't worry about that letter," or "Disregard that bill," or "Ignore that ticking noise under your bed," or "No way your medicine has been tampered with," or "Bet the farm on Paper Chase in the 12th at Belmont," . . . don't believe it!!! Try to remember that a spirit that isn't at rest in the afterworld probably is not in heaven . . . and if they're not in heaven, where do you suppose they really are?? So the ghost advising you possibly has nefarious purposes of their own, though they may appear as friendly and helpful as Casper. If I believed everything my ghosts told me I wouldn't be living the free and easy life of the upper-crust jet-setter that I so much enjoy, I can tell you that. So my general advice is to ignore all your ghosts; a word to the wise and a freebie from me to you.

I haven't anything too bright to say about this episode--it was entertaining enough, I suppose, in a generic sort of way. One of my problems with "twin" stories of this nature is how unrealistically the twins have to act in order for the plot to work. I've known several sets of twins--in fact, I teach two identical-twin boys now--and my finding is that they almost always go out of their way to look as unlike each other as possible. Dramatic differences in hairstyles (and colors). Totally contrasting fashion senses. One might even get a tattoo. Twins rarely *like* being mistaken for each other--especially, I would imagine, when one's twin is a ne'er-do-well, as in this tale. I did like the twist, however, regarding the "good" twin--turns out that nobody was much good here.... Listening to this story reminded me of something I'd forgotten for years: that when I was young my voice was exactly like my brother's--on the phone, at least. When his girlfriends would call (he was the elder sibling) and I would answer, they would often start right in on a conversation, thinking I was my brother. I had a little fun with this a couple of times, but never took it to the kinds of extremes one can easily imagine! (By the way, as much as he wanted to, my brother was never able to turn the tables on me. I was too young to have begun dating yet, and by the time I started, my voice had changed and the fun was over. Thank goodness for adolescence!) I've long thought there is a kernel for a good short story in all this, but I've never figured out how it would work. By the way, one of the original, and greatest, of all "dark twin" stories is "William Wilson," by, of course...Edgar Allan Poe.

(Just for fun) here's an interesting article today about a "double-double", two sets of identical twins on the same basketball team at a town near where I grew up.

HBO had one of their Cathouse documentaries the other night, where twin blondes came to work at the Cathouse and stir up the ol' sandbox. not that i watch that kind of thing, mind you. umm... this was relevant, right? right? anyone? ugh.

As an identical twin, I am intrigued by these stories, but I am also skeptical. Of course identical twins don't look the same to those who know. But from experience I would agree that they can be attracted to the same woman. Ah, years ago now.... Back to the story. I suspect that any sibs can relate to the idea of favored sons and disfavored ones. And that seems more important to the broadcast.

This was the first "twins" episode I've heard and I was very pleased. I have to agree with the statement about trusting the ghost of the person you've just murdered - not a wise idea. Then again, Simon didn't seem like a Mensa candidate and I enjoyed listening to him get what was coming to him.

As always this episode was very entertaining. I thought it contained a bit more unreal-ism than usual. The fiance not knowing the difference was a stretch for example. Overall I enjoyed the show however. I was surprised a little at the exposition of the "good" brothers true colors. It added a little twist to the story as I had it pictured up to that point. Fun as usual. I really do love this show.

There seem to be two schools of thoughts on twins...one the "Hollywood" type (the Discovery Channel, I think, had a special on twins talking about how alike they were, and in the promo spot for it they had two men saying something like TWIN 1: "We're so alike that we..." TWIN 2: "...often finish each other's sentences." And then there's reality. For instance, to dredge up one last "Dorian Gray" reference, there've been several studies done of identical twins where at least one is gay. Well, back in Year 2 K there was a fellow named Dr. Kenneth Kendler who conducted what he seemed to say was the uber study on twins of this type. His results? He found if one twin was gay, the other had less than 1/3 of a chance to have same-sex attraction as well. If that doesn't tell us something about the psyche of identical twins, nothing will. Now as these facts relate to the story... Ian Martin uses both elements...that the twins are alike (indistinguishable to the naked eye/ear), yet they're quite different (one's quite successful, the other a loser), yet at the core, they're alike (they're murderers). What I loved about this was what Matthew Modine's character (who wore the hat with "Born to kill" written on it, alongside a peace sign) in the movie "Full metal jacket" seemed to call the "duality of man". These characters were flawed, and they gave into evil choices. Yet they were all humanized. 1. The father (whom we never met)...described as "a crook" by the twin "Simon". E.G. said he plotted to control his sons lives from "beyond the grave" through his will. (Hope none of you has seen a family where one child is favored over another...unfortunately, I've seen it happen with a close relative, and the results are rarely if ever pleasant.) Yet the "Dad" was obviously heartbroken about his wife's death in childbirth. 2. Simon...an abusive (often to women) man, callous, unscrupulous enough to commit murder of his own twin brother, yet who served our country in Viet Nam ending up as a POW there. (What other episode mentioned the Viet Nam war? I know "The wheel of life" did, and I'm pretty sure "The bullet" did as well.) Must show how easily I'm manipulated, but I actually felt sorry for him, even a little bit after his brother's ghost showed up. (What was it he said to Steven? "Let me have my innings now?" He seemed quite eloquent for the ne'er-do-well he was, but probably others in his position are good with words, too.) 3. Steven, who seem to try to be "the good son" (and I'm guessing he got his share of guff from their father...I think he even said as much) and who seemed to feel for his brother somewhat. ...yet proved to be just as conniving, a drug runner (and God Himself only knows what else) to boot, and just as fratricidal as Simon. I thought it was a great mark of casting to use two of the RMT's then "young studs" (Michael Tolin and Paul Hecht) as the voices of the twins. (If Joan Lovejoy had been able to hear their voices as we did, she'd have no difference telling them apart.) I honestly thought they brought these characters to life in a rich way making what could have been an otherwise formulaic RMT show come alive quite well. (BTW, I also love the music bed (which sounds like something I used to hear on the original "Jonny Quest" TV show from the 60s) used immediately after the car crash and during the ensuing "murder of Steven" segment.) Bottom line: in retrospect, this may not have been so much of a "twins" story as it was a story of family members who, for lack of wisdom to stop making bad choices in their lives, end up destroying one another.

As always, everybody has their scruples. "Even Steven" was just a so-so episode. 3 stars.

Like the previous episode, I always wonder why people who see the people who they have killed as "ghosts" take them at their word that they will help them achieve their goals. I've always thought the "evil twin" was a funny idea - that in birth one twin was all goodness and the other was evil. What happens when you have triplets or more? Is it evenly divided amongst them? What happens if the good one happens to be a redhead and the parent remarries? All that being said it wasn't a bad episode and the twist at the end was good, even if you could see it coming from the setup. I'm just curious why their ghosts would be "required" to haunt their home.

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