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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Slave
Plot:
When two friends agree to be the other's slave for a year in the event that they lose the bet they made, to what length's will they go in order to win?
Episode:
0303
Air Dates:
First Run - July 4, 1975
Repeat - November 1, 1975
Writer:
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Rating:
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14 Responses to Episode 0303


This episode starred two of my favorite CBSRMT players, Mandel Kramer and Fred Gwynne. The story of two friends who make a seemingly tongue in cheek agreement, where one must be the other's "slave" for a certain amount of time. Great episode which depicts the true nature of man when given too much power over another.

What will a man do to win a bet? What will he do to collect? Two men make a bet that one can serve as another's absolute slave for one year. The stakes are high and the sacrifices are great.

Old college friends make a bet that one could not survive a year as the other's personal slave. All this to prove a point that slavery is bad for the slave but good for the master. There is a lot of potential for this story line but it fell far short of my expectations and showed a real lack of imagination turning it into Nothing more than college style shenanigans. Very disappointing.

I like Fred Gwyne but this character he played just wasn't meant for him. the play itself was well done with some twist and turns.

Best line: "You bug me, I bug him, dig?" - Fred Gwynne, in character Fred Gwynne + Mandel Kramer (in dual leads) = "cool".

I like Fred Gwyne in many episodes and he did a good job for playing the "Master". At the end of ACT 3, I was surprised that the bet had nothing to do with money. Check the episode out!

Intriguing. Good acting, Good script.

And so as we start with these words……“and now…Mystery Theater” the listener is introduced to the essence of what MYSTERY THEATER is!!!!!!…( or as our hopes expect it should be )…….a story bizarre, unique, and fascinating, while remaining extremely meaningful and relevant. Henry Slesar’s “The Slave” , like “The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich” amalgamates historical human atrocity with drama to give us an absorbing study of the consequence of subjecting “one human being over another”. The consequence of propitiation is the essence of our story here…….Our vitiated protagonist Cory Jensen lurks at a level so base that he requests of his “love” Inger to offer her services to his Master, Ray, who desires of Inger to “keep you warm and happy“…..And in turn the corrupted Cory says to Inger; “I’d appreciate it if you would”…..as Ray laughs in observance. This may be accurately viewed as a “sick” power struggle with unhealthy results of one human being over another. The product of this domination is masterfully manifested by Fred Gwynne. The actor truly seems to be enjoying himself. He is that good. By voice alone….he portrays a complete character!!!! The sideline observations, due to Slesar‘s writing of Cory’s “crying his heart out “ to Inger fills out our despot Ray. His laugher is beautiful…..in a sicko way. A leering genius. Cory’s promise to Inger of course is that all of this is temporary……..”Nine more weeks Inger, that’s all, just nine weeks and it will be “over”, or so he says. Cory deludes himself to believe his scheme is set as an illusory feat to get Ray to think the relationship between Cory and Inger is over……….thus true freedom may be enjoyed! But Ray is too realistic, cynical, grounded and pervasive. Ray knows they are together and seeks a new slave. In his arrogance he throws sexual overtones at Inger. She explicitly asks Ray to stop the bet. She is missing the point. He wants power. Power means control of Cory as a man and Inger as a woman…thus sexual. He wants to dominate, to own her…the money is secondary (tertiary?). He, like Cory, is defiled by the bet which is steeped in intimate motives and pervasive consequences. If he can own her, and Cory, each in their unique way…he wins……….money has become irrelevant. “You must really have something. ‘The Master is superior to the slave”. The psychological “payback” is to get both to act as “slaves”. The crux of the story is of course the consequence of such subservient domination. With “The Rise And Fall of The Third Reich” we are presented with justifying vengeance upon the modern symbol of evil---Hitler. In “The Slave” we become immersed in the perspective of the slave himself and are shown that such horrible servitude………..NOT THE MONEY/BET……defiles Cory (the human) to desire returning humiliation to the “Master” in order to gain a sense of power…or gain his sense of self. He, like a lab rat, is conditioned, and truly out of control. His dominating environment has shaped him. Of those who ridicule his action, think of the attitude and action of the “Master Race” of the 1940’s, their actions, and what you wanted to do to Hitler in “The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich”…or the real Hitler……….. It is not far fetched that Cory would turn into the monster, or the “Master” as he does. Essentially, in a moral sense, this is a grave mistake. He loses doubly. However, realistically, in the response of the real world it is perfectly believable that Cory would indeed give in to the temptation. He is corrupted. He was vulnerable and changed. It is a sad and poignant outlook…..For a 48 min radio show to present this effectively and additionally in an entertaining manner is stupendous! What an accomplishment! Thus, we the listeners hope for episodes of the CBSRMT to be like this…and remain devoted to the art of this form. PS….my wife says I need to stop the unholy union of two ideas ( run on sentences ) and the dot dot dot ( …) does nothing to add to my writing. What do you think?

Quote: "You bug me, I bug him, dig?" - Fred Gwynne's character in this episode, speaking of what he'll do to his "slave" if she doesn't do what the former wants. Ohhhhhhhhh...this is a cool one. It's the only RMT episode I'm aware of where Gwynne and Mandel Kramer (whose voice I used to think sounded like he could be Gwynne's younger brother, kind of like at times RMT regulars Bob Kaliban and Russell Horton sound like siblings) worked together.

Okay, so this was a good episode, but it freaked me OUT! I didn't want to think about someone being a slave and then wanting to have a slave! It was too creepy for me to get past the story to focus on the acting and such. I should have, but I couldn't. In retrospect, this episode had such an effect on me I should have LOVED it. But, again, taste can't be explained.

Now this one reminded me of Star Trek's "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," where two men, enemies, were locked in this destructive battle with each other--it didn't matter that their world and everything they knew was destroyed by behavior such as theirs; they just kept on going. I know Fred Gwynne was a good actor, and when I saw him in films, I had no problem. But when I just hear him, I keep picturing Herman Munster. Sometimes Herman Munster with a Southern accent. It did annoy me, though, that the fiancee' kept allowing herself to be pulled back in. She really had no purpose of her own.

This is a rare example of an old time radio show which I already know very well, because I had it on a cassette when I was a kid. Come to think of it, the tape was certainly bootlegged. Some guy in Illinois or somewhere was selling them by mail, probably out of his basement, around 1977. The thing is, where I lived on the central coast of California, reception for RMT was usually poor and often unlistenable. So I did, in fact, buy about 10 or 12 tapes at some point when I was about 14, paid for out of my wages as a busboy at the Valley Steak House in Buellton (this restaurant, now known as the Hitching Post II, can be seen in the recent movie SIDEWAYS---how's that for trivia?). This is at the same time I was discovering the earlier, original OTR of DIMENSION X, LIGHTS OUT, SUSPENSE and so on through tapes sold via classified ads in the back of pulp science fiction magazines like GALAXY. Anyway, "The Slave" was one of the episodes I had on tape, and I probably listened to it, as kids will, at least twenty times. Hearing it again recently, I was struck by what a real pro Henry Slesar was. It's a wonderful conceit, this sadomasochistic bet that spirals out of control. And I don't know if people will see the twist ending coming today, but I certainly didn't when I was 14 and listening to the tape on my Sears Portable Cassette Recorder with Omnidirectional Microphone, and it proved to be a payoff as good as any TWILIGHT ZONE (a show which I was equally, or even more, in love with, watching reruns on KTLA Channel 5 at midnight Friday, the only day of the week I was allowed to stay up that late). I must say, though I think this is a marvelous tale, it does have a couple of problems. First, Fred Gwynne's voice is hardly that of the young man he's supposed to be. Second, Corey's long-suffering girlfriend seems to have stepped out of another era---she seems to have no interest in anything except getting married (her friend even advises her, "Men like Corey Jensen don't grow on trees!"). This is clearly a pre-feminist world we're in here. Indeed, the whole story seems set more in a land of roadsters and raccoon coats than anything recognizable as the 1970s. But this is obviously a show for which I have a sentimental attachment, so it doesn't really make any difference to me. Henry Slesar was by far the best-established of the regular RMT writers in this type of fiction, having written hundreds of short stories he could draw on for his RMT plays (just as he did for his ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS scripts). His books can be found online---MURDERS MOST MACABRE is a particularly good collection which features a couple of stories later adapted for RMTs. The books are mostly out of print. My only disappointment with this choice, is the fact that there ain't no nekkid ladies in it. Other than that, a terrific show.

Seeing how much reaction this episode got should tell you its worth a listen. This was creepy without being and that is not easy to do. I give it 9 out of 10

5 stars! Not horror but definitely one of the best bizarre stories in the series

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