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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
Terror in the Air
Plot:
When the whole flight crew of a commercial airline falls ill due to food poisoning, a doctor must find a way to land the plane safely as well as attend to a woman in the throes of labor.
Episode:
0331
Air Dates:
First Run - August 22, 1975
Repeat - January 13, 1976
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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8 Responses to Episode 0331


An airliner is flying from Miami to Seattle with a single stop in Kansas City. All is well on the first leg of the flight and a group of convention-goers depart the plane in Kansas City. A single passenger gets on. After departure on the second part of the flight the unthinkable happens. Assume nothing until the very end of the program.

A doctor is forced to land a plane and deliver a baby when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning (AND DON'T CALL ME SHIRLEY!!).

I hope it's not a spoiler but the villain of the piece is the chiffon pumpkin pie. A good old fashioned airliner in distress story with the pilot and co-pilot incapacitated and a burnt out professional placed under stress to save the day... In this case the burnt out professional is a doctor who must treat the sick men as well as deliver a baby - not a traumatized pilot who's still not "over Macho Grande". Good performances and generally believable technical dialog improve matters. Pretty good if you can forgive the overly familiar plot.

Food poisoning strikes the pilots of a passenger plane. The stewardess seeks medical help from the only doctor on board, but the situation is critical and the pilots are out for the flight. The doctor is rather despondent over the loss of his own son, a pilot, who was killed in an air accident, and whose body is on this very flight. The doctor was a hobby pilot in the past and must take control of the plane. He is talked down by a friendly military pilot who knew his son.

This is one of the better episodes of Mystery Theater. A doctor delivers a baby and lands a plane with the help of air traffic control. But who *is* air traffic control?

This is a very riveting episode about the suspense of landing a plane when the pilots have fallen into a coma from food poisoning. The communication between the novice and the air traffic controller gives you an intense feeling of trauma and triumph.

This is one of the more entertaining episodes I've heard. The doctor gives an especially good performance. Exciting with just the right amount of silliness. I just wish there had been a scene with the doctor actually delivering the baby. I also enjoyed the commercials...a goofy squirt jingle and and a metric system psa.

I discovered something interesting while listening to Ian Martin’s dramatic and well-written ”Terror in the Air.” Radio dramas are known as Theatre of the Mind because as we listen we fill in the details of the story in our “mind’s eye.” Our brains work to determine things like what the characters look like, the story’s ‘scenery,’ where the players are positioned in relationship to the scenery and each other, and other important elements. For every listener each one of these things is unique. Terror in the Air takes place entirely within in the cramped confines of a commercial airliner – a place we all have been – which places significant constraints on the usually limitless possibilities for these elements. The result is a highly suspenseful and claustrophobic trip on jetliner in crisis. Perennial Robert Dryden, who seems play the role of a doctor quite often (for example Dr. Wyndham in the fantastic “Fall of the House of Usher”) plays Dr. Sam McCall. Reminiscent of Hitchcock’s classic ‘Wrong Man’ character, “Doc” finds himself reluctantly called on to save a planeload of souls while traveling to recover the body of his son, killed in an Air Force accident. The mixture of dialogues between various people on the plane, a very due pregnant woman, the broken radio, a sudden storm, and the chilling reveal at the end make for a spectacular episode, and embodies the highest quality of Radio Mystery Theatre. I give “Terror in the Air” 5 stars out of 5 - Juror #4.

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