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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Deadly Hour
Plot:
A self-doubting man is nearly driven to insanity by the infidelity of his wife and stops speaking. Years later in a counselling session, he admits to having confined the adulterous pair in a cavern and hear them meet their death
Episode:
0034
Air Dates:
First Run - February 9, 1974
Repeat - April 26, 1974
Repeat - February 17, 1979
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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39 Responses to Episode 0034


He doesn't confine the adulterous pair to the cave; he confines a young couple who remind him of the pair. The imprisonment in the cave happens twenty-five years after he was cuckolded; that couple is no longer young! Thank goodness for doctor/patient confidentiality. The ending is a little weird. Psychological thriller; no supernatural elements.

A weird story with an even stranger turn near the end. That dude's cheating wife really messed him up.

A man tells his psychiatrist about something horrible he did. Very disturbing ... one of my favorites.

A man with, as E.G. Marshall called it, "a mutilated soul," relates a chilling story to a psychiatrist about how, devastated by a cheating wife and his loss of dignity, he trapped two young lovers in a cave and left them there to die. This really is, at times, a disturbing listen, because there are people in this world who probably think the way he does.

This episode is incredible. Chilling. My favorite of the fifty or so episodes I've listened to. It could/should be made into a movie. This radio theater is far more original and entertaining than the garbage put out by Hollywood. I got chills when I asked the question, "How long were the cave dwellers enslaved in the cave?" Fantastic episode.

I enjoyed the mans interaction with the psychiatrist in this episode. There is something fun about when you get to be the fly on the wall in a psychiatrist's office, especially with the damaged psyche of the man in this tale. Nice surprise ending, very cool.

This episode is a precurser to "The Silence of the Lambs" and other, more modern tales that are disturbing. Without a doubt my favorite episode.

Himan Brown was a genius

An incredibly gripping, though disturbing, tale of a man who confesses a bizarre quasi-voyeuristic act to a psychiatrist. He has been in seclusion for 25 years after learning of his wife's infidelity and he stumbles upon a young couple who are at his favorite vacation hideaway. He entombs the couple and then listens to their struggles. The play is dominated by a single actor who does an excellent job of acting.

Dark and desperate. The tale of a runt with an undeveloped conscience. He’s as spooky as they get.

This is quite an interesting story and it's hard to tell much about it without ruining it for the listener - and I am not one to post spoilers. A gentleman who has little self-worth manages to marry a beautiful woman. He derives his importance from his relationship with her. But, a problem develops and the marriage ends. He is devastated and continues on with his life for 25 years - but, in silence, without speaking to a single soul. He takes an annual vacation to a remote seashore location each year where he spends two weeks alone in a cave. One year he arrives to find 2 young lovers in his cave. This is where things get interesting. A spooky and very morbid episode. Listen and make your own judgments.

A short, insecure man goes insane after finding out that his wife is having an affair and does not speak for many years. He describes to his psychologist how he trapped a man and woman in a cave to listen to them die.

Intriguing and haunting story dripping with the emotion and melo-drama that often ruin Eric's work.

A short insecure man manages to marry a stunningly beautiful and charming woman only to have the marriage fall apart when he catches her in bed with another man. For the 25 years folllwing his discovery, he remains mute spending his days listening to music and reading books. Two weeks of the year he spends in a cave in solitude until he arrives one summer to find it occupied. This was a weird episode that seemed to jump with little rhyme or reason from one scene to the next. Acting was fine, but big script problems.

That he took the young man home makes me wonder if the man confessing WAS the man in the cave? A split personality due to the guilt of partially eating his wife??

It's so creepy. This character is so depraved he's compelling. His downfall is created from being betrayed by his wife's (love). How deep is love? Better still, how deep and firm is Martin's character before being boosted by this love? Not too concrete it seems. His wife cheats on him. He utterly falls apart. Sure, it's the stuff songs are made of, but Martin reacts beyond lamenting and crooning. The young couple in the cave begin by professing love. What happens when this love is severly tested? Cannabalism is the rule of the day after torment settles in. Seems our young man, George, is vulnerable as well. It is a hard call as we are not entrapped and starving. Cannabalism is a documented human option with starvation. Is George depraved in the "evil" way Martin seems to be. Is Martin evil, or just terribly disturbed and ruined? It's another tale of destroyed humanity via suffering...I do tend to choose these lovelies....Still, I think this episode offers even more. It is strange and this strange quality comes across very well with the radio medium. This is evident with the "voices" in the cave. These are only voices, surely, but we the listeners certainly feel for them. We are not the only people listening, for Martin is listening too. Unlike us, he listens, is fascinated as we are but leaves them in there. The Psychiatrist, like us, is startled and compelled. Are we compelled because we identify to some degree? It boils down to possibilities. This is a fantastic tale, and unlikely, though likely enough to convey a good deal of palpable horror.

You guys are killing me...:lol: All hot dog diet? I guess we were still in the days when subjects about homosexuality were just too heavy to make it over the air. This one reminded me of an audio rendition of Alexander Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum," probably the RMT version with Marian Seldes and Norman Rose (#233). It was the utter hopelessness in the couple's voices which have stayed with me all these years. I guess my own insecurities about, oh say, being trapped in a dark cave or being held captive by a sadistic creep play strongly to my memory. I wish I could just enjoy everthing about every show, but...if there was a crack in the rock large enough for a book of matches to fall through, wasn't there really more light inside that cave than what we were led to believe? Good show, though, fine story of a love-lorn misanthropic wacko who finds redemption in the nick of time.

First, let me talk about Norman Rose. It is my opinion that had Himan Brown chose to leave out the rest of the cast, Mr. Rose could likely have pulled this show off in a narrative form without missing a beat. Of course, having the full cast only means we were delivered a piping hot dish of what RMT is all about. Second, EG Marshall. While I normally find him the comforting sideline puppetmaster, his words were somewhat annoying for me in this tale. Whether his lines were just too "heady" or just too many, I can't say, but I found myself tuning him out and waiting anxiously for the tale to revive. But I must admit, I was surprised when he said word "malady." Not a word you hear too often! Third, I typically enjoy the commercials. But in this tale, I skipped past them without hesitation. The full experience was not needed for this tale. Finally, The Deadly Hour episode. I think there is a side to most human beings that takes some measure of pleasure in the misfortune of other people. Someone trips over a bump in the sidewalk and we chuckle, or an arguement breaks out on a street corner and we listen. It's human nature. It also explains why television programs like "When Bad Things Happen..." or "Survivor" or "Fear Factor" are so incredibly popular. But somewhere in our conscience, people generally are willing to intervene or come to aid when misfortune strikes another person. 9/11 is an obvious and extreme example. With the lead character, it is truly unsettling at how he reacted to the whole cave trapping. Like a child unknowingly torturing a pet just for fun. I was extremely uncomfortable throughout this episode, though I had to see it through. I had to know "how" he finally rescued them. IF he would finally rescue them. And of course, how he would rescue himself. I had no idea where the show was going to end up. It was twisted. The one thing I kept wondering though, was what he did when he found his wife and the "man" in the bedroom. What did he do? What did he say? How did he react? I don't know about you all, but I can't even predict how I might react in that situation, be it verbal, physical, or mental. But for a character to have that much cruelty in his heart to torture the young couple was simply deplorable. I have to say though, there was a certain "very dark" humor through this whole program. The subtle chuckles, the excitable energy, and even the doctor's reaction to the tale. It's humorous in a very sick way. The toiling over one's conscience is one thing, but to not even have one... well. I don't want to write a book here, but this show was a really great selection and I thank you for choosing it! Well done. Once I'm finished here, I am looking forward to reading all of your insightful thoughts as well.  

All right I'm going to confess here, I read the other comments first. This show completely threw me for a loop and I couldn't decide what had actually transpired. My first instinct was that Martin was remembering something that had happened to himself, he had been in the cave and lost it at the end and created the illusion of his wife cheating on him to distance himself. Then I wondered, is it his wife and her lover in the cave? This was an outstanding show (I had decided to give it a 5 before I got on my computer to comment) but I'm still not sure exactly what the writer intended. Which is one reason its so good, it poses more questions than it answers. I agree about Norman Rose, his voice is almost as deep and creepy as that of Arnold Moss, who does an outstanding single-actor narration in The Graveyard. This show offered many twists, each one caught me off guard, like when Martin leaves them in the cave and goes back to his life (you can feel the Doctor's consternation as he struggles to grasp this). Outstanding show.

This may be a strange question, ya'll, but... I remember after first hearing this episode thinking: "Just what was the relationship between Rose's character and the other guy at story's end?" Also, - I love the violin, glockenspiel and piccato viola(?) music at around the 42:20 mark, when Rose's character rescues the couple. In "Time and again" that music underscored John Beal's character talking about his mysterious clock as it beat and chimed in the background. VERY ominous music that's also quite effective. - This is, if I heard right, the second play where Marian Seldes plays a character named "Marian". (The first being "The house on Chimney Pot lane".) Interesting...if the actors all knew each other that would certainly allow for some realistic greetings.

I too have wondered about that. It is said in a manner that suggests they have a homosexual relationship, "he's in my bed now", whereas before "she" was. I wonder what Elspith is saying here? Is she saying this event changed both men? Hmmmmm?Is the young man now exclusively a carnivore, on an all meat diet, favoring hot dogs?

Yes, you're absolutely right, she definitely had her good days. As a matter of fact, my favorite RMT of all time, The Transformation, was adapted by Elspeth Eric from a Mary Shelley story. However, it's not old Elspeth's usual psychological mish-mash. I think she stuck pretty closely to Shelley's text, so that most of the brilliance comes from Mary Shelley's beautiful gothic prose, plus the particularly excellent acting and production values. Still, you have to give Eric credit for knowing when not to stray from the text. (Some of RMT's "modern adaptations" of classic stories are good, but many are just abysmal mistakes.) Unfortunately, for every gem she wrote there were at least a dozen stink-bombs. (She certainly was prolific---I'll give her that!) The head transplant one you mentioned is a perfect example. Actually, if you can manage to sit through them, they're kind of fun to listen to because they're so hilariously bad. :lol: (Then again, some are just plain offensive--like Star Sapphire. Ick!) For pure silliness, try also Mind Over Matthew. You can actually hear the actors trying to keep a straight face during some of the dialog. Pretty funny.

I have not read Shelly (yet). I especially like the writing of the 19th century, really enjoyed Stoker, Stevenson, Wells, .... terrific. I have a dislike of most modern fiction. In fact, I read mysteries primarily only from the 30's and 40's.....can not read any of what is out now. Would you describe the style of writing in Dracula to be Gothic and something else, or is it pure Gothic? I wish I could read and enjoy Dickens and Melville. I have tried, but the writing is beyond me. I read a paragraph and wonder what was said. You are knowledgable, and a writer youself, yes? In any event, as you describe Shelly as beautiful, I would like to know if you could: 1) Recommend other 19th Century writers-Gothic or not, 2) Tell me if Shelly wrote other books than Frankenstein? And which are desired? Thank You.

Hi David, If you don't enjoy Dickens then you might find Shelley a bit ponderous, but here is a link to a website listing her work (I think they're all short stories after Frankenstein.) However, when I referred to Shelley's beautiful gothic prose, I guess I was referrring to more than just the prose style alone. I meant more her overall ability to spin an interesting yarn that has a powerful theme, subtext, and a moral to the story. You mentioned Bram Stoker. I have to say I've never cared for Dracula. On the other hand, I love Dickens---so go figure, huh? Really, I think it's just a matter of personal or acquired taste. I never cared for Jane Austen in the past, but once I grew accustomed to her writing style and the themes she was dealing with, I really came to love her books. Anyway, at least give a listen to the RMT version of The Transformation. I think you'll like it.

I'm not sure if he's your cup of tea, but during my college years when I was bored by the assigned literary works, I found great relief in the works of Kafka, though his works were in the early 1900's and none were published while he was alive. Folks take his work too seriously and critics often use him as either a punching bag or a remote lucifer when comparing. However, if you enjoy simply a flare for modern gothic-esque (obviously not so modern any longer), you might want to check his work out. I approach him like Oscar Wilde, in that you can't take his work too seriously. Kafka is in a league of his own but well worth the read. Best to start with The Metamorphisis. 

Thanks for the tip, I will be sure to give him a try.......Dave. PS. I listened to your selection for show of the week, but am in finals week and am having difficulty throwing much thought into other subjects. Be back with a "bang"...Ho Ho, on Wends..

....I have read two of his stories, Heart of Darkness, which I liked and Lord Jim, which again I had trouble with the writting in that I did not always know what I had just read. I suspect that I disect these stories and become concerned with "obstacals" such as older words and writting style ( which I truly adore). It then becomes work, and I wish it weren't so as i would prefer to read more of the classics. I'll try Conrad again after graduation.....Thank You for the recommendations.

If homosexuality was implied in this episode, it was extremely subtle. Remember that Martin Jerome makes it clear that he gives his guest his bed while he himself sleeps on the floor. I'd be more inclined to think that it was just a living arrangement of kindred spirits -- one with a more natural tendency to end up the way he did while the other was forced to it by extraordinary circumstances. If there are sexual overtones here, they'd be played out in some other way than sex itself -- both these guys are pretty sick. This episode really got to me. I found myself saying, "You creep, you had just better rescue them or else ..." How ironic and paradoxical that the man's downfall and loss of humanity in the cave is precisely what saves him and his lover. On a different note, I'd like to thank the staff of this site for allowing us to hear RMT episodes over the Net. This radio show was a part of my childhood and I'm grateful for the chance to hear it again.

Yeah, Kafka's awesome!

David, for what it's worth, I have read all of Joseph Conrad's fiction (14 novels, 28 stories). For me it is the perfect combination of modern language and deep, often dark victorian fiction. In a world that was still very large, Conrad wrote about 4 continents. And 1900 was not too early for alarmingly modern themes, like Latin American revolution ('Nostromo') and terrorism ('The Secret Agent'). Anyway, he's my fave.

Typical Elspeth Eric, this one. That's not necessarily a good thing. However, I have to say that I actually think this episode is one of my favorites. It's creepy and weirdly compelling. You can't help but keep listening to find out what's going to happen next. And I think that the format of eavesdropping on the intimate, hour-long confessional of a psychiatrist's session works really well in an hour-long audio drama. The two people trapped in the dark in the cave--just voices--works very well, for the same reason. I think all the actors are excellent, too, in such a difficult piece. If there's a moral to the story, I'd have to say that it's, "Retain your humanity, no matter what tragedy befalls you." The young man in the cave abandons his humanity in the end and winds up the same as the madman who trapped him in the cave to begin with, whereas the young woman, physically injured but humanity intact, is released from the hospital healthy and well (as far as we know.) Although this story is quite a downer, and probably not to everyone's taste, I still have always found it to be interesting and compulsively listenable.

Ever listened to the RMT's adaptation of "The picture of Dorian Gray"? (Dealing directly with homosexuality.) The way they did the episode (with the judgments both storywriter Oscar Wilde and E.G. Marshall pronounced), it would be too heavy to make it over the air TODAY as it did circa 1974. I think the RMT's episode of "The secret sharers" (adapted from a Joseph(?) "Heart of darkness" Conrad story) arrives in second place on the subject. There's an episode where lesbianism is hinted at heavily. For second place on THAT subject, I thought the RMT's "The sinister shadow" could be considered though maybe not accepted.

I think 2 of my last 3 are Elspith stories that you liked, despite your misgivings for her. "Help Somebody" and 'Deadly Hour". I agree many of her psych stories are annoying, but she does manage to hit some out of the park now and then. If you really want to listen to an annoying Elspith, try the one where a pyschiatrist convinces her, the patient, to get a head transplant.

Creepy plot development, and loved the last line; really showed the character's madness and inability to recognize his own "issues."

Have you ever noticed that Elspeth Eric's writing on CBSRMT is mostly about jealousy, revenge, & self-loathing? This episode is a perfect example. I don't see how's it possible for a guy like Martin Jerome (played by Norman Rose) can stay a mute for 25 years. When he tells his story to the psychiatrist (played by John Baragrey), the doctor should've had Martin arrested for attempted murder for trapping George & Marian (played by Jack Grimes & Marian Seldes) in the cave. Just because the 2 lovebirds were inside his cave, his private retreat, doesn't mean they should be punished; they weren't the cause of Helen's (Martin's wife) adultery that drove him to emotional & mental pain. But anyway, the music that was played during Martin's narration was good, but they should've added more music for the cave scenes--the same music that was played in Episode #0080: THE HAND. And I was surprised in ACT 3 what George did......with his teeth!?!

wow i have not been that absorbed in a cbs radio program since i listened to Time and Again. This gets a 5 star in my book, even though the ending was actually stranger than the story itself.

I wondered about the infidelity of the wife as it seems to have started from the beginning. Why did she marry this man in the first place? What did she get out of it? I also found it difficult to believe that this many didn't talk to anyone for 25 years and yet was able to speak so well (unless he talked to himself). A strange tale indeed.

This is a truly great episode with an ambiguous ending. The acting is superb, the plot is riveting. Not sure what else one could wish for in an RMT. I can relate to the main character. The less said, the better.

Five-star episode. As for the end, do you think Martin could be keeping the young man's body? That's why George is silent? A la Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"?

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