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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Moonlighter
Plot:
When a friend tells him of an opportunity to double his income, a man with an extremely extravagant wife jumps at the offer. The problem is, he must give up a piece of his soul in exchange.
Episode:
0380
Air Dates:
First Run - November 17, 1975
Repeat - April 30, 1976
Writer:
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Rating:
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18 Responses to Episode 0380


A very thought provoking tale.

Interesting but not the best.

A man with a wife with expensive tastes must find a second means of income. His buddy offers him a way to more than double his income with just a small investment of his soul.

An affluent couple begins to experience financial strain as inflation has eroded his purchasing power and he is no longer able to maintain his wife’s old family money expectations. While practice shooting with a friend, he puts forward a job proposition that will make use of his expert marksmanship and more than make up for the money troubles he is experiencing.

I figured out where this one was going in the second act. However, I did not know how it would end. The story was well paced, with no extraneous dialogue or lilted subplots. There was a minor subplot (his money troubles and his over-spending wife) that fed the main plot nicely. Howard DaSilva was one of the finest performers on the show. His departure left a real hole that they were never able to fill. He and Leon Janny had the two most distinctive voices on the show.

Decent story overall. As pure entertainment, it flowed well and was easy to listen to, although it was rather predictable. However, I did have a hard time getting past one point. After committing so many murders, they were able to cleanse their consciences by committing yet another murder? Even if it was their employer, it seems it would take more than that to rid their souls of the guilt. If it's even possible to do after such a career.

This show is a good example of why I've taken up teaching. My old line of work was getting too troublesome. I wasn't sleeping well anymore. Hearing bells, chimes, cash registers and the like when all around me claimed to hear nothing. Of course I do miss the tax-free status of my old occupation. These days I just kill time.

This is one that you could have heard when it debuted in 1975 and recalled the details today. That's when writing and acting combine for their maximum effect, and what made many of us fans of this great program. I always enjoy when people post to the website about an episode that they vividly remember after many years and this one would be one that could fall into that category. Stanley Morrison and his wife are accustomed to comfortable living. Mrs. Morrison grew up in an affluent family and likes the finer things in life. The money crunch of the 1970's is taking it's toll on the couple though. Mr. Morrison, who works in the research department of a company, is having trouble making ends meet and the couple finds that they must drop their membership in the local country club and they also start refusing invitations from their friends to attend social functions because they cannot afford to reciprocate. Then, one day Mr. Morrison is talking to his best friend who informs him that he has found a way to make some extra money, and if interested, it is an opportunity that might appeal to him also.

FYI, it was Robert Morse who was featured in both "The Trouble with Murder" and "How to Succeed." A brilliant performer to say the least! Thanks for reminding me of that soundtrack. I'd nearly forgotten it. Now, to get to my nearest record store to find it!

When I think of the jobs I have had throughout my life, I sometimes shake my head, laugh, and think, "What was I thinking?" Of course, nothing even comes close to the folks in this story. While the story moves quickly and quite smoothly, there are still lingering elements that make me think, "would anybody really stoop to that level, even in desparation? I don't know. With the state of the world as it is today, I tend to think most of us have common problems. Despite being overwhelming sometimes, we take comfort in knowing that the rest of the world endures them as well. It gives us that allowance for thinking that our problems are not necessarily the biggest ones out there. But my only "peeve" with this tale was just that. The lead character seemed too easily sold on the idea of such a macabre occupation. It would make more sense if he had previously had a criminal past, not an honorable, military background. He pondered and warted over the decision, but I don't know... I guess I just wasn't sold on the idea that he would be that far gone. I suppose for the amount of time to unfold a tale like this, they had to get to the point quickly. And it was gotten to quickly with only Himan Brown precision. This man was nothing shy of a genius when it came to locking an entire episode into 50 minutes. Amazing! I really enjoyed the way the story fell back on itself in the end, giving us a recovered murderer, for lack of a better term. I didn't see it coming. For me, a great episode allows me to "put myself in their shoes." This one gave me satisfaction on that count, even though I think – er, I hope – I'd choose a different route. 

One thing about I cherish about the RMT episodes is that there are so many styles and genres that the writers often tackled. Most of the shows I seem to gravitate toward are one's that ask me, "What would I do in the same position?" I recall that some of the old Kojak and Columbo tv shows often allowed the viewer to see from the antagonist point of view. I enjoyed those 70's programs! This crime-style drama plays out in a way that I found quite interesting. 

"Sympathize" is right, Steve. Excellent, excellent program. This one worked, IMO, in a way for radio that maybe it couldn't have for TV. Ostensibly, we were to believe that those targeted for murder weren't innocent. Still, there's a sense of empathy one feels for the characters when you hear their voices as they immediately confront certain death. The woman who daSilva's character was assigned to kill really haunted me for some reason (because it haunted him, and that's all from the execution (no pun intended) by the actors and scriptwriter.) da Silva rocked. He had the way of saying lines like "Thou shalt not kill...thou shalt not kill" that gave one pause. One other thing. I found out Larry Morse acted in the RMT's "The trouble with murder". One of the stars of "The moonlighter" was RMT regular Bob Kaliban (who apparently was quite the singer) who starred with Morse in "How to succeed in business without really trying". My Mom and Dad used to have that album (I still remember Morse singing the title song)...BOY how I'd love to find that thing but I think we sold it.

I gave this show a 4 based on the acting and the dialogue, which were solid. Howard Dasilva brings a gravity to this type of role. There were some sound effects (the footsteps out the back stair after the first shooting) which recalled the crime shows of OTR. I don't believe a person can slip into murder that easily. I think most people would freeze when they looked at the person they were going to shoot. On the other hand, people will do alot for money (especially if they're afraid of losing someone for lack of it). And today there are probably people who would do such things just for the thrill of it, without needing the money at all. The sound quality of this show was very good, and I always get a kick out of the ads. I hadn't remembered Mel Blanc's 'normal' voice being so, well, normal. Looking back on listening to RMT 25 years ago, there was the occasional transcendental experience when a particularly good ghost story would coincide with a great thunderstorm (with the radio signal fading in and out for atmosphere), but most of the shows I remember were like this one, solid dramas that kept me tuned in for the whole show.

I think the story was entertaining and very thought provoking. It seems that if it weren’t for that thing called a conscious, we could all be Moonlighting. I could use the money. The motives for becoming a hit man were rather flimsy- he married a rich woman and she couldn’t help herself in her spending ways…though this is a minor point and it is restructured and supported when we learn that Stanley is tired of working all his life with nothing to show for it. This is a sentiment I think many can appreciate. Still, the strength of the story lies in its provoking the consideration of killing someone for gain. It is mentioned in the story that killing others in war is justified. It is then reintroduced as being justified when protecting the family. From here our Protagonist’s friend, Frank, asserts that he is simply taking care of his family. The real arbitrator here is the Conscious. I believe it was the end of act 2 when Stanley is dumbfounded at how he has no remorse after his first kill. He states out loud that it seems he has no conscious. The act ends beautifully when Frank states in a matter of fact manner that he has no conscious. It really struck home. The fact that Stanley is concerned about not feeling remorse suggest he has something resembling a conscious left. It is a dead-end road for these fellows, and their conscious minds were simply dormant, “asleep for a while”. Redemption is achieved by acting out against the character that truly doesn’t have a conscious…a born antisocial? Another question stimulated. We don’t know for sure as we have not had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Akroyd ( 3 cheers Bob Dryden…a Bang out job, he always Shoots for the stars)…but antisocial personalities exist and he is a good candidate for that classification. Our “heroes” do the right thing, eliminate Mr. Akroyd and get their sense of identity back. Too bad they ruined their lives in the meantime. Hardly seems worth it after all is said and done. The answer to the characters ongoing question is answered and the show ends with a bang….or two…or three.

I have to say, I listened to this one a few weeks ago and liked it alot. It really drew me in and kept me interested because I wasn't sure how it would all end. And the main character's moral dilemma made for good drama. It's extremely rare that a writer can take a criminal character and persuade me to sympathize with him, but this story did just that. A very well-written (and well-acted) radio play.

I still think Budweiser is not even remotely the King of Beers, except with advertising. I refer to the opening add of the show with the "humpa music".

As you can see I am running a bit behind. I'm going to blame work. I thought this episode was excellent, right up to the end where it crashed and burned bad. The idea of a man sacrificing his morals for the sake of money is realistic and done well in this case. It was his sudden turn around that made no sense at all. His hearing the voices and seeing the faces came on suddenly when he was assigned to kill his friend. The end of the "torment" was also terribly unrealisticly quick. I mean the second they shoot the honcho? A terrible ending. I would still say it was worth listening to though. I was compelled to see what was going to happen next. Rmt is always fun like that.

Compelling story but the ending seemed a little deus ex machina. However, completely enjoyed "watching" the progression of the main character from the beginning up unto the questionable ending. Their perspective upon what they did really did remind me of the Orson Welle's dialogue from the top of the ferris wheel in "The Third Man". Aside from the Deus ex Machina ending, a compelling listen. 3 stars.

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