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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
Pension Plan
Plot:
On the eve of retirement, a purchasing manager discovers he is penniless and that an entire life of being honest and straightforward has brought him no reward. His values are tested when he realizes that living by his principles were all for naught.
Episode:
0492
Air Dates:
First Run - June 17, 1976
Repeat - October 2, 1976
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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9 Responses to Episode 0492


A relevant tale, especially in this era of disappearing pensions from corporate retirement plans. Norman Rose is great and Leon Janney's gravely voice, mannerisms and insulting quips provide some laughs. A neat twist at the end. And for listeners, an underlining message that says save your money and invest on your own. Wonder if Stanley (Rose's character) would have done better with a 401k?

An honest purchasing manager finds himself without a pension or any financial security on the eve of retirement. His morals are challenged when he finds his years of virtue were for naught.

A wife that hoped for much more in life than her husband was ever able to provide is resigned to her lot in life. Her husband who has worked hard at his job in the small company

"Pension Plan" is an example of what I call an undercooked script. It starts promisingly, as a serious drama that I actually found a bit reminiscent of "Death of a Salesman"--an aging man near the end of his working life, bewildered at finding himself with so little. Norman Rose and Leon Janney are my two favorite CBSRMT actors, and their confrontation scenes early on really crackle. But to me this becomes a different story when the Devil enters. The tone changes, and the promise of psychological depth hinted at in Act 1 disappears. I was left wondering why the Devil would have been so dumb as to not provide the protagonist with a *real* pension plan, thus avoiding all the arguments that come later. And is it believable that in all those years, the protagonist never sought to nail down the details of the pension plan he thought he had? This is one of those stories that can only move forward if the characters in it act dumber than anyone in real life actually would. Still, it was reasonably entertaining overall, and it kept me listening. Another draft from Mr. Dann, though, might have allowed him to create stronger motivations and more credible situations.

When I heard the teaser I thought, oh, another version of Faust. But this was an interesting twist and a good one. I was struck by how this show was entirely based on dialogue, much of it in 'long takes' of up to five minutes. When RMT achieves good contemporary drama, the dialogue is very natural and sounds like the way people really talk to each other. I winced a bit at the notion of a pension (today health benefits aren't even a guarantee) but fortunately the words "Social Security" didn't pop into my head until after I was done listening... For some reason, Leon Janney (Joe the company president) always cracks me up with his delivery. Maybe because in other shows he frequently plays absurd characters who say outlandish things. Norman Rose and William Redfield are always solid. This show would have aired right about the time I started listening to RMT as a teenager but I don't remember the plot (I remember quite a few plots from then but very few titles). A very good show (but then I enjoy them all).

Pension Plan works for me on the strength of Leon Janney and Norman Rose. Great dialogue with some laugh-out-loud moments... Glad the group here posted on one of my favorites!

My summary: A purchasing manager spends his entire career being honest and forthright. On the eve of retirement, he finds himself penniless. His morals are tested when he learns his virtue was worthless.

an excellent analysis, to say the least. i was really lured into the first act, and actually felt the stress of being an honest (well, i try anyway) person. the introduction of the devil was one of those devices found in television crime shows where a character you never heard of for 7/8 of a show, suddenly appears and ends up being the guilty party. it would be okay to assume that the protagonist *did* actually try to get the details of his pension plan, but seeing as how he and his boss were friends, it might also be safe to assume that the boss just kept saying, "don't you worry about a thing... it's all taken care of!" and he would likely have bought it. yes, i'm being forgiving a bit. I enjoyed the show because the performances were as good as always and the production was as good as ever. but it was the story, that needed to bake for another few hours. i would assume that to be able to write show after show of this nature, there must have been some amount of pressure put on the writers to just "get it done."

I don't think that Pension Plan is one of the best episodes.  I think it's biggest problem is that there seems to be two plots dilemmas going on. One with the man and his pension (and his boss) and the other with the devil making his claim. The fact that devil doesn't show up until the 3rd act makes his impact on the story sort of weak. And doesn't the devil make better contracts than the one he originally set up with the protagonist? He always seemed like a smoother operator than that. Another problem I had with it was that the wife seemed to have a dual personality -- part shrew at one point, harping on him to find out what is up with his pension and the next, saint -- everything will work out. Although, I tend to like the episodes in which supernatural elements happen, I think this one would have been better off with the devil's entrance.

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