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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Murder Museum
Plot:
A wax museum made especially for infamous criminals is an eerie concept. Things become creepy when it becomes the place for the re-enactment of a past murder as an exhibit protests his inclusion in the museum.
Episode:
0071
Air Dates:
First Run - April 9, 1974
Repeat - June 29, 1974
Repeat - February 22, 1980
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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21 Responses to Episode 0071


Mme. Tussaud's in London has some wonderful wax reproductions of famous people and events, but the only exhibit most people care about is the one involving famous murders. For some reason, we associate wax museums with horror, though, of course, that's not what they were designed for. Any number of horror stories are set in wax museums for this reason. This being said, the above description is in error. No exhibit protests its inclusion. No exhibit comes to life; there is no supernatural component at all. The story is a museum curator explaining an exhibit to a patron, and how the immortalized crime came to pass. Suspense, no supernatural elements. (Though, to be fair, the model for the exhibit protested the inclusion of another exhibit.)

The music in the background is Tchiakovsky's Andante Cabatalle for cello and orchestra(opus#11). I rewmember this from 1980 when I was a sophmore in high school.

A wax museum specializes in exhibitions based on famous murders. Two exhibits are particularly integral to this play.

Dark and dismal from the start. The destroyed son’s fate can only be further destruction.

A museum dedicated to criminals becomes the scene of the retelling of a real murder when the relative of one of the "exhibits" protests his placement in the museum. Great story to which one must pay attention lest they get lost in the flashback sequences.

A woman appears at a wax murder museum inquiring about a display that is under repairs. She desperately wants to see it as she knows one of the individuals related to the display. In order to convince him she tells the story of the individual, a poor struggling artist whose father murdered his mother as the child watched on. Some interesting technique that I haven't heard in any of the subsequent 70 episodes (or at least it wasn't as apparent) was the overlapping of dialogue between the present regailing of the story, and the flashback to the actual events of the story. Was confusing at first and I thought that there was more than one radio signal coming in... but then clicked.

If the last selection, “Help Somebody”, denoted hope and redemption, “The Murder Museum “ is certainly its antagonist. It is a story of ruination. Certainly both tales are poignant. Salvation vs. Doom! Because the existence of either has a real potential, and a tremendous consequence in a given lifetime, their relevancies are shared. The polarity only differs in direction, not magnitude. So in either scenario, we the listeners are drawn to both from a very personal influence. It becomes a question of cause and effect. How much can a man overcome environment, due to his own nature, to rise out of ruination? The “Murder Museum” portrays a man affected by horror in his youth. He watches an unloving and unfaithful mother, though once involved, get hacked to death by an enraged father. This is the story’s introduction. The stage is set. What are the consequences? Is there hope? In evaluating such weighty considerations, we can do so from many approaches. One may start by asking, how did producers both overtly and covertly present Vincent, our protagonist? Certainly we know he witnessed the horror as a youth. We learn he becomes a painter of dark blacks and grays with flashes of red. His attitude is fatalistic. This much is clear, understandable and perhaps expected. Interestingly, it was my observation that his character also nicely portrayed the scars of this damage very effectively. It is here that we see the covert aspects. He is at times far from likeable, specifically when feeling sorry for himself and telling Lisa “that all he wants is for her to leave him alone”. It is not far along in the story when we hear the two of them back together again. Superficially this is annoying and illogical. It is also true to life. A sick relationship exists. Instead of having Vincent express his torment for us with his thoughts, we, as Lisa, learn of his torment as the story moves along. He has small moments of joy, never to be believed by the steadfast listener, and certainly not by Vincent himself. These are intertwined by heavy melancholy. In fact, as we learn when Vincent witnesses a man abusing his wife, the melancholy is yet another shroud and only layers deeper terrors. These terrors are the heart of the story. Their depth, permanence and influence on Vincent are absolutely pervasive here! When reflecting on the conclusion of this story, could it have ended any other way? The story, from start, development and conclusion is about his ruination. It is fantastic artistic license to have Vincent go the way his father did. Such irony! He is conscious, and trapped, by the knowledge of his past experience. He rebels against it. He lives with it. He accepts it and expresses it in his art, a true social representation of himself. It is so damn pervasive that he ends up murdering, as his father did. Perhaps less obvious is the fact that he murdered for much the same reason, namely betrayal. His mother betrayed his father and Galinari betrayed Vincent. So what’s the point? If the story were simply trying to show that he commits murder in the end it would not have drama. The drama is created with the development of Vincent. It’s inevitable conclusion confirming all that is understood and felt while listening to the tale. Still the question is to be asked- is it inevitable because of who we discover Vincent to be or because it is a consequence that none could avoid? In other words, would all who grew up as Vincent fall subject to the same damages? It’s a good question, and I believe the answer is that most would suffer terrible damage and the remaining some various degree of damage. What is crucial to recognize involves the existence of this damage, at some level, would be universal. The inherent personality might involve some degree of protection. Nevertheless, this person here is truly a victim of outside influences and most unfortunate. They spend a lifetime with dark blacks, grays and flashes of red. This gives an appreciation for the circumstances one may find themselves in, should they be fortunate. Any of us could have been born in Africa instead of the U.S. How would we be different? Life is not so black and white though. Could we have joy, security and happiness if we did not understand, and experience their counterparts- sorrow, uncertainty and misery? O God of earth and altar, Bow down and hear our cry, Our earthly rulers falter, Our people drift and die; The walls of gold entomb us, The swords of scorn divide, Take not thy thunder from us, But take away our pride.

Wow! This, for me was a terrific pick. Just when I assumed I knew what was coming, it all changed. This was a very, very sad yet moving tale. Especially, the ending when he confronts the wax figures. I haven't had an RMT keep me on edge like this in quite a while. My applause goes out to the writer, Henry Schlesser (sp?) for adapting such incredible dialogue and giving this episode such incredible visualization. He was able to create a thorough stage for the players to work on, that in the mind's eye, it was easy to put myself in each scene and witness the events. The characters were ordinary and had occupations that were easily identifiable, further enhancing the visual illusion. For example, Vincent became a waiter. Anyone can imagine the role of a waiter, with food, drink, and a clean white shirt, so just the mention of the word "waiter" fills the character with rich color. Professor Galinari, with his slightly nefarious intonation and concern, was as convincing as the creepy fellow from Hickory Dickory Doom and the devilish character from A Crack in the Wall. The Museum Tour Guide was my favorite. Toward the end of the episode, he is giving the tour to a group about to see the new Raymond Murder exhibit. His dialogue was thoroughly convincing, well-spoken, and the crisp rasp of his voice lent the same flavor as a carnival barker. Here is an excerpt from some of the dialogue of the Museum Tour guide. Please note how fluidly and intelligently the words flow: "...and here ladies and gentlemen you see the notorious mass murder of Huntersville, Nebraska. He not only dispatched his victims with poison, but then mutilated their bodies in the dreadful fashion you see before you. (gasps and awe from the crowd) And now if you will step to the next exhibit, you'll see the latest addition to Professor Galinari's World Famous Murder Museum. For the first time in any house of wax, the horrifying axe murder of one of the most glamorous women ever to appear on the American stage. They called her the beautiful Arda, and yes Arda was beautiful; as beautiful as she was faithless, and one day her wealthy, manufacturer husband, John Lloyd Raymond, returned home from a business trip... excuse me sir, but I'm not through with this... I, I, I..." (Vincent Raymond interrupts and demands to see Prof. Galinari) I won't go into the whole thing about when he was a child, or psychology, but let me say that this episode could certainly be analyzed to a great degree, I'm sure! Thank you for one of the best picks I've heard in quite a while. I gave a full 5 rating and will surely have to listen to it again to pick up more of the subtle details I may have missed!

I think you are right that "technically speaking" Vincent seemed to do little to help himself. Lisa is also apparently oblivious to psychological help that would be available from health proffesionals. Still, with artistic license we could stretch our imaginations a bit and tell ourselves that these things are going on in the background and we only see his problems without much apparent attempt to correct them. When considering the bottom line, that he is damaged goods, and how this is manifested in the radio program is where my appreciation for the story comes alive. I am glad you enjoyed it.....Until Next Time. p.s.- I believe we are supposed to submit our reviews before reading any others as a way to present the views without influence.

I just finished reading your thoughts. I have to say, I'm really impressed at the consideration you put into your post. So much of these shows skips by, leaving me with only the flavour of the peak moments, but it's great when someone captures the entity as a whole and speaks so well in regard to it. I also wanted to point out that at the end of the tale, he did in fact murder Professor Galinari. But note the fact that he not only went the same route as his father, he actually performed the same brutal act as his father, by hacking his mother up with an axe! Even more ironic, depsite it being a wax representation of his mother. Lastly, I was curious to the quoting of Gilbert Chesterton. Any reason for choosing that bit of ministerial poetry? Again, thanks for a terrific pick!

That is so true, and at the time of the review I'd forgoten that hacked up the wax figure while screaming "It was your fault...your fault." His acting was excellent, to boot! This ending really adds to the chilling aspect of the story. I really enjoy these shows because they are often so drama filled that all one needs to do is listen and become moved. Thank you for your compliment on my review, and I am really happy to learn you enjoyed it. The Chesterton poetry was placed there because I was listening to music that begins with this opening of the poem. It really doesn't fit particularily with the story, I only believe it to be a great bit of poetry. In fact, most poetry is lost on me, but this one somehow hits home. I'm impressed you knew it was Chesterton. I had read his mysteries long before I learned he was also a poet. ....I have another show in mind that I am certain you will like in the future.

I found The Murder Museum to be a dramatic and involving story. I wasn't sure how it would end, and the ending wasn't what I expected. I guess I expected Vincent to have been the one who killed his mother, and the emotion was guilt and not trauma. The acting was skillful, especially Robert Dryden, as usual. Very good writing. Based on those things, I gave the show a 4. But it's a low 4, for one reason that may sound strange -- the title. For me the title, before listening to the show the first time (about 2 mos. ago), conjured up some image of people locked in a spooky wax museum at night, and they can't get out, and the exhibits start to come to life. Or they discover some scavenger hunt, relating to the exhibits, where they have to figure out clues, etc. So while I thought this was a very good RMT, I thought the title was wasted in a sense. The museum aspect didn't really figure fundamentally in the story -- the wax sculptor could have recreated the murder without the setting of a museum, in a painting in a cottage somewhere or something, and it would have had the same effect, maybe more because it would have focused completely on Vincent. Maybe the wax museum could be seen as suggestive of Vincent's violent past, etc., but I didn't get it that way. Upon listening to the show again tonight, I got the same impression. But this is just my "take" on certain aspects of the show, bottom line is, I enjoyed listening to this show both times and like the story itself.

I hadn't remembered E.G. Marshall's remark about haunted houses. The 'museum' angle has, in addition, the aspect of history. Also, the more shows I listen to, the more I'm reminded how radio actors bring one thing to their craft -- their voices and the ability to use them creatively. And unlike video media, I don't associate one actor with one role, because I am not limited by a visual image. The imagination fits the voice to the role.

I think his voice an acting made the show. Both were congruent to a miserable character.

You know, there is still a way for you to "quote" someone using code. Let me explain and I hope it helps!

About Wager's voice, yep, he did make the character. "The Teddy Bear" was, actually, the scariest RMT to me in my early days because it was based on truth. (CBS ran a special around 1992 called "Mind control secrets of the Soviet Union"...based apparently on what "Teddy Bear" was written about, but I never saw the show, only promos.) Wager and Seldes made an interesting pair...after reviewing this show I heard on Monday (for the first time) "The Sire de Malatroit's door". Both performers were featured on that show as well.

THE MURDER MUSEUM. Dark and dismal from the start. The destroyed son’s fate can only be further destruction. Horror-9.

Yea, what he said! Cripes, how the heck does one follow that? Perhaps you should have tiltled your post "Deconstructing Vincent". Very good analysis, imo. The problem that I had with the main character, Vincent, was how he was dealing (or lack thereof) with his own emotional instability. The tell-tale signs were all there in place (emotional trauma suffered from witnessing his mother's death, the subsequent bad dreams he endured as a result of that murder, emotional outbursts, etc.) yet it seemed to me that he was in denial that he had a problem and chose to ignore the need to seek out any help for it. More importantly, why didn't his friends try to get him any help? The fact that he nearly beat a man to death for abusing his wife on a public street in front of Lisa should have cued her in that Vincent needed some kind of professional help. Or how he would suddenly blurt out to her (twice) to "leave me alone" for no apparent reason was another key indicator of his instability. He was enveloped in this deep dark depression and was constantly exuding all of this negativity, yet he's allowed to go through life like this untreated? To be honest, Lisa realized that Vincent did have some emotional problems and she did try to offer him solace by getting him to talk to her but it was taken no further than that. Vincent eventually confided (somewhat) with Lisa when he told her about his "one dream" and why he painted in such dreary colors as a means to rid himself of it. But for any of this to have credibility, one would have to believe that attempts were made to get his life straightened out professionally...and that just wasn't the case at all. His mentioning to Lisa that his childhood in the orphanage consisted of screams in the night due to his bad dreams and alienating himself from all the others seems to support this. Everyone just seemed to stand idly by and allow his situation to go from bad to worse. If it wasn't for that I would have rated it higher than the 3 that I gave it, otherwise, it was a very good story. Of course I did listen to it last night at 2 am, so it's possible that I might have missed something with how this was being addressed. I also found it odd with how Vincent acquiesced with Galinari to make a sculpture of his parents, but then he suddenly freaks out when he discovers that Galinari used a different "medium" by casting their likeness in wax, depicting the scene of the murder. What was Vincent expecting when he agreed to allow him to sculpt BOTH of his parents? Why didn't he inquire further when Galinari mentioned wanting to sculpt his father as well? That would have cued me in that there was something more to this than meets the eye. Like I said, it was a good story UNT...and kudos to you for an excellent analysis.

Michael Wager, a.k.a. "Vincent". (I know there may be no connection, but the first person I thought of was Vincent Van Gogh...also a haunted man.) I like Wager's work...his "The teddy bear" and "The ninth volume" (the latter was too short of a story) are RMTs I enjoy listening to. Tremendous episode. What's the old saying: "Those who don't learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them?" That saying can be modified to include family history as well. (The reason this hits home is thinking about both myself and family members who've made certain mistakes (because they've developed habits and patterns of doing so) and who have kids who make the same mistakes, who have kids who make the same mistakes...) E.G. made a comparison of our minds and haunted houses, saying that our minds (without therapy to release them) are like haunted houses inhabited by ghosts of the pasts. So many of these RMTs were fascinating psychological studies. The best fantasies seem to be written by those who have a firm grasp of reality...the RMT had several such writers. Oh...and Marian Seldes voice.... I hope she recorded an audiotape for children...her voice is the stuff of lullabies. (I know she apparently did write a children's book for her daughter.)

Eh, the Murder Museum was just so-so. 3 stars. However, I have never seen so many comments on any other RMT episode. Also, It seemed that the recording of this episode was extremely slow. Some of the characters slurred their lines and sounded inebriated.

I'm on my second go-a-round of the RTM. I love Robert Dryden in all of his dialects. It seems great that some school would use the RMT for it's classes, but a real shame that they would condone the amount of diatribe taking up megabytes of this magnitude to have everyone try to best the next in ruining the episode for newby. How many times can you beat a dead horse. Oh well, everybody has their own opinion. My suggestion would be to JUST LISTEN to the show,shake,shudder,laugh or cry and if you have a little comment put it down. based upon the space left by "others".

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