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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Ghosts of Yesterday
Plot:
A socialite past her prime is asked to identify the person responsible for the death of her family and her whole village in a war pogrom. But she is long past those events and disinclined to raise the curtain on her less than modest background for the fear of endangering her present.
Episode:
0759
Air Dates:
First Run - December 26, 1977
Repeat - May 28, 1978
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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4 Responses to Episode 0759


It's done! Thank you, thank you for the suggestion. What fun!

Here's a "stream-of-consciousness" style comparison of the two based on previous listens. Not trying at all to demean these episodes as IMO they're well written and well performed: MAIN PLOTLINE: GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY: An American woman who as a little girl was the lone survivor of a Belgian village flattened by the Nazis to set an example finds herself in the position of possibly confronting the commanding officer of that action, a man who may be her husband's future business partner. MEMORY KILLERS: An American public relations executive, also a WWII USAF officer veteran who was shot down over Germany and imprisoned by the Nazis, semi-reluctantly takes a job helping a German automaker which is a client of his firm (can you say "Fahrvergnugen" (sic?)). While working for the family-run auto business he falls in love with a fraulein who is an executive with the firm, but comes to believe that her brother, also an exec, may have been the CO of the stockade in which he was imprisoned (and where many of his fellow officers died). PLOT DEVELOPMENT: GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY: We get the impending storyline telegraphed from the beginning (in a scene which reminds me a bit of the initial confrontation in the Dustin Hoffman movie Marathon Man, albeit with a survivor). MEMORY KILLERS: Slow developing, but once the initial plot twist "hits" it gets progressively more interesting. THE "GHOSTS" GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY: Leon Janney, as another victim of the Nazis who alerts Teri Keane's character of the possible danger, says words which reverberate in her memory. MEMORY KILLERS: Nat Polen, as a fellow officer who essentially dies in Bell's arms after being "all busted up inside" by Nazi torture, implores Bell to kill the Nazi CO to avenge his and their colleagues' death. BEST LINES REPEATED AT LEAST TWICE IN A ROW: GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY: "Love you." (Russel Horton as the husband). "Love you." (Teri Keane as the wife). MEMORY KILLERS: "Did I...ever...kill...anyone? Did I...ever...kill...anyone?" (Ralph Bell's character.) BEST CBSRMT MUSIC BEDS: GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY: Can't remember but I'm sure there were some...after all, this is the CBSRMT. MEMORY KILLERS: The brass-dominated music bed which begins to be played immediately when Ralph Bell starts saying the words above. It seems to me I recall a similar such music bed in the always-excellent The Adventures Of Jonny Quest from the 60s. This is followed by a four-note, mysterious repeating score when Robert Dryden says the very same phrase. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY: Ms. Keane plays a woman who sounds like a country club, bordering-on-prejudiced-against-those-beneath-her ( as the Nazis took to the extreme form) suburban wife married to an up and coming executive, and plays it well for a 1 hour radio drama, IMO. MEMORY KILLERS: Mr. Bell adequately conveys an apparently middle-aged widower who visits Germany and is pleasantly surprised to find a thriving, post-reconstruction country which isn't "gray" anymore as it was after the war. ARE THE ENDINGS DIFFERENT? Think I'm gonna divulge that? ">)

I'm not trying to get out of line here. This is an EXCELLENT show. It's not something you'd want to do often...only when there are two RMT shows that were unusually close in content and/or structure. In this case, I'd like to suggest a parallel RMT as a "doubleheader" for this week: "The Memory Killers" (I believe the program number is 122975), starring Ralph Bell, Nat Polen, Robert Dryden and a lady whose name I can't recall unfortunately. In some ways "The Memory Killers" is a mirror image to "The Ghosts of Yesterday"...in other ways it's counterpoint to it. Both had the RMT's "A" list of actors, and both had a very significant similar theme. There are also some significant differences, though...not the least of which were that, I believe, "The Memory Killers" was written by Sam Dann...husband of Victoria Dann who wrote this play. It's interesting to see how two married, talented playwrights think alike, and differently. I'll give my thoughts on this episode when time allows.

Remember that Dustin Hoffman/Sir Laurence Olivier thriller "Marathon Man"? This RMT show opens up like that, with a european-accented gentleman who owns some type of store serving a customer (played by Mandel Kramer) who he recognizes as some hideous person from his past. He says "I swore I'd kill you" but drops from a heart attack before the American-accented customer can say much of anything. We next meet the wonderful Teri Keane as a housewife and leader of some country club who's being mildly chastised by her husband (played by Russel Horton) because her group has been turning away members with southern European (i.e. Italian) surnames. They do love each other much...they seem like a typical American couple, right down to their phone calls, which they end by: HORTON: "Love you." KEANE: "Love YOU." Keane's character is shaken up by the arrival of a mysterious "investigator" played by Leon Janney. He says that he knows her real past...that she was a little girl in a (later identified as Belgian) village called "Hammunbier" (sic) which was ordered leveled by a cruel SS officer during WWII as retribution for their not following their occupiers orders. The little girl was the only survivor of the village massacre. He says he knows she's tried to bury her past. However, the SS officer is now "Americanized" and living in St. Louis. What's worse...he's getting ready to hook up with Keane's husband in a business deal. The investigator says only Keane's testimony can bring the former officer to justice. There are so many comparisons I could make with "Memory Killers" it's not even funny. IMO these are the top ones: 1. They're not "Jew against Nazi" stories, but "former captive against former captor". Neither Keane's nor Ralph ("Memory Killers") Bell's characters were apparently Jewish. 2. They involve 4 people who for various reasons have tried to put the past behind rather than carrying their rage forward. 3. They involve two protagonists who are haunted by voices from their past, urging either revenge or justice. 4. The protagonist/antagonists are from the RMT's "A" list: Teri Keane vs. Mandel Kramer, and Ralph Bell vs. Robert Dryden in the previous one. What a duet of shows these are, IMHO.

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