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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
Miracle in Sharon City
Plot:
An industrious mayor becomes a hero when he manages to get a leading chemical company to set up a manufacturing unit in his small town. But an encounter with an ex-chemist at the company reveals facts about the product(s) that leaves him having serious doubts.
Episode:
0846
Air Dates:
First Run - June 6, 1978
Repeat - November 25, 1978
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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8 Responses to Episode 0846


The story got very slow right after Act 1. I expected a chaotic riot to happen in Act 2 and then the mayor of Sharon City would be the last one alive in Act 3 (kind of like a cross between 2 TWILIGHT ZONE episodes: "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" & "The Old Man In The Cave").

I enjoy most of the RMT shows and I did enjoy this one. I agree with the other person who was a little frustrated by him never actually making a decision but was made out to be whacko... Left me wanting an explanation... but as often times in this show that was the point perhaps. The recording was not that good I didn't think...(I seem to remember that volume went down and then back up) I listen to many shows a week so I am relying on memeroy from the otehr day when I listened.

This was a very interesting, powerful episode--a story that, even though it's ostensibly about "Amphoran" and how it might just turn everyone in town into "raving, bloody-thirsty killers," is really about people's unwillingness to hear inconvenient (and unprofitable) truths, and the lengths they'll go to in order to hide from those truths. The comparisons to situations today are pretty much inescapable. Think of any number of current politicians today on the environment, for instance, on global warming.... I did feel that Sam Dann made a mistake in the third act by keeping open the question of whether Amphoran is actually dangerous. This, for me, undercuts the theme of the play, and leads to a somewhat frustrating and inconclusive ending. The focus here should be on the conflict between the townspeople, not on Amphoran itself, which is kind of a silly story device anyway. My wife and I listened to this episode together, and at the same moment (near the end of Act 1), we both said: " 'An Enemy of the People'!" The credits in the show nowhere acknowledge this, but "Miracle in Sharon City" is an adaptation, or revision, or reimagining of Henrik Ibsen's classic play "An Enemy of the People" (1883). In the Ibsen original, the controversy surrounds information that the town doctor, Thomas Stockmann, has received about the "Baths," the local natural springs which the mayor and town council wish to open to the public as an expensive health resort. The only problem, as Stockmann learns, is that the waters there are dangerously polluted, and will likely cause illness and even death for those who bathe in them. Dann works his story out somewhat differently, but the assembled properties of Ibsen's play are all there: the physician (or pharmacist, anyway) main character standing against the town, the town meeting, the lab report, the brick being thrown through the hero's window. So this play is really Ibsen, RMT-style! Which is not a criticism; I thoroughly enjoyed "Miracle in Sharon City." If anyone's interested, by the way, "An Enemy of the People" has been filmed a couple of times, once with Steve McQueen as Stockmann. (A terrific movie, but probably McQueen's least-known--it's not even on video, as far as I can tell. But TCM, the cable movie channel, has run it a couple of times in recent years. It's well worth checking out.) Great choice!

I'm wondering, then, if as a dual inspiration for this 1978 script Dann took elements from not only "An enemy of the people" but also from a (now-minor cult status) movie which came out two years earlier entitled "Blue Sunshine". In that flick (which in my college days at the University of Missouri was shown as a CBS evening movie a couple of times) a gentleman lost a friend who went on a murderous rampage and killed his family. (Back in the day they, praise God, didn't show "CSI" style gore...but sound effects and careful editing made it just as gruesome). The surviving friend started investigating, and found that a pattern was emerging...people would start becoming sensitive to loud noises, their eyes would start bugging, their hair would fall competely out, and they'd finally become (as I think John Beal's RMT character described the Amphoran-enhanced people) "bloodthirsty killers". (As pictured above). Turns out there was a common thread...they'd all in their younger, stupider days dropped a form of LSD called "blue sunshine", which turned out to be the culprit. If Dann used these two elements my hat's off to him for making a dandy RMT out of it. (And I LOVED Beal's character's dream sequences, such as at the first new year's eve party...no one was killing anyone, but he so wonderfully and uneasily conveyed that something wasn't quite right, in his native Joplin, Missouri, folksy way.)

I'd never heard of "Blue Sunshine" until you mentioned it, but I've traced the inspiration for a number of RMTs to TV shows of the time, so I'm sure you're right. With the constant demand for scripts, the main writers couldn't be too choosy in terms of originality. So: Plot device from "Blue Sunshine'; plot structure from "Enemy of the People." Case closed!

And it's surprising how well a tale like this stands up over the passage of time. As you pointed out above, similar issues are with us even today. I did feel like this one was padded a bit to fit the 45-minute length. How many times did we have to listen to our hero say, "I'll wait for the lab tests"? More than enough I think. Thanks again for a fun story . . . 

Seemed poorly written to me. As was previously mentioned the end was unnecessarily inconclusive. And I thought the mayor had no reason to believe the former company employee who came off as a crackpot.

The six-eyed sand spider lives in sand and caves around Namibia and South Africa in the Kalahari Desert region of the African continent which is sparsely populated. There are few, if any at all, bite reports on humans. Yet this spider may possess the most dangerous venom of all spiders...laboratory animals injected with it tend to develop multi-organ breakdown similar to the hideous reports we hear of ebola and marburg virus victims. Care to be the first human experiment with a six-eyed sand spider venom injection? I think it was an interesting role reversal in "Miracle in Sharon City". Often an attorney's role in a trial is to generate "reasonable doubt". However, in this RMT play's town hall meeting with the "Miller-Basford" company attorney present it was scientist "Elmer Starbright" (goofy name, I'll give you that), on the other hand, who injected (no pun intended) "reasonable doubt" when he cited all the degrees, patents and publications he had...I got the feeling he knew what he was worried about when he talked about the Amphoran lab animal experiments.

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