CBSRMT Episode Information Next Episode

Title

The Assassin

Plot

In an ultimate proof of work ethics, a professional killer tries to carry out the most valuable contract job he ever received - despite an accident that wipes his memory clean.

Episode

0792

Air Dates

  • First Run - March 3, 1978
  • Repeat - August 3, 1978

Actors

Writer

Listen

Rating

66
47     19


6 Responses to Episode 0792

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. Murray Burnett wrote one hell of a good Drama-Mystery. Suspenseful plot points, characters with isolated lifestyles, surprising twists, and an ending that was tragic, yet romantic. This story would be good for a feature film. Another way to title this would be “Stranger In A Strange Land” or “The Alienated Individual.” The sound effects of the rotary phone, traffic noise, crashing of the cars, bystanders murmuring, the sirens, airport runway, tableware clinking, doorbell ringing, unwrapping the package, firing of the .25 caliber with a silencer, phone scrambler beeping, music at the sidewalk café, organ grinder, and the farewell note were very supportive for this tale. That goes the same with the music. Dramatic tunes in each Act that brought more intensity and mystery as the story progressed. In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall brings up the topic of Occupations and this particular one is about killing. In ACT-1, our Host points out that certain skills are never forgotten and this hired assassin with amnesia hasn’t forgotten his “deadly” skill. In ACT-2, he mentions Modern Sociologists that recognize disorientation on alienated individuals. Later on, he quotes 17th century metaphysical poet John Donne who said, “Nowhere lives a woman true and fair” which is important in this story. In ACT-3, after knowing what happened to our main character in the final scene, E.G. Marshall quotes Charles Dickens’ work from “A Tale Of Two Cities” and it fits well for this ending. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes his narration that’s debatable for CBSRMT fans to explore. And then there’s our cast: Larry Haines (as Executioner Kyle/Duncan Appleton), Marian Seldes (as Elena), Earl Hammond (as Signor Messina & J.C. Killain), and Jackson Back (as J.J. Jones). Kudos to Jackson Beck & Earl Hammond for playing villainous roles. Bravo to Marian Seldes for playing the Love Interest. And I’d give a round of applause to Larry Haines because he stole the show. He has played many roles where he acts paranoid/puzzled/agitated/on-the-edge and this was one of his best roles: A killer living in Oblivion. If you’re a fan of Larry Haines and/or Marian Seldes, this is one CBSRMT episode to enjoy. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =^D

Russell

While multitudes are celebrating Caesar’s military victories, the envious Cassius is gradually convincing Brutus that Caesar’s life must be sacrificed for the common good. The fatal deed is planned for the Ides of March and, despite a soothsayer’s warning and his wife Calpurnia’s dream, Caesar goes to the senate and is murdered. At Caesar’s funeral, the fallen leader’s henchman, Marc Antony, sways the crowds, and then sets out with an army to defeat the fleeing forces of Cassius and Brutus.

Adam

I loved watching Care 54 Where Are You! On Nick @ Nite in the 80s. He was quoted as saying: "Voice work is the kindest thing that can happen to an old actor." (Though wasn't he a judge in "My cousin Vinny", long after the last RMT episode - think it was Mr. Gwynne's final role before he passed.)

Chris

I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ for AVERAGE. I’ll review what I enjoyed the most first and then finish off what I disliked. First, I enjoyed the cast: Kevin McCarthy (as William Gillette/Sherlock Holmes), Jada Rowland (as Pamela Watson), Russell Horton (as Jim Watson), and Carol Teitel (as the Tour Guide and Mrs. Hudson). Carol Teitel was terrific in her 2 roles. Jada Rowland is my favorite actress in the CBSRMT series and having her partner up with Russell Horton again, like many episodes before, was delightful. And Kevin McCarthy was entertaining, just like his performance as Sherlock Holmes in previous episodes before this one. Next up, music and sound effects. Dozens of dramatic tunes were used, but no suspenseful or chilling tracks were used to match the feel of being trapped in a castle. Sound effects of car engine running, tires screech, footsteps, tourists murmuring, sliding doors, cat meowing, howling wind, gong, lamp breaking, doors, cane hitting clothing, gun shot, tapping of the phone, drawing the curtains, carriage rolling up, pouring of drinking glasses, and doorbell were very supportive in this tale. Next is our Host and his narrations. E.G. Marshall’s Prologue focused on castles and our story takes place at a castle in New England. In ACT-1, meet Jim & Pamela Watson where one of them is a Sherlock Holmes buff. In ACT-2, knowing so little about William Gillette’s career and we get a sense that some actors like him can go too far to create an illusion of reality. In ACT-3, after the strange turn of events, our Host’s only explanation to the Climax is to mention a quote from a playwright about the 6th sense of the Imagination. In his Epilogue, he recommends CBSRMT listeners to take a tour of the Gillette Castle itself in Connecticut. Good recommendation, but no Resolution explained on what happened to our characters afterwards. And so, it comes down to the final segment: the Script. Elizabeth Pennell has written decent drama mysteries and even did the adaptations of #0605-JANE EYRE and #0643-WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But this story was Fair. So-so, I should say. I was expecting it to be a haunting mystery about a haunted castle with the Sherlock Holmes references. But instead, this story’s turn of events created massive questions to think about. Like, how did the Jim & Pamela Watson hear about this castle? Was Mrs. Hudson going through nightmare problems? Was William Gillette really dead? Was he putting on a show for his guest just so he can play Sherlock Holmes for fun? Did these 2 tourists actually travel back in time? Was the castle actually haunted? Was it really a nightmare? Was anything resolved after Jim & Pamela Watson escaped from the castle? There are so many fill-in-the-blanks in this, the episode’s title should be changed and call it “A Bad Case Of The Jitters” or “Elementary, My Dear Guests.” Tune in to this, if you like. There are better castle stories in the CBSRMT vault. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials of AMEX travelers checks, Bob Armstrong’s Diamond Center, “The Ritual” novel, CBS-News, First Federal of Gary, Radio Advertising Bureau, Jewel’s Discount Grocery Store, CBS-Sports News in Chicago, CBS-News on Election 1980, Susan Anton for Serta Sleeper Mattresses, and Smokey Bear Program. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. I'd think that Robert Barr would have been pleased of the adaptation of this by James Agate, Jr. It has intricate clues, it has peculiar motives, and it has a surprising twist in the end. And above all, it has a great detective in this: Eugène Valmont. Robert Barr’s character ranks up with Jacques Futrelle’s Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Another way to title this story would be “A Case Of Interest” or even “The Parisian Detective.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by comparing one of the characters as a “Scrooge.” In ACT-1, the bloodline of the James Dudley Hills on their fortunes. As the plot thickens, we realize that not all clues were divulged in the first Act alone. In ACT-2, questions pop up. More importantly, they see the evidence clearly, but not recognize it. In ACT-3, quoting Sir Francis Bacon about suspicions and our main detective plays a waiting game. In the end, after discovering where the loot was hiding all along and discovering who else was related to the family, we learned a private post-mortem joke that money would bring out the worst in those with the least character. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off with the comparison of the Midas myth - great wealth does not equal great happiness. Outstanding narrations. Sound effects of bells, footsteps, background noise at the police station, phone receiving line, seals, patrons murmuring, paper note, newspapers, doors, dog wincing, phone ringing, paper bills, intercom buzzer, emergency sirens, pulling off wallpaper were terrific. As for the music, great selection of dramatic tunes that moved the story forward. And let us not forget our amazing cast: Norman Rose (as Eugène Valmont), Russell Horton (as James Dudley Hill III and Inspector Graves), and Robert Dryden (as James Dudley Hill, Jr. and Elijah Browning). These 3 worked well together. Norman Rose, performing with a French accent, was very entertaining. This is one mystery story that CBSRMT fans should not pass up on. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. I admire Murray Burnett’s work, particularly his adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But the story originally from Edith Wharton was better. The novelist’s ghost story had a Narrator without a name. In Murray Burnett’s version, we got a fashion designer that’s interested in the castle while the other male characters act persuasive and vulnerable. I was more interested in the mystery of the dogs and hope that they would play a bigger part to this tale. Other ways to title this would be “Dogs Of Kerfol” or “Strange Vendetta.” In our Host’s Prologue, that I had to find on other OTR websites, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about castles with ghosts. In ACT-1, meet our main character who’s interested in buying a castle. After digging into the story within the story, our Host points out the lifestyle differences of adultery from 2 different time periods. Our main character must’ve seen dogs or ghost dogs. After too many conflicts about pets getting killed in this story, E.G. Marshall mentions ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Was E.G. Marshall trying to advertise this non-profit organization into the episode? In ACT-3, he understands the reaction that our main character felt when reading the history book. When the story was over, E.G. Marshall stated that when he talked about this story to a psychiatrist and what was his take on this? Was E.G. Marshall talking about his personal life on this? Or was this something that Murray Burnett wrote for him? What’s even weirder, is the Epilogue. E.G. Marshall tells the world’s shortest horror story ever. It’s a classic, but it’s irrelevant to this particular story. E.G. Marshall wasn’t off topic with his narrations, but he could’ve saved the ASPCA mentioning, the psychiatrist moment, and the shortest horror story for other episodes. The music was OK, but the tunes for the chilling moments kept on repeating in every Act. Sound effects of birds chirping, bell ring, iron gate squeaking, footsteps, car tires screech, jewelry case, door knocking, howling wind, violin music, and unbolting the door were good. And of course, the sounds of dogs barking were helpful. And finally, our cast: Mercedes McCambridge (as Paula Randall and Anne de Cornault), William Redfield (as Herve de Lanrivain and Andre de Lanrivain), Ian Martin (as Baron Yves de Cornault), and Guy Sorel (as the Judge and the Gypsy). I like this choice of cast members. In fact, this was my favorite part of the episode. All of the actors were great. But it was Mercedes McCambridge, our leading lady, who was superb. Her performance in this reminds me of her performance in Ep. #0318-CARMILLA where she played 2 roles: The Narrator and the Woman who dealt with death. Fans of her would enjoy this episode. Check this one out, but also check out Edith Wharton’s original ghost story. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ


Leave a comment