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Title

The Wheel of Life

Plot

An ex-soldier runs into a former colleague he believed dead in Vietnam. Now the friend is an influential leader of an upcoming political movement and asks him to participate. He finds out that his friend's stupendous ascent was fated by the cosmos.

Episode

0797

Air Dates

  • First Run - March 13, 1978
  • Repeat - August 12, 1978

Actors

Writer

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Rating

44
32     12


10 Responses to Episode 0797

Anyone out there who read the original "X-men" comics, before they came to the big screen? Remember "The juggernaut", the big bad guy who was "Professor Charles Xavier's" half brother. The juggernaut was a bully, not a mutant, but while in combat in Viet Nam he stumbled into a secret temple and found a jewel that turned him into that big creature he became? There's sort of a similar plot here. Two friends are in combat (Viet Nam?) and one, right in the middle of a jungle battle, stumbles into some secret underground chamber where a group of weird monks are all playing with abacuses (abaci? :? ) and there's a big wheel turning. One of the monks tells him (telepathically?) that he's in the presence of the "wheel of life" that we all live on, and that those monks are essentially controlling all things that go on in the world. The "head monk" asks the soldier what he wishes and the soldier tells him...the leader says "How better it would have been if you would have asked to get off of the wheel" but sends him off to his destiny...

M. Trocolli

I really like the scenes with the monk talking about how it doesn't ultimately matter what happens in our lives if we are still on the wheel of illusion. that is some of my favorite RMT material. The story around it was a bit weak, though.

jlm

One of the most creative in the series. In my opinion, Lloyd Batista is either on or off...in this episode he was great.

Thomas c.

Lloyd Battista is not on of off, in my opinion. He fills in a lot, as all of the actors did, but he has great range and when he's given the chance to shine, he takes it and runs away with it. He's on the money is this episode, and, as heard in other episodes, has unusually good chemistry with Russell Horton. I wish they had been in more episodes together. The concept works better here than the actual story, but they make it work.

Zeezee1

Dames for you! Spoiler Alert coming. Everything would be fine and dandy. Two soldier buddies from Vietnam who they though each had died, run into each other, and the buddy who almost died reveals how gurus promised him he will become President of the U.S. someday and it will come true if you truly desire it, and so on metaphysical power of the mind beliefs. Alright that's great, but along comes the other guy's girlfriend. "Joe, I don't trust him."What evidence she has I didn't catch. "She doesn't care how good army buddies you were fighting side by side in the war! You were only young boys. What does he do now? For a living? Is he married? (He told Joe he's is going to become President) You don't know anything about him. I as a woman believe he is a con artist. Don't trust him! Stay away Joe." Well Joe is hard to dissuade, but eventually believes his girlfriend, goes to the gurus to stop his friend from becoming President, therefore causing the death of his army buddy. The end. Moral of the story, sometimes your girlfriend doesn't know everything.

D.C.

I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ stars for AVERAGE. The plot in this mystery, written by Sam Dann, sounded intriguing and creative. But after listening to it, I got puzzled with many questions: WHY the main character had to wait that long to reach his goal? HOW did the main character get home after seeing the Wheel of Life? HOW did the second main character land his job as a Cab Driver? WOULD it be better if this story branched out more to make it into a Political-Drama? The title is catchy, but another way to title this mystery would be “The Disciples Of Karma.” The music was good, added a lot of suspense in every scene. Sound effects such as the machine gunfire, explosions, car engine, tires screech, traffic noise, piano music in the background, the Wheel of Life turning, phone ringing, and doors were supportive, but most of these sound effects were played in 1st Act. In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts the show off by presenting the Game of Life. In ACT-1, a matter of chance and the story begins in Vietnam: April 4th, 1968. In ACT-2, chance, luck, and fate are the same thing and notice the stakes in our story. In ACT-3, there’s a time and place for everything, but who controls both? In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall discusses the Wheel of Life again. His narrations were good, but should’ve added extra interpretations about the Wheel of Life such as its history, its elements, its symbols, its layers, etc. Now onto our cast: Lloyd Battista (as Rudy Kastner and 2nd Disciple), Russell Horton (as Joe and 1st Disciple), and Bryna Raeburn (as Jenny, Radio Reporter, and TV Reporter). Bryna Raeburn was splendid in her parts. Both Lloyd Battista & Russell Horton played their main roles well, however, their minor roles as Disciples was far-fetched. If anyone is interested in mystery stories involving fate/matter of chances, you should check this story out. Plus, it has a nostalgic commercial of Sine Off: The Sinus Spray Medicine. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0]

Russell

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


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