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Death Takes a Holiday

The Lux Radio Theatre

Death Takes a Holiday

Mar 22 1937



CAST:

VOICE (1 line)

ANNOUNCER, Melville Ruick

HOST, Cecil B. DeMille

ETHEL

MARIAN

TOM (1 line)

LOCAL ANNCR (1 line)

WALTER FERRIS, writer

BLANCHE SWEET, actress


Dramatis Personae:

DEATH, a.k.a. PRINCE SIRKI (FREDRIC MARCH)

GRAZIA (FLORENCE ELDRIDGE)

CORRADO, the duke's son; loves Grazia

LAMBERT, the duke

STEPHANIE, the duchess

CESAREA, elderly baron; house guest

MADAME ALDA, attractive thrill-seeker

FEDELE, servant

MARIA, Grazia's mother

1ST VOICE (1 line)

2ND VOICE (1 line)

3RD VOICE (1 line)

4TH VOICE (1 line)

5TH VOICE (1 line)

6TH VOICE (1 line)

CROUPIER (3 lines)




VOICE: Hollywood, California, Monday, March twenty-second!


MUSIC: FANFARE


ANNOUNCER: The Lux Radio Theatre presents Fredric March and Florence Eldridge in "Death Takes a Holiday," with Kay Johnson, Arthur Byron, and Gene Lockhart!


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: LUX THEME ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: Lux presents Hollywood. Our stars, Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, Kay Johnson, Arthur Byron, Gene Lockhart, and Howard Phillips. Our producer, Cecil B. DeMille. Our guests, the celebrated screenwriter and adaptor of "Death Takes a Holiday," Mr. Walter Ferris; and the famous star of silent pictures, Miss Blanche Sweet. Our conductor, Louis Silvers. So do the makers of Lux Toilet Soap welcome you to another hour in Hollywood and to the one hundred twenty-fifth production of "The Lux Radio Theatre."


SOUND: BRIEF APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: Now a word to the ladies in our audience. If there's a man in the room with you now -- your husband, your brother, your sweetheart -- what is he thinking about your complexion? Is it so smooth, so fresh and clear, that he's bound to be admiring? If you're not quite sure, better begin today to use Lux Toilet Soap, the soap with Active Lather. And be sure you're removing cosmetics thoroughly, too. Use Lux Toilet Soap regularly before you put on fresh makeup; always before you go to bed. Women everywhere find this simple care guards against unattractive cosmetic skin, dullness, tiny blemishes, enlarged pores. Remember, too, that right now in Hollywood, actually nine out of ten screen stars use Lux Toilet Soap. And now, our distinguished producer, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Cecil B. DeMille!


MUSIC: THEME UP AND OUT


SOUND: APPLAUSE


HOST: Greetings from Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen. Throughout the thunderous years of the World War, an Italian soldier named Alberto Casella heard the command to die. It was blasted in his ears by screaming shrapnel, whispered by gases that crept into shattered outposts, sung by the fatal choirs of machine guns -- until Death and Alberto Casella became bosom companions. Yet the soldier survived. Inspired by his grim associate of the trenches, he wrote the tender fantasy from which tonight's play, "Death Takes a Holiday," was adapted. Casella's regard of Death as an almost physical being -- not cruel, but wise beyond understanding -- may be interpreted in the lines he once wrote to a friend. Speaking of Death, he said, "Occasionally, we felt His Highness was on a vacation. Many a time, he willfully overlooked a comrade, later coming back to escort someone else out of a tired, bleeding world. Death often seemed human to me."


Originally produced in Italy, the adaptation of "Death Takes a Holiday" met with great success on stage and screen. The leading role tonight, as in the film version, is played by one of the most discerning and believable performers it has been my pleasure to direct -- Fredric March, who starred for me in "Sign of the Cross." Freddie's presence here tonight can be traced to an attack of appendicitis, which sent him to the hospital from his desk in a New York bank. While recuperating, he decided to leave finance and turn actor. Playing in Denver, he met and married Miss Florence Eldridge, who is again this evening his leading lady. Hollywood has also brought new honors to Miss Eldridge. Featured in many films, we remember her best for her splendid performance as Queen Elizabeth in "Mary of Scotland," and hear her tonight in the part of Grazia. Our Madame Alda is Kay Johnson, whom I saw on the stage in "The Silver Cord" and brought to Hollywood to play the leads in "Dynamite" and "Madam Satan." Before I could engage her for a third film, director John Cromwell made an engagement I could not interfere with. He married her. (BEAT) Arthur Byron, recently on the stage with Katharine Hepburn-- with Katharine Cornell in "Saint Joan" and with John Gielgud in "Hamlet," is heard tonight as Duke Lambert; Gene Lockhart as the Baron and Howard Phillips as Corrado. 


Behind the wings of the stage, our stars have left their dressing rooms, the call boy is shouting "Curtain time!" and the Lux Radio Theatre presents Fredric March and Florence Eldridge in the romantic fantasy, "Death Takes a Holiday," featuring Kay Johnson and Arthur Byron.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: BRIEF INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: A lonely road in Italy; a full, round moon hangs low in the sky, bathing the countryside in ghostly radiance. An automobile purrs softly through the night, making its way toward the old castle of Duke Lambert. At the wheel is the Duke's son, Corrado, and beside him, Grazia San Luca, a lovely young girl who seems lost in a dream as she surrenders to the beauty of the night. 


SOUND: RUNNING AUTO INTERIOR BACKGROUND


CORRADO: You haven't heard a word I've said, Grazia.


GRAZIA: What?


CORRADO: You haven't been listening to me.


GRAZIA: Yes, I have! Really, Corrado. It's just this night. It's so beautiful.


CORRADO: I asked you when we were to be married.


GRAZIA: I know, dear. And I told you.


CORRADO: You told me "soon." You can't expect me to be satisfied with that. I love you too much, far too much. And "soon" so easily becomes "never."


GRAZIA: Please, let's not talk about it now.


CORRADO: Well, why not?


GRAZIA: I don't know. It wasn't meant for talking, this night. There's something miraculous in the air. Haven't you felt it? Like an old story you can't quite believe. And the strangest shadow is following us.


CORRADO: A shadow? (CHUCKLES) You're imagining things. 


GRAZIA: It's been behind us all the way. 


CORRADO: That's the shadow of a tree perhaps.


GRAZIA: It isn't a tree.


CORRADO: Maybe it's a cloud across the moon. 


GRAZIA: There are no clouds. And it is a shadow. Sometimes it's close by; and sometimes we almost lose it. 


CORRADO: Very well then; we'll lose it! Now watch!


SOUND: CAR ACCELERATES ... IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


GRAZIA: Oh, yes, go fast, Corrado! 


CORRADO: How's this?


GRAZIA: Faster! Faster!


CORRADO: Like it?


GRAZIA: Oh, it's glorious to go fast! It feels like wings!


CORRADO: We are almost flying at this speed. The car won't do much more than-- (TENSE) Grazia!


GRAZIA: (ALARMED) Corrado!


CORRADO: I - I can't see the road. Get down! Get down!


SOUND: TIRES SQUEAL ... CAR WRECKS ... BIG CRASH!


CORRADO: (EXHALES) Grazia? Grazia? 


GRAZIA: Here, Corrado.


CORRADO: Are you--? Are you all right, darling?


GRAZIA: Yes. (SURPRISED) Yes!


CORRADO: Oh, thank God.


GRAZIA: I haven't a scratch. You, Corrado?


CORRADO: No, nothing. At least-- (ASTONISHED) No, not even a mark. Why-- Why, it's a wonder we weren't both killed. Why, it's a miracle, Grazia. Look at that car!


GRAZIA: I said there was something strange in the air. Something miraculous.


CORRADO: Grazia -- that shadow you saw. I saw it, too, just before we crashed. It seemed to envelop the whole car. I couldn't even see the road. Strange.


GRAZIA: Then I wasn't imagining things. 


CORRADO: No.


GRAZIA: What was it? What could it have been?


CORRADO: We better get on to the house. You know, father'll be waiting for us. Here, give me your hand, darling, and stay close to me.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


CORRADO: And that was it, father. We seemed to turn over and over, endlessly. I'm sorry about the car, sir.


LAMBERT: Never mind the car; I'm thankful that you both weren't killed. 


STEPHANIE: You're sure you're both all right?


CORRADO: We haven't a scratch between us, mother.


STEPHANIE: Perhaps you'd better go and lie down, Grazia.


GRAZIA: Thank you, but it's not necessary.


LAMBERT: It's a lucky night for all of us, it seems. We had a rather narrow escape ourselves this evening. 


CORRADO: Who, father?


LAMBERT: The Baron Cesarea, Madame Alda, and myself. We were driving home from the village and we ran into a street vendor's cart. We were traveling rather fast at the time. Must've carried the cart fifty feet -- and the peddler with it! 


CORRADO: Good Lord, father! He wasn't--?


LAMBERT: No, luckily. We picked him up and he seemed to be none the worse for it. 'Twas a relief, I can tell you. The strangest part of it was that none of us even saw the cart. There seemed to be a cloud in front of us.


GRAZIA: A cloud? 


LAMBERT: Well, not exactly that perhaps; more - more like a shadow.


CORRADO: Shadow? Well, that's what we saw!


LAMBERT: What?


CORRADO: Yes, just before we crashed.

 

LAMBERT: It doesn't seem possible. Do you know, son? I think--


CORRADO: Yes, sir?


LAMBERT: I think the night has been playing tricks with us. (LIGHTLY) And, in the future, we'd better have our headlights cleaned more often.


CORRADO: (CHUCKLES)


GRAZIA: It was my fault, Duke Lambert. I asked Corrado to go fast. It felt as if we were flying!


LAMBERT: Really? Heh! Well, Grazia, we think you've been flying long enough. When are you going to fold your wings and become my daughter-in-law?


CORRADO: Yes, we were speaking of that tonight. I've been trying to persuade Grazia to make it next month.


STEPHANIE: Won't you, dear?


GRAZIA: I wish I could, but--


LAMBERT: It's only a question of making up your mind, my darling.


GRAZIA: You know I love you all, and want to please you. But don't you see? I'm not ready.


CORRADO: But why, Grazia?


GRAZIA: Because life is - is too full. There's a kind of happiness I want to find first, if I can. 


CORRADO: Aren't you happy with me?


GRAZIA: Oh, yes, dear. But that isn't quite what I mean. I wish I knew how to tell you. (SLOWLY MOVING OFF) There's something out there -- out there in the night -- which I must find first, and understand. 


CORRADO: Grazia?


GRAZIA: (OFF) I'm going into the garden.


CORRADO: Well, may I come with you?


GRAZIA: (OFF) I'd rather be alone, if you don't mind.


SOUND: GARDEN DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS GRAZIA EXITS


STEPHANIE: Grazia is so strange at times. I don't understand her.


CORRADO: I don't myself sometimes. She's so fine, so delicate, so utterly remote from us all. It puzzles me.


LAMBERT: I wouldn't worry, my son. You'll win her yet.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS CESAREA AND ALDA ENTER LAUGHING


CESAREA: (LAUGHS) Madame Alda, I believe the peddler thought you were an angel when we picked him up! (LAUGHS) 


ALDA: (LAUGHS) 


LAMBERT: Baron, Madame Alda, I hope you've both quite recovered from your shock.


ALDA: (CHUCKLES) It was hardly a shock, Duke Lambert; more in the nature of a very intense thrill. I rather enjoyed it!


CESAREA: Madame Alda lives for thrills.


ALDA: (CHUCKLES) Well, why not? Is there anything better to live for, Baron?


CESAREA: Only love -- and you probably count that among your thrills. (CHUCKLES) I know I always did -- in my younger days, of course. (LAUGHS) 


ALDA: (LAUGHS) 


LAMBERT: Corrado and Grazia had a lucky escape tonight themselves.


ALDA: Really?


CORRADO: Yes, we were driving home along the hill road when--


GRAZIA: (SCREAMS, FROM OFF)


ALDA: What on earth was that?


LAMBERT: It's Grazia! 


GRAZIA: (SCREAMS, FROM OFF)


CORRADO: She's in the garden!


LAMBERT: It sounded as if she--


SOUND: GARDEN DOOR OPENS ... HURRIED FOOTSTEPS STEPS AS ALL RUSH INTO THE GARDEN ... IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


CORRADO: (CALLS) Grazia?! Grazia?!


LAMBERT: We'd better see.


CORRADO: (MOVING OFF) It came from the fountain!


LAMBERT: (BEAT, TO OTHERS) This way. (CALLS) Corrado? Corrado, where are you?


CORRADO: (OFF) Here, father!


LAMBERT: Corrado?


ALDA: There she is -- Grazia, lying on the ground.


LAMBERT: Is it--? Corrado? What's happened?


CORRADO: I don't know. She - she was just lying here.


STEPHANIE: (ANXIOUS) Is she wounded? Oh, Lambert!


LAMBERT: Now now, my dear -- it'll be all right. Lift her up a little, Corrado.


GRAZIA: (WAKES, WHIMPERS)


CORRADO: She's coming. (GENTLY) Grazia? Grazia?


GRAZIA: (FEAR AND DISTRESS) Don't let it come near me! Don't let it come near me!


STEPHANIE: What happened, Grazia?


GRAZIA: I don't know. There was something cold and terrible. I was sitting by the fountain watching the water -- and then an icy wind touched me! But it wasn't the wind because all the leaves were still. 


ALDA: Well, perhaps you fell asleep and dreamed.


GRAZIA: No! No, I saw it.


LAMBERT: What? What did you see?


GRAZIA: A shadow. An enormous darkness. And yet it wasn't a shadow because the moon shone through it. Oh, Corrado, I felt something behind me, running. There wasn't any sound, but I felt someone. And then -- it touched me! Something cold. (WHIMPERS)


CORRADO: (SYMPATHETIC) Oh, Grazia--


LAMBERT: Carry her into the house.


CESAREA: (MOVING OFF) I'll help you, Corrado.


LAMBERT: Stephanie?


STEPHANIE: Yes?


LAMBERT: Call Grazia's mother. Tell her there's nothing to worry about, but ask her to come. It's just a case of nerves, I think, but we'd better play safe.


STEPHANIE: Yes.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: GARDEN DOOR SHUTS


LAMBERT: Fedele, have you searched the grounds?


FEDELE: Thoroughly, your excellency, but we found nothing, not even a footprint, sir.


LAMBERT: Well, there must've been something! I'll have a look myself.


FEDELE: Duke Lambert, I--


LAMBERT: My revolver is in the desk drawer, Fedele. Give it to me, please.


FEDELE: Yes, your excellency.


SOUND: DRAWER OPENS ... REVOLVER REMOVED


FEDELE: Here, sir.


LAMBERT: Don't tell my wife I've gone out. Don't tell anyone. 


FEDELE: Very good, sir.


SOUND: GARDEN DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS LAMBERT ENTERS THE GARDEN


MUSIC: OMINOUS ... FOR THE ARRIVAL OF DEATH ... THEN EERIE IN BG


SOUND: DURING THIS SCENE, DEATH'S VOICE IS FILTERED FOR AN OTHERWORLDLY EFFECT


LAMBERT: Who's there? Who's there in that shadow?! Answer or I'll shoot!


DEATH: It will be quite useless against me.


LAMBERT: Stand back!


SOUND: REVOLVER CLICKS TWICE


LAMBERT: (EXCLAIMS IN SURPRISE)


DEATH: (CHUCKLES) You see?


LAMBERT: Who are you? What are you doing here?


DEATH: Shall I show you my face? Look, my friend!


LAMBERT: (IN HORROR) Good God! Who are you?


DEATH: I am not of your world. I am -- how shall I describe it? -- a sort of vagabond of space. I am, or I was, until I came into this garden, Death.


LAMBERT: Death! 


DEATH: But please be reassured, I am not on my usual mission tonight. I have already stood beside one of your number tonight without harm -- that lovely young girl in the garden.


LAMBERT: Then - then it was you?


DEATH: Yes. And on the road I was there, too, and no one was harmed. Doesn't that reassure you that I have no - fatal intentions?


LAMBERT: But - but why did you come here, if not on your usual mission?


DEATH: Why? That may be rather difficult to explain. However-- I am about to take a holiday. I shall take only three days, then after that I must go back.


LAMBERT: But why? Why do you do this?


DEATH: For a number of reasons. For one thing, to discover why men fear me as they do.


LAMBERT: Don't you know?


DEATH: How should I know? What could terror mean to me, who have nothing to fear? Can you conceive how weary I am of always being misunderstood? Can you conceive how lonely I am -- when there is nothing that does not shun me? 


LAMBERT: What is it you are seeking?


DEATH: There must be something here on earth to be known and felt -- something desirable -- that makes men fear me and cling to their life. I must know what it is. Will you accept me for these three days -- as a guest?


LAMBERT: (ALARMED) As a guest?!


DEATH: Don't be alarmed. As a mortal, of course. I assure you, I shall be quite a man of the world. Will it be a great trouble for you to put me up? (NO ANSWER, THREATENING) Well?!


LAMBERT: Oh, no, no, no. No, not at all. No, I - I have a suite of rooms prepared for an old friend who is expected -- uh, Prince Sirki.


DEATH: Indeed? Prince Sirki of Vitalba Alexandri?


LAMBERT: Yes.


DEATH: Prince Sirki will not come to see you. Not in this life.


LAMBERT: I don't understand.


DEATH: I saw him, early this morning. 


LAMBERT: Then - then he - he's dead?


DEATH: Yes. I did not know, of course, that he was a friend of yours. 


LAMBERT: Poor Sirki.


DEATH: Tell me. Was the prince known to your family and your guests?


LAMBERT: No. 


DEATH: Excellent! I shall be Prince Sirki of Vitalba Alexandri for these three days. 


LAMBERT: (WORRIED) What?


DEATH: Oh, please. Please understand that my presence in your house will not be a menace, but a protection. 


LAMBERT: (UNCONVINCED) Uh, thank you.


DEATH: But there is one condition on which I shall insist. 


LAMBERT: Yes?


DEATH: I am to be Prince Sirki and no other. When I leave you now and return later in his person, I shall be mortal. And I must be treated as a mortal in every particular. No one under this roof must show repulsion or fear on pain of my instant displeasure. 


LAMBERT: I don't understand.


DEATH: No? Let me put it this way -- if my secret is divulged, I shall leave instantly as Sirki and return in my proper person. Do I make myself clear this time?


LAMBERT: I - I understand, Your - Your Highness.


DEATH: (BEAT) So at last, I am to become mortal -- change my whole person so none will fear me. I shall feel blood in my veins, the warm blood of life. I shall know what you know, to feel what you feel. My hunger shall be appeased for an hour; my hunger that is as old as time. And those that I love need not be afraid. Not afraid. I am beside myself! My holiday is just caprice, a mad joke I play with life. But what a monstrous-- What a sublime joke! And you -- you, my friend -- will be distinguished among hosts, for none has entertained Death before, and lived. You may expect me -- soon.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


SOUND: CLOCK CHIMES MIDNIGHT


CESAREA: (FADES IN) It's most amazing. I've never found anything like-- Ah, but why at this hour?


ALDA: Unusual, but interesting, Baron.


STEPHANIE: My husband asked especially to see everyone in the library; I - I don't know why.


SOUND: LIBRARY DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES


CESAREA: Ah, here he is. Well, Lambert?


LAMBERT: (STILL SHAKEN) I'm sorry to arouse you at this hour, my friends. It's important, believe me.


STEPHANIE: Lambert, Grazia's mother is here.


LAMBERT: Ah, Maria. Oh, I'm glad to see you.


MARIA: I was so worried about Grazia when I heard.


LAMBERT: She'll be all right. Have you seen her?


STEPHANIE: She's upstairs, resting. It isn't necessary for her be here now, is it?


LAMBERT: Why, er, no, my dear. 


CESAREA: (IMPATIENT) Well, Lambert?


LAMBERT: My friends. I - I have received a message tonight from Prince Sirki. 


STEPHANIE: Oooh, so he's coming at last?


LAMBERT: Yes. He's coming. I, er-- I want-- I want to tell you all something very seriously. This guest whom we're expecting is no ordinary person. Now if he should appear eccentric or strange in any way, you must take no notice. Treat him as a prince and a gentleman always. And, above all, you must not be afraid.


STEPHANIE: But, Lambert, I - I don't understand.


LAMBERT: And no matter what happens, you must never shun him, or protest, or - or run. It - it wouldn't do any good if you did. You can't run from--


CESAREA: (BEAT) From what, Lambert?


LAMBERT: (BEAT) Nothing. Uh, I didn't mean-- (STOPS SHORT, SEES FEDELE) Well, Fedele?


FEDELE: (OFF) His Highness, Prince Sirki!


SOUND: LIBRARY DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--


LAMBERT: (TENSE AND NERVOUS, BUT TRIES NOT TO SHOW IT) Sirki! Welcome, Your Highness, to our villa.


SOUND: DEATH TAKES A STEP INTO THE ROOM ... DEATH'S VOICE IS NO LONGER FILTERED AND HE NOW SPEAKS WITH A SLIGHT ACCENT


DEATH: Thank you, my dear Duke. I am so happy to be here!


LAMBERT: We're more than honored. May I present my wife, Prince Sirki?


STEPHANIE: Your Highness is most welcome.


DEATH: Thank you. I have rarely been so charmingly received!


LAMBERT: And now may I present my guests? 


DEATH: It will be a pleasure. 


LAMBERT: Madame Alda.


ALDA: How do you do, Prince Sirki?


DEATH: Ah! May I say I had not realized that the women of your country were so beautiful.


ALDA: Your Highness is most kind.


DEATH: I wish that we might never meet when you are less beautiful and I must be less kind.


LAMBERT: The Princess Maria, Prince Sirki.


MARIA: Your Highness.


DEATH: Your Highness.


LAMBERT: The Baron Cesarea, sir -- a statesman who was once important in the affairs of the world, who now looks back on a long and interesting life.


DEATH: I am delighted to meet the Baron -- at last.


CESAREA: And I to meet you, Your Highness. 


DEATH: Considering your distinction and your age it is surprising that fate has not introduced us before.


LAMBERT: (QUICKLY) Your Highness, my - my son, Corrado. 


DEATH: Ah! Oh, yes. The son who drives his car so furiously.


CORRADO: I beg your pardon, sir?


DEATH: My friends-- Please, permit me to call you my friends--


SOUND: THE OTHERS MURMUR AGREEMENT ("Your Highness.")


DEATH: Please, make no change in your plans because of my sudden appearance. I should like to join in your pleasures if I may, and enjoy the hours with you. I - I beg you not to make a stranger of me.


LAMBERT: Your - your rooms are ready, Your Highness.


DEATH: My - my rooms?


LAMBERT: Yes. At your pleasure.


DEATH: Oh. Ah, yes. (CHUCKLES, TO ALL) Then if you will forgive me, I - I think I will go now. I, er-- I have not slept for ages -- and I feel curiously tired.


SOUND: LIBRARY DOOR OPENS


GRAZIA: Mother? 


LAMBERT: Grazia!


GRAZIA: I couldn't sleep, Duke Lambert. I was too restless.


DEATH: (ENTRANCED) Uh, this, er-- This is a guest I have not had the pleasure of meeting.


GRAZIA: (EQUALLY ENTRANCED) Oh.


LAMBERT: Grazia, this is - is Prince Sirki. The Princess Maria's daughter, Your Highness.


GRAZIA: How do you do, Your Highness?


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... ROMANTIC


DEATH: How do you do?


GRAZIA: We - we have not met before, Your Highness?


DEATH: (CRYPTIC) Perhaps - for a few fleeting moments.


GRAZIA: Yes. Yes, that is how it seems. A few fleeting moments. I am happy to welcome you now, sir.


DEATH: Please, give me your hand, Grazia. (TAKES HER HAND) Ahh, so young and firm and full of life -- and it lies so trustingly in mine.


GRAZIA: Is there any reason why it should not?


DEATH: Thank you, Grazia. You have done me a great kindness tonight. (HAPPILY, TO ALL) My friends! My holiday begins most agreeably!


MUSIC: UP ... FOR A CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: Before we go on with the Lux Radio Theatre presentation of "Death Takes a Holiday," starring Fredric March and Florence Eldridge, we're going to let you in on a Hollywood beauty secret. We're going over on La Brea Avenue to a little stucco house where happy Mrs. Thomas F. has been chatting with her friend Ethel over tea. Ethel has suddenly looked at her watch.


ETHEL: Marian, I had no idea it was so late. It's a quarter past six. Gosh, I haven't left you any time at all to rest.


MARIAN: (CHUCKLES) Oh, don't be silly. I loved having you. I have plenty of time to get dressed before Tom gets home. My bath only takes two shakes, and it always rests me. (SIGHS) I'll feel like a million.


ETHEL: Tom'll think you look it, too.


MARIAN: (CHUCKLES) 


ETHEL: We always talk about the way you keep Tom so adoring. Well, so long, Marian.


MARIAN: So long, dear.


ETHEL: Call me if you're home tonight.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


ANNOUNCER: Marian keeps Tom in love with her because she knows this secret: One thing a man adores in any woman is skin that's sweet. That's why Marian is devoted to Hollywood's beauty bath. Lux Toilet Soap's Active Lather removes perspiration, every last trace of dust and dirt from the pores. Its delicate expensive fragrance lingers. After her Lux Toilet Soap beauty bath, Tom's sure to greet his wife like this:


TOM: Hello, darling. How's my girl? Gee, you look so swell, I think I ought to take you out. How 'bout it? We could go anywhere and I - I wouldn't find another girl that's half as sweet.


ANNOUNCER: Why don't you protect daintiness? Keep romance the Lux Toilet Soap way. 


MUSIC: EERIE TRANSITION


HOST: We continue with "Death Takes a Holiday," starring Fredric March and Florence Eldridge.


MUSIC: IN EERILY AND BEHIND HOST--


HOST: Three days have gone by and the phantom Death is still a guest at the home of the Duke, still enjoying his brief visit to Earth in the person of Prince Sirki. Meanwhile, the world is an astounded witness to a series of miracles. In London--


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


SOUND: BEEP-BEEP-BEEP OF MORSE CODE TELEGRAPH KEY BEHIND VOICES DURING FOLLOWING--


1ST VOICE: S. S. Cedric explodes at sea! Sinks within an hour! No lives lost!


HOST: In Paris--


2ND VOICE: Man jumps from Eiffel Tower in attempted suicide! Walks away uninjured! 


HOST: In Japan--


3RD VOICE: Island of Kobashima totally demolished by heaviest earthquake in history! All residents are safe! 


MUSIC: ACCENT ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: And so for three days, no life is endangered, no living thing destroyed, while Death amuses himself -- now at conversation, now at yachting, now at the gaming table of a fashionable resort, where his luck amazes other players. 


SOUND: GAMING ROOM BACKGROUND ... CROWD MURMURS, ROULETTE WHEEL SPINS, ET CETERA


4TH VOICE: It's unbelievable!


5TH VOICE: He's doubled seven times on the six.


6TH VOICE: If he's right once more, he'll own the casino.


CESAREA: You mustn't double again, Your Highness!


DEATH: No, Baron? Should I not?


CESAREA: You'll lose all you've won!


DEATH: Madame Alda, shall I or shall I not?


ALDA: Yes, play it. I think the world is all yours, to do with as you choose.


DEATH: (CHUCKLES)


CROUPIER: Your Highness? 


DEATH: Yes, croupier?


CROUPIER: I'm very sorry, but it's against the rules of the house to double again.


DEATH: Oh, but, look here, you make it necessary for me to take a great deal of this, uh, this metal away with me.


CROUPIER: I am sorry, Your Highness.


DEATH: Very well. But I - I have no use for it. Here, here.


SOUND: RATTLE OF CHIPS AS DEATH DISTRIBUTES HIS WINNINGS TO THE ONLOOKERS 


DEATH: You divide it, please, among those who need it. 


SOUND: ONLOOKERS MURMUR ASTONISHMENT ("He's giving them away!")


DEATH: Baron, shall we go out on the balcony?


CESAREA: Delighted!


SOUND: BALCONY DOOR OPENS ... THEN CLOSES, SHUTTING OUT CROWD


CESAREA: (LAUGHS JOVIALLY) A magnificent gesture, Your Highness! Magnificent! You make life exciting again! I've felt twenty years younger ever since you arrived!


DEATH: (CHUCKLES POLITELY) You know, Baron, out here is the night -- crowded with beauty -- and all of you, you herd inside, in smoky rooms, feverish over little games. Why?


CESAREA: Why? One comes here to gamble and one gambles to win. 


DEATH: Hmm. It seems to me that men have not begun to discover the magnificence of this life.


CESAREA: Will you tell me what in the world you're looking for, Prince Sirki? 


DEATH: I came here looking for a game to play. A game worth playing. I have been among you almost three days -- and what you do with yourselves still seems to me so very futile and empty.


CESAREA: There are only three games: Money, Love, and War. Have you tried War?


DEATH: (LAUGHS) Plenty of it! I could never make out what it was they were fighting about. It's usually a - a flag, isn't it? Or a barren piece of ground that neither side wants.


CESAREA: Well, I suppose they fight to make themselves heroic for someone they love.


DEATH: Oh! So -- it all comes down to one game.


CESAREA: One game; that's what it comes to.


DEATH: Mmm.


CESAREA: One never grows tired of love.


DEATH: Shall I tell you something, Baron? This last great game of yours -- this of which you never tire -- seems to me to be the strangest, the saddest, the emptiest of all.


CESAREA: Can it be that you're inexperienced in such matters?


DEATH: Entirely.


CESAREA: Ahhh. You don't know what you've missed. One pair of lips will change your mind for you, someday. 


DEATH: Mmm.


CESAREA: It depends upon the subject. Er, Madame Alda's, for instance. 


DEATH: Madame Alda?


CESAREA: (CHUCKLES) She's quite taken with you, you know.


DEATH: Oh?


CESAREA: Thinks you're fascinating.


DEATH: Oh?


CESAREA: You might try your Game of Love in that quarter, Your Highness.


DEATH: (NONCOMMITTAL) Yes.


CESAREA: Huh. You don't seem very interested. You were thinking of another, perhaps?


DEATH: Perhaps.


CESAREA: Who, Your Highness?


DEATH: (CHANGES SUBJECT, POLITELY) It, er-- It is growing late, Baron. I think we will go back now.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


MARIA: Lambert! I must know what all this mystery is about!


LAMBERT: Mystery, Maria?


CORRADO: I felt it, too, father. I - I don't know what it is, but you seem afraid of something!


LAMBERT: My dear boy, please!


MARIA: Lambert, who is this guest of yours?


LAMBERT: (UNCONVINCING) He is - Prince Sirki.


MARIA: I feel that you are concealing something. 


LAMBERT: Maria--


MARIA: And Grazia has been very strange these past three days. Restless, almost exalted. I think she is attracted to this man. 


CORRADO: I've seen it, too; and Madame Alda!


LAMBERT: No, no. They couldn't be! 


MARIA: Why?


LAMBERT: I mean-- Nothing could come of it. He wouldn't encourage them. And, Maria, it's his last evening. He goes at midnight.


CORRADO: Why at midnight?


LAMBERT: That's his natural-- Uh, that is-- Oh, it's a whim of his. Just a whim, nothing more. 


FEDELE: (APPROACHES) Your Excellency?


LAMBERT: Yes, Fedele?


FEDELE: You asked to be informed as soon as Prince Sirki returned from the casino.


LAMBERT: Oh, yes.


FEDELE: He is in the library, Your Excellency.


LAMBERT: Very well. You'll excuse me, Maria?


MARIA: Of course.


LAMBERT: (MOVING OFF) Thank you.


SOUND: LAMBERT'S FOOTSTEPS TO LIBRARY DOOR, WHICH OPENS AND CLOSES


LAMBERT: Your Highness.


DEATH: Oh. Good evening, my friend. 


LAMBERT: You have returned early from the casino.


DEATH: Yes, I was very bored.


LAMBERT: I'm sorry. I had hoped that your last evening--


DEATH: Ah, yes, my last evening. But it isn't over as yet. 


LAMBERT: No, Your Highness?


DEATH: You haven't told anyone about me? None of your guests know my real identity?


LAMBERT: No one knows, Your Highness.


DEATH: Good. I wish that reserve kept without fail. I shall be in the garden for a while now. There's very little time left. And I still have not found your reason for existence.


SOUND: GARDEN DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES


MUSIC: GRIM ... THEN IN BG -- SOMETIMES HOPEFUL, SOMETIMES SAD, ULTIMATELY BUILDING TO A CLIMAX -- IN NUANCED AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


ALDA: (CHEERFUL) Good evening, Your Highness.


DEATH: Ah, Madame Alda! Good evening. You're all by yourself?


ALDA: Yes. I felt that you would be out here. I've been waiting for you.


DEATH: Many people do, but none quite so cheerfully. Aren't you afraid?


ALDA: Of you? 


DEATH: Mm.


ALDA: (CHUCKLES GAILY) Well, perhaps I am, a little. But my interest is far greater than my fear.


DEATH: Oh, I am glad. But if you knew-- (CATCHES HIMSELF) You are so fortunate here, you people. I - I think I used to despise you all with your little whims and desires all leading up to nothing. And now, there is nothing I want so much as to share them.


ALDA: I've so often thought all that of myself.


DEATH: Oh, but, my dear Alda, you can have whatever dreams you wish. But suppose you had been set down, for a few hours or a few days, among the inhabitants of the moon -- and that was all the life that you could have forever. And you knew no one there. And no one dared to know you.


ALDA: Do you really feel that?


DEATH: Yes. I am not one of you.


ALDA: Then I wish that you were. 


DEATH: You do?


ALDA: I've waited for someone like you. 


DEATH: Even though I am not what I seem?


ALDA: Oh, but you are.


DEATH: No, no. No, I am a fear, a shadow, a wandering thing. Isn't there a story among your legends of a merman who came asking a woman to love him so that he might have a soul? 


ALDA: Well, if there is, I'm sure she'd give him what he asked. I think she'd give up her own soul, gladly.


DEATH: If she were in love.


ALDA: Yes.


DEATH: Well, you see, I have come asking for that.


ALDA: Of me?


DEATH: Yes. Ah, but also, it is impossible.


ALDA: Why?


DEATH: Because you will take one step toward me and know my secret, and lose courage.


ALDA: Try me!


DEATH: (BEAT) You - you do love me?


ALDA: Yes.


DEATH: How much?


ALDA: More than life itself.


DEATH: You can give me a soul - only if you know me - and can still love me. Look into my eyes. Look deep. What do you see there? 


ALDA: Shadows.


DEATH: Look into those shadows! Let your thought go to its wildest reach! I will you to know who I am!


ALDA: (HUGE GASP; SUDDENLY TERRIFIED) No! No! I want to live! 


MUSIC: DURING ABOVE, HAS BUILT TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT


DEATH: (DISAPPOINTED) Ah. You're afraid of me.


ALDA: (THOROUGHLY UNNERVED) Oh, let me go! Please, let me go!


DEATH: (BITTER) You're afraid! A mere part of my real person puts a chill around your heart. 


ALDA: (WEEPS QUIETLY, TEARFUL) Let me go. Pity me.


DEATH: Go then! Go back to your petty little existence! You're not great enough for me, Alda. I am looking for a response such as you could never give. I am searching for someone who knows -- and is not afraid. (EXHALES DEEPLY)


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN WARMLY ROMANTIC IN BG


GRAZIA: It's such a lovely night, Your Highness.


DEATH: (SURPRISED) You! (CHUCKLES) The very serene and lovely princess. 


GRAZIA: You do me too much honor, Your Highness. I'm not really a princess, you know. 


DEATH: Let me call you so.


GRAZIA: I like to be called Grazia -- by my friends.


DEATH: How charming of you. Grazia, then.


GRAZIA: You make it sound like music.


DEATH: It is like music. It has overtones that go singing on and on. But they are not sad. No, they are full of grace and life.


GRAZIA: Oh, when you speak like that, I hear music, too. Great, sweeping chords.


DEATH: I could say so much more.


GRAZIA: Your Highness is being very kind tonight.


DEATH: I wonder if I am being ... kind.


GRAZIA: Perhaps I should have said gracious.


DEATH: No, no. No, not gracious, either. I have discovered that even the mightiest must sue for certain, uh, favors.


GRAZIA: I should think Your Highness would never need to sue.


DEATH: On the contrary. I am feeling strangely humbled for the first time in my life.


GRAZIA: And I am feeling strangely thrilled -- and proud.


LAMBERT: (TENSE) Grazia!


GRAZIA: Yes, Duke Lambert?


MUSIC: OUT AS ROMANTIC SPELL IS BROKEN


LAMBERT: Your mother is asking for you, my dear.


GRAZIA: Thank you. (WARMLY, TO DEATH) Your Highness.


DEATH: Until later, Grazia?


GRAZIA: (MOVING OFF) Until later, Your Highness.


LAMBERT: (BEAT) Your Highness?


DEATH: Yes?


LAMBERT: You'll forgive me, but-- I am worried, Your Highness. 


DEATH: Worried?


LAMBERT: About Grazia. She's a lovely child. I hope that one day she and Corrado will be--


DEATH: Enough. 


LAMBERT: Your Highness, I - I hope that you are not thinking--


DEATH: Enough, I say! You don't understand, Duke Lambert. I've been caught in this web of flesh; caught and tortured. I thought to put it on like a garment and cast it off as easily. But to put it off is to die -- to die without having lived! To die alone, without loving or being loved! And that I will not have.


LAMBERT: But it is fatal to love you! And you promised to harm no one in this house! 


DEATH: Have you forgotten that in an hour I must go? With empty hands?


LAMBERT: (ANGRY) Are you certain it will be with empty hands?!


DEATH: Quiet! I am an expert at ... conclusions, my friend.


MUSIC: ACCENT ... BRIDGE


CORRADO: (WORRIED) Grazia? Grazia?!


GRAZIA: (HAPPY) Here, Corrado!


CORRADO: Oh. Oh, Grazia, I'm so glad to find you. 


GRAZIA: Why, dear?


CORRADO: You should be in the house, not walking out here alone. Grazia, will you do me a great favor?


GRAZIA: Of course.


CORRADO: May I stay very close to you this evening?


GRAZIA: Why?


CORRADO: Because - I love you - and I'm afraid.


GRAZIA: But there's nothing to be afraid of.


CORRADO: Grazia, why are you so strange?


GRAZIA: I seem to be waiting for something.


CORRADO: Let me stay with you. 


GRAZIA: It's not you that I'm waiting for, Corrado.


CORRADO: Grazia, you're so far away. Please come back to me. There's some awful danger; I know it.


GRAZIA: Oh, no, not danger. Happiness. Something I've been waiting for so long.


CORRADO: Grazia--


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... WISTFUL


GRAZIA: Please don't be unhappy, Corrado. I love you -- in some way I can't make clear. If I didn't feel so far away, I should be in your arms crying and holding you close to me. I want to do that, but somehow I think I never shall.


CORRADO: Oh, you're trembling.


GRAZIA: I'm only a little cold. Will you get my cloak from the hall?


CORRADO: I don't want to leave you. Won't you come with me?


GRAZIA: No. I must wait here, Corrado.


CORRADO: (PLEADS) Grazia-- 


GRAZIA: I must wait here -- for him -- alone.


MUSIC: UP ... FOR CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: We pause for station identification. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


LOCAL ANNCR: And this is KNX, the Columbia station, Los Angeles.


HOST: We call an intermission in our presentation of "Death Takes a Holiday," starring Fredric March and Florence Eldridge, to introduce the dramatist who brought this play to American audiences. Formerly instructor in English at Yale University, Walter Ferris is now one of the screen's most valued writers. With such hits to his credit as "Under Two Flags," "Maid of Salem," and "Lloyd's of London," he interrupts his work on Shirley Temple's film, "Heidi," to be with us tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, Walter Ferris.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


WALTER FERRIS: Thank you, Mr. DeMille. There are no doubt people in our audience who think me morbid for having dealt with this subject, but my intention was anything but morbid. Mr. Casella's brilliant and compelling conception of Death on a holiday suggested all sorts of fascinating ideas to me. One was this: I thought if I were to treat Death as a fellow who couldn't understand why people were afraid of him -- since his job was only to escort them from one world to another -- that those who saw the play might cheer up a little. I thought they might go out of the theater stepping a few inches higher than when they came in, which is what Mr. DeMille and David Belasco achieved with their fantasy on death, "The Return of Peter Grimm." That, to my mind, is what every play or motion picture should make an audience do -- step a little higher -- whether the theme is comedy or tragedy.


HOST: The adaptation of Mr. Casella's play must have been a very difficult task.


WALTER FERRIS: It was. Adrienne Morrison, the mother of Joan and Constance Bennett, asked me to do it. At first, I refused. But then the theme haunted me so that I finally accepted and spent nearly two years in writing the play you are presenting tonight.


HOST: Four actresses found their way to fame through the part of Grazia -- Rose Hobart, Helen Vinson, Margaret Sullavan, and Katharine Hepburn. But how did you happen to turn playwright?


WALTER FERRIS: By playing hide-and-seek with death myself, really. Like Mr. March, I found myself in a hospital with lots of time to think things over. Freddie got better and became an actor; I became an author.


HOST: Mm, you're both getting better all the time.


WALTER FERRIS: Certainly Mr. March has recovered splendidly. I sometimes have doubts about myself.


HOST: (CHUCKLES)


WALTER FERRIS: We've been very lucky in the stars we've had in the part of Death. First, Philip Merivale on the stage, then Fredric March on the screen. And now on the radio we have Mr. March and his distinguished wife playing together. And before saying goodbye I should like to express an author's gratitude to the Lux Radio Theatre for the very intelligent fashion in which it uses its material. It's been a pleasure to be here and see how you present a program in behalf of a product which we use every day, both at home and at Twentieth Century-Fox studios, Lux Toilet Soap. Thank you.


HOST: It's been a pleasure, Mr. Ferris, to have you with us.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: GRIM AND TENSE ... FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: "Death Takes a Holiday," starring Fredric March and Florence Eldridge. (PAUSE) The time grows short. Death's holiday on earth is almost over, and soon Prince Sirki must again take up the black cloak of his real existence. In the garden, Grazia and his Highness sit hand-in-hand, gazing deep into each other's eyes.


MUSIC: CHANGES TO WISTFUL AND ROMANTIC, IN BG


DEATH: You kept your promise, Grazia. You came to meet me.


GRAZIA: Didn't you know that I would?


DEATH: Yes. I felt it, deep within me. It is strange; we seem to understand each other so. We hardly need to speak, do we?


GRAZIA: Thoughts are so much clearer than words.


DEATH: Oh? Then perhaps you can tell me what I have been doing here?


GRAZIA: I think I can - almost. 


DEATH: Tell me.


GRAZIA: I think you've been holding life in your hand -- as I do sometimes. I think you've been a little afraid of its beauty.


DEATH: You do know. You wonderful, exquisite child. Something new has been born in me. And at last, I know the meaning of this life men lead here. I know for the first time. Men bear a dream within them, a dream that lifts them above their petty lives. And that dream is love. You have brought this to me, Grazia. You have shown me a new world, a world which you made for me and which we share together. And yet, I am alone, too. Still alone.


GRAZIA: I think we'll never be alone again. 


DEATH: We must, Grazia. And I shall miss you so. I shall hear your laughter in every wind that passes, I shall hear your footsteps wherever you are -- when our two worlds hold us apart.

 

GRAZIA: Why should we ever be apart? What is this that will happen? Who are you? 


DEATH: (RELUCTANT) Well, uh, Prince Sirki--


GRAZIA: I don't mean that. You seem to come from a distant place. You're like the mystery that's just beyond sight and sound, always just beyond my reach. Something that draws and - and frightens me.


DEATH: Oh, Grazia, Grazia, please. Do not be afraid of me. I am Sirki who loves you more than any man could love you. I am Sirki who needs your warmth and your beauty more than any man could need them. Listen to me, Grazia. I am a great power, and I am humble before you. And tonight I must go back to my - my distant kingdom. 


GRAZIA: Will you take me with you?


DEATH: Take you? 


GRAZIA: I should be unhappy alone.


DEATH: Take you? Oh, no, not-- Do not tempt me. Oh, but, Grazia, Grazia, please. Give me one hour with you. Let me hold you close to me. For you are the meaning of beauty that I must know. Let me hold you in my arms, Grazia, and know that I have lived.


GRAZIA: (DEEPLY) Oh, my love. My love.


MUSIC: OUT WITH--


SOUND: GENTLE CHIMES OF CLOCK ... IN BG


DEATH: What is that?


GRAZIA: Only the chimes of the hall clock. It's striking the three-quarter hour.


DEATH: Three-quarter hour? (REALIZES WITH DISAPPOINTMENT) Oh, then soon it will be midnight. Midnight.


SOUND: CLOCK CHIMES UP AND OUT ... FOR A BRIEF TRANSITION


CORRADO: (UPSET) I tell you, father, she's slipping away from me! Away from all of us!


LAMBERT: (TENSE) Corrado, please! Maria--?


MARIA: (WORRIED) She's out there in the garden with him now. He has some strange power over her.


CORRADO: We must save her from him!


LAMBERT: We can do nothing.


CORRADO: Don't stand there and say that! We must do something! We - we can go out there together and take him by the throat!


LAMBERT: If we could, should I be standing here? (UNCONVINCING) Grazia is in no danger. There - there is nothing to be alarmed about. 


CESAREA: But you're alarmed, Lambert!


CORRADO: Yes, father. You're terrified! I must know why!


MARIA: Please, Lambert, let me go to her!


LAMBERT: No, no. Wait!


CORRADO: Then I'll go!


LAMBERT: No! I forbid you to move!


CORRADO: Then tell me why I can't go! Give me your reason or, by Heaven, I'll kill that man!


LAMBERT: You can't kill him! But he can kill us. If he but puts out his hand, all of us--


CORRADO: Who is this prince?


LAMBERT: You don't know what you're asking.


CORRADO: I don't care. I only know that Grazia is in danger.


LAMBERT: (BEAT, REACHES A DECISION, QUIETLY AT FIRST, THEN INCREASINGLY EMOTIONAL) Very well. I'll tell you. He said if I reveal his secret, he will leave instantly as Sirki and return as-- Steel yourselves if you are to hear it. He is not Prince Sirki. He is the one who waits. The one whom all men dread! His Majesty, Death --


SOUND: THE OTHERS GASP IN ASTONISHMENT


LAMBERT: (TEARFUL) --amusing himself on a holiday! (WEEPS)


CORRADO: Father!


MARIA: (IN HORROR) Death! Death!


SOUND: GARDEN DOOR OPENS


SOUND: BIG ACCENT ... FOR THE INSTANT APPEARANCE OF DEATH ... DEATH, NO LONGER PRINCE SIRKI, SPEAKS NOW WITHOUT HIS ACCENT


DEATH: (DISPLEASED) So, my friend, you have broken your promise.


LAMBERT: (SOBER) Yes. I was desperate, sir. It was my son's life against my promise. I had no choice.


DEATH: I'm not used to these distinctions! I thought we should part as friends, with kindly remembrances, but now my shadow has come between us. 


LAMBERT: Not already?!


DEATH: No, I am mortal, still, for a few minutes -- no longer as Prince Sirki, but as myself with my own feelings. In a few moments, I shall be what I was, and for me, too, there will be an end.


LAMBERT: But you are above pain and loss! 


DEATH: Am I? I thought tonight I had reached the end of my experiment. I had found love. But it was not the end. Beyond that, I have found the pain of losing love -- (QUIETLY) -- if I must lose it.


LAMBERT: But it must be lost to you! 


DEATH: Why?


LAMBERT: Because you are--


DEATH: Death! Death! (CHUCKLES MIRTHLESSLY, DRY) My dear Duke, thank you for defining the problem.


MARIA: (TEARFUL) Your Highness, won't you give her back to me? (SOBS BEHIND--)


DEATH: (ANGRY) It's your pain against mine! Why should I deny myself because of your childish fear? You know nothing of the meaning of death. I tell you, there is no death! Only a life beyond. A richer, simpler life than yours. And infinitely more kind.


MARIA: But she is so young to die! 


DEATH: To go with me now in love would be triumph, not death, as it is known to you.


MARIA: (WEEPS) Oh, in God's name, please!


CORRADO: Give her back to me! Give her back to me!


DEATH: One lover must always lose, Corrado.


LAMBERT: But not like this! Not with death!


DEATH: There are worlds between us, and I cannot reach your minds. Why do men fear my coming?! "Death." Death is but a word that you've been taught to fear, a symbol of the unknown, and because of that word you keep her from me. I would only lead her through the gateway to the life that lies beyond. 


LAMBERT: Your Highness, we are not answered. Are we to keep Grazia?


DEATH: Is she yours even now?


LAMBERT: But she doesn't know who you are -- now. If she knew, what would she choose?


DEATH: (THOUGHTFUL) Yes. Yes, you're right. Even Grazia was born to fear the face of death. She would die with me now as Sirki. But as Death-- I cannot tell her.


LAMBERT: You gave me your word.


DEATH: You think me bound by that?


LAMBERT: I do! An honorable man would be bound.


DEATH: Because I assumed your flesh, must I assume your weakness?


LAMBERT: Then pity our weakness! I have seen pity struggling in you. We beg the life of Grazia!


DEATH: (CHUCKLES DARKLY) I bound myself to life -- and, with it, to the petty rules by which it is lived -- and now I must bow to it. (MOVING OFF) What a monstrous comedy!


MARIA: (UPSET) Where is he going?


LAMBERT: To fetch Grazia!


MARIA: Oooh, what will he do? What will he do?


LAMBERT: We must wait, Maria.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


CESAREA: He's been so long. What is the time?


LAMBERT: Four minutes to the hour.


MARIA: Four minutes!


LAMBERT: Ssh, Maria!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... DEATH'S STEPS IN


LAMBERT: Your Highness?


DEATH: She is coming in.


CORRADO: You'll give her back to us?


DEATH: No! It is for her to choose. 


GRAZIA: (OFF) Your Highness?


DEATH: Come here, Grazia.


MARIA: Oh, Grazia darling, I've been so frightened. Grazia, don't run away like that again -- not in the night.


GRAZIA: But I was quite safe with Prince Sirki, mother. I love to be with him. I must stay with him always.


MARIA: (GASPS)


CORRADO: Grazia!


GRAZIA: He's kind, mother. And more tender than anyone I've ever known. (TO CORRADO) Even more tender than you.


MARIA: (WITH GREAT SADNESS) Don't, Grazia. You don't know what you're saying.


GRAZIA: (SENSES THEIR MOOD) Why are you all so strange? Why are you suffering so? I've found my love. There ought to be lights and music.


MARIA: (DESPERATE, TO DEATH) Save her! Oh, please save her!


DEATH: Tell her what you will!


GRAZIA: What is there to tell? Do you think there's anything I don't understand? I love His Highness and I must go with him.


LAMBERT: Your Highness, you must tell her. 


GRAZIA: (TO DEATH) Say what you like. It will make no difference.


LAMBERT: It's nearly twelve, Your Highness.


DEATH: Yes, yes, I know. (RELUCTANT) Grazia-- Grazia, I - I came to this house in jest. And made love to you as a jest.


GRAZIA: (DISAGREES, BUT PLEASANTLY) You're trying to destroy my love because they wish it. It was not a jest.


DEATH: Grazia, listen. You - you must stay here with those who love you. I am going far away, to a distant country. If you went with me now, you could never see them again. 


GRAZIA: Why must you say these things to me? It can make no difference.


DEATH: But you don't understand! My holiday is over. I am going at once.


GRAZIA: I'm ready.


DEATH: No, no, no. You - you - you can't come with me.


GRAZIA: Yes, I can. Shall we go now?


DEATH: But you - you don't know who I am!


GRAZIA: (DEEPLY) You are my love. My love.


DEATH: (STUNNED) You - you heard her, all of you? You wish me to speak and destroy this happiness?


LAMBERT: You must!


SOUND: CLOCK BEGINS TO TOLL MIDNIGHT ... THEN IN BG


DEATH: (TRIES TO MAKE HER UNDERSTAND) Oh, Grazia. Grazia, my little love. Please. It was not a jest, but I must go, dear -- alone.


GRAZIA: (DISAGREES POLITELY) Oh, no.


DEATH: Goodbye my friends! Remember that there is only a moment of shadow between your life and mine. And when I call, come bravely through that shadow and you will find me only your familiar friend.


SOUND: CLOCK FINISHES TOLLING MIDNIGHT


MUSIC: SAD, AS DEATH TRANSFORMS TO HIS TRUE SELF ... THEN IN BG


MARIA: (WEEPS IN RELIEF)


SOUND: DEATH'S VOICE IS ONCE AGAIN FILTERED FOR AN OTHERWORLDLY EFFECT


DEATH: Now, Grazia, you see me as I am. 


MARIA: (GASPS IN HORROR)


CORRADO: Good heavens!


DEATH: As I am, Grazia. As death. That is why I must go, alone. Do you understand now, Grazia?


GRAZIA: But I've always seen you like that. You haven't changed.


DEATH: (PUZZLED) You have seen me - like this?


GRAZIA: Yes, always. And I'm going with you. 


DEATH: (BEAT, REALIZES) Then there is a love which casts out fear. And I have found it! And love is greater than illusion, and as strong as death. Come, Grazia.


GRAZIA: (EXULTANT) Yes. I'm here. Yes!


MUSIC: UP ... FOR CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


HOST: Death's holiday is over, and, with it, our play. But Fredric March and Florence Eldridge rejoin us at the microphone later. Along with the Gish and Talmadge sisters, Mary Pickford, and Marguerite Clark, Blanche Sweet will always be remembered among Hollywood's favorite stars of the silent screen. Discovered by D. W. Griffith, Blanche was in no small measure responsible for the box office competition he constantly gave me. I thought the best way to remove the competition was to acquire the star, which I did. A million miles of film have run through Hollywood's cameras since then, but as I welcome her tonight, I see the same charming Blanche with the lovely blue eyes who brought to silent pictures the eloquence of a great performer. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Blanche Sweet.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


BLANCHE SWEET: Thank you, Cecil, and thank you, all. Rather amazing, isn't it, to think back to what pictures were like when you and I began, long before we ever dreamed of speaking to each other with a microphone between us. You know, I was just thirteen when I made my film debut with the old Edison company back in New York. My salary was the staggering sum of three dollars a day.


HOST: (CHUCKLES)


BLANCHE SWEET: And I remember my first Hollywood film for Mr. Griffith at Biograph. It was a one-reel thriller called "The Lonedale Operator." At that time, you know, the names of the cast were never mentioned by the leading studios and Biograph made it a point to always withhold the identity of their players. Then names were advertised by independent companies who chose this as a new means to combat opposition, so quite unwittingly did the system featuring star personalities come into being.


HOST: Which do you remember, Blanche, as the most outstanding films of your career?


BLANCHE SWEET: Now, Cecil, that's not for me to say. But I particularly liked doing "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," "Anna Christie," "Judith of Bethulia," and of course your own production, "The Warrens of Virginia."


HOST: Recently, many of us saw you on the stage, playing with Leslie Howard in "Petrified Forest." After your success in that, have you any thought of returning to pictures?


BLANCHE SWEET: Well, I'm due back in New York this spring for a play. I leave next month and expect to go into rehearsals soon after. I'll miss listening to your program, Cecil, when I'm in the theater, but I assure you, I don't have to be reminded to keep on using Lux Toilet Soap. 


HOST: (CHUCKLES)


BLANCHE SWEET: I hope I'm not a fussy individual, but I am particular about what I use for my complexion. I've used Lux Toilet Soap for many years and I'm glad to have this opportunity of saying what a marvelous beauty care it is. Now, thank you again. Goodbye.


HOST: Sweet, isn't she?


SOUND: APPLAUSE


HOST: Patience, as Disraeli once remarked, is a necessary ingredient of genius. And in calling back our leading man to the microphone, with Miss Eldridge, I call back the most patient man I know. (TO MARCH) Forward, March. (TO ALL) Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Fredric March.


MARCH: Thank you.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MARCH: Thank you, C. B. I, er-- I don't know quite what you mean by patience, though, unless you refer to the fact that it's been nearly five years since we last worked together, in "Sign of the Cross." But to have been in another DeMille production tonight has been worth all the patience in the world.


HOST: Thanks, Freddie, but I referred particularly to the patience you exhibited in "The Sign of the Cross."


ELDRIDGE: If you mean the time you sent my husband to the lions, Mr. DeMille, I think I deserve the medal for patience, not Freddie.


HOST: (CHUCKLES) This scene, Florence, was just before he was served to the lions. A jailer was supposed to enter with a simple speech, "Forgive me, but we must proceed. The emperor is waiting, Excellence."


MARCH: Oh, I remember that. Yes, and the jailer was so terribly scared that he just couldn't say the word "Excellence."


HOST: Every time, he'd ruin the scene by saying "Your Majesty" or "Your Highness" or "Your Lordship."


ELDRIDGE: (AMUSED) And what happened?


MARCH: Well, as I remember, after wasting hours, we went to lunch while Mr. DeMille dug up another jailer. This new actor looked the part and he caught his cue perfectly. He glared at us fiercely and he declared, "Forgive me, but we musht prosheed. The emperor is waiting, Exshellenshee!"


HOST: (CHUCKLES) When I heard that lisp, they had to keep me from throwing that jailer instead of Freddie to the lions.


ELDRIDGE: Weren't you just a little bit frightened, Freddie, playing the lion scene?


MARCH: Not a bit, my darling. You see, I had just found out that those lions didn't like ham.


ELDRIDGE: (CHUCKLES) 


HOST: (CHUCKLES) Er, Freddie tells me, Florence, that you and he are going back on the stage.


ELDRIDGE: Yes. We wanted to wait until our children were a bit older, but now Penny's four-and-a-half and Tony's a little past three.


HOST: Hmm, time marches on with the Marches.


MARCH: Incidentally, C. B., Penny's a great booster of yours. She told us to be sure to give her love to the man who sells that nice soap.


HOST: (CHUCKLES) 


ELDRIDGE: Well, after all, Lux Toilet Soap has been a standby of the March household for a good many years, Mr. DeMille. Not because just about everybody in Hollywood also seems to prefer it, but because it happens to be just about the finest complexion care we know of.


MARCH: Yes, and now, darling, don't you think it's about time we went home and put the kids to bed?


ELDRIDGE: Oh, yes, I do! Goodbye, Mr. DeMille, and, to all of you out there, our sincere thanks.


MARCH: Goodbye, all.


HOST: (CHUCKLES) March goes out like a lion.


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: Mr. March, Miss Eldridge, our thanks. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your announcer Melville Ruick. There's great news coming from Mr. DeMille in a moment. Mr. March will be next seen in the David O. Selznick Technicolor production "A Star is Born." Mr. DeMille appeared through courtesy of Paramount studios and Louis Silvers Twentieth Century-Fox, where he was in charge of music for the new film "Seventh Heaven." And now our producer.


HOST: Next Monday night, the Lux Radio Theatre brings you George Burns and his pixilated partner of screen and radio Miss Gracie Allen. The vehicle for these nitwits of the networks is supplied by those sharp-witted satirists George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly and was the first play that brought them fame, "Dulcy." In addition to Burns and Allen, our cast will include four of the original players -- Howard Lindsay, Wallis Clark, Elliott Nugent, and Norma Lee.


MUSIC: LUX THEME ... UNTIL END


HOST: Our sponsors, the makers of Lux Toilet Soap, join me in inviting you to be with us again next Monday night, when the Lux Radio Theatre stars George Burns and Gracie Allen in "Dulcy." This is Cecil B. DeMille saying good night to you from Hollywood.


ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System. 


SOUND: APPLAUSE



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