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Escape

The Royal Gelatin Hour

Escape

Jan 14 1937



CAST:

LOCAL ANNOUNCER

HOST, Rudy Vallee


ANNOUNCER, Graham McNamee

KATHLEEN O'CONNELL

JIM BRENNAN

TOM BURKE

AIDE

CAPTAIN




HOST: ... The first of our Irish-American guests tonight -- not counting Charlie McCarthy who's part Swedish and Graham McNamee who's part radio announcer -- our first authentic Irishman is Pat O'Brien. Pat has just completed "The Great O'Malley" and "Slim" for Warner Brothers and is briefly in New York after being toastmaster at the Notre Dame football banquet in South Bend, Indiana. You'll hear him tonight in "Escape," a short play by Arch Oboler and Sanford Barnett. His leading lady -- Sylvia Field of the Broadway show shops. Our play, appropriately enough, has a Dublin background, a setting made familiar to you recently in "The Informer" and "The Beloved Enemy": Ireland in the time of the Troubles. Pat O'Brien, with Sylvia Field, in "Escape."


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: BRIEF MELODRAMATIC INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: Place: a room in a tenement dwelling in the poorer quarter of Dublin. Time: twenty years ago. This is the home of Kathleen O'Connell -- young, beautiful, and, as we see her now, rocking nervously before a cold fire, very apparently frightened of something; anxious, waiting. Listen. There is a sharp, urgent knock at the door.


SOUND: KNOCK AT THE DOOR ... THREE QUICK KNOCKS, THEN THREE SLOW ONES


ANNOUNCER: It is evidently a signal. She goes to the door and unbolts it.


SOUND: DOOR UNBOLTS AND OPENS


KATHLEEN: Oh -- it's you.


JIM: Aye, that it is. Shut the door, girl -- quick!


SOUND: DOOR SHUT


KATHLEEN: Are they after ye, Jim?


JIM: No, no; the devil's lot of them. Their eyes are shut this night. Where's Tom Burke? The hour is ten already. We cannot make a move till we hear from him.


KATHLEEN: He'll be here.


JIM: Ahhh, that he will. When there's fightin' to be done for Ireland, Thomas Burke'll be in the thick of it.


KATHLEEN: Fightin', fightin'! Will there be no end of it? Until every son of Ireland lies dead in his blood?!


JIM: 'Tis no longer a matter of livin' or dyin', Kate O'Connell. Our only choice now is how we die -- against a wall or fightin' for freedom.


KATHLEEN: I've heard that said so many times now. Freedom can come through peaceful ways.


JIM: (WITH DISGUST) Peaceful ways. And your own brother butchered like a dog -- not cold in his grave!


KATHLEEN: They shot him because he carried a gun --- against the law.


JIM: And we'll all have guns this night. Every mother's son of us. As soon as Tom comes with word of what the British do, we'll strike a blow for Irish freedom that'll ring to Heaven as long as men are men! I tell ya, girl--


KATHLEEN: Wait! As soon as Tom comes with word of what the British do? What do you mean by that?


JIM: (LOW) I mean that Thomas digs out the devil's secrets at headquarters this night.


KATHLEEN: Oh, no! They'll kill him. Three hundred pounds on his head. They'll shoot him down on sight!


JIM: (WITH DELIGHT) Oh, Tom, he's too much smart for them. Ha ha! They think his name is Griffith, and they pay him well as their informer. Griffith the informer. Heh heh! Informer he is, but not for them.


KATHLEEN: (WITH DESPAIR) Fightin', hatred, blood--


SOUND: KNOCK AT THE DOOR ... THREE QUICK KNOCKS, THEN THREE SLOW ONES


JIM: Wait! There's the lad now. Go let him in.


KATHLEEN: Yes.


SOUND: KATHLEEN'S STEPS TO DOOR, WHICH OPENS


KATHLEEN: (RELIEVED) Oh, Tom! You're back!


SOUND: TOM ENTERS ... DOOR SHUTS


TOM: (NO EMOTION) Yes. I'm back.


JIM: Tom, man -- what's the good word? Our men are waitin'. If you say the way is clear, we'll go to where the blessèd guns are stored--


TOM: There are no guns.


JIM: No guns?!


TOM: I said there are no guns. (BEAT) Someone's informed on us.


JIM: No, no -- that can't be true!


TOM: We're betrayed, Jim. Every plan, every hope. The guns are gone. The British have them. Every last one of them.


KATHLEEN: Oh, the saints be praised. If there are no guns, there'll be no fightin' tonight.


JIM: Curse the black heart of him that's done this to Ireland.


TOM: (SEETHING) If I find him, I'll have his rotten life with my own hands.


KATHLEEN: No, no, Tom -- don't say such things.


TOM: I'll have his life, I swear it.


JIM: Father in Heaven, as Jimmy Brennan is me name, I swear to you that black informer won't live to spend the Judas money he got for what he did this night!


KATHLEEN: No, no, stop! Stop sayin' that, the both of ya. It's for the best, I tell ya. The guns are gone and now there'll be no more of fightin'. No more blood in the streets.


TOM: No more of blood, is it? Then listen to this. Before this night is over, every man who would have marched tonight for Ireland will be dead -- dead before a firin' squad.


KATHLEEN: (INCREASINGLY HORRIFIED) Tom! Why? Why will they be dead? Tell me, why?


TOM: Because the informer betrayed more than guns and ammunition. Whether he meant to or not, he betrayed our lives. 


KATHLEEN: (STARTLED EXCLAMATION)


TOM: In the room where the guns were hidden, the British found our records, our names written down in black and white.


KATHLEEN: No!


TOM: It's death, Kathleen. Death to all the men I love as my brothers. With my own ears I heard the English orders. Right now, the patrols are out! There'll be no trial. The blank wall, the quicklime's grave.


KATHLEEN: (DISTRESSED) No, no, stop! It isn't true! They won't kill them; they won't! He promised me! I tell ya, he promised me!


JIM: Promised you?! What are you sayin', Kate O'Connell? Who promised ya what?


KATHLEEN: Not to kill ya; to let you go. "Tell me where the guns are," he said, "And I'll pardon them all." Oh, God in Heaven, what have I done? What have I done?!


JIM: You!


KATHLEEN: (WEEPS, CONTINUES IN BG)


JIM: It was you who betrayed us!


TOM: (QUIETLY, WITH SYMPATHY) Kathleen? (NO ANSWER) Kathleen, for the love of God, look at me. You couldn't do this. Tell me you didn't.


KATHLEEN: (TEARFUL) I didn't want you to fight, I didn't want you to die. The English captain gave me his word to let you free. (WEEPS, MORE QUIETLY, IN BG)


JIM: But now we die. And you'll die, too. On my oath, I swore to kill the informer. Stand aside, Thomas Burke, and let me keep that oath. I'll have her life for ours!


TOM: Wait, Brennan! She'll die, but not by your hand.


JIM: What?!


TOM: Mine. Mine's the hand to do it. Give me that gun, Jim Brennan. Mine is the shame, and mine is the deed.


JIM: (SURPRISED) You - you'll really do it?


TOM: Yes, I swear I will. Give me that gun. (A GENTLE ORDER) Run, warn the others. There still may be time to save a few.


JIM: All right. I trust ye, Thomas Burke. Here is the gun. But if you weaken-- If you fail--


TOM: (EXPLODES) I won't fail! Get out!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS JIM EXITS


KATHLEEN: (HER WEEPING FILLS A PAUSE, THEN SUBSIDES) Oh, Thomas, Heaven be my judge, what I did I did because I thought it was best. You could never have won; so few of ya. I thought I could make a bargain with them to save your lives.


TOM: (QUIETLY) You mean save my life, don't you, Kathleen?


KATHLEEN: I couldn't have ya a hunted thing. I wanted ya to be free. I love ya so much.


TOM: Ahh, and I love you, darling.


KATHLEEN: I'm not afraid to die, Tom. Someday we'll meet again, God willing -- in a better world, where all this misery and hate are gone, and where men walk in the sunlight without fear. Shoot, Tom.


TOM: It's not my hand that'll ever harm ya, Kathleen.


KATHLEEN: But your oath?


TOM: Oh, I've had enough of oaths given for hatred and bloodshed! I've done what I could for Ireland; given up everything -- hope of peace and comfort! It's askin' too much of mortal man to give you up, too.


KATHLEEN: Well, what can we do? Where is there hope for such as us?


TOM: America! There's a boat within the hour; you'll be on it.


KATHLEEN: But we've no money.


TOM: (BEAT, LOW) Money. Money? (UP, NOT TOO CONVINCING) Oh, I-- I - I have money. Plenty of it. A hundred pounds.


KATHLEEN: A hundred pounds?! Tom, where did you get it?


TOM: (LYING) I - I saved it. Every penny. (BEAT, QUIETLY) A surprise, for our weddin'. It was to be next month.


KATHLEEN: (MOVED) Oh.


TOM: Ah, there's no time now for talk. If they find ya here alive, they'll kill ya. Brennan swore to it. Come now, I'll take ya to the ship, then go get the money. Come, Kathleen -- I swear my last oath. Ah, there's no blood with this one. I swear to give you life.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


AIDE: Captain?


CAPTAIN: Yes?


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR CLOSES QUIETLY 


AIDE: The informer Griffith is here, sir.


CAPTAIN: Good. Send him in.


AIDE: Yes, sir.


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS


AIDE: (OFF) This way, Griffith.


CAPTAIN: (BEAT) Well, Griffith? What brings you back?


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR CLOSES


TOM: I've located Tom Burke, sir.


CAPTAIN: Burke?! Here in Dublin? Good work, Griffith. Where is he?


TOM: I've got to have a hundred pounds for the information, sir.


CAPTAIN: You'll have three hundred pounds when we get Tom Burke. Speak up! Where is he?


TOM: I know exactly where he'll be right after seven o'clock. I've got to have the money first, sir.


CAPTAIN: (RELUCTANT) Well-- (GIVES IN) Oh, all right. Here. Here's a hundred pounds. Now - now talk.


TOM: There's a boat leavin' for New York at seven.


CAPTAIN: (IMPATIENT) Yes-yes-yes, I know.


TOM: Tom Burke will be on the dock right after the boat leaves.


CAPTAIN: But we don't know what he looks like. How will we recognize him?


TOM: He's just about my build, sir. He'll - he'll give a signal.


CAPTAIN: A signal?


TOM: Yes. When the boat is well away from shore, you'll see the man they call Thomas Burke wavin' a bit of green cloth at someone on the boat.


CAPTAIN: Waving green cloth? But - but why should he do that?


TOM: A signal, I told ya. The signal for his friends to start trouble.


CAPTAIN: Oh. Oh, so that's it. (CHUCKLES) Well, we'll put a stop to that. We've been after that troublemaker for two years. But I warn you, man. If you've lied to me--


TOM: He'll be there, Captain. He'll be there. Remember the signal.


CAPTAIN: Uh huh.


TOM: (BEAT) Oh, uh-- And, Captain--?


CAPTAIN: (BEAT) Well?


TOM: He may run for it. If he does --- shoot straight.


CAPTAIN: (SHORT CHUCKLE)


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: HARBOR BACKGROUND ... SHIP'S HORN RUMBLES OMINOUSLY ... PASSENGERS MURMUR


KATHLEEN: (RELIEVED) Oh, Tom! You're here at last! I've been waitin' so long.


TOM: Well, yes, I - I had to get the money.


KATHLEEN: Come on board quickly. The boat--


TOM: No, you go aboard now, darlin'; not I.


KATHLEEN: Tom, what are you talking about? You're going with me. You're going to America.


TOM: Yeah, but not on this boat, darlin'. Later.


KATHLEEN: Not on--? (WORRIED) Oh, Tom, tell me. Why not on this boat?


TOM: Well, because I didn't get all the money. I mean, there's only enough for one passage -- yours.


KATHLEEN: Then I won't go. I'll stay here. I'll stay until you go.


TOM: But Brennan's sworn to kill ya! Oh, no, you won't. You're gettin' aboard that boat right now.


SOUND: LOW RUMBLE OF SHIP'S HORN


KATHLEEN: (TEARFUL) Oh, Tom--!


TOM: (REASSURING) Aw, no tears, girl. No tears. We'll be together sooner or later.


KATHLEEN: (REASSURED) Yes. Oh, be careful, my love.


TOM: Now, darlin'-- Now, aboard with ya. Uh-- No, wait. First, that bit of green handkerchief ya always carry. I want it by me to remember the sweetness of you until we meet again. (BEAT) One last kiss.


KATHLEEN: (BEAT, FOR THEIR KISS) Goodbye, Thomas. (MOVING OFF) I'll be waitin'.


SOUND: SHIP'S HORN AND HARBOR BACKGROUND UP AND OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE


CAPTAIN: I tell you, the informer Griffith swore it was the truth. He said Tom Burke'd be at this dock at seven.


AIDE: But, sir, no man's given that signal. The boat's well away from the dock, and no one's waved a bit of green like you said.


CAPTAIN: (LOW) Wait. Wait! That man coming there. Can't see his face. His hat's pulled down.


AIDE: Look, sir! He's waving out to sea! That bit of green!


CAPTAIN: It's Burke! (CALLS, TO TOM) You! Stand where you are! In the name of the Crown-- (TO OTHERS) Stop him, men! He's running away! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!


SOUND: STARTING RIGHT AFTER THE FIRST "SHOOT!", A GUNSHOT! ... THEN AN INCREASINGLY FAST AND NOISY VOLLEY OF GUNSHOTS ... THEN SILENCE


TOM: (DYING; SLOWLY) Kathleen-- I - I still can see you. The boat takin' you away, my darlin'. I kept my last oath, didn't I? I gave you life. Life, Kathleen -- life.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE ... BUILDS TO CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: NBC CHIMES


LOCAL ANNCR: WEAF, New York.


HOST: (DRY) That's the way with these Irish dramas. Somebody's always gettin' bumped off in a heavy fog. ... Thanks, Pat and Sylvia. Stick around. Act Two of "The Royal Gelatin Hour" begins forthwith. ...

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