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Flight Into Egypt

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Flight Into Egypt

Dec 31 1950 



THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD 

"FLIGHT INTO EGYPT" 


PROGRAM #165A   DECEMBER 31, 1950 


CAST 

NARRATOR 

ASAH 

HEROD 

AKKUB 

PRIEST 

CASPAR 

MELCHIOR 

BALTHAZAR 

EZRA 

JOSEPH 




MUSIC: 10 SECONDS 


NARRATOR: The Greatest Story Ever Told. 


MUSIC: 5 SECONDS PUNCTUATE 


NARRATOR: Presented by The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. 


MUSIC: UP FOR 15 SECONDS - SEGUE TO 1-A FADE TO 1-B AND 1-C 


NARRATOR: This afternoon we present "Flight Into Egypt", the second of our Christmas-season dramas about the birth of that Child who was to live the greatest life ever lived. 


MUSIC: UP AND SET THEME FOR NARRATION 


NARRATOR: (CUE) The scene, the bustling city of Jerusalem -- a city of secrets which the oppressed pass among themselves concerning the oppressor. But one bit of gossip passes freely this day among all the people and among their oppressors as well -- and even now it has reached into the palace of cruel Herod who stands looking down from his balcony -- 


ASAH: Your Majesty sees something below in the streets? 


HEROD: (PAUSE) Tell me what you said before -- 


ASAH: About the people? 


HEROD: About those shepherds -- 


ASAH: Oh. That. Well, these shepherds were heard to be going about Bethlehem speaking about a Child -- a miraculous Child. Some said the shepherds were drunk -- but others said they were inspired -- inspired in a Holy way -- 


HEROD: And the Child -- what about the Child? 


ASAH: The shepherds were saying that the Child was born to become King of the Jews. 


HEROD: (GRUNT OF DISDAIN) 


ASAH: Surely, you don't believe that any child born in Bethlehem of poor parents could ever grow to be king here? 


HEROD: It happened to David, didn't it? He was a poor shepherd, wasn't he? He became a king! 


ASAH: Those were other times, Herod. You can't allow yourself to be upset by every passing bit of gossip. Gossip runs rife at a time when great events are taking place. And this order to go and be counted for the Roman tax is such an event -- 


HEROD: Be quiet, Asah! 


ASAH: (PAUSE) Your Majesty is troubled. 


HEROD: Asah -- 


ASAH: Yes, Majesty? 


HEROD: We must get to the bottom of this. I want spies sent to Bethlehem immediately -- I want inquiries made. I want those shepherds brought here -- to me! I'll find out what all this talk about a king being born really means. 


ASAH: Majesty, your position is secure. Why must you -- 


HEROD: (INTERRUPTING) A king's position can never be secure. Do as I say -- dispatch men to Bethlehem at -- 


SOUND: (HEAVY DOOR KNOCKING INTERRUPTS) 


HEROD: Quickly, open the door - it may be more news -- 


ASAH: Yes, Majesty -- 


SOUND: (FEW STEPS. UNLOCK AND OPEN HEAVY DOOR) 


HEROD: (NERVOUS) Well -- come in, come in! If you have word come in! 


AKKUB: (FADING ON) Majesty -- Majesty -- news -- Important news -- 


HEROD: Well? 


AKKUB: Visiting dignitaries -- and we've made no preparations to receive them. 


HEROD: Who comes visiting me? I'm expecting no one. What are you talking about? (SEIZES HIM) What are you trying to do? 


AKKUB: (CRINGING) Please, Majesty -- I'm only telling you what happened. 


HEROD: (RELAXING) Well, tell it all -- but quickly -- 


AKKUB: (RECOVERING) Majesty, three men have come through the main gate of the city this morning. They're obviously important men -- not mere travelers -- but emmisaries from another land. They're well dressed -- riding fine camels -- and one camel is devoted to carrying fine gifts beautifully wrapped -- 


HEROD: Gifts, eh? For me, no doubt -- they've come seeking a favor. 


AKKUB: I don't think so. 


HEROD: What do you mean, you don't think so? 


AKKUB: The way they talked -- our guards followed them just to be sure. 


HEROD: Well? 


AKKUB: The three men didn't come to the palace -- they went among the people asking one question -- 


HEROD: And the question? 


AKKUB: (FEARFUL) Majesty, I only quote them -- 


HEROD: Speak up! 


AKKUB: They asked -- Where is he that is born King of the Jews? 


HEROD: (GASP OF RAGE) 


ASAH: Majesty, please -- 


HEROD: Take your hands off me, Asah. I'm all right. (PAUSE) (THEN IN SUPPRESSED ANGER) Three men -- come seeking the King of the Jews -- 


AKKUB: There was more, Majesty -- 


HEROD: More? 


AKKUB: They -- they said they'd seen His star in the East and came to worship him -- 


HEROD: This must be gossip. 


AKKUB: A captain of the guard heard it himself. Shall I bring him to you? 


HEROD: Yes, at once. (PAUSE THEN QUICKLY) No wait! 


AKKUB: Majesty -- 


HEROD: Bring me the high priest of the temple first. 


AKKUB: Yes, Majesty -- 


HEROD: And as for the three men -- I want them watched. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #2 


PRIEST: What is it this time, Herod? Another order that will be painful to the people? 


HEROD: You priests are always worrying. Well, this time I only want a little information about your religion -- your folklore -- 


PRIEST: They are not the same. 


HEROD: Of course not. A badly phrased thought. About your religion, however, is there any prophecy about a king being born -- a special kind of king? 


PRIEST: There is a prophecy -- 


HEROD: Yes? 


PRIEST: We have been promised the Messiah. 


HEROD: Messiah, eh? Tell me more. 


PRIEST: It's nothing you'd like to hear. 


HEROD: I'm interested -- tell me more! 


PRIEST: The coming of the Messiah portends a new era in this world -- things will change -- governments will change -- (POINTEDLY) even kings can't stand against it. 


HEROD: I see. This uh -- this prophecy -- does it say where this king will be born? 


PRIEST: It could happen in only one place -- in the town of Bethlehem here in Judaea -- the prophecy says it must happen there. 


HEROD: Bethlehem -- Bethlehem -- tell me, priest, do you believe the prophecy? 


PRIEST: Does it make any difference if I believe it? 


HEROD: That's no answer! 


PRIEST: That's answer enough. 


HEROD: It's insolence. 


PRIEST: (SOFT BUT DIGGING) It's enough that you believe it, Herod. 


HEROD: I didn't say I did. 


PRIEST: Then what is there to be so fearful about? (BEAT) Am I free to go now? 


HEROD: Get out -- get out! 


PRIEST: (FADING. TONGUE IN CHEEK) Thank you, Majesty -- 


HEROD: (CALLING) Asah -- Asah! 


ASAH: (BUSTLING ON) Yes, Majesty -- well, did he tell you? Is there a prophecy -- 


HEROD: Asah, the three strangers -- bring them here. Maybe I can learn something from them -- bring them to me! 


ASAH: To seize three foreign dignitaries - 


HEROD: I don't care how you do it -- bring them here. At once. No -- wait -- perhaps we can extract more from them by friendly means. We shall invite them to dine with me -- that's it, Asah. The three strangers shall dine with me. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #3 


SOUND: (EARTHEN DINNER DISHES. CUPS, ETC.) 


HEROD: And so you came from your native land to visit Judaea -- 


CASPAR: (OLD, WISE, SOFT) May I correct your Majesty -- we came not from one land -- but from three lands -- each from a different place in the East. 


HEROD: Three lands -- oh. 


CASPAR: It's what made us even stronger in our determination to follow the star to our destination -- 


HEROD: Star -- you follow a star? 


CASPAR: That's what makes us so sure. To each of us -- in his own land the star appeared at the same time -- some weeks ago. As it happens we are all of us students of the heavens - 


MELCHIOR: Yes, Majesty -- we are. 


CASPAR: So each of us set out individually to follow this star which appeared so strangely in the skies. And it brought us together so that together we came seeking the new-born King of the Jews. 


HEROD: I see. 


CASPAR: Of course, Majesty -- we are deeply grieved that we are here in your presence with no suitable gifts -- we hadn't expected such a greeting from the great Herod himself -- 


HEROD: But they tell me, Wise Men, that you did come bringing gifts. 


CASPAR: Those gifts -- for the new-born King. Those we could not disturb. 


HEROD: Could it -- could it all be a fancy of some kind -- the star -- the new-born King -- how do you know


MELCHIOR: (SMILING) We've asked ourselves that many times since we first met in our journey -- 


HEROD: And you've agreed on some answer? Surely, men wise as you three are -- 


MELCHIOR: No -- we've never agreed. Except on one thing -- each of us feels the same way. It must be -- the star was sent by some power greater than we know -- we must follow it. 


HEROD: (PROBING) Surely, there must be more. 


CASPAR: No, it's as Melchior said -- 


HEROD: But three Wise Men would question further -- would want an answer before they'd take such a long journey in search of such a nebulous thing -- 


CASPAR: If there is any consolation in being wise, Majesty, it's that you know at some point knowledge must end -- and where knowledge ends, ah, there believing begins -- 


HEROD: I see. So you'll search till you find him? 


CASPAR: We must. We must worship him -- we must lay our gifts before him -- 


HEROD: (CRAFTILY) Well, then, surely I can do no less myself -- Such a Child born in my province -- surely I should pay him honor too. And I will. Wise Men -- do me a great favor -- 


CASPAR: If we can -- 


HEROD: You can. It's a simple thing. When you find the Child come back to me -- let me know where he is -- who his parents are -- I -- I want to worship him too. 


CASPAR: Majesty, we will do it on our way back. 


HEROD: Good -- good -- this Child shall receive such attention as was never paid to any Child before. Believe me. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #4 


HEROD: (LAUGHING) Well, Asah, no need to fear now. And no need to search for the Child either. 


ASAH: You've got news I haven't heard, Majesty? 


HEROD: The Child will be found for me. 


ASAH: The three men -- 


HEROD: (LAUGHING) The three -- Wise -- Men, yes. 


ASAH: Are you sure they know? 


HEROD: I'm convinced of it. A star -- they follow a star. 


ASAH: Then maybe we should follow them


HEROD: Don't upset anything. Don't make them suspicious. They'll bring the Child to me, or me to the Child. Either way I'll make short shrift of this -- King! (LAUGHS) 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #5 


SOUND: (CAMELS' HOOVES IN ECHO. INDICATE BY OTHER SILENCE IT IS NIGHT AND PEACEFUL) 


CASPAR: Night again -- the nights feel better than the days now. 


MELCHIOR: It's because of the star up there. 


BALTHAZAR: Yes, when we can see the star at night everything else seems clear and bright too. 


MELCHIOR: You're right, Balthazar. And yet what the king said today troubled me a little -- we are three men wise in years -- and yet we place our faith in a star -- 


BALTHAZAR: Believing -- as Caspar said -- it's believing. 


CASPAR: Yes. And we must be near the end of our long search. 


BALTHAZAR: What town did the man say lies ahead? 


CASPAR: Bethlehem, it's called. And we can see its lights already...We'll be there soon. 


SOUND: (UP) 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #6 -- UP TO COVER 


SOUND: (DOOR KNOCK) 


CASPAR: To intrude so late at night -- 


MELCHIOR: We must. 


CASPAR: This is the place, isn't it? 


BALTHAZAR: We've been to all the other inns. It's this inn, no doubt. 


SOUND: (DOOR KNOCK) 


EZRA: (OFF MIKE) Who's there? No room -- no room -- 


CASPAR: We've come seeking a Child here. 


SOUND: (HURRIED UNBOLT OF DOOR AND OPEN) 


EZRA: The Child? You too? 


CASPAR: You mean there were others? 


EZRA: Shepherds -- came a few nights ago -- just as you do. 


CASPAR: Did you hear, my friends? Others have sought him out too. This is indeed the Child. May we enter? 


EZRA: I told you there's no room. 


CASPAR: We only want to see the Child. 


EZRA: Then come in -- it's this way -- they're no longer in the stable. Come. 


SOUND: (LIGHT FOOTSTEPS ON WOOD FLOORING) 


EZRA: (HOARSE WHISPER) This room -- here - 


SOUND: (LIGHT KNOCK. LIFT LATCH AND OPEN) 


JOSEPH: Yes? Who are you? 


EZRA: The Child -- everyone wants to see the Child. 


JOSEPH: You three -- you've come to see the Child? 


CASPAR: Yes, friend. Who are you? 


JOSEPH: My name is Joseph -- a humble carpenter chosen for a duty I hope I'm worthy to fulfill. 


CASPAR: The Child -- the Mother -- 


JOSEPH: In here, my friends -- but softly -- for he sleeps -- 


CASPAR: Yes, softly. 


SOUND: (LIGHT FOOTSTEPS) 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #7-A - SET UP SHIMMER IN BACKGROUND 


CASPAR: (HALF AUDIBLE WHISPER OF AWE AS HE SIGHTS THE CHILD) The Child -- we must kneel, brothers -- 


SOUND: (LIGHT SOUND EFFECT TO INDICATE KNEELING) 


JOSEPH: (SOFTLY) Mary - Mary, they worship Him. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #7B AND 7C - UP SHIMMER VERY BRIEFLY AND DOWN FOR 


CASPAR: (AS THOUGH COMING OUT OF REVERIE) And the Mother -- 


BALTHAZAR: We've sought you and the Child a long time across desert waste and plains and mountains. We came seeking you! If I stare, my Lady, forgive me -- for such a face as yours I've never seen before -- 


MELCHIOR: And shall never see again. But the gifts, brothers -- 


CASPAR: Yes, the gifts -- for the Child, Joseph -- we've brought him gifts -- I lay mine at his feet -- gold -- 


MELCHIOR: (WITH GESTURE OF PRESENTATION) Frankincense -- 


BALTHAZAR: (IN LIKE TONE) Myrrh -- 


JOSEPH: (TOUCHED) Gifts -- Mary, gifts for the Child -- 


MUSIC: SHIMMER UP AND TO BRIDGE #7D 


SOUND: (DOOR BEING LOCKED AND BOLT SLIPPED INTO PLACE) 


CASPAR: And so we've seen the Child -- 


MELCHIOR: And King Herod who asked about Him? What shall we do? 


CASPAR: It's too late to return to Jerusalem tonight. We shall rest here in Bethlehem. 


BALTHAZAR: And tomorrow we return to Herod? 


CASPAR: Tomorrow, Balthazar, we shall see. 


MUSIC: BRIEF BRIDGE #8 AND DOWN FOR 


BALTHAZAR: Caspar - Caspar - wake - speak to us


CASPAR: (COMING OUT OF SLEEP DISTRESSED) I have heard -- I have heard -- 


MELCHIOR: What is it -- why did you toss in your sleep -- why did you talk? What happened -- 


CASPAR: A dream -- a dream in which I heard the voice of God -- 


MELCHIOR: Caspar! 


CASPAR: I heard it, Melchior -- and we must go -- we must leave here at once -- 


MELCHIOR: Leave? But in the morning we return to Herod -- 


CASPAR: No -- no, we daren't do that. 


MELCHIOR: What is it, Caspar? What's happened? 


CASPAR: I told you -- the voice in the dream. It said not to return to Herod -- to leave this country at once. There is danger here -- great danger -- 


MELCHIOR: Danger -- to whom? 


CASPAR: Danger to us -- to others -- we must leave here. 


MELCHIOR: Then we won't return to Herod. We'll leave for home -- in the morning. 


CASPAR: Not in the morning -- but now -- at once. 


MELCHIOR: In the dead of night? 


CASPAR: (FRANTIC) At once -- at once, do you hear, brothers? We must leave now -- and we must travel a different route this time -- for there is great danger. 


MUSIC: UP TO BRIDGE #9 


HEROD: (FRANTIC) Asah! Asah! 


ASAH: (FADING ON) Yes, Majesty -- 


HEROD: There must have been some word of those three -- the Wise Men -- 


ASAH: Nothing, yet, Majesty. I await reports every moment. 


HEROD: But they said they would return -- 


ASAH: They didn't return -- 


HEROD: And no trace of them? Is Bethlehem so big a place that my own guard can't find them there -- 


ASAH: They've escaped -- I told you -- 


HEROD: Quiet! 


ASAH: Yes, Majesty -- 


SOUND: (FOOTSTEPS FADING ON) 


HEROD: Ah, Akkub -- you've found them -- well? 


AKKUB: Nothing, Majesty. 


HEROD: They couldn't have disappeared off the face of the earth. 


AKKUB: They might as well have -- 


HEROD: Surely someone must have seen them in Bethlehem -- 


AKKUB: No one last night -- no one this morning -- they may never have arrived in Bethlehem for all we know. 


HEROD: The priest said Bethlehem was the only place where the Child could have been born. 


AKKUB: But no one saw the three old men -- 


ASAH: (FEARFUL) Majesty -- 


HEROD: Yes? 


ASAH: Majesty, would the people ever cooperate with you? Would they tell you if they did see? 


HEROD: You mean the three might have been there -- found the Child and gone? 


ASAH: Why not? And who would tell Herod's guard? 


HEROD: Yes -- yes. 


ASAH: We shouldn't waste time with the three men -- 


HEROD: You're right -- the Child. The old men can do me no harm -- but the Child. The new-born King! 


ASAH: Yes, Majesty, the new King! 


HEROD: He must die. 


ASAH: He must be found first. 


HEROD: He must die! 


ASAH: But how can we -- we must find him first. 


HEROD: We may be able to kill him without finding Him. Did you ever think of that, Asah? 


ASAH: Majesty -- please -- we mustn't lose our heads -- 


HEROD: (IN RAGE) You think I'm insane -- you think I don't know what I'm talking about, you wretch -- (SEIZES HIM) 


ASAH: (QUIVERING) No, Majesty, no. But in one's excitement one can say things -- 


HEROD: (VICIOUSLY) Can one? Well, I happen to know what I said -- and what I mean. Even if we never find out which child it is -- he shall still die in his cradle! 


ASAH: (QUIVERING) But, Majesty -- 


HEROD: (THRUSTING HIM AWAY FROM HIM) You fool! To kill the one Child I fear, I may have to kill them all -- 


ASAH: (STUNNED) Majesty -- 


HEROD: And why do you stand there looking like that? 


ASAH: The people would complain to Rome. 


HEROD: Let them -- 


ASAH: But such brutality -- 


HEROD: And what will Rome say? "This Herod is a man of power and principle -- he killed his own son, didn't he?" Well, didn't I? 


ASAH: Majesty -- please -- others will hear -- 


HEROD: Let them hear! You think it was ever a secret -- they talk about me behind my back. I know it. I know it. I can tell -- every curtain and hanging in this palace seems to whisper about me with every stirring breeze. I am King. And I have no secrets. And I'm strong. So, I have no fear. Every child! 


ASAH: But, Majesty -- 


HEROD: (FIGURING) The Child is new-born -- well, what does new-born mean -- a day -- a week -- a month -- a year? I will not be cheated by technicalities -- I order it now that every child not yet two years old shall be considered new-born for the purpose of this action. 


ASAH: Every child up to two years old -- that's more than a few. 


HEROD: I don't care if it's more than a great many. That's the order. Did you hear that, Akkub? 


AKKUB: (STUNNED) Yes, Majesty -- 


HEROD: Well, that's not all -- we must be sure. I must be sure. 


AKKUB: What else is there to think of, Majesty -- isn't it enough? 


HEROD: (THINKING) Wait -- wait -- because the Child was born in Bethlehem does that mean it must still be there? Perhaps they've moved the Child -- are moving it even now. 


ASAH: Who would move a new-born child unless in great emergency? 


HEROD: I told you -- I won't be defeated by any technicalities -- the prophecy said Bethlehem -- but maybe the prophecy is elastic. After all it was made hundreds of years ago -- we must be sure. 


ASAH: Bethlehem has been Bethlehem for hundreds of years. 


HEROD: Still I will be sure. 


AKKUB: Asah is right, Majesty -- Bethlehem is Bethlehem -- 


HEROD: Bring me a campaign map -- there -- that one on the table -- 


AKKUB: (FADING) Yes, Majesty. 


HEROD: (MUSING ALOUD) A Child -- a Child -- how could it be that -- 


AKKUB: (INTERRUPTING) The map, Majesty -- 


HEROD: Bethlehem! 


AKKUB: Here, Majesty -- 


HEROD: Something to make a mark quickly! No -- never mind -- I'll do it this way -- 


SOUND: (TEARING OF HEAVY PAPER) 


AKKUB: Majesty, you destroy the map -- 


HEROD: (STILL WORKING) I know. 


SOUND: (FINAL TEAR) 


HEROD: There, Akkub -- this part of the map you take with you. It is Bethlehem and every town around it, just in case they tried to escape me. Every child everywhere -- in towns -- or farmhouses -- or on the roads -- wherever you find them. (PAUSE) Hold out your hand -- 


AKKUB: Yes, Majesty -- 


HEROD: I place this part of the map in your hand -- close your fist! 


AKKUB: (FORCEFUL) Yes, Majesty. 


HEROD: Now go -- and don't return to me -- don't give back to me this piece of map until it becomes proof! Proof of the fact that every child up to two years of age in this whole area is dead, whether found in a town, a field, or on the road. 


AKKUB: Yes, Majesty. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #10 


HEROD: How long can it take -- 


ASAH: Please, Majesty -- calm yourself -- the order is being carried out. 


HEROD: I know, I know. And yet I can't seem to rest till I hear it from Akkub himself -- 


ASAH: This is a day they won't forget -- 


HEROD: Don't worry about them -- 


AKKUB: (FADING ON) Majesty -- Majesty -- 


HEROD: Well, Akkub? 


AKKUB: (DAZED FROM HIS EXPERIENCE) Done, Majesty -- done -- 


AKKUB: Ah! The piece of the map --


AKKUB: Here -- Majesty, here -- 


HEROD: Good -- well done, Akkub, there'll be a reward for -- 


AKKUB: (BEGINS UNCONTROLLABLE SOBBING) 


HEROD: Akkub! Akkub -- what is it? Speak! 


AKKUB: (SOBS) 


ASAH: (PAUSE) Majesty, he's -- Akkub is not himself anymore. 


HEROD: Take the blithering fool out of here. The job is done. I wonder -- just where -- just when -- did that one Child -- that new-born King -- die!? It would he interesting to know that, Asah. Well, in any event -- He's dead -- dead -- and that's all that matters. 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #11 SEGUE TO NIGHT-TIME THEME AND DOWN TO BLEND INTO SOUND


SOUND: (LIGHT HOLLOW DONKEY HOOVES SLOWLY ON ROAD) 


JOSEPH: It's been a long night, Mary. And Judaea is almost behind us, now. 


SOUND: (UP VERY BRIEFLY AND DOWN FOR) 


JOSEPH: Once our people fled from Egypt, now we flee there for safety. Over the same road -- through the same desert of Sinai. Even past The Mount where The Ten Commandments were handed down. I wonder what danger the angel came to warn us about? But it is not my place to question a voice from the heavens. We shall follow the voice of the angel now, as we did before. All will be well for you, Mary -- and for the Child. (PAUSE) Whoa -- whoa -- 


SOUND: (DONKEY OUT) 


JOSEPH: We must stop here a moment, Mary. For this is our land -- and this is the last we shall see of it for a long time. (WHILE LOOKING) Dark and peaceful seems the land of Israel now. But beneath the darkness, turmoil and strife and suffering. I don't like to leave Israel to its agony. But one day, Mary, the word of the angel shall come to us again as it was promised -- and then we shall return -- we shall return, Mary -- to Israel, land of our forefathers. And the Child shall be with us. 


SOUND: (DONKEY HOOFBEATS BEGIN AGAIN AND FADE SLOWLY) 


MUSIC: BRIDGE #12 - AVE MARIA (SCHUBERT) UP TO COVER GRADUALLY AND THEN FULL ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS TO FINISH 


NARRATOR: This program was brought to you by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and was the second of our Christmas-season dramas. Next week on this same network at this time we will present another episode in The Greatest Story Ever Told from the greatest life ever lived. 


MUSIC: CUSHION - CLOSING THEME


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