Microphone Plays‎ > ‎

Spawn of the Subhuman

Dark Fantasy

Spawn of the Subhuman

Feb 27 1942



CAST:

VOICE, dead, otherworldly

ANNOUNCER


ADELA

MICHAEL

PILOT

GORILLA

DOCTOR




SOUND: WIND BLOWS, IN BG


MUSIC: THEME ... SWIRLING, EERIE, OMINOUS ... THEN IN BG


VOICE: (SLOW, CREEPY) Dark Fantasy. (AFTER A PAUSE) "Spawn of the Subhuman."


SOUND: WIND OUT WITH--


MUSIC: THEME FADES OUT


SOUND: FADE IN FLYING AIRPLANE INTERIOR BACKGROUND


MICHAEL: Beautiful takeoff.


ADELA: Yes; good pilot. But why did you charter such a large plane for just the two of us, Michael? Isn't this being just a bit too pretentious? 


MICHAEL: (CHUCKLES) Nothing but the best from now on, Adela. Besides, this was the only plane available. You can unloosen your safety belt now. 


ADELA: I might as well confess that the real reason I was late was because I took so much time reading the notices in the paper this morning. 


MICHAEL: Oh, weren't they superb? 


ADELA: Excellent. The audience was quite nice to me last night; extremely appreciative, but-- Well, I didn't expect such fine reports from the press.


MICHAEL: Didn't I tell you before the concert that you'd be a hit? Today, my dear, you're recognized as the outstanding soprano of the nation. 


ADELA: You've had a lot of faith in me, haven't you, Michael?


MICHAEL: Well, offhand, I'd say I have, yes. 


ADELA: You spent a lot of money to make me a success. 


MICHAEL: (CHUCKLES) Don't worry, I'll collect every cent of it back if we get as good houses as we had last night. 


ADELA: (UNEASY) Michael? 


MICHAEL: Yes, darling? 


ADELA: Do you feel--? Well, rather strange?


MICHAEL: Strange? No, dear. Why? 


ADELA: I - I feel like something is going to happen.


MICHAEL: What makes you say that? 


ADELA: I don't know. A feeling of impending danger just seemed to come over me all of a sudden. 


MICHAEL: Danger? What possible danger could we be in?


ADELA: I don't know, but I've had this feeling before. It's like - like someone had spread a shroud down over this airplane.


MICHAEL: Well, now that's a peculiar way to talk, Adela. 


ADELA: It's the same sort of feeling I had that day Stefan disappeared.


MICHAEL: Stefan Wilder? 


ADELA: Yes. 


MICHAEL: (CONCERNED) Adela--? 


ADELA: (WITH QUIET INTENSITY) I was riding in my car that day. I'd been to a matinee with several of my friends. We'd had a glorious time. I was quite happy, so I drove out into the country with the top down on my car. The wind was blowing against the car, just as it's blowing against the plane now. And the sun was glistening on the bright metal of the car, just as it's glistening on the wing out there. 


MICHAEL: Darling, please don't think of that now.


ADELA: Oh, it was a lovely day, just like today. My heart was very light. I was happy -- thrillingly happy. Stefan and I were to be married within a week.


MICHAEL: Adela, please--


ADELA: And then, for no reason at all, I had that strange feeling. It just came out of nowhere and settled down around me like a - a huge cloth might cover the body of someone who had just died.


MICHAEL: Don't talk that way, darling. 


ADELA: It was the strangest feeling I'd ever experienced. Weird. Terrible. It gave me a feeling that a hundred thousand evil spirits were racing at a maddening pace behind my car; trying to catch up with me; clutch me in their bony, fiendish hands. 


MICHAEL: That was so long ago. Five years. 


ADELA: So long ago. Seems like yesterday. Then when I speeded up the car, something began to pound in my ears. It's pounding there now, Michael. It's pounding there now.


MICHAEL: Adela, please-- 


ADELA: The faster I drove, the more that evil shroud hung over me. I gave the car more gas -- more and more and more. And then-- 


MICHAEL: When they found you in the wreckage, they thought you were dead. 


ADELA: I couldn't make the curve. The motor had reached full speed. I could think of but one single danger: the invisible danger that raced there behind me, striving to catch me in its hold. 


MICHAEL: But there was no one. Nothing.


ADELA: Oh, but there seemed to be. And what was so strange: all of a sudden that bright day vanished, just vanished. Clouds came out of nowhere and hid the sun from sight. 


MICHAEL: Darling, I - I better pull down the shade on the window. 


ADELA: (UNNERVED) Oh, Michael, wait a minute. Look. Look outside. Clouds. We're flying below them -- and they've completely blotted out the sun. 


MICHAEL: The sun will be out in a minute. 


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... EERIE, IN BG


ADELA: (EXHALES IN QUIET HORROR) It's just like that day. Clouds hiding the sun, just like they did that day. 


MICHAEL: (DISMISSIVE) Oh, just a coincidence.


ADELA: Dark, dreary clouds-- 


SOUND: LOUD, OMINOUS BURSTS OF THUNDER


ADELA: --followed by loud bursts of thunder and-- (BEAT, QUIETLY DISTRESSED) Oh, Michael, what does it mean? 


MICHAEL: Nothing. Nothing at all. Just a thunderstorm. Pilot'll go up and fly above it. 


ADELA: Why didn't he go up above the storm when he saw it? 


MICHAEL: Oh, I don't know. 


ADELA: Because he didn't see it, that's why! 


MICHAEL: Certainly he did. 


ADELA: No! Well, it came up -- just like that day five years ago -- out of nowhere. Came up before the pilot was even aware of it. 


MICHAEL: Oh, nonsense. 


ADELA: It wasn't nonsense five years ago. First the clouds, then the thunder. Then it began to rain. 


MICHAEL: Well, look for yourself. It's not raining now. It's nothing but an electrical storm. See? We're going above it.


ADELA: Oh, Michael, I'm frightened. 


MICHAEL: There's nothing to be frightened about. There, look! There's the sun again.


ADELA: (EXHALES, AS IF FREED FROM A SPELL) It was all so strange. That feeling. The clouds hiding behind the sun. The thunder.


MICHAEL: Sure, but no rain.


SOUND: LOUD SNAP! OF INTERCOM ... PILOT'S VOICE ON FILTER


PILOT: Mr. Brock? 


ADELA: (STARTLED) Oh, Michael! 


MICHAEL: Oh, darling, [it's] just the pilot talking to us over the talkback system. Uh, push that button right there so I can answer him.


SOUND: CLICK! OF INTERCOM BUTTON, THEN IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


PILOT: Mr. Brock? Miss Rhodes? 


MICHAEL: Yes, pilot? What is it? 


PILOT: Don't be alarmed about the storm. We're above it now.


MICHAEL: Oh, yes, thank you. Uh, just an electrical storm, isn't it? 


PILOT: No, sir, it's more than that. It's raining cats and dogs down there. 


MUSIC: UP FOR A SUBTLE ACCENT ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


ADELA: (WHISPERS, UNEASY) Michael--? Rain. Oh, Michael-- 


MICHAEL: (REASSURING) We're up above the storm. Nothing can harm us here.


ADELA: You remember, don't you? I never saw Stefan Wilder again after that experience I had five years ago.


MICHAEL: Yes. Yes, I remember.


ADELA: No one ever saw him again. He just - disappeared.


MICHAEL: Please, darling, don't think about it any more today. You're tired. Perhaps a little rest will do you good. 


ADELA: (EXHALES WEARILY) Oh, yes, you're right. I am tired. 


MICHAEL: Just lie back and relax then. Honestly, sweet, there's nothing to be worried about. We just happened to run into a storm and you thought about that old experience of yours. 


ADELA: I wonder, Michael. I wonder if we did just happen into the storm.


SOUND: AIRPLANE BACKGROUND UP ... THEN SLOWLY FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE SLOWLY FADES IN ... AIRPLANE BACKGROUND AGAIN


ADELA: (WAKES) Oh, Michael? Where are you, darling? 


MICHAEL: (OFF) Over here, dear. Did you have a good sleep? 


ADELA: (EXHALES, CHUCKLES) I did sleep after all. Why are the lights out?


MICHAEL: (OFF) Oh, I turned them out so you'd sleep as long as you could. (APPROACHES) Here, I'll switch 'em back on. 


SOUND: QUIET LIGHT SWITCH


MICHAEL: There. 


ADELA: What time is it? 


MICHAEL: Oh, nine-thirty. 


ADELA: Nine-thirty? Oh, Michael, I've been asleep more than eight hours.


MICHAEL: (CHUCKLES) I thought you'd never wake up.


ADELA: (WARMLY) It's after dark and you've had the lights off all this time just for me. 


MICHAEL: Well, I guess I'd better admit I got a little sleep, too. 


ADELA: Where are we now? 


MICHAEL: Over Mexico. (LIGHTLY) Hey, hungry, dear? 


ADELA: (THE SAME) Oh, I'm famished. You know, I can't imagine what made me sleep so long. 


MICHAEL: Oh, we land at Centella. We can get food there. 


ADELA: Have we landed at all since I "retired"? 


MICHAEL: No, we're circling now. Oh, that's Centella down there. 


ADELA: Oh.


SOUND: AIRPLANE BEGINS ITS DESCENT, IN BG


MICHAEL: You'd better pretty up a bit. This is a secluded part of the country, but you never know who you're gonna run into. 


MUSIC: CREEPY BRIDGE


SOUND: AIRPLANE TAKES OFF ... INTERIOR AIRPLANE BACKGROUND


MICHAEL: Well, that was Centella.


ADELA: How long before we're in Monterey? 


MICHAEL: Oh, about an hour.


ADELA: Did you get good reservations? 


MICHAEL: The best. Did you enjoy your dinner? 


ADELA: Oh, immensely. It was a nice place. Certainly a rough landing field, though. 


MICHAEL: Well, it's not actually a landing field. We had to land someplace to refuel before we got to Monterey, so I picked Centella. 


ADELA: I enjoyed it. Quaint little place. 


MICHAEL: Mm.


ADELA: It's a funny thing, Michael. Did you notice the plane?


MICHAEL: What do you mean, dear? 


ADELA: It didn't look a bit like it had been in a rainstorm. 


MICHAEL: I thought you'd forgotten all about that. 'Course it didn't look like it. We flew above the rain before it started.


ADELA: (EXHALES) Oh, yes, that's right. Well, if you don't mind, I'm going to spend the next hour looking through my fashion magazines before we land at Monterey.


SOUND: AIRPLANE BACKGROUND UP ... THEN SLOWLY FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE SLOWLY FADES IN ... AIRPLANE BACKGROUND AGAIN


ADELA: (CONCERNED) Michael?


MICHAEL: Yes? 


ADELA: Should we be over water? 


MICHAEL: Water? Why, no, of course not. 


ADELA: Well, we are. There's water all around us. 


MICHAEL: Huh, let's see. (BEAT) By heaven, Adela, you're right! 


ADELA: The pilot's off his course. 


MICHAEL: Surely he must realize it. 


ADELA: Oh, you better go up and find out. 


MICHAEL: Yes, I will. I'll be right back.


ADELA: Hurry, Michael, for heaven's sake. 


MICHAEL: Right. 


SOUND: RATTLE OF LOCKED DOOR


MICHAEL: (TO HIMSELF) Door to the pilot's cabin's locked. 


SOUND: KNOCKING ON DOOR


MICHAEL: (CALLS) I say, pilot! Pilot?! 


ADELA: What's wrong, Michael?


MICHAEL: Oh, the door to this cabin is locked; curtain over the window's pulled down inside. 


SOUND: MORE KNOCKING 


MICHAEL: (CALLS) Pilot, open up! 


ADELA: Look, he's raising the curtain. (STARTLED GASP) Michael! 


MICHAEL: (STUNNED) Good lord. A thick, hairy arm. 


ADELA: (DISBELIEF, SLOWLY) Michael, that's not our pilot at the controls. It's a monkey.


MICHAEL: A gorilla.


ADELA: Oh, Michael, are we dreaming? 


MICHAEL: No. No, it's true. A live gorilla piloting our plane.


ADELA: But that's impossible. 


SOUND: RATTLE OF DOOR


MICHAEL: Oh, confounded door's locked. (CALLS) Open this door! Open up! 


SOUND: MORE KNOCKING 


ADELA: (TENSE) Michael, be careful. (BEAT) Look at him. Peering back at us. With little beady eyes. And an expression on his face that's - almost human. 


MICHAEL: This is fantastic. How in the world did we ever come to be in the air with a creature like that? 


ADELA: We had our regular pilot when we landed at Centella. I saw him climb down out of the cabin.


MICHAEL: So did I. (REALIZES) But I never did see him again before we took off. Naturally his back was to me when I gave him the go-ahead signal.


SOUND: AIRPLANE STARTS TO DESCEND


ADELA: (QUIET WORRY) Oh, Michael! Michael, now what?


MICHAEL: Oh. We're over land. He's bringing the plane down.


ADELA: Oh, Michael! 


SOUND: AIRPLANE LANDS ... ENGINE OUT


ADELA: (ASTONISHED) We're on the ground. 


MICHAEL: (THE SAME) An absolutely perfect landing! 


SOUND: DOOR UNLOCKS


ADELA: He's unlocking the door now. 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... MICHAEL AND ADELA'S VOICES ARE LOW


ADELA: Michael, what's he going to do? 


MICHAEL: Just take it easy. Don't get excited. Whatever you do, don't run or make a fast movement. Don't let him know you're afraid of him.


ADELA: He's just standing there -- looking at us. 


MICHAEL: Whatever you do, don't let him know you're afraid of him.


GORILLA: You don't have to be afraid of me.


ADELA: (WHISPERED SURPRISE) Michael! 


MICHAEL: (STUNNED) That - that creature talked. 


GORILLA: Of course I talk. 


MICHAEL: (CHUCKLES) Oh, we're a couple of fools, Adela. It's just our pilot playing a trick on us, dressed up in a monkey suit. 


GORILLA: There is no trickery. I am not your original pilot. 


MICHAEL: What? 


GORILLA: I joined you at Centella where I came to meet you for Dr. Luther. 


ADELA: Doctor--? Dr. Luther? 


GORILLA: Yes. He's waiting for you. Come, follow me. 


SOUND: OUTER PLANE DOOR OPENS


MICHAEL: (LOW) Steady, darling. Come on. We'd better follow him. 


GORILLA: Here is the doctor now. 


DOCTOR: Well, Stefan, I see you brought our visitors. 


GORILLA: Yes, doctor.


DOCTOR: Yes, just as I directed you. Welcome, Adela Rhodes. And welcome to your lovely, lovely voice. 


MICHAEL: I say, look here-- 


DOCTOR: And welcome to you, Mr. Brock. I'm so sorry that you will be of no assistance to me. However, you may be interested in what I have planned.


MICHAEL: Now listen, Dr. Luther, I want to know what this is all about. 


DOCTOR: You will learn what it is all about and without delay, I assure you. (TO GORILLA) Come, Stefan. Don't be so inhospitable. Show our guests into the laboratory. 


MUSIC: CREEPY BRIDGE


DOCTOR: Sit down over there, my dear. Over here, Mr. Brock.


ADELA: (NERVOUS) Michael--?


MICHAEL: Dr. Luther, I demand an explanation. Where are we? Why have you brought us here? 


DOCTOR: You're too full of questions, Mr. Brock. I've already told you I'm about to show you why I brought you here. (BEAT) Here, high in these mountains, secretly I've been working for five years -- experimenting, testing, trying to accomplish what everyone would have said was utterly impossible had I told them about it. But I didn't tell anyone. Instead I came here and built this laboratory. You see it's fully equipped and modern in every detail--


MICHAEL: Now look here, Dr. Luther-- 


DOCTOR: During those five years I trained Stefan here. I believe you will agree my training has been very successful. You now see an almost full-grown gorilla behaving like a human. Acting like a human. Even talking like a human. I've been very kind to you, haven't I, Stefan? 


GORILLA: Yes, Dr. Luther. Of course you have been kind. 


DOCTOR: Yes, just so. Scientists back there in your world, my dear Miss Rhodes, will tell you it's impossible to completely train a gorilla. That is the second point in which I've proved them wrong. Stefan? Sing for us. 


GORILLA: Yes, doctor. (MAGNIFICENTLY SINGS A LINE OR TWO OF ITALIAN OPERA)


DOCTOR: (ADMIRING) Doesn't he have an excellent voice? 


ADELA: (STUNNED) Michael, did you hear that?


MICHAEL: (THE SAME) Impossible.


DOCTOR: Sing again, Stefan. 


GORILLA: (BEAUTIFULLY SINGS A WORDLESS OPERATIC MELODY)


DOCTOR: You see? Soon he will be world famous. I shall travel with him, take him to the four corners of the earth, and show people how well my gorilla sings. 


ADELA: Oh, Michael, I can't believe it. That's Stefan Wilder's voice.


MICHAEL: It can't be!


DOCTOR: Ah, but it is. 


ADELA: (WITH SLOW, QUIET INTENSITY) Yes. Now I remember. Now I know who you are, Dr. Luther. Stefan Wilder had an appointment with you that day he disappeared five years ago. I'd forgotten all about it, but I just now remembered. 


MICHAEL: (HORRIFIED) So that's what happened to Stefan Wilder. You kidnapped him and brought him here and-- (ACCUSING, WITH DISTASTE) You--


DOCTOR: Precisely. (CHUCKLES) I brought him here -- to do what others said could never be done. When I chloroformed him five years ago and brought him here, I thought I was ready. But my gorilla wasn't. So I had to wait. Three months ago, I performed the operation. 


ADELA: Operation? 


DOCTOR: I removed the vocal cords from the man and grafted them into the gorilla. 


ADELA: (EXHALES A HORRIFIED GROAN)


MICHAEL: This is ridiculous. A thing like that can't be done! 


DOCTOR: Oh, surely you don't deny the proof I've just given you, Mr. Brock. Stefan, sing! 


GORILLA: (BEAUTIFULLY SINGS A BRIEF, SIMPLE WORDLESS MELODY UP AND DOWN THE SCALE, LIKE A SINGER'S WARM-UP EXERCISE)


DOCTOR: You recognized that voice, Miss Rhodes, the moment you heard it, because you'd sung operas with Mr. Wilder so much.


ADELA: (QUIET AWE) That was the way he sang - to exercise his voice. 


DOCTOR: (CHUCKLES) Don't you both realize what I have here? The secret of an untold wealth. Why, besides knowing how to train this ferocious and morose type of animal -- besides knowing how to transfer human vocal cords successfully -- I have something I can exhibit to the world to prove my knowledge! Think! Think of the fortune I can amass because people will pay immense sums to see and hear my singing gorilla! (LAUGHS AT LENGTH, OUT BEHIND--) 


ADELA: Stop it! Stop it, I say! Why have you brought me here? Surely you could have spared me this. 


DOCTOR: I will tell you why, Miss Rhodes. If you and Mr. Brock will step over here--


MICHAEL: (FIRMLY) The only place we're going to step is out of this place.


DOCTOR: You will do as I ask. Stefan, these people are not to leave.


GORILLA: Very well, Dr. Luther. 


DOCTOR: (OFF) Over here, if you please. 


MICHAEL: (LOW) Better do what he says, Adela. 


SOUND: THEIR STEPS THROUGH LAB


DOCTOR: Here. Look through this plate glass. Look into the next room.


ADELA: Another gorilla! 


DOCTOR: Yes. Isn't it a fine specimen? 


MICHAEL: Fine specimen? 


DOCTOR: Yes, she


MICHAEL: "She"? 


ADELA: Wha--? (REALIZES, WITH HORROR) No! You're not planning--?! 


DOCTOR: I've trained her very carefully. She was so much more responsive than the male. Now that she's able to obey me, I'm quite ready for the rest of my plans for her. 


ADELA: Oh, no. No, you can't! I - I won't let you!


MICHAEL: I'll say he can't!


DOCTOR: Neither of you will be able to prevent it! Soon-- Soon I'll tour the world with the most amazing exhibition on earth: a male and a female gorilla singing all the world-famous operas. 


MICHAEL: Look here, you--! 


ADELA: Wait a minute! (WITH COOL, QUIET CONFIDENCE) I just happened to think of something, doctor.


DOCTOR: Yes? 


ADELA: Do you remember the day Stefan Wilder had that appointment with you five years ago? 


DOCTOR: Yes, certainly I remember. I'd been planning to "obtain possession" of him, so I could bring him here. I was most pleased when he called and asked for an appointment.


ADELA: But did he tell you why he was calling upon you? 


DOCTOR: (UNEASY) Why, no. No, he didn't.


ADELA: He came to you, Dr. Luther, because he was losing his voice


DOCTOR: (BEAT, STAGGERED) You - you must be wrong. 


ADELA: I am not wrong. I am the only one he told about it. It had been worrying him for a long time. You see, the more he sang, the worse his voice became. He was gradually losing it.


DOCTOR: But - that's impossible! 


ADELA: Do you think so, doctor? You're a specialist on that subject. That's why he was coming to you that day.


DOCTOR: (AGITATED) No! You must be wrong! After all the work I've done--! 


ADELA: (QUIET TRIUMPH) Your gorilla will lose his voice, Dr. Luther. And I assure you, before you will do anything to me, I'll see to it that my voice is ruined, too. 


DOCTOR: (EXPLODES, DESPERATELY) He won't! He can't! He's in excellent voice! Excellent! Yes, yes -- of course he is! We've worked together! I've trained him! His voice can't go bad on me now! Not now! Just when it's finally successful! 


ADELA: (MERRILY) Oh, you'll see, Dr. Luther.


DOCTOR: No! You're wrong! You're mistaken! He'll sing, all right! He won't lose his voice! Will you, Stefan?! (NO ANSWER) No, of course not. You're in an excellent voice, Stefan. Sing! Sing your head, Stefan! Show them! 


GORILLA: (MAGNIFICENTLY SINGS SOME LUSTY ITALIAN OPERA)


DOCTOR: There! You see?! Did you hear that?! A beautiful quality! Beautiful tones! 


GORILLA: (MAGNIFICENTLY SINGS ANOTHER LINE, BUT HIS VOICE CRACKS ON ONE OF THE LAST NOTES)


ADELA: Listen, doctor. 


DOCTOR: Stefan! What's wrong?! Try again! 


GORILLA: (MAGNIFICENTLY SINGS BUT WITH STRAIN) 


ADELA: Now do you think I'm wrong? 


DOCTOR: (HYSTERICAL, TEARFUL) So! It's true! Stefan, you - you devil! After all I've done! After all my work! This is what I get as a reward. I sacrificed everything: my position, my career, all of my money -- and this is what happens! (BEAT, QUIET RESIGNATION) Well-- There's one way, Stefan. 


SOUND: DRAWER OPENS


DOCTOR: By heaven. There's one way. 


MICHAEL: Get back, Adela. 


ADELA: He's got a gun! 


MICHAEL: No, no, Dr. Luther--! 


SOUND: GUNSHOT!


GORILLA: (GROANS IN PAIN, GURGLES)


MICHAEL: That bullet hit that beast! But look at him!


GORILLA: (GROWLS OMINOUSLY, THEN IN BG)


SOUND: GUNSHOT!


DOCTOR: Stop!


SOUND: GUNSHOT! ... THEN GORILLA SCUFFLES WITH DOCTOR, IN BG


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... EERIE, IN BG


DOCTOR: (WILDLY) No! No, Stefan! Stefan, no, no! Stefan, let go of me! No, Stefan!


MUSIC: FADES OUT FOR AN UNASSUMING CURTAIN ... PAUSE ... THEN FADE IN THEME ... SWIRLING FURIOUSLY, EERILY ... THEN IN BG


VOICE: (SLOW, CREEPY) Dark Fantasy. 


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


ANNOUNCER: You have heard "Spawn of the Subhuman," tonight's original tale of Dark Fantasy by Scott Bishop. Ben Morris was heard as Michael Brock, Eleanor Naylor Caughron was Adela Rhodes, Garland Moss played Dr. Luther, and Muir Hite was the gorilla. Next Friday night at this same time, listen to the sixteenth in this series of Dark Fantasy dramas created by Scott Bishop, "The Man with the Scarlet Satchel," the story of an aged millionaire who receives a child's set of modeling clay as a practical joke, but who turns the gift into an incredible and weird instrument of destruction. Don't miss this unusual story next Friday night, "The Man with the Scarlet Satchel." Tom Paxton speaking. Dark Fantasy comes to you from WKY, Oklahoma City. This is the National Broadcasting Company.

Comments