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Studio Apartment

Lights Out

Studio Apartment

Dec 15 1937




CAST:


ELLA JOHNSON..........a little gentle old lady


FRED JOHNSON..........her husband; they are a pair of nice old people.


RUDOLPH RODERICK......a sculptor, just the slightest trace of a Teutonic accent, he is a man in his late forties.


MARION JOHNSON........the Johnsons' missing daughter; a sweet girl of about nineteen.







MAIL PLUG


OPENING:


ANNOUNCER: Before we begin tonight's drama we have a brief message for our "Light's Out" listeners. From time to time it becomes necessary to take a poll of our audience in order that we may provide the type of entertainment preferred by the great majority of our listeners. Therefore if you listen regularly to "Light's Out" -- if you want this feature to remain on the air, will you please address a letter or post card to "Light's Out", in care of the National Broadcasting Company, Chicago? Your opinions of this program and your suggestions will be most welcome. I'll repeat the address--Light's Out, care of the National Broadcasting Company, Chicago. And now--



[standard Lights Out opening omitted from script]



ELLA: (BREATHLESSLY) Fred - please - don't walk so fast.


FRED: I'm sorry, my dear.


ELLA: That's better...You - you're almost running!


FRED: I didn't realize...


ELLA: Is - is this the street, Fred?


FRED: Yes.


ELLA: Such a quiet street...It's - it's really quite nice.


FRED: (RATHER SHORTLY) Is it?...


ELLA: Now, Fred - please be sensible about this thing! After all you - you don't know!


FRED: I'll find out soon enough!


ELLA: Gone two days - my poor little baby!


FRED: She's nineteen!


ELLA: You know she's a baby, Fred!


FRED: At nineteen my mother had two children!


ELLA: Marion may be with one of her other friends!


FRED: Ella, you read that paper as well as I did! It was clear enough! There's no question about it - she's gone with this - this sculptor or whatever he is!


ELLA: But girls write foolish things in their diaries --


FRED: It was written like the truth, and it is the truth! There! Number 742! This is the house!


ELLA: Oh, Fred --


FRED: Now it's all right, Ella - I'll handle this!


ELLA: They - they might have gotten married!


FRED: Well, whatever happened, we'll find out soon enough! Come - give me your arm - these stairs!


ELLA: (WITH EFFORT AS SHE CLIMBS) All right....


SOUND OF THE OLD COUPLE SLOWLY GOING UP FLIGHT OF STONE STEPS


ELLA: (THROUGH ABOVE) It - it's quite a respectable looking home! Brownstone front --


FRED: She might have confided in us! We've always been good parents!


ELLA: I tried to be.....


SOUND OF GOING UP STEPS OUT


FRED: Uh - where's the bell?


ELLA: The door-knocker!


FRED: (GRUNTS)


SLOW KNOCKING OF HEAVY DOOR KNOCKER


ELLA: Fred, do you really think our little Marian can be in there?


FRED: I tell you we'll know that quick enough...


ELLA: It doesn't seem possible - we never heard her say a single word about this man - Where could she have met him - how could she have -


FRED: Shhh!


BOLT BEING THROWN, BACK AND

DOOR OPENING SQUEAKILY


RODERICK: (BACK SLIGHTLY _ THERE IS A SLIGHT - JUST A VERY SLIGHT TEUTONIC ACCENT - HE IS A MAN IN HIS LATE FORTIES) Yes? What is it?


FRED: We're - we're looking for a Mr. Roderick.


RODERICK: (DEFINITE CONCEIT IN HIS VOICE) I am Rudolph Roderick...


FRED: I - uh - I think maybe you'll know me. I'm Fred Johnson. This is my wife.


ELLA: (BACK - DIFFIDENTLY) How do you do?


RODERICK: What did you say the name was?


FRED: Johnson. Fred Johnson.


RODERICK: I do not know you.


ELLA: We're - we're Marion's folks!


RODERICK: (FLATLY) Marion's?...


FRED: That's what we came here for, Mr. Roderick. We want to know if she's here.


RODERICK: I am afraid I do not know what you are talking about. But at any rate, this is hardly the place to discuss anything. If you will step in.....


FRED: Sure. Of course. Come on, Ella.


ELLA: Yes.


RODERICK: Right in there.


DOOR CLOSING, SQUEAKILY, BEHIND:


ELLA: (SOTTO) He - he looks like a nice man, Fred.


FRED: Yes.


ELLA: (SOTTO) I knew that our Marion wouldn't go with just anyone.


RODERICK: (FADE IN FULL) Won't you have a chair, Mrs. - uh --


ELLA: Johnson.


RODERICK: Oh, yes, Mrs. Johnson. If you'll sit here - and Mr. Johnson there.


ELLA: Thank you.


RODERICK: Now then, just what was it you wanted to see me about?


ELLA: It's about our little girl, Mr. Roderick. You see, she --


FRED: No, Ella, let me! Mr. Roderick, all we want to know from you is the whereabouts of our daughter Marion. Is she - is she here?


RODERICK: Is who here? I'm sorry - I don't quite understand what this is all about.


ELLA: Marion --


FRED: Our daughter, Marion! We want to know if she's here!


RODERICK: Your daughter Marion?


FRED: She is here, isn't she?


ELLA: Yes, Mr. Roderick! Please - please tell us!


RODERICK: I - I don't know what to say!


FRED: Just tell us where we can find her!


RODERICK: (BRUSQUELY) But my dear Mr. Johnson - I assure you, I don't know what you're talking about!


FRED: Eh?


ELLA: Fred, what's he saying?


RODERICK: I'll repeat - I don't know what you're talking about! I do not know your daughter, Mary, or whatever her name is!


FRED: You - you don't know my daughter?


ELLA: You must! Marion - Marion Johnson!


FRED: And she's here! She must be here!


RODERICK: Now, just a moment! If I tell you I don't know your daughter, I don't know her!


ELLA: But she's here! She must be! Fred, why does he --


RODERICK: (INTERRUPTING) Now, just a moment, Mrs. Johnson! There's no need to get excited! If I knew the whereabouts of this daughter of yours I would be the first to tell you! But I repeat, in all sincerity, I never heard of her in all my life!


ELLA: Fred, tell him about what she wrote!


FRED: Yes - yes, I will!


RODERICK: What's this?


FRED: My daughter - we found a little book in which she wrote things which happened to her --


ELLA: A diary.


FRED: Yes! The day before she went away we found a line where your name was written down!


RODERICK: My name?


FRED: In black and white!


ELLA: "RUDOLPH RODERICK"! It was written right there in her own handwriting!


FRED: That's why we came here! That's why you've got to tell us -- 


RODERICK: Now just a moment - if you please - I think it would be best to start right at the beginning! If I understand correctly your daughter has disappeared?


FRED: Not disappeared! Just packed up her things and went away while my wife and I were out of the house.


ELLA: It's two days since she's been gone! We've been going crazy with worry! Oh, Mr. Roderick, if you know anything, tell us.


RODERICK: I want to help you - of course! You say my name was written in her diary?


FRED: Yes, your name!


RODERICK: Well? What else?


FRED: Well, I - Ella, you remember!


ELLA: She wrote that - that she thought a great deal of you, and that she was going to make your life her life.


RODERICK: (BLANKLY) Your daughter wrote that?


ELLA: Oh, yes, she did!


FRED: That's why we're here! She did come here, didn't she?


RODERICK: (IRRITABLY) I assure you I never saw or heard of your daughter in all my life! Will you please believe that?


ELLA: Then why did she write what she did? Why did she -


RODERICK: (INTERRUPTING SHORTLY) Can I be blamed for the foolish words a romantic child puts in her diary? I'm a sculptor - an artist! Look around this room - my works of art have been displayed all over the world! My picture has been in all the newspapers - I tell you, I get scores of letters each week from foolish romantic women!


FRED: You mean our daughter Marion--


RODERICK: You know exactly what I mean! She must have seen my name or my picture, or one of my sculptures somewhere and formed a romantic attachment for me! Certainly I'm not to blame for what a child I've never seen writes about me? Am I?


ELLA: (WEEPILY) Oh, Fred! She's not here! Then where is she? (WEEPILY) Where is she? (WEEPS HEAVILY)


FRED: (TRYING TO CALM HER) Oh, Ella! Please! It's no use --


ELLA: (WILDLY) Oh, my baby! Where is she? What's happened to her? Oh, Fred, Fred, I can't stand it! My little Marion! My baby! (ETC. AD LIB HYSTERICALLY)


FRED: (THRU HER AD LIB _ TRYING TO CALM HER) Ella! Please! You've got to control yourself! (ETC. AD LIB)


RODERICK: (ON CUE) She's getting hysterical! I'll get her something to drink.


FRED: Yes! Please!


RODERICK: (FADE) - (GRUMBLING) Most preposterous thing that ever happened to me in all my life....


ELLA: (HER HYSTERIA IS NOW WORDLESS, WEEPING)


FRED: It's all right, Ella - we'll find her - she may have come home right now. We should never have come here in the first place - you were right about that!


ELLA: (THERE ARE STILL TEARS IN HER VOICE - SHE IS SLOWLY GAINING CONTROL OF HERSELF) Yes, Fred...take me home now - please...


FRED: No! Mr. Roderick - we'll wait for him and kind of excuse ourselves for bothering him...


ELLA: All right...whatever you say...


FRED: That's right, Ella...rest...it's been pretty hard for you...but I know everything'll be all right. I've got a feeling that maybe Marion is coming back soon and we'll find out that our worries were all for nothing, and that--


ELLA: (TENSELY) Fred!


FRED: What?


ELLA: (THERE IS STILL THAT TENSE NOTE IN HER VOICE) On the floor! Under that chair!


FRED: Wha--


ELLA: Pick it up!


FRED: (AFTER PAUSE) Why - why, it's beads!


ELLA: Fred, they're Marion's!


FRED: Eh?


ELLA: (WITH GROWING INTENSITY) Marion's, I tell you! I bought them for her myself! Last week! They're Marion's! (UP CALLING) Marion! Marion, where are you? Marion! (ETC.)


RODERICK: (FADEIN FAST THRU HER CRIES - ON CUE) What is it? What's the matter? What happened?


ELLA: (WILDLY) Marion! Where is she? You've got to tell me!


RODERICK: Mr. Johnson, I've had enough of this! Get this woman out of here!


FRED: My daughter! You know where she is!


RODERICK: (ANGRILY) Are you people insane?! Starting that again!


ELLA: Her beads! These are her beads!


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) Beads.


FRED: Yes! I picked them [up from] under that statue there!


ELLA: Marion! Please send her to me!


RODERICK: Now just a moment! Just because you find a string of beads on the floor doesn't mean your daughter's here!


ELLA: But they're hers! I bought them for her myself! I tell you, they're hers!


RODERICK: Good heavens, woman, isn't it possible that I bought a string of beads that look like your daughter's? Do you think that the necklace you bought was the only one in the world?


ELLA: (DAZEDLY) Not -- not hers?


RODERICK: Of course not! I tell you I never saw your daughter in my life. Now get out of here! At once! I've had enough of this!


FRED: Ella - he's right - we've got no right to be here. Come on!


ELLA: No! I won't go! Those beads are Marion's! I tell you they're Marion's!


RODERICK: Johnson, get her out of here!


FRED: Please, Ella!


ELLA: No, no, I won't go! You've got to tell me! He knows where Marion is! I can see it in his eyes! He knows where she is!


RODERICK: That's enough of that! Johnson, if you're not going to take that woman out of here, I will! Now come on!


ELLA: Fred! Don't let him put me out! Marion! She's here! I know she is!


RODERICK: Come on, you!


FRED: No, no! Take your hands off her!


ELLA: Make him let go of me! Make him --


CRASH AS THEY KNOCK OVER PEDESTAL AND BUST - PLASTER BUST CRACKS OPEN


FRED: (AFTER TENSE PAUSE) Ella! You knocked over a statue.


ELLA: I - I'm sorry -


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) Out of here! Now will you get out of here?


FRED: She - she didn't mean to break anything! I'll pay -- I mean --


ELLA: (IN HORROR) Fred! Look!


RODERICK: Get out of here!


ELLA: Oh, Fred, look! The head of the statue!


FRED: Eh?


RODERICK: Get out I tell you!


ELLA: Look what was in it! A skull!


FRED: (AGHAST) Yes! I see! A skull! (TENSELY) Come on, Ella - we'd better go - we --


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) Not any more!


FRED: Eh?


RODERICK: You had your chance to go - now you'll stay!


FRED: Ella - give me your hand - we'll go --


RODERICK: Sit down I tell you!


FRED: Mister, we - we just want to get out of here...


RODERICK: (HIS VOICE PUTS ON A FALSE SUAVITY) Yes, yes, of course. But first I want to explain this to you. This - this skull. I don't want you to have any false ideas about it. You see, that particular plaster bust that you broke was just a conceit of mine; that is to say, I moulded a human head around an old skull I picked up in a curio shop. You understand, of course.


ELLA: My Marion - you do know where she is?


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) No! No, of course not! I've told you time and time again I don't! Now let's not have any more trouble! Go and forget all about this! (UP)(SHARPLY) You. Johnson! Get away from those statues! How dare you -


FRED: (OFF SLIGHTLY - FADEIN FAST) You don't have to get so excited, Mr. Roderick. Not unless there's reason to be excited.


ELLA: Fred! What do you mean?


FRED: I mean look at the statues around this room, Ella. They're - they're all made out of plaster like the one that broke!


RODERICK: You fool! What of it? I use whatever medium I please!


FRED: But your face is so white - you're so excited - maybe I'd better talk to the police.


ELLA: Fred! What do you mean?


FRED: I mean that maybe inside of the others there's - there's skulls, too!


RODERICK: The man's insane!


FRED: Come on, Ella -


ELLA: Fred - what you're saying - how can you say --


RODERICK: Wait! (ANGRILY) What he's saying is going to cost him plenty! Criminal libel! I demand an immediate retraction!


FRED: (SOTTO) Look at the faces, Ella - look at them!


ELLA: (SOTTO) Yes, they look as if - oh, Fred, I'm getting so afraid!


RODERICK: Stop mumbling, you two! You, Johnson! I warn you that if you go to the police with any sort of preposterous suspicion, I'll see to it that you're put away in an insane asylum for the rest of your life!


FRED: You don't have to get so mad, Mr. Roderick...


RODERICK: One word, mind you! One word and I tell you you'll regret it the rest of your life!


FRED: Mr. Roderick, stop pushing me!


RODERICK: I'm an artist! Internationally known! I've got influence enough to put you away for life!


FRED: Yes, yes, don't push me, Mr. Roderick! I might break something else! I might --


CRASH OF ANOTHER PLASTER BUST FALLING ON THE FLOOR AND BREAKING OPEN


RODERICK: (MADLY) Clumsy fool!


ELLA: (SCREAMINGLY) Fred! Another skull!


FRED: (HOARSELY) I was right! (BUILDING) I was right! In every one of these plaster heads is a human skull! Ella! Come on! The police --


RODERICK: Stand where you are!


ELLA: Fred! Don't move! That gun --


RODERICK: Yes, this gun - I'll blow a hole through that empty skull of yours! Stand where you are!...(PAUSE)


FRED: (DAZEDLY) Two skulls...


RODERICK: Yes...two most unfortunate accidents - (SHARPLY) for you! Sit down, my inquisitive friends! (SHARPLY) Sit down I say!...(PAUSE) ...And now, my dear Mr. Johnson, might I ask what you intend to do about this?


FRED: I - I don't know....


RODERICK: You lie very badly...I know what you intend to do! The police! (SLOWLY - TENSELY) But there will be no police in this situation, my friend! I assure you!


ELLA: The - the skulls - Fred - make him take them away - I don't like to look --


RODERICK: (CHUCKLES) How amusing. Clean white fleshless skulls frighten you, Mrs. Johnson? (CHUCKLES AGAIN) Perhaps I can give you a real reason for fright...


FRED: What - what are you going to do?


RODERICK: First I'm going to tell you about my work. Yes, why shouldn't you know - you know so much already! I am a great sculptor - yes, more and more the world is beginning to realize that! Why? Because I am an artist who realizes that the closer the form of the sculptured object follows the plan of nature, the greater the art!


ELLA: What's he talking about, Fred?


RODERICK: I am talking about the very thing that has frightened you so, my dear Mrs. Johnson - the skulls! They are the secret of the perfection of my sculptures! I model the face over the human skull!


FRED: Then you mean that inside each of these - these plaster heads around the room there's a - a skull?


RODERICK: Precisely!


ELLA: But - but where do you get them?


RODERICK: A most interesting question...and I have a most interesting solution...(IN CLOSE) You see, it is my good fortune that I sometimes have unexpected visitors....


FRED: (HOARSELY) Murder?


RODERICK: That word does not exist for me...I give them immortality!


ELLA: Immortality?


RODERICK: Precisely! Over the skull I fashion the face in plaster and from that is made the bronze - (CHUCKLES) and bronze will endure through all the centuries - long after their white bones would have crumbled to dust - to nothingness!


FRED: But - but the skulls! Where do you get them?


RODERICK: (CHUCKLES) Where...do I get the skulls?...Well, you see, sometimes it is my good fortune to have unexpected visitors...


ELLA & FRED: (EXCLAMATIONS OF HORROR)


RODERICK: Do not be so surprised! How did you think these skulls got into my possession? After all, there's no place to buy them - and I must have them for my work!


ELLA: (GREAT HORROR IN HER VOICE) Fred...


FRED: It's all right, Ella.


RODERICK: Of course it is all right, my dear Mrs. Johnson! I give such simple people immortality. Let me show you. For example, this head. He was a vagrant - a hobo! What could his future have been - a nameless plot in Potter's Field! Now his skull rests under this clean white [plaster] and soon it will be cast in bronze and he will live for all the ages!


FRED: Murder!


RODERICK: And this exquisite piece of work - yes, you must admit it is exquisite! When it is cast in bronze I will call it "Dark Dreamer". The entire artistic world will applaud me! But do you want to know whose skull is under the plaster? A simple colored janitor! That is good, no? Him I will give the  immortality of being called "Dark Dreamer"! (LAUGHS EXULTANTLY) The "Dark Dreamer"!


ELLA: (MOANS)


FRED: Ella, don't be afraid...


RODERICK: Yes, that's the way it is - behind each one of these plaster casts is the skull of some simple fool who in exchange for the foundation of his skull, I am giving immortality! (CHUCKLES) Can you imagine the faces of the critics out there if they knew that the basis of Rudolph Roderick's great portraits in bronze were the skulls of these ordinary empty-minded people?


FRED: You've got to tell us - what are you going to do with us?


RODERICK: Do with you? But I've explained it clearly! I shall do with you as I have done with such an infinite number of people who have wandered into my studio. Yes - my unexpected visitors who have come in here flesh and blood but - (CHUCKLES) strangely enough have gone out...in bronze!


ELLA: (SUDDENLY - SHARPLY - ALMOST SCREAMINGLY) Marion!


FRED: (IN SURPRISE) Ella!


ELLA: (VIBRANT WITH HORROR) Fred, our Marion! Has he done that to our Marion?


GONG:




ELLA: (CRYING SOFTLY)


FRED: Oh, please, Ella - don't.


ELLA: (WEEPINGLY) Marion...


FRED: But - but we don't know! (DOUBTFULLY) Not for sure!


ELLA: He just laughed! He just laughed and went out of the room!


FRED: I - I know!


ELLA: This horrible room! All these statues around - oh, Fred, inside any one of them might be - might be -


FRED: Don't say it, Ella!


ELLA: (WEEPING HEAVILY) Oh, my little baby! My baby!


FRED: Ella, we don't know, I tell you! He says she wasn't even here!


ELLA: But her beads!


FRED: He said she wasn't here!


ELLA: Her beads! I know it!


FRED: Ella, stop it! We don't know! We don't know I tell you!


ELLA: (VOICE TIGHTENS) Oh, Fred, I've got to know! Is she alive? Is she dead? I've got to know!


FRED: He'll be back!


ELLA: Other mothers have lost their daughters - but they knew! But me - oh, Fred - where is that man? You've got to make him talk! You've got to make him tell what happened to my Marion! If she's dead, where is she? Where is she?


RODERICK: (OFF SLIGHTLY) - (SLOWLY) Where - is - she?


ELLA & FRED: (GASP)


FRED: Roderick!


ELLA: You devil you! Tell me! Tell me --


RODERICK: Now - stay back! Shooting you is not in my plans.


ELLA: Have you no pity? My Marion - where is she? Have you done to her what - what you did to these others?


FRED: In pity's name, man! Tell us!


RODERICK: It amuses me to keep you in doubt...But then...you have already guessed...


ELLA: (CRIES OUT IN HORROR)


FRED: I'll kill you!


RODERICK: Stand back. No, you don't kill me! Why should you?


ELLA: (WEEPILY) My Marion...(CONTINUES MOANING BEHIND)


RODERICK: Yes, your Marion - but what would she have? Forty, fifty, sixty years of life - flesh going older - the implacable decay of time - the downward march to senility and the grave! But think what I give her! Over her skull I have molded --


FRED: Stop it!


RODERICK: I tell you over her poor little skull I have molded --


FRED: (WILDLY) Stop it! Stop it I tell you! I'll kill you!


RODERICK: Stand back!


FRED: I'll kill you! You devil, I'll --


SINGLE SHOT OF REVOLVER


ELLA: (CRIES OUT) Fred!


FRED: (GASPS)


RODERICK: (TENSELY) There! You dare touch me again and I'll put one through your heart!


ELLA: Oh, Fred! Fred!


FRED: (IN PAIN) I'm - I'm all right, Ella.


ELLA: Oh, Fred - your arm!


RODERICK: I tell you the next one will be through his heart if he dares come close to me again!


ELLA: Let me put something over it, Fred...This scarf...


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) Don't touch that scarf!


FRED: No, no - it's - it's all right...


ELLA: Here - sit here - try not to move...


RODERICK: Yes. (CHUCKLES) I have a quick cure for all pain waiting for both of you.


ELLA: Tell me - my Marion - which one -


RODERICK: You mean which plaster head is she? (CHUCKLES) Surely, you of all people should know...


ELLA: (TEARS IN HER VOICE) One - one of these?


RODERICK: Yes...one of those...There are six pedestals each with a plaster head on it - my work in progress - and in one of them I gave that simple little child of yours immortality...


ELLA: (TEARS IN HER VOICE) My eyes - the tears -- I - I can't see. Please tell me - which one?


RODERICK: There was a little memento beneath one of the pedestals...


ELLA: The beads!


RODERICK: Exactly! Now you know which one...


ELLA: (WEEPINGLY) Oh, Marion!


RODERICK: Stop crying for her! I have told you time and time again I give her immortality!


ELLA: (WEEPING) Dead...


RODERICK: This head of plaster will be bronze! Eternal bronze! I will call it "Innocence"! (LAUGHS BOISTEROUSLY) "Innocence"!


ELLA: Oh, Fred -


RODERICK: No, no, your Fred has fallen asleep! The shock of the bullet - ah, such a pity! He would be interested in learning more of his daughter's immortality!


ELLA: Let me call a doctor for him...


RODERICK: What good will a doctor do him? (TENSELY) Within a few more minutes he is - dead!


ELLA: No! No!


RODERICK: Oh, understand - not from the bullet!


ELLA: You're not going to - to kill him?


RODERICK: Why not? You and he came here uninvited - no one knows you came here - it will be quite simple.


ELLA: Have you no pity in you?


RODERICK: Pity is for small people. I am interested only in my art - and you and he will add immeasurably to my glory.


ELLA: Oh, Fred...


RODERICK: Yes - you and Fred - two heads together you will be - fused almost like one. I will call the piece - uh - yes, I have it! I will call it "Companionship"...(CHUCKLES) Good, eh?


ELLA: (MOANS)


RODERICK: Ah, but I have talked enough! That scarf - where is it? Ah, here.


ELLA: (INTENSELY) What are you going to do?


RODERICK: The father will join the daughter...in immortality...


ELLA: What are you going to do?


RODERICK: It is all quite simple - I learned the trick in India - the scarf around the throat, a quick tug just so - and it is all over.


ELLA: No! You can't! You can't!


RODERICK: No, on second thought I think I will let him live just a little longer. You make too much noise - you go first.


ELLA: No! Stay back from me!


MARION: (IN CLOSE, WHISPERING) Don't be afraid, mother...


ELLA: (GASPS)


RODERICK: (OFF SLIGHTLY) Yes, you first, my weeping woman....


MARION: (IN CLOSE AS BEFORE) Don't be afraid, mother...


RODERICK: You are speechless now, eh, Mrs. Johnson? And in a moment you will be lifeless - ready for the Roderick brand of immortality...


ELLA: (DAZEDLY - SOFTLY) No...


MARION: (IN CLOSE AS BEFORE) I won't let him hurt you, mother...


ELLA: (SOFTLY - DAZEDLY) Marion...


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) What's that you said?


MARION: (SOFTLY AS BEFORE) Stand where you are, Mother...


ELLA: (SOFTLY - TEARFULLY) Marion...


RODERICK: What are you saying, woman? Answer me! All right, then don't! I'll tighten this scarf around your scrawny neck until you won't say another word through all eternity!


MARION: (IN CLOSE - SOFTLY AS BEFORE) He won't, mother...


RODERICK: Yes, stare at me with your calf-eyes, you old woman you! (IN CLOSER) But look - I come closer! Your death and your immortality comes closer - closer...


ELLA: (SOFTLY - TEARFULLY) Marion...


MARION: (IN CLOSE) That scarf will never touch you, mother...


ELLA: (SOFTLY) I'm not afraid any more...


RODERICK: What's that you said? Yes, I heard you! (CHUCKLES) You're not afraid! (CHUCKLES) But you are wrong! When you feel the scarf closing about you, your hands will reach up for it - you'll tear at it - you'll try to screech - ah, yes, you'll be afraid! Look - I lift up the scarf - I - (CRIES OUT IN SURPRISE) Ahh! The scarf! Who pulled it out of my hand?


MARION: (IN CLOSE _ WHISPERING) He can not see me, mother.


RODERICK: Ah! There it is on the floor! I - I must have dropped it...(HIS VOICE GAINS STRENGTH - LAUGHS WITHOUT MIRTH) Yes! But that will not save you, woman! I'll lift it up and - (CRIES OUT IN SURPRISE AGAIN) It - it moved! It's - it's lifting up in the air! Who's there? Who's there I say!


ELLA: Marion...


RODERICK: Marion? What are you talking about? There's - there's no one there! (FRIGHT IN VOICE) And yet...the scarf...(TENSELY) No. I must be crazy. I've used that scarf twenty times before! Around their necks I've pulled it tight, and I'll tighten it around your neck too, old woman!


MARION: (SLOWLY IN CLOSE _ FLATLY TO GIVE OTHER WORLD EFFECT - DO NOT USE FILTER) No - you - won't....


RODERICK: (SHARPLY) Who said that? You, old woman?


ELLA: Marion...


RODERICK: (ANGRILY) Stop saying that name! She's dead! Her skull there under the plaster of that head! Dead, I tell you, as you'll be dead!


MARION: (AS BEFORE) No - you - won't...


RODERICK: Who - who spoke? (UP) Who spoke? (SLOWLY _ UNCERTAINLY) It wasn't you, old woman...I was watching you...Your lips didn't move...It sounds as if...someone was standing close to me...


MARION: (AS BEFORE) I am...close to you...


RODERICK: (DAZEDLY) Yes...Yes, that voice...Right in my ear...(SHARPLY) But there's no one here!


ELLA: (TEARFULLY) My Marion...


RODERICK: (FURIOUSLY, ANGRILY) Marion! Marion! Stop saying that, I tell you! I killed her! I killed her days ago! The scarf - I broke her neck with it! Her neck, I tell you!


MARION: (AS BEFORE) You broke my neck...but not my will...


RODERICK: (GASPS)


MARION: My will to come back and give you what you gave others...


RODERICK: There's no one here! No one here!


MARION: What good is it to throw your arms about, Rudolph? You cannot see me...only mother sees me...


ELLA: (TEARFULLY) Yes...


RODERICK: (HOARSELY) What do you want of me?


MARION: (AS BEFORE - I MEAN IN CLOSE, ETC.) To give you what you thought you gave others...what you thought you gave me...immortality!


RODERICK: Eh?


MARION: But the immortality I bring you, Rudolph, is not an immortality of bronze! It is an immortality of great pain and unendurable suffering!


RODERICK: (HOARSELY) What are you talking about?


MARION: An eternity of horror beyond words in a place of dread beyond your understanding.


RODERICK: Those words...I - I don't believe them! I can't be hearing them! The dead don't talk! (UP) The dead don't talk!


MARION: (AS BEFORE) No, but I speak in your mind - and what I do I do with a strength beyond death...Close your eyes, my mother...


ELLA: (TEARS IN VOICE) Yes, whatever you say, Marion...


MARION: And now, Rudolph - (TENSELY - IN CLOSE) your immortality of horror is waiting...


RODERICK: (TENSELY) What - what are you going to --


MARION: I do nothing - your own way of giving death brings you death...


RODERICK: Eh?


MARION: The scarf - watch it!


RODERICK: (DAZEDLY) Scarf - what - (GASPS IN HORROR) it's coming toward me! (UP) No! Stop wriggling in the air! You're cloth - silk - you have no life! (IN GROWING TERROR) Like a snake - thru the air! I can't move! Stay back, you Thing! Not around my neck! Nooo! (BEGINNING TO CHOKE) It's tightening! My neck! You'll break my neck! (AD LIB AS HE CHOKES ABOUT BREAKING NECK - CONTINUE LONG ENOUGH TO REALLY KILL THE GUY, THEN...


SOUND OF NECK VERTEBRAE CRACKING


MARION: (AFTER PAUSE - IN CLOSE) And now ...goodbye...mother...


GONG:


CLOSING MAIL PLUG


ANNOUNCER: (FOLLOWING GONG) And now, here's an important announcement for those of you who listen to "Light's Out" every Wednesday at this time. If you enjoy this feature--if you wish to continue to hear it at this time--please cast your vote. Address a letter or post card to "Light's Out", in care of the National Broadcasting Company, Chicago. (AD LIB FURTHER COMMENT & REPEAT ADDRESS IF TIME PERMITS)


Lights Out, written especially for radio by Arch Oboler, comes to you each Wednesday from our Chicago Studios. This is the National Broadcasting Company


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