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The Most Dangerous Game

Suspense

The Most Dangerous Game

Sep 23 1943



CAST:

NARRATOR

CBS ANNCR (1 line)


SANGER RAINSFORD

GENERAL ZAROFF

IVAN, the deaf-mute

CHOU-CHOU, the falcon

and the HOUNDS of Zaroff




MUSIC: THEME ... KNIFE CHORD ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: "Suspense."


MUSIC: THEME ... FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: This is "The Man in Black," here again to introduce Columbia's program, "Suspense." From Hollywood we bring you as star Mr. Orson Welles, who this evening begins a four-week engagement as guest of these proceedings. In the interests of prime suspense, Mr. Welles and the producer of this series have scheduled four radio stories which they feel are particularly distinguished in our chosen field. The first of these is "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell. And so with the performance of Orson Welles in the character of General Zaroff, and Keenan Wynn as Sanger Rainsford, who learned from Zaroff what was the most dangerous game, we again hope to keep you in--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD 


NARRATOR: --suspense.


MUSIC: OUT


SOUND: CRASH OF WAVES ON SHORE ... BARKING OF HOUNDS ... CONTINUES IN BG


MUSIC: FOR A BRIEF INTENSE INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... RAINSFORD'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS INTO CASTLE ROOM ... WAVES AND HOUNDS CONTINUE IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES, TENSE, BREATHLESS) I haven't much time. Any moment now he may come in; and when he does, I'm going to kill him! It's him or me, and I'm going to do my best to make it him. Oh, maybe it sounds crazy to you; I guess it does. It would have sounded crazy to me a few days ago when I was [laughing and joking] with Whitney on the yacht. I was on a pleasure trip. Ha! A pleasure trip! 


MUSIC: IN BG, SNEAKS IN BEHIND--


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) How could I, or anyone, realize then the horror and torment I was to go through? How was I to know of Ivan? And the Death Swamp, and the hounds? How was I to know of - Zaroff? 


SOUND: WAVES AND HOUNDS FADE OUT ... SHIP BACKGROUND


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) Think of it! It was only four nights ago that the ship went down. We'd been talking about this island -- "Ship-Trap Island," Whitney said it was called on the charts. He was sleepy and started on down below to turn in. I was mixing myself a nightcap when I looked up and saw it: a tremendous reef racing at us out of the fog! I screamed out a warning, but it was too late; we were right upon it!


SOUND: SHIP CRASHES INTO REEF ... SHIP'S BOILERS EXPLODE -- A LOUD, LENGTHY EXPLOSION


MUSIC: UP, TO ACCENT THE CRASH ... TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

 

SOUND: HEAVY SPLASHING OF WATER ... THEN IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) The ship exploded right on top of Whitney and [the] members of the crew. I alone was standing safe out on the prow, but the force of the explosion hurled me into the blood-warm waters, terrified at the suddenness and surprise, my stomach weak and sick at the thought of the others. The sea was eddying furiously around the sinking remnants of the ship, and a certain coolheadedness came to me and made me swim desperately away or I might not have lived to go through the horror which was soon to come. I struck out to the right, in the direction of the island about which Whitney had been telling me. I had no recollection of how long I swam, but all at once I heard the muttering and growling of the sea breaking on the rocky shore.


SOUND: WAVES BREAK ON ROCKY SHORE ... THEN GRADUALLY FADE OUT BEHIND--


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) With my remaining strength I dragged myself from the swirling waters. [Jagged crags appeared to jut up endlessly into the night.] All in, gasping, my hands raw, I at last reached a flat place at the top. I flung myself down at the jungle edge and tumbled headlong into the deepest sleep of my life. When I awoke, I was in a strange place, having no idea how I had got there.


MUSIC: UP BIG, FOR TRANSITION ... THEN OUT


ZAROFF: Well, Ivan, our friend seems to be awakening.


RAINSFORD: (WAKES, CONFUSED) Huh? I-- Where - where is this? Where am I? Where's--?


ZAROFF: Do not be alarmed, my friend. My man Ivan found you out on the cliff. He brought you here to be taken care of.


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY)


RAINSFORD: Oh. Well, thank God there's life on this island. I hardly believed--


ZAROFF: Few people do. (CHUCKLES) Yes, you are quite safe here in my castle, Mister, er--?


RAINSFORD: Rainsford. Rainsford. I'm Sanger Rainsford of New York. [My yacht ran--]


ZAROFF: (SURPRISED) Rainsford? Sanger Rainsford?


RAINSFORD: Yes.


ZAROFF: (IMPRESSED) Well! It is indeed a very great pleasure and honor to welcome you, Mr. Sanger Rainsford. You're the celebrated hunter, are you not?


RAINSFORD: Yes, yes. You know me?


ZAROFF: By reputation only. I've read your book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet, you see. My name is General Zaroff. I am not English, Mr. Rainsford, but I went to a good school; perhaps you recognize the colors of my tie. (HALF-BEAT) No? It makes no difference. I've lived too long in the jungle to be a snob. (CHUCKLES)


RAINSFORD: Well, I - I can't tell you how happy I am to meet you, general.


ZAROFF: And I can't tell you how happy I am to meet you, Mr. Rainsford. But come, we shouldn't be chatting here. We can talk later. You must be hungry. 


RAINSFORD: Yes, I am, rather.


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY)


RAINSFORD: (PUZZLED) What?


ZAROFF: Ivan thought you'd like a robe. He's drying your clothes for you.


RAINSFORD: Oh, thank you.


ZAROFF: Ivan is an incredibly strong fellow, but you mustn't mind his looks. His ears were cut off in battle and he has the misfortune to be deaf and dumb. He is sensitive about his appearance. A simple fellow, really, but, I'm afraid, a bit savage.


RAINSFORD: Oh?


ZAROFF: He's been in our family for years.


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY)


ZAROFF: Follow Ivan, if you please, Mr. Rainsford. I was about to have my luncheon just before you awoke. We can have it together now.


SOUND: THEIR FOOTSTEPS DOWN HALL, THEN IN BG


ZAROFF: Does the robe fit you all right?


RAINSFORD: Oh, yes, yes; perfectly, thanks.


ZAROFF: I'm so glad.


RAINSFORD: You have quite a collection of heads here. 


ZAROFF: (AGREES) Mmm.


RAINSFORD: Lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears. I don't believe I've ever seen a more perfect specimen--


ZAROFF: They are nice. I take great pride in them.


RAINSFORD: You have good cause.


ZAROFF: Coming from you, Mr. Rainsford, that is a great compliment. And here we are.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT ... CHAIRS SCRAPE IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


ZAROFF: You sit over there.


RAINSFORD: Thank you.


ZAROFF: Not at all. (SIGNALS FOR LUNCH) All right, Ivan.


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY)


ZAROFF: We do our best to preserve the amenities of civilization here. Please forgive any lapses. 


RAINSFORD: Oh, of course.


ZAROFF: Yes. Well off the beaten track, you know. 


SOUND: LUNCH IS SERVED AND EATEN, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE SCENE AS IT UNFOLDS--


ZAROFF: (CALLS) Uh, Chou-Chou? (NO ANSWER) Chou-Chou? (CLICKS TONGUE) Chou-Chou!


SOUND: CHOU-CHOU SQUAWKS TWICE AND FLUTTERS TO ZAROFF


ZAROFF: (CHUCKLES) This is my little pet, Mr. Rainsford. As a hunting falcon, Chou-Chou is of no further usefulness in the field, but I am fond of its company. (TO CHOU-CHOU) Am I not, little sweetheart?


SOUND: CHOU-CHOU SQUAWKS


ZAROFF: Patience, my darling. I know you're hungry, my dear. We hunt tonight.


[RAINSFORD: Well, this soup looks delicious.


ZAROFF: (CHUCKLES) Thank you. Uh, perhaps you were surprised that I recognized your name, Mr. Rainsford. 


RAINSFORD: (CHUCKLES MODESTLY) Well--


ZAROFF: You see, I read all books on hunting. I have but one passion in my life -- and it is the hunt.]


RAINSFORD: Your, uh-- (CHUCKLES) Your heads are really remarkable, general. That - that Cape buffalo is the largest I've ever seen.


ZAROFF: Ah, yes, that fellow. He was a monster.


RAINSFORD: Did he charge you?


ZAROFF: Hurled me against a tree. Fractured my skull; left me this scar. But I got the brute.


RAINSFORD: I've, uh-- I've always thought the Cape buffalo is the most dangerous of all game.


ZAROFF: Uh, no, no. You're wrong. Wrong, sir. The Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous game. (CALLS) Ivan! The wine!


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY)


RAINSFORD: (LOW) Uh, how does he understand you?


ZAROFF: He reads my lips.


SOUND: BOTTLE UNCORKED ... WINE POURED BEHIND--


ZAROFF: I think you'll like this champagne, Mr. Rainsford. Ivan chills it expertly. (RESUMES CONVERSATION) No, no, the Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous game. Here in my preserve on this island, I hunt more dangerous game.


RAINSFORD: Oh? Is there big game on this island?


ZAROFF: The biggest.


RAINSFORD: Really?


ZAROFF: Oh, it isn't here naturally, of course. I have to stock the island.


RAINSFORD: What have you imported, general? Jaguars?


ZAROFF: Jaguars? I hope you like filet mignon, Mr. Rainsford.


RAINSFORD: I do very much, thank you. Er, is it jaguars, general?


ZAROFF: No, no, no. Hunting jaguars ceased to interest me some years ago. I exhausted their possibilities, you see. No thrill left in jaguars, you understand; no real danger. I live for danger, Mr. Rainsford. (CLEARS THROAT) We will have some capital hunting, you and I. I shall be most glad to have your company.


RAINSFORD: Yes, but what game--?


ZAROFF: I'll tell you; you'll be amused, I know. I think I may say, in all modesty, that I have done a rare thing. Yes, I've invented a new sensation. May I pour you another glass of champagne, Mr. Rainsford?


RAINSFORD: Thank you, general.


SOUND: WINE POURED BEHIND--


ZAROFF: God makes some men poets. Some He makes kings, some beggars. Me He made a hunter. My hand was made for the trigger. My father once said that. Made for the trigger. My whole life has been one prolonged hunt. I've hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I've killed: grizzlies in your Rockies, crocodiles in the Ganges, rhinoceroses in East Africa. It was in Africa, by the way, that that Cape buffalo hit me and laid me up for six months. 


RAINSFORD: Mmm.


ZAROFF: As soon as I recovered I started for the Amazon to hunt jaguars, for I had heard they were unusually cunning. (CHUCKLES, BEAT) They weren't. They were no match at all for a hunter with his wits about him, and a high-powered rifle. I was bitterly disappointed. I was lying in my tent with a splitting headache one night when a terrible thought pushed its way into my head. Hunting was beginning to bore me! And hunting, remember, had been my life. I've heard that in America businessmen often go to pieces when they give up the business that's been their life.


RAINSFORD: Yes. Yes, that's so.


ZAROFF: I had no wish to go to pieces. No, no indeed. I must do something. Now, mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford. Doubtless that is why I enjoy the problems of the chase.


RAINSFORD: Oh, no doubt, General Zaroff.


ZAROFF: So I asked myself why the hunt no longer fascinated me. You are much younger than I am, Mr. Rainsford, and have not hunted as much, but you perhaps can guess the answer.


RAINSFORD: What is it?


ZAROFF: Simply this: hunting had ceased to be what you call "a sporting proposition." It had become too easy. I always got my quarry. Always. There's no greater bore than perfection. Cigarette?


RAINSFORD: Oh, no, thank you.


ZAROFF: No animal had a chance with me any more. Not a chance. That is no boast; it is a mathematical certainty. The animal had nothing but his legs and his instinct. Instinct is no match for reason. When I thought of this, it was a tragic moment for me, I can tell you. It came to me as an inspiration what I must do. 


RAINSFORD: And that was?


ZAROFF: (EXHALES) I had to invent a new animal to hunt.


RAINSFORD: A new animal? Why, you're joking.


ZAROFF: Not at all. I never joke about hunting. I needed a new animal; I found one. So I bought this island, built this castle, and here I do my hunting. The island's perfect for my purposes -- there are jungles with a maze of trails in them, hills, swamps--


RAINSFORD: Yes, but the animal? The animal, General Zaroff?


ZAROFF: It supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. No other hunting compares with it for an instant. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits.


RAINSFORD: Yes, but you still haven't--


ZAROFF: I wanted the ideal animal to hunt, so I said, "What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?" And the answer was, of course, "It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason."


RAINSFORD: Well, no animal can reason.


ZAROFF: My dear fellow ---- there is one that can.


RAINSFORD: One? But you can't mean--?


ZAROFF: And why not?


RAINSFORD: Well, I - I can't believe you're serious, General Zaroff. You're just joking.


ZAROFF: Joking? I'm quite serious. I'm speaking about hunting.


RAINSFORD: Hunting? You're speaking about murder.


ZAROFF: Oh, dear me; that unpleasant word. I think I can show you that your scruples are quite ill-founded.


RAINSFORD: Yes?


ZAROFF: I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships -- lascars, Japs, mongrels -- a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.


RAINSFORD: But these are men!


ZAROFF: Precisely. That is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion. So they are dangerous.


RAINSFORD: But where do you get them?


ZAROFF: (CHUCKLES) We'll visit my training school. It is in the cellar. I have about a dozen pupils down there now. They're from the Spanish bark San Lucar that had the bad luck to go on the rocks out there. A very inferior lot, I regret to say. Poor specimens, more accustomed to the deck than to the jungle. Another glass?


RAINSFORD: No.


SOUND: WINE POURED


ZAROFF: It's a game, you see -- a sort of game. I suggest to one of them that we go hunting. I give him a supply of food and an excellent hunting knife. I give him three hours' start. I am to follow, armed only with a pistol of the smallest caliber and range. If my quarry eludes me for three whole days, he wins the game. If I find him, he loses.


RAINSFORD: Suppose he refuses to be hunted?


ZAROFF: Oh, I give him his choice, of course. He need not play that game if he does not wish to. If he does not wish to hunt, I turn him over to Ivan. Ivan once had the honor of serving as official knouter to my old king, and he has his own ideas of sport. Invariably, Mr. Rainsford, invariably they choose the hunt.


RAINSFORD: And if they win?


ZAROFF: To date, I have not lost. I do not wish you to think me a braggart, Mr. Rainsford. Many of them afford only the most elementary sort of problem, I assure you. Occasionally I strike a tartar. 


SOUND: CHOU-CHOU SQUAWKS UNHAPPILY ... THEN BRIEFLY BEHIND--


ZAROFF: (LAUGHS) Chou-Chou remembers the tartar, don't you, darling? Yes. Yes, he almost did win. I eventually had to use the hounds. (MOVING OFF) You see? Wait a moment, I'll open the window.


SOUND: WINDOW OPENS ... HOUNDS BEGIN BARKING ... THEN IN BG


ZAROFF: (OFF, CALLS MERRILY) Hello, boys! (LAUGHS)


SOUND: WINDOW SHUTS ... BARKING HOUNDS GROW QUIET IN BG


ZAROFF: (RETURNS) A rather good lot, I think. They're let out at seven every night. If anyone should try to get into my castle -- or out of it -- something extremely regrettable would occur to him. (BEAT) Ah, but enough of this. Come, I'll show you a collection of heads I'm quite sure you've never seen before. Will you join me in the library for coffee?


RAINSFORD: I, er, hope that you will excuse me tonight, general. I--


ZAROFF: (DISAPPOINTED) Ohhh.


RAINSFORD: I'm really not feeling well at all.


ZAROFF: Indeed? I know what it is. My old complaint. Ennui, boredom. You need some excitement. Tonight, we'll hunt -- eh, Mr. Rainsford? You and I.


RAINSFORD: You're wrong, general. I won't hunt. I won't murder.


ZAROFF: As you wish, my friend. The choice rests entirely with you. But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan's?


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY)


RAINSFORD: You--?


ZAROFF: My dear fellow--


RAINSFORD: You don't mean that you plan to hunt me?


ZAROFF: My dear fellow, have I not told you I always mean what I say about hunting? (BEAT) This is really an inspiration. I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel, at last.


SOUND: CLINK! OF GLASS AS ZAROFF DRINKS


RAINSFORD: I simply can't believe-- This must be some sort of dream.


ZAROFF: You'll find the game worth playing, Mr. Rainsford. Think of it: Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength, your stamina, against mine. Outdoor chess! (CHUCKLES) And the stake is not without value, eh?


RAINSFORD: And if I win?


ZAROFF: I'll cheerfully acknowledge myself defeated if I do not find you by midnight of the third day. My sloop will place you on the mainland near a town. Oh, you can trust me. I'll give you my word as a gentleman and a sportsman. Of course, you, in turn, must agree to say nothing of your visit here.


RAINSFORD: I will agree to nothing of the kind.


ZAROFF: (BEAT, DISAPPOINTED) Oh. Well, in that case-- Hmm. But why discuss that now? Three days hence we can discuss it over a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, unless, er-- Well, your choice, Mr. Rainsford?


RAINSFORD: (RESIGNED) I'm a hunter; you know my choice.


ZAROFF: (BUSINESSLIKE) Mm hm. Ivan here will supply you with hunting clothes, food, a knife. I suggest you wear moccasins; they leave a poorer trail. I suggest, too, that you avoid the big swamp in the southeast corner of the island. We call it Death Swamp. There's quicksand there. 


SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES AS ZAROFF RISES


ZAROFF: Well, I must beg you to excuse me now. We always take our siesta after our lunch, don't we, Chou-Chou?


SOUND: CHOU-CHOU SQUAWKS


ZAROFF: (CHUCKLES) Yes. Come, my little pet. You'll hardly have time for a nap, I fear, Mr. Rainsford. You'll want to start, of course. I shall not follow till dusk. Hunting at night is so much more exciting than by day, don't you think? (MOVING OFF) Well, au revoir, Mr. Rainsford, au revoir.


RAINSFORD: I-- [Look here, isn't there any way I can--?]


IVAN: (SPEAKS INDECIPHERABLY AND A LITTLE EXCITEDLY)


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


SOUND: JUNGLE BACKGROUND (ANIMALS CHATTER, SQUEAK, SQUAWK, ET CETERA)


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) I'd fought my way through the bush for two hours, repeating to myself over and over again, "I must keep my nerve, I must keep my nerve." My whole idea at first was to put distance between myself and General Zaroff; and, to this end, I had plunged along through the thicket, spurred on by the sharp rowers of something very much like panic. Now I had got a grip on myself. I'd stopped. I was taking stock of the situation. I saw that straight flight was futile; inevitably it would bring me face to face with the sea. 


"Well, I'll give him a trail," I muttered, and I struck off from the rude path I had been following and into the trackless wilderness. I made a series of intricate loops; I doubled back on my trail again and again, recalling all the lore of the fox hunt, all the dodges of the fox. Night found me exhausted, my hands and face lashed by the branches, on a thickly wooded ridge. My need for rest was imperative and I thought, "I've played the fox, now I must play the cat of the fable." A big tree with a thick trunk and outspread branches was near by, and, taking care not to leave the slightest mark, I climbed up and stretched out on one of the broad limbs. Rest brought me new confidence and almost a feeling of security. "Even so expert a hunter as General Zaroff cannot trace me here," I assured myself. 


An apprehensive night crawled slowly by; my mind keenly alert for any sound, any warning. Towards the dawn, an instinct I never knew existed, like an animal must possess, impelled me to look far off in the distance in a westerly direction. Sure enough, following the trail with the sureness of a bloodhound came General Zaroff. Nothing escaped those searching black eyes: no crushed blade of grass, no bent twig, no mark, no matter how fine, in the moss. My heart pounding furiously, I slid down quickly from the tree and struck off again into the woods. I knew I had to do something desperate; I knew that I had little time in which to do it.


Three hundred yards from my hiding place I stopped where a huge dead tree leaned precariously on a smaller, living one. Throwing off my sack of food, I took my knife from its sheath and began to work with all my energy.


SOUND: HACKING OF KNIFE ON WOOD ... FILLS BRIEF PAUSE ... THEN OUT


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) The job was finished at last, and I threw myself down behind a fallen log three hundred feet away. I did not have to wait long. 


MUSIC: UP TO FILL A TENSE PAUSE ... THEN GENTLY FADES OUT BEHIND--


SOUND: JUNGLE BACKGROUND UP ... ZAROFF'S STEADY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH THROUGH THE BRUSH, THEN IN BG ... CHOU-CHOU WAILS BRIEFLY


ZAROFF: Chou-Chou? Chou-Chou? Patience. Patience, my darling. You'll be fed. (CALLS SHARPLY) Rainsford? 


RAINSFORD: (INHALES NERVOUSLY)


ZAROFF: (CALLS) Rainsford? (NO ANSWER) Rain--?


SOUND: LOUD, LENGTHY CRASH! AS THE TRAP SPRINGS AND THE TREE FALLS


RAINSFORD: (WHISPERS, TO HIMSELF) Got him!


SOUND: JUNGLE BACKGROUND FILLS TENSE PAUSE


ZAROFF: (AMUSED) Well! (CALLS) Rainsford?!


RAINSFORD: (ASTONISHED WHISPER) What--?


ZAROFF: (CALLS) If, uh-- (CHUCKLES) If you are within sound of my voice, as I suppose you are, let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford. Mm. Very interesting. The tree brushed my shoulder as I jumped back. I'm going to have the wound dressed; it's only slight. But I shall be back, Mr. Rainsford. I shall be back!


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT/TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG--


SOUND: JUNGLE BACKGROUND


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) It was flight now -- a desperate, hopeless flight that carried me on for hours. I don't know where I got the strength. I kept telling myself over and over again that I must keep my nerve; that I was competing with a monster, a super-huntsman. Dusk came, then darkness, and still I managed to press on. The ground grew softer under my moccasins; the vegetation grew ranker, denser; insects bit at me savagely.


SOUND: RAINSFORD'S FOOT STEPS INTO THE OOZE ... HE STRUGGLES, IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) Suddenly, as I stepped forward, my foot sank into the ooze. (WITH EFFORT) I tried to wrench it back, but the muck sucked viciously at my foot like a giant leech. With a violent effort, I tore my foot loose. 


SOUND: FOOT PULLED FROM OOZE ... A FEW BACKWARD STEPS ON SOLID GROUND


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) I knew where I was then. Death Swamp and its quicksand! But the softness of the earth had given me an idea. I stepped back from the quicksand a dozen feet or so and began to dig.


SOUND: RAINSFORD'S DIGGING BRIEFLY FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN, IN BG, HE CLIMBS OUT OF PIT, SHARPENS STAKES AND PLANTS THEM, ET CETERA ... IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) When the pit was above my shoulders, I climbed out and from some hard saplings cut stakes and sharpened them to fine points. These stakes I planted in the bottom of the pit with the points sticking upwards. As fast as I could, I wove a rough carpet of weeds and branches and, with it, covered the mouth of the pit. Then, wet with sweat and aching with tiredness, I crouched behind the stump of a lightning-charred tree.


Oh, I knew Zaroff was coming. I could hear the padding sound of his feet on the soft earth. Zaroff was coming, and coming fast. He was not feeling his way along, foot by foot. Crouching there, I could not see him, nor see the pit. I lived a year in a minute -- frozen, every muscle tensed! 


MUSIC: FILLS A TENSE PAUSE ... THEN IN BG


SOUND: HURRIED FOOTSTEPS APPROACH THROUGH JUNGLE ... STEPS ONTO CRUNCHY BRANCHES ... THEN TRAP GIVES WAY WITH A CRASH AND A BLOODCURDLING SCREAM THAT SOUNDS ALMOST HUMAN


MUSIC: OUT


SOUND: SILENCE ... AND THEN--


ZAROFF: (CALLS) Very good, Rainsford! Very good! You've done well! 


SOUND: DYING HOUND BRIEFLY WAILS MOURNFULLY IN PAIN


ZAROFF: (CALLS) Your Burmese tiger pit has claimed one of my finest hounds. Again you score. I think, Mr. Rainsford, I'll see what you can do against my whole pack. I'm going back to get them now. Thank you -- for a most amusing evening. (LAUGHS MERRILY)


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT/TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


SOUND: DISTANT BAYING OF A PACK OF HOUNDS, SLOWLY GROWING CLOSER IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) At daybreak, lying near the swamp, I was awakened by a sound that made me know I had new things to learn about fear. It was a distant sound, faint and wavering, but I knew it. It was the baying of a pack of hounds! I could do one of two things. I could stay where I was and wait. That was suicide. I could flee. That was postponing the inevitable. I had put my very last hope into that tiger pit. For a moment I stood there, thinking. All at once, an idea that held a wild chance came to me, and, tightening my belt, I headed away from the swamp.


The baying of the hounds drew nearer. They would be on me any minute now. My mind worked frantically. I thought of a native trick I had learned in Uganda. I caught hold of a springy young sapling and to it fastened my hunting knife, with the blade pointing down the trail; with a bit of wild grapevine I tied back the sapling. Then I ran for my life. 


SOUND: PACK OF HOUNDS NOW VERY CLOSE ... CONTINUES IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) The hounds raised their terrifying voices as they hit the fresh scent. I knew then how an animal at bay feels. At last, I had to stop to get my breath. The baying of the hounds stopped just as suddenly--


SOUND: HOUNDS' BARKING DIES OUT


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) --and with it my heart stopped too. They must have reached the knife. Excitedly, I shinnied up a tree and looked back. My pursuers had stopped, all right. But the hope that had been in my brain when I climbed died, for in the shallow valley I saw that General Zaroff was still on his feet. But Ivan was not. Apparently, he had come along to hold the hounds. The knife, driven by the recoil of the springing tree, had splintered through his chest. I'd hardly tumbled to the ground when the pack took up the cry again.


SOUND: BAYING OF HOUNDS RESUMES ... THEN IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) "Nerve, nerve, nerve, nerve," I panted, as I dashed along. A blue gap showed between the trees dead ahead. The hounds were almost on top of me. I forced myself on towards that gap. I reached it. It was the shore of the sea.


SOUND: CRASH OF WAVES BELOW ... THEN IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES) Across a cove I could see the gloomy gray stone of the castle. Twenty feet below me the sea rumbled and hissed. I hesitated. I heard the hounds. Then I leaped far out into the sea!


MUSIC: UP BIG, FOR ACCENT/TRANSITION ... THEN OUT


SOUND: FLASHBACK ENDS AND WE ARE BACK IN THE CASTLE ROOM WITH RAINSFORD ... CRASH OF WAVES ON SHORE ... BARKING OF HOUNDS ... CONTINUES IN BG


RAINSFORD: (NARRATES, RELIEVED) Oh, yes, the sea was good to me, and I'm here safe in the general's bedroom, waiting for him. Three days are up and I've eluded him, but now I must go further. In a moment, we will meet, he and I, and he will be unarmed. Only one of us is going to live, you understand that now?


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, HOUNDS STOP BARKING ... WAVES CONTINUE STEADILY IN BG ... DOOR OPENS ... ZAROFF'S STEPS IN, CONTINUE IN BG ... CHOU-CHOU SQUAWKS A LITTLE, THEN GROWS QUIET BEHIND--


ZAROFF: (WARMLY) Er, quiet, Chou-Chou. Chou-Chou! You must be patient, dear. You must forgive me; you're hungry, I know. (CHUCKLES, CLICKS TONGUE AFFECTIONATELY) Chou-Chou--


SOUND: ZAROFF'S STEPS STOP


ZAROFF: (STARTLED) Rainsford!


RAINSFORD: (EVENLY) General.


ZAROFF: (STUNNED) Rainsford. How on Earth did you get here?


RAINSFORD: Swam. I found it easier and quicker than walking through the jungle.


ZAROFF: (ADMIRINGLY) I congratulate you. Extraordinary. You've won the game!


RAINSFORD: Oh, no, general. I'm still a beast at bay. Here!


SOUND: METAL ON STONE AS RAINSFORD THROWS A SWORD AT ZAROFF'S FEET


RAINSFORD: Get ready, General Zaroff.


ZAROFF: Swords?


RAINSFORD: Yes!


ZAROFF: Two of them. 


SOUND: ZAROFF PICKS UP SWORD


ZAROFF: (THOUGHTFUL) I see. (PLEASED) Oh, very good. Very good, Rainsford! One of us, then, is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this - this very excellent bed. (CHUCKLES) Excellent. (SHARPLY) On guard, Rainsford!


SOUND: SHORT SWORD FIGHT ... ZAROFF AND RAINSFORD'S STEPS, GRUNTS, EXCLAMATIONS, ET CETERA, IN AGREEMENT WITH CLANGING BLADES ... ALL BEHIND--


MUSIC: FOR DUEL TO THE DEATH ... THEN OUT


SOUND: SWORD FALLS TO FLOOR ... ZAROFF STAGGERS BEHIND--


ZAROFF: (GROANS)


SOUND: ZAROFF STAGGERS TO WINDOW ... CRASH! OF WINDOW GLASS AS ZAROFF FALLS 


ZAROFF: (DEATH SCREAM)


SOUND: HOUNDS HOWL AND BARK EXCITEDLY ... THEN HOUNDS GROW QUIET ... ONE HOUND WAILS MOURNFULLY AS RAINSFORD'S SLOW STEPS WALK TO BED, WHICH SQUEAKS A LITTLE AS HE LIES DOWN


RAINSFORD: (EXHALES CONTENTEDLY, CHUCKLES, NARRATES) It was just as my late host said it would be: a very excellent bed.


MUSIC: CURTAIN


NARRATOR: And so closes "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell, starring Orson Welles, tonight's tale of--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD ... THEN THEME IN BG, UNTIL END


NARRATOR: --suspense. Mr. Welles was General Zaroff and Keenan Wynn, Rainsford. This is your narrator, the Man in Black, who conveys to you Columbia's invitation to spend this half hour in suspense next week, same time, when Orson Welles will again be our star in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story "The Lost Special." The producer of "Suspense" is William Spier, who tonight also directed the broadcast; and who with Bernard Herrmann, the conductor; Lucien Moraweck, who composed the original score; and Private Jack Anson Finke, the radio author, collaborated on tonight's "Suspense."


CBS ANNCR: This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.


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