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The Open Boat

Escape

The Open Boat

Jul 19 1953



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

NARRATOR

CAPTAIN, the eldest and smartest; a good leader

OILER, the strongest; working class, deep voice

COOK, the youngest; a tenor

CORRESPONDENT, cynical, seen-it-all

MAN, on the shore




NARRATOR: Tired of the everyday grind? 

Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? 

Want to get away from it all? 

We offer you--


MUSIC: DOOM-LADEN ACCENT


NARRATOR: --ESCAPE!


MUSIC: EERIE ACCENT


ANNOUNCER: ESCAPE -- designed to free you from the four walls of today for a half hour of high adventure. 


MUSIC: THEME ("NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN") ... THEN UNEASY, BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: You are in an open boat with three desperate men, two hundred yards from land and safety. But while you scream frantically for someone to rescue you, you realize that from the mountainous breakers between you and safety, there is no escape.


ANNOUNCER: Listen now, as transcribed, ESCAPE brings you Stephen Crane's unusual story, "The Open Boat." 


MUSIC: GRIM INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: Eighteen Ninety-Seven. A tale intended to be after the fact. Being the experience of four men from the sunk steamer Commodore. They were a captain, an oiler, a cook, and a correspondent -- and many a man ought to have a bathtub larger than the boat which they rowed upon the sea.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


SOUND: SLOSH OF OARS IN WATER ... WIND BLOWS ... OILER GRUNTS AND EXHALES WITH EFFORT AS HE ROWS ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: None of them knew the color of the sky. Their eyes were fastened upon the waves that swept toward them. The horizon narrowed and widened, dipped and rose, and at all times it was jagged with waves that seemed to thrust up in points like rocks. A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave, you discover there's another behind it just as important, just as anxious to swamp a boat. 


CAPTAIN: Keep 'er a little more south, Billie.


OILER: A little more south, sir. 


COOK: There's a house of refuge just north of the Mosquito Inlet Light. Soon as they see us, they'll come off in their boat and pick us up.


CORRESPONDENT: (SKEPTICAL) Soon as who sees us, Cook?


COOK: The crew.


CORRESPONDENT: Houses of refuge don't have crews -- only places where clothes and food are stored for the benefit of shipwrecked people. They don't carry crews.


COOK: Oh, yes, they do.


CORRESPONDENT: No, they don't.


OILER: We're not there yet.


CORRESPONDENT: The oiler's right. We're not there -- yet.


COOK: Good thing it's an on-shore wind. If not, where would we be?


CORRESPONDENT: (CHUCKLES) Now, that's right.


CAPTAIN: Do you think we've got much of a show now, boys?


COOK: I don't know, captain.


CAPTAIN: Oh, well. We'll get ashore all right.


OILER: Yes. (GRUNTS) If this wind holds.


COOK: If we don't, we're down in the surf.


OILER: (GRUNTS) 


MUSIC: GRIM TRANSITION ... THEN OUT BEHIND NARRATOR--


SOUND: OARS SLOSH IN WATER ... WIND BLOWS ... OILER GRUNTS ... GULLS SQUAWK ... IN BG


NARRATOR: Sometimes the gulls would sit on the sea, comfortably in groups. Its wrath was no more to them than it was to a convoy of prairie chickens a thousand miles inland. Often they came close.


SOUND: A FEW GULLS SQUAWK CLOSER


NARRATOR: And at these times they were uncanny and sinister in their unblinking scrutiny.


COOK: (SAVAGELY) Get away! Go on! Get! Get! Get away! Get!


SOUND: GULLS SQUAWK AND FLY AWAY


COOK: (TO HIMSELF) Ooh! Ugly, filthy things.


MUSIC: UNHAPPY TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: The captain was hurt and couldn't do anything. The cook bailed. The oiler and the correspondent sat together in the same seat and rowed. 


SOUND: OARS SLOSH IN WATER ... WIND BLOWS ... OILER GRUNTS ... IN BG


NARRATOR: (MEASURED) And then the oiler took both oars. And then the correspondent took both oars. The correspondent. The oiler.


OILER: Will you spell me?


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, sure.


SOUND: ROWING STOPS AS OILER AND CORRESPONDENT CAREFULLY TRADE PLACES, WITH EFFORT, BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: But it was easier to steal eggs from under a hen than it was to change seats in the dinghy. The man in the stern slid his hand along the thwart and moved with care. The man in the rowing seat slid his hand along the other thwart. As the two sidled past each other, the cook and the captain kept watchful eyes on the coming wave.


CAPTAIN: (TENSE) Look out now! Steady there!


SOUND: WHOOSH! OF WAVE ... BOAT ROCKS BUT DOES NOT TURN OVER


CAPTAIN: (RELIEVED) Good boy, Billie.


MUSIC: UNHAPPY TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


SOUND: OARS SLOSH IN WATER ... WIND BLOWS ... CORRESPONDENT GRUNTS AS HE ROWS ... IN BG


CAPTAIN: (WITH RELIEF) I think I see the lighthouse at Mosquito Inlet!


CORRESPONDENT: Huh? Which way?


COOK: Wait -- wait. I think I see it, too. Billie?


OILER: Uh, might be.


CORRESPONDENT: I don't see anything.


CAPTAIN: Look again. It's exactly in that direction.


CORRESPONDENT: Wh-- Why, now I see it. It's real small, like the head of a pin. 


SOUND: CORRESPONDENT DOUBLES HIS EFFORTS


OILER: Think we'll make it, Captain?


CAPTAIN: If this wind holds and the boat don't swamp, we can't do much else. Bail here, Cook.


COOK: All right, Captain sir, all right.


SOUND: SLOSH OF WATER AS COOK BAILS ... ALL SOUNDS CONTINUE IN BG


NARRATOR: The brown mats of seaweed that appeared from time to time informed the men in the boat that they were making progress slowly toward land. And slowly the lighthouse grew larger, an upright shadow on the sky. And then -- land appeared, thinner than paper.


CAPTAIN: (PAUSE) I wish we had a sail. We might try my overcoat on the end of an oar; give you two boys a chance to rest.


CORRESPONDENT: I'll try anything. 


SOUND: ROWING STOPS


CORRESPONDENT: Whew! (TO OILER) What do ya say? 


OILER: Let's try it. 


CAPTAIN: Here's my coat.


OILER: Right, sir. Lower 'em both down toward me. I'll tie it on.


CORRESPONDENT: Here. Here you go.


CAPTAIN: Easy.


COOK: There's some rope there, Billie. You can lash it better.


OILER: Sleeves'll do better, I think. You'll have to hold one oar. You, the other. 


CORRESPONDENT: All right.


COOK: Okay.


OILER: Ready?


COOK: All ready.


CAPTAIN: Hoist her! 


SOUND: MEN GRUNT AND THEIR VOICES OVERLAP AS THEY HOIST THE OARS: "All right, here we go. Easy! Hey, watch it. Hold on. Keep her steady now. Steady it." ET CETERA


OILER: Better lower her.


CORRESPONDENT: What?


CAPTAIN: Aren't we making headway, Billie?


OILER: (NERVOUS) She'll swamp this way! She's too far off-balance!


SOUND: MEN'S VOICES OVERLAP AS THEY LOWER OARS QUICKLY: "Oh! Set it down. Come on, set her down. Down! Take her down. Easy! That's it." ET CETERA


SOUND: THUMP! OF OARS ON BOAT ... THE MEN SIGH HEAVILY


OILER: (SIGHS WEARILY) We'll - we'll just have to row. 


CORRESPONDENT: (FRUSTRATED, SUDDENLY SAVAGE) Ha! How in the name of all the saints can there be people who think it's fun to row a boat?!


COOK: (CHUCKLES) You put things right smart.


OILER: Yeah.


CAPTAIN: Yes. Wouldn't be so bad if we'd eaten something before.


CORRESPONDENT: (STILL WOUND UP) Yeah! If we got ourselves in the pink of condition before we got ourselves shipwrecked -- that'd be better, too!


OILER: (AGREES QUIETLY) Would be.


CORRESPONDENT: (CALMING DOWN) Huh! There'd be less people drowning at sea.


OILER: I'll spell you.


CORRESPONDENT: (BACK TO NORMAL, APOLOGETIC) No. We can both do it. Take the right oar, Billie.


OILER: Right. 


CORRESPONDENT: Let's go.


SOUND: MEN'S ROWING AND GRUNTING RESUMES AND FILLS A PAUSE ... CONTINUES IN BG


NARRATOR: Slowly and beautifully the land loomed out of the sea. And the wind came again -- and then went -- and then came again, veering from northeast to southeast. 


CAPTAIN: Boys? 


OILER: Huh?


CAPTAIN: Listen.


NARRATOR: And a new sound struck the ears of the men in the boat-- 


SOUND: DISTANT WASH OF WAVES ON SHORE ... THEN IN BG

 

NARRATOR: --the sweet, low thunder of the surf on the shore.


COOK: We must be about opposite New Smyrna. 


CORRESPONDENT: Yes!


COOK: I believe they abandoned that life-saving station there about a year ago.


CAPTAIN: Did they? Take her easy, now, boys. Don't spend yourselves. If we have to run a surf, you'll need all your strength, because we'll sure have to swim for it. Take your time.


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. 


OILER: Yes, Captain.


COOK: That's the house of refuge, sure. They'll see us before long, and come out after us.


CAPTAIN: The keeper ought to be able to make us out now, if he's looking through his glass. He'll notify the life-saving people.


OILER: None of those other boats could have gotten ashore to give word of the wreck--


CORRESPONDENT: Huh?


OILER: --else the lifeboat would be out hunting us.


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Billie. That's right.


CAPTAIN: I don't think it'd be wise to try for the lighthouse now. Swing her ahead a little more north, Billie.


OILER: A little more north, sir.


CAPTAIN: Steady now there, Billie, my boy.


OILER: Steady as she is, Captain.


CAPTAIN: In an hour, perhaps -- maybe two -- we'll be ashore -- dry, fed.


CORRESPONDENT: Want to drink to that, Captain?


CAPTAIN: (LIKES THE IDEA) Yes.


COOK: Still got the water jug.


CAPTAIN: Well, let's have it around -- all hands.


SOUND: ROWING STOPS


OILER: Right, sir. You go ahead.


COOK: You first, sir.


CAPTAIN: Thank you.


SOUND: POP! OF CORK ON JUG


CAPTAIN: (DRINKS, EXHALES) All right. Cook?


COOK: Thank you. (DRINKS, EXHALES) Billie?


OILER: (DRINKS, EXHALES DEEPLY) Ah! Tastes good, fresh water. (TO CORRESPONDENT) Here you go.


CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. (DRINKS, QUIET EXHALATION) Well, since we're celebrating, I got a surprise. Look.


COOK: Cigars!


OILER: Aren't they wet?


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, some of 'em are. But some of 'em are dry. I don't know how. Here.


OILER: I got dry matches. 


CORRESPONDENT: (HANDS CIGAR TO COOK) There you are.


COOK: Thanks.


SOUND: MEN LIGHT UP AND PUFF THE CIGARS


CAPTAIN: Well, now. This is more like it! 


THE OTHERS: (CHUCKLE AND MURMUR AGREEMENT)


CAPTAIN: (SATISFIED) Yes, sir! In another hour: dry and fed.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: WIND, SURF, ROWING, AND THE OILER'S GRUNTING ... THEN IN BG


CAPTAIN: Cook, there don't seem to be any signs of life about your house of refuge.


COOK: No. It's funny they don't see us.


CORRESPONDENT: If we have to go through that surf, we'll swamp for sure.


COOK: Funny they don't see us.


CAPTAIN: I suppose we'll have to make a try for ourselves. If we stay out here too long, we'll none of us have strength left to swim after the boat swamps. 


THE OTHERS: (MURMUR AGREEMENT)


CAPTAIN: Head her straight in then, Billie.


OILER: Aye, sir. Straight in.


CAPTAIN: (PAUSE) If we don't all get ashore, I suppose you fellows know where to send news of my finish.


COOK: Yes, sir. If I don't get ashore, you boys can tell my old lady what happened.


OILER: My family lives in New Brunswick. Just ask for them at the Hampton Inn.


CORRESPONDENT: If I don't get ashore-- (CHUCKLES) If I don't get ashore, it won't matter to anyone but me.


CAPTAIN: Ready?


OILER: Aye, sir.


CAPTAIN: It's getting rougher. Shore's still pretty far away.


OILER: (RELUCTANT) Sir? We can't go in any closer.


CAPTAIN: What? 


OILER: Boys, she won't live three minutes more if we keep her headed toward shore. It's too far out to swim. Shall I--? Shall I take her out to sea again, Captain? 


CAPTAIN: (BEAT, DECISIVE) Yes, Billie, go ahead. Take her out to sea again.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: And the boat with the four men in it -- the captain, the oiler, the cook, and the correspondent -- turned back away from the land and bumped over the furrowed sea to deeper water. 


MUSIC: UP FOR CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: We will return to ESCAPE in just a moment, but first:


Just sit back, relax, and watch the cars roll by. Watch the heavy traffic on the highways in the summertime. Watch the traffic jams and the roadblocks and the tired, hot drivers sitting behind the steering wheels of their cars, trying to make time and getting nowhere fast. Just help yourself to a nice, refreshing, cool drink, sit on your chair on the porch, your stoop, or lawn, under the shade of a big elm tree, with your radio tuned to some nice, sweet music or a thrilling whodunit on CBS Radio and watch the summer rush on the roadways. Gosh, you're smart. 


And now, back to ESCAPE. 


MUSIC: GRIM INTRODUCTION


SOUND: SLOSH OF OARS IN WATER ... WIND BLOWS ... OILER GRUNTS AND EXHALES WITH EFFORT ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that he feels she should [not] maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates very much the fact that there are no bricks and no temples. And he finds that nature is serene among the struggles of the individual. She's not cruel, nor beneficent, nor wise, nor treacherous. She is simply - indifferent.


COOK: Well, anyhow, they must have seen us from shore by now.


OILER: Squall coming from the southeast, sir.


CAPTAIN: I see it, Billie. Keep her the way she is.


OILER: Aye, sir.


COOK: What do you think of those life-saving people? Ain't they peaches?


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, funny they haven't seen us.


COOK: (AGITATED) You'd think we're out here for sport! Maybe they think we're fishin' or maybe they think we're stupid fools! (CATCHES HIMSELF) Sorry.


OILER: (SEES SOMETHING) There, sir. St. Augustine? Those dots?


CAPTAIN: Oh, no, I don't think so. Too near Mosquito Inlet.


CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever like to row, Billie?


OILER: No. Did you?


CORRESPONDENT: (SADLY) Always loved it. Loved it.


COOK: (EXCITED) Look! There's a man on shore!


CAPTAIN: Huh? Where?


COOK: There! See 'im? See 'im?


CAPTAIN: Yes, sure! He's walking along. And he sees us! He's waving!


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah.


COOK: Yeah! He does see us! He does!


CAPTAIN: Ah, now we're all right! There'll be a boat out here for us in half an hour.


COOK: He's goin' on. He's running! He's going up to that house there! (TENSE) He's standing still again. He's lookin', I think. There he goes again -- toward the house!


OILER: (TO HIMSELF) Come on, come on.


CAPTAIN: (DISMAYED) He's stopped again.


OILER: Is he--? Is he waving at us, sir?


CAPTAIN: No, not now. He was, though.


COOK: Look! There's another man! Look at him go, would you? (REALIZES) He's on a bicycle! A bicycle on the beach! They're both waving at us!


CAPTAIN: There comes something else up the beach!


OILER: Is it--? Is it a lifeboat, sir?


CAPTAIN: I think so.


COOK: No. No. No, it's not a lifeboat. 


CAPTAIN: (DISAPPOINTED) Oh.


COOK: It's nothing but a bus. One of those big hotel buses.


CAPTAIN: By thunder, you're right. (ANNOYED) What do you suppose they're doing with a bus?


CORRESPONDENT: Why don't they get a lifeboat?!


COOK: (GETS AN IDEA) Hey -- hey. Maybe they're going around collecting the lifeboat crew?


CAPTAIN: That's it! 


COOK: Huh?


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah.


CAPTAIN: Keep her around into the wind, Billie.


OILER: All right, sir.


CAPTAIN: Look! There's a fellow waving a little black flag at us. He's standing on the steps of the bus. And there comes two other fellows. Now they're all talking together. Well, look at that fellow with the flag. He sees us, all right! He's know what he's about! (YELLS) Heyyyyy! Come get us! Come get us!


COOK: Hey, that ain't a flag, is it? (REALIZES, DISMAYED) Well, that's his coat. Why, certainly, that's his coat!


CAPTAIN: So it is. It's his coat. But would you look at him swing it?


CORRESPONDENT: (REALIZES, BITTERLY) There isn't any life-saving station there. That's just a winter resort hotel. (AMUSED) Some of the customers came to see us drown!


CAPTAIN: (ANNOYED) What's that idiot with the coat mean? What's he signaling, anyhow?


OILER: (GETS AN IDEA) Sir! It looks as if he were trying to tell us to go north. There must be a life-saving station up there.


CAPTAIN: (REALIZES, UNHAPPILY) No, no. 


OILER: Hmm?


CAPTAIN: He thinks we're fishing, Billie. Just giving us a wave.


CORRESPONDENT: (IRONIC) That's all we need now, a cheery little wave -- to send us on our way to eternity! 


CAPTAIN: He don't mean anything. He's just playing.


COOK: (ANGRY, FRUSTRATED) Well, if he'd just signal us to try the surf or - or go to sea or wait or go north or go south or go to--! There'd be some reason in it, but - but look at him!


CORRESPONDENT: (SAVAGELY) Why doesn't he stop waving that coat long enough so we can tell him we're out here -- dying?! Why doesn't he?!


CAPTAIN: (REASSURING) Oh, it's all right now. They'll have a boat out here in less than no time, now that they've seen us.


CORRESPONDENT: (SKEPTICAL) Yeah. 


OILER: Night coming on, sir.


CAPTAIN: Oh, now, now, boys. We'll never have to stay here all night. No, don't you worry. They've seen us now, and it won't be long before they just come chasing right out after us, eh? Oh, come on, boys. Cheer up now.


MUSIC: SOMBER TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: The shore grew dusky. The man waving the coat blended gradually into this gloom, and it swallowed in the same manner the bus and the group of people. (BEAT) A night on the sea in an open boat is a long night. 


SOUND: SLOSH OF OARS IN WATER ... WIND BLOWS


COOK: Like to get my hands on that bird who waved the coat. I'd just like to live long enough to do that.


CORRESPONDENT: Why? What did he do?


COOK: Ah, nothin'. He just seemed too blasted cheerful.


CAPTAIN: Keep her head up, keep her head up.


OILER: (WEARY) Keep her head up, sir.


SOUND: CONTINUES IN BG


NARRATOR: The obligation of the man at the oars was to keep the boat headed so that the tilt of the rollers wouldn't capsize her. The black waves were silent and hard to be seen in the darkness. And on the northern horizon a light appeared, a small bluish gleam on the edge of the world.


OILER: (QUIET, WEARY) Captain? Are you awake?


CAPTAIN: (WEAKLY) Aye.


OILER: Shall I keep her making for that light north?


CAPTAIN: Aye. Keep it about two points off the port bow.


OILER: Aye. (GROANS QUIETLY WITH THE NEXT THREE STROKES, THEN FALLS SILENT)


SOUND: ROWING FILL A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: A gleaming trail of phosphorescence, like a blue flame, was furrowed on the black waters. It might have been made by a monstrous knife. The speed and power of the thing was greatly to be admired. It cut the water like a gigantic and keen projectile, never leaving the vicinity of the boat. Ahead or astern, or on one side or another, at intervals long and short, flew the long sparkling streak.


MUSIC: OMINOUS BRIDGE


SOUND: CORRESPONDENT'S GROANS AND ROWING ... WIND BLOWS ... THEN IN BG


CAPTAIN: Pretty long night.


CORRESPONDENT: (EXHAUSTED) Yeah.


CAPTAIN: Those life-saving people take their time.


CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Did you see the shark playing around?


CAPTAIN: Yes, I saw him. He was a big fellow, all right.


CORRESPONDENT: I didn't know you were awake, Captain.


CAPTAIN: Makes no difference. He's gone now.


CORRESPONDENT: (PAUSE) Billie?


OILER: (WAKES) Huh? What?


CORRESPONDENT: Billie? Will you spell me, Billie?


OILER: Wh-- Why, sure.


MUSIC: WEARY BRIDGE


SOUND: GENTLE SPLASH OF WATER (NO ROWING) ... WIND BLOWS ... THEN IN BG


CAPTAIN: Cook?


COOK: (STARTLED) Huh? What? Oh. Yes, Captain?


CAPTAIN: Take her farther out to sea so there's no danger from the surf. (BEAT, EXPLAINS PATIENTLY) You take that oar to the stern there and keep her facing the sea.


COOK: Right, sir.


CAPTAIN: Call out if you hear that surf just once, hear?


COOK: I will, sir.


CAPTAIN: It will give you boys a chance to curl down for a while, get in shape again.


OILER: Thanks, Captain.


MUSIC: GRIM ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: And the correspondent and the oiler lay down in the bottom of the boat, trembling with the cold and the damp, and chattered themselves to sleep -- the dead sleep. Spray occasionally bumped over the side and gave them a fresh soaking, but it had no power to break their repose. And neither knew that they bequeathed to the cook -- now the only man awake on an ocean -- the company of another shark.


MUSIC: UP FOR A TENSE TRANSITION ... THEN OUT


SOUND: GENTLE SLOSH OF WATER AGAINST BOAT ... WIND BLOWS ... THEN IN BG


CAPTAIN: Boys?


THE OTHERS: (AWAKEN) Huh? Wha--? (YAWNS AND MURMURS, IN BG)


CAPTAIN: Boys?


OILER: (GROGGY) Oh, it's day, huh? 


CORRESPONDENT: How does it look?


CAPTAIN: She's drifted in pretty close. I guess one of you'd better take her to sea again.


OILER: All right, Captain. I'll--


CORRESPONDENT: No, I'll do it, Billie. Take it easy. You've been working hard enough.


SOUND: OILER AND CORRESPONDENT AWKWARDLY SHIFT PLACES IN THE BOAT


CAPTAIN: Easy now!


CORRESPONDENT: Sorry. (SETTLES IN) Well! Here we are. (GRUNTS)


SOUND: OARS SLOSH IN WATER ... ROWING, IN BG


CORRESPONDENT: If I ever get ashore and anybody shows me even a photograph of an oar, I'm gonna break their--


OILER: (MILD DISGUST) Nothing on the beach. No man, no bicycle, no bus. Not even a dog.


COOK: I guess I'd even like to see that fellow with the coat again.


CORRESPONDENT: Guess we all would.


CAPTAIN: Well, at least the light tower's still in sight.


CORRESPONDENT: That I'd rather not see.


CAPTAIN: Why is that?


CORRESPONDENT: Well, for one thing, I don't think anyone ever climbs up there. If they did, we'd have help.


CAPTAIN: (THOUGHTFUL) If no help is coming, we might better try to run through the surf.


OILER: When, sir?


CAPTAIN: Right away, Billie. If we stay out here much longer, we'll be too weak to do anything for ourselves at all pretty soon.


COOK: The captain's right.


CORRESPONDENT: Anything's better than this.


OILER: Should I--? Should I head her into the beach, sir?


CAPTAIN: Head her into the beach, Billie.


OILER: To the beach, sir.


MUSIC: ANTICIPATORY BRIDGE


SOUND: SLOSHING WATER AND LOUD ROAR OF SURF ... THEN IN BG ... THE MEN SHOUT TO BE HEARD


CAPTAIN: Now, boys, hear this! She's going to swamp sure! All we can do is work her in as far as possible, and then when she swamps, pile out and scramble for the beach! 


COOK: Yes, sir! 


OILER: But, Captain, you're hurt!


CAPTAIN: I shall swim it all right, Billie, if we get in close enough! (BEAT) Keep cool now, boys, and don't jump until she swamps sure!


COOK: Aye, sir!


OILER: Captain, I think I'd better bring her about -- keep her head-on to the sea and back her in!


CAPTAIN: All right, Billie! Back her in! 


COOK: I don't think we'll get in very close, captain, but we'll try! 


CAPTAIN: And remember to get well clear of the boat when you jump!


SOUND: WHOOSH! OF A WAVE INTO THE BOAT


CAPTAIN: Bail her! Bail her out!


COOK: All right, Captain!


OILER: Captain, the next one will do us for sure, sir!


CAPTAIN: Here she comes! Mind you jump clear of the boat!


SOUND: CRASH! OF WAVE INTO BOAT, WHICH TURNS OVER ... THE MEN'S TERRIFIED SHOUTS TOPPED BY THE WATER


MUSIC: AGITATED TRANSITION ... THEN CALMER BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: The sea pummeled them and spewed them about, and plunged them downward and threw them skyward, and all wondered, "Am I going to drown? Am I going to drown with the sand and the trees over there? Am I going to drown?" And a man came running along the shore. He was in the water in a matter of seconds, pulling the cook ashore first, then returning to help the captain, then the correspondent.


SOUND: SHORE BACKGROUND ... WAVES POUND


CORRESPONDENT: (COUGHING AND CHOKING ON WATER)


MAN: Here you go now. Here, grab hold of my arm.


CORRESPONDENT: (HOPELESS DESPAIR) I'm done for.


MAN: No, you're not. Come on now. Come on!


SOUND: MAN PULLS CORRESPONDENT ONTO BEACH


CORRESPONDENT: (GROANS, RELIEVED) Oh, thanks! Thanks. (BREATHES HEAVILY, IN BG)


MAN: It's all right now. It's all right.


CORRESPONDENT: I thought it was - all over.


MAN: Look!


MUSIC: SHARP BRIEF ACCENT ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: In the shallows, face downward, lay the oiler. His forehead touched sand that was periodically, between each wave, clear of the sea. 


MUSIC: UP FOR BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


NARRATOR: It seemed that instantly the beach was populated with men and flasks, blankets and clothes, and women with coffee pots. But while the captain and the cook and the correspondent took all of these remedies, a still and dripping shape was carried slowly up the beach. And the land's welcome for Billie, the oiler, could only be the hospitality of a grave. 


MUSIC: UP FOR CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: Transcribed under the direction of Antony Ellis, ESCAPE has brought you "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane, adapted by E. Jack Neuman. In order of their appearance, you have heard: William Conrad as the narrator; Tom Tully, the correspondent; Edgar Barrier, the captain; Bob Sweeney, the cook; Dave Young, the oiler; and Jack Carroll, the man. The special music for ESCAPE is composed and conducted by Leith Stevens.


MUSIC: DOOM-LADEN ACCENT


ANNOUNCER: Next week--!


MUSIC: EERIE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: You are in a wild and dangerous country, riding to stake your claim, while the man who follows you without conscience or fear is waiting for the moment when he will stop you -- with a bullet in the heart.


ANNOUNCER: So listen next week when ESCAPE brings you William J. Radcliff's exciting story "The Notebook."


MUSIC: THEME ("NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN") ... THEN OUT BEHIND--


ANNOUNCER: Remember, the blood you give is vital in building a reserve of gamma globulin for the prevention of paralysis from polio. Call your local Red Cross chapter for an appointment to donate blood tomorrow. This is Roy Rowan speaking.


MUSIC: SOMBER CLOSING THEME ... UNTIL END--


ANNOUNCER: And remember THE JOHNNY MERCER SHOW is heard weekday evenings on the CBS Radio network.

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