Escape – “Poison” Transcript

(Harry begins to hyperventilate, then we hear him leap to his feet and begin screaming. He jumps and shakes and tears off his pajamas as they try to calm him. They all shout at once.)

Woody: Harry, no don’t!

Ganderbai: No! Mr. Pope, please!

Harry: I can’t stand it anymore! I can’t stand it!

Woody: Harry, no! Harry!

(Harry finally stops and begins to weep.)

Woody: I don’t see it.

Ganderbai: Check those tatters of cloth, the remains of his pants.

Woody: No, nothin’.

Ganderbai: The bed. Under the bed.

Woody: Yeah. (He and Ganderbai lift the bed.) Move your feet, Harry! Harry, move your feet!

Woody: No, there’s nothin’.

Ganderbai: Mr. Pope, are you, are you quite certain you saw a snake? (Harry stops crying.) Sometimes when we are very tired, we find our auto-suggestive faculties run a bit out-of-hand.

Harry: Are you callin’ me a liar?

Ganderbai: Well, no, no, I merely say that the auto-suggestive–

Harry: Are ya? Are you tellin’ me I’m a liar?

Woody: Harry!

Harry: Why you lousy little quack! Call me a liar? You stinkin’ little Hindu witch doctor with your fancy pants, huh!

Woody: Harry!

Harry: Come in here stickin’ me full of your cheap, no-good medicine!

Woody: Harry, don’t!

Harry: Pour that freezin’ cold stuff all over me!

Woody: Harry, take it easy, Harry! He’s your friend!

Harry: My friend! That little hunk of foreign trash, my friend? Why where I come from we use guys [something] like him for busboys.

Ganderbai: You make a mistake. You are wrong!

Harry: (screaming) Yeah, for busboys, for waiters, for nothin’! You’re a foreigner! You’re a gook! You’re a nothin’! Why, I oughtta beat you to a bloody pulp. You and your chloroform! You! You and your stuff about friendship, and Mama Snake, and I must make out like I like you! I oughtta split your head wide open, you gook! You gook! You gook! You gook!


Woody: (outside now) Please, Doctor. Forgive him. He’s been under a great strain. He doesn’t mean it.

Ganderbai: A great strain. Yes. He needs a good… holiday. Goodnight, Mr. Woods.


Woody: That’s all. I couldn’t tell this if old Harry was still alive. Poor old Harry. He didn’t die in India. He died in Chicago, in the Loop. Got run over by a taxicab. The driver was third-generation Irish, a real hundred-percent white American. Maybe that means something, I don’t know. Poor old Harry.


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Show Announcer: ESCAPE is produced and directed by William and Robeson. And tonight has presented “Poison” by Roald Dahl and adapted for radio by James Poe. Featured in tonight’s cast were Jack Webb as Woody, Bill Conrad as Harry, Jay Novello as Ganderbai, and Charlie Leung as the houseboy. Special music arranged and played by Ivan Ditmires. Next week…

William Conrad: You are lost in the headhunter territory of New Guinea, fighting your way through the swamps in search of gold. With you is a giant brute of a man and his beautiful wife, who doesn’t care which of you is killed, or who kills him, and from whose evil treachery there is no… ESCAPE.


Show Announcer: Next week at this time the Richfield Oil Corporation of New York invites you to escape with an exciting story of evil and violence in the deadly swamps of New Guinea. As Jules Archer tells it in “Two Came Back”. Goodbye then, until this same time next week, when once again we offer you… ESCAPE. Tom Hanlon speaking over CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.