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Escape with Joseph Conrad! The adaptation of Joseph Conrad's fiction on American old-time radio.

INTRODUCTION

Joseph Conrad has often been seen as one of the greatest literary stylists in English fiction with extraordinary skills of narrative, characterization, and irony. However, Conrad is also a creator of great stories. This is the reason that Conrad's work has had such an appeal in adaptation: the Maurice Tourneur film of Victory (1919) was the first of many adaptations of the 1915 novel; Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage (1936, based on The Secret Agent) was ostensibly the only Conrad adaptation by a director whose oeuvre is distinctly "Conradian"; Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) and its subsequent offshoots--Hearts of Darkness (1991) and Apocalypse Now--Redux (2001)--form one of the most interesting case studies in the adaptation of Conrad. In short, Conrad has always had a presence on screen. To these we can add countless theatre, television, and comic book adaptations that prove Conrad's appeal in the widest range of popular culture. However, one area of Conrad adaptation that has been hitherto almost completely neglected in academic study is radio. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio has often dabbled in Conrad adaptation, starting with a radio adaptation of Lord Jim in February 1927 and, more recently, the four-part Tales from the Islands (1997). In addition to these, the BBC has produced numerous other radio adaptations, serialized readings, and abridgements of Conrad's fiction. However, the focus of this study will be on American radio adaptations of the "old-time" period or the broadly "golden age," with specific attention being given to two case studies: the adaptations of "Typhoon" and "The Brute" produced by Escape in the late 1940s.

The British contribution to radio drama was, and continues to be, major. The BBC's first full-length play to be broadcast on radio was a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (May 28, 1923), and the first specific radio play is usually taken to be Richard Hughes's A Comedy of Danger (January 15, 1924). It is probably no surprise to hear that the radio dramatization of fiction started early, the first novel adapted on radio being Charles Kinglsey's Westward Ho! (April 1925), followed by Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim in 1927. To the present day, the BBC continues to produce a large body of radio drama that reflects an unparalleled commitment to the medium. Radio drama in the U. S., however, has virtually disappeared: in its "old-time" heyday, the American radio networks (among them the National Broadcasting Corporation [NBC] and the Columbia Broadcasting System [CBS]) were prolific, producing vast quantities of radio drama and serializations, but also inventing new genres for the medium--such as quiz shows and sitcoms--that would proceed to exert a massive influence on the very medium that would ultimately sound American radio's death knell: television.

The golden age of American radio is usually taken to be the period of the 1930s to the early 1950s. It was indeed a special if not unique period in the history of the medium, and many of the radio plays produced for it were truly remarkable. The plays are often technically advanced (as examples of adaptation as well as in their utilization of sound effects, etc.) and well acted (even when deliberately heightened and melodramatic). Arguably, many golden-age recordings remain far more engaging than many contemporary examples of radio or spoken word drama. In trying to ascertain the appeal of the old-time radio broadcasts, we should remember that we are listening to "pure theatre." Radio broadcasts in our own time are pre-recorded and carefully edited; old-time radio was live, and the live contributions of the actors, musicians, sound effects technicians, and sometimes studio audience, more often than not imbues the productions with a focus and energy that we could equate with live theatre.

In the golden age of American radio, there were many broadcasting stations, some local, some regional, and some with national syndication. Nearly all of these stations boasted some drama provision, ranging from family entertainment and children's plays to crime and horror shows. Programs such as Amos n' Andy and The Shadow enjoyed a popularity that is hard to imagine now, with audiences in the millions who faithfully "stay[ed] tuned" over many years. One of the greatest mainstays of radio drama was adaptation. Programs like The Lux Radio Theater--described by John Dunning as "the most important dramatic show in radio" (416)--was an adaptive forum that presented hour-long versions of Hollywood films, usually including the original screen actors. But as well as turning films into radio, fiction was an enormously popular source for adaptation. In the dramatic arts and popular culture (now as much as in the past), we often see adaptive dramatists turning to the world of established fiction as it offers texts that have proved their probity and integrity. Moreover, as Robert Giddings and Keith Selby argue, "Adapting a novelist's work for broadcasting as a classic serial was [and probably still is] accepted as an important stage towards literary canonization" (x). Another feature in relation to adaptation is the "interest" factor (or maybe what some would regard as expedience), especially in relation to the canon, where adaptation will offer the listener a quick mode of access into a classic of literature or a short cut to the gist of a work of fiction.

In the colossal body of work that encompasses golden-age radio adaptations of fiction, just about every novelist in the canon of world literature is represented, and Joseph Conrad is no exception. The principal adaptations of Conrad in American old-time radio include the following:

* Heart of Darkness, adapted by Orson Welles, on Mercury Theater of the Air, November 6, 1938

* Heart of Darkness, a completely different version by Orson Welles, on This Is My Best, March 13, 1945

* Heart of Darkness, on NBC University Theater, May 15, 1949

* Lord Jim, on NBC University Theater, October 3, 1948

* Victory, on NBC University Theater, February 16, 1950

* "Typhoon," on Escape, July 28, 1947

* "The Brute," on Escape, April 11, 1948

The Conrad adaptations by Welles and the NBC University Theater will form the focus of a subsequent study, but I will provide a few words on them before looking at the Escape adaptations in more depth.

I. THE MERCURY THEATER ON THE AIR AND THE NBC UNIVERSITY THEATER

Orson Welles and John Houseman had formed the Mercury Theater in New York City in 1935, and it had been such a critical success with its experimental and avant garde stage productions that in June 1938, CBS offered the Mercury Theater a slot on radio. The Mercury Theater on the Air launched in July 1938, and from the beginning it made a speciality of adaptation: the first four weeks were adaptations of Dracula (July 11, 1938), Treasure Island (July 18, 1938), A Tale of Two Cities (July 25, 1938) and The Thirty-Nine Steps (August 1, 1938), and this speciality continued throughout the history of the series. The radio dramatizations presented by the series remain masterpieces of radio drama, whether as ingeniously concise and loyal adaptations or as extraordinary and experimental re-workings (such as the legendary War of the Worlds, October 30, 1938). Welles and Houseman turned to Conrad just one week after the War of the Worlds with a double-bill of Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Clarence Day's Life With Father (November 6, 1938).

Welles returned to Heart of Darkness long after the days of the Mercury Theater on the Air: he adapted it for This Is My Best in March 1945. This series, also on CBS, had launched in September 1944 with the remit of adapting new and often hardly known authors. Welles took over in March 1945: Heart of Darkness was his first broadcast with the series, and with this and subsequent adaptations like The Master of Ballantrae, it was clear that Welles was implementing a change in emphasis towards the classics; in April 1945, a month after starting, Welles was fired for "compromising the show for his personal agenda by scheduling the play Don't Catch Me (which he had been trying to develop as a film prospect) against the agency's wishes" (Dunning 664-65). This is not in the least surprising, especially if we consider the way he introduces Heart of Darkness on his first broadcast with This Is My Best:
   ORSON WELLES. Orson Welles again. I can't tell you how truly
   pleased and proud I am to join the Cresta Blanca program This Is My
   Best, and I'm glad too to start off with an old favorite, a show
   the Mercury brought you first. It's a story we came to Hollywood to
   make a movie of--we never did maybe someday we will--but I think
   it's particularly well suited to radio. Here it is, one of the best
   regarded and most typical of the works of Joseph Conrad. The Heart
   of Darkness [sic] could be described as a deliberate masterpiece,
   or a downright incantation. Almost we are persuaded that there is
   something after all, something essential waiting for all of us in
   the dark areas of the world, aboriginally loathsome, immeasurable
   and certainly nameless ...


Both versions, the Mercury Theater on the Air and This Is My Best, are impressive works, but they are also surprisingly different, such as in narrative structuring. In 1938, Welles plays the "friend" of Marlow, the framing narrator as in Conrad's original story, while in 1945 this layer of narrative is peeled away, and Welles is Marlow. In both versions Welles plays Kurtz. There is also, arguably, a different "feel" to the two versions: one suspects that with John Houseman and the Mercury Theater ensemble there is more of a team working on their own distinct and established "niche" (especially a mere week after War of the Worlds), while in This Is My Best one is aware of Welles making a debut, in-between Cresta Blanca wine sponsorship and a live audience. The works are also interesting to consider as examples of pre-war and wartime drama (and also, in terms of Welles's career, as pre- and post-Citizen Kane).

The precision, location, and impact of Heart of Darkness make it an excellent choice for radio adaptation. Indeed, it seems that Welles did not attempt any other Conrad adaptation, preferring to dramatize Heart of Darkness twice. The NBC University Theater also saw the appeal and produced a one-hour version of Heart of Darkness (May 15, 1949). The NBC University Theater specialized in the adaptation of novels and did so for educational credit in an innovative "college by radio" correspondence scheme established by the NBC Education Department, the University of Louisville, Washington State College, and other institutions (Dunning 482). It was a highly regarded series throughout its three-year run (1948-51) with excellent scripts and acting in a fascinating pedagogic package. According to Dunning, "Libraries reported that dramatizations depleted their shelves of the original works, and the University of Louisville received 250 queries a day when the show was at its peak" (482). This supports radio critic Ian Rodger's assertion (taking issue with Marshall McLuhan's argument that the rise of radio and television meant that reading would disappear) that "the radio actually stimulated listeners to go and read classic novels" (29). The NBC University Theater dramatizations remain very accomplished and faithful adaptations of classic fiction, and its three Conrad adaptations are no exception.

II. ESCAPE

In contrast to the ostensibly didactic aspirations of the NBC University Theater, Escape would seem, at first glance, to be aiming at heightened, escapist drama. The series was broadcast by CBS and ran from 1947-54, during which time it broadcast approximately 250 half-hour plays, most of which were adaptations of short stories by writers such as Nikolai Gogol, Jack London, Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells, etc. In the words of John Dunning, "Escape is today widely considered radio's greatest series of high adventure" (232), and Leonard Maltin singles out several Escape offerings as classics of the genre: "Escape [...] produced some of the greatest half-hours ever broadcast, including "A Shipment of Mute Fate," "Evening Primrose," "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "Leinegen [sic] Versus the Ants," and the hair-raising "Three Skeleton Key" [...]" (302-3). Evidence of these broadcasts' status as instant classics can be found in their revival on Escape or even other vehicles such as Suspense (which produced versions of "A Shipment of Mute Fate" and "Three Skeleton Key").

The status Escape now enjoys is somewhat ironic when one considers the hard time the program was given by CBS. It was shifted to eighteen different timeslots over its seven-year run, sometimes with long gaps in its schedule (Dunning 232). Moreover, Escape did not enjoy sustained commercial backing, which compromised the security of its existence and budget, even if freedom from sponsorship often meant a liberation of style, structure, and content (as proved by The Mercury Theater on the Air). Despite all its disadvantages, it seems that Escape made an immediate impact on critics and audiences alike. The series strove for high adventure, but its radio plays were never examples of simplistic fantasy or melodramatic sensationalism (the stock-in-trade of so much radio drama of the period): as a contemporary reviewer in Radio Life declared in August 1947, the first year of Escape's run, "These stories all possess many times the reality that most radio writing conveys" (qtd. in Dunning 233). In its quest for "reality," Escape turned to fictional sources that provided impeccable examples and produced well-crafted and well-acted radio drama. Conrad was one of the first choices for adaptation, with "Typhoon" being adapted in 1947 and "The Brute" in the following year.

Aside from two audition broadcasts, "Typhoon" (July 28, 1947) was the fourth radio play broadcast in the Escape series. The story was adapted by Les Crutchfield (a notable radio playwright of the period who also made frequent contributions to Gunsmoke and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar) and produced and directed by William N. Robson, with Frank Lovejoy playing the role of Jukes, and Raymond Lawrence as Captain MacWhirr. This Conrad adaptation was preceded by versions of Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" (episode 1, July 7, 1947); F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Diamond As Big As The Ritz" (episode 3, July 21, 1947); and the Escape producer/director William N. Robson's own non-adaptive radio play Operation Fleur de Lys (episode 2, July 14, 1947). Although the F. Scott Fitzgerald and Rudyard Kipling adaptations went on to enjoy revivals, the fact that the Conrad adaptations were not revived should not diminish their stature as golden-age dramatizations.

III. "TYPHOON"

Typhoon and Other Stories was published in 1903, and in Conrad studies the long short story "Typhoon" enjoys a respected and distinctive position as it is, according to Jocelyn Baines, "the most unalloyedly positive of Conrad's stories" (405). Moreover, Conrad's story is something of a paradigm of storm-at-sea tales such as Richard Hughes's In Hazard (1938), and there is a case to argue that although Wolfgang Peterson's film The Perfect Storm (2000) is based on the true events of 1991, as a narrative it owes something to "Typhoon." Conrad's descriptions of the typhoon itself are vivid and make the short story an experience to read. Additionally, the story is impressive as a study of masculinity, personality, and even economics (avoiding the typhoon will cost a lot in coal) and politics (the presence of the two-hundred Chinese coolies is a crucial aspect of the story).

At the heart of Conrad's story is the Nan-Shah ship and the relationship between chief mate Jukes and Captain MacWhirr. These two men are polar opposites in their character and temperament. Jukes sets up MacWhirr as something of a fool: the story ends with the words "such a stupid man" (159), and in the radio play Jukes in his opening speech says "Stupid MacWhirr, I called him." Anecdotal episodes such as the transfer of the ship from the British to the Siamese flag are used by Jukes as proof of this. However, as Jeremy Hawthorne argues, all this demonstrates is that MacWhirr's "narrow imagination turns out to be of more use in the typhoon than Jukes's more metaphysical speculations about national identity" (13).

As in so much of Conrad, "Typhoon" displays a suspicion of language and a demonstration of its inadequacy not least, as Francis Mulhern puts it, when "speech turns figural or obscene, is blocked by superstition or swept away by the gale" (41). In terms of written language, MacWhirr is highly sceptical of books about storms and is a Captain who, in Hawthorne's words, is the kind of man who forces us "physically to grapple with reality" (44). But in grappling with reality, the survival of the ship and those onboard is more likely to be guaranteed. H. M. Daleski argues that MacWhirr is "endowed with a saving self-possession" and equates the story with Heart of Darkness and The Nigger of the "Narcissus" for this reason (23). In the same spirit, Cedric Watts contends:
   If you wish to ally yourself to one who is consistent and seems
   designed for survival, you should ally yourself with Sancho Panza or
   Horatio rather than with their masters. And in Conrad's pages, such
   dependables are represented by Singleton (The Nigger of the
   "Narcissus"), MacWhirr ("Typhoon"), the boiler-maker (Heart of
   Darkness), Don Pepe (Nostromo), Wang (Victory) and many others. (77)


Jukes has something of a melodramatic temperament: unlike MacWhirr, he is concerned with the characters and personalities on board the ship. Moreover, he is, as Edward W. Said argues, "the interpreting man, bothered by questions of alternatives, of safety, of conflicting passions," although when he arrives at the "My God! My God! My God! My God!" phase, the ambiguity of interpretation has evaporated (114-15). Indeed, when Jukes feels certain that he will never see another dawn he is suddenly calm (an attitude which is, arguably, melodramatically fatalistic). To return to Said, to MacWhirr, the typhoon is "simply a storm, not the storm" (116). In a way, MacWhirr would not recognize a heart of darkness if he saw one, whereas Jukes sees them everywhere. But MacWhirr's worldview and headlong pragmatism is the route to survival.

The narrative structure of "Typhoon" uses a third-person omniscient narrator and other layers of text such as letters, including the lengthy missive from Jukes to his "chum in the Western ocean trade" (98). The Escape dramatization, however, decides to use Jukes as the narrator (framed by an announcer), and so he tells us the story, along with his commentary and bias. This makes the radio version a curious experience for those familiar with the story, as it pares away the Conradian mediating narrator and leaves us in the direct company of a Conradian character.

I will now give some comparative examples. The experimental aspects of the story are not recreated for the play. For example, consider this episode of the mangling of language by the typhoon:

The same voice, within a foot of him and yet so remote, yelled sensibly, "Can't be helped."

Captain MacWhirr had never turned his face, but Jukes caught some more words on the wind.

"What can--expect--when hammering through--such--Bound to leave--something behind--stands to reason." ("Typhoon" 117)

In the radio play this section becomes:

MACWHIRR. It can't be helped, Mr. Jukes, hammering through a mess like this you're bound to leave something behind, naturally, hold hard ...

There are also subtle differences. Jukes says "She's done for" to himself in a personal moment in the story (118), while in the play this is picked up on by the Captain:

JUKES. We're done for, for sure ...

MACWHIRR. What's that Mr Jukes--you say something ...?

In Chapter V, MacWhirr warns Jukes that he will be in charge--pointedly "alone'--if anything happens to him, and his advice is as follows:

"Keep her facing it ... Facing it--always facing it--that's the way to get through. You are a young sailor. Face it. That's enough for any man. Keep a cool head."

"Yes, sir," said Jukes, with a flutter of the heart. ("Typhoon" 149)

This is how the equivalent section is presented in the radio play:

MACWHIRR. If anything happens to me, you'll be in charge. Only advice--keep her facing it, best way to get through, facing it. That's enough for any man ... (Wind increasing)

JUKES. Alright Captain, I'll remember it ...

MACWHIRR. And one thing more Mr. Jukes ...

JUKES. Yes sir ...

MACWHIRR. Something that always helps at sea is to keep a cool head, just keep a cool head ... (Wind increases to a roar)

JUKES, shouting. Ah no, keep a cool head, stitch in time saves nine, a rolling stone ... What in the name of heaven do you do with a man like that ...? (Wind increases, changes to music, suddenly calm)

JUKES. There was a clear blue sky and bright sunshine the morning we steamed into Fu-chau harbour.

Andrea White argues that in "Typhoon" Conrad is able to "narrate the scenes in the dramatic present" (149); and although this is predominantly accurate, it is worth noting that among the narrative strategies Conrad employs is ellipsis. In the words of Francis Mulhern, "Perhaps the most celebrated ellipsis in modern short fiction occurs between Chapters V and VI of 'Typhoon,' when Conrad passes over the climactic fury of the storm with an understatement" (38). As we have seen, the radio version builds up to the crucial ellipsis by giving Jukes another opportunity to disparage MacWhirr, while in the story Jukes's heart may flutter but he soon experiences "an access of confidence" ("Typhoon" 149).

The understatement that concludes Chapter V is "I wouldn't like to lose her" (150), and the dramatization reworks those bathetic words as a punch line to end the play:

MACWHIRR. We had a job to do, and we did it. That's all, Mr. Jukes, that's the important thing ...

JUKES. Yes sir, that's er, that's all ... (Gentle Music) That's all, he says. A job to do, a bit lucky ... what can you do with a man as thick as that ... but then as I started to turn away, Captain MacWhirr said something else that surprised me ... with emotion rung from the very bottom of his soul he, he uttered words I never thought I'd hear coming from so, so stupid a man ...

MACWHIRR. But I'm glad we brought her through Mr. Jukes, truly I am. She's a good ship, Mr. Jukes, a good ship. I should have hated to lose her. I ... I should have hated to lose her.

To turn "Typhoon" into a radio play of less than thirty minutes, the original is pared down and given a different emphasis by retaining Jukes as narrator. The powerful descriptive sections relating to the storm take on an unreal quality ("Typhoon" 115-116), and this is unique to the story, and the radio does not attempt to capture that. The radio presents a bad storm, but we are not inside it as we are in Conrad's narrative. But Escape's "Typhoon" is nonetheless an experience to listen to and successfully presents the clash of personalities and crises, and as in so many adaptations of Conrad across media we find the experiential and the escapist lying at the heart of Conrad's appeal.

IV. "THE BRUTE"

"Typhoon" has a privileged position in the Conrad oeuvre as a highly regarded work. The same cannot be said of the other Conrad adaptation produced by Escape, "The Brute--An Indignant Tale," published in A Set of Six (1908). Whereas "Typhoon" could be seen as paradigmatic, "The Brute" is, as Gail Fraser writes, usually dismissed as "formulaic" (35). Indeed, Baines describes it as "a slight story, little more than a potboiler" (323), and Zdzislaw Najder calls it "one of Conrad's weakest works" (319). Lawrence Graver explains things for us when he says that the "story could have been effective, even as a slight anecdote, if it were not for its complete confusion of tone--its bewildering mixture of indignation, sarcasm, and false heartiness" (131). In addition, Graver argues, "Never before did Conrad seem to have so much trouble getting in and out of a story" (131). The framing narrative--so often used to triumphant effect elsewhere in his work--seems flawed in this story. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Conrad calls "The Brute" a "horror story" (Knowles and Moore 57), and I would argue that Conrad's choice of narrative strategies and confusion of tone obscure the focus needed in the artistic recounting of what should be a straightforward generic piece. Graver argues that "it is the only Conrad story in which a physical object is more important than any human being" (132), and yet this is not necessarily a problem in the horror genre: not only does Conrad follow in the tradition of the sentient mansion in Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" but, as Jack Sullivan argues, his demonic "ship is a forerunner of the deadly supernatural cars in H. Russell Wakefield ["Used Car"] and Stephen King [Christine]" (92).

The radio version of "The Brute" (Escape, April 11, 1948) was, once again, adapted by Les Crutchfield, with Dan O'Hurlohee in the focal Ned Wilmot role; and in many ways, it is an improvement on Conrad's original. The radio play belongs in the context and tradition of radio horror so significant in golden-age radio. The story is delivered with economy and focus as becomes the medium. As Tim Crook says, in radio drama (but it could just as well be applied to narrative fiction), "The beginning is everything" (157). After the announcer, the narrator--Ned Wilmot--hooks the audience:

NARRATOR: You could never tell it just by looking at her, proud and strong and beautiful on the outside. You couldn't see the black heart inside of her, and you'd never know she'd killed at least a dozen men and maybe more. But I knew her, knew her for the murdering she-devil she was. I saw her the day she killed her first one, and I was there too when she finally made her big mistake and killed the wrong person ... but that was a long time later. Oh, she had a name all right, but after that first day and her first killing, nobody but the family ever used it again--everyone else from that day on would look at her half afraid and half snarling, and they called her The Brute ...

The speech engages the listener without giving any indication that the killer is not a human being. Of course, Conrad does the same with the framing narrator in the Three Crows overhearing, "That fellow Wilmot fairly dashed her brains out, and a good job, too!" ("Brute" 43), but the arch language of the Escape adaptation is better suited--and more engaging--for a tale of terror and high adventure.

Crutchfield locates archetypes and legendary features appropriate for a horror story. In the short story we are told that the shipping magnate Mr. Apse was so disappointed that The Apse Family was slightly underweight "that he took to his bed and died," thus giving the "Brute" her first blood ("Brute" 47). Although Crutchfield retains the detail of the ship being underweight (this lends an ominous quality to the vessel), The Brute's first murder is a more heightened incident. The short story tells us of the problems launching the ship--"more like letting a devil loose upon the river" ("Brute" 47)--while in Escape the launch is the scene of the first murder:

MAGGIE. I christen thee The Apse Family ... (sound of bottle hitting the ship's side)

FATHER. The Apse Family ... so that's what they're naming her, eh ...

JERMYN, shouting. All right, men, knock out the staves ... Let her go ...

(Workers knock out the staves holding the ship on the slipway; much whistling, clapping, and cheering as the ship moves down into the water)

CHARLEY. Look, lad, she's starting to move, there she goes ...

FATHER. Yes, and look at that speed--I never saw a ... (shouts in alarm)

JERMYN--LOOK OUT! (Cheers, whistles, and screams mixed together with ship's hooters)

MALE BYSTANDER. Good Lord! He fell right in the way, and she went right over him!

FATHER. He didn't fall: a dibber rolled off the deck and knocked him under ...

MALE BYSTANDER. She slid right over him, Mr Jermyn, the man who built her ...

FATHER. She's launched in blood if that means anything; she's a brute and a murderess now, Charley. Still eager to sail on her?

CHARLEY. It was an accident: it doesn't mean anything.

FATHER. Perhaps not.

CHARLEY. I'll sail on her someday, sooner or later ... I will sail on her ...

We have already heard Mr. Jermyn the shipbuilder--Crutchfield borrows the name of the "North Sea pilot" listening to the story in the Three Crows ("Brute" 62)--express his misgivings about the "insane" ship; so his killing allows the vessel to be "launched in blood," and in classic horror tradition signals the unleashing of the monster/ship and the beginning of its reign of terror.

Like the short story, the dramatization establishes the romance between Charley and Maggie Colchester, although the Escape version of their relationship is more conventionally romantic than Conrad's account in which Ned is surprised that his brother and Maggie do not launch into "an awful row" ("Brute" 53): in the short story, Maggie and her "silly, hard-bitten" aunt are nearly as demonic as the eponymous ship herself ("Brute" 55). Charley purchases a ring "that sparkled white and blue" for Maggie, but after her death, he disappears in dejection to the China coast, never to return ("Brute" 54, 58). In Escape, the murder of Maggie becomes the cause of a personal vendetta for Charley. At the finale of the radio play, Charley is alone on The Apse Family as he rams it against the rocks, clutching, as he dies, the "platinum ring set with a blue-white diamond." In the original story, the ship is similarly pounded to bits on the shore; but rather than being the result of the hero confronting his nemesis, it is put down to Providence: "Her time had come--the hour, the man, the black night, the treacherous gust of wind--the right woman put an end to her" ("Brute" 61). In short, the ship is lost because the officer of the watch Wilmot (Crutchfield uses this surname for Charley and his narrator brother) is with a woman rather than executing his duty.

In his structural analysis of horror fiction, Noel Carroll defines the "complex discovery plot," a structure that has four essential movements or functions: onset, discovery, confirmation, and confrontation (99). Although it would be difficult to see Conrad's play as adhering to this formula regardless of generic intention, the 1948 radio adaptation of "The Brute" can be seen to adhere to this formula from the bloody "onset" of the launch; to the "discovery" and "confirmation" that there is substance to the supernatural rumors surrounding the vessel (winning over the rationalism of the Wilmots and Captain Colchester); to Charley's self-sacrificing "confrontation" with the monster/ship at the end. As a whole, the play is replete with suspense and effective moments of aural horror--such as the death of Maggie--appropriate in an era that saw the production of superb examples of radio horror in series such as Lights Out and the Inner Sanctum Mysteries.

V. CONCLUSION

Graver contends that all the stories in A Set of Six are failed attempts to exploit "the conventions of popular fiction," "The Brute" being an attempt at "grim senzationalism" (125). A few years after Conrad wrote the story, the Metropolitan Magazine approached Conrad to write something for them, as long as it was not in the Heart of Darkness style: "If we could have from Mr Conrad another short story like 'The Brute' we would reach our public with all the certainty in the world" (Letters 5: 322n). In his December 28, 1913, letter to J. B. Pinker, Conrad replied that if they want something like "The Brute," he would demand "special terms for prostituting his intellect" (Letters 5: 322). Whether or not to popularize is to prostitute, the Escape dramatizations are both successful exploitations of the "sensationalism" of popular radio. Both stories are honed down to fit the timeslot and generic conditions of radio drama: the richness of "Typhoon" is compromised when Jukes is given free reign, whereas "The Brute" is improved by making it entirely Ned Wilmot's straightforward tale of terror. Adaptation always requires a drastic manipulation of the original source, sometimes even brutalization, no less. Peter Lewis adopts the Barthesian line that "as readers we should have a healthy disrespect for the text, otherwise we only succeed in embalming literature and in turning the classics into museum pieces" (10). And I think we should add that this active relationship with what is established and with issues of interpretation motivates much of Conrad's work. We saw earlier how Giddings and Selby argue that the adaptation of an author's work for broadcast is an important stage towards literary canonization. In addition, they also make an interesting point with regards to the 1927 Lord Jim when they say "Conrad's novels may seem "classic" to us, but in the 1920s they would be regarded as modern" (Giddings and Selby 4).

Thousands of radio listeners in Britain and the USA were given access to Conrad in a populist forum (not just the distance-learning students tuning in to the NBC University Theater). The function of this is extremely significant, for as John Drakakis states, "radio must be considered a primary means by which many people gain access to the literature and drama of the past" (3). Moreover, there is a case to argue that these 1940s radio adaptations demonstrate that despite some academic interest in the 1920s, Conrad was a popularized writer before he became a canonized and "institutionalised" novelist in the wake of Albert J. Guerard and F. R. Leavis. All of the golden-age adaptations of Conrad have aged well, and the burgeoning of interest in old-time radio represents that these have, in themselves, become other classics in other media with Conrad's stories at their heart.

APPENDIX 1

Script transcription of "Typhoon" Adapted by Les Crutchfield. Escape. July 28, 1947.

Note: Although every effort has been made to identify the owners of copyright material, this has not proved possible. The script has never been published, and I made the following transcription by listening to an original recording of the radio play.

Dramatis Personae

Announcer

Narrator

Jukes

Siggs

MacWhirr

Rout

Hackett

Second Officer

Boatswain

(Clock Chiming)

ANNOUNCER. Escape, escape tonight to the China seas in "Typhoon" ...

(Dramatic Music)

ANNOUNCER. The Columbia broadcasting system and its affiliated stations presents Escape, a new series of programs of which this, the fourth, is "Typhoon" by Joseph Conrad, produced and directed by William N. Robson ...

(Dramatic Music)

NARRATOR. Of all the great authors who wrote of the sea, none so captured the wonder and the horror of it as did Joseph Conrad. Tonight we escape to the China Seas in his great story "Typhoon," told in the words of a certain Mr Jukes, chief mate of the china coast steamer Nan-Shan. A young man of very remarkable perceptions ...

(Naval Music)

JUKES. I've been sailing the China Sea long enough to see some strange and terrible things, but nothing as bad as that was. Why God himself forgot us and the whole blinking universe set out to do us in that night, it was the ... (hesitates) Oh, but that comes later. I guess you can't really understand what happened on board the Nan-Shan without knowing something about our skipper Captain MacWhirr. Stupid MacWhirr, I called him, and after sailing with him for three years I ought to know what I'm talking about. Why I tagged him right off first day he came aboard to take command. In Liverpool it was, and Mr Siggs--who was one of the owners--was showing him around the deck ...

SIGGS.... A more modern ship afloat, and I might say again that you come to us very highly recommended, Captain MacWhirr. We've a great deal of confidence in you ...

MACWHIRR. Errrr, thank you, Mr Siggs ...

SIGGS. She's a brand new ship and a good ship; there is no reason why you shouldn't continue in command of her as long as you like ...

MACWHIRR. Well, that's, er, that's fine ...

SIGGS. She'll be the smartest thing afloat in the China trade; why she's put together like a Swiss watch, precision built from stem to stern ...

MACWHIRR. Wait, er, just a minute Mr Siggs ...

SIGGS. Why, what is it ...?

MACWHIRR. That lock ...

SIGGS. Lock, what lock ...?

MACWHIRR. Here (rattling sound) on the cabin door ...

SIGGS. What about it ...

MACWHIRR. Well, notice how it's been set in the frame somewhat cocked at an angle: the ship starts rolling a bit, and the first thing you know it snaps open and leaves the door a'swinging. It really should be fixed, Mr Siggs ...

(Naval Music)

JUKES. That's Captain MacWhirr, the best berth he'd ever had, new command, a brand new ship, but instead of pinching himself to see if he's awake, he complains about a lock on a cabin door ... see what I mean ...

SIGGS. Ah yes, Captain MacWhirr, I see what you mean, I'll have it attended to right away--I, er, I think you'll do all right ...

MACWHIRR. Thank you, Mr Siggs ...

(Music swells, fades and continues faintly in background)

JUKES. Well, everybody knows what the China coast is--you haul out of Bangkok, do a quick run up to Singapore, and then shove off for Hong Kong. Two days ashore and then you do it all over again, three years of it, three years of heat, smells, weather, copra, silk and tea ... along there somewhere the ship's owners decided to transfer the ship's registry to the Siamese flag--don't ask me why, they just did that's all. Anyway, I can tell you I didn't like it: when you grow up under the Union Jack, you figure to go on sailing under it. Not that the skipper of course could understand that kind of a feeling, oh no, not old stupid MacWhirr ...

(Footsteps, sound of door opening and closing, engines in background, Jukes coughs)

MACWHIRR. Aye, what is it, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. They, er, just sent the new flag out from shore, sir; here it is ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, fine, fine, unroll it. Let's have a look ... ah yes ...

JUKES. In my opinion, sir, it's a queer kind of flag for a man to sail under ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, and what's the matter with it ...

JUKES. Well, it, er, just looks queer to me, that's all ...

MACWHIRR. Well now, let's see--a white elephant on a red field, em, just a minute I'll look it up in the book (sound of pages being turned). Ah, here we are Siam, white elephant on a field of bright red, length exactly twice the breadth, so, well, there's nothing wrong with this flag, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES, crossly. Oh, isn't there ...

MACWHIRR. Not a thing, I hardly thought there could be. After all, these people ought to know how to make their own flag, it stands to reason ...

JUKES. Does it now ...

MACWHIRR. You must have it confused with some other flag, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES, loudly. Well, all I can say is ...

MACWHIRR. Of course, you'll have to take care the seamen don't hoist the elephant upside down; that is, before they are quite used to it ...

JUKES. Aye, aye ... (sighs)

MACWHIRR. I presume it might be taken for a signal of distress, and in that case, er, well the way I see it that elephant stands for something like the nature of the Union Jack in the British ...

JUKES, bursts out. Oh, you think so; well it's like a blooming Noah's ark, that's what it is ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. I'm sorry, sir ...

MACWHIRR. I can't see where the colour of a flag could anywise affect the navigation of a ship ...

JUKES, resignedly. I, er ... all right, sir, I'll instruct the hands. It'd certainly be a most distressful sight to see that elephant hoisted upside down ...

(Loud, naval music, fades to background)

JUKES. Well, that was Captain MacWhirr, couldn't get a thing through his head if you drew him a picture, and that's the Skipper we had to sail under on the maddest, wildest trip that any coaster ever took. We were loading out in Singapore, half the cargo had already come aboard. The sun was blazing, and the smoke from our stacks hung over the decks like a blanket. The Nan-Shan's winches puffed away aft, the cargo chains creaked and clattered across the combings. I was in the waste, supervising the loading when Mr Rout the chief engineer came up to me ...

(Dock noises in background)

ROUT. Hey there, Jukes, what's going on down there on the dock, looks like a blooming army ...

JUKES. Why, I dunno, Mr Rout, must be a mob of coolies on the move ...

ROUT. Yeah, here comes the Captain. Could be some of his doing ...

MACWHIRR. Now, Mr Jukes ...

(Sound of footsteps on deck, Voice coming closer)

JUKES. Aye, sir ...

MACWHIRR. You've to keep the forward 'tween deck clear of cargo: there'll be two hundred coolies coming aboard, and we'll plan to bunk them down there ...

JUKES, astonished. Good lord, where are they bound ...

MACWHIRR. Fu-chau, we'll have to put in there this trip ...

JUKES. Yeah, but we're not fixed to handle passengers, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, they'll bring supplies aboard with them. Every man's got a camphor wood chest, so you'll have to nail deck battens down there to keep them from sliding ...

JUKES. Yes, sir, I'll see to it ...

MACWHIRR. They've all been working on a plantation North somewhere. Two-year contract, they're dying to get home--it wouldn't have been quite right to turn them down. You may as well start them coming aboard, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. All right, sir ... (shouts) PARTY NUMBER ONE FOR ALLO SING--LISTEN, YOU SAVVY HUH ...

(Babble of voices)

JUKES, shouting. ALLEY COMEY CATCHEM HERE, TOP SIDE CATCHEM STEP STEP BOTTOM SIDE ONLY TIME, CHOP CHOP ...

(Babble increases in volume)

JUKES, shouting. SINGLE FILE NOW, ONE FELLA ONE TIME ALL THE TIME ...

JUKES, in normal voice. What do you suppose they carry in those boxes ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, I suppose their personal belongings, Mr Jukes, and of course their two year's pay in silver dollars ...

JUKES. Yeah, well, they're as vicious a-looking bunch of murders as I've ever seen ...

MACWHIRR. Murderers ... oh, come now, Mr Jukes--one or two of them maybe, but in the main I'd say they're honest workmen. Have to be to stick out a two-year contract on one of these plantations ...

JUKES. Just the same, sir, we'd better not take any chances ...

MACWHIRR. Ooh, I checked the laden weights very carefully, Mr Jukes; we can carry them without any overloading at all ...

JUKES. I mean that ... all right, sir, I'd better go hide the silverware in the Officer's mess ...

MACWHIRR, almost to himself. Mmm, he's a hard man to understand sometimes ...

(Sombre Music)

JUKES. I could say I had a premonition right then, and I wouldn't be lying. Anyway, that's how it started, at the hottest time of the year. Two hundred half-civilized coolies aboard, a Captain who had no more imagination than you could stick in your ear, we steamed out of Singapore and laid a course for the port of Fu-chau ...

(Loud Sailing Music)

ROUT. I tell you, Jukes, I don't like it, I don't like it a bit ...

JUKES. Well, what don't you like about it, Mr Rout ...

ROUT, testily. Well, the looks of things, something ominous about it ...

JUKES. Oh, there's a bit of a swell running all right, not a breath of wind. It's uncommonly hot that's all--gives a man the jumps (laughs). You're as bad as the second mate; he's been groaning around like the voice of doom all day.

ROUT. Well, I don't know ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Ah, that's the old man, I'll see ya later--keep your steam up, Mr Rout ...

(Sound of steps walking away, a door opening and closing)

JUKES. Were you calling me, Captain ...?

MACWHIRR. I was, Mr Jukes, er, what was all the long conversation with Mr Rout ...

JUKES. Oh it--why nothing much, sir. I, I didn't see any harm in talking a bit--I'm not on watch you know ...

MACWHIRR. Oh no, no, nothing wrong with it, nothing at all. I just wondered what you could find to talk about ...

JUKES. Well, er, different things, I don't know ...

MACWHIRR. ah, seen people on shore sit around the table and talk for two or three hours. I never could understand it ...

JUKES. It's just conversation, that's all, about nothing in particular ...

MACWHIRR. Seems pretty silly. Well, you've noticed the barometer no doubt ...

JUKES. Yes, sir, it's dropping ...

MACWHIRR. Falling fast, quite low now. Take a look ...

JUKES, with a low whistle. I'll say it's dropping ...

MACWHIRR. Bad time of the year for that sort of thing, very bad ...

JUKES. Anything you want me to do, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Oh no, no, must be some uncommonly dirty weather knocking about somewhere, eh, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Yes, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Well, that's all, just thought you ought to know about it, that's all--well, carry on, sir, carry on ...

(Sombre music, cymbals clash, fades to ship sounds, things falling)

JUKES. Whoa, there's a heavy one, all right mate ...

SECOND OFFICER. Huh ...

JUKES. Them coolies must be having a time of it down below. Lucky for them the old girl rolls easier than any ship I've ever seen ...

SECOND OFFICER. ah, you just wait ...

JUKES. Oh, you think we may be in for it, eh ...

SECOND OFFICER. Oh no, I don't think anything. You're not going to make a fool of me that way, Mr Jukes, I didn't say a word ...

JUKES. What's the matter with you, Second? Why shouldn't you say what you think if you've a mind to ...

SECOND OFFICER. Oh no, you don't catch me ...

JUKES. Whoa, there's another one ...

(Sounds of creaking timbers and objects falling)

JUKES. That's pretty rough. Now, whatever is about we're steaming right into it ...

SECOND OFFICER. Hah, you just try telling the old man that ...

JUKES, walking away. And why shouldn't I--matter of fact I think I'll ask him about this cross-swell: it's getting worse all the time ...

SECOND OFFICER, shouting after Jukes: I've known skippers to break some right good men for saying a whole lot less ...

(Door opens and closes)

JUKES. Er, Captain MacWhirr ...

MACWHIRR. Ah, yes, Mr Jukes, what is it ...?

JUKES. Swell is getting a good deal worse, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Yes, I've noticed that in here. Anything wrong ...?

JUKES. Well, I er, I was thinking about the passengers ...

MACWHIRR. Uh--what passengers ...

JUKES. Why, the coolies, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Then, if you mean coolies, say coolies, Mr Jukes. A man ought to say what he means. What about the coolies ...

JUKES. She's rolling her decks full of water, sir. I thought you might want to put her ahead of the swell for a bit, until this goes down, of course ...

MACWHIRR. Um, so that's it: eh, put her ahead of the swell, four points off the coast ...

JUKES. Well, it's just for a while, sir, a swell as high as this can't last long, it stands to reason ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes, take a look at the barometer ...

JUKES, shocked. Good lord ...

MACWHIRR. Yes, exactly. It's a dead calm outside, isn't it ...

JUKES. There's not a breath of air stirring, sir, only that cross swell ...

MACWHIRR. I've been reading in the book here about storms. Funny thing--if a man believed everything written down here, he'd spend half his life running to get behind the weather. If I was to go by what this fella says, I'd alter my course and come booming into Fuchau from the North, four days late, three hundred extra miles in distance and a pretty bill for coal on top of it. I tell you, Mr Jukes, if I knew every word in here was Gospel true, I couldn't bring myself to do that ...

JUKES. No, sir, I guess not ...

MACWHIRR. And how's a man to know the book is right? If you dodge around a spot of dirty weather, how do you ever find out it was there in the first place, answer me that. No, Mr Jukes, there's things that a man can't get from books. I've thought it all out this afternoon, we'll hold her steady as she goes ...

JUKES. Whatever you say, sir, you're the Captain. I guess I'd better write up the log, I'm going on watch ...

MACWHIRR. Good, I daresay we're heading into something a bit out of the ordinary. Call me at once if anything shows up in the night, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. All right, sir, I'll see to it ...

(Sound of door slamming repeatedly with swing of the boat)

MACWHIRR. And, er, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Yes, sir ...

MACWHIRR. If you're going into the chart room, please close that blinking door. I can't stand to hear a door banging ...

JUKES, resignedly. Yes, sir ...

(Door slams once more, doleful music continues in background)

JUKES, reading from log. Eight p.m. Swell increasing, ship laboring heavily, and taking water on all decks. Still a dead calm and very hot, battened down the coolies for the night. The barometer is still falling. All appearances indicate an approaching ... typhoon.

(Music becomes louder, more dramatic, fades to wind noises)

JUKES, shouting over wind. All right, Hackett, hold her steady as she goes. That's all we can do ...

HACKETT, struggling to hold the wheel. Aye, sir, I'll--sure--try--to ...

JUKES. Well, do the best you can ...

HACKETT. Aye, aye, sir ...

MACWHIRR, shouting. Mr Jukes, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Aye, Captain, I'm coming. Stand by ...

(Sound of door opening, roaring wind)

MACWHIRR, shouting. Over here, Mr Jukes, starboard reach rail ...

JUKES, shouting. Right, sir, coming over ...

MACWHIRR. Well, Mr Jukes, why didn't you call me ...?

JUKES. There was no warning, sir, hit us all of a sudden about five minutes ago. Blasted right out of a dead calm ...

MACWHIRR. Hmm, the book was right in some parts, anyhow. How's it going in the wheel house ...

JUKES. Hackett is ... look out, sir ... hang on ...

(Huge roaring sound of wind)

MACWHIRR. Oh ... oh ... what about Hackett ...

JUKES. He's on the wheel, Second is putting up shutters. The window glass will go if she starts breaking any higher ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, she'll break higher, Mr Jukes, much higher ...

JUKES. It's a happy thought ...

MACWHIRR. You haven't altered her course ...

JUKES. No, sir, heading straight at the wind ...

MACWHIRR. Good, nothing else we can do, Mr Jukes, understand ...

JUKES. Yes, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Some things a man can't find in books, just keep her at it, that's all

(Music builds up, storm sounds increase, music fades, storm sounds remain in background, actors shouting above sound)

JUKES. Captain, that boat's starting to break away..

MACWHIRR. That's all right ...

JUKES. But the boats! The two of them are gone now ...

MACWHIRR. It can't be helped, Mr Jukes, hammering through a mess like this you're bound to leave something behind, naturally. Hold hard ...

(Storm sounds come to the fore and then fade)

MACWHIRR. Ah ... She's still rising all right, that one broke over the wheelhouse ...

JUKES. We're done for, for sure ...

MACWHIRR. What's that, Mr Jukes--you say something ...

JUICES. I said, is there any chance at all, sir? can she live through it ...?

MACWHIRR. She may, we can hope so long at least. She's a good ship, that's all a man can ask ...

VOICE, calling. Help us ...

MACWHIRR. What's that, somebody yelling ...

JUKES. Below us on the foredeck, sir ...

SECOND. Up here, sir, the bridge ...

VOICE, calling unintelligibly ...

MACWHIRR. Man shouldn't be on that deck unless he has to: it's a bit dangerous ...

BOATSWAIN. Captain MacWhirr ... Are you there, sir ...?

MACWHIRR. Over here. What's the trouble, Boatswain ...?

BOATSWAIN. Them Chinese, sir, they're ...

JUKES. Wait, hang on ...

(Storm sounds increase, wave washing over them)

MACWHIRR. Oh ... oh ... the Chinese, what about them ...

BOATSWAIN. They've all fetched away, sir, one big lump--it's horrible ...

MACWHIRR. Here now, what do you mean--fetched away ...

BOATSWAIN. Rolling around in the hold in one big lump, screaming like blooming maniacs, sir, all adrift ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Yes, sir ...

MACWHIRR. I can't make head nor tail of this, I guess you'd better go below, and see to it. Put things in order ...

JUKES. But what shall I do, sir ...?

MACWHIRR. I can't tell you up here. Find out what's wrong. Straighten it out, that's all ...

JUKES. That's all ...

MACWHIRR. Take the Boatswain with you. I'm going to try for the wheelhouse ...

JUKES, angrily. All right, sir, come on Boatswain ...

BOATSWAIN. Aye, sir ...

JUKES, sardonically. Just straighten it out, that's all ...

(Door opens and shuts, storm sounds decrease slightly)

MACWHIRR. Well, bow's the wheel stand, Hackett ...?

HACKETT. Steady as she goes, sir ...

MACWHIRR. You realise, of course, we've hit a typhoon ...

HACKETT. Aye, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Sorry I can't give you a relief, can you manage a while longer ...?

HACKETT. I'll hold her to the course, sir, as long as there's a ship beneath her ...

SECOND OFFICER. And that won't be long ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, anything wrong, Second ...?

SECOND OFFICER, terrified. Wrong ... we're all as good as dead men, that's what's wrong ...!

MACWHIRR. Oh, now I wouldn't say that--she's still afloat ...

SECOND OFFICER. Hah ...

MACWHIRR. And we've got it lucky here on deck, plenty of chance to see what's coming 'afore it hits us. A man always feels better when he can see what's coming, but it's a different story down below there ... (Sombre music in background) Not having knowledge of what's going on, not knowing if we're afloat or sinking. Now there's the lads that's got it tough are ones down there in the engine room ...

(Storm sounds increase, fade, music, fades to engine room sounds)

ROUT. Come on now, swing to it ... keep it going, no time now for the steam to drop, 'ere ride that throttle Field, can't let her rip her shaft out once she breaks clear of those swells ... (shouts into communications tube) Hello bridge, hello bridge, confound it--why don't they answer the speaking tube. Can't tell if they're dead or alive up there ... Hello, hello ...

MACWHIRR, very faint. Yes Mr Rout ...

ROUT. Captain, how is it on deck ...?

MACWHIRR. Bad enough, it depends mostly on you ...

ROUT. Well, so far so good, we're holding a full head of steam ...

MACWHIRR. Good, we'll need it ...

ROUT. Don't let me drive her under, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Have to take a chance, can't see twenty feet up here, got

to keep moving enough to steer ...

ROUT. I understand, sir, count on us ...

MACWHIRR. Smash them out a good deal, we're doing fairly well, as long as the wheel hasn't dashed ... Wait, wait hold on ...

ROUT. Hello ... hello ...?

JUKES. Is that the Captain, Mr Rout? I've got to talk to him right away ...

ROUT. Wait a minute Jukes, something's happened up there ... hello ...? Hello Bridge ...?

MACWHIRR. You still there, Mr Rout ...?

ROUT. Right, anything wrong, sir ...?

MACWHIRR. No, not now. The Second Mate's lost though ...

ROUT. Overboard ...?

MACWHIRR. Oh no, lost his nerve. Awkward circumstance, had to knock him out too, too bad ...

ROUT. You hear that, Jukes ...?

JUKES. Yes, let me talk to him. Captain? Jukes, here. The Boatswain and I just took a look at the 'tween deck--it's them blooming boxes, sir, they've all broke loose and smashed to bits and the coolies are fighting like crazy men for them silver dollars that's rolling around ...

MACWHIRR, astonished. Fighting, we can't have fighting on board Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. There are two hundred of them, sir; they're all trying to kill each other ...

MACWHIRR, insistent. I can't have it, Mr Jukes; put a stop to it at once, d'you hear ...

JUKES, incredulous. Put a stop to it--how? They're crazy mad: they'll kill anybody that came on that deck ...

MACWHIRR. You're the second-in-command, Mr Jukes: use your authority. Make it clear to them we simply can't have fighting ...

JUKES. Make it clear to them ...?

MACWHIRR. Oh yes, after that you'd better gather up all the money. I can't have it lying about on the deck. Get the Boatswain to help you, wait ... here it comes ...

(Rushing sound increases)

ROUT. Jehosophat ... there's the one that does it. That, er, that must have swept the deck from stem to stern. Hello, hello Captain MacWhirr? You all right up there ...?

MACWHIRR. Everything's all right, Mr Rout, all the boats and half the starboard rails carried away, nothing serious, there's nothing to worry about, Mr Rout, carry on ...

ROUT. Nothing to worry about? Carry on ... huh! Hey, you're all right Captain, as you say, sir, carry on ...

JUKES, astonished. Carry on ...

ROUT. Hey now, hey now where you going, where you going, eh ...?

JUKES. Where d'ya think I'm going, you loud-mouthed old windbag, out on that deck to get myself murdered ...

ROUT. Ha, ha, ha, ha! Nothing serious Jukes, nothing to worry about ...

JUKES. The whole blooming world's falling apart, and I'm out picking up silver dollars, Captain's orders--come on, Boatswain ...

ROUT, shouting after them. Don't be silly, old Jukes, carry on, boy, carry on ...! (laughs)

(Loud jaunty music, fades to sound of many voices arguing)

BOATSWAIN. Blimey, sir, look at it ...!

JUKES. No help when our gallant skipper says to stop the fighting--use our authority. (shouts) All right now quiet down, come on, Boatswain ... Stow it there you fools. Cut it out now d'you hear me ... Authority, eh, they're clean out of their heads: we got to drive them to the bulk heads ... Back up now, hey--none of that (sounds of blows being struck) Get to it, Boatswain ... We got to show 'em what for, nothing else to do ...

(Sound of blows)

JUKES, shouting and lashing out. Back up there! Captain's orders, you know! Follow me, Boatswain ...

BOATSWAIN. I'm with you, sir, let go of me, let go ...

(Voices raised in anger and alarm, sound of more blows)

BOATSWAIN, speaking and lashing out at the same time. I was just thinking, sir ...

JUKES. Yeah, what about? Back there! No fighting allowed! Skipper's orders ...

BOATSWAIN. No, you don't! What if me old lady could see me now ...

JUKES. Ah, she'd say "oh you jolly sailor man" ... Keep moving there: jam 'era up, Boatswain, into the bulkhead ...

(Cymbals crash, loud music)

JUKES. Captain, where are you, captain ...?

MACWHIRR. Over here, Mr Jukes ... Ah, you got everything cleared up down below ...

JUKES. Oh, oh yes, we ... we took care of everything, sir ...

MACWHIRR. I thought you would: the wind fell all at once, stopped cold. It's been like this for ten minutes now ...

JUKES. If you, er, think it was an easy job to bring that mob under control ...

(Music continues in background)

MACWHIRR. What, the coolies? Oh, I daresay it wasn't. I've to do what's fair by them, though. Er, Mr Jukes that barometer in there stands at the lowest point I've ever seen a glass in my life ...

JUKES. You mean there'll be more of it ...

MACWHIRR. The worst yet according to the book. It'll break sudden now any minute, a puff or two of wind, and then it hits ...

JUKES. She's taken a horrible beating, sir ...

MACWHIRR. She has indeed, and she's in for a worse one ...

JUKES. We haven't much chance, have we, sir ...?

MACWHIRR. She may come through it ... She's a good ship ...

(Wind suddenly returns, blowing hard)

JUKES. There's the first puff ...

MACWHIRR. Mmm ... It'll hit us hard when it comes. You left them pretty safe, did you ...?

JUKES. The coolies. We strung life lines--gives them something to hold onto ...

MACWHIRR. Good, I'd like to give them all the chance we can--whatever happens ...

JUKES. Ah, they'll be all right, sir, I broke out rifles for eight of the crew put them to guarding all the companionways leading off the 'tween deck ...

MACWHIRR. You armed the crew, Mr Jukes ...?

JUKES. Oh sure: we won't have any trouble with them now, sir ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes--please have those rifles returned to the magazines at once ...

JUKES. What ...?

MACWHIRR. There'll be work for every man aboard in a few minutes. I can't spare seamen to stand around and hold rifles when it isn't necessary ...

JUKES. Isn't necessary? Don't you realise those savages will think we stole their money? Why, they'll tear us to bits if they ever get out of that deck ...

MACWHIRR. Oh, I think they'll understand we're dealing fair by them. Collect the rifles, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES, shouting. Captain, it's suicide: the best thing we can do is turn the whole mess over to the authorities in Fu-chau if we ever get there ...

MACWHIRR. Well, I don't know. I figure that when anything happens on shipboard it's up to me to settle it on shipboard. Part of the duties of commanding a vessel, Mr Jukes. I've no doubt I'll be able to reach an understanding with these men later ...

JUKES. Understanding? You ought to have seen them a while ago when me and the Boatswain was down there ...

MACWHIRR. Knocked their heads a bit, I guess? Small wonder at that one. Here she comes. Pick up those rifles, Mr Jukes, and something else ...

(Wind increasing in strength in background)

JUKES. Yes, Captain ...

MACWHIRR. If anything happens to me, you'll be in charge. Only advice--keep her facing it, best way to get through, facing it. That's enough for any man ...

(Wind increasing)

JUKES. All right, Captain, I'll remember it ...

MACWHIRR. And one thing more, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Yes, sir ...?

MACWHIRR. Something that always helps at sea is to keep a cool head, just keep a cool head ...

(Wind increasing to a roar)

JUKES, shouting. Ah no! Keep a cool head, stitch in time saves nine, a rolling stone ...! What in the name of heaven do you do with a man like that ...?

(Wind increases, changes to music, suddenly calm)

JUKES. There was a clear blue sky and bright sunshine the morning we steamed into Fu-chau harbor. Mr. Rout was leaning on a hatch combing smoking a pipe, and the Boatswain lounged on the foredeck waiting to pick up a line from the wharf, and the Captain ... Well, he was engaged in the most unusual occupation ...

MACWHIRR. All right, keep moving ...

JUKES. He was sitting at a table on the foredeck handing out silver dollars to them blinking coolies. All divided up even, the same amount to each one. Craziest thing you ever heard of in your life. You see, the way the Captain figured it since those blighters had all worked for two years at the same rate of pay, then their savings ought to all be about equal. As you can see, of course, it wasn't necessarily true by any means, wasn't necessarily legal, but you couldn't tell him anything ...

MACWHIRR. Well, that's that. Er, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Yes, sir, coming Captain ...

MACWHIRR. Well Mr Jukes, I've disposed of our little collection of silver dollars ...

JUKES. Ah that's great, only wait till those boys get ashore and file claims against us ...

MACWHIRR. Oh no, they won't do that. As a matter of fact they were quite pleased at having it arranged that way, figured it might avoid a lot of arguments later. They, er, they sent a spokesman to thank me ...

JUKES. Well I'll be ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes, you may as well give all the hands six hours leave before we start working the cargo ...

JUKES. Whatever you say, Captain ...

MACWHIRR. Oh yes, and, er, before the carpenter leaves, I wish you'd have him fix the lock on that port cabin door ...

JUKES, astonished. What?

MACWHIRR. That seems to have got broken somehow, during the storm I suppose ... I can't stand to hear a door banging, Mr Jukes ...

JUKES. Aye, sir, I, um, I don't suppose it matters that the ship is battered from stem to stern, half her topside carried away and smashed till she looks like a blooming tinson freighter ...

MACWHIRR. Mr Jukes--I don't understand ye ...

JUKES. You don't understand me, sir? Do you understand that we've come through the worst typhoon on the China seas in twenty years ...? We're the only ship that got through ...

MACWHIRR. It's true, I suppose we were a bit lucky ...

JUKES. Lucky, sir? With two hundred murdering cut-throats running loose aboard, and the very heavens doing their worst ...

MACWHIRR. We had a job to do and we did it, that's all Mr Jukes: that's the important thing ...

JUKES. Yes, sir, that's, er, that's all ...

(Gentle Music)

JUKES. "That's all," he says. A job to do, a bit lucky ... What can you do with a man as thick as that? But then as I started to turn away, Captain MacWhirr said something else that surprised me ... With emotion rung from the very bottom of his soul he, he uttered words I never thought I'd hear coming from so, so stupid a man ...

MACWHIRR. But I'm glad we brought her through Mr Jukes, truly I am. She's a good ship, Mr Jukes, a good ship. I should have hated to lose her. I ... I should have hated to lose her.

(Music)

ANNOUNCER. "Typhoon" by Joseph Conrad was adapted for radio by Les Crutchfield and produced and directed by William M. Robeson with Frank Lovejoy as Jukes, Raymond Lawrence as Captain MacWhirr and Sy Kendall as Rout the Engineer. The special musical score was conceived and conducted by Cy Feuer.

(Sound of clock chiming)

ANNOUNCER. ESCAPE is presented by the Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations each week at this time. Next week we invite you to escape to Paris of five hundred years ago in Robert Louis Stevenson's story of the fascinating adventure, "Sire de Maletroit's Door." And so, good night until next week at this time, when again it will be time to ... Escape.

(Clock chiming)

ANNOUNCER. This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System ...

THE END

APPENDIX 2

Script transcription of "The Brute" Adapted by Les Crutchfield. Escape. April 11, 1948

Note: Although every effort has been made to identify the owners of copyright material, this has not proved possible. The script has never been published, and I made the following transcription by listening to an original recording of the radio play.
Dramatis Personae

Announcer        Jermyn               Maggie Colchester
Ned Wilmot       Shipyard Worker      Helmsman
Charley Wilmot   Male Bystander       Sailor
Father           Captain Colchester


ANNOUNCER. Getting impatient for baseball season to start? Have a touch of spring fever? Want to get away from it all? We offer you Escape ...

(Dramatic music)

NARRATOR. You are in mid-ocean, aboard a jinxed ship. Already nine men have died, and you know that some malignant force is aimed at you from which you cannot escape ...

(Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain)

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

(Dramatic music)

NARRATOR. Tonight, we escape to the North Atlantic in the year 1900 and to a sailing ship whose very name struck dread in sailors' hearts as Joseph Conrad told it in his famous story "The Brute" ...

(Sweeping music)

NED. You could never tell it just by looking at her, proud and strong and beautiful on the outside. You couldn't see the black heart inside of her, and you'd never know she'd killed at least a dozen men and maybe more. But I knew her, knew her for the murdering she-devil she was. I saw her the day she killed her first one, and I was there too when she finally made her big mistake and killed the wrong person ... but that was a long time later. Oh, she had a name all right, but after that first day and her first killing nobody but the family ever used it again--everyone else from that day on would look at her half afraid and half snarling and they called her The Brute ...

(Crashing music, fades to boatyard sounds)

NED. I remember I was fourteen the day my father took me down to the South Thames boatyard to watch the launching of a ship. My brother Charley was there, of course, eight years older than me and very proud of his one gold stripe now that he'd been made an officer in the Apse line. Charley and father were talking, I just stood and listened to them and didn't say much of anything myself ...

NARRATOR. Look at her, Dad, ever see a ship in your life with lines like that? I bet she'll out sail any clipper in the China trade ...

FATHER. Oh, that remains to be seen, Charley. How soon are they going to launch her?

CHARLEY. Any minute now, oh I'd give a lot to be sailing on her instead of on the Malcolm Apse ...

FATHER. Oh, the Malcolm's a good ship, son, as good a ship as any the Apse family own ...

CHARLEY. Oh, I'm not kicking. I'm glad enough to be through apprenticeship and get my commission, but even at that I'd almost rather be a boatswain on this ship than Third Mate on the Malcolm ...

FATHER. I understand that Colchester's to be her Captain ...

CHARLEY. Yes, that's right. Oldest Commander with the Apse and Sons line ... Look at the size of her, Dad, she's a full two thousand tons ...

JERMYN. Less half a ton, Charley ...

FATHER. Ah, good morning, Mr Jermyn ...

JERMYN. Er, Mr Wilmot, hello Ned ...

NED. How do you do, sir ...

JERMYN. No, Charley, she came to one thousandm nine hundred, ninety nine and a half when we measured her roof ...

CHARLEY. Well, two thousand tons or not, Mr Jermyn, they'll never build a better ship than this one ...

JERMYN. Oh, I don't know, Charley. I built her the way Mr Apse wanted her: she's big, and she's stout, but I don't know ...

FATHER. And what's your reason for saying that, sir?

JERMYN. No reason that makes any sense. We've had the devil's own time with her. Cabin doors jamming when they shouldn't, hatch covers that wouldn't fit after they've been measured up, blocks fouling for no reason at all. (Sighs deeply) I don't know, Mr Wilmot, but if she were a human being I'd say that maybe she's insane ...

FATHER. Oh, come now, you've been working too hard, Mr Jermyn. Better take a vacation now that she's finished ...

JERMYN. Well, I could certainly use ...

CHARLEY. I say, that's Maggie Colchester up there, the Captain's niece. Is she going to do the christening?

JERMYN. That's right, Charley, and I'd better get down below now: my own men are going to knock the staves loose and let her slide down into the water ...

FATHER. Well, good luck, Mr Jermyn.

JERMYN. Thanks, Mr Wilmot, come on board for the celebration after she's launched--bring the boy.

FATHER. Fine, thank you; we shall be there.

CHARLEY. They'll let her go any minute now ... Dad, I'm going to sail on that ship someday.

FATHER. Oh you'll probably sail on a lot of Apse line ships before you're through, Charley.

CHARLEY. Look ... look they've given Maggie the champagne now, and she's going to christen it.

SHIPYARD WORKER. Yes, Miss Colchester ...

(Shipyard noises continue in the background)

MAGGIE. I christen thee The Apse Family ...

(Sound of bottle hitting the ship's side)

FATHER. The Apse Family ... so that's what they're naming her, eh ...

JERMYN, shouting. All right, men, knock out the staves ... Let her go ...

(Workers knock out the staves holding the ship on the slipway, much wrestling, clapping and cheering as ship moves down into the water)

CHARLEY. Look lad, she's starting to move, there she goes ...

FATHER. Yes and look at that speed--I never saw a ... (shouts in alarm)

JERMYN--LOOK OUT!

(Cheers, whistles, screams mixed together with ship's hooters)

MALE BYSTANDER. Good Lord! He fell right in the way, and she went right over him!

FATHER. He didn't fall: a dibber rolled off the deck and knocked him under ...

MALE BYSTANDER. She slid right over him, Mr Jermyn, the man who built her ...

FATHER. She's launched in blood, if that means anything; she's a brute and a murderess now, Charley. Still eager to sail on her?

CHARLEY. It was an accident: it doesn't mean anything.

FATHER. Perhaps not.

CHARLEY. I'll sail on her someday, sooner or later ... I will sail on her ...

(Dock sounds increase, fade out, music returns)

NED. Well, the way things worked out, I was the one to sail on her first instead of Charley. He'd gone on out to the Orient aboard the Malcolm, and six months later when I started my apprenticeship I found the company had assigned me to report to Captain Colchester on The Apse Family or The Brute as everybody was calling her privately ...

(Sound of ship's engines, fades)

NED. There was some kind of mix up in the sailing orders, and by the time I came on board the tug already had a line on the big sailing ship and was starting to ease her stern first out into the channel ...

COLCHESTER. Alright now, ease ahead there--pick up the slack ...

NED. Captain Colchester was at the [unclear] shouting orders to the tug, Captain and the Mates were forward somewhere handling the check line ...

COLCHESTER. You've got the slack, now haul away ...

NED. I was stood to the waist waiting for a chance to report in and watching a young fellow about my own age who was doing something or other up aloft on a mizzenmast above me. The tug had drawn the line out taut, but the ship hadn't started to move yet ...

COLCHESTER. You've got no weigh on her yet. Turn your engine up to full speed ...

NED. The tug was churning the water to froth and the hawser was tight as a bowstring, but we still didn't move ...

COLCHESTER. Keep her up ...

(Engine noises increase, shouting, panic)

NED. Then suddenly the ship gave a lurch and started back like a bucking horse--the men forward had no chance to ease the tug check cable, and a second later it snapped, the ship plunged on back and then sheered off as the thing smashed against the pier head that knocked me sprawling on the deck, and at that moment ...

(Loud scream, thud)

NED. The lad who had been working aloft on the mast crashed down onto the deck not ten feet away from me, and he lay there without moving.

COLCHESTER. Give a hand up here on my waist, mate--young Hawkins just fell out of the tops, aye, ah--it's too bad ...

NED. Is he ... is he dead, Captain Colchester?

COLCHESTER. He's dead, boy, now get a hold of yourself, don't start a 'tremblin.' Have you never seen anybody die before?

NED. Yes, sir, on the day they launched this ship.

COLCHESTER. Oh ay, Jermyn, eh. You're young Ned Wilmot, I suppose, the new apprentice ...

NED. Yes, sir.

COLCHESTER. And no doubt you may have heard this ship called by an unpleasant name once in a while.

NED. Yes, sir, The Brute.

COLCHESTER. Well you'll be kind enough to remember while you're aboard that her name is The Apse Family, and she's had her share of accidents, the same as any other ship--is that quite clear?

NED. Yes, sir.

COLCHESTER. Get along forward with you, and stow your gear in the forecastle; you'll take over young Hawkins's duties for the time being.

NED. Yes, sir.

(Loud, dramatic music, fading into the background)

NED. I sailed abroad the Brute for the next four years and watched her kill nine men during the time. We got so that we tried to outguess her, try to figure how she'd do it the next time, but no matter what we'd think we never were right. And it wasn't only the killing it was ... everything. Most ships have little ways all their own, and you learn about 'em and allow for 'em. Ah, but not her. She was like a, a, crazy woman--you never knew what she'd do next. I remember once off the Gold Coast she ran before a gale for two days as pretty as you'd please--and then broached to twice in the same afternoon, flung the helmsman clean over the wheel the first time, and the second time swamped herself fore and aft and split out every stitch of canvas, and after we got the decks cleaned up, we found one seaman had gone overboard. He was her fifth, I guess it was, or maybe her sixth. Oh, she was beautiful The Apse Family was, big and proud and beautiful and along with it--a killer ...

(Loud, screeching music)

NED. A black-hearted, sea-going brute ...

(Music builds to climax, fades)

NED. My brother Charley was on the China run all that time, first on the Malcolm and later on the Lucy Apse, but we never happened to hit port on the same time. Finally the time of my apprenticeship was up. We boomed into London at the end of the trip, and I went before the board for my papers. (laughs) I guess they figured anybody who could stay alive for four years on the Brute must be a seaman. Anyway, I passed, and Mr Apse handed me my sailing orders along with a commission. I was assigned as Third Mate to Captain Colchester on The Apse Family ...

(Music crashes loudly, fades)

COLCHESTER. Well, congratulations, Ned, glad you're going to stay with us.

NED. Thanks, Captain Colchester.

COLCHESTER. You've been a hard-working apprentice, and I've no doubt but what you'll be a good officer. In fact we have a man on board who'll make sure of that.

NED, puzzled. Why, what d'you mean Captain? I ...

COLCHESTER. Got a new first mate on this trip; come in, Charley.

NED, astonished. Charley!

CHARLEY. Well, hello there, youngster. I say, you've been doing a bit of growing in the last five years.

NED, laughing. Charley, I didn't even know you were in port.

CHARLEY. Been in for a week, down country, though. I hear you've fooled the board ...

NED. Careful, man: you're talking about your own Third Mate.

CHARLEY. Yes, so they tell me--well, you'll be jumping pretty lively on this trip, m'boy.

NED. Easy, easy.., don't forget: I know this ship and you don't ...

CHARLEY. Well, I'll learn it quick enough, been wanting the chance for a long time, and between us I think we can even break this jinx.

COLCHESTER. Lads, there'll be no talk of a jinx on this trip. At least not in the cabin as long as Maggie's going along.

NED. Maggie? Who's Maggie?

COLCHESTER. Ask your brother; I think he's the one who talked her into the trip, though she claims its for her health. I'll leave you two to get acquainted: we'll be about ten days loading if you've got any plans.

NED. What's he talking about Charley? Who's Maggie?

CHARLEY. His niece, Maggie Colchester. You remember her, the girl who christened the ship?

NED. Of course, only, only you're not ...

CHARLEY. Hasn't Dad told you where I've been spending shore-leaves for the last year and a half?

NED. No, Charley, I didn't know anything about it.

CHARLEY. Well then, let me show you something, here. Now if I have my way Maggie will be wearing this before the trip's over; here take a look.

NED. Blimey, that's alright!

CHARLEY. Yes, I bought it in Cape Town: it's a blue-white diamond set in platinum.

NED. Is it big enough to go on her finger?

CHARLEY. Oh it's big enough, alright, and that's where it's going, if I can talk her into it.

MAGGIE. And who's going to talk who into what, Charley?

CHARLEY. Oh, er, Maggie--I was, em just saying that um, um, I hoped I could talk you into going ashore for dinner with me.

MAGGIE. Oh, were you now? (laughs) You big liar.

CHARLEY. Oh, Maggie, this is my brother Ned; Ned, this is Maggie.

MAGGIE. How d'you do.

NED. Hello.

MAGGIE. And are you one of the officers too.

NED. I, I'm the new Third Mate.

MAGGIE. Well, I certainly hope you're more truthful than your brother.

CHARLEY. Maggie ...

MAGGIE. Whose invitation to dinner ... I am accepting with pleasure ...

CHARLEY. Oh really ...

MAGGIE. See you both later.

CHARLEY. Oh, right y'are, 'bout an hour.

NED. Charley, she's, she's lovely.

CHARLEY. Oh, she's more than that Ned ... She's ... everything as far as I'm concerned ...

NED. Ho, in that case, good luck ... I hope you get her.

CHARLEY. Well, we'll see about that. Anyway, with Maggie on board, we've got to make sure this 'jinx' ship stays on good behavior for once.

NED. Yeah, it'll be the first time, if she does.

CHARLEY. Well it's the first time we've had both the Wilmots on board together; we'll tame her down, Ned, we'll make her calm and peaceful as an old workhorse. Just you wait and see if we don't.

(Music, sombre, changes to light background music)

NED. And the strange part of it was--he was right. We stood out past Gravesend and made the passage to the China coast in one hundred and twenty one days of the finest weather you could ever hope to meet, and for the first time in her bloody life the old ship settled down and sailed herself as neat as you please. Charley and I would talk about it sometimes when Maggie wasn't around, and he'd always laugh and say the Brute knew when she'd met her match, that she didn't dare try to buck the two of us. But I, I was more ready to give the credit to Maggie, to think maybe she'd charmed the old murderess, the way she'd charmed all the rest of us. From the second day out, Maggie was the secret darling of every man on board. She was all over the ship, here, there and everywhere. Her red tam and her bright blue eyes never still a minute and having the time of her life. If she'd come along for her health, she'd found it before we'd passed Gravesend ...

(Music swells up)

NED. We raced a storm on the passage back and ran four days in a heavy gale. I stood by and held my breath--ready for anything, and nothing happened. The old lady Apse Family held up her head and sailed along like a seagull. Anytime before she'd have buried her gunwale in the quartering seas, but now all the water she shipped, you could put in a teacup. A hundred and nine days from Hong Kong we raised the Dungeness Light, and early the next morning picked up a tug off Sheerness for the long tow up river to London ...

(Engine sounds)

NED. The ship followed along on the tow line like a puppy on a leash, and we moved slowly up the river past Gravesend. All of us were glad to be home, but Maggie most of all, I think, because she'd never been at sea so long before. I had to smile at the way she danced around on the bows, picking out one landmark after another as we came to them. Sometimes standing up on a spare anchor we'd taken in ...

(Blast on ship's horn)

CHARLEY. What's wrong, Ned? The tug's stopped her engines ...

NED. Collision up ahead in the channel, Charley, looks like a yawl and a schooner fouled together ...

CHARLEY. Oh yes, well, looks like they're cleaning it up now, guess we can move again in a couple of minutes--Maggie, why don't you go up to the afterdeck? You're in the way up for'ard there ...

MAGGIE. Oh, I'm alright, Charley, stop worrying--we're almost home ...

NED, laughing. Better save your orders for the crew, Charley: she outranks you ..

CHARLEY. Oh, I'll take orders from her any day. Yes, we are almost home, Ned; we've had a lucky voyage ...

NED. Well, it's the first halfway peaceful trip I've ever made on the old Brute ...

CHARLEY. Well, I told you we'd tame her down: she's turned over a new leaf, Ned ...

NED. Well, it won't last long if she keeps on shearing off there and drifting back down the channel ...

CHARLEY. Uh, oh, yes, and we're heading straight for those fishing smacks. Better have the tug start up and hold a taut line on her ...

NED, whispers. I've seen her do this before ...

CHARLEY, calls out. Uh, ahoy the tug, take up the slack, and get us straight to the channel, hold her against the current ...

(Ship's whistle sounds)

NED. Any other ship would have held steady for the two or three minutes we'd stopped, but not the old Apse Family, and now when the tug tightened up on the hawser pulling at an angle across her bows she wouldn't respond, wouldn't budge, the old girl wanted her own way, she was just as stubborn as ever ...

CHARLEY. Ahoy the tug, we're still drifting open up to full speed ...

(Whistle blows louder)

CHARLEY. Confound her, never saw a ship act like this ...

NED. The heavy hawser was pulled so tight it was humming, and the tugs paddles with her engines full whipped up the water like a millrace, and then it happened: the heavy towing chock tore loose from the deck. (sound of chains dragging across deck) The hawser began sliding across the bow, ripping out rail stanchions like matchsticks, then the hawser began to slip under the brook by the spare anchor, the anchor that Maggie was standing on ...

CHARLEY, shouting. Maggie, get off that anchor! Look out!

MAGGIE, screams. Char-lieee ... aaagghh! (splash)

(Screams followed by heavy crashing sound of anchor falling)

NED. She tried to jump clear, but she was too late: the great anchor had tipped up on its side, clasped her about the waist like a monstrous arm of steel. It had carried her with it and swung down and over, and smashed against the side of the ship ...

(Ship's whistle sounds)

CHARLEY, desperately. She went into the water, take charge of the deck, Ned; I'm going in after her ...

COLCHESTER, shouts. Ned ... Ned, was that Maggie?

NED. Yes, sir, she's, she's overboard, Captain Colchester ...

COLCHESTER, in a crazed voice. Maggie ... Oh that dirty murdering brute, now it's women she's killing ... (shouts) let go the port anchor, haul the ship as she is and get the boats over ...

(Voices calling instructions, sombre music begins quietly in background)

NED. I haven't told Charley, and I didn't say anything about it to Captain Colchester, but I stood there and I knew it wasn't any use 'cos I'd seen the way the heavy anchor had carried her over and then swung in to smash her against the bow before it dropped her--into the water. And I'd seen the way that water beneath the bow was all colored ... red ...

(Music swells and fades)

NED. They found her at late afternoon when the tide turned, and she floated clear of one of the mooring buoys, and the next morning we tied up in the London docks. The men had been happy at coming into their homeport, but now they remembered how she'd been happy too, their own darling. I'd never before seen a crew leave a ship so quietly, and some of them when they reached the wharf turned back and cursed her under their breath ...

(Music swells and fades)

NED. Finally it was only Charley and I alone on the quarterdeck, and Captain Colchester was below somewhere in the cabin ...

CHARLEY, sadly. She never wore it, Ned, the ring ... she never wore it ...

NED. But she, she would have Charley. I know she meant to: she was just having a little fun with you that's all ...

CHARLEY. With all of us on board, why did the Brute have to go for Maggie--why ...

NED. I guess there's not much answer for that.

CHARLEY. She was everything I wanted, everything ...

NED. Yes, Charley, I know.

CHARLEY. I talked her into making the voyage; it was my idea ...

NED. It's no good, Charley, this kind of thinking. I guess you know that.

CHARLEY, broken. I don't know; she's everything I wanted ...

NED. Charley, I ...

COLCHESTER. Oh, Mr Wilmot ...

NED. Over here, Captain ...

COLCHESTER. I'm going ashore: the ship keeper's come aboard, and now the two of you are free to go whenever you like ...

NED. Thank you, sir ...

COLCHESTER, tiredly. Charley, I ... well, nothing. I'm resigning command in the morning, I'll never set foot on board her again as long as I live ...

NED. I feel the same way, sir ...

COLCHESTER. Well, come into the Company office in a day or two, and sign out for the log ... good day, gentlemen ...

(Sound of steps leaving)

NED. Charley--we'd better go ashore too: we're done here.

CHARLEY. Yes, I, I suppose we are ...

NED. I'll arrange to have our gear picked up later, there's no use of er, er (shouts) CAPTAIN, LOOK OUT! (whirring noise, falling gear) MISSED HIM!

(Shout of surprise from the dock)

NED. That, that yard arm off the main mast fell right behind him ...

COLCHESTER shouts from the quay. Ah, you missed me, ya murdering Brute! And that was your last chance too!

CHARLEY. Ned, that yard was made fast at Dungeness, and now it falls out of the tops with the ship lying still at the wharf ...

NED. Yes, Charley, come on; let's go ashore ...

CHARLEY, weeping. Wasn't the devil satisfied for one trip; is there no way of stopping her, how many more does she want to kill ...

NED, sternly. Charley ...

CHARLEY, weeping. Oh Ned, Ned, take me home ...

(Sombre music, fades into the background)

NED. Charley was ten years older by the time we reached home, and it was two weeks before he would do anything more than sit in his room and stare at the wall, saying nothing. Captain Colchester carried out his threat and resigned from the Company the morning after we docked, and I filed my application for a transfer. The Apse Family was reloaded and ready to sail, but she stayed on lying at the wharf with nobody to take her out, and that's the way things stood for two weeks until one morning a bomb shell dropped ...

(Loud music, fades. Sound of door closing)

CHARLEY. Hello, Ned ...

NED, surprised. Charley, I wondered where you went this morning ...

CHARLEY, quietly. Well, I ... left the house early ...

NED. How do you feel?

CHARLEY, brusquely. Fine. Ned, Mr Apse tells me you've applied for a transfer-another ship ...

NED, uncomfortably. Well, yes ... I did, as a matter of fact. You saw old man Apse ...

CHARLEY. Yes, I stopped into the office this morning ... Ned, it's up to you of course, but I hope you'll change your mind ...

NED. Not a chance ...

CHARLEY. The ship sails tomorrow morning ...

NED, surprised. Oh, so they finally found somebody crazy enough to take her out ...

CHARLEY. Yes, they did. Me.

NED, aghast. You? You're going to skipper The Brute?

CHARLEY. That's right, Ned.

NED. But I, I thought ...

CHARLEY, business-like. A short voyage, North Atlantic run ... be awfully glad to have you along. Somebody I can depend on if ... you ... feel like signing on again ...

NED, shocked. Charley, it ...

CHARLEY. Of course, it's up to you.

NED, sighs. Alright Charley, I'll sign on again, be glad to.

(Music, fades to background)

NED. We boomed out past the Sheerness light and headed North, hugging a lee shore in a stiff breeze. The ship drove ahead as steady as a barge with scarcely a roll or a quiver; but in spite of the smooth and easy way that she handled, I couldn't help feeling uneasy. I could sense the black spirit of her, brooding somewhere down inside, mocking and taunting us with her bloody memories and waiting for a new chance. By nightfall we were running hard in along the Kettering coast where those rocky headlands break at intervals out of the shelving, sandy beaches. The onshore wind held steady in our quarter, and the sun sank down behind the land some three miles away...

(Music swells and then fades to sound of wind blowing)

NED. It wasn't quite full dark when Charley sent for me, and I came up to where he was standing alone near the wheel ...

(Sounds of wind and ship in background)

CHARLEY, quietly. That you, Ned ...

NED. Right, Charley, boatswain said you wanted to see me ...

CHARLEY. Yes, I did send for you, Ned. Hold her steady as she goes, close to the wind ...

HELMSMAN. Aye, sir ...

CHARLEY. I've been standing here thinking about Maggie, Ned. How she scrambled around over decks, making friends with everybody, having the time of her life ...

NED, alarmed. Charley, you've got to stop it.

CHARLEY, calmly. No, I'm alright. I like to think about her.

NED. It's this ship and all the memories around it: it's what I was afraid of.

CHARLEY. No, no, it's alright ... Ned, I want you to take charge of the crew and give an order--of course you'll question the order, but you'll carry it out anyway, you understand?

NED. What's, what's the order, Charley ...

CHARLEY, calmly. Have all hands prepare to abandon ship.

NED, shocked. What--but why? There's nothing wrong ...

CHARLEY, firmly. Mr Wilmot, it is not an officer's place to question an order by the Captain: you'll do as you're told.

NED, subdued. Yes, sir.

CHARLEY. You can give the order now, Mr Wilmot.

NED, pleading. Charley, I can't let you ... very well, Captain (shouts) ALL HANDS ON DECK. STAND BY THE BOATS. PREPARE TO ABANDON SHIP ...

(Voices repeating the cry, sounds of people moving about)

CHARLEY. All right, helmsman, find your place in the boats; I'll take over the wheel.

HELMSMAN. Aye, sir.

NED. You don't know what you're doing, Charley: we're in no danger, there's no reason to abandon ship.

CHARLEY, fiercely. We're always in danger aboard this black, horrid Brute. I've put her on the quarter now; you can get the boats in the water when she yields, hurry on ...

NED, shouts. STEADY, GOING ON THE QUARTER ...

CHARLEY. Easy on ... alright, now ...

NED, shouts. ALL HANDS, LOWER BOATS ...

(Sounds of sailors calling instructions, splash of boats into water)

CHARLEY. You shouldn't have any trouble running ashore to that beach there on the South.

NED. Eh, what about you?

CHARLEY. I'll hold her steady until everybody's clear: you'd better go over the side; your boat's standing there ...

NED. Oh no, not until you do, I'm staying with you, Charley ...

CHARLEY. Don't be a fool, Ned, I'm doing this alone ...

NED. No, Charley, not while I'm here ...

CHARLEY, firmly. Mr Wilmot, you will abandon ship and take charge of the boats in the water, and that's an order ...

NED, desperate. Charley, I can't just ...

CHARLEY, snaps. Mr Wilmot!

NED. Very well, Captain.

CHARLEY, affectionately. That's the spirit, lad, learn to obey orders, and step lively: you'll be a seaman yet. Good luck, Ned ...

NED. Thanks, Charley, we'll stand by for you in the boat ...

CHARLEY, somberly. Of course, lad. Bye ...

NED. Bye.

(Music comes to the fore, fades)

NED. I slipped over the gunwale and dropped down into the boat that trailed alongside on a line from the rail. I hardly hit the bottom when the line slackened,

and I knew Charley had cut us loose from the ship. He was alone on her now, alone in the night sea with a black Brute ...

(Dramatic Music, fades to sounds of rowing)

SAILOR. Look sir, look! He's leaning her over away from the wind ...

NED, urgently. Charley had put the helm over hard: with a terrible shudder of her dark sails and a smother of white foam from her bows, the great ship heeled about in a sharp turn and then began to drive ahead like some mad thing before the wind. Straight before the wind and straight toward the shore ...

SAILOR. Look, sir, the rocks on the headland, she's going to smash herself ...

NED. Faster and faster she plunged her head through the weltering seas, faster and faster on the back of the gale while the black-hearted spirit of her screamed in the rut lines ...

SAILOR, panicking. Look, sir, the rocks, what in the name of heaven is he going to do!

NED. And now for one long instant she hung poised at the top of a plunge and then drove smashing downward onto the rocks....

(Loud, crashing music, tearing sounds, wind, fades to water and soft music)

NED. We stood by, as close as we dared, for three hours while the killer ship pounded herself to bits in the surging sea, but we didn't find my brother Charley, and from the first minute I knew we wouldn't. Because just before I'd left the ship, there by the helm in the light of the binnacle lamp, I'd seen the thing he was holding, clenched tight in his hard brown fist--it was a tiny, platinum ring set with a blue-white diamond.

(Dramatic Music)

ANNOUNCER. ESCAPE is produced and directed by Norman MacDonald; and tonight brought to you, 'The Brute' by Joseph Conrad, adapted for radio by Les Crutchfield, featuring Dan O'Hurlohee as Ned Wilmot, and Eric Rolf as Charley Wilmot, with Naina Cardon as Maggie, Jeff Corey as Captain Colchester, Wilms Herbert as Jermyn, and Parley Baer as the Father. Music is conceived and conducted by Wilbur Hatch.

(Dramatic Music)

ANNOUNCER. Next week, you will find the remote hill country of Afghan, caught in an ambush by the fierce Pathan tribes, trapped in a hopeless fight from which there seems no ... Escape.

(Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain)

ANNOUNCER. Next week, we escape with Rudyard Kipling's gripping story "The Drums of the Fore and Aft." Good night, then, until this same time next week when once again we offer you ... Escape.

(Final Music)

THE END

WORKS CITED

Baines, Jocelyn. Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969.

Carroll, Noel. The Philosophy of Horror. London: Routledge, 1990.

Conrad, Joseph. "The Brute." Adapted by Les Crutchfield. Escape. April 11, 1948.

--. "The Brute." The Complete Short Stories of Joseph Conrad. Ed. Samuel Hynes. Vol. 2. London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992.

--. Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Ed. Frederick Robert Karl. Vol. 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. [Cited as Letters]

--. Heart of Darkness. Adapted by Orson Welles. Mercury Theater of the Air. November 6, 1938.

--. Heart of Darkness. Adapted by Orson Welles. This Is My Best. March 13, 1945.

--. Heart of Darkness. NBC University Theater. May 15, 1949.

--. "Typhoon." The Complete Short Stories of Joseph Conrad. Ed. Samuel Hynes. Vol. 3. London: Pickering & Chatto, 1992.

--. "Typhoon." Escape. July 28, 1947.

Crook, Tim. Radio Drama: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge, 1999.

Daleski, H. M. Joseph Conrad: The Way of Dispossession. London: Faber, 1977.

Drakakis, John. British Radio Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press, 1998.

Fraser, Gail. "The Short Fiction." The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad. Ed. J. H. Stape. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 25-44.

Giddings, Robert, and Keith Selby. The Classic Serial on Television and Radio. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001.

Graver, Lawrence. Conrad's Short Fiction. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.

Hawthorne, Jeremy. Joseph Conrad: Language and Fictional Self-Consciousness. London: Edward Arnold, 1979.

Knowles, Owen and Gene M. Moore. Oxford Reader's Companion to Conrad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Lewis, Peter. Radio Drama. London: Longman, 1981.

Maltin, Leonard. The Great American Broadcast. NY: New American Library, 2000.

Mulhern, Francis. "English Reading" Joseph Conrad. Ed. Andrew Michael Roberts. London: Longman, 1998. 37-43.

Najder, Zdzislaw. Joseph Conrad: A Chronicle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Rodger, Ian. Radio Drama. London: Macmillan, 1982.

Said, Edward W. Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1966.

Sullivan, Jack. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986.

Watts, Cedric. A Preface to Conrad. London: Longman, 1982.

Welles, Orson. "Introduction." Heart of Darkness. By Joseph Conrad. This Is My Best March 13, 1945.

White, Andrea. Joseph Conrad and the Adventure Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

RICHARD J. HAND

UNIVERSITY OF GLAMORGAN
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Date:Mar 22, 2006
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