Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Fleischmann's Yeast Hour
Show: The Valiant
Date: Mar 02 1933

CAST:
HOST, Rudy Vallee
WARDEN
FATHER, an Irish priest
JAMES DYKE, a murderer
WILSON, an attendant (1 line)
GIRL, rural accent

HOST:

... We present now, Bert Lytell, stage and screen star, in a condensed radio version of a one-act melodrama he has made famous on the variety stage -- "The Valiant" by Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass. With Mr. Lytell will be heard Mr. Middlemass, co-author of the playlet, George Gaul and Elizabeth Love.

The scene is the office of the warden in the state prison at Weathersford, Connecticut. James Dyke, played by Mr. Lytell, is condemned to death by hanging for murder. The time of execution is minutes away. As the curtain rises, the Warden, played by Mr. Middlemass, is seated at his desk. At the left is a door leading to his outer office.

WARDEN:

Has it started to rain, Father?

FATHER:

Yes, it has.

WARDEN:

It would rain tonight.

FATHER:

He hasn't much longer to wait, poor boy.

WARDEN:

No, thank God. He still won't give you any hint about who he really is?

FATHER:

No, not the slightest. He doesn't intend to, either.

WARDEN:

He's trying to shield somebody. Trying to keep his family and his friends -- wherever they are -- from knowing what's happened to him. What time is it?

FATHER:

Er, half past eleven.

WARDEN:

I guess I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. A hanging party didn't use to bother me so much. The devil of it is, I'm fond of this boy.

FATHER:

Yes, so am I. Are you going to talk with him again yourself?

WARDEN:

Father, I believe I'm going to do something tonight that's never been done before in this prison. Instead of our going to see him, I'm going to have that boy brought into this office and let him sit here with you and me -- until the time comes for us all to walk through that door to the execution room.

FATHER:

Well, what on earth is your idea in doing a thing like that?

WARDEN:

Because maybe if he sits here a while with just you and me, and we go at him right, he'll loosen up and tell us about himself. Besides, there's a girl coming to see him. Has a permit from the governor. She thinks she may be-- I'll, uh, I'll have Dan bring him in now.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP, BUTTON PUNCHED

WARDEN:

(INTO PHONE) Hello? ... Chief keeper, please. ... Hello? Hello, Dan? ... Dan, I want you to get Dyke and bring him here. ... Yes, I said bring him here. Now, listen. Bring him in from the cell block and then you go back to the execution room. When everything and everybody is ready, you'll ring the alarm buzzer on my desk. The buzzer, get me? Better give it a push now; we'll be sure it's in order.

SOUND:

ALARM BUZZES TWICE

WARDEN:

(INTO PHONE) Okay. That'll be the signal for us to start. Understand? ... All right. Bring Dyke in.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

FATHER:

Well, what about the witnesses and the reporters?

WARDEN:

They're having their sandwiches and their coffee now. (WITH CONTEMPT) Let 'em wait. Reporters, witnesses.

FATHER:

Sh-h! Here's Dyke.

SOUND:

OFFICE DOOR OPENS

WARDEN:

Hello, Dyke. Sit down.

DYKE:

Thank you, sir.

WARDEN:

Dyke, as man to man -- and this is your last chance -- who are you?

DYKE:

Who am I? James Dyke, a murderer.

WARDEN:

Now, that isn't your real name, and we know it. You see this pile of letters?

DYKE:

Yes, sir. Well?

WARDEN:

Do you know what four thousand different people are writing to me about?

DYKE:

No, sir.

WARDEN:

Who are you? And are you the missing son -- or brother -- or husband -- or sweetheart?

FATHER:

My boy, the Warden is absolutely right. Now, you owe something to these people. For the sake of all those thousands of poor distressed women who imagine God knows what, I beg of you to tell us who you are.

DYKE:

Father, I simply can't do it.

WARDEN:

Don't you want to make some sort of statement?

DYKE:

No, sir, I don't think I do. I think I've said about everything. I killed a man and I'm not sorry. That is, I'm not sorry I killed that particular person. Father, that man deserved to be killed. He wasn't fit to live. I killed him because it was my duty. And that's all there is to that.

SOUND:

PHONE RINGS ... RECEIVER UP

WARDEN:

(INTO PHONE) Yes? ... All right. Send her up.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

WARDEN:

It's the girl, Father. Dyke, a young woman has just come to see you. She thinks maybe she's your sister. And she's come a thousand miles to find out.

DYKE:

Why, she's wrong. I haven't any sister.

WARDEN:

Father, will you take Dyke into the deputy's room? I want to speak to the young lady first.

FATHER:

Come, my boy.

WARDEN:

I'll call you in just a couple of minutes.

DYKE:

(MOVING OFF, LIGHTLY) Well, I promise we won't run away.

SOUND:

OFFICE DOOR OPENS

WARDEN:

(CALLS) Wilson? Bring the girl in.

SOUND:

OFFICE DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--

WARDEN:

Good evening, miss. Will you sit down?

GIRL:

Why, thank you very much.

WARDEN:

You want to see Dyke, do you? You think he may be your brother?

GIRL:

Yes, sir.

WARDEN:

How long is it since you've seen your brother?

GIRL:

It's eight years.

WARDEN:

As long as that? Hmm. And how old are you?

GIRL:

I'm almost eighteen.

WARDEN:

Almost eighteen? Hmm. And are you sure after all this time you'd recognize your brother if you saw him?

GIRL:

Well, of course, I think so. But maybe I couldn't. You see, I - I was just a little girl when he ran away.

WARDEN:

Well, how do you think you're going to tell? Suppose he don't want to be recognized, by you or anybody else?

GIRL:

I've thought of that. I'm just going to talk to him and ask him a few questions -- about things that he and I used to do together. I'll watch his face. And if he's my brother, I'm sure I'll know.

WARDEN:

What did you and your brother ever used to do that could help you out now?

GIRL:

He used to play games with me when I was a little girl. He'd tell me stories. That's what I'm counting on mostly -- the stories.

WARDEN:

I'm afraid that--

GIRL:

Especially Shakespeare stories.

WARDEN:

Shakespeare?

GIRL:

Why, yes. He used to get the plots of the plays -- all the Shakespeare plays -- and then he'd tell me the stories in his own words. It was wonderful.

WARDEN:

I'm certainly afraid he--

GIRL:

But, best of all, he learned some of the speeches from the plays themselves. He liked to do it. He was sure he was going to be an actor or something. He was in all the high school plays, always. And then he'd teach some of the speeches to me, and we'd say them to each other. And one thing-- Every night he'd sit on the edge of my bed, and when I got sleepy, there were two speeches he'd always say to me. You know, like good night? Two speeches out of Romeo and Juliet, and then I'd go to sleep. If he knows those lines, I'll know he's my brother.

WARDEN:

This boy never heard of Shakespeare, much less learned him. Oh, I'll let you see him for yourself -- only you might as well be prepared. (CALLS) Wilson? Tell Dyke and Father Daly to come in here. They're in the deputy's room.

WILSON:

Yes, sir.

GIRL:

Of course, it's going to be awful for us if this is Joe. But even that would be better for mother than just to stay awake nights, and wonder and wonder -- and never know what really became of him.

WARDEN:

Here he is now.

SOUND:

DOOR SQUEAKS SHUT

WARDEN:

Dyke, this is the young lady that's come so far to see you. (MOVING OFF) Come, Father; we'll leave them alone.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS BEHIND ABOVE

GIRL:

(SLOW, UNCERTAIN) Mother sent me to see you.

DYKE:

(INDIFFERENT) Yeah?

GIRL:

(HESITANT) You see, we haven't heard or seen my brother Joe for ever so long. And Mother thought -- well, after what we read in the paper -- that--

DYKE:

That I might be your brother Joe?

GIRL:

(RELIEVED) Yes, that's it.

DYKE:

Well, you can easily see that I'm not your brother, can't you?

GIRL:

(UNHAPPY) Well, I'm not sure. You - you look a little bit like him. Just like the picture in the paper did. But, then again, it's - it's so long, and - I've thought of Joe so differently.

DYKE:

As a matter of fact, I couldn't be your brother, nor anybody else's, because I never had a sister. So that rather settles it.

GIRL:

(SEARCHING) Honestly?

DYKE:

Honestly. You don't think I'd lie at this stage of the game, do ya?

GIRL:

No. I don't believe you would. (SUDDENLY) Did - did you--? Did you ever want to be an actor? Or were you ever?

DYKE:

No -- never.

GIRL:

(HELPLESSLY) Do you - do you know any poetry?

DYKE:

(INCREDULOUS) Poetry?!

GIRL:

Yes. (SOFTLY, INTENSE) "Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face, Else would a maiden blush be paint my cheek, For that which--" (STOPS, THEN PLEADING) Don't you know that?

DYKE:

(AMUSED) No, I don't. Tell you the truth, it - it sounds kind of silly to me. Doesn't it to you?

GIRL:

Oh, no. (INTENSE AGAIN) "Good night, good night, parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow." (PAUSE, THEN PLEADING) What comes next?

DYKE:

I don't know.

GIRL:

(READY TO CRY) You're -- you're not Joe, are you? Well, I - I had to come and find out, though. I hope I've not made you too unhappy.

DYKE:

(MORE SERIOUS) Oh, you're not going to go yet, are you?

GIRL:

(SOBS) Yes. I promised the warden that I'd go right away if you weren't my brother. And you're not.

DYKE:

You're going to go right back to your mother?

GIRL:

Yes.

DYKE:

I'm surprised she sent a girl like you on this errand, instead of her coming herself.

GIRL:

She's very sick.

DYKE:

Oh, that - that's too bad.

GIRL:

She's not well at all. And most of it's from worrying about Joe.

DYKE:

When you tell her that her boy isn't a criminal, that'll comfort her a whole lot, won't it?

GIRL:

Yes, I think it will. Only--

DYKE:

Only what?

GIRL:

Well, I don't think Mother'll ever be really well again, till she finds out for certain where Joe is and what's become of him.

DYKE:

(MOVED) Mothers oughtn't to be treated like that. Oh, how I wish I'd treated mine better. Hey, by the way, you didn't tell me what your name is.

GIRL:

Josephine Paris.

DYKE:

Paris? That's an unusual sort of a name. (THINKING) You know, I've heard that name somewhere, too. And your brother's name is Joseph?

GIRL:

Yes. They used to call us Joe and Josie. That's funny, isn't it?

DYKE:

(ABSENTLY) I don't think that's funny. I - I rather like that.

GIRL:

What's the matter?

DYKE:

Nothing. I was just trying to think. What was that fella's name? Now, don't you tell me; I'll get it in just a minute. Now, what--? I've got it. (TRIUMPHANT) Joseph - Anthony - Paris!

GIRL:

(AMAZED) Why, that's his name! That's my brother's name! How did you--?

DYKE:

(FAST, URGENT) Now, wait. Wait just a minute. I've only got a little while to tell you this. And don't interrupt me. I want you to get this straight and repeat every word of it to your mother. During the war, I enlisted with the Canadians and went overseas.

Well, one day, we staged a big French raid and we were coming back, when I noticed one of our officers had been wounded and he was lying out in a shell-hole. Well, the Heinies were getting ready for a little fun of their own, so they dropped down a barrage, when suddenly, from our trench, I saw a young fellow go out to where that officer was.

He didn't have a chance in a million of getting out there, and he knew it. He reached the officer, got him in his arms, and started back -- when a five-point-nine came along and landed right on top of the two of them. Well, afterwards, we got the identification tag, and that was the fella's name. Joseph Anthony Paris.

GIRL:

(OVERCOME) Oh!

DYKE:

And if that's your brother's name, you tell your mother he died years ago, like a brave man and a soldier, in France.

GIRL:

(TREMULOUS) Joe -- my brother Joe -- dead? And - and you were there -- and you saw--?

DYKE:

I saw it. (GENTLY) Now, that's going to make your mother mighty happy, won't it, when she knows that her boy died like a soldier -- and not like a criminal?

GIRL: (TRANSFIGURED) Yes - yes, it will!

DYKE: And does it make you happy, too?

GIRL:

Yes - yes, so very happy - (SOBS) - after all we were both so afraid of, I can't even cry yet. (SAD, SYMPATHETIC) I'm so sorry for you. So truly sorry. I just wish I could do something to make you a tiny bit happier, too. Is there - is there anything I can do?

DYKE:

(ALMOST WISTFUL) Yes, there is. Only I--

GIRL:

What is it?

DYKE:

(DISMISSIVE) I shouldn't even let myself think about anything like that.

GIRL:

Please tell me. I want you to. For -- for Joe's sake. Tell me what I can do.

DYKE:

(EMBARRASSED) In all the time I've been in this hideous place, you're the first girl I've seen. I've been pretty lonely here, of course, and tonight especially. And you see, I haven't any sister, or anybody of my own to say goodbye to me. And, if you think you could do it-- You know, for Joe's sake. If you could just - just kiss me goodbye. (PAUSE, AS SHE KISSES HIM) God bless you, dear.

GIRL:

(NEAR TEARS) Good night.

DYKE:

(HUSKILY) Goodbye.

GIRL:

Goodbye. (SOBS)

DYKE:

(PAUSE) Why, what is it? What's the matter?

GIRL:

It's nothing.

DYKE:

Nothing?

GIRL:

Well, I was just thinking-- I was just thinking that-- What I used to say to my brother -- for good night. (ALMOST BREAKS) If I only said just-- Just one time told him goodbye.

DYKE:

And what was that?

GIRL:

I - I told it to you once and you said it was silly.

DYKE:

Oh, please. Say it again.

GIRL:

(SHAKILY) "Good night, good night, parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow." (SOBS, MOVING OFF) Goodbye.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

DYKE:

(AFTER A PAUSE) "Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast; Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest."

SOUND:

ALARM BUZZES TWICE

DYKE:

(IN A FAR-OFF VOICE) "Of all the wonders I've yet heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it'll come."

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

WARDEN:

(SLIGHTLY OFF) Come, Dyke.

DYKE:

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once." (INHALES, A QUIET REALIZATION) Oh. "The valiant never taste of death but once."

SOUND:

ALARM BUZZES TWICE

WARDEN:

Dyke, it's - it's time now. Time to go.

FATHER:

(QUIETLY) My son--

DYKE:

(GOOD-NATURED) All right. Let's go. Father, you walk alongside me.

BIZ:

VOICES GRADUALLY MOVE OFF MIKE DURING FOLLOWING--

FATHER:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills...

DYKE:

"The valiant never taste of death but once."

FATHER:

From whence cometh my help...

DYKE:

"The valiant never taste of death but once."

FATHER:

My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth...

DYKE:

"The valiant never taste of death but once."

SOUND:

APPLAUSE ...