Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: Four for the Fifth: "Surrender"
Date: Jun 03 1944

This NBC 4-episode series was a fundraiser for the Fifth War Bond Drive; this episode, written by Arch Obler, was a stark drama of an American and German soldier who come face to face on the battlefield.

MUSIC:

OPENS COLD AND HARSH WITH OMINOUS CHORDS. RISES, THEN STOPS DEAD WITH:

JOE:

All right! Get in there!

FX:

heavy wooden door closing.

JOE:

Sit down! (beat) SIT DOWN! (beat) go on, sit down! (sigh, as prisoner sits down.) Ahhh. Me too!... OK, "Fritz," you can put your hands down. (beat) HANDS-DOWN!...That's it.

Now sit there like a good guy or I'll press the trigger and put a -- Aww, what's the use talking to you? I should have taken German in school instead of Latin. GALLIA EST OMNIS DIVISIA -- what's the matter with me? I -- I guess I'm sort of excited...Yeah, my first prisoner, so I'm excited...

Won't the sergeant open HIS big blues eyes! (chuckles) "Private First Class J.D. Henry reports the capture of an enemy lieutenant, sir! I lost contact with my patrol, sir, but since we had arranged to rendezvous at the stone house near the creek, I was on my way there when I met this Nazi aviator -- I mean when I CAPTURED this Nazi aviator -- who had bailed out and was trying to make his way back to his lines! I --"

(to the prisoner) Yeah, I'm talkin' about YOU, Mister! (beat) I sure wish I knew your name....

KARL:

Karl Ekhart.

JOE:

(gasps)

KARL:

(flat, nonchalant, self-possessed) I speak English.

JOE:

(angry) Well -- why didn't you let me know before? What did you let me go on talkin' to myself for like a Charlie McCarthy?

KARL:

I do not understand--

JOE:

All right, all right! Whether you talk English or not, sit there quiet and we'll get along fine!. (pause) Are you really a Luftwaffe Lieutenant?

KARL:

Yes!

JOE:

I did all right, didn't I?

KARL:

If I had not lost my revolver during my descent...

JOE:

"C'est la guerre"...which means --

KARL:

(short) I speak French!

JOE:

OK. Now sit still!

KARL:

I am doing nothing...

JOE:

OK -- keep doin' it!

KARL:

(after a pause) You are waiting for your patrol?

JOE:

Yeah! Then we'll --

KARL:

what?

JOE:

Sit still! There's someone... (calls out) YOU back there! Come out with your hands up!

MAN:

(babbling in Italian that he is old, frightened, and means no harm)

KARL:

(in Italian) Halt! Stand where you are, old man!

JOE:

Well! So you talk that too!

KARL:

A little. (to man, in Italian) Who are you? What are you doing here?

MAN:

(a burst of Italian - he was old, ill, left behind - -the bombs frightened him)

KARL:

(Italian) Hold your mouth - quiet! (to Joe) He is no one -- an old man so afraid that he has been hiding here through the bombing.

JOE:

All right! Tell him to stay over in that corner and he won't get hurt!

KARL:

(Italian) Go over there! Sit Down. Be quiet!

MAN:

(acknowledges meekly)

KARL:

I would like to have some water...

JOE:

Water? Sure! Here's my canteen - catch!

FX:

SOUND OF CATCHING CANTEEN

KARL:

Danke.

JOE:

(flatly) That's OK. Drink all you want.

KARL:

That is enough. Your canteen--

JOE:

Toss it!

FX:

SOUND OF CATCHING CANTEEN

JOE:

You got an rations left?

KARL:

Nothing.

JOE:

Hungry?

KARL:

Yes.

JOE:

I - I've got some of mine left. Biscuits...chocolate... I'll -- I'll split it with you. Only sit still!

KARL:

(pause) Thank you very much, American.

JOE:

That's OK...Nazi.

MUSIC:

TIME TRANSITION

JOE:

(whistles "Back Home Again In Indiana")

KARL:

American!

JOE:

(still whistling)

KARL:

American!

JOE:

Huh? Did you say somethin'?

KARL:

My watch -- it broke when I left my airplane. Could you tell me what time it is?

JOE:

You're not goin' anywhere, but it's, uhhh, almost six.

KARL:

The sun is setting...

JOE:

Yeah. (pause) That old man, he sure can sleep!

KARL:

Yes...Your patrol is not coming?

JOE:

They'll get here! Don't worry.

KARL:

I do not worry. I am your prisoner.

JOE:

Yeah...Sure must be hard for you to take -- prisoner of a guy you outrank.

KARL:

You said it before -- "C'est la guerre."

JOE:

Yeah! But if my number's up, at least it'll have to be a lieutenant colonel.

KARL:

I would like to ask you something.

JOE:

Go ahead.

KARL:

What will you do when soon it will be dark?

JOE:

That's not worth sixty-four bucks.

KARL:

Pardon?

JOE:

I mean that's an easy question! Tie you up! I'm not gonna lose YOU, mister!. (sharply) Keep your hands where I can see 'em or I'll do it NOW!

KARL:

(quietly) I was only reaching for my harmonica...

JOE:

Your what?

KARL:

Harmonica.

JOE:

Hey, I searched you -- you haven't got any -- !

KARL:

Here...in my tunic...you did not notice? May I?

JOE:

OK, OK!

KARL:

(runs the scale then plays a German tune)

JOE:

You sure can play that thing!

KARL:

And you?

JOE:

You're talkin' to a guy from Indiana!

KARL:

Does that mean you can do it?

JOE:

A little.

KARL:

Would you show me?

JOE:

Well...OK. (plays "Back home again")

KARL:

(up close) That is very good! You are --

JOE:

Keep away!

KARL:

Oh -- I am sorry -- it was just that your playing was most expert.

JOE:

(irritated) Thanks. But it's still just a mouth organ. Here. You'd better do the playin'.

KARL:

All right. (begins to play)

MUSIC:

TAKES UP HARMONICA THEME, INTO TIME PASSAGE.

KARL:

(relaxed on fade in) Oh, yes, of course. We have many such birds on my father's farm! In the marshes there are wild geese. In the woods there are grouse, and partridges, and quail...

JOE:

How's the fishin'?

KARL:

Oh, carp -- pike, -- the eel -- shad -- the perch --

JOE:

Whadda you know? Sounds just like Indiana!

KARL:

Oh, no -- you have so MANY fish there -- trout, pickerel, muskellunge!

JOE:

How did you know that?

KARL:

Oh, I have always wanted to visit your country, so I have read all about it.

JOE:

You know what I miss most of all?

KARL:

What?

JOE:

The meadowlarks. Yeah! Risin' up out of the fields, and givin' out into the sky and sayin' -- (chuckles self-consciously) -- Whoo! The sarge should hear me talk!

KARL:

I think it is very nice. I too miss many things. The soft nights on my segelschiff...

JOE:

What's that?

KARL:

It means "my sailboat." This time of year, when the work was done, I would be one my boat on the river...it is very beautiful...

JOE:

...Yeah...I'll bet it is...I've got a canoe...

KARL:

Oh, that must be good sport!

JOE: Yeah. We've got some fast-runnin' water near where I live...I mean in the spring, when the river is high.

KARL:

You spoke of the birds...Sometimes when I was flying very high, I would think I could hear the birds on the big tree outside my window at home when it was early in the morning.

JOE:

A guy thinks funny things...

KARL:

(sigh) yes...

JOE:

You know, this sure isn't in the book.

KARL:

What?

JOE:

You and me -- sittin here talkin' for almost two hours about growin' corn, Indiana, the birds, how you and your dad raised barley and oats, and the fish and -- and everythin' else that doesn't add up to.. to this forty-five in in my hand and that swastika pin on your tunic!

KARL:

(quietly) Yes...it is strange...

JOE:

You know, we must be about the same height, the same weight, same build...

KARL:

Yes...

JOE:

We both play harmonica pretty good...and we're both really a couple of hicks!

KARL:

Hicks?

JOE:

Farm boys.

KARL:

Yes. FARM boys.

JOE:

Would I like to be sittin' at Ma's supper table right now! That dog-gone patrol!

KARL:

If...if you wanted to, I could lead you into our camp very quickly -- and before it was dark we could be well-fed! We would start with beer soup --

JOE:

Say that again?

KARL:

Oh, buy you have not had one of life's great wonders if you have not had beer soup!

JOE:

Awwww.

KARL:

A liter of beer warmed with two slices of lemon, a clove, a bit of cinnamon. Eggs and a cup of cream. All beaten to a froth and poured over toasted bread! And there would be paprika schnitzel! And kartoffel pancakes, covered with powered sugar...

JOE:

(laughs) Would you please shut up now? That'd be a helluva thing to tell my grandchildren -- how I traded in my first prisoner for schnitzel and pancakes!

KARL:

There is no harm asking! I, too, am hungry.

JOE:

(no longer laughing) Yeah...well it won't be long now. They'll get here. Just relax -- like the old man there.

KARL:

(pause) What is your name?

JOE:

Eh?

KARL:

Your first name.

JOE:

Joe.

KARL:

I am Karl.

JOE:

OK...

KARL:

(pause) Joe?...

JOE:

Yes?

KARL:

The city of New York -- how much of it was ruined?

JOE:

Ruined? New York? What are you talking about?

KARL:

(eagerly) New York! When we bombed it -- the skyscrapers? Was there terrible damage?

JOE:

Bombed it?? (chuckles) Aw, quit your kiddin'!

MUSIC: TRANSITION

JOE:

(fade in on last words singing "Back Home Again" while Karl plays harmonica)

JOE:

Hey, we're terrific!

KARL:

At least good!

JOE:

Hey, that old man is still sleeping!

KARL:

Yes. When they are so old, they are like children with sleep.

JOE:

Yeah...I think I'll meet you in South Bend post-war and we'll go into vaudeville!

KARL:

You mean theater?

JOE:

Yeah!

KARL:

No thank you! THAT is not in my plans!

JOE:

Nor in mine...you like blondes -- blonde girls?

KARL:

Oh, yes.

JOE:

That's they way I'd figured it -- we've agreed on everythin' else so far. My girl's a blonde. That's MY post-war plan!

KARL:

With me it is not so simple.

JOE:

Eh?

KARL:

I have...MANY blondes.

JOE:

OH!

KARL:

It is a great misfortune.

JOE:

What's so misfortunate about that?

KARL:

I meet a pretty girl -- I take her for a ride on my boat. The moon is low -- my heart grows full -- we kiss -- and I am in love!

Then I meet another girl -- again the boat, the river, the moon, the kiss and the full heart -- and again I am in love!

This goes on all through the summer -- and the summer is very long!

JOE:

All blondes?

KARL:

Well...in the moonlight, I sometimes make a few exceptions.

JOE:

(laughing) You must have a busy furlough!

KARL:

Yes!

JOE:

(pause) The sky sure is getting' dark!

KARL:

Ah, so!

JOE: Some more rain, I guess. Hope the fellas get here before it starts.

KARL:

They are good friends?

JOE:

Yeah. They'll get here! Hey, how about you singin' me a song?

KARL:

Sing? What?

JOE:

Oh, anything.

KARL:

I...I do not know. Military songs--

JOE:

No, none of that!

KARL:

Would you like to hear a song my mother sings?

JOE:

Why not?

KARL:

I only sing in my own language.

JOE:

That's all right.

KARL:

No, I will try to translate it first. It is called... "He That Loves a Woman Fair."

"Ask not overmuch for fair

Form and face; let woman be

Good; beauty is but a snare;

Gladly woo if good is she."

JOE:

Sing it.

KARL:

(sings, sweetly, softly)

JOE:

(long pause) I like that...

FX:

DISTANT THUNDER RUMBLE.

MAN:

(Cries out in BG)

JOE:

Well! THAT woke the old mane up.

FX:

MORE THUNDER, ANOTHER CRY

JOE:

He thinks it's more bombin'.

KARL:

Yes.

FX:

THUNDER AND OLD MAN

JOE:

There she blows! Tell him it's only thunder.

KARL:

(Italian) It's only thunder, you old fool! GO back to sleep!

FX:

THUNDER

JOE:

Those dog-gone fools -- why don't they get here! The stone house at the bridge -- I said I'd be here!

FX:

THUNDER. RAIN BEGINS.

JOE:

Hey! Rain -- like in Indiana! OK for the crops, eh farmer?

KARL:

Yes. (closer) We have no quarrel....

JOE:

What?

KARL:

You and I...We have no quarrel...

FX:

THUNDER

JOE:

As two...human bein's... I guess we haven't...really...

KARL:

May I ...say something?

JOE:

Sure!

FX:

THUNDER

KARL:

You are tired?

JOE:

Sure!

KARL:

I am, too. Very much. I would like to sleep.

JOE:

Go ahead!

KARL:

I want you to know that you, too, can sleep.

JOE:

Yeah?

KARL:

I will not try to escape. (closer) I give you my word.

MUSIC:

SWEEPING, SENTIMENTAL. TRANSITION TO MORNING THEME.

JOE:

(Half-asleep) Sarge, I - I don't know - I -- (comes wide awake) Where?-- Oh! Karl! W-was I asleep?

KARL:

(quietly) Yes.

JOE:

Very long?

KARL:

Yes.

JOE:

How do you like that? Morning?

KARL:

Almost...

JOE:

When did it stop raining'?

KARL:

Only a few moments ago.

JOE:

You ...haven't slept?

KARL:

No...

JOE:

Well! I sleep and YOU don't. And the old man? Ah, still at it, eh? (chuckles) Funny thing -- I was sittin' in the dark, thinkin' about -- YOUR mother! I -- I've never seen here, of course, but I was thinkin' about the song you sang -- you said SHE always sang it -- and I was tryin' to figure ou what she looked like. My mother's awfully small -- small and thin -- my dad's tried to fatten her up for years. But she's got so much energy, she just burns it all up! But after what you said about German food, I was thinkin' that your mother would be..well, sort of...you know, comfortable... and then I sort of kept hearin' you say I could sleep, and I began arguiin' with you about that, but I guess that's when I fell asleep. (pause) What's the matter? You just sit there! Oh, I'm sorry if what I said about your mother -- I mean, I'm sorry!

KARL:

(quietly) It is time to go.

JOE:

Go? Where?

KARL:

Come!

JOE:

What?

KARL:

Get to your feet!

JOE:

Karl--

KARL:

(suddenly tense) I have given you an order! Stand up!

JOE:

My gun! My GUN!

KARL:

Stand up!

JOE:

But -- your word! You gave me your --

KARL:

Close your mouth! We are getting out of here!

MAN:

(Italian) Please, signores, do not leave me, I am afraid!

KARL:

(German) Close your mouth, old dog!

MAN:

(Italian) But I am old, do not leave me, take me somewhere...

KARL:

(German) QUIET!!!

FX:

A MASSIVE GUNSHOT. A SHUDDERING INTAKE OF BREATH, AND A BODY SLUMPS TO THE FLOOR

JOE:

You-- why...why...

KARL:

Close your mouth! Move, VERDAMMTER AMERIKANER!

JOE:

My God!

MUSIC:

HARD-HIT; TRANSITION; THEN BUSY AGITATO UNDERNEATH.

FX:

FOOTSTEPS IN BRUSH

KARL:

(coldly) Faster! FASTER!

Do you think I do not know what is going on in your mind? You thin the slower you go the more chance there will be of that patrol of yours catching up with us? Faster, I tell you -- faster! (German) Faster, you imbecile, you fool, you thick-headed idiot!

MUSIC:

UP FOR A FEW BEATS

FX:

FOOTSTEPS IN WATER

KARL:

(breathing heavily) Keep moving! This is the stream which leads to my camp -- I know it is! Lift your feet - move! (german) I will bring you into OUR camp, you stupid American! Faster! Faster! Faster!

MUSIC:

UP AND OUT

FX:

LIGHT WIND

KARL:

(breathing hard, but more relaxed) All right -- now we can rest ...That's right, joe -- what did you used to say to me -- relax! Ahhh!... We are quite safe from your patrols now. (Sigh) A few moments' rest and then -- well, perhaps I talked too much about the paprika schnitzel, but the bread in our prison camp IS quite good. (pause) Well, now, Joe, I am surprised at you! Just because I tricked you with sleep. You Americans are supposed to be such good sports. When I was your prisoner I was MOST congenial. (Pause) What is the matter? I was YOUR prisoner. Now you are MINE. Your own words: "C'est la guerre!"

JOE:

I swear I don't get you!

KARL:

What? What did you say?

JOE:

I don't GET you!

KARL:

What?

JOE:

I look at you -- I think to myself, "He's just like I am! He's from a farm -- he knows all about crops, and animals, and birds, and boatin' on the river -- just the way I do. He's got a family -- a mother who used to sing to him...

KARL:

What are you talking about?

JOE:

I just don't GET you!

KARL:

Why do you keep saying that? What are you trying to tell me?

JOE:

TELL you? I'm trying to find out...

KARL:

Find out WHAT?

JOE:

I never saw a man commit a MURDER....

KARL:

Murder? Who? (pause) That old man? This is WAR!

JOE:

War? War is guys like you and me! What's war got to do with usin' my gun to kill a frightened old man?

KARL:

(spits it out) Vermin in the cellar!

JOE:

(pause, then slow & quiet) When I got in this G.I. Uniform, they gave me lectures all about you. Showed me movin' pictures -- "Here's a Nazi" they said; "a Nazi! A special kind of guy!" I looked -- I listened -- I believed -- and then when I met you, you weren't like that at all! You were a guy just like I was, inside another uniform! It didn't make mush sense ...it STILL doesn't make much sense! How CAN you sing, and talk about -- about your home and your family, and then murder a scared old man and call it WAR! Answer me that!!

KARL:

You keep saying that we are alike! That is a foolish conceit! We are NOT alike. YOU see an old man die and you are no longer a soldier! You are a puking farm boy wailing with your Moses and your Jesus on the Mount.

FX:

WIND BUILDS UP

JOE:

Maybe we're not your idea of soldiers, but -- haven't they told you yet that we're winnin' this war?

KARL:

What did you say?

JOE:

That we're winnin' this war.

KARL:

You lie!

JOE:

Where's your AFRICAN army? Where's your RUSSIAN army? Where's the Luftwaffe over Berlin?

KARL:

(pause) In 1914...my father was a young man. In 1918 when he came home he was an old man. He thought we had lost the war. He did not understand that we had NOT lost the war. For every battle of that war was a proving ground for the great planners and strategists of our military tradition! (with increasing resolve)

And so it will be with THIS war, American! Even if you overpower us by the weight of numbers, and your mongrel armies march from one end of the Fatherland to the other, we will NOT have lost! For every lesson of this war is burned into our hearts and minds! Every lesson! And the next war -- the final war -- we will WIN!

JOE: Didn't they even tell you that's why we're -- so there won't BE another war?

KARL:

(Slow, sarcastic) There-- won't -- be -- another -- war!

JOE:

NO!

KARL:

There WILL be. I will tell you why! Because although you may be able to blast your way through our fortifications, you will never be able to overcome the minds of our generals! Once again in your war-weariness THEY will be forgotten; THEY and those of us who -- no matter what democracies you force upon us -- live and WILL live only for the victory of the Fatherland!

Once again in your bickering over the new markets of the world, once again in the quarrelling of your politicians and sentimentalists over the peace tables, WE WILL BE FORGOTTEN!

But your CHILDREN will not forget us, Americans! The next time we will not waste ourselves on the Czechoslovakias of the world. America is the great power which has stood in our way for two generations. The next time the blood will flow in YOUR streets. The next time YOU will be DESTROYED!

FX:

WIND. SUDDEN CRCKLE OF UNDERBRUSH

KARL:

(tense) Someone coming! Make no sound! (whispering) Down! Quiet!

FX:

MORE AND CLOSER CRACKLE OF UNDERBRUSH

KARL:

Your patrol!! Make -- no -- SOUND!!

FX:

MORE AND CLOSER CRACKLE OF UNDERBRUSH

JOE:

(cries out) Fellows!! Look out!!!

FX:

THE SAME HUGE GUNBLAST WE HEARD EARLIER. THEN KARL RUNS AWAY INTO THE BRUSH.

SARGE:

(in distance) There he goes! Get him!

FX:

A gun battle erupts.

SARGE:

(closer) Joe -- what -- (pause) Oh no! Oh my god, Joe!

JOE:

(faint) Sarge...

SARGE:

Joe, that shot -- did HE -- ?

JOE:

(gasping) yeah...

SARGE:

We'll get him!

JOE:

Sarge.,.tell them to be careful...(disillusioned) he...he seems...like such a NICE guy...

MUSIC:

HARSH, TERRIBLE FINALE.

(Series closing to be determined)