in the Air
(Old Radio Show)
"The Marvellous Barastro" was written by Ben Hecht
and the story opens to find the Marvellous Barastro walking into a
lawyer's office and announcing that he will shortly be in need of his
services because he plans to commit a murder that very night. Barastro
has been hunting his intended victim, Rico Sansone, for a long time,
from city to city and country to country, and has now caught up with
him. Like Barastro, Sansone is a great magician and hypnotist and he is
opening in his first stage performance in the city that very night.
Barastro intends to be there waiting for him.
lawyer is naturally surprised by Barastro's revelation and he asks him
why he wants to kill Sansone. The magician is only to happy to explain
his motive and it is as sad as it is surprising. Barastro tells the
lawyer about his time travelling with a small carnival, through Eastern
Europe, earning his living by casting horoscopes, reading the future
and past and conversing with spirits. Then one night in a small village
in Russia, Barastro met the love of his life; a beautiful blind girl
Barastro courted Anna and when the carnival moved on
she went with him as his wife, and for a while they were happy
together, but then Rico Sansone came into their lives and from the very
first moment that he did it was obvious that he too was captivated by
the lovely Anna. At first Barastro was enraged and challenged Sansone,
demanding an explanation as to why he was starring at Anna, but Sansone
had only flattery to offer in return for Barastro's hard words and soon
won him over.
Anna, however, disliked Sansone from the first
moment she met him and warned her husband, "I don't like him Gregor, I
feel something strange about him." Barastro failed to heed his wife's
warning though, only to later discover that Sansone has learned to
mimic his voice, and more surprisingly, his face as well.
Barastro was fortunate enough to receive a feeling warning him that
something was wrong at home and managed to oust Sansone before any real
harm was done, but Anna, who only had to contend with the fake voice,
never really recovered from the shock and when Sansone returned it
proved to be the death of her.
This is a great little story with a nice twist at the end and as far as I know it was written especially for Mystery in the Air.
If there are other adaptations of the story, I have never found them,
but it would be hard to improve on this one anyway and Peter Lorre's
performance, as Barastro, is pretty damn good in my opinion.
to Listen >> The Marvellous Barastro
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