Death from the Deep (LP).jpg
Death from the Deep
Radio information
Sponsor

B.F. Goodrich Tires

Writer(s)
  • Script:
Starring
  • Orson Welles
  • Agnes Moorehead
Aired date

April 3, 1938

Running time

29 min

Preceded by

The Hypnotized Audience (Radio Show)

Followed by

The Firebug (Radio Show)

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

In the past three months eighteen ships, all of varying size and service, and all from different countries, have been mysteriously attacked and sunk in the Atlantic, creating a worldwide panic with passenger reservations and freight shipments being cancelled, and even frightened crews deserting their ships.

Lamont Cranston does some research on the sinkings, and concludes that the attacks are all connected and the work of a modern-day pirate; he finds out that whoever is responsible is not after loot as all of the ship's sunken hulls were left untouched, and more important, the perpetrator leaves no survivors and therefore no witnesses to his identity. Lamont deduces that the key to this pirate's secret is that he must be rich and clever enough to have his own submarine. After some secret inquiries to the Navy Department, Lamont finds that only a very few people in the world possess the knowledge to design a submarine. In his guise of The Shadow, Lamont pays a visit to one of them: a brilliant but disgraced naval architect named Joseph Hart.

The Shadow arrives at Hart's home in time to eavesdrop on a conversation between Hart and wealthy game hunter Barry Vinton. Now overwhelmed with guilt over building Vinton's submarine, and endlessly tortured by nightmares of sinking ships and their massacred occupants, Hart has become a very heavy drinker, which doesn't go unnoticed by Vinton, who now believes that Hart might reveal their sinister secret and demands that Hart join him on his next submarine voyage to witness Vinton's self-described "expert marksmanship", hinting that Hart himself will be eliminated before they return.

After Vinton leaves, the Shadow announces himself to Hart and persuades him to tell the secret he and Vinton share. Hart befriended Vinton a year earlier when asked to design and build a racing boat. And because of that friendship, Hart agreed to build him a submarine in complete secrecy at his private shipyard, but it wasn't until the sub was launched that Vinton revealed his true intentions: weary of hunting animals, Vinton decided to take things to the next level and begin hunting down humans, for the sole purpose of watching them die. When asked where Vinton keeps his submarine, Hart blurts out that if he knew where it was he would destroy it and himself with it, which motivates him to put an end to his own tortured life; before the Shadow can stop him, Hart finds a gun and drunkenly shoots himself in the head.

Lamont begins his search for the submarine at Vinton's shipyard, whose high walls make it look more like a prison. Inside, as two men named Charlie and Phil finish loading torpedoes into the submarine, they begin discussing how they've been stuck inside the yard for three months with no outside contact or liberties allowed. When Vinton approaches, Charlie ask for a few days off outside, but Vinton flatly refuses. When Phil suggests that they could "up and leave", Vinton warns them that they won't get out without being shot down.

After Vinton leaves, the Shadow arrives and strikes a bargain with Charlie and Phil: in exchange for answers, the Shadow will promise their freedom. They reveal the submarine is right underneath them in a secret underground berth, and is due to sail at midnight for Cape Francis, which the Shadow soon relays to Margot Lane on their secret wireless radio.

That night aboard the submarine, Vinton and his crew are a hundred miles from Cape Francis when Vinton spots a ship on the periscope and signals full speed ahead; Mr. Brauch, Vinton's first mate, identifies the ship as the Orpheus, and that it has a full passenger list including several ambassadors, which whets Vinton's unsated appetite for wanton bloodshed. Once in range, Vinton orders a torpedo to fire, but when it hits the Orpheus it fails to explode; he orders a second torpedo fired, but as it is released, the Shadow voices his presence and tells Vinton that he just fired another dud, and then reveals that he disarmed all of the other torpedoes. Undaunted, and convinced that he's more clever, Vinton orders the sub to surface and has his crew man the deck guns to shoot, but the guns are jammed, due again to the Shadow's handiwork.

Still determined, Vinton orders the submarine to steer directly for the Orpheus' side, telling the Shadow that with their ramming device they can sink any vessel without damage to themselves. But the Shadow informs Vinton that the liner is actually a decoy set adrift by the Coast Guard, a massive mine packed with enough explosives to destroy the sub and everyone aboard. Vinton panics and orders the sub to pull alongside the ship- just as the Shadow planned; he shouts for the Coast Guard, and many armed Guardsmen appear and take the submarine crew into custody. But Vinton manages to evade them and locks himself inside the submarine, and his deranged ego convinces him that he alone can maneuver the submarine to dive and escape. Unbeknownst to him, the Shadow has followed him into the engine room and begins to taunt him. Brandishing a gun, Vinton starts shooting wildly trying to hit the Shadow, but to no avail as the Guardsmen make their way inside and arrest Vinton, bringing his reign of terror to an end for good.

Full Cast[edit | edit source]

Featured Characters:

Villains:

  • Barry Vinton (a millionaire game hunter; captured)
  • Mr. Brauch (Vinton's first mate)

Other Characters:

  • Charlie and Phil (ex-convicts & workers in Vinton's private shipyard)
  • Joesph Hart (a disgraced submarine designer; takes his own life)
  • Captain Jones (Master of unidentified ship; killed by armed man in submarine)
  • Mr. McClennon (Jones' first mate; killed same time as Jones)

Notes and References[edit | edit source]

  • In 1977, the episode was released on Nostalgia Lane Records. The album cover dates the program "October 3, 1937."

Links[edit | edit source]

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