The Mercury Theatre of the Air
Adapted by Orson Welles from the Bram Stoker Novel
Originally broadcast on 7/11/38
Transcribed for the Willamette Radio Workshop by
Bryan Mackey and Sam A. Mowry
(MUSIC: Mercury Theme: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #2)
MUSIC AND CHIMES UP AND OUT.
ANNOUNCER: Mercury Theatre On The Air presents Orson Welles as Count Dracula in his own version of Bram Stoker’s great novel ‘Dracula’.
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
SEWARD: Ladies and gentleman, my name is Arthur Seward. I am here tonight to bear witness to the truth of certain events which you may find it hard to believe, but I ask you to believe them. I have here certain documents, telegrams, clippings from the press of the day, memoranda and letters in various hands. All needless matters have been eliminated. Through the history almost at variance with the possibilities of contemporary belief, they stand forth as simple fact. I present you, first, with excerpts from the private journal of Jonathan Harker.
HARKER: I, Jonathan Harker, lawyers clerk, articles to Peter Hawkins, Esquire, of Exeter, England, am writing this journal in the hope that if misfortune overtakes me, it may one day come to the eyes of those who love me. I set out from London on the last day of April to visit one of our clients in Eastern Europe. On May the third, I arrived in Budapest and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh on the border of Transylvainia. At Bistritz, there was a letter of welcome for me from our client informing me that his carriage would await me at the Borgo Pass. It was signed: ‘Dracula’.
DRIVER: Bukovina! Coach for Bukovina!
SFX: RAPID HOOF BEATS. PASSENGERS RATTLE ON.
HARKER: The road was rough, but still we seemed to fly over it with feverish haste. When it grew dark there seemed to be some excitement among the passengers. They kept speaking to the driver and looking at me and urging him on with a greater speed.
SFX: THE COACH ROCKS.
HARKER: The crazy coach rocks from its great leather springs.
SFX: EFFECTS GET LOUDER, BUT PASSENGERS DIE OUT.
HARKER: The mountains seem to come nearer to us on either side. (To coach driver:) Coachmen! Coachmen! What is it? Where are we?
DRIVER: You are nearing your destination, young Herr. This is the Borgo Pass.
SFX: THUNDER OVER OTHER EFFECTS. ONE FEMALE PASSENGER SINGS TO HERSELF, TROUBLED.
HARKER: There are black, rolling clouds overhead, and, in the air, the heavy, oppressive sense of thunder.
SFX: MORE THUNDER as other effects continue.
HARKER: Now, we go through the pass.
DRIVER: The young herr is not expected after all?
SFX: HORSES STOP WITH A WHINNY.
DRACULA’S DRIVER: You are early tonight, my friend.
HARKER: A caleche, with four horses, had drawn up beside us.
DRACULA’S DRIVER: Let me help you, sir.
HARKER: The coachman smiled, and the lamplight fell on a hard-looking mouth with berry red lips and sharp-looking teeth as white as ivory.
SFX: THE COACH TAKES OFF.
HARKER: We began to move. I looked back. The coach with its load of passengers had vanished from sight. We swept into the darkness of the pass. I struck a match. It was within a few minutes of midnight.
SFX:: DOG HOWLS as coach continues.
HARKER: Then, a dog began to howl somewhere far down the road.
SFX: WIND ARISES as coach and dog continues.
HARKER: The wind was rising, moaning and whistling through the rocks, and the branches of the trees crashed together as we swept along. It grew colder and colder still, and fine, powdery snow began to fall.
SFX: WOLVES BAY.
HARKER: The baying of wolves sounded nearer and nearer, as if – as if though they were closing round on us from every side. We kept on ascending – always ascending! The howling of wolves was growing less.
SFX: WOLVES FADE AND OUT.
HARKER: Presently, it ceased altogether. And just then the moon broke through the black clouds and, by its light, I saw around us a ring of wolves running along side the carriage – in silence – with white teeth and lolling red tongues, with long, sinewy limbs and shaggy hair!
SFX: EFFECTS OUT.
DRACULA: Welcome to my house.
HARKER: I must have fallen asleep. The carriage had pulled up in the courtyard of a vast, ruined castle. The coachman was nowhere to be seen.
DRACULA: Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely. And leave something of the happiness you bring.
HARKER (to Dracula): Count Dracula?
DRACULA: I am Dracula.
SFX: DOOR CLOSES.
HARKER: The face was strong – very strong – aquiline.
SFX: DISTANT WOLVES BAY.
HARKER: The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy mustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp, white teeth.
DRACULA: Mmmmm. You hear them, Mr. Harker?
HARKER( to Dracula): The wolves?
DRACULA: The children of the night! As you say, Mr. Harker – the wolves. Listen!
DRACULA: Mmmm. Come now. There are many things you must tell me tomorrow – of England and of the estate there you have purchased for me.
HARKER: Ah, yes.
DRACULA: The estate is called Carfax, I believe.
HARKER: Yes, that’s so.
DRACULA: But now, I will detain you no longer. You will find your room in readiness. And I advise you not to leave it during the night.
MUSIC RISES MOMENTARILY AND OUT.
HARKER (narrating): This castle is on the very edge of a terrible precipice. A stone falling from the window would fall a thousand feet without touching anything. I explored. There are doors-doors-doors everywhere! All of them locked. The door to the great hall, the door to the courtyard, every door in the castle is closed, bolted against me! Castle Dracula is a prison, and I am a prisoner.
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
HARKER (narrating): The next night, I could not sleep. So, after a few hours, I got up, and, lighting my candle, I placed my shaving mirror on the dressing table, and was just beginning to shave–
DRACULA: You feel rested, Mr. Harker?
HARKER (narrating): I had not seen him, although the reflection of the glass covered the whole room behind me. I turned to the glass again. Count Dracula was close to me, and I could see him over my shoulder, but there was no reflection of him in the mirror. It was blank. I started and cut myself on the side of the throat, the blood was trickling down my neck.
HARKER: My mirror!
SFX: MIRROR IS THROWN AND BREAKS.
DRACULA: The blood! The blood. Wipe the blood from your face, Mr. Harker. And take care how you cut yourself. It is more dangerous than you think . . . in this country.
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
HARKER (narrating): When I awoke, I found most of my things were gone – my passport, my notes, my letter of credit – I could find no trace of them anywhere. And my door was locked from the outside.
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
HARKER (narrating): June 20th. There is work of some kind going on in the castle. Now and then I hear the far away muffled sound of mattock and spade, and last night, the second of three dated letters which Dracula made me write – the second of that series which was to blot out the very traces of my existence from the Earth went forth!
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
SFX: WOLVES BAY THROUGH SCENE. DOOR SLAM.
HARKER: Count Dracula!
DRACULA: Yes, my young friend.
HARKER: Well, what of me? When am I free? When can I leave this place?
DRACULA: Free? Mr. Harker, you are always free. You want to leave? Would you like to leave tonight?
HARKER: Yes. Yes, in God’s name!
DRACULA: My dear, young friend, not an hour shall you wait in my house against your will. Come, follow me.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS. DOOR IS TRIED.
DRACULA: Hmmm. Your door seems to be bolted. How strange, your door is locked.
HARKER: In God’s name, open it!
DRACULA: As you will, Mr. Harker. You English have a proverb which is very close to my heart – ‘Welcome the coming, speed departing guests’. Good night, Mr. Harker!
SFX: DOOR OPENS. RAVENOUS WOLVES BARK AND GROWL, BURSTING INWARD.
HARKER: Shut the door! Shut the door! Shut the door! Shut–!
SFX: WOLVES OUT. DOOR CLOSES.
DRACULA: The door is shut, Mr. Harker. I take it you will remain?
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
HARKER (narrating): Morning, June the 30th. These may be the last words I ever write in this diary. God preserve my sanity! I have never seen Count Dracula by day. At sunrise – at the first cock-crow he is gone. I – I don’t understand these things. I only know that the wolves are baying and that he is a man with hair on the palms of his hands, with sharp teeth and no blood in his face. He casts no shadow. He cannot be seen in a glass. And he moves like a bat across the shear face of the castle walls. He eats no food, and is mortally afraid of the crucifix.
SFX: WAGON WHEELS OVER COBBLESTONE. WHIP CRACKS.
HARKER: As I write this I hear in the courtyard the rolling of heavy wheels and cracking of whips.
SFX: WHEELS AND WHIPS FADE, REPLACED BY CRATE DROPPING AND HAMMER POUNDING.
HARKER: And there is in the passageway below a pound of heavy boxes being set down, boxes shaped like coffins, and I know what they hold. The boxes are filled with holy earth from the chapel beneath the castle.
SFX: JUST SINGLE HAMMER.
HARKER: The last box being nailed down.
HARKER: And now I hear the heavy feet tramping again.
SFX: DISTANT DOOR CLOSES. CHAINS RATTLE.
HARKER: The door is shut, and the chains rattle. In the courtyard and down the rocky way, the roll of heavy wheels, the cracks of whips.
SFX: WAGONS PULL AWAY.
HARKER: Help! Help! Help! (Narrating:)The wagons have gone. I’m alone in the castle. (o/m:) I’m alone in the castle. (Further o/m, echoing:) I’m alone in the castle! I’m alone! I’m alone! I’m alone!!
SEWARD: Ladies and Gentleman, This is Dr. Seward. Mr. Harker’s Journal terminates at this point. I now present into evidence a clipping dated August of that year from the Yorkshire Telegraph from my correspondence in Whitby. One of the greatest and sudden of storms on record was experienced here today. The weather has been somewhat sultry, but Saturday evening was fine, the band was playing, the piers were crowded with holiday-makers. The winds went away entirely in the evening, and there was a dead calm. There were but few lights at sea. The only sail noticeable was a foreign schooner, under full canvas, that was seemingly going westward. A little after midnight came a strange sound from over the sea, and high overhead the air began to carry a strange, faint, hollow booming. Then, without warning, the tempest broke. And there, with all sails set, was the foreign schooner rushing with terrific speed toward the shore. A searchlight was turned on her, and there lashed to the helm was a corpse, with drooping head which swayed horribly to-and-fro at each motion of the ship. A moment later she crashed. Then a strange thing was seen. At the very instant she touched, a huge dog sprang up on deck from below, and running forward, jumped from the bow onto the sand and making straight up the east cliff toward the graveyard, vanished into the night. The coast guard going abroad at dawn found the dead man fastened to a spoke of the wheel, tightly clutched in one hand was a crucifix. The man must have been dead for quite two days. In the pocket of the deadman’s coat was found a bottle, carefully corked, containing a roll of paper. This proved to be an addendum to the ship’s log. There was found on board only a small amount of cargo and that of a most unusual nature. Apparently the ship carried nothing but earth, common earth, packed away in wooden boxes – shaped much like coffins.
LOW MUSIC RISES AND FADES.
CAPTAIN: Log of the Demeter. Russian flag. Black Sea to Whitby. July 6th. Finished taking in cargo. A queer cargo. Boxes of earth. At noon, set sail. East wind, fresh. Crew, four hands. Two mates, cook, and myself, captain. July 11th. Entered Bosporus. At dark, passed through Dardanelles. Mate reported in morning that one of crew, Viodin, was missing.
MATE (to Captain): Took larboard watch eight bells last night. He was relieved by Talissian, who never came to his bunk. There is something aboard this ship!
MATE: No. Don’t laugh, Captain. In the rain last night …
MATE: . . . a tall, thin man go up the companionway and along the deck forward, and disappear. When I go to the bow – no one – and the hatchways were all closed.
CAPTAIN (narrating): July 22nd. Rough weather last three days, all hands busy with sails. No time be frightened. Passed Gibraltar and out through Straits. All well. July 24th. Last night, another hand was lost. Disappeared.
HAND 1 (to Captain): Like Talissian, he came off his watch at midnight and we never see him again!
MATE: You take your watch now–
HAND 1: I don’t take watch alone no more!
HAND 2: Nor will I!
HAND 1: No more. Double watch!
HAND 2: Double watch!
CAPTAIN (narrating): July 29th. Had single watch tonight, as crew too tired to double. When morning come–
HAND 1: Hey! Hey, Balaki below! Balaki! Where are the guns?!
MATE: Balaki gone like the others!
HAND 1 (weeping): Like all the others!
CAPTAIN (narrating): The Mate and I have agreed to go armed henceforth. July 30th. Last night. We are nearing England. Weather fine. All sails set.
HAND 2: Captain! Captain! The men on watch are missing! More missing!
CAPTAIN (narrating): Now . . . only self and mate and one hand left to work ship. August 3rd. Two days of fog and not a sail sighted. At midnight, I went to relieve the man at wheel and when I got to it I found no one there!
MATE: It’s here! I know it now! I saw it. Like a man . . . taller and thin. Ghastly pale. It was in the bows and looking out. I gave it my knife – but the knife went right through it, empty as the air!
CAPTAIN (to Mate):: What are you talking about?!
MATE: It’s here! And I’ll find it! It’s in the hold. In one of those boxes of earth. I’ll unscrew them one by one and see. And see!
CAPTAIN (narrating): He is mad, stark-raving mad. It’s no use my trying to stop him. He can’t hurt those big boxes, there are invoiced as common earth.
MATE: He’s there, there, down – down in the hole. . . I know the secret now. The sea will save me from the him. It’s all that’s left. It’s all that’s left.
CAPTAIN (narrating): August 4th. I am all alone on my ship – and still the fog. I dare not go below. I dare not leave the helm. So here, all night, I stayed. And in the dimness of the night I saw it. I saw him! God forgive me, but the mate was right to jump overboard! It was better to die like a sailor in the blue water. But I am captain and I must not leave my ship. I have tied my hands to the wheel – when my strength begins to fail – and along with them, I shall tie that which it dare not touch – my crucifix! (Pause.) I am growing weaker, and the night is coming on. God and the Blessed Virgin help a poor, ignorant soul trying to do his duty. (Pause.)
SFX: SLOW FOOTSTEPS.
(The Captain screams.)
SFX: TELEGRAPH CLICKING.
SEWARD: Telegram. Seward, Purfleet to Van Helsing, Amsterdam. Lucy Westenra in alarming condition. Cannot diagnose. Come at once. Seward.
SFX: MORE TELEGRAPH CLICKING, HIGHER PITCHED.
VAN HELSING: Telegram. Van Helsing, Amsterdam to Seward, Purfleet . I am on my way to you. Please arrange for me to examine your patient immediately. my arrival. Van Helsing.
SEWARD: Ladies and Gentlemen, I shall now explain that six months before the events recorded here I had become engaged to a young lady, Lucy Westenra. We were to be married in the Spring. My old teacher, Professor Van Helsing, arrived at four the next afternoon. I took him at once to Lucy’s house. She lay in her bed, asleep. She was ghastly, chalkly pale. The red had seem to have gone even from her lips and gums. And the bones of her face stood out.
VAN HELSING: Young Miss is bad. Very bad. She must have blood or she will die. She is not anemic. The qualitative analysis of her blood is quite normal condition. It is strange. I do not like to think how strange. Look! My god, her throat, look!
SEWARD (narrating): The black velvet band that she always wore dragged up a little and showed a red mark on her throat. Just over the external jugular vein were two punctures – not large, but not wholesome-looking. The edges were white and worn-looking.
(To Van Helsing:) Well? Well, what is it, Professor? What’s wrong with her? Speak frankly. You can tell me the worst.
VAN HELSING: I wish I could, Seward. I wish I could. But I do not dare!
SEWARD: But . . . won’t you tell me anything?
VAN HELSING: I will tell you this – your young lady is in a danger greater than death. You must believe me. If you leave her for one moment and harm befalls, you will not sleep easy thereafter.
MUSIC UP AND FADES OUT.
SEWARD: September 8th. I sat up all night with Lucy.
LUCY: Arthur, I’m afraid.
SEWARD: My dear, you can sleep tonight. I’m here watching you – nothing can happen – and I promise, at any sign of bad dreams, if I see anything, I’ll wake you at once.
LUCY: You will? Will you, really? Then, I’ll sleep.
SEWARD (narrating:) I sat all night by her bed side. She did not wake once during the night, although the boughs or a bat or something slapped almost angrily against the window pane.
September 11th. Still quoting from my private journals. This time I received a message from Purfleet. ‘It read ’10:20 pm, St. John’s Hospital. Serious complications, case 891. Your immediate presence in London imperative.’ I had no choice. Sometime later, a paper was found among Lucy Westenra’s belongings–
LUCY (narrating): I write this and leave it to be seen so that no one may get into trouble from me. I went to bed as usual, taking care that the window was closed as Dr. Van Helsing had directed.
SFX: WOLF HOWL.
LUCY: About two in the morning, I awakened.
SFX: WOLF HOWLS AGAIN.
LUCY: I went to the door, called out – ‘Arthur! Arthur!’ There was no answer.
SFX: WOLF HOWLS AGAIN. WINDOW BREAKS.
LUCY: Something’s broken the window! (Hushed:) I’m in the room alone. I dare not go out. The house seems to be empty. The air . . . full of specks, floating, circling in the draft from the window. The light burns blue, dim. What am I to do? Something very sweet and very bitter all around me – like I’m sinking into deep water. There’s singing in my ears.
DRACULA: You shall be flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood . ..
LUCY: Ahhhh . . .
SEWARD (narrating): September 12th. Late. Only resolution and habit can let me make an entry tonight. We found her sprawled on the floor, and there was a draft in the room from the broken window. The throat was bare, showing the two wounds, looking horribly white and mangled.
VAN HELSING: We are too late, my friend. We have failed. God’s will be done.
SEWARD: She is dying?
VAN HELSING: Yes, she’s dying. Stay beside her. It will make much difference, mark me, whether she dies conscious or in her sleep.
MUSIC UP AND FADE OUT.
SEWARD (narrating): It was late in the afternoon before she opened her eyes.
LUCY: Arthur . . . Oh, my love, I’m so glad you’ve come.
SEWARD (narrating): I took her hand and knelt beside her. Her breath came and went like a tired, peaceful child. And then the light from the setting sun fell on her face and then, insensibly, a strange change came over her. Her eyes grew suddenly dull and hard – her breathing was heavy – her mouth opened and the pale gums drawn back, made the teeth look large and sharp!
LUCY: Arthur . . . Ah, my love, I’m so glad you’ve come. Kiss me. Bend down and kiss me . . .
VAN HELSING (o/m&approaching): Run for your life! Run for your living soul and hers!
VAN HELSING: She’s dead!
SEWARD: Poor girl. Lie in peace at last. The end.
VAN HELSING: Not so! It is only the beginning. Wait and see!
PIANO MUSIC UP AND FADE.
NEWS VENDOR: Extra! Special! Extra! Special! Kensington Horror!
VOICE: Westminster Gazette. September 25th. A Hampstead Mystery. ‘The Kensington Horror’ and ‘The Woman in Black’ are vividly recalled to mind by a series of events that have taken place recently in the neighborhood of Hampstead. Several cases have occurred of young children straying from home or failing to return from playing on the Heath. In all these cases, the children have given as their excuse that they have been with ‘a beautiful lady’ who offered them chocolates. In each case, the child was found to be slightly torn or wounded in the throat.
The wound seemed such as might be made by a rat . . .
NEWS VENDOR: Extra! Special!
VOICE: . . . or a small dog.
SFX: PIANO MUSIC RISES.
NEWS VENDOR: Extra! Special! Extra! Special! Hampstead Horror! (Fading:) Read about the beautiful lady! Read about the beautiful lady! Extra! Special! . . .
VAN HELSING (reading): The Hampstead Horror. Another child injured by the beautiful lady. We have just received intelligence that another child, missed last night, was only discovered late in the morning. It has the same tiny wound in the throat.
VAN HELSING (To Seward:) Well, Seward, what do you think of that? You mean to tell me, my friend, that you still have no suspicions as to what poor Lucy died of?
SEWARD: Nervous prostration following on great loss or waste of blood.
VAN HELSING: And how was the blood lost or wasted? You are a clever man, my friend, and a good doctor, but you do not believe that there are things that you cannot understand. You are wrong, Seward. Are you aware of all the mysteries of life and death. Can you tell me why in the Pampas there are bats that come at night and open the veins of cattle and horses – and suck dry those veins? Hmm? How on some islands of the western seas there are bats which hang on trees all day, and then when the sailors sleep on deck because it is hot, sweep down on them, and then in the morning are found deadmen, as white as Miss Lucy was?
SEWARD: I understand none of these things.
VAN HELSING: After tonight, Seward, if you dare to come with me, perhaps then you will understand.
MUSIC UP AND OUT.
SEWARD (narrating): September 29th. Before dawn. Now it is done. And I would sooner die a thousand deaths than to live again what I did this night.
VAN HELSING: We will spend the night, you and I, here in this churchyard where Miss Lucy is buried. We enter the tomb–
SEWARD: And then?
VAN HELSING: We open the coffin. You shall yet be conv–
SEWARD: Take care, Van Helsing!
VAN HELSING: Miss Lucy is dead, is it not so? Then there can be no wrong to her, but if she’s not dead . . .
SEWARD (narrating): With some difficulty we found the Westenra tomb.
SFX: DOOR OPENS. CREAKS.
SEWARD: I took up my place behind a yew tree on one side of the tomb, Van Helsing on the other.
SFX: CLOCK TOWER BELL STRIKES TWICE.
SEWARD: I was Chilled and frightened.
SFX: DOG HOWLS.
SEWARD: Suddenly, I saw something moving between two yew trees – a dim, white figure which held something at its breast. The figure stopped. I could not see the face, for it was bent down over what I saw to be a fair-haired child. There was a sharp, little cry, such as a child gives in sleep or a dog as it lies before the fire and dreams. Then, the thing saw us. She drew back with an angry snarl. Her lovely, bloodstained mouth grew to an open square. If ever a face meant death, I saw it at that moment. Then suddenly, she turned and vanished in the direction of the tomb.
VAN HELSING (to Seward): The child is unharmed. We leave him in a safe place where the police find him.
SFX: RAPID FOOTSTEPS.
VAN HELSING (Retreating from mic): There’s more to do. Come!
SEWARD (narrating): Now, we’re in the tomb. There in the coffin, the thing lay. Like a nightmare of Lucy – the pointed teeth, the bloodstained mouth. Van Helsing never looked up. From his bag he took out a book, his operating knife, a heavy hammer, and a round, wooden stake – two or three inches thick, sharpened to a fine point and hardened over a fire.
VAN HELSING: Seward! The life of this unhappy woman has just begun. Then she becomes what-you-call ‘Undead’. There comes with the change the curse of immortality – she cannot die, but must go on age after age, adding new victims – because all that die from the preying of the Undead become themselves Undead and prey on others. So the circle goes on, ever widening, as of the ripples from a stone thrown into the water. But . . . if this lady, this Undead, be made to rest as true dead, then the soul of the poor lady whom we love should be again free.
SEWARD: Tell me . . . what am I to do?
VAN HELSING: Take this stake in your left hand, the hammer in your right . . .
VAN HELSING: Place the point over the heart . . .
VAN HELSING: Then . . . then, I begin the prayer for the dead . . . in God’s name strike.
VAN HELSING: Are you ready?
VAN HELSING (praying): Now. Domini des aprieste ________________–
SFX: HAMMER STRIKES STAKE. BREATH ESCAPES LUCY’S BODY LIKE AIR FROM A LARGE BALLOON.
SEWARD: On the morning of July 11th, a man was found on the border of Transylvainia. He talked wildly of wolves and boxes of earth and blood. He gave his name as Jonathan Harker. In a hospital at Klausenburgh he improved sufficiently to make possible his removal to England.
SFX: DOOR SLAMS.
SEWARD: I’m still quoting from my own personal papers. But then his condition remained so serious that he was committed for observation to a private ward in my hospital at Purfleet. Here, he did so well that in three weeks he was completely recovered. It was during this time that his wife, Mina Harker, brought to the attention of Dr. Van Helsing and myself the journal that her husband had kept while the prisoner in the castle of a certain Count Dracula in Transylvainia. I have before me the record of a meeting that took place in my study in Purfleet, transcribed by Mina Harker.
MINA: October 1st. Meeting again, ten after eight. Jonathan next to me. Dr. Seward, afterwards, and Dr. Van Helsing at the head of the table.
VAN HELSING: My friends, there are such things as vampires. Had I known at first what now I know . . . one so precious a life would have been spared for the many of us who love her. The vampire which is amongst us is himself so strong that he can direct all the elements – the storm, the fog, the thunder – he can command all the meaner things, the moth and bat, the owl, the fox, and the wolf. How then are we to begin our stride to destroy him? How shall we find his place? And having found it, how can we destroy? My friends, it is a terrible task that we undertake. To fail here is not mere life or death. If we fail we become as him – foul things of the night. As him. What do you say?
MINA: I answer for myself.
VAN HELSING: Come near.
SEWARD: I’m with you.
MINA (narrating): The professor laid a small golden crucifix on the table. We took hands and our solemn pact was made.
VAN HELSING: My friends, we, too, are not without strength. The vampire flourishes on the blood of the living. Without this he cannot live. He throws no shadow. He makes no reflection in a mirror. He can transform himself to a wolf, to a bat. He can come on moonlight rays as elemental dust. He can see in the dark. He can do all these things . . . yet he is not free. His power ceases at the coming of the day. Then, until night, he must remain in the shape in which he finds himself and, except in his coffin home – in those earth boxes – he cannot rest. When we can confine him in his coffin, then, my friends, if we obey what we know, we will destroy him!
SFX: WINDOW BREAKS.
MINA (narrating): At that moment, something slapped wildly against the window, then–
SFX: GUN SHOT.
VAN HELSING: Did you hit it?
HARKER: I don’t know.
MINA (narrating): We looked out of the window – (Her voice fades:) Against the black sky you could see nothing . . .
SFX: EERIE WHISTLING EFFECT RISES AND FADES OUT.
VAN HELSING: Data are now positioned. From the Count’s castle in Transylvainia to Whitby came fifty boxes of earth. All of these to our certain knowledge were delivered at Carfax. Recently, twelve of these boxes have been removed. First step, ascertain whether all the rest remain in the deserted house next door or whether anymore have been removed. We must break each of these boxes and sterilize the earth with holy water so he can no longer seek safety in it. And we must hurry!
SFX: EERIE RUMBLING RISES AND FADES OUT.
SEWARD (narrating): The events of the next few days are described in Jonathan Harker’s Journal.
HARKER (narrating): October 2nd. Five a.m. Just returned from the empty house, left Mina here at home. Well . . . we’ve done our work at Carfax. The place was filthy, the air stagnant and foul, and alive with rats! We counted the boxes – only thirty-eight of them – and over each one the professor went through his same mysterious work. It was dawn when we got back. I found Mina asleep. She looks paler than usual.
MINA (narrating): October 2nd. Soon after they left I fell asleep. I remember hearing the sudden barking of the dogs – and then it was silent. I got up and looked out of the window. There was a thin streak of white mist moving across the grass along the wall of the house. It dawned on me that the air in the room was heavy and dank and cold. The gaslight came only like a tiny red spark in the fog. I could see through my eyelids! The mist grew thicker and thicker. Then, as I looked, the spark divided and seemed to shine on me through the fog like two red eyes.
DRACULA: You shall be flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood . . . blood of my blood . . .
(Mina sighs heavily.)
HARKER (narrating): October 2nd. Eight p.m. We are on the track. Twelve boxes were delivered to an empty house at 337 Piccadilly.
SFX: ROAR OF TRAIN AND FADES.
VAN HELSING: My dear friends, until the sun sets tonight, Dracula must retain whatever form he now has. We have this day to hunt out all his lairs and sterilize them, then he will have no place he can move and hide. But we have only until sunset!
SFX: TRAIN RISES AND FADES OUT.
SEWARD (narrating): The house in Piccadilly was empty. Like the one at Purfleet, the same sickening smell is in the air. On the table we found a clothes brush, a brush, and a comb, and a basin – the latter containing dirty water which was reddened as if with blood.
HARKER: The boxes are back here! Eight, nine, ten . . . eleven.
SEWARD: Only eleven.
HARKER: There’s a twelfth box somewhere.
VAN HELSING: Gentlemen, it is after six. The sun is setting! We’ve no time to lose, he will return at any moment! Open the boxes!
SFX: WOODEN BOXES BEING PRIED OPEN.
SFX: THEY START PRYING AT ANOTHER, THEN STOP TO HEAR SLOW FOOTSTEPS.
VAN HELSING (quietly): Listen. Here it is.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE. DOOR OPENS.
VAN HELSING: It is he!
SEWARD: The window!
SFX: WINDOW BREAKS. TWO GUNSHOTS.
DRACULA: You waste your bullets, Gentlemen. You think you baffle me. You with your pale faces all in a row like sheep in a butcher’s. You think you have left me without a place to rest, but I have more. And time is on my side. The one you love is mine already. I have known her. Already my mark is on her throat. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. She is with me always, over land or sea!
MUSIC UP AND FADE OUT.
MINA (narrating): October 4th, morning. Another meeting in the study at Purfleet.
VAN HELSING: We must find that last remaining box, Gentleman, we must find it! As long as that earth exists and pure. As long as there remains one place of refuge for Dracula, there is no safety and no peace for any soul in England.
MINA (trance): And for the Undead never peace so long as he lives. Blood of my blood . . . blood of my blood–
VAN HELSING: Mina!
HARKER: How do you know that!
VAN HELSING: Quiet! Quiet!
MINA: With me . . . with me always . . . over land and sea–
VAN HELSING: Mina darling, how did you know that Dracula said those–
MINA: I don’t know. The words just came . . . Strange. There are times when somehow I feel that I’m with him.
VAN HELSING: At sunset?
MINA: Yes. Just as sun sets . . . and again at sunrise. Dr. Van Helsing, if I could . . . if, at those times you . . .
VAN HELSING: Have you the courage?
HARKER: The courage for what? What do you mean?
MINA: Dr. Van Helsing here, will question me.
VAN HELSING: I will question her, yes. In a state of hypnosis. ‘The one you love is already mine,’ he said. ‘She is with me always, over land or sea.’ Ah, Count Dracula . . . perhaps she will betray you if she is really with you, this one we love. Who knows? If she is really with you over land or sea.
MUSIC RISES AND CONTINUES SOFTLY THROUGH SCENE.
MINA: Blood of my blood . . .
VAN HELSING: Mina . . .
VAN HELSING: Answer me, Mina. Are you with him?
MINA: Yes, I am with him.
VAN HELSING: Where are you?
MINA: I do not know. It is all dark.
VAN HELSING: What do you hear?
MINA: The lapping of water. I can hear it on the outside.
VAN HELSING: Then, you are on a ship?
VAN HELSING: What else do you hear?
MINA: There is the creaking of an anchor chain–
HARKER: What are you doing?
MUSIC FADES OUT.
MINA: Still. Oh, so still. It is like death . . . it is like death.
SEWARD (narrating): Here is a report from the Matson Peabody. Ship brokers. Dated October 5th. According to Lloyd’s lists the only sailing ship that left for the Black Sea yesterday with the Czarina Catrina bound for Varna – Somehow before she sailed a man came alongside, all in black, driving a cart with a great box in it. This he lifted down single-handed and carried below. No one remembers having seen him after that. A heavy mist came up over Dolittle Dock until sailing time . . . the rest of London Harbor remained completely clear.
VAN HELSING: Our plans are made. The average sailing time from London to the Black Sea is three weeks. We can travel over land to the same place in three days. We shall be there waiting for him when he arrives!
SEWARD (narrating): October 15th. Arrived Varna about five o’clock. Mina feels stronger. Every morning before sunrise and just before sunset she speaks to Van Helsing in a trance.
MUSIC RISES AND CONTINUES SOFTLY THROUGH SCENE.
VAN HELSING: Are you with him, Mina? Tell me, are you with him?
MINA: I am with him.
VAN HELSING: What can you see?
MINA: Nothing. All is dark.
VAN HELSING: What can you hear?
MINA: I can hear the waves lapping against the ship . . . and the water rushing by. The wind is high. I can hear it in the shrouds and the _________ foam.
SEWARD: So, the Czarina Catrina is still at sea, hastily to Varna. The Count cannot cross running water. So he cannot leave the ship without being observed!
VAN HELSING: What do you hear, Mina?
MINA: Lapping waves and rushing water. Darkness . . . darkness . . .
SEWARD (narrating): A whole week of waiting.
SFX: TELEGRAPH CLICKING.
SEWARD: Dated telegram from Lloyd.
VOICES: Not yet reported. Not yet reported. Not yet reported. Not yet reported.
MINA (trance): . . . rushing water . . . rushing water . . . creeping must . . . darkness . . . darkness and wind . . .
SFX: TELEGRAPH CLICKING AGAIN.
VOICE: October 24th. Telegram. Lloyd’s, London to Harker. Czarina Catrina reported this morning. From Dardanelles.
ANOTHER VOICE: Lloyd’s, London to Harker. October 28th. Czarina Catrina in heavy fog, reported entering Galatz Harbor at one o’clock today.
SFX: TELEGRAPH ENDS.
VAN HELSING: Galatz! Galatz is thirty-eight hours from here, and the first train for Galatz leaves at six-thirty tomorrow morning. My friends, we have lost!
SFX: ROAR OF TRAIN. FADES.
MUSIC SOFTLY RISES.
MINA (trance): I am with you . . . I can see nothing . . . nothing . . . I can hear men’s voices calling in the roar and the prick of the wind . . . I can feel the air blowing . . .
SFX: TRAIN WHISTLE. ROAR OF TRAIN AGAIN.
SEWARD (narrating): October 29th. Evening.
SFX: TRAIN WHISTLE AGAIN.
SEWARD: We are due between two and three in the morning, but already at Bucharest we are three hours late.
SFX: MORE TRAIN. CHIMES.
MINA: What’s going on? I feel something pass me like a cold wind. I can hear far off, confused sounds, as of men talking in strange tongues. Fierce, falling water and the howling of wolves. There is another sound – how queer a sound – like . . . like . . .
VAN HELSING: Like what? Speak, Mina! Speak, I command you!I command you to speak!
SFX: TRAIN WHISTLE. TRAIN ROARING AND PULLING UP TO STATION.
SEWARD (narrating): Arrived in Galatz. Saw the captain of the Czarina Catrina.
CC CAPTAIN: Welcome aboard. We are over an hour before sun up. We receive a box for a party by the name of Dracula. Had his papers a’right – ‘Emmanuel Hildesheim’, his name was.
SFX: BELL RINGS.
SEWARD: You unloaded a box yesterday?
HILDESHEIM: I got from Kyaloff by order. Kyaloff.
SFX: BELL RINGS.
SEWARD: Mister . . . Ky-a-loff?
OLD MAN: Oh, no. This morning they find him dead inside the churchyard of St. Peter. They find him dead with his throat torn open.
SEWARD (narrating): October 30th. Evening.
VAN HELSING: There are two ways in which Dracula can get back to his own place, by land or by water.
SEWARD: We’ve examined the map and found the most likely river is the Sereth.
HARKER: You and I, Seward, will charter steam launch and follow him up the river. Van Helsing and Mina will take a train to Veresti and from there–
VAN HELSING: From there we shall go in the track where Harker went to Bistritza over to Borgo. If you have not caught him before, we shall be meeting Dracula there.
SFX: TRAIN ROAR AND FADES. HORSE TEAM GALLOPING.
MINA: October 31st. We arrived at Veresti at noon. Van Helsing and I brought the carriage here. We start in an hour. Our enemy is still on the river.
SFX: HORSES FADE AS STEAM SHIP SOUNDS RISE.
HARKER: October 31st. We can earn good speed up the river at night. There’s plenty of water, and the banks are wide apart.
SFX: MORE STEAM SHIP SOUNDS.
SEWARD: November 1st. Evening. No news all day. We hear that a big boat went up the river before us, going at more than usual speed.
SFX: SHIP SOUNDS FADE AS HORSE TEAM RISES.
MINA: November 4th. All day driving. The country gets wilder as we go. By morning we should reach the Borgo Pass.
SFX: HORSE TEAM FADES AS PAIR OF HORSES RISE.
HARKER: November the 4th. Evening. We have left the launch. We’ve got horses and we follow on the track along the river. We are armed!
SEWARD: Look! Quick! There they are now! Heading west.
HARKER (narrating): Through the dawn, we could see the Slovaks some miles before us, dashing along the river with their wagon. On it is a great box.
(MUSIC: slow build) 44:49
VAN HELSING: Late in the afternoon we leave the Borgo Pass.
MINA: Van Helsing! Look! Look!
VAN HELSING: We could see a long way all around. Far off beyond the white waste of snow like a black ribbon curling between us and the river, not far off, came a group of men mounted Slovaks riding along. In the midst of them was a wagon that swept from side to side, on the wagon was a great box.
(SFX: Horse and cart sounds)
(SFX: Horse sounds pick up speed)
VAN HELSING: We see two horses following fast, coming up from the south, Seward and Harker. The Slovaks with their heavy wagons are losing their ground. Now they must be not more than a mile behind. Now the wagon is quite closer. We can see the great box laying gravely. Now they are almost upon us.
(SFX: Horse Whinny, boxes clattering, crash)
VAN HELSING: Now has happened a strange thing, the wagon smashed into a great rock buried in the snow. Lost its front wheel and turned over on its side jammed against the stone, the horses tore loose from their tracers and bolted and the Slovaks scattered and vanished after them. Then silence, silence like comes after … ringing a bell.
MINA: Look, his face.
VAN HELSING: It is Dracula. Sprawled out stiff and twisted in the smear of his own holy earth. The box, in falling, has emptied the dirt onto the snow. His face is old looking, the skin is like paper. Dr. Seward, there is no time. Look at the sun.
VAN HELSING: In one minute it is sunset and he is forever lost to us. Have you the stake of wood and the hammer?
VAN HELSING: Now Seward pray for us. Kneel down and pray!
(SFX: Seward prays in the background
VAN HELSING: Harker, the stake of wood over his heart. Be not afraid Harker, do not look into his eyes. The hammer! Now Harker, Strike! Strike!
(MUSIC: Drum rolls ominously)
DRACULA: Flesh. Flesh of my flesh. Guilt of my guilt. death of my death. Speak and be manifest in the instant of your masters peril. Elements of darkness, rain …
(SFX: Storm sounds grow)
DRACULA: Evil wind, mist and mold and tempests..
VAN HELSING: Strike!
MINA: The others couldn’t, but somehow I can hear him speaking, behind his eyes.
DRACULA: Claw, wing, tooth, scale, tissue of flesh, Death of my death. Dead and undead. The hand of the living is over your master. Console me my children, this instant is no longer, than the space between two heart beats, but the night is not here, and I am lonely. Come to your master my children, Beguile him now in the instant of his peril, beguile him with the sound of your names Claw, wing, tooth, scale, tissue of flesh,Claw, wing, tooth, scale, tissue of flesh…
HARKER: Strike Harker, Strike!
DRACULA: There is one very dear to me who has not answered! My love … Mina. There is less than a minute between me and the night. You must speak for me, you must speak with my heart.
MINA: Give them to me! Jonathan give them to me! Give me the stick of wood and the hammer!
VAN HELSING: Harker!
HARKER: I shall never forget that moment. The look on poor Minas face as she stood there, the angry scar standing out on her throat, her eyes like living coals in the last red of the sunset. She had torn the stake and the hammer out of my hands with the strength of an animal.
VAN HELSING: Mina! Do you know what you have done woman? Do you know what you have done to us? You have released him, the evil is free!
SEWARD: Look! The sun!
HARKER: As we looked down at Dracula, the yes saw the sinking sun and the hate in them turned to triumph.
DRACULA: Flesh of my flesh, come to me, my love. Come into the night and the darkness, you have served me well, My love, my bride … my …
(SFX:Dracula’s death scream, stake driven)
(MUSIC: Bells, Music sting)
SEWARD: Ladies and gentlemen, all the evidence is now before you, I’ve added nothing and to the best of my knowledge I have omitted nothing that might help to throw light upon the extraordinary events of the year 1891, which culminated on that terrible evening in the Borgo Pass. There remains only this one last report.
VAN HELSING: When Mina Harker seized the stake and hammer from her husband, I believe she was under some form of hypnosis. She herself remembers nothing, but what ever influence was at work on her, she must at the last moment have rejected it. For at the exact instant the sun disappeared, it was Mina Harker who drove the stake through the heart of the thing that called it self … Dracula. At that same instant, even as we looked, the wound on the side of her throat was no more. As for Dracula, before the screams of the creature had died from our ears, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight. In the final moment of the solution there was in the face a look of peace such as I could never have imagined, might have rested there.
(MUSIC: Horns, Bells)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight’s production of Dracula, by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre was the first of nine CBS Broadcasts in which this brilliant group will bring to life a series of great narratives, all presented in the immediacy of the first person singular. In presenting them each monday at this time during the summer season, the Columbia network is bringing a complete theatrical producing company to the air for the first time. And now here is the director to tell you about next weeks Mercury Theatre production, Mr. Orson Welles.
ORSON: Ladies and Gentlemen, what are your favorite stories? If there is one you are particularly fond of and would like to hear on the air, would you please write me about it. Next week the Mercury Theatre is going to tell you Robert Lewis Stevensons’ exciting yarn about pirates and the sea, Treasure Island. Until then, just in case Count Dracula has left you a little apprehensive, one word of comfort, when you go to bed tonight, don’t worry, put out the lights and go to sleep..
(SFX: Wolf howl)
ORSON: It’s all right you can rest easily, that’s just a sound effect… there, over there in the shadows, see?! Nothing. Nothing at all. Nothing at all. I think it’s nothing, but always remember ..
(SFX: Dracula Voice)
DRACULA: Ladies and gentlemen, there are wolves, there are vampires!
ORSON: Such things do exist.
(MUSIC: Closing Theme music)
ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting system
(MUSIC: Fades out)