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Deadline for Death


Johnny Promo is a convict sentenced to death. He promises a witness who testified against him that he will meet his death within a month of his own.



Air Dates

  • First Run - September 5, 1974
  • Repeat - November 2, 1974





98     23

30 Responses to Episode 0144

What a depressing story!


Johnny Promo (aka: Johnny Promise) promises a witness against him that he will die within thirty days after Johnny's execution.

Matthew Langon

I thought this was going to have a journalistic slant to it, but it's better than that. The underutilized Joe (or Joseph) Julian (he played the uncle who took the wandering nephew in to his business in the RMT's "The horror within") plays a mob guy who turned state's evidence on his former partner in crime after the two were nabbed in a botched robbery. The partner killed a police officer in the process. On his sentencing, the partner addresses Julian's character, saying that within a month (maybe less) after the partner fries in the electric chair Julian will also be killed, and confidently states that Julian will know precisely that the killing was done by his former partner's orders. Now, the episode starts out with the two of them bantering back and forth, presumably in the hereafter. The partner keeps saying (paraphrased) "Now how did it go, Sam (Julian's character)?" Julian is despondent, so you know he didn't meet a good fate. However, as the story progresses we learn he was holed up in some hotel afraid for his life, and whenever he'd be talking to someone else (a barber, a locksmith, a former "business associate"), their voice would inevitably turn into the voice of his former partner who'd remind Julian that he wouldn't know WHO to trust in that final month after the partner was put to death. Then again, we also learn that Julian's character's girlfriend feels very sorry for him, as he must be going crazy. The partner was put to death THREE YEARS AGO...

J. Turaray

A couple of crooks on a crime spree are apprehended. One turns evidence to the police for a lighter sentence. The other, convicted of murdering a policeman, is executed. Immediately after sentencing, the condemned criminal turns to his partner with the promise that he will die within one month of his own execution. The surviving criminal is terrified and spend the month in terror, trying to live normally, trying to figure out how he will die… One of those wonderful twists at the end.

Mr. Flair

I don't know if I would call this a depressing story Roger. It was a predictable ending while yet remaining interesting. Johny Promise made his dying wish come true. Also, this was a different way of seeing the "afterlife." I liked it. Not the best episode, but far from the worst. 4 stars.

Davy Joe

This is a nice little creepy episode. And Michael Tolan and Joseph Julian really make it work. Tolan is so sinister and malicious and Julian is so convincing as a man figuratively "going to pieces"-- you can readily believe the sound of a truck backfiring could cause him to drop dead because he's so frayed at that point. Love the twist at the end, with the daylight savings time thrown in. Also, the music in this episode is possibly the best ever. The bed used when he emerges from his apartment for the final time sends shivers down your spine. It's hard to listen to that part with the lights turned out. Guy Repp must set some kind of a record here, for portraying more different charcters in one episode than any other RMT performer. My count has him playing-- the judge, the snitch in the bowling alley, the tailor, the locksmith, the barber, the desk clerk and the bystander on the street in the end. Perhaps this is why he never appeared in another episode, they burned him out with this one..............hee hee hee. Two things that didn't seem to fit. Would they really have allowed Johnny Promise to make such a long-winded threat in open court? And, the mention from Sam's girlfriend that it was actually three years later didn't seem to fit and was never really followed up on. It did, I suppose, alert us to just how frazzled and on the ragged edge Joseph Julian's character was at that point. Strong episode-- with almost a "Lights Out" feel to it......... Until next time..................


This episode is COOL...all the way down to the British locksmith!


Yeah. I really liked the two elements that surprised us near the end, that of daylight savings time and the truck backfiring. I didn't see either of those coming and thought it made for a very neat twist.


What a terrific program! This play was stacked with interesting characters, dialogue and content. One hardened criminal drew our sympathy and another, less likeable criminal, garnered respect for being true to his word. One great example of our authors subtle touch happened in the third act. Linda brings our main character his last meal of coffee and a rare hamburger... just as he likes them. A great job of forecasting that the grim reaper still had his number. A question: I know that daylight saving time was conceived in the 1700's but was it in practice before the energy crisis of the 70's? I ask because I wonder if this story's terrific end was inspired by national/global issues that occurred when it was written.


This episode was not my cup of tea. Only occasionally do I enjoy revenge curse stories and, even then, only when the curse is thrown by an innocent person who was wronged by someone greedy, crooked or evil (As in, say, The House of the Seven Gables---the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Not the RMT version, which alters the original story.) At least there's a sense of justice involved. In Deadline for Death, our "protagonists" are both crooks, so I really can't find myself caring too much about how the curse plays out. Neither one of the characters drew my sympathy, and certainly not my respect. Also, this play has kind of a one-note plot. I mean, from the beginning we already know the curse came true. It's being recounted by the two dead criminals. So the whole thing just becomes an end-game---listening to Sammy become more and more paranoid, tortured by Johnny's ghost, until we find out how he ended up dying. (SPOILER ALERT) The one interesting little twist comes at the end of the second act, when Sammy's girlfriend reveals that he's lost his mind and has no sense of how much time has passed. It foreshadows the idea that his own guilt-feelings kill him. Despite the script, though, the acting and production values were good and the little plot twist mentioned above was interesting, so I give this one a 2.

Hubert W.

This sounds like a modern "The Tale Tell Heart". I enjoyed it but this type of plot is not my favorite.


Hey, very good point! I hadn't thought of that, but it is something of a twist on "The Tell-Tale Heart" plot---being eaten up by one's own guilt. (By the way, has anyone heard the CBC Nightfall version of "Tell-Tale Heart"? Omigosh! It is one of the creepiest radio dramas I've ever heard! And very true to the original. Well worth checking out if you haven't heard it.)


Yes, I have it. And I'm glad to share it, however I don't currently have a Streamload account so I don't have a way of getting it to you right now. I don't know if there's another way to send it to you online, but I should have an account within 2 or 3 weeks, so if no one else on Streamload ends up having it I can get it to you at that time. Quite a few of the CBC Nightfall shows are extremely creepy. Their version of "The Monkey's Paw" is good too. Unlike RMT, though, their stories are strictly horror-oriented.


I really enjoyed this show and gave it a five! The script built the tension nicely. Knowing the outcome does not necessarily spoil it. The character's paranoia and fear keep you on edge. I didn't see it as resembling the tell-tale heart. Our anti-hero didn't have any feelings of guilt. Just fear. I'm not big on the suspense thriller, but this one is pretty good.

Jercs Soltes

Couple of thoughts: - I've heard the RMT's adaptation of "The telltale heart" and I can see some similarities. However, Arnold Moss (who besides acting in has penned a couple of interesting tales for the RMT) seemed inspired heavily by the old Twilight Zone with this one, off the top of my head by Judgment night (recurring judgment), A stop at Willougby (a guy playing mind games with himself) and Dead man's shoes (A gangster living in fear of his life due to a partner he was responsible for killing and who promised to kill him in return). - This one was TWZ cool, not as much for the plot as for the execution of it. (No pun intended). The music was all right, but the sound effects were bowling pin hitting, hoodlum-frisking, mirror breaking cool, IMO. - This was a role that in later years might have gone to an actor like Larry Haines. Himan Brown or whomever was casting director made a better choice: Joe Julian, a blue collar radio guy (you Ohio RMTers, he was a former announcer at WLW-AM in Cincinnati) who sounded like he was Sammy Rogers. Julian and Michael Tolin were made for each other in this play. (Julian didn't do much at the RMT, but he was the gruff sounding yet kindly Uncle Pietro ("That's 'Pete' kid, and don't you forget it!") in "The horror within", and also acted in "Hurricane" and "You only die once".) - How many RMTs do we get to have a cast of characters (heard or not) named Johnny, Sammy, Benny, Tommy, Vinnie, Joey, Luigi and Little Red Mike?


even tho i did know where this was going to end up i enjoyed it. i especially liked the twist when we find out hoe much time has actually passed. i liked the broken mirror scene. my favorite character was the little red guy. slightly damon runnion-like. i thought for a short time that the girlfriend might end up killing the guy because of the way he treated her. sometimes i pick the least likly suspect for a crime trying to out smart the cbsrmt writers. i gave it a 4.


Good enertainment...the power of the conscious, or at least a guilty conscious? The name Johnny Promise and the acting of Joseph Julian make for a unique sounding episode. The conclusion was inevitable. It reminds me of a terrific Cornell Woolrich novel "Night has a thousand eyes", where a similar natural irony does in our protgonist Baddie.


This story had multiple personalities. In the end of Act II, we learn of a "twist" that seems to be forgotten in Act III, which ends with its own "twist" that doesn't even make sense in conjunction with the first "twist." I preferred the first twist, but, as a boy, I would have preferred the second one; it's more Twilight-Zoney. Crime drama. Possible supernatural elements, depending on which twist you believe.


I agree that the "Three years" comment didn't really fit, with no further explanation. As far as him being disconnected from time, that wasn't a key element in the story at all--it would have played out just as well with no reference to it. Only served to confuse it, I felt. That issue aside, I really enjoyed this episode and it had me second-guessing everyone's motives just as much as HE was!


Jatt, never heard of CBC Nightfall. Thanks!!


It's a great show! DEADLINE seemed tailor made for Bogart and say, Cagney. I wish they were here to record it. This combination of characters (Michael Tolin and Joe Julien) was cool. This story was cool. Even the locksmith with the (not very good British? Australian?) accent was cool. THIS SHOW WAS COOL. (Kind of like "Harlem nocturne" cool.)


I'm curious if Arnold Moss got the inspiration to write this story after watching 2 TWILIGHT ZONE episodes called "Nervous Man In A Four Dollar Room" & "The Grave". If this was written as a book, it would definitely be a page-turner because it's 90% of a Drama-Mystery and 10% of a Fantasy-Mystery. What I loved the most in this CBSRMT episode, was E.G. Marshall's discourse on fear in ACT-1, the mystery of time & death in ACT-2, and which is hard to bare in ACT-3: the fear of loneliness or the loneliness that comes from fear? Those narrations were as good as Rod Serling's narrations in the TWILIGHT ZONE series. The cast was good, but not magnificent. I mean, Joseph Julian (as Sam Rogers), Michael Tolan (as Jonny Promise), June Gable (as Linda), and Guy Repp (as the Judge) played their parts well, but not enough emotion, in my opinion. For a character like Sam Rogers who is paranoid of dying, the role should've gone to Larry Haines. For the villainous role of Johnny Promise who acts normal, yet highly deranged, the role should've gone to Fred Gwynne because he can play a bad guy that people would love to hate (i.e. listen to Fred Gwynne's performance in #0303-THE SLAVE). The role of Linda should've gone to Evie Juster because she can play girlfriend roles "to a T". Guy Repp was fine, but it's too bad that this was the only CBSRMT episode he worked on. The sound effects were right on their marks. The slapping of Linda, the bowling alley scene, the noise of city traffic, the running water from the shower, the mirror breaking, the rotary phone, the mysterious footsteps in the streets, the bell tower ringing 5 times, and SPOILER ALERT: the mysterious sound that caused our main character to die at the 43-minute 41-second mark and later found out what it really was at the 44-minute 50-second mark. A good twisted climax! As for the music, it was building suspense, however, it needed more. If they added the music from the episodes of #0573-THE ARTIST, #0167-THE BLACK ROOM, #0034-THE DEADLY HOUR, and #1245-THE JUDGE'S HOUSE, this would be an outstanding mystery tale that would give you goosebumps and leave you speechless. So, I give this episode 4 out of 5 stars.


I liked this episode very much! I also give it 4 out of 5 for great! A paranoid criminal haunted by his former partner because of his betrayal going evidence against him as to get a lesser sentence. HE is haunted by his conscience... irony of ironies.. While not strictly related I did think of the twilight zone episode "The Thirty-Fathom Grave" as in that episode the man has a sense of guilt about his former crew members deaths years before. A whole twist on self fulfilling prophesy.


This combination of characters (Michael Tolin and Joe Julien) was cool. This story was cool. Even the locksmith with the (not very good British? Australian?) accent was cool. THIS SHOW WAS COOL. (Kind of like "Harlem nocturne" cool.) DEADLINE seemed tailor made for Bogart and say, Cagney. I wish they were here to record it.


An interesting tale to listen to. I supposed that Johnny Promise knew that his friend wasn't well hinged and that just telling him about his revenge would drive him over the edge. Perhaps he didn't think it would take three years to do so, but he probably knew it would happen. I did like the daylight savings time making the difference (even though it's changed a few times since then, I did like how they said that "back then it was..." - personally I could do without it altogether [perhaps I should move to Arizona]).


Is it just me or does anybody else think the girlfriend is the same voice talent as Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer (1964 version we all know and love)?


Johnny Promise is sent to the electric chair after his former partner in crime, Sam Rogers, testifies against him in court. Rogers goes free but has to live with Johnny’s last threat — that he’ll make sure Sam is killed within a month of his own death. Locked in a hotel room with no company, trusting no one, Sam lives for one month in total seclusion, emerging one month to the hour later. Too late, Sam remembers it’s the night to change from daylight saving to standard time.


Johnny Promise is sent to the electric chair after his former partner in crime, Sam Rogers, testifies against him in court. Rogers goes free but has to live with Johnny’s last threat — that he’ll make sure Sam is killed within a month of his own death. Locked in a hotel room with no company, trusting no one, Sam lives for one month in total seclusion, emerging one month to the hour later. Too late, Sam remembers it’s the night to change from daylight saving to standard time.


A great episode. Good sound effects, suspense, twists, interesting characters, and many done by the same actor. I love the groovy music at the bowling alley with the pins pinging. That Johnny Promo is bad mother!

Scooter D & the Greens

The suspense in this episode was good, even though you know from the start they are both dead. How the partner, snitch, of the dead man ratted him out and then suffered through3 years of fear and paranoia before succumbing at the end to a car backfiring. The acting was good and the sound effects were in the mark. The twists and wondering who did it, made me feel like i was playing a game of Clue. It was a fun listen. I missed the commercials and news, wish they would leave them in.


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