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The Passing of Black Eagle


As a drunk, he is an easy going beggar, but when he is not drinking, he is the criminal known as "Black Eagle" -- destined to rob a locomotive! 



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 11, 1977
  • Repeat - August 2, 1977
  • Repeat - September 29, 1979





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5 Responses to Episode 0581

CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER, “The Passing of Black Eagle,”starring Robert Dryden and Larry Haines with E.G. Marshall, host. O. Henry’s short story about how a New York City hobo who, through a series of unbelievable circumstances, becomes the most feared outlaw in all of Taxes. New York City’s foremost panhandler whom everyone calls Chicken, because he looks like one, is a meek fellow when drunk, but when sober has delusions of grandeur. Forced to sober up while wintering in the sunny southwest, Chicken is mistaken by people in Texas for the legendary outlaw, Black Eagle, and is feared by everyone -- until the leader of a band of outlaws decides to challenge him. CAST: O. Henry.......................ROBERT DRYDEN Barkeeper..........................Earl Hammond Chicken..........................LARRY HAINES Faith-Hope Alabaster............Evie Juster

1979 PR Synopsis

When he's drunk, he's a mild mannered panhandler. When he's sober, he's a desperado named Black Eagle. The two meet when Black Eagle robs a train.

Harvey Yorace

Good story and outstanding audio quality.

Mark A

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Sam Dann did a nice job on writing the adaption of an O. Henry story. It would've been better if this was a 2-part episode because in the original story by O. Henry, there were more characters and more settings taking place. The title is okay, but a better title for this, would be "A Chicken In Eagle's Feathers" or "Drunk With Power." The sound effects of horses, birds chirping, patrons murmuring, music in the background, footsteps, bar glasses breaking, the punch, doors, bell ringing, howling wind, howling dog, train whistling, and the boxcar door opening were very effective in this tale. The music left a great impact; suitable tunes for O. Henry's narrations and suspenseful tunes as the main character goes though his transformation. In our Host's Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off with an assertion of the Seeds of God-like power. In ACT-1, after explaining the details of Black Eagle, he quoted a verse: "A man convinced against his will must remain a doubter still" which makes sense to explain the main character's lifestyle to be changed. In ACT-2, he points out that the Antagonist is locked in a struggle for high stakes. In ACT-3, he uses the old saying, "Fine feathers don't make fine birds" which came from Aesop's fable of THE PEACOCK AND THE CRANE. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall asserts that O. Henry was made to dream and dreams need something/someone to set them in motion. And with that, I say, "Hear, hear." Now onto our cast: Robert Dryden (as O. Henry), Larry Haines (as Chicken), Evie Juster (as Faith-Hope Alabaster and Kitty), Paul Tripp (as Percy and Pop Needles), and Earl Hammond (as the Barkeeper, Bud King, and Snuffy). Big props to Earl Hammond for playing multiple roles. Kudos to Evie Juster for playing one character that was power-hungry and the other zealous. Both Robert Dryden and Larry Haines stole the show and they deserved a lot of recognition for their contribution to CBSRMT. As for Paul Tripp, his performance as Percy wasn't beneficial and his role as Pop Needles wasn't fitting. This actor played good roles in #0591-THE WHITE WOLF and #1202-THE HEADHUNTERS. But also did very bad in his role in #0132-THE FRONTIERS OF FEAR. Perhaps actors like Russell Horton, Fred Gwynne, Ian Martin, or Mandel Kramer should've played his parts. SPECIAL NOTE: If you have the CBSRMT Episode Guide Book, you will notice that Paul Tripp's name is not on the cast list. ANOTHER SPECIAL NOTE: At the end of this episode, the preview you hear is a scene from #0472-THE LOVE SONG OF DEATH (the adaptation of Romeo & Juliet) that was rebroadcasted on September 30th, 1979. If you like O.Henry's stories, check this episode out, but also read O. Henry's original version of "The Passing Of Black Eagle." Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


Fascinating how, becuz of his fumbling, stumbling & bumbling words & actions ….. he went from Chicken to Black Eagle, the most feared outlaw of all. He was definitely a suitable subject for a fast talker to work on to be changed into a totally different character whether he was willing….or not!


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