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In The Dark
Original Broadcast Date
Arthur Miller, Grace Zabriskie, Helen Wilson, Florinel Fatulescu, Douglas Johnson, Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Scripted Actors, 55 minutes
Preceded by: Problems
Followed by: Smile

The first light snow of the year has fallen, and the ground is dusted in white.

Pilgrim is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series In The Dark. It was originally broadcast in 1993.


Joe tells of a Thanksgiving dinner in which he eats too much.

6:00: Joe wonders how many people think about the origins of Thanksgiving, imagines Pilgrims.

8:00: Arthur Miller tells of being on a raft trying to paddle up the Zhang (sp?) river, but they can't out-row the current, so they drift downstream. They see the Holy Man of Bei-lin (sp?). They misunderstand the weird noises he makes, think he's gone mad; Arthur later concludes that he was mirroring their confusion.

11:30: Joe talks about the idea of the pilgrim, that the journey, not the destination, is the true meaning of a pilgrimage.

14:30: Arthur Miller opines that pilgrimage is a search for a home, tells of a journey from Paranaguá to Curitiba,[1] stops in a chapel along the way, has a metaphysical experience, falls asleep, is robbed and dumped in the gutter.

19:10: Bill Nelson's 'The spirit cannot fail you'.

20:50: Wandering the streets of Soho, Joe falls in love with a 1953 Buick Century 4-holer convertible. Though it's worth only a few hundred, he pays the owner (Grace Zabriskie?) $15,000 for it (she's suspicious of his motives), having sold all his stuff and borrowed from friends and family. He drives west.

27:10: At a Philips 66 service center, Joe stops for a tuna melt, falls in love with his waitress (Helen Wilson?), tries to get her to go with him. She refuses.

30:00: Joe delivers a mock paean to a fictional mother, all the things she did for her children and husband.[2]

38:40: Arthur Miller tells of trying to kill himself in Budapest, but failing. He takes a train to Cracow, hoping to consult Dr Heinrich Gorscht (sp?), who, he thinks, is the only man who can help him. He finds him in a billiards hall.

44:40: Joe reaches the Rockies. A state trooper (Florinel Fatulescu) stops him for a flickering tail light; he likes the car, complains that Americans move too much (He's Rumanian).

47:20: Joe arrives in Las Vegas. He opines that the gambler is more in touch with ultimate reality than the engineer because the gambler abandons himself to chance.

50:00: Joe arrives at the Pacific ocean, drives into it. He sees a guy with a car (1957 Chevy Belair) in the water up the shore (Douglas Johnson?). He's fallen in love with it, plans to haul it out, refurbish it, drive it to the East coast.

52:50: Joe imagines all the people who sneak into the US, that what they really want is a car, a full tank of gas, the freedom of the highways, they're our new pilgrims.

Legacy Synopsis

Second person description of a thanksgiving dinner. Thoughts about the pilgrims including birth defects. Actor: Meeting a holy man while being washed downriver. The point of a pilgrimage. Actor: Falling asleep in a temple. Falling in love with a car and buying it, then driving across the country as a pilgrim, falling for a waitress. Actor: trying to commit suicide in Budapest, taking a train to see a doctor in a pool hall. Driving in the rockies and the desert. Being pulled over by a cop who complains that people travel too much. Driving to Las Vegas. Driving into the ocean.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[W]ith Arthur Miller, Grace Zabriskie, Helen Wilson, Florinel Fatulescu, Douglas Johnson, and Joe Frank; mixed by Jerry Summers, remixed by Ray Guarna; written and produced by Joe Frank."


  • This program was originally broadcast in two half hour parts, but appears on joefrank.com as a single program.
  • This program was often rebroadcast on Thanksgiving


  1. both in the Paraná state of Brazil
  2. originally aired in Problems.