The End

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The End[1]
WBAI And NPR Playhouse
Original Broadcast Date
Paul Mantell, Robin Goodman, Brother Theodore, Irene Wagner, Arthur Miller, Tim Jerome, Annalee Jefferies, Joe Frank
Scripted Actors, Absurd Monologue, Mock Interview, 29 minutes
Preceded by: Warheads
Followed by: Pilot

When did it begin? I don't know really.

The End is a thirty minute program Joe Frank produced as part of the series NPR Playhouse. It is typically broadcast together with Pilot. It originally aired in April 1983.


"Black Coffee" begins and plays under much of the first few minutes and in the rest of the show.

0:30: Joe was feeling bad, worried about his heart, went to see Dr Hess (Brother Theodore). Dr Hess puts his stethoscope on Joe's chest, has a heart attack himself; an ambulance takes him to the ED. Dr Hess ends up in the ICU, his nurse under sedation.

2:10: Joe goes home; someone else is there; he disputes Joe's ownership, slams the door on him.

3:20: A parody Indian guru says death begins as a misunderstanding.

4:30: Joe interviews Dick (Arthur Miller) & Jane (Irene Wagner? Avery Hart?), a couple who make 'Love' movies (don't call it porn!) They air 3 minutes of their latest, The Moving Instant; we hear sounds of passion, a melodramatic Muzak-y version of "Moon River".

8:40: Joe opens the flap of Gindu's (sp?) tent, says he's in Nirvana, 'the nexus where love meets death'. A guy pounds stakes into the ground, he can hear wild animals. Joe goes to the beach where clowns are doing flips. An explosion blows the clowns up.

10: We're back in the 'love' movie: sounds of passion. Dick & Jane lament they don't have enough time.

11:10: Joe says it seems like an ordinary pornographic film. They explain why it's better.

12:40: Joe's in the YMCA on East 14th Street.[1] It's 2 AM; Joe can't sleep: the straw in his mattress needs changing. Joe asks what our nature is, cites Steinfeld's 'Theory of chaos', page 54. Then a fellow with a German-ish accent (Brother Theodore) talks philosophical nonsense.

13:50: "Sentimental Walk" (Vladimir Cosma)[2]

14:10: A woman tells about being with her best friend at the grocery store. A fellow and his wife, who are buying huge hams, invite them to dinner at their house.[3]

18:30: Joe's on the crowded Bosnian express (a train). Workmen play cards; a drunk at the bar tells everybody that they're stupid. A passenger (Arthur Miller) buys and sells animals. The conductor comes in, asking for passports; Joe doesn't have his but the conductor passes him by. Joe remembers his summers in Bosnia. A boatman, offering Joe a ride across the river, can't start its engine.

23:40: Joe has a dream: his body has been split down the middle; a doctor with forceps pulls out pieces of bone and pottery.

24:30: The parody Indian guru is back, talking about how great Nirvana is (they leave a mint on your pillow! The roast beef is rare, and very nice.)

25:40: A man (Tim Jerome, his Spanish/French accent) complains to a woman. He's responsible for burying the clowns, lacks what he needs to do the job.

26:40: Joe awaits Dick & Jane, who have promised him a part in their next movie. Someone left a baby by the water. Joe says he's been dreaming all his life, that this is the end of his dream.

27:20: "The Dawn" (DJ Food) concludes the program, but was not released until 1994 - it was added to the show after the initial broadcast.

Legacy Synopsis

Joe's doctor dies, and he finds someone living in his apartment. Voice-over radio plays: an exaggerated Indian accent describes souls who don't know they are dead. An interview with "Love Film" actors. A circus by the sea explodes. Joe can't sleep at the YMCA, emotion is a sign of decadence. Steinfeld's theory of Chaos. A woman describes an encounter with a couple and a girlfriend. Joe is in a bar on a train in the countryside, the conductor questions people (the "Is your business of a personal nature or is it commercial? . . . I buy and sell animals..." dialog), Joe remembers the country side and tries to cross a river. A doctor removes fragments of bone from Joe's body. Indian voice talks about nirvana as a resort hotel. A couple fights at the circus funeral.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Directed by Arthur Miller, with sound by David Rapkin. Performers were Paul Mantell, Robin Goodman, Arthur Miller, Annalee Jefferies, Irene Wagner, Brother Theodore, Joe Frank, and Tim Jerome."


  1. This segment was sampled for the track 328 E. 14th St. #11, by The Facts You Requested
  2. Cosma was inspired by Erik Satie's Gnossiennes
  3. They end up having an orgy, I think.
  4. Joe added music to several of his shows when they were rebroadcast or digitized. The updated versions are usually available at