An American Hero Workshop

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An American Hero Workshop
WBAI And NPR Playhouse
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, 59 minutes
Preceded by: Laughing Back - A Movie For Radio
Followed by: A Call In The Night

My favorite TV program features an undercover detective who uses various disguises to snare his victims.

An American Hero Workshop is a program produced by Joe Frank as part of the series NPR Playhouse. It was originally broadcast in 1979.


Joe describes his favorite TV program,[1] returning to his feelings of emptiness and depression after viewing it. Its lead actor appears on an interview program and says he unwinds at a Los Angeles bar called The Hero Lounge. A shooter kills twelve people at random; neighbors predictably say he was a gentle, unassuming, church-going family man. Joe himself is unassuming, helpful, and deferential, but is wildly aggressive when driving his car. He drives to The Hero Lounge with a pair of brass knuckles, feeling larger than life, like the lead actor in a film. He sees the TV actor dressed as a woman; they dance, go bar hopping, then go to Joe's apartment. They become friends, then companions, and move in together - then fight. The actor discovers Joe's cocaine habit and must arrest Joe, who grabs a gun to kill the actor. Joe wonders if he's dreaming or on television. The actor chases Joe and they fight on a rooftop. Joe muses that he always wanted to be a hero, but everything has gone wrong - if only there had been a hero workshop...



  • Joe Frank wrote and narrated the introductory 10 minute segment of this episode of "Options: A Radio Experience", an early NPR program announced by Mike Waters.


  1. Perhaps inspired by Toma