Emergency Room

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Emergency Room[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Arthur Miller, Tim Jerome, Larry Block, Paul Mantell, Lester Nafzger, Joe Frank
Real People, Panel Discussion, Improv Actors, 60 minutes
Preceded by: To The Bar Life
Followed by: Stories For Nothing

"You gonna do that for long?"

Emergency Room is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1988.


Apparently real sounds in an emergency room (apparently University Hospital in Baltimore): woman grunts, apparently in pain; a guy asks another about the gun; physicians and nurses interview patients in an emergency room, discuss their treatments. A physician explains a procedure on a gunshot victim.[1]

5: A guy identifies his police department.

6: A guy who claims to be a surgeon says he wants internal organs moved to the outside. A panel of 3 'experts' (Larry Block, Arthur Miller, Tim Jerome) discuss moving organs around.

10: Joe talks about how nice it is to live at the beach in Curaçao, ends up eating a chocolate gun, despite his diabetes. [2]

14: Emergency room again, treating patients.

21: The panel of 'experts again': one proposes 'couple transplants'; another talks about preserving bodies in space; another talks about exoskeletons.

30: Joe tells the story of Caldwell, who dies while running up 34 floors of stairs during the 1977 July 14 blackout in NYC, has an out-of-body experience in which he meets dead family members (1 a niece who drowned in the Potomac) but is resuscitated, to his regret.[2]

36: Emergency room again, treating patients.

42: The panel of experts talks about new methods of sterilization, including by sound, then in what order to treat patients in the ER, whether patients with mental problems are being treated more slowly than those with wounds.

48: The fast piano player Alan Baron (Paul Mantell?) finishes playing a piece, then Joe and he take a call from Lester Ainslie (Lester Nafzger), a fast-piano-player competitor, quarrel.[2][3]

53: Emergency room again, a woman mentions diving into the Chesapeake Bay.

Legacy Synopsis

Recordings from an emergency room. A man with a shotgun wound is interviewed. Staff talks about what was done when the man arrived. A policeman calls the man's family. Actor panel discussion: a surgeon talks about the advantages of carrying one's organs externally, synthetic organs, leaving the body behind and becoming machines. Monologue: Second person narrative describing surfing, a diabetic killing oneself with a chocolate gun. Emergency room: an angry, drunken man who's been beaten is questioned. Panel discussion: fluid transfusions for couples, cryogenically preserving people by launching them in orbit, zipper suturing, external skeletons, the spirit drug, flattening patients and shining light through them. Monologue: a man who dies while climbing stairs in a blackout has an out of body experience. He travels down a long dark tunnel and emerges into a festive dinner party attended by dead family members. They do the carnival dance. More emergency room audio: an old man is interviewed, ear swabbing, a discussion of the alcoholic regulars. Panel discussion: sterilization techniques, the fairness of triage, the "bakery theory," treating victims and assailants. Joe and actors: the fastest piano player is challenged to a piano-off. Emergency room: a shocking pink psych ward, amazing human resiliency.


Shared material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "With Arthur Miller, Tim Jerome, Larry Block, Lester Nafzger, and Joe Frank. This program was mixed by Jeff Sykes."


At 5 minutes, a male police officer, talking to someone on the phone, to report a gunshot wound, addresses him/her as 'hon', a Baltimore-ism. He has a Baltimore accent. The Potomac river (at 33:50) and the Chesapeake bay (at about 57 minutes) are also mentioned.Arthur Peabody (talk) 13:08, 25 September 2023 (PDT)


  1. Radio's Prince of Darkness Rules the Freeways says it is from a hospital in Baltimore
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 originally aired in Laughing Back - A Movie For Radio
  3. also used in Arena