I was a trucker, I had an eighteen wheeler.

Escape From Paradise[1]
Somewhere Out There
Original Broadcast Date
June 30, 1996
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Narrative Monologue, 56 minutes
Preceded by: Mountain Rain
Followed by: Reprise

Escape From Paradise is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Somewhere Out There. It was originally broadcast on June 30, 1996.


Joe is a trucker with all the trucker stuff. In the rain he swerves into oncoming lanes on the Interstate, then jack-knifes. 247 die; tens of millions of dollars' worth of property are lost. After that he has trouble getting work, resorts to carrying illegal cargo. He's arrested and sent to federal prison.

10: The prison is in upstate New York, liberal and enlightened, has fancy gardens, art, literature, an orchestra, opera, and ballet, due to the warden, Farrington.

13:30: The prisoners rebel over a dispute in aesthetic direction; Farrington wants to do popular classics over and over, while they want to take chances with new works.

15:40: Jones, the largest, strongest person Joe has ever seen, really runs the prison, because he's Farrington's lover. Farrington dresses up in women's clothing to be with him.

18:20: One night, while bringing Farrington a meal, his wife finds his office empty, sees pictures of him and Jones together. When he returns she confronts him about it. He makes unsatisfying answers.

23:20: Joe has an unhappy conjugal visit with his wife Esmeralda; he's sure she's found someone else, decides he has to break out.

32:30: Joe gets a hammer, chips out a hole in the wall of his cell, puts a frame around it, calls it art, titles it 'Escape from paradise'. The warden believes Joe; Jones figures out Joe's real intent.

33:50: Jones wants to get out of prison; Farrington promises him everything but release.

40:30: Farrington tries to mend relations with his wife and their 3 daughters with a drive in the country that goes awry; he crashes the car.

44:50: Joe describes the tunnel he's digging, their plan for escape. The night they decide to escape Farrington has prepared an elaborate dance routine to charm Jones. It includes a water ballet in a large aquarium. Jones breaks Farrington's neck, cooks him in it, then eats him.

48: Joe and Jones escape through Joe's tunnel. (Even though Jones has taken Farrington's master key.) Joe's wife Esmeralda picks them up in a Desoto. They drive to Mexico, to a hideaway on the Pacific coast of Baja. They live an idyllic life. Jones becomes a holy man, attracts pilgrims.

Legacy Synopsis

Joe is a trucker who causes a massive accident. He begins smuggling immigrants, and is arrested and sent to an enlightened prison. Description of the prison and a prison rebellion. The wife of the transvestite prison director, Farrington, discovers his affair with a prisoner, Jones. Joe has a conjugal visit and questions his wife. Jones and Farrington fight. Farrington and his wife fight in the car. Jones kills and eats Farrington and they escape through a hole in the wall which had been disguised as a painting. They go to Mexico where Jones becomes an enlightened ascetic.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "This program was created in collaboration with David Rapkin. Recorded, edited, mixed, and music looping by Bob Carlson. Special thanks to Jennifer Ferro, Carly Eiseman, and Esmé Gregson."


I can't help but notice the similarities between Joe's escape plan and that of the guy in 'The Shawshank Redemption' and that Joe used music from the score in 5 of his shows. Michal Story says he neither saw the movie nor read the novella on which it was based.Arthur Peabody (talk) 20:49, 9 November 2023 (PST)