"At some point when I was in high school I lost my draft card, and my folks changed houses, and I think there was a period of two years there, or three years, or four years, when the Army lost me. They couldn't find me."

WBAI And NPR Playhouse
Original Broadcast Date
Mark Hammer, F. Murray Abraham, Barbara Sohmers, Christina Moore, Tim Jerome, Arthur Miller, Jane Hunt, Joe Frank
54 minutes
Preceded by: The Decline Of Spengler
Followed by: Sales

Lies is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series WBAI And NPR Playhouse. It was originally broadcast in 1982.


A guy tries to avoid the draft by claiming he took LSD.

3:20: ("Ceres Motion") Joe tells of someone (unnamed) serving in Vietnam in Army intelligence.[1]

15:40: A fellow remembers covering the big anti-war May Day demonstration in DC. A woman threw them her key so they (he and his photographer) could escape a police sweep.

20:20: Joe tells of 2 radical co-eds at Berkeley who participate in all sorts of protest movements, anticipate a coming revolution. They stage a bank robbery to demonstrate the weakness of 'the system'. They kill a guard, go on the lam. They go to a small Oregon town where they live as 'lower-middle-class average American women' and suppress their political opinions, then move to a city, then a farmhouse. They become lovers. They move between small towns every few months.[2]

29:40: A fellow says most people's pain results from self-absorption. When politics was important to him and the war was raging; he imagined confronting Mendel Rivers, chairman of the House armed services committee. He sees Rivers on a flight, talking with his daughter, felt his humanity, left him alone.[3]

32:30: ("Part One") Joe tells story of fellow meeting a girl in a deli then visiting her. She has a room-mate who makes plaster sculptures of bagels and cream cheese. She repeatedly flirts then withdraws; he doesn't believe the stories she tells.[4]

44:20: ("Music For 18 Musicians") Joe's a night watchman. He invites the boss for dinner, poisons him, gets his job; the new night watchman poisons him at dinner.[5][6]

Legacy Synopsis
  • A guy avoids the draft by pretending to take drugs.
  • A military intelligence officer at a translation center in Vietnam during the war.
  • A pair of radical women screw up a revolutionary bank robbery and go on the run.
  • A man talks about having been politically active.
  • A man meets a woman in a deli; "it had the cadence of witty repartee without the wit;" her roommate makes bagel and cream cheese paperweights, he goes to her place later. She tells him about a rape long ago, about a marriage to a man who shits in bed.
  • Joe is a social climbing night watchman, lists things he must do every night, discusses office people.
  • Scenes from the office - a board room filled with terror, one with giggling idiots, a woman shouts colors against a background of machinery.
  • Joe buries his boss and takes his place.


Shared material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[D]irected by Arthur Miller, and mixed by Sharon Shapiro. Sound by David Rapkin. The performers were Larry Massett, F. Murray Abraham, Barbara Sohmers, Christina Moore, Tim Jerome, Mark Hammer, Arthur Miller, Jane Hunt, and Joe Frank."


  • The "Night Watchman" segment was broadcast as the conclusion of All Things Considered on Halloween, October 31, 1979.
  • The first 30 minutes of the 1985 Martin Scorcese comedy After Hours plagiarizes the plot setup and portions of woman-in-the-deli segment from "Lies". Joe recounts learning about this plagiarism in the extended version of No Show, and his decision to accept a settlement and remain uncredited on the film. Coincidentally, Larry Block appears as a taxi driver in the film, a role that originates with this episode.
  • Joe's response to an "After Hours" question on his user forum in 2007:

    "Lies" was a show produced for National Public Radio in 1982. It included a ten-minute segment about an encounter years earlier with a strange young woman in Greenwich Village. I was living in Washington, D.C. at the time of the broadcast, producing programs for NPR. In September 1985 a friend called from New York. He asked if I'd seen Scorsese's new film, "After Hours." I told him it hadn't yet opened in D.C. He said, "Fly up to New York today and see it. It will be worth it." He wouldn't explain why.
    So I took a cab to National Airport, caught the next flight to La Guardia, took another cab to the movie theater in Manhattan and saw the film. It was an astonishing experience because, within the first few minutes, I observed the identical story from my radio show unfolding on the screen word for word. Let me add, however, that having used my story as the foundation for his screenplay, the remainder of the film was the work of the writer. It's an exaggeration to suggest the entire film was based on my radio show. But I didn't know until your post that the original title had been "Lies." What must the screenwriter have been thinking to place himself in such jeopardy?
    In any case, I had not yet met Larry Block in 1982, so it was a surprise to find, years later, that we both had a connection to "After Hours."
    Scorsese is a great American film director and "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull" are classics. But I thought "After Hours" was inferior. Maybe the film was too close for me to see clearly.[7]


  • The only women's voices are people working at the night watchman's business. I think the same actor speaks the first and third segment, perhaps the fifth. Mark Hammer was old enough to have had their experiences and lived in Washington at the time. I don't hear Tim Jerome or Arthur Miller in them; I don't know F. Murray Abraham's voice well enough to guess. Arthur Peabody (talk) 20:06, 2 July 2021 (EDT)

External links


  1. At about 6:30 Joe says:

    'The war hardly touched his life. He wore civilian clothes and attended a swim club where gorgeous Vietnamese women lounged around the pool in bikinis. And he played golf at the Saigon Golf Club and spent one afternoon a week at the Phú Tho Racetrack. And he went on cookouts in lush tropical settings where he ate charcoal-broiled hamburgers and he drank beer and had ice cream desserts. And he went in the evenings to exquisite French and Vietnamese restaurants and to bars where there was live entertainment, mostly Vietnamese rock groups imitating the Beach Boys and the Beatles.'

    Phú Tho racetrack was a stadium in North Vietnam that the American Army captured in early '68, used as a base of operations (Battle of Cholon and Phú Tho racetrack) It wasn't near this guy's base or a place one would go for fun.
  2. This is similar to the stories of Susan Edith Saxe and Katherine Ann Power
  3. Rivers died in 1970, so this had to have preceded the 1971 protests.
  4. The writer of Martin Scorsese's After Hours plagiarized this story
  5. Joe re-uses the sounds of the business in Black Light.
  6. A version of this story was aired in All Things Considered when Joe hosted it
  7. JoeFrank.com forum. March 5, 2007.