When I'm Calling You

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When I'm Calling You[1]
In The Dark
Original Broadcast Date
Arthur Miller, Grace Zabriskie, Farley Ziegler, Keith Talbot, Helen Wilson, Larry Block, Eliot Wilder, Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Telephone, Improv Actors, Sound Effects, 28 minutes
Preceded by: Green Cadillac
Followed by: The Loved One

None of us has escaped the injuries and indignities of growing up.

When I'm Calling You is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series In The Dark. It was originally broadcast in 1993.


'None of us has escaped the injuries and indignities of growing up; all of us bear the scars of that process…' Joe says we can turn our psychic pathologies into something beautiful through psychotherapy. Then he describes why people are turning to psychotherapy by phone: it avoids the burden of traveling, removes the distractions of the office, other patients, the psychotherapists' quirks…

6:20: He calls 'tele-counsel of Los Angeles' (apparently fictional), gets a humorous phone message, apparently chooses '9', for depression, gets a recorded message from Dr Jerome Nierenberg (sp?), who's busy.

8:10: A woman (Laura Esterman?) tells a story about a dream. She's in a room with a bunch of men who talk about politics. She tells them it's really about a cow thrown over a cliff, which represents the way men treat women. John (this is a group therapy session) says that he's unsympathetic, that women have all power. A second guy (Larry Block) sees both of their points of view. The therapist asks another woman, Stella, what she thinks. Others participate.

19:20: Joe talks about audio Rorschach tests, plays some audio clips for us to react to.

21:20: Donald (Eliot Wilder) tells Joe he's obsessed with this woman. Joe asks Donald questions about her.

22:20: Joe asks philosophical questions: 'What is truth?', 'Where is god?'…, tells us that questions don't matter. Donald chimes in.

23:20: Joe asks Donald if this woman doesn't give him a heightened sense of life, suggests he express himself (screaming, for example) as an outlet for his feelings.

25:00: Joe describes therapy by FAX.

26:30: 'Neurosis is the sprung tourniquet on the hemorrhage of feelings…' Joe makes a series of metaphors for neurosis.

27:00: 'There is no permanence, nothing is forever…' Joe tells us that if we accept nothing we will have everything.

Legacy Synopsis
  • Monologue: The problems with conventional therapy and benefits of phone therapy.
  • Actors: Telephone therapy session.
  • Monologue with sound effects: Audio Rorschach test.
  • Actors: Joe as a telephone therapist in dialog with an actor.
  • Monologue: fax therapy, the infinity of nothingness


Shared material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with David Rapkin. Recorded and mixed by Theo Mondle. The performers were Joe Frank, Arthur Miller, Grace Zabriskie, Larry Kusnit, Farley Ziegler, Keith Talbot, Helen Wilson, Larry Block, Lisa Hiemer, and Laura Esterman. Special thanks to Farley Ziegler."


Telehealth and telecounseling increased greatly in 2020, in response to the pandemic.