Sun 4 Aug 2013
ARNOLD RIDLEY – The Ghost Train. A mystery thriller in 3 acts. Produced originally at the Eltinge Theatre, New York, 1923. Cast: 7 males, 4 females, 1 interior scene. Modern costumes. Note: For much more about this play, including its many radio, film and audiobook adaptations, see its Wikipedia entry here. Shown is the playbill for the 2012-2013 revival.]
The story is laid in a peaceful village in Maine where there lives a superstition of twenty years standing about a ghost train which flashes by in the dead of night, swinging the scythe of death. Rumrunners use this superstition to their own advantage in the transportation of liquor from Canada.
As the night train draws into the small station, some passengers get off and the train moves on. These passengers are compelled to wait all night, for they have missed connections.
And what a night they spend. When the decrepit old station-master tells them about the terrifying “Ghost Train,” bringing death to all who observe it, they just poo-pooh the idea. But everything happens as forecast.
The station-master is stricken dead mysteriously. The signal bell rings. The engine whistles. The train roars through the junction and one who rashly gazes upon it apparently succumbs. Lovers of mystery plays will find here a piece to their liking.
Editorial Comment: Thanks once again to Mike Tooney for finding this short piece while on his never-ending travels through the Internet. (Scroll down a short way.)