AUDIO VAULT: THE INVESTIGATOR

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THE INVESTIGATOR ALBUM COVERI found this LP at a thrift store some time ago.  According to Wikipedia, it is a rare piece.  After investigating further, I learned it’s not as valuable as I hoped.  Nevertheless I am posting the audio here for the sake of posterity.  The record was not in good condition; however I restored the audio to the best of my ability using Sony Sound Forge Pro 10 software. The initial segment (first 8 seconds) is not repairable.

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Listen to the full 1-hour political satire, The Investigator (not able to repair first 8 secs.):

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From the back cover of the album:

Political satire is nothing new to European nations outside the shadow ­of the Iron Curtain, since centuries of ups and downs have taught these nations to look at themselves objectively and not entirely without a sense of humor. Being a comparative baby, politically speaking, America has much to learn about looking at her politics and laughing. For this reason also because it is the first political satire ever produced on radio and recorded, and finally because it come at a time when investigations a very much in the news, The Investigator is a significant bit of storytelling.

Written by Reuben Ship, a prominent radio writer, and featuring Canadian stage and television actor John Drainie, The Investigator tells of an investigator who, along with other passengers on an airplane, is killed in a crash and finds himself in heaven, or “Up Here,” as it is called in the script. He must pass muster with the immigration office, the Permanent Investigation Committee on Permanent Entry to “Up Here,” and with the Head Gatekeeper.

Perhaps he was on to something?

Perhaps he was on to something?

No sooner does the investigator learn of his exit from the world the living and his entrance on a temporary permit to “Up Here” than he meets the advisory members of the Permanent Committee. They turn out to be Titus Oates, the English conspirator; Torquemada, the Spanish Inquisitor; Cotton Mather, one time leading citizen of Salem, Mass., and a foe of witches; and Baron George Jeffreys, the hanging judge of the Bloody Assizes. They are delighted in the investigator’s arrival “Up There” since they feel that he is well versed in the most modern techniques their profession.

Right through the story the investigator makes a point of expressing his doubt of the loyalty of various citizens—both on earth and “Up Here.” In the plane, when the stewardess refuses to let him send a telegram just before the crash, he questions her motives. When he arrives “Up Here,” immediately questions the loyalty of an inspector in the immigration service. And he quickly reveals his ambitious nature by telling the Permanent Investigation Committee that they are probably taking much for granted by granting permanent entry into ‘Up Here” to so many applicants.

The investigator gets right to work with his inquiring while the Permanent Investigation Committee is weighing his own application, and told by Titus Oates confidentially that the members of the committee have been thinking about replacing The Head Gatekeeper, who is chairman of the committee.

Masking his subtle technique of intimidation under the cloak of parliamentary procedure, the investigator twists the conversation of the Head Gatekeeper around to make it appear he has been careless about admitting subversives into “Up Here.” The investigator gets the Head Gatekeeper actually admit that he made frank statements about the laxness with which the immigration service is run. That’s all the Permanent Committee needs. The Investigator forces the Head Gatekeeper’s resignation, and tells Permanent Committee that re-examination of those who have been granted entry in the past is essential.

Communist and Soviet spy defector

Communist and Soviet spy defector

By their own writings Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, John MiltonVoltaire, John Stuart Mill, Martin Luther, Spinoza, Galileo, Victor Hugo, Garibaldi, Abraham Lincoln and others are found guilty and deported to maintain the security of “Up Here.”  Beethoven, Bach and Richard Wagner, who have gathered for the purpose of playing string quartets together with Chopin, discover that Chopin has been deported because in his youth he wrote the “Revolutionary Etude” The arts and sciences are taken over by one Otto Schmink who, according to the Permanent Com­mittee, has the advantage of being wholly unknown. Like the famous red tribunal of the French Revolution, the Permanent Committee turns even on Otto Schmink eventually, and deports him.

The investigator’s big mistake comes when he attempts to issue a subpoena for “The Chief.” This is too much for even his colleagues, and they have him deported to “Down There” as he babbles incoherently about his being chief himself. But even the devil doesn’t want him. Accordingly, the immigration service code is consulted, and it is discovered that when an applicant is wanted neither “Up There” or “Down There,” he must return to the point of entry, or the place he was when he left the world of the living.

So the investigator returns to earth, and is found conscious but raving, the only survivor of the plane crash. A medical diagnosis reveals that he is doomed to rant for the remainder of his days.

The Investigator is a full hour in length, and a truly brilliant piece of satirical writing. There is vast subtlety of thought and infinite deftness in the characterizations. Even the music is most appropriate, the heavenly atmosphere being suggested by ethereal music, the infernal element being represented by music in a low register, and the bridges (sequences of thought or action) being represented by music which sounds for all the world like typical Nazi goose-stepping tunes.

The Investigator has projected a subtle, humorous touch into one of the most serious and stormy political controversies of our time.

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