Run For Your Life
Starring Ben Gazzara
Three Passengers for the Lusitania
Synopsis:In Acapulco Paul meets a dare devil who seems to think he has nothing to lose when risking his life. With Murray MacLeod as Bud Ellis, Cliff Potter as Lee, Jim Creech as Art, Ralph Smiley as the Hotel Desk Clerk, Gregg Palmer as the Highway Patrolman, Robert Tafur as the Doctor, Luis de Córdova as Captain Garcia, Inez Pedroza as the Nurse, David Lewis as Miller - CAST PHOTOS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
Season 3 - #3
First broadcast on September 27, 1967
Written by Erich Faust
Directed by Richard Benedic
PAUL BRYAN'S JOURNAL
From the diary about this episode:
Actif - Paris - en route to Acapulco
Thursday, July 1
At my Paris apartment …. I love writing that …. found a note that the car is waiting for me at Jessica's home near Acapulco. Also a letter from Eileen, asking me to come and see her this month. Such a pleasing thought, but it's difficult to get Leslie from the forefront of my mind. Our touching relationship cut off so abruptly, I'll always think of the hours with her as precious and sweet. There is so much in my head, but the pen doesn't seem to cooperate, and sleep is calling.
Friday, July 2
Took a cab to Jessica's, and things went like clockwork. The Mastin was produced in gleaming condition, but I think they may have put more into the outside than under the hood, as she conked out on me halfway into the city.
Walked a ways to see if there might be a garage in the area, and was nearly run down by two fellows who then offered me a lift - which was more like travelling on a roller coaster.
Couldn't help but be mesmerized by the one who was driving - Bud - not just because of the insane and skilful way he handled the car, but his proclamation that he didn't have long to live. For my fascination, I was treated to his grazing 20 telephone poles as part of a bet with me.
At least, he dropped me by a garage that picked up the Mastin, and got it into top condition as well. Starving by this time, I was looking forward to dining at the Countess', but received a note that she'd popped off to Rome.
Went out for some local culture, and who turned up but Bud and Lee - wanting me to advise them on buying a car to enter qualifying for the big race that is the talk of Acapulco. They'd amazingly found two excellent machines, and for all I knew, they appeared equal, and I watched Bud hand over what must have been twice the value in cash to the delighted owner.
Bet-happy Bud then took me to a poker game, and he came away with everyone's cash. I admired his moves with an aficionado's respect, but then performed Judge Haynes' 25-card pat hand trick, and won the pot back from him.
It turned out that he couldn't just drive and play poker like a master, but afterwards at a bar, got up and did a turn with Lee that would make Bud & Travis proud - playing guitars they bought on the spot from the house musicians - again for twice their value.
Saturday, July 3
Took the lads to a bull fight, and Bud seemed very upset by the proceedings. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the practice outlawed myself.
As much as Acapulco has to offer, I had to remember that the reason I'm here is to drive in the race. It was a little disappointing to find that there were no professionals in it - not even super-talented amateurs. Since we'd arrived late, our qualifying slots weren't until the end of the day, and my brief moment of glory in pole position was quickly eclipsed by Bud's time.
Despite the mediocrity of the competition, I am nevertheless ecstatic. Rang Pete in Spain, and despite the bad line, he was able to give some tips for Monday's race.
Such an instinct to pick up the phone, and ring my Mom and Dad, but I feel sure that they must have been watching and cheering me on from heaven.
Sunday, July 4
Celebrated the holiday with fireworks of my own - by jumping off the cliff at the Mirador Hotel - a hundred feet straight down into what I hoped would be 16 feet of water. But I was only the second amateur of the day to accomplish the breathtaking dive that I have considered impossible the hundred times I've seen it over the years.
Had gone up to try and persuade Bud not to make the suicidal leap, and when he did, some wires crossed in my own brain, and I dove off myself. Three times the height that won me a silver platform medal at the California State Championships in high school, it was like a sky dive without a chute.
I am still trembling from the experience, but at this point, more shaken that I attempted the act than having experienced it. Surely, I am going mad. Back here at the hotel, meditation had become impossible, and finally, only a phone call managed to free me from the shaking trance.
It was the Countess, back from Rome, asking me over for the evening. How much I'd liked to have casually dropped the line about becoming a Quebrada Cliff Diver for the day, but I know anyone would have thought me crazy.
In fact, lots of people at the party were speaking about the two mad Americans who'd done the stunt. Instead, I allowed myself to dazzle the company of other amateur racers with the fact that I'd been driving with Pete Gaffney.
They appeared impressed, and it seemed a sufficient and more appropriate claim to fame. But when the Count and Countess let off their Fourth of July fireworks, my heart started pounding anew.
Monday, July 5
If yesterday had my heart overperforming, today was a blur of thrilling and terrifying moments to match it.
My race went well until Bud had trouble and crashed. I was just behind him in second place, only able to stop in time and pull him out of the machine a moment before it blew up. Though concussed, Bud checked himself out of the hospital, and the three of us went back to their hotel.
Irritated by Bud's frequent jibes to me about being a passenger on the Lusitania, I wondered if he'd found something out about me. Then, all of a sudden, a police megaphone was calling out a Come Out With Your Hands Up message.
I never dreamed it was meant for our room, but in response, Bud broke the window, and said he wasn't coming out - and had a hostage. Me. What was that show? …. It was on the radio when I was in my teens, then on TV later too …. Called You Bet Your Life. Well, that's exactly what happened.
Bud (who when he wasn't constantly making pointed remarks to me about the Lusitania, was ever trying to top me or win a bet) offered me the chance to walk away free - if I drew a higher card from the deck than he.
I did, and as with succeeding in the suicide dive, I seemed meant to live on. When I came out, the police were ready to go in, but before they did, the boys exited with guns blazing, both shot dead in seconds.
Apparently, they had killed a policeman in the US, and there was a big manhunt out for them along the border, and I learned that local police had spotted them in the pictures from the race.
Such a waste of life. I am brought from pinnacles of exhilaration to a depression that refuses to lift. Rang Eileen to confirm my flight tomorrow, and fear that I will be the opposite of what she needs right now.
Director of Photography
William Margulies A.S.C.