"El Guitarrero" is the story of an American poet in Mexico who is tormented by a guitar player. It is an episode of Escape that has aged poorly, and it seems that the only Latin American involved in this production was the actual guitar player, Jose Barroso. The Spanish spoken in this episode sounds similar to what I sound like in Spanish class, and the English has become dated.
The recording of this broadcast includes an interruption for a CBS news report from Freedom Village in Korea. For about three minutes, the names of the American soldiers involved in a prisoner of war exchange are announced. These few minutes are far more emotionally powerful than anything else in "El Guitarrero."
When we are returned to the story, the American poet and the Mexican guitarist are about to have drinks. From there it launches into a drama of hatred between the two. The question at the heart of this story asks, does the poet writing about love and pain really understand the emotions he writes about, or do the words just sound pretty? The guitarist thinks that the poet is only standing on the sidelines of life, watching. I won't ruin it for you by telling you what happens after that.
This isn't a bad episode but you may have to listen to it more than once, or have a shot of tequila, to figure it out. The guitar playing in the background is lovely.
"El Guitarrero" was written by E. Jack Neuman, who later went on to have a long career in television. Eddie Firestone Jr. starred as the poet. He went on to have a very successful career as a character actor in movies and television. The man who starred as the guitarist, Jack Kruschen, also had a successful career in movies and television. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1960 for his role in The Apartment.