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The Thousand Pound Gorilla


A husband begins to have paranoid episodes in which he believes that his wife is out to kill him. His panic attacks were brought about by a chance encounter with his wife's ex-husband at a golf outing; where the man claimed that his wife would murder him if he continued to stay with her!



Air Dates

  • First Run - December 31, 1979
  • Repeat - April 22, 1980





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13 Responses to Episode 1043

An interesting study of one of man's most elemental fears. A CBS Emergency Bulletin breaks in for a few minutes, but the story is by no means unintelligible when it resumes. Works up an okay atmosphere; not a bad listen.


Franklin G. Wilkinson is a man "in the prime of his life"...a 40 year old sales manager in the best of health, married to a woman named Wendy he loves very much and who very much seems to love him. That's why he's floored when George Haskins, an engineer for one of his company's partners, tells him at a sales meeting that he was once married to Wendy...Wilkinson was unaware that his wife had ever been married. In fact, Haskins warns Wilkinson that Wendy will try to kill him, because when Haskins was married to her she tried to kill HIM. Wilkinson is unnerved, and maybe a bit uneasy when he mentions Haskins name to his wife and she ignores him and goes to sleep. Haskins keeps trying to contact Wilkinson and does, then finally links up with him. He warns Wilkinson that he's going to get weaker and weaker, and that his wife will drain all the strength from Wilkinson's body until he's dead...he says Wendy may not even fully understand that she's killing him. Haskins says Wilkinson will start to feel weak, and later he'll see Wendy and hear here telling him she loves him in the middle of the night and not know if he's awake or asleep. Haskins says he's trying to help "a fellow human being"...that maybe Wendy has some "force" that lives within her. In the meantime, Wilkinson is indeed getting weaker. While he sleeps, Wendy tells him everything will be all right, that she needs his strength...

J.E. Jones

Wow, this one creeped me out....

King Bee

This is, in a way, another "succubus" story like the VERY depressing yet powerful "Out of focus" from the CBS RMT first season. A succubus was a type of demonic spirit which would sleep with men; Wikipedia says that "Religious traditions hold that repeated sexual activity with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death." (It doesn't say WHICH traditions, but one doesn't want to embrace the demonic, no pun intended, anywhere in his life.) This story is more subtle than "Out of focus" was, with a smaller but very talented cast of Earl Hammond (who was also in "Out of focus"), Mandel Kramer and Terri Keane. Interesting.


It's a dumb title, but I really liked this one. The Wendy character is kind of an ancestor to Scarlett Johansson's character in the movie "Under the Skin."


Don't be fooled by the title. Great episode.


I have given a number of very positive reviews for episodes of CBS radio mystery theater. I acknowledge that I like to use it to tell me a story as I go to sleep at night. But this is the first one that I post because I found it so disturbing that I could not go to sleep. I presume that it means that it is emotionally powerful, but I personally found it inducing a sense of dread, doom, and hopelessness. If that is your ball of wax, listen to “the thousand pound gorilla“,


Where does he sleep? Wherever he wants.


Posting in two parts due to size: As mentioned in another comment, an emergency news bulletin about a sunken ferry ship in the Philippines cuts in right after Haskins says "Just tell me one thing...". As you're hanging on the edge of your seat wondering if what he asks will make his claim more believable, you are ripped away from the story! It gets me every time I hear this one! The report lasts a few minutes, where I'm guessing he was convinced by Haskins to go to the town in California where he claims they were married to find the public record of the marriage. He mentions finding said record later when he's squeezing the truth out of Wendy. Teri Keane plays the wife AND the secretary. She tries to sound older and different as the secretary. I think it's hilarious when they use one person to play multiple roles. Russell Horton and Lloyd Battista are great examples of this. They both have several different "disguise" voices which I can always recognize as them immediately, but they are distinct enough that it's not obvious. In some episodes, this trick is so poorly executed that it confuses the continuity of the story because you can't always tell when they switch characters. I can think of times this has happened with Mason Adams and Robert Dryden. Their disguise voices aren't so different from their normal voices, so they try to use them on a telephone or some other technique to hide it, and if you aren't paying close attention, many times it leaves you thinking... "Wait a second, wasn't that so-and-so? Why would he be calling on the phone from the other room?". Only then do you realize, "Oh yeah... Recycled Actor Syndrome." I think I'll call this phenomenon RAS from now on! Wait, now that I think of it, who is the voice of his work buddy here? There are only three cast members. Earl Hammond has a really raspy voice and a growly voice, but maybe he can sound like the Barney Rubble-like buddy too? Or maybe it's Mandel Kramer, which seems more likely, but they are talking at the same time sometimes and I'm not sure if they went back and did voiceovers on CBSRMT. I've heard this other voice before, so now I have to figure out who it is. Thinking about someone like Mel Blanc, he could be raspy and growly like Yosemite Sam, and he was also Barney Rubble, sooooo... Anyway, the buddy has more of a New York accent like Mandel Kramer.

Mark C. Lowe

Part 2... No paragraph breaks in this comment app! Interestingly, there's a PSA about electrical safety during this episode with Earl Hammond reading. You can recognize his raspy voice and slight southern drawl, but maybe that's not his "real" voice! He's playing a bit of a character in the commercial, a guy who does some of his own home repairs, but doesn't mess around with electricity! One odd aspect of the story is when his buddy tells him, out of the blue, that Haskins is a weirdo who might make up crazy stuff about your wife because he's nuts. Where did that come from? It turns out Haskins wasn't lying, so what other stuff has happened around him before that would make the buddy say that? That's where the strange title comes from. Haskins is such a valuable asset to his company that they pretty much let him do what he wants despite some personality quirks. I guess if you're a former high school teacher who married one of your students, you've got some issues. In the end, she's working on the buddy while they are visiting her husband in the loony bin after he killed Haskins. It has me wondering if all those raspy characters that Earl Hammond plays in many episodes (like cheesy Latino terrorists who think they are hot and sexy or murderous dictators) are really a put-on voice, and in reality he sounds like this Barney Rubble voice. Clearly, this is a fascinating episode on many levels. Another famous news break I can remember was the night we finally gave up on Vietnam, the fall of Saigon, and the helicopter was leaving the embassy. April 30th of 1975. Kind of sad when you hear it, thinking of all the murders of people who helped us that happened after that. Just one more example of history in the making that always comes back to life while listening to old CBSRMT episodes!

Mark C. Lowe

Part 3... Two weren't enough! Since I'm rambling, another blast from the past... while the reporter is talking to the boat company official over the noisy international phone line during the news break, you can hear the wonderful artifacts of our analog phone systems of that era in the background while they're talking. The 2,600 Hertz chirps that were used to indicate when a line was available, the odd-sounding long-distance DTMF tones (touch tones) that were different from the ones on your phone, the noisy amplifiers that boosted the voices. Such nostalgic sounds! It takes me right back to the 70's and 80's when I was a bit of a phone h4cker. If you listen closely at other times during this episode (I'm always using nice headphones), some of those tones are audible again in other places, very quietly in the background. In those days, feeds to radio stations often took place over phone lines, so sometimes you can hear long distance telephone network sounds during some of these off-air recorded shows. But I digress!

Mark C. Lowe

Okay, here I am again a day later. I searched for Earl Hammond and it turns out he had an entire career doing cartoon voices and such, along the order of Casey Kasem and Mel Blanc, so yeah, that soft-spoken buddy voice was him. That's his actual voice. He is typically doing over-the-top evil characters with loud, screechy voices on TV animations (Masters of the Universe type shows). There's even a video of him over doing it a bit on a studio mic and the sound engineer coming in and asking him to back off a bit. He was one of those high-energy guys who loved doing the voiceover work. Now, this is probably no earth-shattering news to other hardcore CBSRMT types, but I had never researched him before yesterday. The thing that really sets him apart, I think, is that you can't tell the different voices are all him! He really is able to sound completely unique with all his characterizations. As I said before, when Russell Horton or Lloyd Battista do an old man voice or a crusty cowboy type, you can immediately tell it's one of them changing their voice, because enough of their regular characteristics come through, but they can still pass as different characters in the same show. Someone like Robert Dryden, not so much. Mason Adams, not so much. They had those buzzy, raspy smoker voices that they couldn't really change that much. So now that I know about Earl Hammond, I'll probably be able to pick him out more easily. He was in tons of CBSRMT episodes. Later, kids!

Mark C. Lowe

Psychotic fear of women stepping from every word.


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