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The Secret Life of Bobby Deland


A couple suffering from the death of their only child take in a young waif to fill the void in their lives. At first the orphan helps alleviate the woman's migraines however, he later repays their kindness by robbing them blind.



Air Dates

  • First Run - July 3, 1974
  • Repeat - September 14, 1974





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39 Responses to Episode 0113

The description of this story isn't accurate. A couple things missing isn't exactly "robbing blind." It is an interesting story though.


This is a love story, and the stolen items were \'valentines\' to his Mother. He loved her with a perfect love. I can verify that the love for a parent has nothing to do with \'character references\' or logic. In my counseling work, I learned that the more remote the parent\'s love is (or its absence), the more the child loves.


Heartbreaking-intensely moving-I wanted to cry.

Michel David

I was touched by this episode. Regardless the relationship between the mother & child, the child showed an innocence & devotion towards the memory & connection of the mother from his past.


Another snoozer from the pen of dreary, melancholy, melodramatic Elspeth Eric. Like a lot of her stories they have an interesting premise but ultimately fizzle.


Well, my biggest criticism is that Bobby's psychic healing ability is completely irrelevant to the story. This story gave me the creeps, but my wife saw the ending coming a mile away because she works with dysfunctional families as part of her job. Agreed that the boy was NOT robbing the family blind; the items stolen were small in number and had no particular monetary value. Emotional thriller; irrelevant supernatural elements.


A troubled orphan boy has a penchant for stealing items from his host families. He's an unusual youngster with equally unusual talents. Unfortunately, the unusual gifts are not completely developed by the author but the plot takes an interesting twist during its conclusion.


A strange, young orphan comes home with a couple who lost their child in an accident. He is able to cure the woman's headaches and then steals from them. Turns out all he wants is his mother.

Erik Lensherr D.

A kindly, childless couple are in contact with an orphanage, trying to adopt a child. The kind, loving man who is the husband seems to settle on a 10-year-old boy named Bobby Delan. Mrs. Appleton, the woman in charge of the orphanage says Bobby is a good child, but he's been in a type of solitary confinement to his room for stealing particular belts, frying pans and shoes. (Those particular objects have a very poignant meaning at story's end.) Bobby had stayed at the home of another family earlier in preparation for a possible adoption, but they opted not to take him because he also stole things on occasion, and tried to run away. The kind man talks with Bobby, and becomes convinced that he's got a powerful ability for self-hypnosis strong enough to put himself in a trance, and moreso, is able to obtain incredible power when in such a state where his conscious and subconscious mind meet. The husband agrees to take Bobby to his home. Bobby has described it, though he's not quite correct in how his new family's home looks. Also, when he gets to the home he's aware that his new "mother" is not feeling well even though his new "father" believes otherwise. They find the woman has a migraine headache, which Bobby promptly convinces her to "give" him. Three weeks later, Bobby has started to steal objects...a belt (that he says is too big for him), a frying pan, a high-heeled shoe...then he runs away on a night under a full moon... (NOTE: This is the only CBSRMT episode I've heard to date where there is a reference to a porno film actresss. Mercifully, no child pornography is involved.)

Bubba Greer

A couple who lost their child look to adopt a child and select one particular boy from the local orphanage. The boy they select has a history of running away and certain eccentricities that have kept him from finding a good home. After the adoption, the boy tells stories of his mother, fantastic tales of her jobs, station in life, etc. He appears to be able to see things with his mind’s eye.


The completist may wish to listen, as this episode isn't bad CBSRMT, but if you're trying to hit the highlights you should probably move on. Supernatural events form the backdrop to a heartwarmer about broken families.


An interesting little story with an interesting premise. Very, very sad. Not one of my favorites, but well done. Elspeth Eric seems often to have a special interest in stories about victims of domestic abuse. It comes up in "Star Sapphire" and, I believe, is touched on in a few of her other plays as well. The one thing of special interest for me was the voice actress who played Bobby. Although she wasn't given credit at the end of the show, I recognized her unmistakably as Billie Lou Watt, who did the voice of Astro Boy--my favorite cartoon as a child. (Anime ROCKS!)


I found the premise to be of interest, but I also found the storyline lacking in focus and the dialogue absent of any subtlety. Although the boy is the first Elspeth Eric character that I have developed any empathy for, I was consistently distracted by the actresses voice (IMHO it didn't even remotely sound like a 10 year old boy). There were no real winners or losers in this episode - maybe that's Eric's point - but stories without hope are better written by the Cure. I will give the author credit for tackling a story full of hard issues (child abuse, adoption, etc.), but I thought the episode fell far short of the usual script quality. I gave this episode a "2" - I dunno, maybe I'm being a bit too hard.


I'm inclined to agree with your analysis. I found most of act 3 to be laughable. The amateur psycho-analysis is the one thing in a script that will instantly turn me off. I also don't like the kid being played by an adult woman. Just doesn't come across as believable. The story was not without its charm. The main character was easy to sympathize with. I gave it a 2.

D. Lisbon

I agree with pretty much all you said, although I disagree about there being no hope in the story. There is a very important shred of hope in the fact that this boy did not lose his mind under the abuse, but developed a coping mechanism---his mental abilities evolved to a higher plane. In fact, his healing power suggests something distinctly spiritual, even messianic. Also he is adopted by parents who actually care enough to patiently discover what causes his behavior, something the orphanage never bothered to do. So, despite everything, I think there still is hope. It actually lies in the WH Auden quote spoken by the doctor in the third act: The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind I have no reason to despair because I am already there

G. Warfield

Hmmm... I liked it. Well, I've never been accused of being normal anyway.


Me neither! Besides, what's normal anyway? Actually, after I pondered that poem quotation a bit last night, I began to appreciate the underlying themes of the story a lot more. It's really a beautiful quote. And, just for the record, I had no problem with the actress doing Bobby's voice--didn't find it distracting at all. I don't think a child actor could have successfully put across the complex emotions required for this role.

Jeremy Bushong

i only gave this one a 3. i couldn't relate to the nonsense the father was constantly babbling on about. every time he opened his mouth i had to laugh. but on to other things. there wasn't much suspense for me. i guessed where bobby's mom was. i wonder , did bobby heal his mom in the end? the only suspense for me was how far they would go with bobby's powers? was he going to use them for good or ill? i had recently listened to You're Going To Like Rodney and kept waiting for something bad to happen. who played the boy? maybe someone already knows. i'll check in a minute. at first i thought it was the same person who played Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. i think i like the idea of an adult playing the child's role to get the more experienced actor. i'm comparing this to THE CHILD'S CAT'S PAW. i wish i could unleash my subconsious powers. i would really be something . most people think i go through life mostly unconsious. i never realised how often rmt quotes the BIBLE. i think i've counted three times. twice the quote was taken out of context. in this show the quote was "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." ofcourse the TRUTH is that JESUS paid the price for our sins when HE died for us on the cross. it's interesting to see different philosophies in the shows such as in this one. i just smile quietly to myself. these must have been emerging onto the american scene.

Lady Crystal Palafox

Hmmm... I liked it. Well, I've never been accused of being normal anyway.[quote] Don't sweat it. My first submission was "Out of Sight" which somebody on another board ridiculed as one of the worst episodes ever. It received a lukewarm reception here too. I liked it.

Jason O.

I don\'t consider myself \"normal\" - after all, what \"normal\" person ponders the merits of a radio program that aired almost 30 years ago, and then agonizes for two days over whether the resulting post will measure up to the standards of the website comments? Actually, even though this episode wasn\'t my favorite. I think we see Eric\'s writing in the same vein - I am starting to see a trend in the way I view her scripts. And try as I might, I notice myself hoping it\'s not her when I hear E.G. say \"tonights episode was written especially for the mystery theater by ...........\" Nontheless, I will try to keep an open mind.

Dwarde Malcolm

I have to say that, more and more, I'm beginning to agree about Eric's scripts, if not sharing quite the same vitriolic intensity. She did write, in my humble opinion, a few really brilliant ones (Case in point: Her adaptation of "The Transformation". Awesome. Actually, I even found "...Bobby Deland" engaging--it just wasn't one of my faves.) But as the show progresses through the years her scripts do get worse and worse. I just recently listened to "Adam's Astral Self" and found it really didn't pass the "so what?" test for me. Then, tonight, I tried to listen to "Mind over Matthew" and just couldn't do it. Yuck. I had to turn it off ten minutes in. However, I always try to give old Elspeth a fighting chance, cos ya never know, right? Everyone has their good days and their bad ones.


What did you think of "Star Sapphire"? That may be a show I suggest next year, but it may be one of if not the most difficult RMTs to listen to due to its subject matter. That's probably the strongest Elspeth Eric script I've heard written. Funny thing too, because E.G. in his monologues at show's beginning seemed to get exactly what was happening in the show, but by the time it was finished it almost seemed to go right over his head, which (as witty as he was, whether scripted or not) was a rare occurence indeed. This, like "Sapphire" dealt with orphans, and maybe seemed to share a "nobody wins" (or did they?) ending. It's the only one I've heard on the RMT that talks about porno film actresses.

Antonel Ross

I dunno, I have to say that Star Sapphire left a bad taste in my mouth. The subject matter was a little too disturbing. The fact that Fred Gwynne was such a good actor and had such a lecherous, sexual tone to his voice whenever he hypnotized the girl made it all the more disturbing. I think I find "Bobby Deland" more palatable because, although both shows deal with abused orphans, in "Bobby" it happened in the past, whereas in "Star Sapphire" we're actually listening to it happen in the present. Also, in "Bobby Deland" there is a bit of hope at the end---in "Star Sapphire" the best we get is, perhaps, justice, since Fred Gwynn's character is shot at the end. I didn't really feel I took away a good or helpful message from "Star Sapphire", although I suppose there was some hope and comfort in the fact that the girl was strong enough to resist killing the farmer's wife in the end, and that the two of them were rid of the farmer and could live peacefully together. The rest of it, though, I felt was just basically listening to an exercise in abusive manipulation. Also, it's quite tragic that the girl was forced to kill someone. I can't say I enjoyed this or found it to be very enriching thematically.

Jeff L. Oliver

Very well acted and well written. I have to admit, I was drawn into the story from the beginning expecting the usual type of RMT conclusion but was completely caught off guard the sweet, yet very sad ending.


This was a surprisingly interesting and well-written episode. Maybe one of my favorites so far. I didn't expect much from the synopsis, but it proceeded to get very weird as the story went along. by the way, I think I would have sent the strange kid with a women's voice back to the orphanage after that creepy migraine healing.

Phillip M.

Strange description of the episode about being "robbed blind" when there are only specific objects which are stolen that aren't even that valuable. I found it strange that the man is most interested in one of the stranger kids there, and yet it's at least 3 weeks since the child has been in isolation. When did he originally go there and why did it take so long to make a decision? Also, why didn't he go with his wife when she was feeling better? At the end, does it mean that he was healing his mother as well and would eventually live with her? What would the Baron think (this being the same man who helped his wife star in pornographic movies)? A really strange tale.


This episode was pretty creepy at first, and stayed that way up until the ending. Though it was never explained where the kid got his psychic and healing powers.

Joe Mama

Elspeth Eric wrote a few episodes that I liked very much, but this particular story is a weird psychological drama without too much mystery, (as a lot of her episodes are). Also, at the end of the episode, it's not clear whether Bobby is giving his mother his strange gifts out of love and forgiveness, or perhaps as some sort of revenge, (because his mother had abused him with similar objects). Who could really blame Bobby for not being too fond of an abusive parent? However, in this story, I got the feeling that he may have actually had evil intentions when he presented his mother with these particular reminders of her abuse. I wondered if perhaps his motive was to drive his mother further into insanity by showing her similar objects to the ones she hurt him with. His voice sounded subtly sinister to me and not loving, although maybe that was just my impression. Maybe that was the best part of the story, since I was left wondering what his true motives were and they left it up in the air. They left me wondering what would happen next.


I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. This is one of the strangest, yet emotional mysteries I’ve heard on CBSRMT. Was Elspeth Eric aware that one of her characters was named George Carlin and did anyone mention to her that there was an Actor and Comic Legend who went by that name? Also, how did she thought of this story while adding W.H. Auden's poem "The Labyrinth" in the mix (at the 37:09 mark)? In ACT-1, Elspeth Eric’s story has an interesting plot point about the circumstances of adopting the unique child named Bobby Deland. Then in ACT-2, it puts you on the edge of your seat as the adults in the story get closer to what Bobby Deland is searching for. But then in ACT-3, after discovering where Bobby Deland’s mother was or even discovering what she did in the past (SPOILER ALERT at the 34:22 mark), that’s when the story took a major turn and went off course. This has an ending that no fan of CBSRMT would’ve expected; kind of like the odd ending to Ep. #0111-YESTERDAY’S MURDER. I was expecting the story to end with a surprise; like finding out that Bobby Deland’s mother was a ghost that would only appear during the full Moon or maybe she was a figment of his imagination and all that he really wanted was a mother that would the fulfill his emptiness. The title works, but another way to title this mystery tale would be, “A Most Unusual Child” or “The Wesley Sanitarium.” The sound effects of children playing, the cassette tape, footsteps, doors, car engine running, telephone buzzing, truck engine, and birds cawing were very supportive (especially the cassette tape; leaving the fans that Nostalgic feel of remembering the old days when we use to record music/conversations with those kinds of products). And the music was good; bringing excitement at the start, suspenseful tracks in the middle, and close it off with pensive tunes at the finale. In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall begins by asking what goes through the minds of children and what it was like to be a child. In ACT-1, we learn to explore the inner life of our main character who’s 10 years old. In ACT-2, I think his narrations went off coarse as he discusses about people in general are going places but don’t know where. In ACT-3, not enough strong details as to why the full Moon is involved with our main character. In the end, it is revealed that the story was about a child’s love for a parent that was ill-famed. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall went off course again as he discussed the exterior life and the interior life. He was focused at the start, but then narrated about jumbled information from that point on. But the one thing I enjoyed about this episode, was the cast: Michael Tolan (as George Carlin), Marian Seldes (as Mrs. Appleton and the Sanitarium Nurse), Martha Greenhouse (as Anita Carlin and Mrs. Deland), Hetty Galen (as Bobby Deland), and Gilbert Mack (as the Truck Driver and Dr. Wesley). I’d give major props to Michael Tolan and Hetty Galen for they are the ones who stole the show! Michael Tolan played one of his best roles, unforgettable as his performance in Ep. #0200-BERENICE. As for Hetty Galen, bravo to her for playing the role of the 10-year old boy. She pulled it off incredibly! A remarkable performance by her, memorable as her performance in Ep. #0265-BLACK WIDOW. The story and Host were fine, but the music, sound effects, and acting were fascinating. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


Bobby Deland, age 10 and up for adoption, is invited to live with George Carlin and his wife, Anita. Other foster parents have been unable to handle Bobby — he steals little nothings, runs away, and thinks his real mother is a baroness and a movie star. But Carlin is intrigued — even more so when Bobby is able to cure Mrs. Carlin’s migraine headache by giving it to himself.


A very sad, strange tale. A story of a childhood lost but longed for so much by an abandoned child that he develops psychic abilities. Even though he was abused, as is sometimes the case, the abused longs for and takes care of the abuser, craving the love denied them. While Elspeth perhaps was trying to move us to a higher realm of love, this was just sad and a little depressing. Not one of my favs and i don't think even commercials, news or sound effects could help.


Love this one!!! The kid was freaky, and the writing was bizarre!


I had completely forgot about CBSRMT. I loved listening to it with my mom as a kid. I'm going to start listening to all the episodes again. Oh the memories! Probably one of the best radio story time shows ever!


I listened to to this show when I was about 4 or 5 with my great grandfather. The squeaking door scared me (in a good way) every time!! Great times and love listening again as an adult


The items he was stealing and giving to his mother as gifts were the things she would beat him with, which, in his own twisted logic, was how he loved her. He stole a belt, one shoe, and a frying pan, all items that are included in abusive relationships...those are my thoughts. As well, he didn't mind being locked in a closet, which was probably something else that had happened to him by his mother to keep him safe while she worked her trade...

Marty J

E.E.‘a scripts seem to me to be memorable in having striking underdeveloped plot elements thrown together creating kind of an atmospheric set. They’re not really stories. A kid who goes into self trances so it’s ok if he’s in solitary confinement in the orphanage which is suitable punishment for trying to escape and he has a psychic connection to his abusive mother? Gitmo orphanage? Pretty twisted when you think about it.


The voice actress that provided Bobby's voice is Hetty Galen. She did cartoon voices as well as the work she did on CBSRMT.


Anyone who thinks this episode can be called even “good” needs their head checked. I usually defend Elspeth Eric but not this time, this episode was all over the place and went nowhere at the same time. A boy who has suffered corporate punishment, (even though it’s illegal lol) solitary confinement, getting hit with high heels suddenly has powers. He also likes to steal items and take medical problems away from people… oh and has ESP too which helps him communicate with his prostitute Mother. Horrible depressing script that should have never been green-lit. CBSRMT is still the best, but I’m not so sure about some of its writers.


"It's when we're not thinking about anything at all that the thoughts of others enter our minds." Yeah, no. That's not how brains work. Even people who can hypnotize themselves. This is just badly written. You have to accept that a woman who runs and orphanage is cool with a guy borrowing a kid (paraphrasing: "my wife is a mess, and maybe having a boy around will do her good. Mind if we borrow one? We'll probably bring him back in a few weeks, but I want to see he helps my deeply depressed wife."). We have to accept that, oh by the way, you're being taped and oh by the way, I happen to have the tape of a woman talking about a kid you just surprise me by asking about in the player and cued exactly to the part I want you to hear. The self-described "cheap prostitute" married the baron (who is a pornographer, but also rich, and devoted enough to the "cheap prostitute" he married that he keeps her in a fancy sanitarium). Oh, and, yes, we torture the kids here and I just casually mention that in the same breath as I acknowledge it's illegal. And we have to accept that magic telepathy and magic healing and a bunch of other hokum like "picking up waves that emanate from her." It's not in scientific literature because no one has it. Not only do we have to take the one leap of faith that this boy is clairvoyant, but we also have to accept all these other ways people act and things they say and believe that no one would ever do, say, or think. She always writes the weirdest stories. Unfortunately, they're also deeply stupid.


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