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Three Fireflies in a Bottle


Years after their first encounter, a man is reunited with a childhood friend he claims is an alien being. The creature foretells of the destruction of Earth should the human race continue with their evil ways.



Air Dates

  • First Run - October 22, 1982
  • Repeat - December 30, 1982





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5 Responses to Episode 1385

I found this an interesting if rather slow-moving episode. It seems to be leading us down a familiar path--the same path as the movie "E.T.," in fact, which came out the same year, I think--but instead heads in a totally different direction. It was an engaging listen generally, though I had serious trouble with the all-too-convenient, and totally unbelievable, hypnotist/psychiatrist who appears in Act III. I don't think I'll remember this episode for long, but it was worth hearing. By the way, Tammy Grimes has often been slammed on this site. It's obvious that no one could ever possibly replace E.G. Marshall in the hearts of CBSRMT listeners, but honestly, I rather like her hosting style. The shows have a different feel with her--more like a PBS "Mystery!" broadcast, somehow. Not unappealing, at least to me.

Mr. Osborn

This is one of those shows I wish I could have heard in the original broadcast. It would have creeped me out totally. Not the UFO tie-in but the psychological aspects and especially the sound beds. The child's voice was disturbing and not something that occurred much in RMT. Unlike the usual haunts, ghost voices etc., the sound of an emotionally traumatized child has a troubling aspect that a classic gothic horror ghost voice doesn't have. I don't think I can grasp the psychological aspects entirely, I don't know how Arl came to appear to Robbie in the first place but I figure what transpired after that was due to the beating. If it was in fact the first time the father hit his son, and did it "over and over again", then the rest would follow. I also remember thinking, does he really want a discredited lush of a psychiatrist hypnotizing him and bringing this stuff out? Seems the discrediting was warranted, as this guy didn't know enough not to laugh off Robbie's innermost traumas as figments of his childhood imagination. Arling might represent the progression of the emotional disorders beyond childhood, when the imaginary friend becomes a sexual fantasy. I'm just thinking out loud here and looking forward to reading the posts. This is a great show, I know some people who aren't fans who may well become fans upon hearing it.

D. Memering

I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ for AVERAGE. This story is truly a mystery because it's puzzling to figure out if Nancy Moore wrote this Fantasy-Mystery as a Cautionary Tale. Is it a Cautionary Tale of Child Abuse or a Cautionary Tale of the Human Race that will fall apart in the future? What's even more puzzling is our main character's development on how he goes go on living where no one on Earth will believe his story. Another way to Title this, would be "13 Years Of A Recluse." The music was truly "out of this world." So many atmospheric tunes and so many tracks that expressed darkness and loneliness. Not enough sound effects in this story. All we get to hear are crickets, frogs, footsteps running, crowd murmuring with carnival music playing, and a door being opened. Abundance of music, but shortage of SFX. In our Host's Prologue, Tammy Grimes quotes G.K. Chesterton from the Tremendous Trifles: “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” Following after that, the definition of wonder. In ACT-1, our main character is introduced. In ACT-2, she informs us that our main character has grown up with a sense of loss and grew up to stay devoted on UFOs. Later, she informs us again that he moved on to quit school and ends up working at a UFO Confession Booth for the carnival. In ACT-3, once again she informs us that our main character has gone through a labyrinth of madness for many years in his life and wonder if Earth is really on a disaster course. In her Epilogue, Tammy Grimes asks us to wonder: how many imaginary playmates might be extra terrestrial trying to save our doomed planet? Tammy Grimes's contribution as the Host wasn't masterful, but very informative on the storyline. And finally, our talented cast: Russell Horton (as Robbie Clayton), Evie Juster (as young Robbie Clayton & Buffie), Cynthia Adler (as Arling the Alien & Mrs. Clayton), and Lloyd Battista (as John Clayton, Major Harris, and Maximillion Carlton). Russell Horton was pretty good for playing a character that was a believer of the extra terrestrial. Cynthia Adler as the Alien wasn't so bad. Evie Juster as Buffie was nicely done, but for her playing as the young Robbie? I don't know why she took that role when Russell Horton is already playing the older version of Robbie and he could've pulled it off as a youngster. But the best one in this CBSRMT episode, was Lloyd Battista who played a father, an Air Force Major, and a Carnival Hypnotist. If you're a fan of Lloyd Battista, check this one out. And check out Ep. #0790-A MESSAGE FROM SPACE that involves UFOs/extra terrestrial. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0]


Taking off from the previous episode's theme of live by the sword die by the sword, today's episode has an angelic, incredibly peaceful alien from outer space come to Earth to warn of the evil ways of the inhabitants will lead to destruction, lands on the White House lawn, and says; "Take me to your nearest 7-year-old loner boy who can't make hardly anybody believe him." (Description is partly exaggerated.)

D.C. Klinkensmit

CBS Radio Mystery Theater still has a following and is still being enjoyed today! I remember hearing it on the air when the show originally aired from 1974 to 1982. This website allows me and new generations to discover and enjoy this classic radio dramas.


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