CBSRMT Episode Information Next Episode

Title

The Chinaman Button

Plot

A perfectly anonymous murder offers the opportunity to earn a fortune for a man in dire financial straits.

Episode

0015

Air Dates

  • First Run - January 20, 1974
  • Repeat - March 15, 1974
  • Repeat - October 7, 1978

Actors

Writer

Listen

Rating

343
289     54


96 Responses to Episode 0015

Much better than I thought, since I tend not to go for morality plays. Probably should have seen the karmic ending coming, but I did not. Felt bad for the hero. "The Chinaman Button" is an old thought experiment, but I always felt that the "The American Button" would work just as well.

Andy

You do realize the whole thing is about pushing the button would kill someone halfway across the world. In China they may call it the "United States" button.

Joe

The first was an offshoot of a Richard Matheson story in which a couple is presented with the opportunity to collect a lot of money. All they have to do is push a button, which will result in someone they don't know being killed. Only here, there is no real button and no one is supposed to be killed. It's all a ruse by a dirty businessman trying to break the reputation of an honest client who caught him in one of his schemes.

Tony

What will greed do to a human being, and to what lengths can it pervert one's morals? There's a fabulous twist to the end of this story that makes it worthwhile. The main conspirators in this fable are textbook representatives of the old boys' club--complete with three-martini lunches, white collar crime and corporate kickbacks. Their target is a too-good-to-be-true "boy scout" who has outed them--and he is too good to be true, as exemplified by the tale's conclusion, in which the machinations of the main conspirator completely backfires on him. Great episode.

Thomas

Best one yet!!!

James Leonard

Great story with a very compelling twist at the end. A man's morals are called into question when he is faced with a tempting offer. Will he push the button? Just one way to find out...

Justin

This program reminds us that greed was alive and well not only in the 90's but also in the 70's. The players in this drama are willing to do almost anything for money. The Chinaman button, as defined in this play, represents a most serious ethical issue. Would you press the Chinaman button? For a million dollars?

Tony

A great premise is taken to the extreme, and all the more interesting with a sympathetic character turned into Frankenstein.

Lowgod

What if someone offered you a million dollars to push a button, the result of which would be that a person somewhere in the world that you will never know will die. Would you do it? That old moral question is the basis for this fine episode which also stars CBSRMT regular Mason Adams. (This same premise was used much less effectively for an episode of the New Twilight Zone years ago.) Genre: Suspense

Matt R. Jr.

The name of the NEW TZ episode was called BUTTON BUTTON.

Tim

A man desperate for money is offered the chance to make a fortune. All he has to do is commit an anonymous murder where he won't even have to see the victim.

Jess Brian B.

Moderately decent. I read the Slesar story in an anthology at some point... Episode seems to have spun it out a bit.

Janna

A man desperate for money is offered the chance to make a fortune. All he has to do is commit an anonymous murder where he won't even have to see the victim. One of the all time best. Superb morality tale that challenges your own beliefs. Story is strong and characters are well developed.

Louie Favenir

The Chinaman Button is the hypothesis that every person has a price for which they would commit murder, a price for which they would press a button to kill an unknown random Chinaman on the other side of the world. A moderately corrupt businessman loses a contract after an honest client blows the whistle on his overbilling and kickback arrangements. He seeks revenge for the lost contract by attempting to corrupt the honsest man, trying to find out what it will take get him to press the Chinaman Button. Excellent character development, strong plot, wonderful ending! An excellent episode!

Donovan G.

The Chinaman Button is my all time favorite

Bob

The ending didn't make sense, unless the "boy scout" is a complete fool. As far as he knew, the man with the Chinaman Button belonged to an organization of criminal assassins. Not the sort of group you want to screw out of their 50%. What did this "boy scout" think would happen when the actual killers didn't get their share of the money? They'd track him down. It'd be easy to do.

Thomas

Anyone know the name of the movie that has a similar theme as the Chinaman Button

Cathy

The name is called THE BOX which has the stars Cameron Diaz & Frank Langella(the guy who made the delivery of the box with the killer button).

Tim

That was one of my favorites! It is "The Box" starring Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella. I remember when the movie came out and I recognized it right away just from the ad. I also loved 'A Choice of Witnesses'. Great irony and twist. I plan to watch 'The Box' tonight!

Chris

"Button, Button" (Playboy, 1970) is a short story by Richard Matheson. It's been on the Twilight Zone and several radio shows. The CBSRMT version is one of the better efforts. The movie version, "The Box," stinks. If you read the short, you'll see that trying to get a movie out of that story needs more padding than a 97-pound weakling doing Santa Claus. Matheson said he got original idea for the story from passage 1.6.2 of 'Genius of Christianity' (1802) by François-René de Chateaubriand, in which the authors asks the reader what he would do if he could get rich by killing a mandarin in China solely by force of will. This likely explains the CBSRMT episode title.

Timothy

I just listened to this one about two weeks ago and I feel that it is a near perfect episode. Good moral delimma, great tension, good performances, and an unexpected ending.

Hector

I've got an additional, fun question on this show. In it (from 1974) to pull off his scam Paul Hecht's character used a combination of a typewriter, rub off lettering, a guy from his art department, and a "service which posts letters from overseas". How do you think he would have tried to pull that off with the technology we have today, were this show to have been written around and recorded March 14, 2005, about 31 years later? Great writing on this one, IMO.

Gilbert N.

I'd heard this one before, but listened again to refresh my memory. First-rate all the way, no doubt about it. A terrific CBSRMT. Like many of Slesar's episodes, this is an unacknowledged adaptation of one of his short stories (in this case also called "The Chinaman Button"). Since CBSRMT had a policy against buying stories for adaptation (any adaptations done were of classics which were out of copyright), prose writers like Slesar and Alfred Bester frequently just adapted theirs anyway, without mentioning their original story (or charging Himan Brown for it--more to the point). Interestingly, another show Slesar worked for, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, had exactly the opposite policy--virtually *all* their episodes were adaptations of purchased stories. The producers felt that by buying something already extant, they could stave off disaster--in other words, as long as a decent plot and characters were in hand, an episode couldn't go too wrong. (Certainly some CBSRMTs went pretty far wrong, so maybe it wasn't such a bad idea.) Anyway, great choice. One of the all-time classics.

Dylam Iam

This is one of my all-time favorite episodes. It presents a really fascinating ethical conundrum. The Twilight Zone 80's revival did a version of this exact idea, but in their episode this couple receives an actual box with a button on it. They are told they will recieve tons of money if they will just push the button and cause the death of some person completely unknown to them. This story has very interesting characters, builds the tension well, and suggests by its finale that it is often the most pious among us who are capable of committing the greatest sins. I guess we call that irony. : ) On a side note: I belong to a circle journal project where my friends and I trade around each others journals, writing in each one that comes to us and then passing them on to the next person in the circle. This past month I wrote about my love of old time radio and CBSRMT in particular. I included a cd copy of this episode in the journal for everyone else to listen to as I thought it was representative of the best of the Mystery Theater shows.

R. Campbell

I have listened to this show several times so I listened to it again with the above comments in mind. I agree that it is a moral dilemna. Unfortunately, many people would probably push the button for a lot less than a million dollars. What has struck me every time I have listened, is that there can be no Honor Among Thieves. The first time around, the ending caught me completely off guard. I also agree that the writing is top-notch. It seems many of the shows that have the great writing, have believable dialogue in "long takes", very dramatic, and in this show that is especially the case. The bedroom discussion of the "alternative" to Mrs. Van Haas' pregnancy is notable. From the "time capsule" standpoint, I got a kick out of the use of the word "chick", and the notion that a digital clock would be new and expensive. It would be interesting to extrapolate, how Van Haas might have reacted when it slowly dawned on him that no check was in the mail, that he had murdered for nothing. Maybe he might have cracked up from guilt, or maybe he would have tried the ploy on someone else (there were mouths to feed...). I think this is a four-star show and am always glad to listen to it again.

Andrew

i think part of the reason i am so fond of this particular series is in part because there was/is always the anticipation, for me, to find a new, "perfect" episode... especially in knowing that many of the shows were not perfect. i only imagine what they would have produced had their budget been larger, their rehearsal/writing/production time doubled, etc. the CBS RMT is very human. when you compare it to say, the Zero Hour series, Rod Serling always gave me a bit of the creeps. Hitchcock gave me the heebies, as well. i love those programs as well, but the humanity in the RMT shows went far beyond commercially viable programming... they took chances, pushed limits, yet always maintained a classy presentation. EG Marshall's introductions were always the welcome mat into each program. even Tammy Grimes didn't bring the same warmth that Marshall conveyed. anyhow, this is also one of my favorite episodes but it would make an excellent encore show... apparently has been well received and i am happy we got to hear this classic episode again. ..... now, to bring this topic to a new level. would YOU press the Chinaman Button?

Lacie D.

you of course ask the exact question that the writer of this episode is hoping every listener is considering as they listen. I think what makes this episode so fascinating is that it confronts us with "what what I do in this situation?" It's hard to know what we might do, if we are desparate enough. I think it would be very easy for someone to rationalize that killing an anonymous person really is not that big of an ethical breach -- after all, we do it in war all the time (collateral damage, we call it) in order to gain our safety and sense of security. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that we do the same thing with the animals we eat -- it's easy to devour a hamburger as long as we don't have to see the cow being slaughtered. Would I push the button? I don't think so...I hope I wouldn't. But....

Reese

For me, one of the most interesting parts was the issue of Van Hass' morality and the impact of his family. The story leads us on that Van Haas is so moral that he won't fall for the offer, and seems to be leading that way, until the announcement of the pregnancy. Is this just last-minute justification on his part, or would he have caved if he had no new baby on the way? I wonder...

W. Gaines

Phil (aka Mr. Thompson) is in every office in every corporation in America. He is the Harold in "I Hate Harold" to a degree. He believes he is a deservant recipient of the American Dream. He is a purveyor and personification of the Deadly Sins. He is reprehensible. Yet, he exists and he thrives. What's worse is that our culture accepts him. Allows him. Applauds him. This episode is deeply disturbing. Not so much by the extreme actions Phil puts forth to deceive Walter Van Hoss, but by exposing the natures of people who believe that "the mention of a million bucks is an incantation of the American Dream." This has been portrayed time and time again in literature and film. Even the reality show Survivor is based on this philosophy. Coincidentally, last night's Survivor All-Stars Finale put two young players who brutally severed true friendships and used deceipt and betrayal to achieve exactly this - a million bucks and the American Dream. Throughout the episode we are subjected to Phil's rhetoric regarding human desire and need for greed, which he uses to justify his own actions and behavior. My favorite line is toward the end of the show, when he addresses the hotel waiter regarding his "rubbery" eggs. "If these eggs aren't better [than yesterday] you tell the cook he'll be hearing from me!" Classic. Mason's character, Walter Von Hoss, is inevitably the villain, tho. A man, adhered to do doing the right thing. A man who is capable of exposing his peers at the risk of his own dismissal. A man who is incapable of becoming involved in a lecherous bargain - until he is tempted by fate. Or at least "the million bucks." The irony of the tale occurs, in my opinion, when the two men are anxiously watching the hands of the clock ticking closer to the deadline. Van Hoss snowballs into fury at the sound of the cheap clock ticking, which taunts him as being financially impotent. Meanwhile, Phil is on the verge of frenzy trying to possess the thoughts of his victim, and how Van Hoss could resist his offer. The moment the phone rings, time stands still. We, the audience, anticipated the call, but likely hoped in our hearts for Van Hoss to stand firm. But when temptation and hunger are too great, it is hard not to reach for the cookie jar. The ending was sublime and painful. It was even laughable to a point. Both men being caught in the sticky web of their own demise. I was disappointed when the show ended. I wanted more. I wanted to hear how Van Hoss began to grow paranoid and obsessive waiting for the letter to come. I wanted to hear how he stopped going to work, stopped shaving, believing his fortune was on its way, and how he would sit glaring out the window each day waiting for the mail to arrive, only to be cast back to the shadow of his own guilt and remorse. This episode is a prime example of the best the RMT has to offer. The depth of the writing, the flawless performances, and the ability to immerse the listener into a scenario where we ask, "what would I do?" I gave the episode a high 5... for me, this is what the RMT is all about. Thank you for another fine selection and very best wishes!!

Lisa

It's been a very long time since I listened to this program but it was one of the best shows I can recall. To this day I think of the moral issue and it struck me so much when I first heard the story that I took the issue to work. I posed the circumstance to three co-workers and the results surpised me. Two of my co-workers said they could push the button while one woman and I were quite sure we couldn't. Anyway, I haven't listened to the program again but it's been one of the most powerful dramas I've heard from the CBSRMT.

J. Miarza

THE CHINAMAN BUTTON- A great premise is taken to the extreme, and all the more interesting with a sympathetic character turned into Frankenstein. .......I do like stories of this sort. A scenario is set that has moral implications sufficient and real enough to have we, the listeners' ask "What would I do?"...I love the CBSRMT for having the temerity to resolve the dilema that is both ugly and more likely than the candy coated "nice endings" so many other forms of entertainment conclude with. This is not to say that all would go the way of Walter Van Hass. Certainly not all WW2 Germans were 'Goose stepping Goons'....but an awful lot were and many more turned a blind eye. Yes, it is absolutely plausable the Walter gives in to the corruption. The CBSRMT recognizes this, and thus acts as a veracious witness to life. This makes the drama........drama. It touches on reality and becomes compeling. Will Walter make the phone call, we ask? We want him not to and simultaneously know he will! The stinger here in our drama is not only does he make the call but then applies his new found liberation from a sense of right and wrong on his creator. I suppose it is a logical ending, but more than that it is a brilliant surprise. If this story conveys anything it is that tremendous moral strength is requisite to the survival of humanity.

Lou

This one was really, really entertaining. I usually prefer episodes that have some element of the fantastic; ghosts, monsters, aliens, magic, etc. This had none of those, but did have a fascinating moral dilemma at its heart. I for once didn't see the twist coming. Great choice! I give it a 5.

F. Gellar

I too enjoyed the episode as all of you did. But I found myself wondering why Van Hoss and his wife were having financial difficulties when he seemed to be doing quite well at the advertising firm. I did not see the end coming either.....that was prety good.

Jeremy Bushong

This episode was superb! I listened to the episode yesterday at lunch, so I have had a full day (and then some) to think about it and, frankly, if the price was right, I can't say I wouldn't push the button. The ultimate moral dilemma. Could I, would I, should I. It's all hypothetical until someone presents the opportunity. Every action, no matter how crazy it may sound to a sane individual, can be justified by the one taking that action. Usually when I hear a great radio drama, I think "man, this would make a great movie or a great book". I didn't think that with this episode, I thought this episode was perfect for the medium it was written for. I can't really explain it, but I think that as a radio drama, it created the right effect and stimulated the brain in the right way. If this were a book or a movie, it would take too long to resolve and the audience would get bored and lose interest quickly. I kept asking myself, "so, am I Von Hoss or am I Thompson?". I think that was what held me and made me relate to each of the characters. If you look close enough and are open to self scrutiny, you begin to see you are a little of both. Maybe more than you feel comfortable with. :? I must say that when Von Hoss showed up at Thompson's hotel room, I knew what he was there for. It was the only ay the story could have ended, in my opinion. Greed makes the work go around. I have always said, with all seriousness no matter how many times people think I'm trying to be funny, that anyone who says that money can't buy happiness doesn't know where to shop!

James

I am so glad to see this episode as Show of the Week. It is my favorite episode so far (I'm on CD number eight). I have noticed that my favorites are not necessarily supernatural, but situations that are physically possible (though quite unlikely) and very thought provoking. This one gets a 5++ on my scale. It was an interesting idea, suspenseful, good characters, and had that juicy twist at the end that I so crave. He was going to prove his million dollar theory if it killed him! A million dollars was worth a lot more back then. Everyone has wondered what they might do for 1 million dollars. I also wonder how many people would push the Hitler button (or some contemporary 'evildoer') for free or even for a fee?

Lantis

This is one of my all-time favorite episodes, with strong performances (especially by Mason Adams) and a great plot. It was interesting to see the way they took the old Chinaman button concept and applied it to a real-world setting. The new version of the "The Twilight Zone" that came out in the 80's had an episode where a couple recieved a box with an actual button and were offered a million dollars if they would push it (resulting in the death of someone they would never know or meet). I'm glad CBSRMT choose to take a more metaphorical route. The ending of this episode is particularly satisfying. On reflection, we should have see it coming. Van Hoss was so pious, so seemingly beyond reproach...yet willing to stab others in the back to maintain those high standards. He was a moral accident waiting to happen.

Jodie

I'm listening to ALL episodes. Starting at number 1. So, undfortunately I don't participate in the show of the week much..... BUT... I listened to this one several weeks ago, and I'm not up to 100 episiodes. This one by FAR surpasses anything I've heard yet. It was compelling drama. It was thought-provoking. I couldn't turn it off. THIS is what radio drama is all about.

Phil M.

I played the audio CD of this on a long drive with my grad advisor and another grad student. Both had not heard CRMT ever and were not sure why I was downloading so many episodes. They even made a few comments at first in a not so nice manner. Then, as the show progressed, they started asking "What is going to happen now?" at the breaks. Then, for the rest of the week, my boss kept saying "What we need now is a Chinaman button!" when we talked about politicians he didn't like. This show even led to a discussion about being a vegetarian or meat eater. Aren't we really all pushing a "Chicken button" or a "Cow button" when we buy a hamburger at a restaurant? I am not saying I am a vegetarian, just that this is one way to interpret it. Anyway, could someone tell me what Thompson thought he was going to get out of Van Hoss? Was it going to be enough for Thompson to just pull a trick on Van Hoss or not? That is the only part that had me scratching my head. Otherwise, GREAT episode! Thanks!

Glenn

This is one of my all-time favorites and whoever gave it a "1" rating probably owns a diamond mine in South Africa, or is Chinese or Dutch or a Boy Scout or named Walter or has five kids. I know y'all have already dissected this one but I believe in following instructions, so I haven't read anyone else's comments yet. I love the absolutes, the black and white, good versus evil moral dilemma thrown at us here. As we roll along, knowing that this is a set-up, don't we find ourselves asking what we would decide if confronted with this proposition? With five kids and the oft-mentioned dental bills? A new one in the oven and a wife so frazzled that it's a wonder she had time to get pregnant (or the inclination to procreate with Mason Adams at his wimpiest?) The absolutes... what is that old saying, something like "corruption corrupts absolutely," something to that effect? I was not surprised that Walter caved in and took the proposition, but the ending... incredible. On repeated listenings I cannot help but laugh when Walter says something like , "I thought I should have brought a hammer or something, but... a poker!" God, Johnny Too Good suddenly a connoisseur of blunt instrument technology! Whaddya wanna bet he rips the maibox out of the ground and pounds stars into the mailman when the check never comes! Brilliant. I loved this show.

C. Briggs

After Walter makes the decision to "push the Chinaman button", he confronts Mr. Thompson (Phil) at his hotel room. Upon the encounter, Walter suddenly allows his evil greedy side to come out when he whacks Phil with the poker, killing him instantly. Three seconds later, Walter has Phil's body in the shower with water running and he exclaims, "What a shame that you slipped in the tub Mr. Thompson, what a terrible shame! Now I have to go home...to wait for the mailman." Can we just assume that Mr. Thompson (Phil) had greeted Walter already dressed in his birthday suit? Or is it considered common for someone from that neck of the woods to accidently slip in the bathtub fully clothed? I know it may seem petty but the ending never suggested that Walter took the time to undress him after he tossed the body in the tub. No, it seemed just quite the opposite, based on Walter's last words in the final sentence*. I loved the irony in how Walter told Phil how before he had always felt so stupid all of his life, a coward, a weakling. And now, thanks to Mr. Thompson, he now felt like a giant. He never felt better even though he was an accessory to murder. He told Mr. Thompson that he never thought murder could be so easy. What a wonderful way for Walter to turn the table on good ol' Phil... :twisted: Editor's note: Had to edit this once I listened to the ending again. Somehow I missed the part of Mr. Thompson[/i:fb9d3dd557] telling Walter when he greeted him at the door, "As you can see, I'm just about to take a shower". Can't believe I missed that part during the first preview. Can I change my vote to a 5 out of 5?

L.J. Woodrow

I completely agree, you really did nail it with that thought provoking post of yours.

Antonel Ross

Wow..Greedy s.o.b.

misty

It was a good episode but...The fake organization Phil created was suppose to be global and they were suppose to know all about Walter Van Hass' family. Van Hass never stopped to think about the other agents that would come after him when the check arrived in the mail. Phil should have warned him about the above consequences. It could have saved his life.

Bryan

Good morality play, although I think the person who went over went WAY over when he "pressed" the button. I also think that a poker to the head would look a little different from falling in the shower, but maybe Quincy M.D. isn't on the case. Ironically, as part of the CAPTCHA below the one word that is recognizable this time is ethics...

Alec

Could some one please explain this episode to me? I don't understand why they went after thus guy, and exactly how they had the resources to set him up to push this button and then get a million dollars out of it? Could some one please explain this blow by blow? Im really dying to grasp this episode

Nick

Mason Adams did a ton of CBSRMT's. His voice is just all over these things (so distinctive). But this one is definitely his best, and, yes, I've listened to all of 'em.

Dan Williams

This is a strong episode, based on a good Richard Matheson story. He has always been a favorite "TZ" writer. The show has some weaknesses, like the surprise but actually tremendously risky ending. at least on the part of Walter Van Hass. Mason Adams, Paul Hecht, Ralph Bell, and Evie Juster were always talented, dependable. and capable veterans of the series, but "Will Hare" above looks exactly like Denis O'Hare, who has really been around in theater, TV, film, you name it. I wonder if he used the name Will Hare and then changed it? Anyway, I prefer the story, which was plundered and destroyed a few years back as a film called, "The Box", I think. It was just awful. A thought-provoking concept can always be adapted and changed. If it's a good idea, it will hold up.

Zeezee1

That is a GREAT list! OUTSTANDING job!

Aaron

seems like mason adams did many more than 48..

George

Mason Adams was excellent. His episodes remain some of my favorites.

paul

The Chinaman Button is a hellava story!And it is in my top 15 list.

RevThomas

The China Man Button is the best CBSRMT episodes

Sean

I am a fan of Slesar. This reinforces me. None else is as versatile as Mr Henry Slesar. Variety, unexpected twist and of course crime are his speciality, including this one.

Tamaswini

One of the best! my favorite

John

The Chinaman Button is my favorite.

John

I agree with almost everyone who's commented: This is the CBSRMT at its best. A great story, adapted and performed brilliantly.

BF

The huge number of comments posted here is testimony to what a great episode this is. It's worth adding that Paul Hecht grabs this show and runs away with it. The cheerful malevolence with which he makes his plans. The cool, calm professionalism with which he makes his proposition to Adams's character. The utter lack of any morals except for those he seeks to play upon in his victim's conscience. Just terrific work by Hecht, one of the best male actors (right next to Norman Rose!) on CBSRMT. Well worth a second listen and a third!

Mike Mac

One of the best of the series: Phil Thurston doesn’t believe that anyone, not even scrupulously honest Walter Van Haas, is above compromising in order to make money. Phil sets out to prove his theory in a highly sophisticated version of the “Chinaman Button,” a childish game played by two adults that soon turns deadly

John

I love this episode, mostly because the acting makes it worthwhile. As a morality tale, it might have been lame if the performances hadn't been so outstanding. I enjoyed the ending especially because it was an interesting twist, (which I won't give away here). One thing I like about CBSRMT in general is the way they write characters. They are usually not "too" goody-goody and not "too" evil either. The characters are just "human" and more realistic. I only wish Ralph Bell had played the crooked business man in this story. He always plays villains so well, lol!

Amy

Much better than I thought, since they tend not to go to games of morality. I probably should have seen the coming karmic ending, but I did not. I felt bad for the hero. "The Chinaman Button" is an old thought

Riccardo

One of the all time best episodes!

Rev

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. This is one of best episodes written by Henry Slesar! It reminds me of the short story “Button, Button” written by Richard Matheson in 1970, then turn into a TWILIGHT ZONE episode in 1986. Henry Slesar’s dramatic story ranks high up with #0921-THE GREY SLAPPER (written by Sam Dann) and #0417-THE RED FRISBEE (written by Elspeth Eric). The title is perfect and another way to title would be “The Dutchman Button” or “A Moral Dilemma.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall informs us that this is a morality play. But also, says his classic phrase: “Welcome to the sound of suspense. The fear you can hear.” In ACT-1, it begins in New York City at an Advertising Agency and the main villain has created his own Chinaman Button. In ACT-2, our main characters meet face-to-face and will the Chinaman Button be pressed? In ACT-3, it all comes to an end in Room 610 at the Florentine Hotel. But also quoting the old saying on Revenge: “If you’re going to dig a grave for a man, make sure you dig two.” SPECIAL NOTE: the original saying is, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves” (quote from the philosopher Confucius.) In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall gives us an instructive statement that Radio can be enjoyed in complete darkness and isn’t darkness the natural medium for mystery? To that, I say: “Yes!” Sound effects of the background noise at the Advertising Agency, telephones, background noises at the restaurant, typewriter, the letter, scraping of the chair, footsteps, broken dishes, piano music playing at the Florentine Hotel, radio music, drinks pouring, clock ticking, hotel door buzzer, room service table wheels squeaking, the fire poker, body thudding into the bathtub, and the shower running were all perfectly superb and necessary in every scene. The music as well, a variety of suspenseful tracks that gets the radio listeners’ attention. And best of all, the cast: Paul Hecht (as Phil Thurston/Mr. Thompson), Ralph Bell (as Lou Michaels), Mason Adams (as Walter Van Haas and Radio Host), Evie Juster (as Susan and Millie Van Haas), and Will Hare (as Charlie Edwards and Room Service). “Cunning” would be the best word to describe these 5 talented performers. 2 performers in particular: Paul Hecht for his leading role on playing a wicked game. The other performer: Will Hare who was good, but unfortunately, this was the only CBSRMT episode he ever did. I highly recommend this episode to everyone. ANOTHER SPECIAL NOTE: at the end of this episode, New York radio station WOR announces reviews on “Fine Your Way Home” the Broadway play. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =^D

Russell

Probably my all time favorite episode!

Rev

"What the devil does that mean?!" Mason Adams My all time favorite line of any episode!

Tommy Griffiths

Wow, this was a great episode. Ah the price of a person and what greed can do. The ending was really something.

Nancy

I loved watching Care 54 Where Are You! On Nick @ Nite in the 80s. He was quoted as saying: "Voice work is the kindest thing that can happen to an old actor." (Though wasn't he a judge in "My cousin Vinny", long after the last RMT episode - think it was Mr. Gwynne's final role before he passed.)

Chris

Her thoughtful, often psychological themes can be profoundly moving for me.(I recognize that she is not everyone’s “cup of tea”. I have heard other listeners complain that it is not the standard fare of radio mystery theater. So be it..) “The Train Stops” is an exemplar. It explores the difficulty of a single father, a physician, raising a daughter who’s mother died in childbirth. It weaves into the story an empathetic station master, and the 5:16 train. (It doesn’t hurt that I have a deep nostalgia for when the USA had decent passenger service.) It is a poignant, if frustrating love story of the daughter. I often imagine that Elspeth Eric, one of my favorite authors of radio dramas, is often revealing some of her inner personal thoughts and struggles. My heart is still struggling with the themes presented.

David

I agree.. Her episodes remind me of some of the best Twilight Zones, very intelligent and thought provoking..

Ed

With appearances in over 70 films and television programs, Felicia Farr became well known as a staple of westerns, including the movies, Jubal, the Last Wagon and 3:10 to Yuma, and the television shows, Wagon Train and Bonanza. Incidentally, she was married to the well known actor Jack Lemmon from 1962 until his death in 2001.

Charlie

Lon Clark appeared in two Broadway productions and a small handful of films and television programs but it was radio that constituted the majority of his acting career. He appeared on dozens of different radio programs over a 30 year period included Lights Out and the Mysterious Traveler but he is best remembered for his portrayal of Nick Carter, Master Detective on the Mutual Network from 1943 through 1955.

Charlie

Len Cariou has appeared in 19 Broadway productions and is best remembered for his performances in Sweeney Todd. He has appeared in over 100 films and television shows and is currently seen in Blue Bloods, in which he has appeared in over 200 episodes.

Charlie

Just about to turn the age of 65. Seems like just yesterday that I was in my 20's and started my collection of the series on cassettes from our local radio station. It was new at the time. I listened to the show for hours. I then uploaded the whole series onto my laptop and now they are on my phone and tablet for portability. I especially listen to them in the evening. I can't get over how the series stands up to the test of time. I can listen to each show repeatedly. I also enjoy old radio shows that my parents used to listen to

Joyce

This show, more than any other, had a lot of shows about the occult and ESP. But, remembering the 70s, those were big themes. Those shows feel dated to me, but I still enjoy them all

Ruth

Joe Silver was best known for his deep, rich baritone voice, which was highly sought after for narration, voice over and radio work. He had a 40+ year career on radio, stage and screen with regular performances in numerous Broadway productions and appearances in over 80 films and television shows, including his work on the daytime soap operas, The Edge of Night and Ryan's Hope.

Charlie

James McCallion had a 40+ year career as an actor in radio. He had a number of appearances on Broadway and had over 100 appearances in film and television. In radio, he appeared in dozens of radio shows including the Cavalcade of America, the Mysterious Traveler, Broadway is My Beat and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar. His television appearances include Alfred Hitchcock presents, the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, the Invaders and Night Gallery. His film appearances include PT 109, Coogan's Bluff and the Alfred Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest.

Charlie

Tonight’s episode was “Ninety Lives” starring Fred Gwynne. He plays a short order cook in a greasy Spoon diner and ironically, his character’s name is...Muldoon. I didn’t notice any character in it named Tooty.

Ted

I loved watching Care 54 Where Are You! On Nick @ Nite in the 80s

Chris

I think Fred Gwynne was in 82 episodes. He was quoted as saying: "Voice work is the kindest thing that can happen to an old actor." (Though wasn't he a judge in "My cousin Vinny", long after the last RMT episode - think it was Mr. Gwynne's final role before he passed.)

Greg

Richard Mulligan had a 40+ year acting career, appearing in a number of Broadway productions and over 100 appearances in film and television. He is best remembered for his work in the TV sitcoms, Soap and Empty Nest. He also did voice acting work in a number of animated films and TV shows including Hey Arnold! and the Angry Beavers. His awards include 2 Emmys and a Golden Globe.

Charlie

I always liked him. I had no idea he was in some episodes!

Greg

One funny dude. I so loved him on SOAP when he would snap his fingers and wave his arms and pretend like he was invisible. My mom loved him too. She damn near peed her pants every time he did that.

Claud

Todd Davis had a 30+ year acting career and is best remembered for his work on the daytime soap operas, One Life to Live and General Hospital.

Charlie

Mary Orr wrote a number of published stories and plays, including the short story, The Wisdom of Eve which was the basis for the Academy Award winning film All About Eve. She acted in a dozen Broadway productions and produced plays with her husband, director-playwright Reginald Denham. She is remembered for her television appearances in Lights Out, Suspense and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Charlie

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Another strange, yet fascinating tale by Ian Martin. In 1972, he wrote episode #0022-TIME AND AGAIN that involved a clock that needed blood. In this story, it’s a plant that needs blood. This was entertaining, but it felt like it was cut short because it all had to be wrapped up in a 1-hour episode. It would’ve been nice if there was a 4th Act so we get to know more about the vampire plant or hear the women in this story do their narrations on how they felt about their situations. This story would be great for a low-budget horror movie. The title is an eye-catcher. Another way to title this would be “Blood Red Blossoms” or “Night Of The Blood Seeker.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall begins with the classic expression of the Worm that turned. Meaning, this is a story about a meek character that gets pushed too far and eventually retaliates. In ACT-1, meet our main character Hubbart “Hubby” Quint: A Mama’s Boy. In ACT-2, his mother is out of the picture and he is free to be with the woman he loves, but he’s puzzled if his girlfriend’s mysterious plant was involved. Also, what do we know about his lover and was this part of her plan? In ACT-3, E.G. Marshall’s train of thought on plants that are named differently. In the end, where everything goes “up in smoke,” our Host knows that we think this story’s unbelievable. In his Epilogue, a satisfying Resolution, followed by the Latin phrase: “De mortise nil nice bonum” (Of the dead, say nothing but good). The sound effects of body tuckered in bed, typewriter, phone ringing, lamp switch, piano music in the background, ferry whistle, slow ballroom music, doorbell, coffee pouring, car engine, cups clinking, footsteps, tires screech, keys, doors, and massive explosion were supportive. Great selection of dramatic tunes, but too much of it being played in the final Act. More importantly, our cast: Robert Dryden (as Hubbart Quint), Joan Shay (as Birdie Quint and Ms. Bradley), Teri Keane (as Dolores Masterson), and Ian Martin (as Dr. Ezekiel Harwich and Mr. Bell). These 4 worked tremendously. I adored Teri Keane’s performance because she sounded kind-hearted and then sly to those that her character loved, whether human or plant. And Robert Dryden was excellent in his leading role. Anyone that’s interested in vampire tales, even if the vampires have no speaking roles, you should check this episode out and of course #0022-TIME AND AGAIN. Other vampire stories I recommend are #0301-NIGHTMARE’S NEST and #0081-SUNSET TO SUNRISE. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)

Russell

LOVED this progam, and yes, it did remind me of another Ian Martin joint, the excellent "Time and again", with John Beal in the role Robert Dryden does here. What made this episode was the music bed (if you can call it that) that I remember being used only in one other RMT episode: "The long, long sleep". I don't know how to rightfully describe this piece (used often when the plant is "doing its thing") except it seems like ghoulish little cries and echoes over a semi-percussive sound bed that evokes unseen tendrils reaching out and touching whatever they can find. When we had our gift store in Georgia (early 2000s) one work day in spring (after having discovered that episodes of the RMT were downloadable on platforms like Napster) I downloaded this show to one of our work computers and was playing it around 8:00 AM on a very sunny, pleasant morning. As of yet I was the only one in the office. When that music bed started my skin started crawling uncontrollably. I'll never forget that feeling.

Kurt

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Nancy Moore’s story was predictable, but still enjoyable. Predictable because the hand of a killer, transplanted to another person, was going to create havoc again. Enjoyable because it’s interesting to see where this story is going to go and figure out how to solve the problem of a cursed hand. The episode’s title is suitable, but a better way to title this would be “The Hand Of Murder” or a funny pun like, “You Are Under A Wrist.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall focused on tales beyond logic, especially the supernatural. In ACT-1, the story is set at a University Hospital where a madman has killed 5 blonde nurses and one of our main characters tells the story. After suspicions occur, our Host does question if the antagonist still exists in a hand? In ACT-2, the killer’s hate spreads through the doctor’s body and the victim of this story must take drastic actions. In ACT-3, questioning more on the supernatural. More importantly, in the end, it all worked out. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall’s optimism on microsurgery techniques that could lead to future miracles. Our Host did a wonderful job in his narrations. The sound effects of doors, siren alarm whistle, footsteps, key lock, gun shots, bandage snips, car engine running, tires screech, the slap on the face, boat horn, and delicate music playing in the background at the dining room scene were helpful in this story. As for the music, good choice selection of dramatic tunes and suspenseful tunes, however, there was too much of it in the 3rd Act. The romantic track in the final scene was a nice touch, though. And finally, our cast: Russell Horton (as Dr. Daniel Crane and Jed Grant), Diana Kirkwood (as Nurse Laurel Blair and Zarina), and Mandel Kramer (as Dr. Stewart Courtney and the Waiter). Each of them got to play 2 roles in this and they worked perfectly together. I would say that this is a decent episode to check out. Also, if anyone is looking for more mystery episodes involving Hands, I recommend Ep. #0080-THE HAND (based on the story by Guy de Maupassant). Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. What’s great about this story, written by Ralph Goodman, is that it keeps you guessing if it’s supernatural or not. Even the ending was a big surprise. This kind of mystery would’ve been perfect if it was shown on THE NIGHT GALLERY. The episode’s title fits for this story. Another way to title this would be “Entering The 3rd Floor” or “The Locket.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall’s topic focuses on psychiatrists and a brief history of it in 1793. In ACT-1, meet our main character at the main location: Briarwood Sanitarium. As the story progresses with a mysterious voice, our Host questions to see if it’s making nightly visits to one particular patient. In ACT-2, an important reference to “The Malleus Maleficarum” (a.k.a. “The Hammer Of Withes”) that described the extermination of witches and demons. After a few turn of events in the story, including the murder of a patient, the doctor is convinced that his patient is not a murderer. In ACT-3, comparing the madness in this story with the madness from “Alice In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. After the burning finale, our Host explained what happened from the Police Report. Truly, a surprising clue that no one saw coming. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off by questioning on Sanity and a quote by Carl Menger on his definition of “patient.” Excellent narrations from beginning to end. Sound effects of the thunderstorm, door latch, tableware clinking, tape recorder, door knocks, file folders, bell toll, footsteps, low howling wind, newspaper clippings, phone ringing, key lock, locket, car engine running, tires screech, police and fire sirens, and massive fire were helpful for this story. A lot of dramatic tunes were played in this tale and they worked well. Now onto our cast: Paul Hecht (as Doctor Paul Thurman), Marian Seldes (as Nurse Margaret Palmer), Joan Lovejoy (as Agatha Milford), and Ian Martin (as Detective Charles Connelly). Both of the actors were terrific. And both of the actresses were awesome! Joan Lovejoy, alone, was amazing in her role for playing a lonely patient and playing the mysterious voice that keeps that patient company. It’s one of Joan Lovejoy’s best performances on CBSRMT. Tune in to this if you enjoy mystery stories inside Sanitariums. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials/announcements of CBS Radio News, Greyhound services, Barbara Hale on the music from “The Bicentennial Album,” music from KIXI radio in Seattle, Budweiser, Wet Ones Hand Wipes, Mother Teresa on the Catholic Relief Services, Coffee Rich Creamer, US Dept. of Labor, Pat Summerall on True Value Hardware, the Mental Health Association, the 1976 Buick Century, the Leukemia Association, Aperitif Wine, Tunaverse, Howard Da Silva as Ben Franklin on Eyes, and Insurance Companies in phone books. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Sam Dann wrote an intriguing mystery involving revenge and superstition. However, it felt cliché: a main character ignores the rules from the natives and her comrades, so she ends up being cursed to eat raw meat. Cliché to be some kind of She-wolf in horror films. It would be awesome if the Beast Goddess came to life and came across the woman for wearing one of her possessions and have a terrific battle in the final act-Mortal Vs. Goddess. The title is catchy, but another way to title this tale would be “The Agitated Curse” or “Raw Meat.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall mentions the names of certain women that created catastrophic things, which leads to our main character: Milly. In ACT-1, question to see if there’s a difference between man and beast and does the beast still exist within us? In ACT-2, after many conflicts in the jungle, our Host points out that knowledge abdicates in the face of the unknown terror of the jungle. In ACT-3, comparing this situation with a line from William Shakespeare’s HAMLET (from Act 1, Scene 5). After the happy ending, our Host reminds us that it’s best to have another course of action in reserve. And was Milly cured by superstition or medicine? In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall states that the sign of the beast can happen at anytime and it appears much too often in today’s world. That maybe true, however, he forgot to mention a Resolution in this story. The happy ending was the Climax, but nothing to follow afterwards. Did Milly leave the jungle right away? Did her husband and her uncle continue to look for more artifacts? Did the natives continue to worship the Beast Goddess? A mystery we may never solve. Anyway, the cast in this was decent: Lois Smith (as Milly), Paul McGrath (as Larry and Dr. Bert Jorgenson), Tom Keene (as Kevin), and Dan Ocko (as Aymara). The actors played their parts well. Our leading actress was good, but I think she over did it when she hollered out her lines of raw meat. And if Lois Smith’s character was craving for meat, perhaps she could’ve growled and snarled to make it sound like she was becoming a beast. But Lois Smith did get better overtime in her roles in #0041-BLIZZARD OF TERROR and #0201-THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. But my favorite parts in this episode, were the sound effects and the music. Sounds of the helicopter hovering, jungle noises, footsteps on the ground, gun shots, silverware clinking, tribal music, archaeological tools scraping, sizzling meat, and jungle leaves ruffling were super helpful and supportive. And the music had great suspenseful tracks that fit for a jungle story. Tune in to this one if you enjoy mysteries on jungles and curses. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials/announcements of CBS Radio News, Sine-Off tablets, the Heroin Addiction Hotline, letters to KIXI AM/FM in Seattle, Budweiser, Kellogg’s Special K cereal, the American Heart Association, and the song of “I’ll Be There.” Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. This is, hands down, one the greatest Revenge stories in the CBSRMT series! Percy Granger’s Western tale had pure drama, clever tactics of retaliation, and it keeps you guessing on who the 3rd and Final person is that wronged our main character. The discovery is an eye-opener, but very compelling to understand why. The episode’s 1-word title is satisfactory. Other ways to title this would be “Hardness Of The Heart” or “The 3rd Victim” or even “The Oriental Principle.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about secrets to be kept when it comes to money. In ACT-1, the story takes place in Denver in the 1880’s and we get to meet the 1st antagonist. Once he’s gone at the end of the Act, E.G. Marshall mentions a part in the Bible where it’s compared to this event. In ACT-2, questioning on crime and punishment as we meet our 2nd antagonist. More importantly, save the best for last on who is the 3rd person. In ACT-3, note that the the best laid plans of men can go astray. After the realization of who the 3rd person was, our Host reminds us that life’s most precious possessions aren't materialism. It was love, trust, and salvation. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall leaves with a pondering thought on why a man acts against his better judgment? The answer is a mystery. Great detailed narrations, such as these, shouldn’t be forgotten. Sound effects of background noise at the Saloon, doors, doorbell dings, footsteps, howling wind, dog barking, birds cawing, playing cards, patrons murmuring, paper receipt, animal howling, paper money, gun shots, drinking glasses, and body thuds were very supportive in this. As for the music, great list of dramatic tracks. Not too suspenseful, not too old western-like, just perfect tunes that were fitting for a tale on revenge. Now for the grand finale, our outstanding cast: Gordon Heath (as Ben Thompson), Robert Dryden (as Jade Wanamaker and Herbert Beall), Leon Janney (as The Sheriff and Maxie), Bryna Raeburn (as Cabin Mary and Esther Wanamaker), and Gilbert Mack (as Clem McFarland). Leon Janney, Bryan Raeburn, and Gilbert Mack were great in their supporting roles. But Robert Dryden, playing 2 villains, was fantastic. As for Gordon Heath, he stole the show! His performance in this was dynamic as his performance in #0921-THE GREY SLAPPER. I highly recommend this episode to all that enjoy tales about revenge, especially when it takes place in the Old West. SPECIAL NOTE: If you listen to the next episode’s preview, it’s a scene from #0676-BOOMERANG. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. The variety of characters that James Agate, Jr. created were unique and splendid. The story, however, was slow and it got more interesting in the second half. The plot itself was eye-catching, felt like it was going to be a “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” tale. And when the leading lady in this story got her revenge on her husband, there’s no shocking twist at the end. Nor a mind-blowing surprise where someone ends up dead. It would make more sense if the character, Henrietta, narrated the story on how she got her revenge, since the title is catchy. Another way to title this episode would be “Plot, Plan, And Punish.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about Revenge. In ACT-1, we’ll meet 2 of our main characters; one successful lady and the other is a man who's a born loser. In ACT-2, after noticing the dilemmas of love and money, the question remains: how far Henrietta will put up with her husband? In ACT-3, E.G. Marshall quotes a Shakespeare line from Silvius from AS YOU LIKE IT about stupidity within love. In the end, our antagonist gets caught. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off with 2 quotes from William Congreve that relate to the heroine and the villain. His narrations were good. All that was missing was the Resolution. We know that the Climax is that our main antagonist will be punished, but what happens to our leading lady? Does she get an annulment? Does she get her money back? Do the other characters get married? Is there a promotion for them? Does our leading lady find someone knew to marry? So many questions and we may never know what the outcome will be for the remaining characters. Sound effects of the roulette table, casino players murmuring, doors, bouquet of flowers, telephones, typewriter, seagulls, ice cubes, fog horn, crystal glasses clinking and breaking, the slap (at the 30-minute 30-second mark), footsteps, and the background noise at the airport, were great. What’s even greater, was the variety of music. A variety of tunes that were sentimental, chilling, delicate, suspenseful, and even adding tracks from THE TWILIGHT ZONE series were terrific. And finally, our cast: Patricia Elliott (as Henrietta Tufts), Joyce Gordon (as Jill Kramer), Robert Kaliban (as Fritz and Tom Hayward), and Mandel Kramer (as Sergio Varese and Carl Eaton). SPECIAL NOTE: Himan Brown was the voice of the Cruise Ship P.A. system and the voice of Captain Connolly. Both Mandel Kramer and Robert Kaliban did wonderful on their roles. As for Patricia Elliott and Joyce Gordon, these 2 were amazing for playing characters that were classy, sharp-witted, and proficient in their line of work. A decent Drama-Mystery. ANOTHER SPECIAL NOTE: If you listen to the next episode’s preview, it’s a scene from #1245-THE JUDGE’S HOUSE. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. James Agate, Jr. wrote intriguing adaptions for CBSRMT, such as #0958-SHADOWS FROM THE GRAVE from Wilkie Collins and #1107-THE MYSTERIOUS HANGING OF SQUIRE HUGGINS from Nathaniel Hawthorne. But this story, from T.L. Neuger, is a mystery of its own. Hardly any information on who T.L. Neuger was or when this story was originally published. All that we know, is that “Romany” is the Gypsy language. As for the crime solver in this tale, Detective Dwight Mason was OK, but not as momentous like Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, Hercule Poirot, or Sherlock Holmes. A suitable whodunnit story, but another way to title this would be “The Hunch” or even “Enmity Of The Gypsy.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about Gypsies and how they live by their own code. In ACT-1, enmity comes into play and people can solve crimes without being a professional detective. In ACT-2, quoting a Roman Dramatist on how a fortune can make men do evil acts. Later, questions come about on who’s the real culprit. In ACT-3, learn more about Gypsies on their ethical code. After the case has been solved, E.G. Marshall quotes the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes on Gypsies. In his Epilogue, it ends on the topic of Revenge. From Gypsies, to Enmity, to quotations, to revenge, our Host’s narrations were very informative. Sound effects of boat horns, howling wind, doors, doorbells, traffic city noise, car engines, telephones, elevator lift humming, body thud, beeps at the Hospital, background noise at the Airport, footsteps, pushing the skylight, and gypsy dance music were accommodating. Dramatic music tunes played in all 3 Acts were supportive to the story’s tone. Now for our wonderful cast: Court Benson (as Detective Dwight Mason), Earl Hammond (as William Harrow, Luis Ortega, and Jose Silva/Raoul), and Bryna Raeburn (as Madame Magda and Beatrice Harrow). SPECIAL NOTE: Himan Brown played the role of Dr. Grace. Bryna Reburn, playing the talkative Gypsy, was splendid. Earl Hammond pulled it off with his multiple roles. And Court Benson played a decent detective. Great cast, terrific sounds, informative narrations, but the story needed a good punch; a bigger drive to captivate the CBSRMT listeners. Other than that, it’s a good Drama-Mystery. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. G. Frederick Lewis’ adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s 1883 short story of “A Piece Of String” was simple to follow. A Drama-Mystery where the main character was accused of a crime that he did not commit and died in the end with a damaged heart. However, this episode took place in the 20th Century. And Guy de Maupassant’s original story took place in the 19th Century of Goderville, France. But the ironic twist was in the story, though. Episode’s title is good, but another way to title it would be “Too Honest To Be A Criminal” or “The Art Of Retaliation.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts right off with mentioning Guy De Maupassant’s name. In ACT-1, story begins with 2 characters: Peter and Harry at San Francisco’s Embarcadero Pier 24. After listening to his back story of a missing possession, it’s a battle between guiltiness and innocence. Inner Voice VS. Outer Truth. In ACT-2, our Host quotes a line from Iago in William Shakespeare’s OTHELLO about robbing someone of their good name. Later, evidence against our main character was overwhelming and disobedience in court could send him behind bars. In ACT-3, pointing out that Anger & Bitterness make an ugly brew. More than that, a quote from Shylock from THE MERCHANT OF VENICE about villainy. In the end, the irony is that our main character died before he got to live. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall concludes on how revenge was indeed sweet just for Harry the fisherman. These narrations he gave us were informative and compelling to the story. Sound effects of buoys, boat horns, water waves, howling wind, background noise at the Health Club, footsteps, passkeys, lockers, doors, bell tolls, dialing of rotary phone, murmurs in the court room, gavel bang, store bell ring, and newspaper pages were significant and critical to this story. A variety of dramatic music tracks were played as they helped during the storyline. And finally, our cast: Mandel Kramer (as Peter), Lloyd Battista (as Bill Roberts and Oscar), Robert Dryden (as Harry and Leo Mantell), and William Griffis (as Charlie Clairborne and Milton’s Nephew). SPECIAL NOTE: Himan Brown played the role of Milton: The Pawn Broker. The actors were tremendous on their parts, particularly William Griffis for playing a villain that everyone would love to hate and Mandel Kramer who is terrific for playing characters that act clever and anxious throughout the episodes. I do recommend this episode for everyone to check out. And check out the original story by Guy de Maupassant. SPECIAL BONUS: The episode features a commercial of Golden State Warrior Rick Barry talking about Cancer Chemotherapy. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. “Amusing” would be the word to describe Sam Dann’s mystery story featuring Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain. This is the kind of story that would be suitable for a TWILIGHT ZONE episode with funny elements of the writer’s block process. As much as I wanted to rate this 5 stars for EXCELLENT, the story was kind of far-fetched. A writer being obsessed with his character ’s life is one thing. But seeing his character come to reality and being obsessed with his creator on how he wants to live, is another. Also, the title doesn’t make sense since the characters in this story actually wrote it with just a typewriter, instead of handwritten on paper. The title should be called “Be Good To Everyone You Write.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall begins with a philosophical point that life is a journey. In ACT-1, understand what writers talk about. Once our main character meets the fictional character that refuses to die, our Host quotes a line from HAMLET (Act 1, Scene 5) that matches this dilemma. In ACT-2, quoting Joyce Kilmer. As the story progresses with a different approach, further developments will come shortly. In ACT-3, the difference between an architect and a writer when they create their art on paper. After the finale, our Host talks about Limbo and how many are in it. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall questions if the writer’s characters rise up to overwhelm them. But also, understand that some writers have difficulties when controlling their fancies. The narrations that he gave us were philosophical and unforgettable. The sound effects of the sheet of paper, typewriter, phone ringing, chair leg scraping, background music at the saloon, doors, crickets, footsteps, Ragtime music, dancers murmuring, short applause, gun shots, body thud, and character crowd murmuring were all splendid. The dramatic music was a nice touch. Not suspenseful, nor frightening. But a variety of good tunes that fit the characters’ emotions. Now onto our cast: Norman Rose (as Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain), Robert Dryden (as Dudley Everett and Harry Barnes), Evie Juster (as Martha Loomis and Martha’s Mother), and Kristoffer Tabori (as Tom Ditson and The Prosecutor). SPECIAL NOTE: Himan Brown plays the role of Martha’s Uncle. Our cast was great, particularly Norman Rose and Robert Dryden. My favorite part of Norman Rose’s performance was in the 3rd Act when he amplifies the word, “Reprieve” with a different tone. It was eccentric, yet funny. This episode is enjoyable and worth listening to. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russell

I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ for AVERAGE. I’ll review what I enjoyed the most first and then finish off what I disliked. First, I enjoyed the cast: Kevin McCarthy (as William Gillette/Sherlock Holmes), Jada Rowland (as Pamela Watson), Russell Horton (as Jim Watson), and Carol Teitel (as the Tour Guide and Mrs. Hudson). Carol Teitel was terrific in her 2 roles. Jada Rowland is my favorite actress in the CBSRMT series and having her partner up with Russell Horton again, like many episodes before, was delightful. And Kevin McCarthy was entertaining, just like his performance as Sherlock Holmes in previous episodes before this one. Next up, music and sound effects. Dozens of dramatic tunes were used, but no suspenseful or chilling tracks were used to match the feel of being trapped in a castle. Sound effects of car engine running, tires screech, footsteps, tourists murmuring, sliding doors, cat meowing, howling wind, gong, lamp breaking, doors, cane hitting clothing, gun shot, tapping of the phone, drawing the curtains, carriage rolling up, pouring of drinking glasses, and doorbell were very supportive in this tale. Next is our Host and his narrations. E.G. Marshall’s Prologue focused on castles and our story takes place at a castle in New England. In ACT-1, meet Jim & Pamela Watson where one of them is a Sherlock Holmes buff. In ACT-2, knowing so little about William Gillette’s career and we get a sense that some actors like him can go too far to create an illusion of reality. In ACT-3, after the strange turn of events, our Host’s only explanation to the Climax is to mention a quote from a playwright about the 6th sense of the Imagination. In his Epilogue, he recommends CBSRMT listeners to take a tour of the Gillette Castle itself in Connecticut. Good recommendation, but no Resolution explained on what happened to our characters afterwards. And so, it comes down to the final segment: the Script. Elizabeth Pennell has written decent drama mysteries and even did the adaptations of #0605-JANE EYRE and #0643-WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But this story was Fair. So-so, I should say. I was expecting it to be a haunting mystery about a haunted castle with the Sherlock Holmes references. But instead, this story’s turn of events created massive questions to think about. Like, how did the Jim & Pamela Watson hear about this castle? Was Mrs. Hudson going through nightmare problems? Was William Gillette really dead? Was he putting on a show for his guest just so he can play Sherlock Holmes for fun? Did these 2 tourists actually travel back in time? Was the castle actually haunted? Was it really a nightmare? Was anything resolved after Jim & Pamela Watson escaped from the castle? There are so many fill-in-the-blanks in this, the episode’s title should be changed and call it “A Bad Case Of The Jitters” or “Elementary, My Dear Guests.” Tune in to this, if you like. There are better castle stories in the CBSRMT vault. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials of AMEX travelers checks, Bob Armstrong’s Diamond Center, “The Ritual” novel, CBS-News, First Federal of Gary, Radio Advertising Bureau, Jewel’s Discount Grocery Store, CBS-Sports News in Chicago, CBS-News on Election 1980, Susan Anton for Serta Sleeper Mattresses, and Smokey Bear Program. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. I'd think that Robert Barr would have been pleased of the adaptation of this by James Agate, Jr. It has intricate clues, it has peculiar motives, and it has a surprising twist in the end. And above all, it has a great detective in this: Eugène Valmont. Robert Barr’s character ranks up with Jacques Futrelle’s Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Another way to title this story would be “A Case Of Interest” or even “The Parisian Detective.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by comparing one of the characters as a “Scrooge.” In ACT-1, the bloodline of the James Dudley Hills on their fortunes. As the plot thickens, we realize that not all clues were divulged in the first Act alone. In ACT-2, questions pop up. More importantly, they see the evidence clearly, but not recognize it. In ACT-3, quoting Sir Francis Bacon about suspicions and our main detective plays a waiting game. In the end, after discovering where the loot was hiding all along and discovering who else was related to the family, we learned a private post-mortem joke that money would bring out the worst in those with the least character. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off with the comparison of the Midas myth - great wealth does not equal great happiness. Outstanding narrations. Sound effects of bells, footsteps, background noise at the police station, phone receiving line, seals, patrons murmuring, paper note, newspapers, doors, dog wincing, phone ringing, paper bills, intercom buzzer, emergency sirens, pulling off wallpaper were terrific. As for the music, great selection of dramatic tunes that moved the story forward. And let us not forget our amazing cast: Norman Rose (as Eugène Valmont), Russell Horton (as James Dudley Hill III and Inspector Graves), and Robert Dryden (as James Dudley Hill, Jr. and Elijah Browning). These 3 worked well together. Norman Rose, performing with a French accent, was very entertaining. This is one mystery story that CBSRMT fans should not pass up on. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. I admire Murray Burnett’s work, particularly his adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But the story originally from Edith Wharton was better. The novelist’s ghost story had a Narrator without a name. In Murray Burnett’s version, we got a fashion designer that’s interested in the castle while the other male characters act persuasive and vulnerable. I was more interested in the mystery of the dogs and hope that they would play a bigger part to this tale. Other ways to title this would be “Dogs Of Kerfol” or “Strange Vendetta.” In our Host’s Prologue, that I had to find on other OTR websites, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about castles with ghosts. In ACT-1, meet our main character who’s interested in buying a castle. After digging into the story within the story, our Host points out the lifestyle differences of adultery from 2 different time periods. Our main character must’ve seen dogs or ghost dogs. After too many conflicts about pets getting killed in this story, E.G. Marshall mentions ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Was E.G. Marshall trying to advertise this non-profit organization into the episode? In ACT-3, he understands the reaction that our main character felt when reading the history book. When the story was over, E.G. Marshall stated that when he talked about this story to a psychiatrist and what was his take on this? Was E.G. Marshall talking about his personal life on this? Or was this something that Murray Burnett wrote for him? What’s even weirder, is the Epilogue. E.G. Marshall tells the world’s shortest horror story ever. It’s a classic, but it’s irrelevant to this particular story. E.G. Marshall wasn’t off topic with his narrations, but he could’ve saved the ASPCA mentioning, the psychiatrist moment, and the shortest horror story for other episodes. The music was OK, but the tunes for the chilling moments kept on repeating in every Act. Sound effects of birds chirping, bell ring, iron gate squeaking, footsteps, car tires screech, jewelry case, door knocking, howling wind, violin music, and unbolting the door were good. And of course, the sounds of dogs barking were helpful. And finally, our cast: Mercedes McCambridge (as Paula Randall and Anne de Cornault), William Redfield (as Herve de Lanrivain and Andre de Lanrivain), Ian Martin (as Baron Yves de Cornault), and Guy Sorel (as the Judge and the Gypsy). I like this choice of cast members. In fact, this was my favorite part of the episode. All of the actors were great. But it was Mercedes McCambridge, our leading lady, who was superb. Her performance in this reminds me of her performance in Ep. #0318-CARMILLA where she played 2 roles: The Narrator and the Woman who dealt with death. Fans of her would enjoy this episode. Check this one out, but also check out Edith Wharton’s original ghost story. Until next time…pleasant dreams.

Russ


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