CBSRMT Episode Information Next Episode


The Black Room


A man is placed in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. He somehow makes an unlikely friend while in seclusion.



Air Dates

  • First Run - October 29, 1974
  • Repeat - December 21, 1974
  • Repeat - January 10, 1978





162     36

47 Responses to Episode 0167

This was an interesting episode, but it would have been better if the ending had provided more of an explanation.


Written by Elspeth Eric, I had a feeling that I was going to like "The Black Room." It tapped into some basic fears that are rather terrifying. Being locked up in complete seclusion is one form of fear; but being locked in a black room void of light is terrifying. A complete and utter loss of hope. Peter Collins played the man locked in the black room and his performance was the best that I have heard on Mystery Theater. Mr. Collins brought the hopelessness to life. Fantastic episode--5 stars.

Davy Joe

No, the actor who played the man in the black room was Larry Haines. Perter Collins played one of the officials. But the leading actor was definitely Larry Haines. I agree his performance was excellent.


This started as interesting story that asked a lot of questions. It suddenly ended with so many questions unanswered.It had the promise of being so much better.

Old Tom

This is easily in my top 5 favorite episodes. The writing, performances and atmosphere are all top drawer. I thought the ending was disappointing on first listen but it works well second time around. Tension builds until it nearly snaps then relaxes only to build up again. Perfect setting for a radio play, Marconi worthy!

Mike in Grand Rapids

I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. Listen to this in complete darkness and you'll feel like you're in the black room with the Protagonist. At first, we think our main character is a prisoner, turns out he's an experiment. And his experience teaches us that the trick get through that kind of agony is to not think about it so much. I highly recommend this episode to everyone. =0)


I used this for many years as part of a trilogy of stories including The Bet by Anton Checkov, The Side Bet by Will Jenkins. My grade 8 students would listen to The Black Room and we'd read the other two stories then discuss isolation, resilience, personal values, etc.


Brilliant Show! I loved this one thanks for suggesting it. I would rate is 4 and 1/2 out of 5. Great life lesson caring about others is the key to sanity. Very true even outside the dark room! Also like the news at the end of the episode that Muhammad Ali regains his championship belt from George Foreman with a knock out. :)


A nameless man is confined in a completely dark and soundproof room for an extended period of time with only minimal sustenance. His tormentors are amazed that he survives the ordeal. A very dark tale, indeed.


A man is locked in a absolutely dark prison cell for a crime he does not understand. He makes an unlikely friend.

Richard Tite

This episode is a character study and an exploration of the meaning of life. It helps to suspend disbelief more than usual in this episode that raises more questions than answers. Virtually a one person performance by Larry Haines who does a remarkable job of portraying the changing emotions of a man held in sensory deprivation for several weeks as an unwilling participant in a social experiment. While most perish in the so-called Black Room, he survives with the help of a small mouse and a pin-prick of light.

Hector Grant

The Black Room is my favorite one.


Do the material goods of our lives provide us with our desire to live? At times it would seem so, but in the times when the material goods are taken away we may find a much more important meaning to life. What is it that gives mankind a desire to live? What is it that can take away man\'s desire to live? This episode may provide some insight.


thank you very much. I love this stuff.


Yeah, haven't heard this one in a while. I think I have the Hi Brown Narrated version. Not one of my favorites, but an interesting delve into the psychi.


This really puts you in the characters shoes. You can imagine what he goes through, and it makes one think. I enjoyed it up to the last 5 minutes. I think the ending was amiss. It had the opportunity to be an awesome story, but the writer settled for okay.


The ending was a bit disappointment, otherwise a really good episode.


Heard it for the first time last night. The very poor ending keeps this one from greatness, IMO.

Lance G.

Really outstanding episode. I know the ending isn't popular, but it's so in line with the uneasy and chaotic feeling present throughout the episode. For me, to be totally and seemingly randomly pulled from my home, made to talk, tossed in a dark chamber for weeks, and then suddenly freed and let go with no true explanation...that IS horrific!


Fascinating look at how isolation, and sensory deprivation, can affect the mind. It's not a stretch at all to see how one man's sanity could hinge entirely on the "friendship" of a mouse. The episode sets the listener up for what could have been a great ending, but instead leaves so many questions unanswered that it essentially wastes a great performance by Peter Collins. My guess...this was some sort of futuristic, totallitarian type society where people were routinely punished for "crimes" such as speaking out against the government, or some other type of non-conforming behavior. Maybe a Orwellian/1984 type society where people were made examples of as a deterrent to others. Like I said, just a guess.

Steve L.

A great episode but the ending was a bit flat. I would like to have had a bit more information as to why the man wanted to keep the shirt. (Mice inside the pocket?) Also, he seemed so calm afterwards. He claimed to not understand why he was taken to the dark room in the beginning. If I were held prisoner, experiment or otherwise, I would be grateful for my freedom but I might be a bit pissed and would demanded a bit more than a shower. Also, if they have done this before, what is/was stopping the "experiments" from going to authorities and stopping the experiment from happening again? Is this a kidnapping that cannot be traced? Not a believable ending and it's a shame. Just a few more bits of information would have made this the most outstanding episode yet.


He wanted to keep the shirt because it was sentimental, lol!


Great buildup, disappointing ending. Not nearly enough explanations given. I'm not the sort to expect stories to be tied up in a nice little bow, but this was too much of a let-down.


Peter Collins is absolutely remarkable in practically a one-man show in "The Black Room". This is perhaps the finest single performance in the esteemed history of CBS RMS. This is absolutely gripping and heartrending from start to finish, as a nameless man faces his own mortality and the stark realization of what his life truly is. Bravo!


It’s Larry Haines playing main role. As stated above in prior comments.


An interesting tale to listen to, but leaves many questions. I would've liked it better with more answers or more clarification (a good story can leave some questions unanswered). Still a good listen until the end.


I liked this episode a great deal. The protagonist is likeable. One can sympathize with his plight. While the story ends rather abruptly, it ends in a satisfactory matter.


I usually dislike Elspeth Eric stories, but this was one of the better ones. Peter Collins gives a terrific performance, but I don't think it's the best in the history of the show as some have said. It's too bad that Eric bailed on the ending. Why would she rush it and just abandon the unanswered questions? If the story were stronger, it might be able to withstand that weakness.


I was 13 when I recorded this episode. Over the years I have treated the story as a special part of my childhood. I still have the tape and the quality is still excellent, and each time I hear it it brings me back to that place I was when I was 13, and each time it makes me think that perhaps I still can escape from the darkness of the world back to that dark room in the story, to emerge with renewed hope and a sense of enhanced inner strength. The most poignant and enigmatic story in the series.


Holy mackerel, but the acting in this was just stellar! Larry Haines -- that heartbreaker -- really outdid himself in this one. Out-freaking-standing work -- though, as others have noted, the ending is a bit of a let-down. Truly, though, the acting in this makes concerns about the ending pale in significance.


Larry Haines plays the man in the black room not Peter Collins. Not a big Elspeth fan but this one of her better efforts.

Tom d

the Black Room is my favorite.


THE BLACK ROOM is a great episode, especially if you listen to it in a dark room


I listened to this episode while driving, and it still made me feel apprehensive and oppressed imagining the poor guy locked in a totally dark room trying to reyain his sanity. The ending was a bit of a letdown, but overall good episode.

Joe Mama

the man that played the man locked in the black room was LARRY HAINES!!!!!!!! TRUST ME

Will D

The Man abducted by Mr. Zee and Mr. Kay is not really expected to survive in The Black Room without light or diversions—all the others have died or gone insane. But for 26 days The Man survives, relying on a very small mouse with whom he shares his limited rations, and Mr. Zee must decide whether to release him so that he may share his secret with The Others. The secret of survival when all hope seems lost is companionship.


Great episode! One of my favorites.


I'm not usually a fan of Elspeth Eric's episode, but this one is fantastic! One of the best, most touching episodes ever. The thing that made it especially good is the really remarkable performance of Larry Haines, who carries the whole episode. She must have been on a roll when she wrote this. Maybe the fact that he had no one to talk to except a little mouse made it better because the dialogue didn't turn into a psych analysis of the characters while they are talking to each other about thoughts and feelings, lol! In any case, it was great, and I recommend it because this one is always worth a listen.


The only problem with this story is that we never find out exactly why he was arrested in the first place. Was it some kind of experiment that a totalitarian government was conducting? Was in prison for some other reason? At the end of the episode, we never get to find out what happened, so that part was frustrating. Also, why did they suddenly release him without explaining why? Also, why did they ask him to address the others about his experience? All of that doesn't make sense. Other than the ending, the whole episode was fantastic and the acting was good.


I liked the episode, and I really enjoyed listening to the news that followed this episode.


Didn't like it. Horribly Depressing. No explanation. Who were Mr Z and Mr K. Who did they work for. Endless questions I hope I never hear another Elspeth Eric episode again. Before I ever listen to another episode of CBS Radio Mystery theater, I will look it up to make sure she's not the author.

Stephen Worrell

I also disliked this episode. I like to escape from the difficulties life throws your way by losing myself in many of these episodes. Don’t choose to listen if you’re already depressed. But Larry Haines gives an outstanding performance.


Such a simple story so expertly done!! The last sentence or two, and the epilogue by EG Marshall are stunning and superb! Personally, I think ones need is more messianic, but if one accepts that as embodied in the protagonists final words, the truth will out.


I tried once more to listen open minded to another Elspeth Eric episode and while this was not the worst is was not very good. It had potential but the never explained beginning and the leave you with no explanation ending left you with a poorly told story. The performance of Haines was superb! A regular one man show of angst, torment and fortitude. It does show mankind needs companionship to survive. Thankfully commercials and E.G. Marshall made this endurable.


I agree 100% with many of the comments...a wonderfully atmospheric episodic with chilling premise And great performances...but Wow, what a lousy ending...the writer (E. Eric) really should have fleshed out a better summary for the “experiment.” This episode reminds me of the Theater 5 radio show, which came out just before this CBSRMT series...great built up but disappointing conclusions...just my 2 cents...

Marc Saltzman

This C.B.S.R.M.T. show sounds like a reversal of the very 1st TWILIGHT ZONE episode:'Where Is Everybody'?.

Bob Hudgins

Perhaps the name of the government officials were inspired by Kafka’s Joseph K? The story does share some similarities with The Trial.

Robert Kirkwood

Leave a comment