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The Deadly Pearls


A private detective tries to track two radioactive pearls that were used to murder two women. He travels to Hawaii disguised as a novelist and mixes with the inhabitants while thwarting the assassins sent to kill him.



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 1, 1975
  • Repeat - February 23, 1975





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33 Responses to Episode 0194

A nice listen; fairly good mystery with a decent plot and able actors.


I ditto Lvneal's comments.


I liked this one. It plays out a bit like an episode of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar (without the expense report).


Good episode. I enjoy episodes with Paul Hecht.


An undercover detective visits a secluded island in search of a string of deadly pearls. The pearls were imbued with radioactive radium. The pearls were at various times used to slowly kill the unsuspecting recipient. Paul Hecht’s character was undercover looking to acquire the deadly pearls. For you Budweiser fans this copy has bud ads. Starring: Paul Hecht, Kate Reed, Grace Matthews, and Cort Benson. Written by Elizabeth Pennel. Very good cast... (Paul Hecht is one of my favorites) good story... classic suspenseful thinking to ones self background music! Good sound quality...


A private investigator is hired to find a string of pearls which have been used to kill several times. Three people who live on an island are suspected of possessing the pearls.


A private investigator travels to a remote Hawaiian island to locate a set of radioactive pearls that were used to kill two women. posing as a writer, he infiltrates the island's population and averts attempts on his life.

Jesty L.

A private detective is hired by the FBI and the Honolulu police to recover a set of pearls treated with radium and used in a few murders. The detective is sent to live on a small Hawaiian island with the other 3 eccentric inhabitants who knew the murderer. He poses as a writer and attempts to integrate himself into the island life, and the lives of the individuals there: a retired colonel, an older stargazing astrology buff, and a beautiful blond with a penchant for nude sunbathing. Where are the pearls?


First thing I remember about this is the "Hawai'ian" music bed, playing as Paul Hecht's character is talking with the (formerly nekkid) lady. It's the same music bed used in a 1974 RMT, also set in the Aloha State, called "Wave of terror". This show is...quite interesting. With a necklace of radioactive pearls there could have been some additional suspense added. (I'm thinking of an episode of Micheal Douglas' (as a pup) old "The streets of San Francisco" detective show with Karl Malden entitled The 24 karat plague.) In that episode, Anthony Zerbe played an ill-fated fence who was hoodwinked into melting down a cargo of stolen gold, without being told what he was being exposed to were in fact trailings of a highly radioactive gold isotope which was a byproduct from a nuclear reactor. After seeing that TV show this episode plot seems kind of tame, but I especially liked Paul Hecht's acting job in the play.

Marlon R.

This has got to be the best quality encode that I've ever heard from the Mystery Theater archives! Was this taken from one of those mid-90's rebroadcasts? I couldn't really tell if it was in stereo or not, but the sound quality was first-rate. Particularly fine performance from E.G. Marshall. Until his closing remarks, I was kind of disappointed in the ending of the tale. His narration put everything in context for me. The point was not 'whodunnit' anymore, or solving the mystery, but something more profound. Sophisticated story.

R. Crenshaw

This was a fairly well-done story of a lightweight, throwaway sort. Two aspects stood out for me. First, I was delighted to hear in the role of Nora Babcock the great Kate Reid---a really marvelous Canadian stage actress. I'd had no idea she ever appeared in RMT, and indeed, according to my guidebook, this was her only episode. A couple of years prior to this she'd been in a very fine film of Edward Albee's play A DELICATE BALANCE, with Katharine Hepburn; a few years later she would play Willy Loman's wife Linda in the Dustin Hoffman film of DEATH OF A SALESMAN. A wonderful actress with a most distinctive voice, perfect for radio. I wish she'd done more. The other aspect that stood out was the fact that this was the second episode in a row to feature a woman in her birthday suit. 

Lymuel F.

Using lines that we have been introduced to before, the “Deadly Pearls” unloads upon the listener 3 philosophers, or at least “philosophies“, as E.G. puts it. These “thinkers” are to take us away from the existence we have, “the humdrum lives”, to a road of adventure! Thus by derivation of their “eccentric” characters; namely, off center persona’s , we have a thus-described “brainless blonde” who is found nude and oblivious…..promising much with her lack of scruples, a colonel who 'By George' is British, and lastly a spinster who defines existence by Astrology. These characters are neither unique, eccentric, nor are they to prove puzzling. We the listeners know intuitively, nay instinctively, from so much past experience of such banal nonsense, that Miss Barbara Walsh will let down her fraudulent indifference and offer her well exposed goods to our P.I……”What do you think of my pad?”….”You said you would show them to me!”……Even our arthritic little old lady Nora becomes suggestive, “ I love to feel them in my hands…“I take them to bed with me”. These nocturnal adventures must be what E.G. was referring to initially, and certainly they are highlighted by our boring colonel shooting boar at 3AM. Ahhh…it all comes down to the deadly pearls. Forget the well-worn red herring , without support, reason or explanation, of the push down the cliff or the poisoning by the astrologer based on conflicting signs. “Deadly Pearls”, like “Ghosts at High Noon”, features many of the worst aspects of Elizabeth Pennell’s’ writing style. --No coincidence of title with the soon to be cancer ridden Carr who produced a painful novel bespeaking his end of vitality and loss of literary power with a similar titled novel--. Our protagonist is largely sidelined to experiencing over worn characters. Pennell seems more interested in creating a bank account than a story, much in contrast to her fascinating “Stairway to Oblivion”. “The Deadly Pearls” is not a mystery, it is not a puzzle. It is a focus on titillation as means to save or justify listening to a program for an hour. The “mystery” is padded beyond Miss Walsh’s obvious atributes.


"nekkid ladies month" is unintentional. perhaps one of our female members might recommend a hearty "nekkid men's" episode, just to keep things balanced. as of now, i have yet to come across one... whew! as always, a wonderful analysis and perspective! i love the comment regarding the "nocturnal adventures." nice. all the feedback is fantastic and i for one, am grateful for all the participation!


I can think of an episdode with (implied)nude men, or certainly, at least compromised! It is a true horror story, though I think it has been reviewed already; "The Deadly Hour"


I can think of another episode with a nude man. It was the program "The secret sharer" based upon a Joseph ("Heart of Darkness", the novel which inspired in part the movie "Apocalypse now") Conrad story. Mandel Kramer was the nude guy swimming off the bow of a military ship, and was brought in by the captain of the vessel (Norman Rose, I think) as a secret stowaway that he kept in his cabin (fully clothed, fortunately).


"Mandel Kramer was the nude guy swimming off the bow of a military ship, and was brought in by the captain of the vessel (Norman Rose, I think) as a secret stowaway that he kept in his cabin (fully clothed, fortunately). ' Well, Norman Rose responded much more sensuously in "The Deadly Hour" the point that the story became doubly horrific!


Very entertaining episode. Kate Reid was especially good in her only cbsrmt appearance. Satisfying ending.

boston mike

I absolutely loved Paul Hecht' monologues. I'm wondering if I'm the only one who found immense humor in his delivery? Somehow he reminded me of Elaine's boss on Seinfeld. Churlish, but that was just my interpretation. The acting was amazing. This is when acting was acting. The deliveries were perfect, the story was great. From the start I had a lucid picture in my mind of the entire story, and THAT is great acting in my opinion.


Do not be fooled by the CBSRMT synopsis. This is a highly enjoyable episode sans astrolger told me, Nora Babcock. Enjoy!

Marcella Beyond

I just love all the characters, one of my favorites (I'm an Hawiian jungle boy), listened to it over 100 times. But WHAT'S UP WITH THE OYSTERS in Hawaii? The colonel has the investigater up on the cliff to observe the gathering of oysters in their beds, then he offers the others six of these "oysters" as appetizers (planted with pearls) to critique before their much anticipated bridge game. Can someone PLEASE explain this. By the way, it doesn't say Barbara Walsh was completely naked, the invesigater clearly states she was covered with srings of beads. Maybe her nipples were showing. Hmmmmmm. GREAT theatre of the mind!

Dan Hultman

"Ropes and ropes of beads", he states.

Dan Hultman

Good story


Unfortunately I had to pause this episode for a while and when I came back I knew what the character was looking for, but I didn't remember the story behind it. It's a good listen, but I think I'll have to listen again to really figure out what happened at the beginning of the story to clear it out for myself.


The deadly pearls. Interesting one.


Very poor plot. Why not just ask who has the radioactive pearls. They will kill you! Not up to the usual good standard. I am listening to every episode! Just finished 1974😊

Steve Killian

"The Deadly Pearls" is a perfect one to listen to on a lazy summer afternoon.....


I listened to The Radio Mystery Theater every day in 1976 !!! Great !!!


My favorite one love it


Great story! If you are a fan o CBSRMT I would highly suggest it's companion show General Mills Theater - also directed by Himan Brown and hosted by Tom Bagely. Though it is targeted at kids it has some unbelievable shows and most of the same talent featured on CBSRMT. Among the best: Master Thief with Paul Hecht and Daniel the Oracle with Russell Horton. Enjoy:)


Actually, General Mills Radio Adventure Theater was hosted by Tom Bosley. He was actually a very good host. I think he should have taken the place of E. G. Marshall when he left CBSRMT. Tom Bosley would have been perfect. (I don't mind Tammy Grimes either, but Tom Bosely would have been better.)


I meant Tom Bosley.


This was just one of those fun listens... Not difficult to follow with eccentric characters that entertain. Because they are eccentric, they probably would not give up the pearls, deadly or not! It was a little sad with the astrology woman eccentric. But E. G. Marshall was enjoyable as were the commercials and news from back in the day!


There were several unexplained items: - the colonel clearly pushed him deliberately; why then does he save him? - what caused the skylight to break? It's strongly implied that Barbara had something to do with it but how? And why? - why did the colonel try to sell him pearly worth thousands for a mere $200? and why was he so upset when the offer was rejected?


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