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A Coffin for the Devil


A man gathers a group of specialists along with the famous E. G. Marshall and reads them a very old letter written by one of his ancestors. The letter narrates the events regarding a young mortician's assistant and a peculiar man ordering a special coffin for himself.



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 27, 1975
  • Repeat - April 8, 1975





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30 Responses to Episode 0213

Good Show! I give this listen 4 stars. The ending is a surprise! I have listened to several now! Very happy to have found this, used to listen when i was younger!

Duane Carter

Another atmospheric, spooky episode. Had to check the credits to confirm the coffin-seeker wasn't John O'Hurley (Mr. Peterman from "Seinfeld)

Mike in Grand Rapids

Set over a hundred years ago in New England, it concerned a young man who went to work for a mortician, and was paid a visit one stormy night by a man who wanted to design his own coffin. He said he'd died before and wanted, essentially, to be buried his own way "this time". The mortician's assistant and his friend who were there were deeply scared by the man, although they took his money and agreed on a date when the coffin would be ready. The assistant convinces his employer, a devout Christian, to be there at the time when the man picks up his coffin. The man does arrives and does pick it up, literally, and carries it out of the mortuary. The employer and his apprentice follow him to a cemetary (on a cloudy night, of course). The assistant leaves and warns his employer to do the same, saying something supernatural is at work. The boss disagrees, and goes INTO the cemetary, saying that he believes the man is simply mentally ill and needs help immediately. Later there is a strange confrontation between the coffin-buyer and the mortician, but the latter says "I am a Christian. I believe that we will all be raised from the dead in the future (at the time of Christ's return). But I don't believe in ghosts." There's some interesting developments later in the story that maybe (or maybe not) call the mortician's character into question, but the way the story ends one gets the feeling that the mortician, who survived the encounter in the cemetary pretty much unscathed, was right.


A man recounts the tale of his ancestor who was an undertaker and the strange coffin he was commissioned to build at the request of a remarkable gentleman who sketched out the exact specifications of a coffin he wished built for himself in the shape of a case for a concert bass. The tale recounts the undertaker’s dealings with this strange man, and how it came into the possession of his present day relative.


Well performed with good sound quality. I usually listen to these stories while working at the computer. Usually I can follow the stories pretty easily without giving them my full attention, but I think this one requires a bit more concentration to fully grasp what's going on.

Phillip M.

Wow. I loved this one! Great setup, story, atmosphere, and payoff. And it's fun to have E.G Marshall be more of a part of the story. One of my favorites!


One of the best shows of the series!


I always listen to this on Halloween.


Not a bad little tale. I enjoyed the episode. The sound effects were spot on. It's nice to hear dramatic music to convey a thrill instead of the standard cues CBSMT usually uses.


Wow, Keir Dullea did a wonderful job

Gina Schackel

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT**** I have listened to this one over and over again. Could someone please help me with the ending? Was he a ghost? Did the undertaker rob Wells Fargo? What happened? Please help, RJMGREEN@AOL.COM


I think it boils down to which ending you want to believe in. Logic dictates that the coffin was ordered to be made by the robbers as an elaborate way of storing the money following the robbery as they felt a cemetery would be the safest way to do this. Don't forget the only two witnesses to the events in the graveyard was the undertaker and the man who ordered the coffin. What if both of them were in the gang as well and made the story up to keep people away from the graveyard 🪦. This would then explain why the missing money was subsequently retrieved.


This was the first Radio drama I ever heard. I remember it was the mid 70's on our way home from church my dad had the radio on and a creaking door sound came on through the radio, then I heard EG. Marshal Say "Welcome..come in!" I would lay in bed trying to do homework listening to these shows. Have the complete series now and they are always on my listening list. The most nostalgic thing about OTR is or was it wasn't on demand like it is today. We are a spoiled generation to have these great shows at our whim..Back in those days of my youth, it was hard for me to get a signal most of the time..but when I did it was an awesome feeling to be able to listen. I think ( only my opinion) They kind of lose a little luster when they are able to be listened to with just a click.


When I was younger, my only source was drug stores and the like where I "might" find an episode of something or what the library had on vinyl. Of course there was CBSRMT late at night, but that was an exception. We are very spoiled. The nice thing is that we can be more choosy about what we listen to and just listen to the best. When I was a kid, if the drugstore had an episode on tape, that is what I bought and listened to. If they had George Burns and Gracie Allan, that is what I got to listen to. Two weeks ago, I decided I wanted to listen to all of the Hermit's Cave episodes I had. BTW, the show varied wildly in quality. I think there are only like 5 episodes extant that I don't have. One of those is now posted on this website. It is nice to get so much choice as to what to listen to. One interesting issue that is a side-note to the availability that was referenced above is that there are so many choices that referrals mean more. For example, there are 1300 some episodes of CBSRMT and without a recommendation, there is a good chance I would have never heard this episode. Suspense is much the same creature. There are so many episodes that it is doubtful many people have listened to them all. Thanks to all on the group for your recommendations.


This was also my first exposure to the excitement of dramatic radio. It came on as I went to bed each night. Many years later, I had the opportunity to meet show-host E. G. Marshall. I introduced myself and said: "It's so nice to meet the man I went to bed with every night when I was a kid." He had a very surprised look on his face until I explained. He got a big laugh out of it.


back in the 70's, I spent my teens listening to it most every night--to this day it irks me that some many OTR fans tend to be overly critical or put it down altogether. I think the quality was remarkably high given it's long run--and it's forays into science fiction, literary classics, historical drama and even some comical stories have few parallels among radio shows--and certainly contemporary tv programs... When I was stationed on Okinawa in the early 80's the Armed Forces Network carried this show at night. Listened as often as I could. I think it funny that some people don't consider CBSRMT as OTR. Some of the shows are 40 years old. While they are a lot newer than (for example) The Line Up, they are still an example of a time gone by. I was listening to one the other day and the ads were just as entertaining as the show. One of them had advertised a news program coming on later on how to save on your TV Repairman's bill. These shows came out when most convenience stores had tube testers and a stock of common tubes in a rack under them. The quality of the shows is at least as good as anything from the golden age. And as Lestat states, it was under the direction of Himan Brown. I've always been a fan of radio/audio drama first--no matter what the era, format or genre and otr second--the entertainment and listening value is more important to me than any historic/nostalgic standards...anything from the 1970's/80's "revivals" & NPR broadcasts to BBC productions to today's podcasts is perfectly valid as far as I'm concerned... nother point about CBSRMT that is seldom discussed: the recordings that contain original commercials and news broadcasts serve as an audio time capsule for the era--you can hear about Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, the energy crisis as well as hear what the price of meat was in 1974--all amazing & interesting listening some 40 years later!


This was a pleasant episode to listen to, even if EG Marshall wasn't overly involved in it himself. The part I didn't understand (I'd have to listen again) is how/why the undertaker got the coffin back. I do like the explanation of the events as they seem to be corroborated by the story.


It's a pity that Murray Burnett, the writer, didn't do some proper historical research before writing this piece. In the 1851, funeral parlors and the profession of undertaker were non-existent. Funeral were conducted in private homes or a church. In addition, the coffin would have been made by a cabinet maker, not an undertaker. It wasn't until after the U.S. Civil War and the embalming of Lincoln that the profession gained popularity. Beyond that a nice little story that kept my interest despite the historical inaccuracies.


Perhaps Brown was not the easiest director to deal with for busy actors who worked elsewhere, like my favorite Lloyd Bochner, and perhaps some found out radio just wasn't their cup of tea. After all they could make much better money elsewhere. The repetition of actors also suggests a kind of closed shop where you had to be good buddies with the others or you wouldn't be cast. I would like to have heard more of Theodore Bikel, Bochner and others instead of Fred Gwynne so often myself.


I always wondered how and why woody Allen was famous He is very dull and annoying and have yet to meet anyone that cares for him.


have you ever listened to a coffin for the devil? EG was part of the show as himself. It's my favorite episode.


my personal favorite is a coffin for the devil by CBSRMT


A Coffin For The Devil is my favorite one.


Excellent Mystery Theater, from start to finish! If EG Marshall was sadly only a part of one episode as a (minor) character of the story, I'm glad it was this one. If you have trouble deciding which Episode to select- listen to this.


A very good one! I just listened to it and loved it! Thanks for the sharing!


This was a good one. I love the idea of E.G. Marshall being stopped on the street by people wanting to tell him scary stories - and of course he obliges them. It was totally unnecessary to the story, but still a fun wrinkle.


I found this story strained in act three. Downright irritating, in fact. One of the worst endings for one of the best set ups. I certainly enjoyed EG Marshalls part in the story. That was charming and a welcome surprise. But the way it ended stank to high heaven.


My favorite is still a coffin for the devil, it's odd when I find one I have never listened to I have binged them for years how many? was it 1299 or 1399 episodes? Been a while but back when Himan Brown died I researched his life he was very eccentric he was 99 years old. that 99 is his number as in the number of episodes. He fought to keep cbsrmt on the air the last few was him hosting them he never wanted them to become public domain. I read somewhere he recorded over some of the reel to reels to save money. I was told that was bs by someone who is knowledgeable about the archives. You really cannot believe everything on Google any questions about this would be better answered by Russel, he is an asset to the group and I thank you all for showing appreciation for what was the last of the radio shows that were on a primetime schedule.


This is an excellent episode! And like most of the above comments, I too have great memories of listening to the CBSRMT on 850 am WJW. I would go to bed (with my headphones on) and hear the news, then get excited when I heard the door open. Funny I mostly fell asleep before the end, but my dad was also a fan so over breakfast he would tell me the ending, lol. It's great to have websites like this.


I loved this episode! If you have never listened, this is one of the top 10 on my list. A really fun episode and E. G. Marshall has a part. Loved the music, sound effects and the commercials and news. I did not hear these when I was just out of high school but I wish I had known because I would have enjoyed every minute. My goal is to listen to every show here. Thanks CBSRMT!


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