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The Root of All Evil


After discovering $80,000 in his trash bin, a middle-aged copywriter believes he has found the means to escape the dreariness of his existence. He soon grows paranoid and this create tension in his marriage. Unknown to him, the thieves who stole the money are indeed after him, and they are determined to reclaim their loot.



Air Dates

  • First Run - August 14, 1975
  • Repeat - December 30, 1975





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19 Responses to Episode 0326

An interesting tale of a finders-keepers. Norman Rose's character Philip Chambers lives in a wealthy village yet he dreams what the $80,000 can do for him and his wife. No more "scrimping and saving" yet it sounds like he lives a gilded enclave outside NYC. The mannerisms in Philip is similar to his character Stanley in Pension Plan. Rose's voice and quips are entertaining, though. And George Petrie and Elliot Reid are good in their supporting roles. Definitely not scary or creepy. But, it'll do while driving in the car or falling asleep while listening.


This is the story of a botched bank robbery and what happens afterward. Phillip Chambers and his wife live in a comfortable New York City suburb. They find themselves in the middle of a mess when Mr. Chambers doesn't do what he should do.

Walther Rodgers

A middle-aged copywriter finds $80,000 in his garbage can --- the proceeds of a bank robbery. He sees the opportunity to escape the drudgery of his life. But paranoia starts to eat at him, threatening his marriage and the robbers want their money back threatening his life.


A very conservative, ecologically minded man with upright morals and a sense of duty to his fellow man and nature discovers $80,000 in his garbage bins. Learning that the money was stolen and stashed by criminals who robbed a bank, one of whom was killed by police in the chase, he is tempted to keep the money and sees it as a chance to finally live an easier life. When the criminals come back looking for their cash he has some explaining to do to his wife, and them.


I am offering my reply and opinion on this show gratis, free of charge. Many people pay me for my valuable thoughts, sometimes as much as 80,000 bucks, but for the good folks on this website I give myself at no charge. A very nice quality encode, and a show that I knew from before. Not high drama, but good drama; a simple morality play, and it accomplishes what it sets out to do. "The best things in life are free," is really quite true with perhaps only one exception. "When you've got your health you've got just about everything," which is also very true. But it may be that sometimes attaining or regaining good health is not cheap; and that would be the point where these two truisms clash. Avarice is one of the seven deadly ones, as EG points out. And this tale takes that theme about as far as it can go. Greek tragedy was structured around good, heroic characters who each possessed a fatal flaw, analogous to one of the seven deadly sins in many cases. Think Midas in this regard. And when the Greek characters take a fall, they fall very hard indeed, as does the RMT character in this show. But all in all this isn't near the top of my favorite shows. Good certainly, but not great. Perhaps it seems a little talky, a little padded, a little lacking in action(s), and a little contrived. We can guess early on that someone will get their comeuppance by the end of the play. The way it actually does turn out is surprising, but in an arbitrary way; it feels like the writer could have written the last 5 minutes in five different ways, and those endings would have fit into the first 40 minutes just as well as the one we heard. If the news update at the end of the show is accurate, then this copy was a taped rerun, since they talk about winter weather in Michigan, not generally found in the month of August.


Ouch! You got me! I try for a little levity now and then, and probably miss as often as I hit the mark. Since you brought it up, and the English language is important to you, " . . . would certainly valuable . . ." ???


"The way it actually does turn out is surpising, but in an arbitrary way; it feels like the writer could have written the last 5 minutes in five different ways, and those endings would have fit into the first 40 minutes just as well as the one we heard." Morton, that strikes me as an extremely astute remark. I feel pretty much as you do about this show, and so I haven't really anything to add; but your comment strikes to the heart of why, for me, the ending fails. It's that way with some of the lesser TWILIGHT ZONE episodes as well--the twist endings might indeed be unforeseen, but in a similarly random kind of way. Thanks for articulating this point so well.

J. Kid

I was also suprised by the ending, but I do love it when the storyteller messes with my mind!


i really enjoyed this one. it chugged along, pretending to be just another RMT show without much to offer. but by the third act, i was admittedly glued. the conclusion was terrific. i agree that the ending could have a multitude of alternates, but i like the one they chose. i enjoy these kinds of moral dilemmas. i mean "what would you have done?" it's a difficult thing to imagine. i think the fear that the crooks might harm my family would give reason to just leave the money alone. of course, calling the police could only incite the crooks. taking it would be simply foolish, in my opinion. nothing in life is free. a great choice and glad to see all the feedback it's receiving!

E. Rod

Holy cow. I am sorry for my late-night sarcasm. You see the comeuppance was immediate in my flubbing of the next sentence. Now I'll go back to listening to these great shows, and will restrain the schoolmarm tendency in me. Thanks again everybody for the site, the shows, and the feedback.


The actor who played the main character is my favorite on CBRMT. I am always partial to episodes he appears in. The ending threw me. I had begun to suspect Paul was somehow in league with the robbers. But he ends up a "vegetable". That is brutal.


I really liked this one! I have only been listening for a couple of months and I feel that this show stands out among many others for a couple of reasons. First ....the actor who played the main character was really good. Second....the tension was a slow build throughout. The ending had me guessing ....what I thought was that Paul had given his friend (the Doctor) a bag but not the bag with the money. So I was thinking that the DR. would die but Paul would still have the money in his basement. Great one!!!

L.J. Wright

This was an okay morality episode with an ending that I wasn't expecting. Definitely one to listen to in the background while doing something else.


For such a simple premise, THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL delivers a nice dose of suspense. This fact reveals how great writer Roy Winsor’s dialogue is and how quickly we grow to care about the characters. I’m not familiar with much of Winsor’s work, but with the help of’s ability to cross-reference writers and actors, you can bet I’ll be checking out more of his plays. As many reviewers note, great is the episode like EVIL which tests our own morality and forces us to ponder what we would do if put in the characters’ shoes. Norman Rose’s is excellent as a Phil Chambers, a tormented everyman who finds $80,000 in cash he knows to be stolen in his basement. Even in 1975 dollars $80,000 seems like a lot. I’d wager it would be double or triple that sum today. As reviewers Jerby and LT Wright highlight, Rose has such a distinctly deep and powerful voice, it’s impossible to not picture him as dark, dashing, and deeply charismatic. For another dose of Rose’s charm, though in a decidedly more evil figure, check him out in the fantastic remake of Poe’s PIT AND THE PENDULUM. Overall, EVIL delivers a captivating story of suspense and personal conflict occurring not in some extraordinary circumstances or remote universe but in our own neighborhood and in the house with the picket fence just down the street. The concerned neighbors and Chambers’ wife all contribute stellar supporting roles, as do the bank robbers whose overarching deadly threats and ruthless fearlessness add even more suspense. A bit random and even zany, the climax is certainly unexpected and strangely acceptable. Sit back and find it hard to relax in this great outing by Radio Mystery Theater in THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. I give it 4 stars out of five – JUROR #4.


I've never heard a nagging wife quite like that one.

Bill King

In the bible it says the love of money is the root of all evil &, in my opinion, this play's an excellent dramatization of that biblical verse. I believe that Phil should've just left well enough alone & done the right thing by reporting the $$$ found in the garbage can 2 the police. Because of greed, Phil has paranoia 2 the max & the anxiety it brings on. In my own lifetime I've had a taste of anxiety a few times.....u feel like u'r gonna explode & the sensation of being smothered @ the same time.....putting it mildly, a very unpleasant experience. Anyway.....a very good play, the audio was crystal clear & the plot was very suspenseful. The bad decision of Phil almost cost his friend, Paul, his life & Phil was in a state of permanent shock, so 2 speak. That's something I can live a whole lot better without if it were me in the same position as Phil. Bottom line.....always take the time 2 consider the possible consequences of a bad decision. OK then.....until next time.....pleasant dreams. :-)


A so-so episode that carried you along leading to a lack-luster ending.


An unusual and excellent episode, very well acted and with a great slam-bang ending. I felt the women's conversations were surprisingly realistic for RMT. But the wife cut her husband a great deal of slack. I sure would not have.

Melanie C

This would be a good companion piece to the story about the 2 stay at home dads who rob a bank and hide the money in one of their garbage cans. But then the wife calls the garbage truck.

Cindy Caldwell

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