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Help Somebody


The desires of a nomadic writer seem to materialize all at the same time. His novel is a smash hit, he inherits a fortune and ultimately wins the perfect woman. But despite having all the physical trappings of success, happiness still eludes him.



Air Dates

  • First Run - August 18, 1975
  • Repeat - July 23, 1981





124     18

29 Responses to Episode 0328

This was a great story and very meaningful.


I love this story. Elspeth is wonderful at this type of story. The dog at the end really touched a nerve with me. Plus this has a good set of commercials.


A lot happens in 50 min. It is best desribed as a beautiful story. It is so due to the deep perceptive element that is the cement of the story, though this is only revealed in the end. It, like life, needs to be reached for.


Anthony Price is a 33 year old struggling American writer that lives in squalor in Rome while he tries to produce a quality work. He is at odds with his father and is generally an unhappy pessimist. Eventually, things turn around for him and he returns to New York. Then, a number of events follow. This is a creative use of writing and an interesting listen through a sequence of events.

Romeo M.

An itenerat writer's dreams all come true in a short time. He publishes a best seller, inherits a bunch of money, and lands the girl of his dreams. But he can't find happiness. He eventually finds Something.


A bitter and angry writer is living in Italy and frustrated by his lack of success in his chosen field and with his wealthy father’s refusal to increase his allowance. He falls in lust with a local actress and when his father dies, he inherits his fortune, and the ability to have and do whatever he wants. Perhaps this money will help him find happiness… HAHAHA.

Monnie Figuerroa

A lot happens in 50 min. It is best desribed as a beautiful story. It is so due to the deep perceptive element that is the cement of the story, though this is only revealed in the end. It, like life, needs to be reached for.


I must say this story, while not the most entertaining I’ve heard, though plenty entertaining, is without a doubt the most profound. It truly is. I consider drama to be valuable when it reflects relevancy to life. Now life has many aspects and so a drama can convey many aspects of life. This may be done directly or somewhat “concealed” with a science fiction or horror show. Our story of 2 weeks ago, “Life Blood” is a good example of abuse and ruination—though on the surface it is a robot story. It’s not so much in what package the relevancy is presented, but more importantly- what is delivered. I mentioned in the intro here that this story, “Help Somebody” is profound. When we boil down the essence of this story we see that it is about something rather important, the meaning of life. Or at least what is important and truly necessary to live. This is presented initially with a man who believes he knows what he wants- fame, fortune and women. He does not consider what he needs. When this man receives his 3 desires he is left unsatisfied. Interesting. He describes it as “ashes in the mouth”. With beauty of dialog, symbolism and music the CBSRMT does a hell of a job answering the question of why he is dissatisfied when apparently having what he wants. Remarkably, this is accomplished in the last 15 min of the show! He has been exclusively remote from his needs for human connection. He has been unaware that he is alone and afraid. “Everybody needs Something”. Something here is a dog on the surface, but like our robot Amelia, he is so much more. He is life and spirit. He is hope and ultimately he is contact. If alone, a feral dog dies in about 2 yr. Likewise we can imagine that our protagonist, Anthony Price, is feral as well and really prone to “death”, or at least remaining in a hell called depression. The beautiful cure here is reaching out to life (others) and realizing that life will reach back. This was accomplished when Price finally was open to his core needs. Sounds like basic Maslow psychology does it not? This is love and maintaining the love despite disappointment with life. His foundation was not built. E.G Marshall points out the lesson to be learned here, “You will have noticed perhaps, that at first Anthony ran frantically after the dog Something, then when their eyes had met, he stood stark still and Something began to run joyously to him. There’s a moral to be drawn here. Or a lesson to be learned”. It is best described as a beautiful story. It is so due to the deep perceptive element that is the cement of the story, though this is only revealed in the end. It, like life, needs to be reached for. Drama 5.

Vernel N.

If about a quarter of the way through this comment in response to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater episode "Help Somebody" the reader is stricken with the feeling that the writing seems to be that of a college freshman or sophomore bucking for an "A" on a lower-division Drama course paper (but lacking the discipline and structure a strong English or Journalism professor would've imparted), there's good reason as evidenced by less-than-ideal structure, undisciplined and overly-celebratory use of language, awkward references and more until finally it ends with the designation "Drama 5". That being said, the writer succeeds in making relevant and important points regarding the essence of "Help Somebody" and seems to correlate this episode of CBSRMT with ideas central to the role of drama in storytelling. Ultimately, one cannot help but be pleased that this student was able to utilize an episode of CBS Radio Mystery Theater to demonstrate mastery of material relevant to the Drama course curriculum, hopefully resulting in the coveted "A". (Author's note: Prior to being taken in hand by an amazing English professor I too handed in my share of essays and other course-related documents I thought were ideal (having prior to my first honors college English course gotten an "A" on every paper ever) but which lacked discipline and proper structure. I was shocked when the-professor-who-changed-my-writing-forever-for-the-better handed back an English essay on Gimple the Fool marked with a big fat "B", leading to my pleading question "Why?" which prompted that fine Dr. of English to provide instruction and insight leading to "Michael, his eyes opened" and a much higher standard of written work on my part moving forward. Dr. Shipley-Mason, if by some amazing chance you're reading this: Thank you! You refused my high praise at the time owing to your commendable humility, but the simple yet critical techniques you introduced during that single short after-class lesson improved my writing significantly,helping me during my academic career and throughout life. Point being, I'm not perfect, as evidenced by this rushed, hot fussy mess of a comment but then I am not striving for an "A" here, simply pointing out that the above writer's comment reads like a lower-division Drama paper which it, in fact, was, and more power to the writer for being able to use a CBSRMT episode.)


I have to say that, at first, I didn't want to like this story. Our protagonist comes across at the beginning as pretty much of a whiney brat. But as the story progresses, he changes very subtly. By the third act I was hooked. Building on the first two acts, that third act was amazing. It was unusual, beautiful, and moving. The description of how all the dog owners interacted with each other in the park was especially interesting, and a very telling observation about how people interact (or perhaps don't interact) with each other. I guess, at the beginning of the story we only see Tony from the outside and as it goes along we work our way inside to the real person he is. By the end, I found this to be a deeply compelling tale. It's really a gem. It addresses the feeling of isolation experienced by a writer, or any kind of artist-----indeed, any kind of person at all who is thoughtful and searching. And feels, somehow, alone. I can see where this story might be incomprehensible to people who feel no need to question, those who are confident they have all the answers and have got life all mapped out. It's certainly not a story really aimed at entertaining a mass audience---more an offbeat introspective drama. In the end, though, I think it's one of the best RMT's I've heard, and speaks to something we've all felt at one time or another. It's a rare achievement to be able to successfully touch on such a deep and essential aspect of the human condition, especially in a mere 40-odd minute radio drama. I applaud Elspeth Eric for this beautiful and unusual script, AND Himan Brown for having actually produced it.

J. Kramer

The incidental music in act 3 was really beautiful. It sounded very much like it was composed by Bernard Hermann. Reminiscent of some of the subtle, moody violin scoring for Psycho.


In my opinion, the program was an excellent example of the CBSRMT providing a life lesson without preaching. I hadn't heard this program previously but there was something special about it. I have some questions so I'm hoping the discussion will offer some insights that, as usual, I don't have. I noted that the program's acts were distinct and defined. In the first act, the author tells us exactly what Anthony Price wants in his life ... fame, fortune and the favor of Claudia. We are introduced to the tension between Anthony and his father. In the second act, Anthony's father dies but everything else in his life comes up roses - yet he remains unfulfilled. In the final act, Anthony has an awakening of sorts. He begins to understand his depression and the tumultuous relationship with his father is exposed. Did he really feel nothing when his father died and has he continued to be dead to emotion or is he completely overwhelmed and has he experienced an emotional shutdown as a means to protect himself. As listeners, we're exposed to some symbolism that I'd like to better understand. First, we're introduced to three people he meets on a park bench. He meets a young woman who introduces him to a dog, a man who explains that feral dogs generally don't live long, and a wise elderly gentleman who exposes Anthony's depression. Second, the dog plays a significant symbolic role in this play. I'd like to read your comments about the three characters and about the dog before I comment and this is the first time I'm going to withhold my vote until I read your comments. As a sidelight, my copy of the program had a segment where Himan Brown tells us that an 11 year old boy, Michael Hanick, from Fort Madison, Iowa won the CBSRMT Disney World trip. I wonder what ever happened to Michael and if he'll ever visit the website to tell us how the trip turned out.


I gave this one a 4. This story has the same formula that Elspeth Eric tries so hard to make work and seldom does. However, this time it does work. She creates a deep anti-hero and provides a meaningful transformation for him. That is the barest essence of fiction. The character must be changed from beginning to end. Eric strays from her tired formula of a woman talking to her analyst and provides a little more plot than normal. Some people like character studies, but I don't think they work in radio drama. That has always been my chief criticism of Eric: Long on character and short on plot. Nice selection.


Very nice analysis. I think you pose a lot of interesting and insightful questions, and I too will be interested to see what other people have to say. By the way, Until Next Time, great choice! The perfect story to bundle up and listen to on a frigid afternoon.


I generally feel like I'm the outsider in that my comments are generally superficial. The comments you guys provide are immeasurably beneficial to me as I always learn from them. I agree that this was certainly a compelling episode and a terrific pick. I'll bet this one garners many comments and I'm anxious to learn from all of you.

Pammy Pam

Hmmm. I can appreciate many stories if what is being conveyed is relevant. How about film analogies? Sometimes a story's relevancy is minor, but character is good the story is enjoyable: such as Godzilla 2000 (Japanese). Sometimes a story is relevant and powerful but needs some dissecting and a good deal of time to unearth, the surface may be tarnished: such as many Dr. Who episodes. Sometimes a story is just eye candy and is ultimately not entertaining or meaningful: Jurassic Park 3. Now sometimes a story is relevant and especially meaningful. These are the gems, such as Das Boot. Add beauty to a story with the other attributes and we have a masterpiece. Is "Help Somebody" a masterpiece? In it's realm, yes.. It contains enough of the elements -character-relevancy-beauty(in story and music) combined with tremendous meaningfulness to make this a very unique episode. It is a mutation really. These shows were produced each day on a fine time schedule. The story itself has some 45 minutes to be told-on radio! Yet this was accomplished. Certainly loneliness, depression and the meaning of life are weighty subjects. To present these in a story in such a manner that is poignant is the goal. I think this was accomplished here. Someone wondered what the 3 people and dog might represent. Maybe the best way to answer this is to look at their effect on the story and protagonist. The young thin girl, "rather plain really". I think Anthony describes her is female human companionship that is nonsexual. He began to look forward to sitting with her and simply make human contact. Now, our "Feral dogs only live about 2 yr" gentlman serves as a contrast for Anthony's developing awareness of this new dog world. His callousness stirs hate in Anthony. Would Anthony have reacted so in the earlier acts? He would not. So we see that Anthony has feelings indeed! Now our older gentleman is "Understanding" where the dog is "Something". Anthony relates his experience to the old man, and the old man interprets. This is a valuable tool for Anthony. Then we have the glorious moment when Anthony realizes what Something is and pursues it as if his life counted on it. Indeed his life did count on it. Here Anthony is feeling quite a bit. He is feeling alive! I would imagine those who have experienced depression can relate to this story particularily well. However, what happens here is a crucial lesson in "living" for all people. This is certainly something to think about if one hasn't done so already. I am happy to see that the show has stimulated the member's fine brains and hearts.

F. Wrecker

not a mystery to me anymore. the things in this life especially in our american way of life will not make you happy. the american dream or the american nightmare as i like to call it will not bring happiness. just ask the rich and famous in this world. i thought the story moved a bit slowly. the part about the dog owners was insightful . i always knew dog lovers were a bit goofy. my friend treats his dog like his baby. it didn't surprise me that they didn't know each other's names and only talked about their dogs. i have to disagree with the part about stray dogs living only two years. i helped take care of a stray for at least five years as a child. i get the point about human contact though. though i must say our society is leaning twords loneliness. we have automated tellers phone answering systems and telemarketers. some of us only talk to people on the computer. one thing that bothered me about show. in the scene where the guy gets the girl and realizes he doesn't want her he says something about possessing her or something. that is the hollowness of meaningless sex. by the way this one i won't let my children listen to. that's another american dream. no strings attatched. there's always a trap. i just need a little more. how much is enough? a little more. we can't find happiness in the things of this world. this guy is also not willing to put aside his pride and reunite with his father before he dies. that's the really sad part of this story. life is waaaaay to short to hold grudges. i felt no simpathy for this guy.

Jerome Juggs

"My father wanted me to be a banker..." - Elton John (whose father was a British military officer) in a public service announcement from the 90s "Your father didn't like you. I don't think he ever liked you." - Elton John's mother to her son during a 1992 interview with Rolling Stone magazine discussing the singer's drug addiction issues A couple of things before I start on this: - This episode was recorded off of WFAA in Dallas (the radio station apparently has now changed its call letters, but WFAA's been a big presence in the D/FW area for awhile. I absolutely love the woman's voice singing the station ID (what do you call those in the business, Charlie) "(oooh...ooooh....wahhhhhh) W..FA-Aaaaaaaaaaa." Almost sounded "Karen Carpenteresque" (talk about a radio contemporary.) - Prior to it, I also enjoyed the Brazilian(?) sounding music underneath the bank commercial where the bank president's name was said after the bank's name. Talk about "old-time" radio... - I've gotten to where it's bittersweet to hear the late William " 'Anthony Price'" Redfield in the RMT. He was from what I could gather the first regular RMT actor to leave us, dying young of leukemia somewhere around the late 70s. As for the program... I listened to this a second time yesterday to make sure I wasn't hearing things. Given Ms. Eric's penchant for incorporating psychological studies into her plays, I still believe that the detachment Anthony Price felt for his father, and the deep longings it created within him, are central to this play. Recalling the initial conversation between Mr. Price and his father's attorney, we learn that apparently he'd not seen his father for 10 years. I got the impression that they hadn't even spoken during that time. One also got the impression that the father may not have thought highly of his son's career choice. Now, I don't think we learned how the elder Price got his own money, but I've been aware of situations where a father who got his money in "traditional" careers are at odds with sons who want more non-traditional ones, such as what Anthony chose. The result isn't always pleasant. Anthony also says that when the money for his plane ticket was cabled he thought about just pocketing it. That alone pretty much tells us everything we need to know about their relationship. It was solidified for me when he was given news of his father's death. Shock, but no tears. In fact, the news of his inheritance seemed to be of greater magnitude to him. Fast forward to when he's in the park, after he's learned that even his wildest fantasies, when all fulfilled, couldn't bring him happiness. Cort Benson (also without a dog) strikes up a conversation with him about feral dogs (which Benson's character describes as "dogs without a home"). Their conversation turns to their father's failings, and also to Benson's own self-confessed failings as a father. While I don't fully agree with Benson's character's thoughts on religion, he's correct that, to a child, a father is quite often their initial perception of God...good or bad. And he was even more correct in saying, or at least hinting, that when a father's human, imperfect traits become evident, that so much happens when we fail to forgive him for those imperfections. I wonder what Stephen King would think of that logic? Friends, this was a sobering episode for me. I'm reminded of Elton John, whose had his own battles with sexuality (he was briefly married, then came out as a homosexual, but admitted a couple of years ago apparently without embarrassment that he strongly notices women with gorgeous figures), drug addiction, and especially financial woes. For those of you who grew up with the RMT, you remember that Elton was a money-spinning one-man Three Dog Night. He, apparently like "Anthony Price", came to have everything in his worldly dreams. Yet so often I've read of him as a man who has struggled in many, many ways. We may never know how, or even if, he's dealt with the issues of his father. It goes without saying that if Elton grew up with his father, "god" with a little "g", not "liking" him, it deeply and profoundly affected him. I read a story of a man who "came out" of gayness, a self-confessed "ex-gay". He recalled how when his father died he didn't cry at all. He also said how he'd come to realize that issues he'd had of rejecting his father's love, at the same time so desperately craving his father's love [i:112ff9395e]and approval[/i:112ff9395e], had come to shape him, or maybe a better term is, stunt his maturity. He believed (like many do) that it was a central though not the only factor in his sexuality. Anthony Price (apparently) wasn't gay. Neither am I. Unfortunately, I've shared a bit of both Elton's and Anthony's story, and that's why this hit home. As a young boy, I wanted a brother or sister in the worst way. I never got one. Instead of appreciating the love my parents gave me as an only child, I secretly harbored a great deal of anger toward my Dad and blamed him solely for that situation. At around age 10 I started emotionally pushing him away. He died a horrible, protracted death from esophagal cancer in 1975 when I was 15. I honestly can't remember telling him at any period in his 9 month sickness that I loved him. When my Grandma told me he'd died (I was outside playing) tears came into my eyes, but I didn't cry. I couldn't cry. Without going into nearly twenty-five years worth of experience, let me just say, that decision I made caused me almost incalculable hurt, and problems both in my own life and of those around me, particulary my wonderful wife. Why? Because (as I responded to chicagomilam) as a Christian everything I see tells me God has designed fathers to, ideally, serve as a model for love, nurturing and affirmation to their children, especially for boys. And when somehow that bond is broken (and it's all to often going to happen in this fallen world) there can be dire consequences. Unfortunately, I lived them. But, as E.G. says, this was a "success story, or a story about success." Friends, when I finally put 2+2 together (with God's help) and understood all this, and of the problems I'd caused myself by choosing to push my Dad away, and essentially choosing not to fully grow up...I can't tell you what a turnaround it made in my life. Is everything perfect? No. But I can understand now, and more importantly (as Cort Benson's character suggested) I could then forgive. You don't know what freedom that brought. Sorry to be so long-winded, but for me, this story was perfectly clear. And Ms. Eric ended it perfectly. If "Anthony Price" indeed made the discoveries I think he was making, we would have needed at least one more full program for him to tell us about them. Those of you who can, hug your loving fathers today or at least call and tell them you love them. If you need to forgive them of something, do so, or at least please try to seek God's help in allowing you to do so. The results are nothing short of wondrous, and wonderful.

Grant G.

As for the show, well... it still wasn't one of my favorites, but at least I got to see it all from a different perspective. The theme of it being a "success" story which Texas mentioned, was something that eluded me the first time hearing it. Knowing that, it is easy to see where the success is coming from. And perhaps because I do not share this kind of personal tragedy/grief which grayed the spirit of the Anthony Price character, it's more difficult for me to relate to the experiences he had. Anyhow, I felt that my first post may have been a bit shortsighted, thus giving the show a second going. Incredible feedback from everyone.


Your response to this program is marvelous.


Easily one of the top 10 episodes I've listened to so far. And possibly the most profound.


A very deep and meaningful story, probably among the best (if not the best) of Elspeth's shows. The character development was well done from someone we didn't necessarily like too much to someone who we felt for, probably because we understand him during at least one part of the show. We all need something in our lives after all (although not necessarily a dog).


A really compelling & thoughtful exploration into the nightmare of severe depression. This is one of the better RMT's ever produced.

Quick Flick Critic

I just got done listening to this episode again. I may be in the minority here, but I find this particular episode to be really strange overall. It does contain some good moments and some really nice music passages, as many CBSRMT episodes do. However, this episode turns out to be a disappointing drama about childhood resentments and parental issues, imho. The ending puzzles me too. Not to give too much away, but could a dog bring him the Ultimate Happiness he was seeking? Dogs are great, but his problems seemed to go way beyond just needing the comfort of an animal companion. Perhaps I am missing the point of the story? Personally, he strikes me as the kind of person who would find the most fulfillment through a spiritual path and I would have expected him to embark on some kind of spiritual quest at some point. The old man in the park should have turned out to be his spiritual guru, lol! :)


I gotta say, I'm coming around on Elspeth Eric after really disliking most of her early output. Knowing that there are many more of her pieces to come, I'm feeling more optimistic about the road ahead.


Good sound quality, no annoying animal sounds or screaming, some commercials included. (Egads, some these reviews!)


I love the idea of getting all that you wish for and the exploration of whether having what you want makes you happy.This is certainly one of Elspeth Eric’s gems. Easily not one of my favorite CBSRMT writers, Elspeth Eric occasionally SHINES. This story spoke to me in the crisp simplicity of just finding joy in life rather than all that money can buy.


Anthony Price, a poor and not very successful writer living in Rome, finds his world changed when his wealthy father dies and leaves his entire inheritance to his only son. With all the money he can spend, a novel that is suddenly very popular, and the beautiful woman he desires, Anthony has everything he thought he wanted, yet finds himself deeply depressed. Not until he meets a nameless girl, an old man, and a mongrel dog can he begin living again.


Elspeth Eric missed the mark by not naming this episode "Something" (rather than "Help Somebody") since "something" was so crucial to the plot, lol! :D


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