The CBS Radio Mystery Theater (or
CBSRMT) was an ambitious and sustained attempt in the 1970s to
revive the great drama of
old-time radio. Created by
Himan Brown (who had by then become a radio legend due to his work on
Inner Sanctum Mysteries and other shows dating back to the 1930s),
and aired on affiliate stations across the
CBS Radio network, the series began its long run on
The final episode ran on
The show was broadcast nightly and ran for one hour,
including news and commercials. Typically, a week consisted of three to
four new episodes, with the remainder of the week filled out with reruns.
There were 1,399 original episodes broadcast. The total number of
broadcasts, including reruns, was 2,969.
The format was similar to that of classic old time radio
shows such as
The Mysterious Traveler and
The Whistler, in that there is a host,
E.G. Marshall, who introduces each episode and provides pithy wisdom
throughout; but, unlike the hosts of those shows, Marshall is fully
mortal, merely someone whose heightened insight and erudition plunge the
listener into the world of the macabre.
The show began with the ominous sound of a creaking
door, slowly opening to invite listeners in for the evening's adventure,
accompanied by Marshall's disturbing intonation of, "Come in! ... Welcome;
I am E.G. Marshall." At the end of each show, the door would creak and
slam shut, followed by Marshall's classic signoff, "Until next time,
pleasant ... dreams?," segueing into the show's haunting woodwind theme
Marshall hosted the program every year but the final
one, when actress
Tammy Grimes took over, maintaining the format.