Welcome to CBS Radio Mystery Theater

Enjoy our episode guide of all 1,399 CBS Radio Mystery Theater old time radio shows for free! You can stream or download old radio shows in MP3 format or copy radio shows to CD. We're big fans of Radio Mystery Theater and by offering shows from the golden age of radio for free, we keep the spirit of the Radio Mystery Theater alive!
CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
Ordeal by Fire
Plot:
A millionaire and his daughter are subjected to third degree burns when they refuse to pay a million dollars to a man with a mysterious control over elemental fire. The daughter asks her beau to aid her father who has become paranoid about security and changed their home to a fortress.
Episode:
0061
Air Dates:
First Run - March 21, 1974
Repeat - June 14, 1974
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
Download This Episode

19 Responses to Episode 0061


I knew as soon as i saw Lulie Newmar she was the portrayer of Catwoman in the old Batman T.V. series. I guess you gotta start somewhere. She has an impressive list of credits to her name. If you've been keeping track of actors in these shows, you'll know that they almost all jumped into soap operas. Natural progression I guess.

Julie Newmar was The Catwoman a decade before she did this episode! Let me point out that the episode ended with an unprosecuted murder--by the good guys!! The bad guy was an arsonist and a con man, but he never actually murdered anyone! Crime drama, no supernatural elements.

The description is not right (if my recollection is correct) because the millionaire and his daughter never got burned. One of the reasons I really liked this episode is that the plot moved quickly along - it never got bogged down. Many CBSRMT shows seem to have not enough plot to fill the allotted time, but this one could have used a few more minutes at the end to wrap things up.

This play centers on the Promethean Society, a secret group dedicated to the improvement of morality throughout the world. Vernon Marcus has agreed to become a member but has second thoughts when actually having to fork over a $1,000,000 "contribution". Promos, the leader of the society is very forceful and anyone who doesn't obey, or who challenges his authority, lives to regret it. Vernon calls upon Brian Casey, a private detective, to look into the issue.

Hot stuff! Tight script, fun characters and Promo feels the heat. Reminiscent of an Anthony Berkeley mystery.

A detective protects a business-man by infiltrating a secret society which wants he joined that wants a contribution of a million dollars. Members who chose not to contribute might experience a new idea to the words "extra crispy".

A cunning and seemingly powerful man operates an organization that resembles a cult. It supposedly does charitable work and the money is provided by well-to-do businessmen who have joined the organization. The leader seems to summon a god who sends down fire to impress and oppress members and the leader makes financial demands of the members. One of them is not so comfortable with the forced giving from the outset but another has personally witnessed what happens when the giving is not up to par.

A woman asks her boyfriend to try to help her father who is turning his home into a fortress. He soon finds out his soon-to-be father in law must give $1 million to a cult or be burned to death. Well acted and intriguing story. Recommended.

The Promethian Society promotes itself as doers of good, and standard bearers of morality. Its’ leader is, like any good televangelist is always on looking for the next contribution and performs mighty feats of pyromania to impress potential donors. Members who are asked to donate, and refuse, or delay, suffer horrible burns from mysterious fires. A private investigator is brought in to check things out and discovers… A nice little crime mystery.

A detective protects a business-man by infiltrating a secret society which wants he joined that wants a contribution of a million dollars. Members who chose not to contribute might experience a new idea to the words "extra crispy". Review: I like this show, and I don't know why. For one thing, a regular person would have simply walked away from the business man's situation. The plot is more of an excuse to tell a very-good detective story, which tries to slove the mystery of the society that demands the donation from him. It's an addictive show, and the head of the society Promos, is an infectious character. I guess the bad guys in the good-evil stories always tend to be more interesting.

I've probably listened to this show ten times in the last 3 yrs. It is to me a lot of fun enertainment, nothing deep and cerebral, or even haunting. I think I really like the fact that Promos gets to feel the heat. The story is clever..the actors enjoyable. Promos was acted by Sidney Walker and I think he did a hell of a job conveying a sharp, snide little con man. The Brian Casey character was a standout for me as well: cynical in his own way and never falling for what Promos was supposed to be, always keeping things down to earth. That is particularly enjoyable to me--stories that seem to have some fantastical, unexplained event going on until a man of reason discovers the truth. The application of earthly means brings down the illusion. It's fun while the illusion lasts and as it is fun as it is explained and brought down. Having Promo fry was just icing on the cake. Many of the Sherlock Holmes stories are like that. I hope to hear more of these actors in future episodes. It is simply an enertaining episode...runs like an old time mystery with a secret society, gangster connetions and seemingly supernatural powers at work. An Anthony Berkely novel comes to mind. I hope you enjoyed the selection.

I agree, the dialog is satisfying through the entire show! That is a feat in writing. I was burning to repy.

i thought this was a good detective story. acting was pretty good. julie numar was probably the weak link. was she the catwoman on the 60s batman show? i was taken in by the detective's feet burning. how about the guy who's feet were first burned? Tim Burns!

Sorry it took me so long to get to this one. Work has been tough lately with two plane crashes in one day for one of our locally based airlines. This is what every fiction genre must be: a good story. Sometimes its interesting to ponder hidden meanings and morals, but radio drama is at its best when you get to hear a good story. It's like a Stephen King novel used to be in the 1980s. The show is well acted with a strong script. My copy cut off the writer, but I think it was Murray Burnett. None of his other work stands out to me like Sam Dann or Ian Martin. I know he did a few, so I'll be looking out for more of his work.

Yes it was Murray Burnett..and I agree Sa,m Dann and Ian Martin are terrific. I like to hear Ian Martin too... he acts in quite a few.

Thanks for recommending this episode! Unfortunately, I can't hear the name "Prometheus" without remembering when I used to work in midtown Atlanta, before we moved back to the Ozarks, and some weird bookstore in that part of the city had a full size finely-illustrated poster of a man with that name - stark naked - in their window. I don't know why and I wasn't interested in finding out. This one had some of my favorite actors, and unfortunately I'm not at my other computer with the .mp3 file to identify it. The man who played the future son-in-law...I've always noticed how he had a voice like a young Fred Gwynne. I wonder if the RMT writers ever paired them as a father and son in any episode? The man who played "Vern" is also always a pleasure to listen to...if someone doesn't beat me to it here if I'm ever nominated for a show of the week in the future I may in turn nominate one of that actor's finest works (and one of the finest, IMO, RMT shows) in "The hand". I also like the actor who played the private investigator...his work was always good, whether as a lion-bait phone repairman in "The house on chimney pot lane", the mysterious business client/ex-husband in "The 800 pound gorilla" or one of the crew members in "The captain of the polestar"...he's good. In the end...E.G. seemed to hint we'd never know exactly why the man at the end was consumed by fire. Interesting ending, very interesting morality tale.

Ordeal by Fire 3/21/74 This play centers on the Promethean Society, a secret group dedicated to the improvement of morality throughout the world. Vernon Marcus has agreed to become a member but has second thoughts when actually having to fork over a $1,000,000 "contribution". Promos, the leader of the society is very forceful and anyone who doesn't obey, or who challenges his authority, lives to regret it. Vernon calls upon Brian Casey, a private detective, to look into the issue. A good plot coupled with quality writing and excellent acting make this a terrific play. One special thing I note about the writing is that the auther, Murry Burnett, uses a special technique to breathe life into this play. At about the 12th minute of the play, Vernon Marcus and Brian Casey are driving to the Promethean Society meeting. Vernon takes the time to explain what will happen during the meeting. This was an exceptionally cleaver and smooth way to detail the setting - the author used the natural course of actions and free flowing dialogue to give us the setting. Often, the setting is handed to us by E.G. Marshall or the characters seem unnatural in their need to describe things but this author crafted this scene very well. Soon after, when the two men enter the meeting room, we hear the organ music and we have a fine example of the Radio Mystery Theater mystique. Later in the program, the author builds the suspense as the seemingly supernatural event of a boiling bucket of ice water is introduced (Brian Casey's burning feet are put into the frigid water). A short time later, we learn that Brian Casey has figured out how Promos has tricked his society members but the author only teases us with the solution. We're left to hang with Vernon Marcus which was an exceptional way to let our minds race.  Excellent writing really made this play work. Don't play with fire!!

Good choice! This is another program that I have not listened to before. This is not the only good CBSRMT program dealing with fire either. Not a lot to say about it really as little is left to interpretation. The one thing that stands out is that the program was well written. There was no time that I lost the story or lost interest. I came away from it not confused about the characters or what was happening. The beginning minutes, which are critical in capturing that initial interest and intrigue, got my attention as it was not clear what this was all about. All I can say is, this was a good one!

Definitely an interesting episode as it's not sure if it's science or supernatural until the end. I did like the comment about the murder and it made me think that if they knew something like that would happen that they would've been good enough to have fire extinguishers ready. So I guess I'd have to agree that it was murder (perhaps not 1st degree though).

Leave a comment

* Your email address will not be published.

Toggle Light/Dark Theme
Buy Old Time Radio OTRCAT.com Order your favorite old time radio shows from the golden age of radio. Free sample downloads!