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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
Hickory, Dickory, Doom
Plot:
A grandfather clock is the central piece in this gruesome and morbid tale. A young couple from Pennsylvania pick up a grandfather clock at an estate sale to give to the local minister. What they do not know is that the malfunctioning time piece does more than tell time, it is actually a gateway to the demon world.
Episode:
0957
Air Dates:
First Run - February 26, 1979
Repeat - August 17, 1979
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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47 Responses to Episode 0957


Hickory Dickory Doom because it really pulls out the stops. Sagamore Cottage. When I think back though RMT was more suspenseful than scary though they did have some scary ones but for truly scary episodes I would say The Hermit's Cave was one of the best radio dramas for that genre; all episodes were creepy and most dealt with the super natural. But for CBS RMT was the best out there due to when it was done, how long it lasted, and the high quality. RIP HB.

That one had the scariest ending, in my opinion. Love that one. "The clock!! I must see the clock!!

If you're looking for a great thriller with a terrifying ending then this is the story for you! This is the best episode of the entire series!

After reading the synopsis and comments about this episode,"Hickory, Dickory, Doom" I thought it was going to be a really scary one. What a disappoinment! I thought it might get better after the mysterious man who hid his face that was watching the house rang the doorbell and demanded in a creepy, gravelly voice to see ,"The clock- I MUST see the clock!" and then barged in,opened up the grandfather clock and stepped inside and disappeared but it didn't. It's an o.k. episode. Inferior to one of the best ones, "Possessed by the Devil" which is excellent and scary.

When I was a kid this scared me and my brothers to death. We could hardly sleep after listening to it. LOL!

This is my all time favorite story!!! The scene where they ahve to go into the dining room and they find it all cold and misty with the clock open and chiming is really, really creapy!

This also is my all time favorite. I played this episode by candle light on our backyard deck for my nieces and nephews. They loved it! It spooked them as well my sisters.

It's quite the most excellent episode of the series! I can listen to it over and over again without getting bored.

What a DISAPPOINTMENT! After reading the synopsis and comments about this episode I thought it was going to be a REALLY SCARY one. It isn't. A couple buys a clock at a yard sale that is supposed to not chime but, does when they get it home. It chimes at odd hrs, the door to it opens and a misty thing comes out. The family cat won't come in the house. The baby is more restless. The mother-in-law who is interested in tarot cards,etc. gets an odd feeling about the clock. They call in a expert on such things. They have a seance,etc. I thought the episode would improve after the mysterious man that had his face all muffled up and was watching the house showed up demanded to "see the clock -I must see the clock!" in a gravely voice and then opened the clock up and stepped into it but it didn't. It didn't scare me.

Different things scare different people. This one is OK. I wouldn't say it's the best of the series.

A so-so episode. Not a lot going on in the story. Good sound quality.

This program centers on a young Pennsylvania couple who purchase an antique grandfather clock at a garage sale. The clock appears to be a bargain but when the couple take the clock home, they experience several odd things. After a visit from the woman's mother, they contact a pyschic investigator who in turn brings his assistant into the fray. Soon, they learn the true demonic purpose of the clock.

A couple goes to a yard sale where a minister has passed away and his nephew is selling his things. They are intrigued by a grandfather clock which is priced reasonably so they decide to take it home. One interesting point about the clock is that the seller tells them it does not chime, yet, it is chiming. This clock turns out to be something of a problem and is perhaps, more than just a clock.

A young Pennsylvania couple purchases a grandfather clock at an estate sale for a minister. The clock repeatedly malfunctions. but telling time is this clock's secondary function. Its primary function is much more sinister.

Story:Charlotte and Charlie Tucker visit an estate sale in the front yard of Richard Lum in southern Pennsylvania. There, they find a wonderful antique clock that Mr. Lum states belonged to his uncle, who was a minister. Although Mr. Lum doesn't believe the clock is working, it somehow manages to chime as the Tuckers walk by. After purchasing the clock the Tuckers take it home and examine it. Strange letters seem grown in the woodgrain, and the air in the clock body feels cool and damp - even after being outside in the hot sun. Again the clock oddly chimes. Charlotte's mother visits the next day, and being somewhat psychic, convinces the Tuckers to summon a Ghostbreaker after she feels a "force" in the clock. That night, the clock chimes endlessly, only stopping when Charlie investigates and shuts the door to the clock, which he is unable to explain how it opened. The next day, Mr. Carlton, the ghostbreaker, confirms something is odd about the clock - including the name SARGATANAS carved in the clock's interior. He breaks the shocking news to the Tuckers that SAGATANAS is a Brigadier to Lucifer. He suggests the they use a medium of enormous sensitivity (Margaret Egan), who later finds that the clock is actually a gateway to hell. That same day a strange being knocks on the door and requests to see the clock, after hearing it chime. He enters the clock saying he will "summon the others" and incredibly disappears. Margaret reveals that SARGANTANAS was ecclesiastically imprisoned 103 years ago, and that his entry into the clock has re-opened the gateway. Now the spirits of hell are soon to enter into the world. The Tuckers attempt to move the clock to hallowed ground before it's too late. Will they succeed???? Comment: Great show! Well acted and a story line that didn't take the easy way out. There really wasn't much to pick apart in this episode, it was solid all around. I wonder, though, if Bob Juhren's vision is that the Antique Roadshow is the tool of the devil or simply that Pennsylvania is the home of the damned. Just ask a Pirate's fan

This is definately one of the best-- for many of the aforementioned reasons-- a well crafted, slow, methodical build-up, a touch of the supernatural and a extremely dark ending (it's good that RMT occasionally threw those in-- it always keeps you guessing and makes the stories far more suspenseful!) Tony Roberts and Patricia Elliot always make a very believable married couple (check out "You're Going to Like Rodney" for another good example). Sam Gray's character-- who wishes to see the clock-- really is one of the oddest, creepiest villains to make an apperance in RMT-- no question! The best RMT's always seems to start with an innocuous purchase at a rummage sale, old bookstore, pawn shop, etc. Great Selection-- Lots of Fun! Until Next Time...............

I grew up in the 70's (I am 40) and one of my favorite memories is listening to RMT in bed with the lights out. The tv shows, books, films and radio shows that you grow up with probably always occupy a special, distinctive place in a person's memory, but RMT in particular resonates with me. And unlike some things I liked as a kid (in retrospect I don't think Gilda Radner was all that hilarious), RMT holds up quite well. The writing, acting and variety still impress me. In fact, I am often surprised by how cutting edge RMT could be (shows like "Star Sapphire" for example). I love the great spectrum of entertainment choices we now have at our fingertips due to satellite TV, the internet, etc., but I miss the fact that, when I was growing up, almost everyone was at least familiar with some of the same TV shows, sports events, etc. There is not the same sense of community which at least is part of the reason why I look back at the 70's fondly. I am reminded of Barney Miller, cheesy UFO magazines, and blockbuster films like Jaws.

I love the great spectrum of entertainment choices we know have at our fingertips due to satellite TV, the internet, etc., but I miss the fact that, when I was growing up, almost everyone was at least familiar with some of the same TV shows, sports events, etc. There is not the same sense of community which at least is part of the reason why I look back at the 70's fondly. You make an excellent point. I have a fond memory of the 70s for the very same reason. I miss the cultural points of reference more people shared. Prime time TV shows really were "appointment television" back then. We all watched them at the same time, and talked about them at school the next day. That's what's nice about website like this. I guess it's our present-day "water cooler"... or playground, to put it in school terms!

Thanks for your comments, Herotrekker. Seems that many of us used to lie in bed, listening when we were supposed to be sleeping! Great memories. Every now and then, these shows can take us back to those evenings some 25 or 30 years ago.  

Glad to see your post on this program. It had been awhile since I listened to it and re-reading the comments was a great deal of fun.

This program centers on a young Pennsylvania couple who purchase an antique grandfather clock at a garage sale. The clock appears to be a bargain but when the couple take the clock home, they experience several odd things. After a visit from the woman's mother, they contact a pyschic investigator who in turn brings his assistant into the fray. Soon, they learn the true demonic purpose of the clock. This story is unusual in that we, the listeners, are hoping for a positive resolution to the devilish concepts that are presented but we never get the satisfaction. I think it's safe to say that if I had heard this story as a young kid, I probably would have soiled myself and had a series of restless nights. This type of story, where the devil prevails, has always scared the hell out of me but the play is another excellent example of the RMT magic and serves to demonstrate why some of us were terrified when we eventually fell asleep. My minor criticisms center on the voices of Margaret/Leona and the hunchback man as these two actors seem to be trying a bit too hard and their voices don't seem natural. That being said, this play is an excellent example of how the writer, Bob Juhren, painted a terrific picture without making the dialogue seem contrived. I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation but, again, I wonder if I would have been able to sleep as a kid. Now for an off the wall perspective intended to be lighthearted: I don't remember what year the movie, "Ghostbusters", came out but it seems that there were a couple of references in this play that were similar. In both Ghostbusters and in this play, we had a reference to an ectoplasmic manifestation and secondly, the "Keymaster" concept in Ghostbusters seemed similar to the devil's locksmith in this play. I admit this is a stretch but I thought I'd toss it out to the group for fun.

This was my first "re-listening" since I first heard it as a 12 year old late one night in 1979. I wished I'd have been patient and waited until I could assure I would not be interrupted. Nonetheless, it was as good as I remembered it. This is what I used to listen to CBSRMT for. It was the memory of this very show, (along with "Out of Sight" and "A Long Way from Home") that kept the desire to hear the show again after all these years. This is my kind of show. The show has an excellent script with no extraneous dialogue. The voice of the medium is perhaps a little overacted, but Tony Roberts and Patricia Elliot do a great job. The utter hopelesness of the end leaves its mark on you. I hope you all enjoyed it. It's my favorite.

The CBS Radio Mystery theater Presents:” Hickory, Dickory, Doom” , written by Bob Juhren. This is a delightful episode. It begins with an interesting story and maintains the drama and involvement throughout. The ending is a home run! There are elements and sustained confirmations to the story THAT MAKE THE STORY WHAT IT ULTIMITLY IS-DOOM. Doom exists in the real world, it is undesirable and avoided. Still, in reality it is a possible outcome: an ending that is undesired or dreaded. If doom is to have any meaning, to carry any weight, it must be substantial. If a story of doom always has a happy ending, then doom is nothing to be feared. That is not life. Things certainly don’t always work out. We are not in control of everything! Sometimes life has doom-ful elements that occur despite our best efforts. Doom is an inevitable progress towards an ending that favors the antagonist. What stature should the antagonist have if he never succeeds? What impact if doom does succeed! The success of doom substantiates its existence as an entity. Uniquely, this story lives up to a title involving doom. Our clock in this story may not know what time it is in the “real” world the story takes place in, but its chime is ominous and prevalent. It is calling as a declaration of its eminence, its place in the story.( the role of doom in life?) Here, it is never silenced. Unlike so many other forms of entertainment, the CBSRMT allows a story to reach its inevitable conclusion that is supported throughout the episode. Or it surprises you! Who Knows. It doesn’t always turn out to be a happy ending. The unpredictability mirrors the reality and irony of life. This is one of the aspects that make this series great. I’m not looking for unhappy endings, per se. I am looking for a story that carries substance. The “substance “ is felt in its impact. The substance reveals itself when one considers and thinks of the story long after the CD has finished spinning. It leaves me as the listener that I’ve not only heard entertainment that is unique, but it is unique because it is relevancy. “Such things don’t happen, do they”, asks E.G. We are left wondering. If every story ends up positive for the protagonist, or at least essentially positive with the antagonist popping his head up at the end to provide for a sequel (such as Freddy Kruger, Friday the 13th and the countless other rip-offs) then because we know it won’t end in doom, it is less suspenseful and therefore really a rip off! I love CBSRMT because the producer allows for multiple possible endings...thus we really don’t know how it will end till it does. In this episode, even though we like the characters, the course of the story goes on. Kudos to CBSRMT. Besides the fulfillment of the title, the technical aspects of the story are good. The clock chimes ominously in the background at appropriate times. The chimes are nicely ominous. Himan Brown has an enjoyable appearance (enjoyable mostly because we know it is he who is acting) as Mr. Lum. The characters are likable. I thought Robert Dryden’s performance as the weird spirit lurking about the house and ultimately knocking on the door terrific. On a less than positive side, I am left wondering why a religious fellow, the clerical uncle who died and had possession of the clock, would leave it open to attainment without warning, A minor point to be sure, in a very entertaining episode. 10- Supernatural.....UNTIL NEXT TIME.

Okay, well, I just listened. I had not heard this one before. This "style" of program is not my type in general. It is a Twilight Zone type of story (which is my type) but the occultic spiritual world connection is not a big thing of interest to me. Buying the clock and knowing that there is going to be some type of problem with it - I like that part. Then things start to happen - still interesting. I like the fact that the clock does not chime but it is chiming - nice touch there to build interest. The mother-in-law arrives and I start to lose some interest - especially when the psychics (or whatever) show up. Now somewhat uninteresting until the guy comes to the door and steps into the clock. Now, I'm right back with it. It's all good now and I am interested in this ..... until the end! What the ... ? Well, what are we supposed to think of the end here? An unfinished (or perhaps really finished) end to this story. Well, a good job of writing and good acting in this one. The writer is being very creative. It's just not completely up my alley but it was interesting and had I been listening in the middle of the night rather than on a sunny afternoon, this one might have given me a panic attack. Now to see what you all had to say about it...

Hmmm. :idea: Then again, maybe our demon friend was aware that a man of the cloth owned the clock and was thus somehow inhibited. He sat in there waiting. :evil: The demon certainly was not inhibited by the psychic folks.....but then one of them thought it was a non malignant until it was too late. You indicated a confusion with the end. I think this time the bad guys win. Just that simple. A nice change to the usual, me thinks. .......UNTIL NEXT TIME

Texas- That's interesting, as I too thought of the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man". I also thought of a haunting, fatalistic episode, and a great one from the first Dimension X show, titled of all things, "The Outer Limit" Science fiction at it's best. I won't give away the story...give it a listen. UNTIL NEXT TIME PS...I still don't have this quote thing figured out, despite Charlie's efforts. Feel like a caveman. Uggg!

You bet we're checking! Great comments!

bang-on with the comments about the CBSRMT wide net... I just listened to a bunch of episodes that varied widely - it is quite remarkable how vivid the settings are in my imagination without the benefit of any visuals, just the dialogue, narration, and sound effects. And with so many episodes from which to select, there's bound to be something for everyone!

I'm wondering if the strange little devil guy who shows up and goes inside the clock is related to the freaky little demon guy who shows up in "The Crack in the Wall" and enables a distraught couple to hear the cries of their dead child through the crack in the wall in their basements. Both episodes: freaky!!

I finally got to catch up to this one. I enjoyed it, though not as much as others. It was really well done, and I have to laugh because, when they decided to move the clock, I thought, "of course, it isn't going to budge." Sure enough, it wouldn't budge. I found it to be a bit over the top for my personal taste, but really happy with it over all. A great choice, especially for the "mystery" part of Mystery Theater. Thanks!!

I suspect that this episode is probably on a lot of fans RMT Top 10 list. I would rank it in my top 5. Tony Roberts is good, as usual, the ending is one of the darker conclusions in RMT history (the first time I heard the show I assumed the evil force would be defeated by a priest or something; instead it seems as if the world is about to end). The character who shows up to inspect and enter the clock is one of the oddest I can remember in an RMT. Hickory, Dickory, Doom throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix and the result is a suspenseful, spooky piece of entertainment. How many RMTs involved a supernatural artifact purchased at a rummage sale or pawn shop of some sort? Great selection.

This is one of the first that I'd ever heard. And I found it gripping then. I still think it's a strong tale dramatically told. The distinctiveness of voices (on radio) is something that Brown understood very well. It doesn't do to have actors sound like one another on the air; that way lies confusion. The claaaack and the sound effects are played . . . to our total enjoyment! Here's something a bit odd, from my point of view. So many of the RMT supernatural tales depend on an understanding (perhaps acceptance?) of biblical mythology; whether it be conventional or unconventional renderings of the ancient tales. Now I'm a pronounced skeptic, yet I still enjoy these dramatized fictions. Dracula, etc. But perhaps I would be open to paranormal tales based on Hindu or Buddhist themes as well. Go figure . . . The dark ending --- we're all doomed --- is fine, great even. So long as all the RMT episdoes don't end that way . . . and certainly they don't. The canon contains a nice mix of dark, light, and just plain confusing endings.

I agree the medium was over done (MEDIUM WELL..)...and bordering on annoying. But, she had an ultimately small part. Funny too, how the male psychic was saying well into the second episode that he detects "no real evil" here. Boy was he wrong. UNTIL NEXT TIME

In case anyone is still checking these posts ... I listened to Hickory Dickory Doom last week and it scared the bejabbers out of me. I have an apartment that creaks and groans at night in hot weather as it cools off... had to listen to that for a while after the show was done. Was just falling asleep when the church bell struck midnight several blocks away. Anyway this show goes right to my all-time list as well.

Thank you for an excellent episode! I am new to this website, and have just started listening to CBSRMT again after 30 years! I'm one of those kids who listened while I was growing up, hiding under my covers with an earphone plugged into my clock radio! I loved those shows then, and am gaining a new appreciation now.

The horror and bizarre themes were always my favorites. This show caught my attention because it took place in "southern Pennsylvania" which is where I listened to it back in the '70s (southwestern PA.)

Yes, the bad guy did win that time. I was listening while I was doing some work and I thought "it can't be over yet." Oh well, at least the program came back on the next night.  It was a good program to listen to and I find myself thinking more about it after listening so it had "sticking power."

I absolutely loved this episode! This definitely goes on my all-time favorite list. I've noticed through my own observations and the opinions of others just how many genres radio mystery theater represents. I loved this episode for exactly some of the same reasons other people didn't care for it. But at the same time there have been episodes that I didn't really care for that others loved. Isn't it amazing that one program can cast such a wide net! From outer space, to the jungle, from historical fiction, to the occult, from murder and suspense to the realm of science. How amazing and brilliant. This show really deserves much more credit that it receives!

I am left wondering why a religious fellow, the clerical uncle who died and had possession of the clock, would leave it open to attainment without warning Would this be because the demon (or whatever it was) was in prison and the minister was not aware of nay problem with it? That's what I assumed at least.

Just gave "Hickory, Dickory, Doom" another listen and I will have to revise my earlier assessment of this episode. I REALLY enjoyed this more the second time round than when I first heard it. I have better quality headphones and the sound is more crystal clear than before. I agree with the others about the medium's voice- it would have been less annoying maybe if she had a lower-pitched voice. This story would have made a great episode on the original "Kolchak, the Night Stalker". Or even "Night Gallery". If the clock was a "gateway to hell", shouldn't it have been hot air rather than cold coming from it? I always thought that cold air indicated the presence of hauntings(ghosts) rather than demons. Wonder if anybody has or heard of anybody having had bad luck with their class rings ? Both my sister and I had bad experiences whenever we wore our rings and she tossed hers in the trash and I've refused to wear mine ever again!

The good: (and there's a lot of it) - At the end of the episode those chimes that are the same as my Dad's (and your relative's) clock ring...E.G. says "I see by the old clock in the corner that our time is up for now..." - Even when the actors do things that would be laughed out of modern day television (or even radio) programming, the RMT could make it work. Witness "Margaret Egan", the female medium that was brought in. It was obviously either Patricia Elliott or Joan Shea (each of whom was already playing other characters on the show) portraying her in an almost amusing faux-aristocratic clenched-jaw voice. Robert Dryden was also in the show, but he had to adapt a different voice as satan's doorkeeper, the one who says "I mussszt seee the claaaack"... These adaptations would be crude by today's standards, but in the mix of elements within the RMT, they work for me. - The music...ohhh, the music. I've posted before that I like the use of CBS' stock spooky sounds in the RMT. This particular episode uses many of the same music interludes as what many think is the finest "Twilight Zone" episode ever produced - "To serve man" (itself with an equally disturbing ending). At the 28:52 mark right after Margaret talks about "the gate to hell" there's an interlude I always enjoyed that was used effectively in two other of my "listening log" favorite episodes: "The laughing maiden" and "Yesterday's giant". Good use of music beds in this one. - If ya'll haven't heard them, there are two episodes I'd recommend on related themes: "Time and again" (which features another weird clock) and "The house on chimney pot lane" (which features another house that has strange things happen to it after people bring something in, although this house was thought to be haunted prior to it") - Back to actors, I always enjoy the work of Robert Dryden (even when he's asked to do things like he was here) and Tony Roberts, who was most effective at playing the "ordinary guy" type of hero quite often in the RMT. The bad: - I don't like the theology, though I won't get into the arguments here. As I said before I'm a recovering addict, so these things are personal to me. - I do get bothered by the occasional "everyone loses" endings of certain RMT episodes. However, this comes with the genre...certain "Twilight Zone" episodes ended the same way.

I know most CBSRMT fans consider this as a great episode, but in my opinion, it's so-so. What I liked about it, was E.G. Marshall's contribution in all 3 Acts. His narration and his special Outro when he says, "Hickory, dickory, doom. A clock stood in a room. The clock struck well, to summon Hell. Hickory, dickory, doom", that was splendid. The sound effects were definitely a plus. The music was decent, but not as horrific as the music in Episode #1245-THE JUDGE'S HOUSE. What I disliked about this episode, was the acting & storyline. The characters of Charlie Tucker (played by Tony Roberts), Charlotte Tucker (played by Patricia Elliot), Paul Carlton (played by Sam Gray), and Agnes Lee (played by Joan Shay) weren't believable enough. Not enough characterization. The story could have been better IF this was split into 2 episodes. I imagine there could be a back story; a story within a story for Sargatanas: The Devil's Locksmith. He could narrate his side of this wicked tale and John Lithgow could play the role. As for the ending of what happened to the Tuckers and their house, they could've continued the story in the next episode by finding a way to communicate with Sargantanas, come up with a scheme to trap him, send him & the demons back to the Inferno, destroy the clock, and the Tuckers would agree to just buy a clock-radio and never buy a grandfather clock ever again. That's my opinion, folks.

Tony Roberts, a portal to hell, a medium and an apocalyptic finale. What's not to like? "Hickory, Dickory, Doom" is fun from beginning to end (if you can call the end of the world fun). The dark ending lingers in the mind. What happened next? Nothing good apparently. This episode is firmly planted in my Top Ten. It would be interesting to see a list of CBSRMT shows that deal with objects linked to the supernatural, including rings, paintings, etc.

I've been looking for this radio show for years. I used to work late evenings as a custodian of a middle school. While I was cleaning and performing general maintenance I used to listen to old time radio shows on my MP3 player. One evening when I unfortunately had to work alone I was listening to this particular radio show. When that strange man with his face covered came to the door and spoke it game me chills. For the rest of the night I couldn't help but look over my shoulder because the who show was so creepy and unsettling.

Hickory Dickory Doom is creepy as hell (pun intended). There is a part where they are whispering and that happens in the Rodney episode too. Something about the whispering in a radio play adds a good dose of the creep factor.

I remember this one from being a kid ... grandfather clock that turned out to be the gateway to hell

Just listened to Hickory Dickory Doom. Yeah, it's now in my top favorites. Creepy! Also, one of the few CBSRMT where the bad guy wins! Don't see that very often. Usually, good triumphs over evil. Here? Not so much. The two best parts were 1) when they find the dining room cold and foggy with the clock open in the middle of the night and, 2) the final scene which I won't give away for anyone that hasn't listened to it.

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