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The Secret of the Fifth Bell


A husband is gifted with a strange set of antique Chinese bells, one of which peals without human intervention. Death or good fortune finds a chosen individual each time the bell tolls.



Air Dates

  • First Run - March 12, 1980
  • Repeat - June 26, 1980





93     16

5 Responses to Episode 1067

A wealthy business executive turns 50 and his wife has found a unique present - six Japanese bells on a silken rope. One of them, the fifth, seems to ring on its own on occasion. It starts to drive the man crazy but he won't part with them. Add a Japenese businessman, the German proprietor of the antique shop that sold the bells, an old friend of the gentleman who is a private detective, his business assistant, and a police investigator and you've got the complete cast assembled to create this mystery.

George F.

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. G. Frederick Lewis did pretty well on his adaptation of Jacques Futrelle's story originally titled THE HAUNTED BELL. What's great about this mystery, is that it features Jacques Futrelle's popular fictional detective: Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen (a.k.a. The Thinking Machine). The sad part, is that not every character from the original story is put into this episode, such as the son: Harvey Phillips. Plus, the German lady in the story is actually named Johann Wagner, not Elizabeth Wagner. In our Host's Prologue, E.G. Marshall begins with the discussion of Oriental ways to the Western Culture. In ACT-1, we meet our main character: Frank Phillips and his obsession on the 5th bell. In ACT-2, our main character has changed while dealing with murder and a temple gong. In ACT-3, our main character loses his mind and sadly, Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen's principles of solving the case failed. His Epilogue was the best when he closed this episode off by saying: "We live in an age when the incredible no longer surprises us. The premise on Mystery Theater--to open your mind to the scientific acknowledgement that there's no such thing as the impossible." To that, I say: "Splendid conclusion." The sound effects of unwrapping the box, temple gongs clanging, bell door, tableware clinking, foot steps, door knock, the letter, violin music, locker at the morgue, the envelope, phone ringing, body thud, door buzzer, violin case, and tapping of the champagne glass that shatters were also splendid. So many sounds, yet so perfectly fitting in this tale. And splendid music that will make listeners go into deep thought as the story progresses. And finally, our cast: Earl Hammond (as Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen and Giles Francis), Arnold Moss (as Frank Phillips), Joyce Gordon (as Norma Phillips and Elizabeth Wagner), and Ian Martin (as Inspector Mallory and Oku Matsumi). Earl Hammond was great as the leading Detective just like Kevin McCarthy when he played Sherlock Holmes on CBSRMT. Arnold Moss was outstanding. Joyce Gordon was magnificent for playing the wife and German lady. As for Ian Martin, good for playing the Inspector, but bad for playing the wealthy Japanese business man. It reminded me of Kristoffer Tabori from Ep. #1073-THE FATEFUL BELL when he used an awful accent to play the part of the minister from China. Still, it's an entertaining story and people who are fans of Jacques Futrelle's stories, especially about Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, should tune in for this. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


Great episode! Be sure to listen to it! Recorded on radio station WAKR in Akron, Ohio.

Eric Templeton

Not sure about this story. I feel a big let down with the ending. My first thought at the ending was "what a waste of a good build up.."

Peggy Converse

It certainly kept me guessing, but there were still loose threads at the end of the story. For instance, why did the Japanese man want so badly to buy the bells? What did his note say? What happened to him afterwards? And the biggest unanswered question, why did *that person* die?


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