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Nightmare in Gillette Castle


When a couple on tour visit the home of the biggest actor to portray the legendary Sherlock Holmes on the big screen, they are unexpectedly forced to spend the night in the castle. They soon find that they have become part of a crime scene with the real Sherlock Holmes leading the investigation!



Air Dates

  • First Run - July 14, 1980
  • Repeat - November 4, 1980





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11 Responses to Episode 1102

I did not like the Holmes episodes of CBSRMT. I've never been a Sherlock Holmes fan. I didn't care for Kevin McCarthey's work either. I was disappointed in this episode when I listened to it. I love haunted house stories and especially enjoy haunted castle stories. When I found out that this was a pseudo-Holmes story, it left me flat. Oddly enough, I enjoyed Doyle's non-Holmes story.

Guillermo Christian B. M.

This would not be a favorite episode for me either. I was never a Holmes fan in anyway.. however I like the other poster I had to listen a couple times to try and gather the twists and turns or maybe I am just not getting it all ?  I get that the Gillette guy died years before and all that but still did not get the point at the end of going the other way out? Anyways Thanks for the download and the comments...

Shermay G.

Bah, it ain't that bad. I haven't heard it in a while. Another one I need to listen too.

Chuck D.C.

I can take or leave this one. Not a big on the Holmes genre on CBSRMT. I would, however like to go tour that castle, as EG Marshall suggests. It sounds really interesting.


Nightmare at Gillette Castle isn't scary but I always enjoy listening to it!


All this story is missing is the T.A.R.D.I.S. ...

Kevin Duffey

"Nightmare In Gillette Castle" had intrigue, suspense, unpredictability, and mystery to the tale from July 14, 1980. Identifying illusion from reality would not be forthright under some situations. A couple that had spent the night at a castle was in for some surprises in the story. Adventurous And Bold!! The Late Kevin McCarthy did a sensible job in playing his role.

Eric L. Ellis

The plot jumped around, but never gets resolved. Were they ghosts? Was it staged? Was it worth the 48 minutes of my life listening to it? The world may never know the answer to any of these questions. lol

Nick Kumburis

I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ for AVERAGE. I’ll review what I enjoyed the most first and then finish off what I disliked. First, I enjoyed the cast: Kevin McCarthy (as William Gillette/Sherlock Holmes), Jada Rowland (as Pamela Watson), Russell Horton (as Jim Watson), and Carol Teitel (as the Tour Guide and Mrs. Hudson). Carol Teitel was terrific in her 2 roles. Jada Rowland is my favorite actress in the CBSRMT series and having her partner up with Russell Horton again, like many episodes before, was delightful. And Kevin McCarthy was entertaining, just like his performance as Sherlock Holmes in previous episodes before this one. Next up, music and sound effects. Dozens of dramatic tunes were used, but no suspenseful or chilling tracks were used to match the feel of being trapped in a castle. Sound effects of car engine running, tires screech, footsteps, tourists murmuring, sliding doors, cat meowing, howling wind, gong, lamp breaking, doors, cane hitting clothing, gun shot, tapping of the phone, drawing the curtains, carriage rolling up, pouring of drinking glasses, and doorbell were very supportive in this tale. Next is our Host and his narrations. E.G. Marshall’s Prologue focused on castles and our story takes place at a castle in New England. In ACT-1, meet Jim & Pamela Watson where one of them is a Sherlock Holmes buff. In ACT-2, knowing so little about William Gillette’s career and we get a sense that some actors like him can go too far to create an illusion of reality. In ACT-3, after the strange turn of events, our Host’s only explanation to the Climax is to mention a quote from a playwright about the 6th sense of the Imagination. In his Epilogue, he recommends CBSRMT listeners to take a tour of the Gillette Castle itself in Connecticut. Good recommendation, but no Resolution explained on what happened to our characters afterwards. And so, it comes down to the final segment: the Script. Elizabeth Pennell has written decent drama mysteries and even did the adaptations of #0605-JANE EYRE and #0643-WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But this story was Fair. So-so, I should say. I was expecting it to be a haunting mystery about a haunted castle with the Sherlock Holmes references. But instead, this story’s turn of events created massive questions to think about. Like, how did the Jim & Pamela Watson hear about this castle? Was Mrs. Hudson going through nightmare problems? Was William Gillette really dead? Was he putting on a show for his guest just so he can play Sherlock Holmes for fun? Did these 2 tourists actually travel back in time? Was the castle actually haunted? Was it really a nightmare? Was anything resolved after Jim & Pamela Watson escaped from the castle? There are so many fill-in-the-blanks in this, the episode’s title should be changed and call it “A Bad Case Of The Jitters” or “Elementary, My Dear Guests.” Tune in to this, if you like. There are better castle stories in the CBSRMT vault. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials of AMEX travelers checks, Bob Armstrong’s Diamond Center, “The Ritual” novel, CBS-News, First Federal of Gary, Radio Advertising Bureau, Jewel’s Discount Grocery Store, CBS-Sports News in Chicago, CBS-News on Election 1980, Susan Anton for Serta Sleeper Mattresses, and Smokey Bear Program. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


I have visited Gillette Castle, and this episode did a nice job of capturing the ambience of it although I would have liked the plot to be a bit more spooky. I’m a Sherlockian, but I would still agree with some of the comments above that this is an average episode. McCarthy’s performances as Holmes on RMT aren’t my favourite, but then, I’m probably picky. He is adequate as Gillette here. This is worth a listen, but don’t expect too much.


I am very much a Sherlockian. The *Annotated* by William S. Baring-Gould occupies a place of honor on my bookshelf. I will concede that Kevin McCarthy is hardly the best Holmes in radio history--Basil Rathbone he's not--but I still enjoy his performances in the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, though sometimes the scripts leave something to be desired (I'm thinking particularly of the CBSRMT version of *The Hound of the Baskervilles*). I found the tongue-in-cheek humor of this episode to be a treat.


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