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The Stuff Of Dreams


A strange reclusive woman hires a young lady to tell her the tales about her daily life, but things start to go south when the girl's boyfriend comes to visit.



Air Dates

  • First Run - March 10, 1975
  • Repeat - June 1, 1975





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33 Responses to Episode 0236

Does anyone know what really happened at the end of "The Stuff of Dreams"? I listened, but I was really confused by the ending. All I know is this girl worked for an older lady, who had some sort of rape fantasy about the girl's boyfriend. She invited them over and showed him her bedroom. Then comes the confusing part.... He goes out into the hall to talk to his girlfirend (more like an argument) and then he goes back into the bedroom and locks the door. The older woman is trying to be amorous and she's convinced he's going to rape her, which turns her on for some reason. Then he lights a match and she is shocked to see his face for some reason I'm not clear about. Then there is a fire and the girlfriend is outside banging on the door. What I am not clear about: 1. Did he start the fire on purpose and did the woman die, or did his girlfriend die? Which one was he trying to burn? 2. Was he supposed to be the devil, or one of his helpers? 3. Why is the older woman alive at the end, or is it her sister or someone else talking? The voice sounded exactly the same, so I am assuming it's her. How did she survive the fire? 4. What was his intention? To rape her, as she believed he would? Or did he want to burn the house down? 5. Was the girlfriend alive at the end? For that matter, was the man alive at the end, or did he just vanish? I have no clue what happened, so if anyone can fill me in on the details, I'd appreciate it. I didn't hear the show from the very beginning, so maybe I missed some important elements of the story. In any case, I am hopelessly confused about who did what and what was supposed to have happened at the end. (smile)


@Ann, I am confused too, but I think I can answer some of your questions anyway. :) 1. Did he start the fire on purpose and did the woman die, or did his girlfriend die? Which one was he trying to burn? Answer: I think he started the fire on purpose and he intended them to die. The dialogue suggests that both Mae Cook and the old woman died, but his body was never found. (See more below about that.) 2. Was he supposed to be the devil, or one of his helpers? Answer: Yes. he was supposed to be the devil, or a demon. I personally thought it was a stupid plot twist, but it is what it is, lol! That's why Hilda was shocked when she saw his face in the dark because she recognized him as the devil. He probably wanted her soul (more than her body) because she was so dark and kinky. He wanted to take her to hell, since demons are always looking for souls to send to hell. 3. Why is the older woman alive at the end, or is it her sister or someone else talking? Answer: The older woman at the end is the same actress, but the character is a different person. The woman at the end is just a neighbor/witness. 4. What was his intention? To rape her, as she believed he would? Or did he want to burn the house down? Answer: I think he never raped her. For one thing, she was willing, so he wasn't inclined to rape her. He wanted to burn the house down. Like I said above, he probably wanted her kinky soul. 5. Was the girlfriend alive at the end? For that matter, was the man alive at the end, or did he just vanish? Answer: I am not sure if Mae Cook survived or not. I think that both Mae and the old lady were burned in the fire. As for the young man, he was a demon who disguised himself as a human. I think he just disappeared back to his hell realm. They didn't find his body anywhere, so I think he just vanished when his "work" was done. he probably came to "fetch souls" and when he got the old woman, he was finished. I don't know what would have happened to Mae Cook's soul. I think she was too "goody goody" for hell, so she was probably just a casualty in his plan to catch a soul.


I'll try. The girlfriend didn't want to continue to work for the old lady, but the old lady needed someone to talk to. She knew some things about the boyfriend, from talking to the young lady, things that sounded like what she wanted. The girl friend brought him over and the old lady wanted him. The boyfriend is actually the Devil, and wants the old lady for himself. The argument was to throw you off, thinking he was wanting the old lady for her money. It was him "flaming on", as only devils can do, in the bed that starts the fire. The woman at the end was housekeeper talking to the neighbor. Hope it helps, Randy

Randy Mc

@Randy Mc, I am not sure if you are saying they were having sex in the bed. I don't think it ever got to that point. The old woman *wanted* to have sex with him, but I think his aim was just to capture her soul, since he was a devil.


Just weird.


This was a STRANGE one to say the least! I think the woman was bitter about being deserted by her husband and not seeing her son in years. She was also frustrated because she let herself get so fat and wasn't attractive to men anymore;so, she shut herself off and decided to live vicariously through her daydreams and fantasies. When that wasn't enough she hired the young woman and made her tell her EVERYTHING she did;especially her sex life.The mention of rape was once and the girl denied it. Later when she told the ex-con(boyfriend?) she said it wasn't true. Did he or didn't he? I do think that the woman picked the wrong type of girl to supply her with sordid details about her sex life. I got the impression the the girl really wasn't promiscuous at all. The woman was DEFINITELY sexually frustrated! The ending was confusing! I also think Jack Grimes wasn't right for this role. His voice was a little too boyish sounding and not very menacing. Leon Janney or another voice actor with a deeper voice would have been better in the role. 2 1/2 stars.


This was a STRANGE one! I think the older woman was bitter because of her husband deserting her & taking her son away. She let herself get extremely fat and so she wasn't attractive anymore to men. She shut herself off and took refuge in her daydreams & fantasies. When that wasn't enough she hires a girl and wanted to know all the DETAILS of her love(sex) life. Rape was mentioned once, and later the girl told Eddie, the ex-con(boyfriend?) that she couldn't lie to the woman because he hadn't raped her. I'm confused-did he or diin't he?? I think the older woman picked the wrong type of girl to tell her sordid tales of her sex life. The girl in question didn't sound like she was promiscuous to me. Also, I think Jack Grimes was wrong for this type of role. His voice was too boyish sounding to be devil-like and menacing. Leon Janney or another actor with a deeper voice would have been better. The older woman was DEFINITELY sexually frustrated! The ending was confusing. I give it 2 1/2 stars.


Bizarre. Weird. with a REALLY confusing ending. Jack Grimes is miscast as the ex-con Eddie. His voice sounds too boyish to be devil-like and menacing. Leon Janney or another actor with a deeper voice would have been better in this role. 2 1/2 stars.


This is probably the kinkiest RMT that I've ever heard. It also qualifies as the #5 entry in my aforementioned series. A young woman (Marian Seldies - the lady who has a voice like the actress Elizabeth Montgomery had in her TV heyday) applies for a job with a reclusive, seemingly crippled woman who lives alone. Like Miss Montgomery's well known TV series, the woman has a nosy neighbor who always keeps his eye on whomever comes and goes. Seldies' character feels a mixture of pity and almost amusement for the other woman, played by Bryna Raeburn (again, I've complimented her before) who is nearly 300 lbs. Ms. Raeburn does an excellent job portraying a woman whose weight is making her a recluse, and she also has a sad past, being abandoned by her husband who took their 5-year-old son. Ms. Raeburn wants to pay Seldies character to learn about her dreams. Specifically, she wants to live out Seldies character's dreams. Raeburn's character is particularly fascinated by potential sexual aspects...she appears to be a frustrated woman who wants to pretend to be someone else, if only in her fantasies. Apparently one thing she does have a sufficient enough quantity of is money (and you know how it's said that something can't buy happiness...) Seldies' character seems, as I said, a sympathetic sort. That's apparently why she's befriended a man who is about to be released from prison, and who genuinely wants to meet her new employer. After a "dream reporting" session (when Seldies' character threatens to "quit" after she refused to admit to being raped by her boyfriend, which was apparently in Raeburn's character's fantasies) Seldie's character is paid $300 by her employer, who wants to meet the boyfriend. The interest is mutual. And the boyfriend's not interested in money...he lights a match to the $300 to prove it. This one has a plot that twists at sharper angles than even the "Hexed" episode above.

Lems Azuelo

This was a fabulous episode with a very cool plot and amazing potential that literally fizzled out to nothing at the end. Extremely disappointing, but still worth listening to if only to make up your own ending. This is one of those episodes that you may fall asleep to, but don’t rewind to listen to the real ending. Your own will be much better!! A woman answers an advertisement for a job with a corpulent recluse to make extra money. The woman offers her a sizable salary merely to visit once a week and tell her the details of her day to day life. The old woman has existed indoors as a self-professed professional daydreamer, but she has run out of story lines and demands of her new employee, some exciting details upon which to build her fantasy world. The woman, a social worker, has a special interest in a criminal who is eligible for parole shortly and he is anxious to meet this old eccentric woman.


Love this episode. Understated, inigmatic...a great little diversion. Love the old woman!

Scott K

Weird and kinda kinky. The ending was very interesting. There was a nice surprise twist at the end. This one is hard to describe. You need to listen in order to get it.


Every fan of CBSRMT has an episode that they love and an episode that they loathe. And this particular one is an episode I loathe with passion. I've heard this episode a few times before and I needed to critique this now than later. It's not quite a Fantasy-Mystery and not quite a Drama-Mystery. The only Mystery here, is to figure out what was going through Elspeth Eric's mind when she wrote this. Just to be clear, I do not hate Elspeth Eric's writing. She has done great works for CBSRMT like #0167-THE BLACK ROOM, #0458-THE INTRUDERS, #0736-THE THERAPEUTIC CAT. She's also done great adaptations like #0548-THE GRAVEYARD, #1013-THE GUILLOTINE, #1035-THE SPECTER BRIDEGROOM. But this one is a story with no interesting plot points, none of the characters are likable, and the climax & resolution ended too quickly. I feel sorry for E.G. Marshall that he hosted this episode. His job as Host was fine when he talked about Daydreaming in the Prologue, talking about mother nature at the end of ACT-1, money to burn at the end of ACT-2, and things that go "up in smoke" in ACT-3, but quoting Shakespeare at the Epilogue? Great quotes from the great William Shakespeare should not be mentioned in a bad episode. The music was okay, but it didn't add suspense. As for the sound effects, adding sounds of the doorbell ringing, birds chirping, dog barking, lighting a match to burn cash, and a car driving was suitable. The only sound worth listening to, was the loud breaking noise & the burning fire at the 38-minute 19-second mark. And finally, our cast: Marian Seldes (as the plain Mae Cook), Jack Grimes (as the boyish rebel Eddy the Ex-Convict (who might have been Lucifer at the end) ), Dan Ocko (as the unhistoric Man next door), and Bryna Raeburn (as the wealthy recluse Hilda Tipton). All 4 actors have done great episodes before, but like I said, all 4 of their characters were not likable, especially Hilda Tipton who has nothing else better to do with her life except procrastinate & daydream. No music playing, no exercising, no book reading, nothing to make her happy. This character is so evil, she's secluded like Annie Wilkes from Stephen Kings's MISERY, she's dominant like Nurse Ratched from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, and she's a "virago" like Baby Jane Hudson from WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?


I must concur on this episode. I was, more than once, asking what s going on?! The storyline was not enjoyable and it was confusing and the end was "what the heck! " I must agree with Russell it was very poorly written! To each his own you all check this one out and if you don't agree tell us why you disagree!


Creepy weirdos, bizarre ending, poorly written - it's an Elspeth Eric episode!


I think it's very funny that Jack Grimes is always cast as a young thug but in the picture of him he looks about 90 years old! One of the weirder CBSRMT episodes to be sure.


I think this is one everybody will either love or hate. I thought it was fantastic - a clever, suspenseful script beautifully acted.

Bill King

Bryna Raeburn is just brilliant in this. She truly sounds as if she's lugging around 300 pounds and struggles to keep her breath. The plot of this episode is fascinating, in my opinion. It's apparent that some people really hate this show, but I find the idea of a woman who lives in her own head, even to the point of paying someone to give her fodder to daydream on, pretty interesting and sad. This episode definitely is rather kinky -- the second kinkiest episode I'm aware of (the first being "Star Sapphire"). Raeburn's character, Hilda -- excuse me, Hildegard (let's be kind to the woman, eh?) -- is, shall we say, sorely in need of a man and has a deep desire to be taken forcefully. Rape fantasies ("fantasies" being the key thing to remember) are very common among women, but Hilda doesn't express the feminine desire to experience masculine power in any couched terms whatsoever. She doesn't couple it with romance. She's talking r-a-p-e, and is disappointed when the woman she pays to give her dream fodder refuses to say (or admit?) that she met her boyfriend when he broke into her house and raped her. It's that last bit that freaks me out the most about this episode: is that how Marian Seldes's character met her boyfriend?? If so -- wow. Whatever the case is, this episode is entertaining, interesting, and pretty clearly gives folks stuff to talk about!


I grew up with them, too. Someone got me an Ipod and I found out you can download thousands of Old Time Radio shows on it from the Apple Library and the Internet. Might be a good gift for your dad.


I will look into that. He has a Kindle, so maybe we can find the old shows for that. Thank you!


This is a very weird, kinky episode. It's not one of my favorites, but Bryna Raeburn is really a good actress in this episode, (as usual) and she plays this part to perfection. It was interesting that the boyfriend wanted the old woman as soon as he heard how kinky she was. It would have been a good episode if he hadn't turned into the devil, or one of his helpers. From that point on, the whole episode goes downhill from there and the end is confusing. I think that this episode would have been better as a psycho thriller, rather than turning into a supernatural episode about a demon from hell. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE some of the 'hell' episodes on CBSRMT, but this one is not one of them. I think the reason is because the whole mood is set up to be a kinky sex drama and then it suddenly takes a u-turn into 'hell' and it's jarring. Bryna Raeburn truly makes this episode though. She is one of the best actresses on the show and I enjoy her roles.


OK, I get it. SPOILER ALERT! Eddie's burning the hundred dollar bills out of the blue is foreshadowing of the ending. The problem is that if he's the devil, this isn't exactly the best way to show that. As far as I know, one of the devil's habits was never burning money. As it stands, the ending comes off like the song "Norwegian Wood," where out of the blue they decide to burn the house down.

Days of Broken Arrows

This is a good example of ambiguity not working but becoming a kind of cheat. To a point, the story makes sense, Eddie is a psychopath and petty criminal. The older recluse is sexually attracted to a "bad boy." Eddie is genuinely psychopathic so he has no interest in enacting someone else's rape fantasy. He might well want to commit rape but that is something different. You can't rape a willing soul so it is perfectly reasonable that he would lead her on and then start a fire and escape while leaving her and Mae to suffocate and/or burn to death. However, we're told at the end that Eddie could not have escaped and yet his body was not found. Thus, we are supposed to wonder if he truly was a demon or even the Devil himself. But this clearly contradicts the fact that, as a petty criminal, he had spent time in jail and had just been paroled. If a demon had suddenly possessed this bad man, the demon could have disappeared but not the man who was Eddie. Again, the ending is a cheat.

Denise Noe

Elspeth Eric gets a lot of flak (much of it justified) for her more melodramatic episodes, but when she gets weird, as with "A Horror Story" or this one, her episodes are some of the best.


It's funny--THE STUFF OF DREAMS (#236); people either love it or hate it. Personally, I really liked it. It wasn't perfect, but it was intriguing for some reason, at least to me, and Bryna Raeburn did an amazing job as the obese, older woman.


Examples of the theme or metaphor of pyromania in this story. For some strange reason Eddy burns up the $300 dollars with a match. Very unexpected for an ex-con who was a crook and burglar. EG Marshall jokes that the legal tender $100 bills were really legal 'tinder'. The young lady's name is Mae Cook. "May Cook". Cooks used to cook over fire pits. Metaphorically her average life is far from "cooking", or sizzling to Hilda's dreaming. When the couple are invited over for dinner, the only food mentioned that Hilda the recluse had served them is "burnt" almond mousse. Burnt metaphors for what is about to happen. Also "Call me Hildegard", she is named after Saint Hildegard, who is maybe the most famous recluse nun in a monastery. Hilda is also a secluded recluse who never answered the doorbell in 20 years.


Don’t know how anyone could love the kinky old heifer in this one. She disgusted me. I do agree this was a bizarre tale. Somewhat interesting. I guess I'm in the minority as I neither love or hate it.


@Anastasia, I didn't say I loved the kinky old woman's personality, or that I'd want to know her in real life, but I love Bryna Raeburn's brilliant performance of the character. There is a difference, lol! :D @Denise Noe, I agree the ending was a let down, but no devil possessed Eddie, imo. He WAS a devil in disguise. He just escaped the fire by disappearing back to whatever 'hell' he came from, lol! They also don't explain why he sat in jail for so long if he had the power to disappear, but the whole story didn't make sense after we find out he is a devil. It would have been better if Eddie had just been a bad guy in the story, (as I mentioned above). It was much more interesting when Eddie was just Eddie.


What did I just listen to? Oh yeah. It's an Elspeth Eric episode. Raeburn was excellent as always.

Barbara K

Fantastic episode. I have to agree with the comments that there isn’t much in the way of mystery (at least until the finale, when Mrs Tiptons fantasy-life finally bears the only fruit possible). But in every other regard, this is an astonishingly realistic episode, essentially about the dangers of obsessively denying reality in favor of one’s dreams. No wonder so many view the episode negatively; we are taught that we must dream. It’s a right, like so many self-proclaimed rights without basis. But the universe, far from supporting irrationality, positively opposes it. When we admit that our dreams are so often little more than fancy cravings for what we have not earned, we feign indignation or confusion.


I basically have liked the Elspeth Eric stories I've so far. Some I have loved and one I even found devastating. But this one has to have been her worst script. It started out with a riveting premise. It has a taut and suspensful first two acts but in the final act the whole thing falls apart. It makes no sense that the hoodlum boyfriend is a demon or the Devil. And he spent how long in jail?? I think the story was unusually dicey for CBS radio and the logical direction in which it was headed got them in a jam. So they tacked on a last minute supernatural solution. Up till then it really was a strange and edgy story even by E E's standards.


I agree, dicey! I don't think there's another CBSRMT episode where they say the word "rape" this many times.

Susie Q

I think I could've written a better ending for this one. It started out being interesting, but weird. I thought, okay, the guy is either going to pose as the long-lost son (and who knows, maybe he really is her son!) or regale her with tales of his crimes. But instead the ending...meh. It's like time was running out, so let's just end it all.

Susie Q

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