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The Secret Chamber


Thomas Tatum Tattersaul, a realtor, tells the story of Felicity Hargrave who, after losing her lover in war, disappeared only to reappear as a ghost. This is the story of how and why the Hargrave House, a colonial that dates back to the Revolution, is no longer haunted.



Air Dates

  • First Run - November 5, 1976
  • Repeat - February 16, 1977





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21 Responses to Episode 0547

A strange World War I era tale of a troubled young girl, a "haunted" house, and a secret room.

Leena Ayque

A real estate agent recounts the tale of how an old mansion became unhaunted.

Talamandes F.

There's something even more "old-time" radio about this program...I think it's the way Ian's talking wth us, showing us the house at the end. This is a very sad episode in many ways, and Martin captures this in his narration brilliantly. Probably my all-time favorite rmt music bed, albeit a four-tone, very simple one, comes when Martin is with the "exorcist" in the house midway through the program.


This is one of the best Mystery Theater's I've ever heard. A real gem! I'm not usually a fan of ghost stories, or haunted house stories, but Sam Dann has done a brilliant job of approaching this play from a completely different direction. Instead of being scary or sensationalistic, he strikes a tone of sorrow and regret, which seems to me more of what a "ghost" is really all about--a faded thing, lost but lingering. Like Felicity herself. (Case in point: the "ghost's" name, Felicity, means happiness, which is sad and ironic.) The title of the play pretty much reveals up front what's going on--but that's not important. This isn't a mystery or a tale of the supernatural. It's a sad, gentle, and touching little story about kindness and caring--and it has just the right sprinkling of humor and wry wit to keep ithe whole thing from becoming maudlin. Despite her mental illness, Felicity's resourcefulness and tenacity with regard to staying in the house make her a compelling, sympathetic character. And I find it extremely satisfying that the unintentional by-product of her resourceful solution renders Dumont unable to sell the house, forcing the jerk to get a job. I also like the narrative framing device of being told the tale by a realtor trying to sell us the house. His cheerful business-like tone as a salesman makes old Tommy's true underlying emotions stand out in bold relief. Himan Brown's direction, and the entire cast itself, are both terrific. Especially Tommy, the narrator (I'm not sure if this is Leon Janney or Ian Martin...can anyone let me know?). This is one of the best performances I've ever heard on the show. When he told about Felicity finally dying as a very old woman, and "Bobby" burying her in a secret place, it broke my heart. In fact, besides being just a hidden room, I imagine the Secret Chamber of the title could well refer to the hidden places of the human heart. Anyway, two enthusiastic thumbs up! I loved this one. It's a quiet little masterpiece.

Denny Perdue

That was Ian Martin who narrated and carried this show. He was an RMT gem. I've always loved Marian Seldes' voice...she reminded me of the 30something Elizabeth Montgomery. Notice how she almost sang her "haunting" words in a somewhat pretty alto tone? Wonder if she's a singer as well as great actress...elsewhere I've asked if it was her and RMT regular William Redfield singing that made-for-the-RMT "Vino Rose" wine commercial you sometimes hear in these episodes.


Thanks for the info! Boy, Ian Martin was really amazing in this one. I'll have to keep an ear open for him in other episodes. And to think that he wrote scripts too---multi-talented! Is he still around? Just curious. By the way, talking about Marion Seldes, I'm going to see her in a few weeks in Beckett/Albee off-broadway. I can't wait! The woman is amazing--she's still so beautiful and graceful, and has such a commanding presence onstage, it's impossible to tell how old she is. And her voice is exactly the same! She's really remarkable. A true theatrical treasure. (Umm, Did I mention I can't wait to go see her? Woo-hoo!)


An extremely well-written show. One of my favorites for years. Poor Bobby Lightfoot, his untimely death caused a woman to lose her mind. This show was another one that had me guessing until the end. Marian Seldes was wonderful in this episode. Her portrayal of a woman decending into her own denial of reality was extrememly sad. The character narration of "Tommy" was superb, and really showed a man who cared for someone very deeply. I liked that old Dumont got what he deserved. I thought that during the show, Felicity would eventually fall in love with "real" Tommy. Instead, she stayed in love with Bobby, and Tommy just filled the role. I say that took a very special person to make her life better towards the end of her life. This show had all the elements to make it a classic. There really were no stones left unturned, or questions to leave me pondering.

Ritchelle Carmen

I gave this one a four. I thought it was pretty good. It had the haunted house element I always embrace and Ian MArtin did a fine job with the narration.

Stephen D.

During the opening of this program, E.G. Marshall reminds us that "Nice guys finish last". I decided to look for the origin of this quotation as Mr. Marshall didn't provide it to us. What I found is that the quote was credited to Leo Durocher. Ralph Keyes, in his Book entitled "Nice Guys Finish Seventh", notes that Leo Durocher never really uttered the quote he is credited with. He writes that the Brooklyn Dodgers' manager did say, before a 1946 game with the New York Giants, "The nice guys are all over there. In seventh place." Durocher's words lacked pizzazz. Sportswriters perked them up, and gave America one of its most familiar misquotations. Tommy, our realtor turned storyteller relays a terrific ghost tale that begins after "the war". I believe the setting is post WWII given the subtle references. Felicity Hardgrave loses her love, Bobby Lightfoot, to the war and seems to be suffering from a nervous breakdown in an excellent radio scene between Tommy and Felicity. She states that she never wants to leave the house because death lurks outside. Great background effects. Felicity is obsessed with death and the fact that she steps on an ant seems to overwhelm her. It's obvious that Tommy is in love with Felicity and when her mother is dying, she asks Tommy to care for Felicity's emotional well being. Ian Martin is terrific in the role as Tommy with subtle little utterances that make his manner realistic and his tone, conversational. Felicity's uncle Dumont, the mismanaging executor of the estate decides to sell the house and put Felicty into an institution. Felicity asks to spend a last night at the house and she disappears/kills herself instead of leaving the house. The house becomes haunted and difficult to sell so Uncle Dumont employs a countess/exorcist to deal with the spirit in the house. The countess rolls her "r's" like any self respecting countess should until she is shocked by the actual ghost and we learn that she is really a tough talking con artist from New Jersy. [b:8c949036b8]Warning: Plot buster coming! In an effort to ease the ghost, Tommy assumes the role of Bobby Lightfoot and he learns that Felicity has played a terrific game to stay in the house. A well constructed twist that works perfectly for me! I give this program a 5 for the terrific acting of Ian Martin and the fine writing. If there is a flaw, you'll find it at the end of Act II. E.G. Marshall makes the mistake when he tells us, "Our exercise in exorcism is scheduled for Act II which is only a few minutes away." (should have said, "Act III")

Freddie S.

Tommy, our realtor turned storyteller relays a terrific ghost tale that begins after "the war". I believe the setting is post WWII given the subtle references. I disagree. Chateau-Thierry is a town near the Marne River in France, and is commonly known for a battle of the same name during WW I. The battle involved both U.S. Army and Marine units. The Battle of Chateau-Thierry contained three elements: 1. The defense of the Marne River line 2. The Battle for Bellau Wood 3. The Capture of Vaux The battle was one of the larger ones of the war, being fought from May 31st to July 10th 1918. The battle was the result of a German offensive that made its way deep into France. The American divisions were called up from reserves to assist the French units already being pushed back by the Germans. This was the first battle AEF (American Expeditionary Forces) units experienced heavy losses that were now commonplace to the British, French and Germans. If Tommy was a little too young to serve in WW I, I figure that would put him at between 15-17 years of age when Felicity learned of Bobby's death. That would put the Tommy at around 74 years old when the story was "told" to the "prospective buyers" of the Hargrave House in 1976 (broadcast year). I can live with that. Hope I haven't bored you guys


I learned a bit of history on researching Ian Martin's character's quote about The Rainbow Division, which apparently Bobby was with when he was killed. Not trying to change the subject, yet...I'm not into drama (except this ) but my Dad was a college theatre professor and my Mom was a theatre teacher in high school and they acted in a lot of plays while I was growing up. From what I've been able to find out about Marian Seldes she was an instructor at the Julliard School. It would be worth going to Julliard (if I had the talent, heh heh) just to have had her as a teacher. She's also a graduate of the Dalton (preparatory) School. A fellow alum, albeit from a few years after her? Chevy Chase.


So, it looks like in World War II, the Rainbow Division elements arrived in late December 1944 and were thrown haphazardly into the Battle of the Bulge. When the Division was finally assembled, they were on the French/German border, northeast of Chateau-Thierry, and nowhere near the Marne River. Looks like WW I for sure. Tommy said that she led a long life, even after she had "Bobby" around.

F. Wrecker

I'm impressed! Nice work and thanks for providing an interesting bit of war history.


Wow! Ian Martin did a great job on this one. It kept me guessing right until the end.

Pammy Pam

I liked this one. It did have a radio mystery quality to it, and I had a really good visual of the house and characters. It was easy to listen to. My version had a Buick commercial at the beginning...the voice sounded like a CBSRMT actor. Did anyone else think this? I can't place the voice, but it was very familiar.

Grant G.

How excellent! I haven't been able to visit for a while, and when I do I discover other military history buffs! I enjoyed listening to this show (actually listened to it some months ago), it is the type of RMT I really like. Ian Martin's craggy voice was perfect for his role in this story. I suppose by now we are accustomed to these 'hidden chamber' gothic tales but they lose nothing when they are on RMT. Looks like the show hasn't lost a step since I last listened!

Jerome Juggs

i found ian martin to be the best thing about this show. he was excellent. the rest of the show was a little slow for me. i guessed the secret early on mostly from the shoe's title. i've heard some fans complain that the show title doesn't have much to do with the show but i think i enjoy the shows more if they keep me guessing til the end. mr martin drew some nice pictures for me. he kept me tuned in. i missed the e g marshall blooper. has anyone noticed any others from other shows? i only gave a 3 for this one.


Ian Martin himself could not script horror more compelling than that. I used to only like the horror and sci-fi episodes. This episode changed my mind. The "ghost" story never was - and that shouldn't have been too big a surprise for those really listening. Instead, I found a love story so full of pathos that it's hard to believe that Ian Martin didn't experience this himself. I wonder. A superb effort by CBSRMT in style, emotional draw and execution. This type of quality show never goes out of style and is what keeps me coming back 25 years later.

T. Feria

Therese,should have listened to the first 4 minutes again. Ian tells us "you gotta go back a ways to the war, I guess you'd call it the First World War". Back then there was no World War II, so it was called just "The War".

Randy McLeod

Great story. 44+ years later and I'm still enjoying these stories! Wonderful core cast and storytelling.


One of the best. Listened to it last night while walking in my neighborhood after sunset, surrounded by Halloween decorations....


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