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Death on Project X


A weapons investigator runs into trouble with a routine check at a facility as he meets an apparently deranged scientist who lets him know that they have manufactured the ultimate weapon and plan to utilize it soon.



Air Dates

  • First Run - September 16, 1977
  • Repeat - February 4, 1978





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16 Responses to Episode 0710

Probably the most chilling conclusion to a CBS Radio Mystery Theater episode, I hadn't heard it since it first aired in the 1970s and it still got to me at the end. I don't wish to spoil it for anyone, just give it a listen.

Neil Russell

This interesting episode is about one scientist's plans to create a superweapon that will protect the world from foreign attack. A woman associate of his who is opposed to the creation of the weapon is discredited in the scientific community, so nobody believes her warnings of it being a mistake. The surprise ending is simple, but it works well. Without giving it away, let's just say it reminded me a bit of a similar ending in the unrelated Twilight Zone episode "Third from the Sun".

L. Harvey Jones

A government inspector is sent to a mysterious top-secret project where researchers live on site. He is beset with strange messages left outside his sleeping quarters door that "the end is near", and meets several very intelligent people who either are going cuckoo or have already done so. The Ph.D. in charge of the project is determined to see it through, even though the inspector becomes, like many of the others there, convinced that indeed this project spells certain doom for their civilization. (HINT: The question here is: "Where does all this take place?")

P. Poring

I thought this episode was so-so with an interesting concept that wasn't fully executed but it was saved by the ending. I didn't see it coming. I liked the idea of an investigator interviewing different individuals who had different opinions as to the truth. But the material was too thin to sustain 3 acts.


This one, in particular, felt like an old "Twilight Zone" episode. I have to agree, that it might have made a better 1/2-hour episode. Did they ever do an unrelated series of shorts, within one episode?


1. Normally, I don't like any story on the RMT that has even a hint of "anti-military" about it. However, in this case that was almost secondary to the plot, and was almost subverted by the plot twist. Nice coup by Victoria Dann. 2. One of my favorite Larry Haines performances.

Norman Ada

Yeah, this is a good one. Having been involved with the military and with the civil service as a data/financial analyst, I can relate to the main character. The twist at the end was pretty cool! I remember the first time I heard it years ago, I was like WOW! Great epsiode!

Antonel Ross

Death on Project X really had me going for a while, depsite it's slow pace and lackluster subject matter. The performances, I thought were terrific as usual. The man who played the accountant (Robert Dryden?), was especially convincing in the role. I just really dug the whole concept, mainly because it happens to all of us at one point, when we're forced to wear many hats in our career or job. The particularly disturbing twist at the end, left me wanting to know more. Immediately after it ended, I had to look at the status bar to see if it was over, or if there were still more left... to my disappointment, it was done. Ah well... too bad it wasn't a five parter! I gave the show a 4.6 - an nice pick by an even nicer feller!

Andy Young

Didn't see that coming!

Phillip M.

Oh this was wonderful just wonderful! Death on Project X is my new all time favorite Mystery Theater episode. To comment more on this would be verbose. I just want to listen to it again and again.


One my all-time favorites. The last line of the show totally fooled me.


I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. Not only is this one of the best Drama-Mystery stories on CBSRMT, but also has one of the best surprising endings of all! Just like Ep. #0367-THE SUMMER PEOPLE, this was an Eye-Opener! At first, we think it’s a typical mystery story filled with snooping circumstances. But when we get to the very end and realize what it’s really all about…WOW!!! Bravo to Victoria Dann for writing a dramatic and compelling tale! The sound effects, I like. Beeping on the phone, the bubbling in the laboratory, door being knocked, the mysterious note, background noise of the cafeteria, the collapsing thud of the doctor’s body, opening the desk drawers, and the nostalgic sound of the cassette tape being played. There was chilling theme music in ACT-1, suspenseful tracks in ACT-2, and doomful themes in ACT-3. As for our Host, E.G. Marshall brought suspense to its finest. In his Prologue, he mentions a philosopher who said, “We are all doomed.” And people fear the inevitably of death. A pensive beginning, I think. In ACT-1, he mentions the details of government bureaucracy and obscurity because he’s referring to what our main character is involved in and later he mentions the old saying, “Physician, heal thyself.” In ACT-2, he informs us fans that our main character has 2 things to go on: experience (which he doesn’t have) & instinct (the subliminal sense that we all use to know what’s right or wrong). The Host mentions the words of a poet who said, “The road to Resolution starts with doubt. The best way homes the farthest way about.” And that’s another to thing what our main character goes through: doubt, which is the ultimate weapon of man’s own conscious. In ACT-3, he mentions the will to live & die. At the end of the Act, he gives us the resolution right after the climax on where this Project is at. In his Epilogue, he asks if man is bent on destroying himself. A pensive question that all of us must answer on our own. But the best part in his Epilogue was when he explained what CBSRMT is about: to expand the imagination, to heighten the senses, and to tantalize the curiosity (and tune in to the fear…you can hear). And our cast was outstanding in this: Larry Haines (as Eli Hews), Robert Dryden (as Colonel Lily & Professor Shoop), Catherine Byers (as Adrian & Dr. Jeri Baylor), and Court Benson (as General E.F. Glenn & Dr. Hilary). SPECIAL NOTE: at the 18-minute 54-minute mark, Court Benson says the line “Leave well enough alone” which is the title of an episode that the actor performed in: Ep. #1115-LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE. But my favorite line was at the 11-minute 56-second mark when he said, “To feel sorry is to care. And to care is to become involved.” Compassionate words spoken by Court Benson and written by Victoria Dann. Tune in to this one, everybody, because it’s an ending you’d never expect. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


I also did not truly see the ending coming. It was a fun wy to add that element of surprise to the story. I did not catch on what they were referring to earlier in the show about being with the fishes especially with the woman character half out of her mind! Good one! Check it out!


Lol it is laughably clear that the writer knows nothing about the military!

Commodore's watch

The twist at the end is pretty good but it in no way makes up for the very mediocre at best story that preceedes it. The worst story of a secret project you will ever hear.

Commodore's watch

Death on Project X is a mediocre story that obviously began with the last line of the story as some big Twilight Zone-like "reveal" or twist. Then writer Victoria Dann had to fill the hour-long episode... and did so with fairly boring dialogue. The story does address significantly important concepts of the Cold War era such as how far a country should or would go to develop global weapons in the name of national defense, but I think even listeners in 1977 would find this play sub-par. For better Mystery Theater episodes dealing with the threat of global holocaust listen to 'Children of Death' by Sam Dann (who I think was Victoria Dann's father) or 'Shelter' by Henry Slesar. Radio giant Larry Haines does his best as the protagonist character to resurrect this story, but Death on Project X flatlines with only 1 of 5 stars - JUROR #4


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