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All Living Things Must Die


A lonely woman is left with just the houseplants for her company under the rules of her tyrannic husband. But he goes too far in trying to take even the plants away from her and the vegetation isn't willing to comply.



Air Dates

  • First Run - April 29, 1974
  • Repeat - July 16, 1974





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32 Responses to Episode 0082

I just love this one! Anyone that grows & enjoys houseplants or is a fan of gardening will get a smile from this one. (yes, i named a couple of my houseplants too, back in the 1970s!!! (lol) also, like most of mercedes episodes, she has such an unforgetable voice.


Couldn’t stand the wife’s voice. She sounded so old


Great episode but I agree about her voice, why say she’s 35 yrs old when she sounds 65 yrs old?


Yes a lot of the episodes feature voices that are clearly not of the age they are playing. But the great thing about RMT is that they used a lot of older radio and stage actors. This is Mercedes McCambridge who was about 58 at the time. Orson Welles once called her “the greatest radio actor alive”. She also won an Academy Award for All the Kings Men from the 1940s.


Unlike Audrey II, at least these plants have no plans for world domination!! Suspense, anthropomorphic plants.


I was shocked that she \'betrayed\' her plants.That was a no-no.

Michel David

I think one of the plants should have been named "Robert."

Todd Johnson

this gets 4 stars? love the site, I'll be back often, may even donate a few bucks, but I will pay no attention to the ratings.


A woman whose only friends are plants needs them to help protect her from her heartless and cruel husband. When she finds new loves, her plants become somewhat over possessive. Sappy, contrived and silly script


A mistreated wife wishes yearns for some sort of company. She talks to her plants and takes good care of them. Soon, they carry out her wishes but they do not like the notion of being replaced.


A woman's domineering husband lets her have little contact with the outside world. The only friends she is allowed are her houseplants. When he threatens to take those away, her friends fight back. McCambridge lifts this script to another level. Not bad sound effects.

Johanna Darrel

A lonely woman talks to her plants and pleads with her husband to spend time with her, or at least let her have a baby, or a dog... anything to releive the lonliness, but he refuses. She has developed such a bond with her plants that they responded to her frustration and hatred toward her husband and kill him for her. She marries again and appears to be living the life she always wanted... except. The sound effects are bizarre... at first I thought the moaning was the dog, but it was the plants. Geez... if my plants were moaning and groaning like them... Wow - This episode is full of 'time filler dialogue'. A finely crafted script shouldn't have time for lengthy flashbacks and protracted descriptions of potting a plant. An interesting idea, but felt loose. I found this file skipped and repeated often throughout. Was a little annoying - not sure if it was my player, or the file.

Paul George

Let me be clear, this is a fantastic episode. However, I am quickly reminded of why Elspeth Eric is one of my least favorite writers of Mystery Theater. Elspeth Eric is a fantastic writer who exudes feminine emotions into her writing. She is fantastic, but just not my taste. That said, this was a marvelously crafted episode. The thought of a lonely woman-- with no internet, smart phone, quick links to the world--who befriends her plants to the point of almost familial qualities perked my interest. The ending, however, just kind of left the listener hanging, or with the opportunity to make up their own ending. Here is my question: if the plants were intelligent and able to kill, what was to happen to her unborn baby, husband, little dog if the plants were to become disenchanted again? 4 stars.


Good episode, but why on EARTH did this gal not ever leave or just divorce this wretched animal? Because he wouldn't have met his cool grisly fate if she had, that's why.


Elspeth Eric is a fantastic writer!

Gina Schackel

This episode reminds me of another (whose title escapes me) about the wife of an abusive husband who wants a dog and she doesn't want one (Ralph Bell may have been the husband in that one as well). Apparently with the right companion she "blossomed" from a mousey woman to a more assertive woman. That could be said of many people I guess.


The abusive husband in "Lost Dog" was George Matthews—and the 20-year-old piano student was Mandy Patinkin.


Mercades McCambridge -- 'Nuff said. This episode would have been pure trash without her. What a voice, good golly.

Dan Williams

I love Eric Elspeth writing. She is amazing. And Mercedes McCambridge does a wonderful performance. This was a 5 star episode.


All Living Things Must that one


I love this ladies voice, she is what acting is all about!

Tina Garten

Elspeth Eric's episodes are the best!


I'm only 3/4th's the way through this episode, I'm already compelled to comment! Phenomenal radio play work, both because Elspeth really hit her stride with this script (I'm picturing the character, Barbara seems to go well with Ms. Eric's publicity photo, above.) while Ralph Bell and Larry Haines played each part, perfectly. Three characters, two of them, up close to their microphones, almost whispering. I don't know if it is Ralph or Larry playing the uncaring husband, but he was great. Everybody did an award-winning job, but Mercedes McCambridge, unquestionably is the star of the show. The sound effects were, minimal, yet highly effective. As usual, E.G. Marshall's narration was the "icing on the cake". I hope the relatives of all these radio actors are checking in to the website, to know how much their loved ones were/are appreciated. Perhaps they have already, but it would be great if the people close to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater ensemble, checked in and told us a little about them.


Outside of the first husband's death, absolutely nothing happened in this episode. And even that, nothing happens because of it. It's just sort of "there." The new husband even talks her into the idea that there will be no consequences. He gets her a dog and then we never hear of it again. On top of that, there's no real ending to this story. It just stops because they're out of time. It could just as easily have gone on for another hour. Or two. Did I miss something? Reminds me of a short story by Raymond Carver in which he does nothing but describe a guy smoking a cigarette. You get to the end of it and you go, "Huh? What was the point of that?"


This episode makes no sense, (but that's typical for Elspeth Eric). I know I come down hard on Elspeth Eric sometimes, but her scripts often drive me nuts. I actually do love a few of her stories, but I have mixed feelings about this one. I have heard this one so often that I have become fond of it, mostly because of its familiarity. But the story itself is stupid for a number of reasons. Barbara is the most needy, whiny, over-dramatic woman ever, lol! If I was her husband, I'd run. Mercedes McCambridge is too hammy, and she drives me crazy. She always sounds lie she is on the verge of bursting into tears, in an annoying sort of way. Also, why do the plants make sound effects, lol? Talking plants, lol? (These are the same sound effects that were used in another episode called "Stephanie's Room" which was another weird show about a room with feelings and the room made sound effects, just like the plants, lol) Also, if Barbara stood there and let the plants choke her first husband, she wasn't so innocent. She pretty much murdered him, or at least she was an accessory. When she tells Ed what happened, the story makes her look like an innocent, little lamb, with misplaced guilt, but the truth is that she is totally guilty and she knew what she was doing when she did nothing and let the plants choke him. Why does Elspeth Eric write the script as if she did nothing wrong and shouldn't be held responsible? She IS responsible. Granted that her first husband was a jerk, (played really well by the incomparable Ralph Bell, who is always a great actor), but she could have divorced him, rather than murdering him. Also, what if she decides that she doesn't like her second husband in the future? Will she let the plants get murder him too, lol? Also, what if the plants get jealous of the baby and decide to kill the baby because she loves the baby more than the plants? Those plants are dangerous, if you ask me, lol! Also, since the plants seem to have feelings, it was really mean of her to abandon them just because she was going to have a baby. They shouldn't have tried to kill her, but she was being really selfish. (The only excuse one can give her is that she was acting weird because she was pregnant, lol!) But I worry about the safety of her child when the plants get jealous. They might also get jealous of her new husband too. So many things could go wrong with those plants, lol! Not only that, but her reason for being nervous about telling Ed about the baby was really convoluted and doesn't make much sense. I am sitting there scratching my head and wondering what kind of logic is going through Barabra's head. And why is Ed so pushy about asking about the baby over and over, (since in every other respect, Ed is very nice). And why the HECK does Barbara ask over and over if it's "alright" with him for her to have a baby. She knows Ed isn't her first husband and Ed was always nagging her about wanting a kid. It doesn't make sense that she wouldn't know that Ed wants a kid. Sigh. (But that's Elspeth Eric for you, lol!) Much of the dialogue is also stilted and unnatural too, so there are many things about this episode I don't like. My favorite part of the episode was when they named their dog DAWG, lol! That was funny.


I love Elspeths stories but all I can think is what sort of woman would want to bring. A child into a home with that awful man as a father???

Les Seabolt

These shows are pure enjoyment! Listened to them when I was a kid and still love the suspense and twists. The vivid articulation is a pleasure to listen to.


This was a creepy Little House of Horrors! Feed me (CBSRMT - so glad this exits)! LOL. Missed the news and commercials, they add flavor.


Homicidal plants, ludicrous. When they try to (SPOILER ALERT) kill a pregnant woman, it just crossed the line. No characters to like here. First hubby is horrible, wife is cringy even when she becomes ecstatic in her second marriage. Poor Larrry Haines, who is usually a favorite, plays a wishy-washy character that seemed written to fulfill some female’s not-too-well-thought-out idea of the perfect man. I had hoped to like it but this was too candy-coated in some places and too disturbed in others. Plays like these make me dislike most of Elspeth Eric’s work.


Wife’s voice was super Creepy and old


Good episode


How annoying! Story made no sense. First she wants a baby then she doesn’t want a baby first she’s gonna leave the plants behind and then she can’t leave the plants behind even to the point of not moving into their new apartment. Why not a house, by the way. It would be physically impossible for someone to be strangled by plants. If you haven’t watched this yet skip it!

J Nicolosi

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