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The Rich Ostrich


An ostrich from a local circus makes off with a sizable diamond from an Arab delegate leading to a delicious farcical tale.



Air Dates

  • First Run - May 29, 1978
  • Repeat - November 14, 1978





31     7

17 Responses to Episode 0841

An amusing and intriguing farce about an cirucs ostrich that snatches and swallows a valuable diamond from an Arab diplomat.

J. Vasquez

A nice "ordinary guy" type of showcase in place of the usually sinister or snide roles for Don Scardino (i.e. "The Horror Within", "The Plastic Man"). He's a reporter for a Sarasota, FL newspaper, and is visiting a local carnival in the offseason. The already struggling venue suffers a big hit when an Indian nobleman, who says he's been in Washington, D.C. on government business, loses the incredibly valuable diamond off his turban. He got too close to the ostrich cage, and Scardino's character sees an ostrich swallowing something down its long neck afterwards. The ostriches help make the carnival famous, and bring in loads of marks and $$$$. The carnival's owner says the way ostriches are made it could keep that diamond in its stomach for a long time. A Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals type organization steps in with an injunction of some sort preventing the carnival from doing anything to the animals. Then some sort of bidding process starts for the birds, all the while during which the Indian nobleman is raising all sorts of cain against the circus. The carnival owner's daughter suspects he's trying to bilk the circus...though Scardino's character is sure he saw the ostrich swallowing something. The ending to this: 1. reminded me of some Aretha Franklin song that goes "Who's zoomin' whom?", and 2. would have had me screaming at my computer (and Scardino) if I hadn't been at work. The Indian guy, when talking about the animals, does get in some nice joke about "donkeys and elephants" based on his Washington experience...

M. Forbes

Well, odd is probably the word to define this episode. I really enjoyed speculating what was going to happen next. what plot twist was going to jump out. I was fairly dissapointed with the ending to this episode. I think a good episode that should be added to the scheduel is "The Elixer of Death" this episode is bizzare as all get out.


A light hearted tale that is fun the first so the next, and blase the third. It is unique though....... . To tell the truth, I changed my mind on this show after listening to it again last week. Not that this is a terrible show, it's just ok. I do remember thinking it was fun the first time. I promise my next selection will be full of horror, blood and have immense socio/psychological implications.

Neil Tull

As you can see, I errantly posted this show. To make things right, I've credited the selection as a random choice and placed Until Next Time on top of the list as our pitcher for next week. My apologies....I've just had a bad couple of days and wasn't thinking straight when I posted the show. As for, "The Rich Osterich", I thought the program was interesting in that I liked the circus setting but I thought the production and plot were on the weaker end of the CBSRMT spectrum. The twist was a bit halfhearted and predictable. Can someone tell me the name of the actor who played the reporter? His voice is so clean and clear that there is something almost unbelievable about it. I'm not sure I can put words to my thoughts but somehow he just doesn't project the same feeling as some of our other great actors.

Paul Boggs

The reporter, Jim Simon was played by Don Scardino. Scardino was featured in some 27 episodes.

Vickie B.

Oddly enough, this was one of the very few cassette tapes that I had that has somehow survived all the years in the aging process. Back to the storyline. It's a cute story but that's really about it. It delves into the "con game" that is understandably predictable. The plot seems somewhat shallow and lacks any real character development (difficult at best due to the time constraints). Overall, I enjoyed it but felt that this particular type of show doesn't envelope the true essence of the CBS RMT. My best guess is, for a program to make "Show of the Week", that the bar is set substantially higher.


I had listened to this show before. While it isn't the cleverest story, it is an example of the humorous (in a quirky way) side of RMT. Some of my favorite shows in the series are from this angle, so I'm glad one of these type made it to the show. A couple of others I've heard are Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater (780102) and Ignorant Armies (780908). I remember the former from when I was listening to the show as a teenager. I didn't start listening until late 76- early 77 and by then the series had started to branch out in different directions. At any rate although this particular show isn't outstanding, 'its all good' in terms of having access to these shows at all, especially after 25 years. Keep em' coming.

D. Lisbon

I liked this show OK. It was kind of light hearted and a little different than many of the others. I really didn't catch on to the con until the end. I guess I was rather dense tonight because tiling a shower while listening to it.

A. Lambert

This was, for me, CBS-RMT Lite. A simple, fun tale with a fair amount of predictability. It took me four times starting the show to finally get through it. I kept falling asleep. Not that it was boring, but let's just say it didn't keep me on any seat edges. I enjoy a refreshing tale like this. The ostrich itself is actually a good bit of humor, being one of those odd creatures in Nature's fabulous collection. But unlike a rhino or a zebra, there is just something comical about the ostrich. I guess the same could be said for the flounder and the platypus, as well. And just for saying it, the kumquat wins the award in the fruits & veggies collection! Overall, I found the acting to be surperb. The Indian gentleman could have gone horribly overboard, but was kept realistic and humble. Dan Scardino's (the reporter) voice was as smooth as lavender velvet. A pleasure to hear. He was just as good in "THE HORROR WITHIN." I gave the episode a 3.7, and though the script was somewhat predictable and it sort of put me to sleep a couple of times, when I finally caught the whole show, I was certainly kept entertained!


The best "non-horror" episode ever!!!


I rate this episode 3 out of 5 diamonds for good! I enjoyed this one and actually like teh can man angle! Was a fun episode.


It's still a mystery episode since it's written by the great potent writer G. Frederic Lewis, but it is unlike anything I've ever heard in this radio series. The music is comical & eccentric and the sound effects of the circus animals were good. And the mystery builds up at the 23-minute mark, but wait until you hear what happens in ACT 3 when the Reporter Jack Simon (played by Don Scardino) finds out who/what the other characters really are. By the way, a SPECIAL NOTE, if any of you fans have the CBSRMT Episode Guide Book, there's a typo. It does say Don Scardino played the role of "Jack" Simon, but the synopsis says "Jim" Simon. This episode is worth checking out because it's the only non-horror episode EVER!


I loved watching Care 54 Where Are You! On Nick @ Nite in the 80s. He was quoted as saying: "Voice work is the kindest thing that can happen to an old actor." (Though wasn't he a judge in "My cousin Vinny", long after the last RMT episode - think it was Mr. Gwynne's final role before he passed.)


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 rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. I'd think that Robert Barr would have been pleased of the adaptation of this by James Agate, Jr. It has intricate clues, it has peculiar motives, and it has a surprising twist in the end. And above all, it has a great detective in this: Eugène Valmont. Robert Barr’s character ranks up with Jacques Futrelle’s Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Another way to title this story would be “A Case Of Interest” or even “The Parisian Detective.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by comparing one of the characters as a “Scrooge.” In ACT-1, the bloodline of the James Dudley Hills on their fortunes. As the plot thickens, we realize that not all clues were divulged in the first Act alone. In ACT-2, questions pop up. More importantly, they see the evidence clearly, but not recognize it. In ACT-3, quoting Sir Francis Bacon about suspicions and our main detective plays a waiting game. In the end, after discovering where the loot was hiding all along and discovering who else was related to the family, we learned a private post-mortem joke that money would bring out the worst in those with the least character. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off with the comparison of the Midas myth - great wealth does not equal great happiness. Outstanding narrations. Sound effects of bells, footsteps, background noise at the police station, phone receiving line, seals, patrons murmuring, paper note, newspapers, doors, dog wincing, phone ringing, paper bills, intercom buzzer, emergency sirens, pulling off wallpaper were terrific. As for the music, great selection of dramatic tunes that moved the story forward. And let us not forget our amazing cast: Norman Rose (as Eugène Valmont), Russell Horton (as James Dudley Hill III and Inspector Graves), and Robert Dryden (as James Dudley Hill, Jr. and Elijah Browning). These 3 worked well together. Norman Rose, performing with a French accent, was very entertaining. This is one mystery story that CBSRMT fans should not pass up on. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. I admire Murray Burnett’s work, particularly his adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But the story originally from Edith Wharton was better. The novelist’s ghost story had a Narrator without a name. In Murray Burnett’s version, we got a fashion designer that’s interested in the castle while the other male characters act persuasive and vulnerable. I was more interested in the mystery of the dogs and hope that they would play a bigger part to this tale. Other ways to title this would be “Dogs Of Kerfol” or “Strange Vendetta.” In our Host’s Prologue, that I had to find on other OTR websites, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about castles with ghosts. In ACT-1, meet our main character who’s interested in buying a castle. After digging into the story within the story, our Host points out the lifestyle differences of adultery from 2 different time periods. Our main character must’ve seen dogs or ghost dogs. After too many conflicts about pets getting killed in this story, E.G. Marshall mentions ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Was E.G. Marshall trying to advertise this non-profit organization into the episode? In ACT-3, he understands the reaction that our main character felt when reading the history book. When the story was over, E.G. Marshall stated that when he talked about this story to a psychiatrist and what was his take on this? Was E.G. Marshall talking about his personal life on this? Or was this something that Murray Burnett wrote for him? What’s even weirder, is the Epilogue. E.G. Marshall tells the world’s shortest horror story ever. It’s a classic, but it’s irrelevant to this particular story. E.G. Marshall wasn’t off topic with his narrations, but he could’ve saved the ASPCA mentioning, the psychiatrist moment, and the shortest horror story for other episodes. The music was OK, but the tunes for the chilling moments kept on repeating in every Act. Sound effects of birds chirping, bell ring, iron gate squeaking, footsteps, car tires screech, jewelry case, door knocking, howling wind, violin music, and unbolting the door were good. And of course, the sounds of dogs barking were helpful. And finally, our cast: Mercedes McCambridge (as Paula Randall and Anne de Cornault), William Redfield (as Herve de Lanrivain and Andre de Lanrivain), Ian Martin (as Baron Yves de Cornault), and Guy Sorel (as the Judge and the Gypsy). I like this choice of cast members. In fact, this was my favorite part of the episode. All of the actors were great. But it was Mercedes McCambridge, our leading lady, who was superb. Her performance in this reminds me of her performance in Ep. #0318-CARMILLA where she played 2 roles: The Narrator and the Woman who dealt with death. Fans of her would enjoy this episode. Check this one out, but also check out Edith Wharton’s original ghost story. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


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