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The Great Brain


A high stakes gamble takes place when a certified genius wagers with a friend and a prison warden that he can free himself from an escape-proof cell using only his wits and logic.



Air Dates

  • First Run - February 21, 1979
  • Repeat - August 16, 1979





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10 Responses to Episode 0956

CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER, “The Great Brain,”, starring Gordon Heath, with E.G. Marshall, host. A scientist wagers he can use his brain power to escape from the stat pentitentiary’s solitary confinement cell. Dr. Gregory March, who never played chess in his life, defeats the grandmaster champion in four of five matches. “I’m just trying to show that anything is possible with human brain power,” he says. To prove his thesis further, he wagers with two of his colleagues that he can break out of the best-guarded cell in the state prison in no more than a week. All he asks the warden is for some tooth powder, one five-dollar and two ten-dollar bills, and permission to have his shoes shined before he enter the cell.

1979 PR Release

Gordon Heath plays a genius scientist named Gregory who bets two of his associates that in using only his natural brain power that he can escape from a maximum security prison in 7 days' time. The mystery resides in what the man does and how he does it to accomplish his experiment. Ian Martin plays the warden, and Russell Horton is one of the prisoners. One of the best shows of the series with a unique approach and a logical resolution that makes total sense. Definitely a story that makes you think!

Gerald Go-Khua

I haven't heard this one yet but I suspect it's based on the famous story "The Problem of Cell 13" by Jacques Futrelle. There was a whole series of stories about the eccentric scientist who was nicknamed The Thinking Machine.

Mike Hobbart

This is based on a character created by the author Jacques Futrell (the RMT's "The Raft", based on his "The tragedy of the life raft", has been my favorite RMT whodunit for awhile). I think this was supposed to be his answer to Sherlock Holmes...the central character (played by Gordon Heath) is "Dr. March". I believe he used this character in other stories as well. March essentially makes a bet with two of his fellow scientists that he can escape from a maximum security prison that's never had a jailbreak. He checks into the unit, and vows to both his friends and the warden that he'll escape and join them for dinner in the next few days. All he asks for is some currency, some tooth powder (instead of toothpaste) and a pair of polished shoes. This program features an all-RMT-star cast...Heath, Ian Martin, Earl Hammond and Bob Calaban. All do double duty. Martin is excellent as the aging yet tough, never-been-challenged prison warden. Heath does an intriguing second turn as a mentally unbalanced inmate who murdered a woman by throwing acid on her face, and who claims to hear mysterious voices inside the prison. In my opinion, the one problem is that the episode sounds a bit contrived. Where Holmes could pull things out of his hat that had you shaking your head, in my book there was just a bit too much margin for error in the clever yet complex feats Dr. March accomplishes. Still worth a listen, was enjoyable.

Jasmine Trois

One of many Jacques Futrelle stories featuring 'The Thinking Machine'.

Kristy Grace C.

Have always really enjoyed this one. Once in a while, there are some fun "non-supernatural" episodes that are just as good as any of the other RMT's out there. This is one of those. Jacques Futrell's works were used in some of my favorite RMTs ("The Great Brain", "Murder on the Space Shuttle" (Another Gordon Heath episode) and "Revenge Is Not Sweet"). Speaking of Gordon Heath, he turns in a marvelous performance in this episode. He was one of the best on RMT. His characters always sound confident, but never condescending--no easy feat! It was fun to listen to each step Dr. March took in devising his escape plan and try to guess what shape that plan would take. This had a very "Arthur Conan Doyle--Feel" to it. Has anyone read anything by Futrelle? How different are the originals from the RMT adaptations? It's great that there was a vehicle like RMT to introduce works that would have otherwise remained much more obscure. Another Great Choice!


Yes, very much a Doyle-type story! A fun romp all around. And really it plays fair with the clues and the mystery/detective genre . . . we are given most of the information we need, but it would be a rare person indeed who could figure out this tale before the ending is revealed.

Earl Jacobs

Great mystery. Impossible to deteime ending, but still ties all loose ends together.

Dr. Mark

Entertaining but unrealistic, but oh what a romp!

Scooter D and the greens & no jail!

I thought he was sending a rat with a string through the pipes, but I didn't theorize much beyond that. This story was a nice change. Enjoyed it!


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