Theater Five - Single Episodes

(4.5 stars; 55 reviews)


Theater Five was ABC's attempt to revive radio drama during the early 1960s. The series name was derived from its time slot, 5:00 PM. Running Monday through Friday, it was an anthology of short stories, each about 20 minutes long. News programs and commercials filled out the full 30 minutes. There was a good bit of science fiction and some of the plots seem to have been taken from the daily newspaper. Fred Foy, of The Lone Ranger fame, was an ABC staff announcer in the early 60s, who, among other duties, did Theater Five. From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



Hit and Run 20:10
A House of Cards 22:04
Terror from Beyond 21:09
Homecoming 20:37
The 245,000 Smile 20:32
Rebellion Next Week 21:59
The Big Dog 21:05
Jump, Jump 21:40
Melodrama 20:56
The Stranger 20:48
The Fun Party 21:36
The New Order 22:29
Ring of Evil 22:02
Your Time Is Up 20:33
Molecule Masquerade 21:15
A Caller at Midnight 20:00
Dream of Death 20:38
The Late Matthew Dillard 19:27
My Other Self 20:31
Incident at Apogee 20:06
The Scream 20:50
Outside Time 20:51
The Fix 21:17
The Trouble with Alphie 20:28
Cry in the Night 20:31
Sorry to Let You Go 20:08
Incident at Shadow Valley 20:49
The Decoration 20:02
First Encounter 19:23
To Whom It May Concern 20:00
The Noon Stars 21:05
My Brother's Keeper 19:33
The Big Freeze 17:53
The Understudy 19:21
The Group 21:15
The Kiss Off 18:34
The Odyssey of Number Fourteen 20:46
We Are All Alone 19:32
The Evil That Men Do 20:14
A Genuine Grenotte 20:53
Look Who's Talking 20:22
The Wrong Arm of Justice 20:15
A Very Private Phone Call 20:40
John Hansen, Hermit 21:19
Subject Number 428A 20:39
The Arithmetic of Honor 20:48
The Last Land Rush 19:49
Echo of Madness 21:50
Justice Is an Uncertain Thing 20:59
I'm Sorry, Mom 19:56
All the Bright Young Ones 21:00
The Autocrat 20:54
The Dog Killer 20:10
The Good Samaritians 20:47
The Captive Spirit 21:29
An Honorable Way 19:50
The Man Who Loved Jellyroll 20:49
Captain Gamble's Uniform 22:27
Including Murder 19:24
The Sacrifice 20:58
Sirens in the Night 22:13
The Prodigal Son 20:27
Odds on the Tower 20:17
A Nightmare 20:52
The Second Chance 20:15
June 17th, Where Are You 21:07
Why Can't Life Be More Like in the Movies 19:31
Body Without the Crime 19:12
Twenty Minutes in the Life of Melinda Madison 21:29
Living Credit 20:05
The Nameless Day 21:30
World Enough and Time 22:04
The Gift 19:35
A Brand New Life 20:08
Deedle Deedle Dumpling My Son X-1 21:53
The City Manager 21:36
The Contract Maker 20:19
A Little Piece of Candle 20:12
To Be or Not to Be Maybe! 19:33
A Nothin' Place 23:38
Dark Appointment 20:35
The Talkers 21:08
A Little Knowledge 23:26
The Neighbor 20:46
The Lesson 20:16
To Helen with Love 20:21
Finders Can Be Losers 20:48
Found Money 21:21
Fog 21:44
Sound Track of a Happy Family 20:10
Bug Off 21:10
Congratulations, Mr Mayor 21:10
The Weapons at Hand 21:12
I Love You 20:50
Bang Bang You're Dead 21:21
Now Listen to the Tiger 22:21
The Victim 20:03
An Average American Murder 20:20
Just Call Me Lucky 21:28
Nuptial Flight 19:43
Six-Foot Flower Box 20:26
Finders Keepers 19:24
The Flea Circus 20:35
The Wish Fulfillment Machine 20:03
Look at My Record 20:37
Five Strangers 21:50
Charlie, the Beautiful Machine 20:42
The Blue Eyed People 19:39
Presence of Mind 20:47
Discotheque 21:52
The Blank Check 21:17
Devil Dust 20:27
The Corporation 21:39
Don't Call Me, I'll Call You 21:55
The Deliquents 21:42
The Button Stealers 21:20
Bravo, Bravo 20:43
Man on the Canyon Wall 20:55
The Wandering Spaceman 19:28
The Trophy 22:14
The Wheel 18:50
Across the River from Grandma's House 21:54
A Dream of a Scheme 21:34
The Imposters 21:42
The First Weekend 21:18
Where Art Thou, Romeo 21:09
Mr Horn's Holiday 22:03
Tomorrow 6-1212 21:53
The Hostage 20:41
I've Got Your Number 21:29
The Boy 21:11
The Time, the Place, and the Death 21:11
The Hunters 21:41
Greater Love Hath No Man 20:42
The Underveloped Nation 20:59
Cold Storage 21:22
The Eye of the Storm 20:52
Lovely Boy 20:39
The Sybil of Sycamore Lane 21:13
The Chain 20:48
The Forgotten 20:44
A Little Game on Saturday Mornings 20:37
Post Time 21:21
It's a Work of Art 21:20
Listen, Mother 21:04
A Tale for the Nursery 21:26
The Elevator 20:52
The Man Who Heard Everything 21:45
Toby's Wonderful Egg 21:30
Little Girl, Little Girl 21:15
You Bet Your Life 21:24
French Quarter 21:31
Annie Is Watching 20:46
The Land of Milk and Honey 20:49
April Snowfall 21:33
Last Ride on the Merry-Go-Round 21:32
Just for Kicks 20:58
Broken Image 21:02
Publish or Perish 20:50
The Janitor 21:31
Divorce American Style 20:53
Any Port in A Storm 22:09
Across the River To Grandfather's House 21:31
If the Spirit Moves You 21:32
They Call Me Howie 20:55
Bad News for Mrs Bristol 21:56
The Hazelton Story 21:07
Point of Impact 21:10
There's One Born Every Minute 20:18
The Widow 21:15
The Avenger 21:18
Bright House, New House 21:49
Eye of Kali 21:10
Three On A Death 21:06
Get Away with Murder 21:42
The Welcome Lady 21:38
Till Death Do Us 20:49
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall 21:24
A Million Miles to Nowhere 20:32
It's My Funeral 21:01
A Matter of Pride 20:26
The Lion Who Wasn't There 21:28
Come Home Daughter, All Is Forbidden 20:08
Panic 21:00
He Was a Good Boy 21:12
Incident in Ceylon 20:47
You Gotta Cry Sometime 21:06
The Wonderful Stamps from El Dorado 21:53
Said the Spider 21:31
Poor Little Greek Girl 21:11
Greener Pastures 21:34
Lorna Is a Strange Child 21:12
The Beneficiary 20:32
Junior 21:54
Make My Name Clean 21:29
Driver's Seat 21:01
Incident on Us 1 20:33
The Name Game 21:21
Reunion 21:04
The Ten-Year-Old Car 20:35
Lift to Beyond 21:24
Nightmare at 26,000 Feet 21:01
Around the Corner from Nowhere 20:44
Wrong Turning 21:10
A Birthday Present 22:01
The Gandy Walker 21:51
Will Integrity Ruin Clint Marble 20:20
Blind Man's Bluff 20:09
Death of an Old Flame 20:53
Two Birds, One Stone 21:05
Rocky Loves Julie 20:43
The Dance Hall 20:21
Incident at Phong Trang 21:16
Barefoot in Athens 20:43
The Protective Circle 20:34
Lake Toplitz 20:11
Mama's Girl 21:14
Noose of Pearls 21:07
Untrue Confession 19:18
Two Came Back 19:56
Skeletons 20:20
The Wishing Stone 21:00
The Manor House 22:42
A Bad Day's Work 21:51
Incident at Simbarundi 21:12
Country Boy 21:07
The Banana Ball 21:45
The Roper 21:05
The Pigeon 22:14
Goodbye Matt 21:18
Ride with Death 21:20
Custody of the Mother 20:03
You Can't Fight City Hall 21:26
Method in the Madness 21:13
Teacher, Teacher 19:27
Children of Death 20:10
Devotion 21:03
Jailbreak 21:20
Don't Hesitate to Call 21:11
A Matter of Appearances 21:04
Ed's War 20:38
Casuality of a Small War 21:38
The Marked Man 20:58
The Walls of Poison Ivy 20:31
The Big Waves 21:48
Flies with Honey 21:29
Summer's End 20:58
Flights of Angels 21:14
In Time of Trouble 21:10
Jazz Festival 20:52
Whatever Happened to the 5 -25 20:47
In Absence of All Intelligent Life 20:51
I Spy Sister Sarri 21:08
Death Watch 21:21
Big Deal on Sutton East 22:55
Joey 20:20


'Discotheque' is my favorite one

(4 stars)

I've listened to half of the shows and considering this was a daily broadcast the quality is pretty good. The best show so far I would say with no doubts was 'Discotheque'. This one would have made a great Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode. Whoever wrote this particular show was brilliant, I listened to it four times and kept catching more insight and nuances each time.

Quit complaining

(4 stars)

Like really, if you want to download all of the episodes then go to the page to download all of the episodes. Now to the show. I really find this show quite fun to listen to, it's not as good as Golden Age'd Radio classics such as Suspense, Escape, Gunsmoke, ETC but it is fun to listen to, some of the stories can be quite engrossing.

Hits and misses

(3 stars)

I've been listening to the entire series recently, and I have enjoyed it very much, most of the time. I always appreciate a competent and engaging audio play. But there are a few rather notable flaws, the most apparent and egregious being the music. Even the incidental music bed during the play can be disrupting when it swamps the dialogue (and it does many times over the course of the series), but the intro, bumper and outro music is just plain wrong. I'm not saying it's bad music or poorly done, because for one thing, it is done quite well, certainly no less accomplished than any such music at the time of its popular use in the industry, and for another thing, I enjoy music from all eras and kinds and genres and styles, and to me cheesy music is where you slice it, so to speak, and one man's cheesiness is another man's perfectly-suited-to-its-time-iness. I made up that phrase. But for this series the music is blaringly wrong -- bombastic, overwrought, fit for television ads and cartoons, not dramatic productions. It tends to disrupt mood and atmosphere in some way in just about every episode I've heard thus far, which is about 80% now. It robs some episodes of their power and punch at the end, that is how badly it fits this series. Also, I find the writing very hit and miss, and a few episodes had me wanting to kick my computer across the room for the sheer illiteracy and ignorance of the writing. Most of this series is just fine, but some may turn off listeners of radio drama who know what good writing sounds like. The acting is almost always consistently competent and for the most part just plain good. I have been enjoying the surprise appearances of radio stalwarts of the era such as Robert Dryden, Ralph Bell, and Norman Rose, when they pop into an episode. Some of the most prolific and respected names in voice acting were used here and I always appreciate hearing them. I am happy to find this series and enjoy it, surely, but its flaws are egregious enough to me to only give it a 3 on the scale.

Good stories, good acting, and I can hear everything!

(4 stars)

Who left those 2 shameful 1964 Let's Heat Up the Cold War promotions in "The Manor House," a story as pointless as the Vietnam Conflict, with the same sort of DUH-WHAT, delayed ending? Next (spoiler!), and this moved me to remove a star from my rating of this favorite series: "World Enough and Time" did in fact make me feel like kicking poor Mr. Desktop PC across the room, even dragging myself out of my comfy bed to do it! The insistence of lower-brow fictional tales on pretending that hospitals can hold patients prisoner, forcing them to devise nerve-tingling escapes in terror of consequences too frightening to even be KNOWN to any of us, is so dumb!! This episode of Theater Five carried it so far, it left me as confounded as the poor man who wanted only to leave and go board his bleeping plane! AWFUL STORY. They should have just staged it on a different planet, to account for the ridiculousness of holding someone prisoner in a hospital in case a bump on his head had caused a concussion. And for not having him just WALK OUT. I've yet to be intruded upon by music DURING these stories, but the intro theme is jarring, unmusical, and ear-splitting, though no worse than the deafening scream of rusty hinges that go on and on at the start of CBS Radio Mystery Theater, or the screeeeeeeeeeeching door leading to the Inner Sanctum, or the continuous, monotonous WHISTLER intro, and MOST of the noises that open the most worthwhile radio dramas, not to mention the million commercials left intact in most of them (for the OTR aficionado princesses to swoon over). But regarding music, I was wondering, is Theater 5 the series with an episode about two deadly spies, a woman and a man, traveling in a cross-country bus? If so, it had the most memorable music I've ever heard in a radio mystery. Just one little child, deep in the background, singing "On Top of Old Smoky" as passengers fell asleep for the night. (Thank you for reply on that, newdickmorris. I can find it now and hear it again! That doesn't happen much. :o)

Awesome show. Discovered it by accident.

(5 stars)

One of my all time favorite OTR-type programs. There is so much I want to say. First, a very odd show, in a way. For example, the plot was often left deliberately unresolved, and sometimes the bad guy got away with some awful crime. I am utterly shocked that, in 1964-65, it was able to be broadcast in the afternoon ("drive time"), since many episodes dealt with extremely controversial topics: rape, racism, teen pregnancy, child abuse, corporate greed and wrongdoing. There were episodes that revolved around situations "torn from the headlines" (e.g., the infamous '60s murder of a teen girl, witnessed by dozens of apartment dwellers, yet no one called the police or did anything to help). There are also episodes that were just plain unusual: "Flights of Angels" is unquestionably an attempt at portraying a drunken Orson Welles, at the height of his oratory, while having a conversation about acting, while sitting at a bar. "The Gandy Walker" is loosely based on the life of Woody Guthrie after he was hospitalized with Huntington's Disease, including his brief encounter with Bob Dylan while in the hospital. Oh, and finally, I need to mention "The Underdeveloped Nation", in which a U.S. Air Force pilot survives a plane crash, and despite numerous clues, he does not seem to be able to realize that he has landed in Oz. Have I given enough bits and pieces to grab your attention? Seriously, I can't say enough good things about this series. Give it a listen. You will love it. P.S.: In every episode, they asked listeners to write in, and they gave their address. I bet they got some fascinating letters! I don't think a similar show could get on the air today.

Highly Entertaining & Provocative Tales -- High Quality Productions

(5 stars)

As another review noted, many of these 20-minute tales are gritty. I've only listened to about 50 programs so far and I'm eager to hear them all. If you enjoy X-Minus One, Dimension X, Twilight Zone, CBS Radio Mystery Theater, among others, then relish these Theater Five productions. Some are disturbing in their focus on the dark side of human nature. So far, the series reminds me of Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert A. Heinlein, and Ayn Rand style of story telling. The stark lack of sentimentality stands out among other "feel good" programs. Of note, episode 51, All The Bright Young Ones, a story about a future society in which those age 41+ are forcibly retired to old people's centers on edges of society so the world can be managed by the young. The "old people" are forced to live in hiding. Episode 47, The Last Land Rush, tells the story of a future over-populated world where citizens turn on one another violently as they stake out a patch of open ground in a surviver style government land program. The production quality is superior and the writing is stellar. Highly recommended for your listening pleasure.

Your Time is Up

(4 stars)

Although I usually enjoy happy endings rather than realistic endings, I liked the story line a lot. It was confusing at first because I felt as though I was just starting to listen to the story five minutes in but the repetition of events and names done by the main character made everything much clearer by the middle of it. The sound effects going on with the story-line were good but at times were too loud or didn’t go along with what was happening. In one part in particular I could barely hear what the main character was saying over the sound effect. But overall I enjoyed listening to this. I especially like the heartfelt conversation that the husband and wife had over the phone because it gave the reader a personal touch before killing a character which made the ending a much bigger event that it would have been otherwise.


(0 stars)

I really don't think there is anything wrong with the music. The various music played during most of the episodes is better than average, imo. I also think the intro music is kind of cool, honestly. My top 5 episodes are: Skeletons, Your Time Is Up Discotheque (dated music but it works for the story) Incident on U.S. 1 A Little Game on Saturday Mornings. Other ok episodes: Two Came Back (Also done on Escape. Escape's version is a little better, imo.) The Imposters (Also done on Suspense. Both suffer from revealing the major twist in the story a bit too early.) Mama's Girl Noose of Pearls Congratulations, Mr Mayor The Protective Circle Snow in April A Dream of a Scheme In Time of Trouble The Underdeveloped Nation (Dated humor but still fun)