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A sinister criminal known only as "The Bat" attempts to locate a fortune in stolen securities supposedly hidden in the rambling mansion owned by spinster Cordelia Van Gorder.


Paul Nickell


Avery Hopwood (play), Walter Kerr (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview:
Helen Hayes ... Cornelia Van Gorder
Jason Robards ... Detective Anderson (as Jason Robards Jr.)
Joseph N. Welch ... Himself - -Host
Margaret Hamilton ... Lizzie Allen
Shepperd Strudwick ... Dr. Wells
Karl Light Karl Light ... Richard Fleming
Mark Satow Mark Satow ... Billy (as Mark M. Satow)
Martin E. Brooks ... Jack Bailey (as Martin Brooks)
Bethel Leslie ... Dale Ogden
Reedy Talton Reedy Talton ... Detective Anderson


The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood was first produced by Lincoln Wagenhals and Collin Kemper in 1920. The story combines elements of mystery and comedy as Cornelia Van Gorder and guests spend a stormy night at her rented summer home, searching for stolen money they believe is hidden in the house, while they are stalked by a masked criminal known as "the Bat". The Bat's identity is revealed at the end of the final act. Written by Paul Gerard Kennedy

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Release Date:

31 March 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Joseph N. Welch: Who can be calm when a window rattles or a floor creaks and the wind is screaming around the house, especially if you're going to see a mystery story? Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote some of the American classics in this field and we are going to begin this series of great mysteries with her play, The Bat. As you will see the Bat is a very busy fellow, talented too: theft, arson, murder, all in a night's work. He is in short one of the master criminals of the 1920s. Those were the days, fond, ...
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User Reviews

Black and White TV Presentation of a Spookly Old House Classic
18 July 2014 | by snicewangerSee all my reviews

The Bat was first of seven classic mysteries presented live on television in March of 1960. Dow Chemicals sponsored the series.A stellar cast which included Helen Hayes, Jason Robards Jr,Margaret Hamilton, and Bethal Leslie makes this old Mary Roberts Rinehart chestnut a very quick moving and entertaining 51 minutes of television history. Shot on kinescope, this presentation has yet to be released in DVD form.

The Bat was released for the first time in 1926 as a silent film and again in 1930 in sound version as The Bat Whispers both films were directed by Roland West. The year before this TV production was broadcast, a third film version was released which was directed by Crane Wilber and starred Vincent Price and Agnes Mooorehead.

I saw this version on YouTube after 54 years and was delighted to see how well it has held up. Even though the 1959 film had better production values, I considered the 1960 televised version to be a better story. As a footnote Joseph Welch, the lawyer who brought down Senator Joseph McCarthy on national television in 1954, served as the host and narrator for these seven programs.

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