The Red Room Riddle


The Red Room Riddle

1983 | TV-Y | 30 Minutes | Adventure | ABC

Robert Chenault

 Scott Corbett (book), Stephen Manes (teleplay)

Billy Jayne
Nicholas Gilbert
Christian Hoff

Two young boys, Todd & Bill, go snooping into an alleged haunted house as a club initiation. One of the upstairs rooms was supposedly inhabiting a ghost by the name of Jamie Bly, who was a young boy who burned in the room years before. He had a dog, as well. The entire mansion was filled with ghosts, from Bly to his old caretaker, to the maid, to everything. This episode featured the misadventures of the two boys as they entered the property & wandered inside the mansion.

This wildly entering Saturday Morning Special based on Robert Corbett's short story will send a chill down your spine. After watching a few of these "Scary" type kid shows in preparation for Halloween I have quickly discovered why so many of us 80s kids love scary things. Shows like this just might not have made it on tho the small screen today! This is not overly intense like a few others I will be discussing as we creep closer to Halloween, but most kids will want to leave the lights on while watching. Side note the Vincent Price gag is worth the watch alone. 

The Red Room Riddle: A Ghost Story was first published in 1972 and the ABC Saturday Morning Special first aired on February 5th of 1983. It would later air at a more appropriate day and time on October 20,1984. This would also be the complete version I watched today. Thanks to The Museum of Classic Chicago Television they have made this one available to watch in all its glory including some of those wonderful toy commercials for Cap'n Crunch's Choco-Crunch, Crystal Barbie from Mattel, Cabbage Patch Kids album and cassette, and the C.L.A.W. Action Wagon from Tonka.

Oh, those wonderful toys of the 80s.

Our ghost in the story was played by Christian Hoff who would win a Tony in 2006 for Playing Tommy DeVito in the Award-winning Broadway show "Jersey Boys."  and would also lend a voice to Freckles Friendly on The Richie Rich/ Scooby-Doo Show. In the same year, child actor Billy Jayne would show up on the big screen to scare us once again as Brett Chamber in Cujo. Of course, but I will always remember him from the TV show Silver Spoons. And last, the scaredy-cat played by Nicholas Gilbert would only show up on film one more time as a bully in the Never Ending Story. The three hold the show together pulling off this fun little ghost story. 

If you are looking for a short little ghost story to get the Halloween spirit juices flowing The Red Room Riddle is a fun little ride that will help get you there. The old commercials are a hoot and you really should fight the urge to fast forward. Sadly the video is an old VHS from 1984 so it will be a bit graining and dark but the story will keep you focused. 

If you would like to watch The Red Room Riddle follow this Link 


  1. I loved The ABC Weekend Specials, especially those that leaned toward the spooky side like this one and "The Ghost of Thomas Kempe" and "The Haunted Mansion Mystery". I watch these every year at Halloween too.

    1. I'm telling growing up for us was an amazing time, I feel sorry for kids today.

  2. Haha thanks for this post! I had memories of a red room creepy show from the eighties that made me wary of red light rooms my whole life! Hah and this show was definitely it! Thanks for recapping it to make it so easy to look up one of those creepy kid movies that I could never shake! I don’t even want to watch it because it creeped me out as a kid!


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