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A Holiday Visit


En route to visit her parents for Christmas, a couple is waylaid by a highway accident. As they make their way to Runyonville, Ohio by foot, they travel through the snow and into Taylortown--a deserted village whose sole resident seems to be a mysterious old woman.



Air Dates

  • First Run - December 25, 1980
  • Repeat - December 25, 1981





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52 Responses to Episode 1140

These two people who were driving to her mothers home, and they made a wrong turn and ended in "Taylortown" which I thought was the name of this episode. No matter which way they would try to leave, they would always come back to town. The episode ends with the couple finally arriving at her mothers house, and she looks under the tree, and sees the layout of "Taylortown"


A young couple return for Christmas, after a 12 year absence, to the woman's hometown of Runyanville, OH. Her parents are excited to see them but the young couple are involved in a car crash which leads them on an adventure.


Merry Christmas from News Radio 78, WBBM - Chicago. Joan left Ohio for New York 12 years ago and hasn't been home to see her family since. Christmas comes and her husband suggests a trip back to Ohio to see her family as he has to attend some job training in that state. So, they go. They are driving to their destination and they get in the region of her hometown. The area has changed a bit since she left and 20 miles or so from her hometown the map shows that the Interstate Highway is under construction and they should get off and take a smaller highway. But, the Interstate appears to go forward from there so they figure that the road has been completed since the map came out. So, they go forward hoping to save some miles. But, after driving for what they figure is 40 miles, and noticing that there are no exits, signs, or other cars on the freeway, they suspect something is amiss - and it is. It's in the top 10% for this one. Be sure to listen with the family at Christmas!

Adonis Traje

Joan and Skip Bartrum decide to return to her parent's home in Ruyanville for the Christmas holidays. When they attempt to take a shortcut off the interstate down a deserted backroad, they end up crashing their car in a snow bank. They walk to a nearby town that at first appears to be deserted, even though they can hear people singing Christmas carols. What is the bizzare secret of this little town and will they find a way out and reach their parents in time for Christmas? Lots of questions are raised in this episode. Few are answered. This is probably my favorite episode, primarily because it is the one I best remember from listening to the show as a kid. It's a great holiday story. Genre: Fantasy

Jusko Ragadio

A couple on their way to beautiful Runyonville, Ohio to visit her parents for Christmas have an accident on the highway. They walk through the snow to the village of Taylortown whose sole resident is a little old woman who can be several places at once.

Alexander Nachios

Lloyd Battista and Diana Kirkwood did a terrific job for playing multiple characters. The music at the end of each Act is mystifying. And as for the ending; nice twist. Check this episode out.


I really liked this one - I think I remember hearing this one when it aired (sister and I would listen during Christmas vacation since we could stay up late.) It had an added eerie appeal since I lived most of my life in Ohio and I could picture the snowy roads.


I grew up in Ohio, so I looked up where the towns were- admit it, so did you. I also rate this episode 4 out of 5 invisible scones for Good. This story reminds me of other CBS Radio mysteries with a similar theme of being inside of a smaller version of something. IE: Town or Terrarium. Also that one episode of The Twilight Zone were the town the couple was in is fake... fake grass fake trees etc.. turned out it was a child's toy table with a model of a town... Good stuff very create and makes your minds eye really see it very vividly! Liked this one very much and I also remember it from a previous listening somewhere along the way.


I love that Twilight Zone one. A lot of MT and TW stories parallel each other. "Stopover in a Quiet Town". That's the Twilight Zone episode you're referring to.


Yes, I like the twist in this episode. Might have to pack up the Christmas village scenes here with a little extra care... just in case.


Yes, I like the twist in this episode. Might have to pack up the Christmas village scenes here with a little extra care... just in case.


Well, it's that time of year again when I listen to this episode and try once again to make sense of what the writer was thinking. This show always intrigues me but I wish I could get answers to some of my questions regarding the huge plotholes. I've written on this episode in other places on this site and over the years more and more of this story makes sense to me, but some things (like why the daughter has a phone conversation with the dad who later claims she never called) just don't make sense.

Marc Watson

I love this episode, even though it raises more questions than answers in its plot, which E.G. Marshall pretty much admits in the closing narration. It's the perfect episode to listen to in the car as you are traveling somewhere to visit family for the holidays.

E. Rod

I had never heard this tale before, and was surprised as it is such an obvious choice for this holiday. Ironically, with all the hoo-ha in the US regarding the whole approach to this holiday season and what people are "supposed" to say rather than what people "do" say, the RMT didn't have to worry about that at all even in 1980... it just wasn't an issue (ie, Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays). As for the show, I was very pleased. I was hoping it wasn't going to be too much of a holiday show, and though the underlying theme was Christmas, it was more a pure RMT show, echoing the old Twilight Zones. The story kept its pace nicely and I never lost interest. In fact, without being forceful, the story kept me guessing and wondering. Even in the end, I was totally surprised at the outcome. Not floored, mind you, just surprised... I didn't expect it. I gave it a 5 for being so well done, and for being so on key with the season, despite giving in to an overdone theme. I really liked that it originally aired on Christmas day.


I enjoyed this episode until the end, which I felt was a serious cheat dramatically. "Raises more questions than it answers" is putting it very mildly...In fact, the episode answers no questions at all. Why did the old lady keep reappearing, and why did she have no memory of the couple each time? Why did she shoot at them? Why did the phone work once and not the second time? Why did she hear her father replying, but the father never seems to receive the call? Etc., etc., etc. This is an undercooked script, one that really needed to be sent back for revisions. But it has a nice flair throughout, and it certainly holds interest in its Twilight Zone-style way. The performances are solid. An enjoyable episode overall, but, for me, a frustrating one.

Ramon R.

The music score throughout most of this episode, "A Holiday Visit", is the "Christmas-themed" music straight out of the CBS Music Library. It was used in several late 1950s/ early 1960s era CBS Radio and CBS-TV owned-and-produced dramatic programs. SUSPENSE: Out for Christmas (w/Raymond Burr), Dec.1958, CBS Radio HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL: The Hanging Tree (both the Richard Boone CBS-TV edition and the John Dehner CBS Radio edition) RAWHIDE: The Twenty Five Santa Clauses (w/Ed Wynn), Dec.1961, CBS-TV several other earlier Christmas-themed episodes of CBS Radio Mystey Theater in the late 1970s SUSPENSE: Dog Star, Dec.1957, CBS Radio TWILIGHT ZONE: Night of the Meek (w/Art Carney), CBS-TV, Dec.1960; This 2nd season TZ episode was one of the six episodes from that season that was pre-taped at CBS Television City instead of being filmed at MGM. Unfortunately, the copy that Sci-Fi Channel shows of this particular taped episode is not a pure video-dub off the master, but rather comes from the 16-mm kinescope film. I can't seem to think of any Christmas-themed episodes of GUNSMOKE from the late 1950s or early 1960s, either CBS Radio or CBS-TV, but if there are any, I would assume that it would have heavily used this "Christmas-themed music" from the CBS Music Library. As far as I know, there was no Christmas-themed episode of PERRY MASON on CBS-TV during its nine-year run. I know that there were other misc. CBS Radio (and possibly CBS-TV) owned series which had Christmas-themed episodes from the late 1950s and early1960s which used this particular music score, and one that comes to mind is a late 1950s Christmas episode of CBS Radio's "Whispering Streets" series. General Mills CBS Radio Adventure Theater only had "new" episodes from Feb. thru July 1977, reruns from Aug.1977 thru Jan.1978. I don't think that there was any Christmas-themed episode(s). Mark J. Cuccia.... This is CBS, the Co-LUM-Bi-a Broadcasting System!

Paula Louise

This was the FIRST episode I ever "officially" recorded. Kept me guessing the whole time. Still one of my favorites. If you haven't heard it before, GO FOR IT!

Ross Antonel

I think I agree with all the comments above. Lots of unresolved issues with the tale. No hint of angry family matters, but the girl hasn't been home for a dozen years? The family diarama tries to kill them? Good thing there wasn't a dog in her parent's house who might have chewed on the pieces, or done something even more unspeakable. Dogs do, ya know. This is why all good and loving folks torch their miniture Chirstmas villages annually. To prevent loved ones from slipping into parallel universes that just might kill them. I hate it when that happens. I also sometimes pour beer over my little towns and those of my friends; to spread the holiday cheer with those who might be interdimensionally captured in a blizzard of confusion. I don't have the hotel thing, but I do have a public library in my village. That way marooned travelers can go to the stacks and read up on the subtleties of wormholes, timeloops, and interdimensional potholes. They could, I suppose, even listen to audio recordings of old radio shows (which my library most certainly does have) and perhaps gain some insight into their perdicament. Maybe it's just replicas of European towns that have this power of mayhem over us. Could be. I think American replicas are more benign in this regard. Food for thought. But all in all I enjoyed the tale. Not the greatest, but not bad either. Plus it has elicited quite a few comments from the listeners . . . perhaps that's another way of judging the quality of the shows. (A good recording, but something like a quarter tone too low . . . I think all the voices were distorted ever so slightly.) Thanks for a fun show and happy holidays to all!


I agree with the many of you... lots of questions left unanswered! The old lady?? who what why?? Fairly enjoyeable though and would indeed be a great one for traveling this time of year. I like the thought of it being a model Christmas village... like the twilight zone episode similiar to that storyline. "If there were an explanation for everything where would the magic in life be?" Indeed Mr Marshall.. Indeed!


YEAH! Mine isn't cut off. I have the original that I taped in '80 on KFAB, Omaha. I am going to go play it now!!!

Elwin J.P.

I love your response! Some quick thoughts: 1) Why does this happen to these people? There's no explanation for why they end up there or how they get out. 2) The fact that the old lady is the last one in town is probably because, over the years, all the other people for the village have been lost or broken. 3) The stars in the sky that suddenly disappear -- I'm assuming they are meant to be the tree lights which were turned off when her parents went to bed (Which begs the question: If they can see the tree lights, why don't they notice that they are in a giant living room?  4) The carol singing they hear? Perhaps the parents are playing a Christmas LP on their nifty stereo. 5) The part that really bugs me: When they realize where they've been the whole time, the husband says "Well, we'd better stop talking about it." What!? They aren't going to tell the parents "Hey, we just spent the last 24 hours trapped in the model village under your Christmas tree" ? I still love the episode!


I, too had some questions about the script: Just who did they talk to on the phone? Why did the highway lead to a diorama under her parents' Christmas tree? If they ran off the road and both hit their heads, why did they have the same dream? Some comments as a resident of Toledo, Ohio: There is no town of Runyanville. Ohio has a State Highway Patrol, not a state police. There would be no town of Blue Mountain because OHio has no mountains. Cell phones and pagers would not work because everybody in Ohio knows that those things only seem to work near big cities. I enjoyed the story as I enjoy any well-written story of the "strange little town." I didn't see the ending coming. My copy was cut off, so I never got to hear EG's final thought. If you enjoy the "strange little town," story, I recommend you read "Rock and Roll Heaven" by Stephen King. This is the best of them.


A young couple return for Christmas, after a 12 year absence, to the woman\'s hometown of Runyanville, OH (I looked it up on Mapquest and no such town exists). Her parents are excited to see them but the young couple are involved in a car crash which leads them on an adventure. Caution, story spoiler ahead: This play adds a holiday flair to a classic tale of despair - trapped in a ghost town diorama. The acting and writing are excellent, if a bit predictable, and offer perfect examples of why we loved the RMT plays. I especially liked the fact the Mrs. McGinnis threw me off as a character that made me question the diorama concept and I also liked the tie to the green logs. I\'ll definitely play this story for my kids next Christmas as their grandmother has a snow village comprised of about 150 different ceramic pieces that take an entire room to display. The kids will love it! Now, two quick questions: Why did the author allow a phone to be used with strange results and why did Mrs. McGinnis disappear from the scenes? Finally, I have to wonder, and I\'ll pose this question to the reviewers . How would this story be wrtitten if the characters had the use of modern technology such as handheld GPS devices, two-way pagers and/or cell phones?


I did not understand the story. Who is Mrs. Mcginnius? Why and how do they both have the same "dream". Why does E.G. end the story saying all things don't have to maKe sense?


Awesome program Ross - good choice! This one had me hooked from the beginning. The Interstate that is not on the map - no cars, no signs, no exits ... great setup. I love that kind of story line because everything seems so innocent but strange and you know something is going to happen. No exits, no signs ... wait, that sounds like the Pennsylvania Turnpike to me but they are in Ohio. Okay... Well, the lady is a strange one and while this was a great story, I was thinking by the way that it sounded that there was going to be no explanation for what happened. But, we do get something ... not an explanation but we know [b:5f0a278289]what[/b:5f0a278289] happened, just not [b:5f0a278289]why[/b:5f0a278289]. But as EG Marshall says, some things just can't be explained. A great program to break out a day or two before Christmas!


All, Yeah, I know there are some "ifs" when it comes to Mrs. McGinnis, and the phone. I assume that they "heard" the conversation that her father had while he was talking in the house, at the same time they were on the phone in the "town". As for Mrs. M, I think the writer had to add "someone" into the story to flesh it out a bit. It also gave Skip and Joan an "out" to get them back to their car for rescue. The "green logs" were totally a mind blower and a good "tie-in" at the end. When I first listened to it, I had forgotten about the logs, and when they referenced them again, it was pretty interesting. I have listened to this episode a hundred times at least. I still really like it, even though I know the ending. An absolute must for the holidays! I have played this one for several friends and relatives, and they all really enjoyed it. I know you tried to get me stuck with snow, rain and hail in Wyoming on my way to CO yesterday, but I managed to sneak through!

Antonel Ross

We got a little of the same weather today and it\'s welcome because we really need the moisture. We should have about one more snow storm of significance before we can wrap this winter up. As for the program, I really liked the green log reference, too. I didn\'t see it coming and this is the type of reference you just smile about when the lightbulb goes off. I think Mrs. McGinnis provided a cleaver way of disguising the plot and she gave us an alternate plot line to consider. The phone still bothers me and now that I think more about it, I believe I\'m bothered by the fact that the phone connection deteriorated over the course of the story.


I've resolved myself to believing it was all a dream that they both had together. I know it's strange that they had the same dream, but stranger things have happened in our macabre stories.


Well, how about this: They are caught in some warp and end up on the little village under the tree. The old lady is a figurine or something that is part of it and someone is moving her around and that would explain her dissappearances. The phone call ... he could not hear her on the phone because they were shrunken or something and everyone knows that a telephone on a toy layout makes a poor connection to the public service. (Yeah, I know, she thought she talked to him.) Okay so it is a stretch but these are a few things that popped into my mind as I listened. I did have fun listening to this one. Obviously, parts of it are left open to intrepretation rather than tying up all the loose ends.


I know you tried to get me stuck with snow, rain and hail in Wyoming on my way to CO yesterday, but I managed to sneak through! Ross, You're lucky you didn't come through today. We woke to a few inches of snow with more flying. The roads are listed as "no unnecessary travel with slick conditions". Hopefully, this will be the last of the significant snow we see for the year.


Yeah, it could have been a dream. I can live with that.

Antonel Ross

"A Holiday Visit" is one of my all-time fav shows and in fact the only one I still have on audio tape from when I was a kid. I finally located it on-line and now have a cd copy that I listen to repeatedly at Xmas every year. The more I listen to it, the more I figure out about the mystery. At one point the wife remarks about how clearly she can see the stars, and then the lights in the town, including the stars all go out at once. Obviously, the stars were the lights on the xmas tree and someone had unplugged them. As for Mrs. McGinnis, she is obviously supposed to be a figurine in the diorama. The reason that she meets them more than once and doesn't recognize them is that the diorama has more than one copy of the Mrs. Mcginnis figurine. At one point, Mrs. McGinnis comments that there used to be more people in the town but every year a few more "go away." Apparently, this was the script writer's clever way of using the fact that every year we drop and break or lose parts of our Christmas sets (the dog chews them up or the kids take them to play with and they end up in the toy box--reminds me of how my own family eventually lost the original baby Jesus from our under-the-tree nativity scene.) I have to admit the one thing that still makes no sense to me is the phone call between the wife and her father. That said, it's still a totally cool episode.

Janet P.

Great observations. The lights going on and off and your other points make perfect sense! There are probably a lot of other things like this in all of the CBSRMT programs that we miss the first time through.


I was also thinking that the tinsel on the tree conributed to the "stars" as well.

Kriston L.

A couple of other ideas: When the couple go into the store when they first come into town, the wife comments that there is just one bare bulb lighting the room. Could this be a reference to how many of the xmas villages people have are lit by small bulbs inside the buildings to make them light up? Also, at one point they hear carolers singing and assume everyone is at a Christmas concert but they can never find the source of the music. Perhaps it was music playing in the room at the parent's house where the tiny town was on display.

Neil Tull

WOW! This is making more sense all the time!


It occurs to me that this episode is a lot like the old Twilight Zone episode "Stopover in a Quiet Little Town" where a couple wakes up inside a deserted little town and discover everything is like a movie set: the phone is not wired into the wall, the cupboards are empty, the drawers are glued shut, the trees are fake, and the train just goes in a big circle around the town. In the end we discover they have been abducted by giant aliens and placed into a little model town to serve as pets to an alien child. Not one of the best episodes but at least it gave a somewhat more satisfactory explanation for how the couple ended up in this strange town than does this CBSRMT episode. I suspect that "A Holiday Visit" was written by someone who had a little Christmas village and wondered what would happen if you shrunk down and could wander around inside it. The writer obviously was not concerned with the logic of the whole thing, but it's a fantasy so I suppose that is not really important.

Kris Klosterman

I think TWZ had a big impact on the writings of RMT. There are a lot of parallels there. I love them both, so even better for me!


I wonder if that Phone Booth was a Red Brit looking ones that took shillings, well thats just me ...good story... I like the others wonder about the old woman appearing in and out, like she was the ghost of the woman who brought it over from Scotland and was forever stuck in the village never to remember one second from the next. Either way I think too much, it was a cute Holiday story....


This is by far, my favorite episode from CBSRMT, though admittedly, it has some flawed and poorly thought out logic. For starters, I find it highly unlikely that anyone wouldn't have seen their parents in 12 years, yet could pick up the phone and talk to them about coming home for the holidays as if no time had passed at all. To me, that's just too much of a stretch. Secondly, as someone else pointed out, the whole conversation with her father on the phone seemed odd. Did he hear her? One is lead to believe he did, as he confirmed that he'd meet them at the station. Yes, upon hearing that they were in Taylortown, he clearly didn't have a clue where that was. At the end, he claims no one phoned. Hmmmm. Despite these oddities, I think this is a perfect, curl up next to the fire, type of story, and my own kids have grown to adulthood listening to it and making it very much their own tradition, before turning in to bed for the night on Christmas Eve.

Kevin Knoblett

Wish there were more like this on mystery theatre!


Great Episode - Far too much analysis above - just sit back and enjoy - it's fiction - not reality - things do not need to tie together.


A Holiday Visit is the best CBSRMT episode




love this supernatural xmas story. love the xmas music. A very good episode. love the background music.


business trip gives Skip and Joan Bartram a company-paid opportunity for a long-delayed Christmas reunion with Joan’s family. But as they near Joan’s hometown, their car skids off the icy road on a lonely strip of highway. The couple find shelter in a deserted small town that brings forgotten memories back to Joan.


Mrs. McGinnis definitely makes things interesting. She goes from the barn loft and disappears. Mysteriously seen again sweeping snow off the porch and serves invisible scones. Last but not least, she shows up with a gun to scare off the Joan and Skip. Dementia might be settling in on Mrs McGinnis. I enjoy listening to this every Christmas Eve. Hearing the announcer say, " Merry Christmas" instead of " Happy Holidays" was very pleasant to hear. This story reminds of one I heard many years ago about a man driving from New York to California and seeing the same person on various parts of the trip. Finally when he stops in Gallup New Mexico, he calls back to NY to only find out he's dead.


I started listening when I was a middle schooler. Each Friday nite, 9pm on WCOA, lost touch, and found it again 5 years ago and listen nightly. And BY FAR, be it Christmas or just pining for it, this is my most favorite I just adore the sweetness and ambiance of it all. What a wonderful non-evil or disturbing story. Just a sweet , engaging, mystery. Enjoy a perpetual Merry Christmas. 🎄 (No commercials though, which is ALWAYS the best kind☹☹☹)


Just a warm comforting episode. In the cold harsh world we inhabit this one makes life more easy to take


Oil executive from NY has never found away for wife Joan to see family in Ohio for 12 years. Luckily a trip to Tolledo for training on the company's dime makes it all possible to spend Christmas in Runionville. Actually a really good episode for introducing young kids to OTR. Love Lloyd Battista.


Easily one of the best episodes ever..the radio announcement of the freezing weather in Chicago only made it the bettet


A G R E E D ..... ♥️♥️♥️👍


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