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The Premature Burial


A doctor helps his friend dig up the corpse of his loved one who married a wicked man. They find her to be alive, and now her evil husband wants her back!



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 6, 1975
  • Repeat - March 2, 1975
  • Repeat - September 2, 1979





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17 Responses to Episode 0197

Authentic presentation of the Poe classic, but there's something almost Monty Pythonish comical about the dead/then alive/then dead and who gets the body of the wicked man's wife. Chilling ending

Mike in Grand Rapids

I had the same thought, Mike. That dead-just-kidding bit didn’t work very well. Aside from that fleeting recognition, however, it is an excellent presentation that I thoroughly enjoyed. The evils of Sir Giles makes the tale worth telling.


A man wishes to see his deceased lover and speaks with a friend who has demonstrated his ability to mesmerize both man and beast. When they open the grave, they learn the man's wife is still alive but they are also accosted by the woman's cruel and heartless husband.

Paul Phoenix

Another Poe adaptation! Or is it? Well, there are elements of "The Case of M. Valdemar"... And the obsessive love for a person who is, maybe, dead... that's "Poesque". Anyway, we have a woman who was forced by her family to marry against her will and has now died. Apparently.... The man who truly loved her... The helpful doctor friend with the power of mesmerism. At least this episode comes to an appropriate finish. Unfortunately the episode as a whole is not very good.

Edmund H.

A woman is entombed in a crypt by her unloving husband after her untimely death. Her distraught lover enlists the help of his dear friend, the doctor, to visit her tomb and gaze upon her face one last time. Even after a week of her death he desperately wants to see her while the doctor tries to talk him out of it. When they open the coffin they find her alive and find her alive, certainly a miracle has taken place and they seek to usher her away. Before they can leave, the evil husband shows up and demands they return her to him. He decries his situation and the money that will be lost in his new marriage proposal to a rich widow now that his old wife has returned from the dead. The husband threatens to have the intruders imprisoned but the doctor uses his powers of mesmerism to impose his will on the evil man and they escape. There are many more twists and turns to come after that.


this is going to be a hard one to listen to... so scary. prolly one of my biggest fears irl. time to fire it up over the old AM rebroadcaster, static and all.


Yes, it is scary! And I agree, the best way to listen is through a small AM transmitter and an AA5 table radio or an old Zenith, RCA Victrola or Grundig console.


Edgar Allen Poe and RMT were meant for each other. RMT's adaptations of Poe stories were well done and creepy. It was a great idea to kick off their season with a week of Poe. This particular effort ranks right up there with "Berenice" and "The Oblong Box". The doctor in this episode reminds me of the psychic detective from "Night of the Howling Dog" in that he always seemed to be able to master the situation. The actor who portrayed his friend did a good job of depicting a man on the edge of insanity. My favorite part of the show is when the woman describes awakening to realize she is buried alive. Has anyone ever seen the European version of "The Vanishing"?


- Nice choice. - This is, obviously, not the only Poe/RMT tale involving a deceased female spouse. ("The oblong box" comes to mind and I think there's another one as well.) Poe lost his beloved wife to illness at an early age, and his grieving comes through in his work. - I love when the friend on the edge of insanity asks the doctor: "Mesmerize ME, Gordon", trying to get his beloved's image out of his ever-burdened mind. - Guy Sorel (Sorrell?), like in his masterful "The hand" appearance, again does a good "sinister English aristocrat" voice. - And the other voice Sorel does in this play, that of the ill-fated guard, makes me ask: How many of you ever listened to the Firesign Theatre comedy group (also from the 70s)? I don't mean to make light of someone dying but...Sorel's character is talking when the doctor's friend stabs him in the back, whereupon the former says: "Agh...aghhh.." and drops to the floor ostensibly dead. That sounded exactly like a Firesign skit when a some british character was trying, in a very climactic moment of a serious yet goofy skit, to get information from an aristocrat of some sort lying on his deathbed. The Firesign player, as the british man, was about to get critical information on buried treasure or something like that from the dying man and the skit went something like this: BRITISH GUY: "And the treasure is where...?" DYING MAN: "You will find it with..." BRITISH GUY: "Go on..." (obviously leaning on every word the other is saying) DYING MAN: "...with..." BRITISH GUY: "Yes, yes..." DYING MAN: "...with the Count of...Agh...aghhh.. (SFX: falls back in bed and dies) BRITISH GUY: "The 'Count of...Agh...aghhh..'?!?! But I don't KNOW any Count of Agh...aghhh..! (audience laughter) I do know a Duke of OUEGGHH!" (Male chorus in the background: "Duke...duke...duke of OUEGGGHH.")

Danilo Escalada

This is one of the best RMT adaptations of Poe! Keir Dullea really does do a fantastic job of bringing to life a character on the brink of insanity. Paul Hecht is terrific as always and, Yes! Guy Sorel does the sinister English aristocrat to perfection! (you can almost envision him twirling his mustache!) Again, though, the story is considerable different from the original Poe. If I remember correctly-- "The Premature Burial" is a descriptive narrative of a series of burial alive tragedies with one passing reference to a wife meeting such a horrible end in France. Lowthar does a masterful job of expanding upon those 2 or 3 sentences and turning it into a full-fledged drama, creating some memorable characters along the way. The ending is very well done and creates a powerful and horrific image-- best enjoyed in the dark. I think my favorite RMT/Poe is still "The Fall of the House of Usher" (because it is easily the most faithful rendition) But this ranks a close second!!!  

M. Balce

An entertaining episode, though I wish the character of the wife had been given more to do than just cry and complain. And I wish every episode of CBSRMT had thunderstorm sound effects like this one.

Phillip M.

Very nice Poe adaptation.


I agree with M Balce's evaluation of the acting. I met Keir Dullea once at the Motor City Comic Con and spoke to him for at least 20 minutes - he was interesting to talk to. Too bad I didn't know about this episode at the time as it would've given me something else to talk to him about. The mesmerism to keep someone alive reminded me of another story (HP Lovecraft movie?) but I can't seem to remember it now.


This is a funny tale with the lady going back and forth from dead to alive due to the protesting of the characters. And then says to Hell with it!

Scooter D and hard

I love Poe stories, especially reading them. This was a good listen, the doctor's character was good and the lovelorn man not wanting to let his beloved go was great. The sound effects were very good. Enjoyed the old commercials and news. All around a good listen!


Zero burger story that had no point and went absolutely nowhere…. so far fetched and ridiculous! 1 out of 10


This episode is created from 2 Poe stories-- "The Premature Burial" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." I don't think it translates well to radio. The horrible dead voice and the descriptions of being buried alive work better in the imagination when reading Poe. When the woman says "I'm dead" in her normal voice, it isn't very effective.


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