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The Masque of the Red Death


This is a modern day adaptation of Poe's classic. Here, an environmental disaster occur which results in a massive plague. An old man isolates himself and his family in his manor to wait out the epidemic.



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 10, 1975
  • Repeat - March 8, 1975
  • Repeat - June 30, 1979





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20 Responses to Episode 0201

One of the great episodes of all time.


Very good, but its funny hearing that 1996 isn't far away and if we don't change how awful it could be, when if anything its gotten worse!


Most twisted morality play. This episode takes morality and twist it all around and spits it out. Poorly written, far to many contradictions in the story. I have never read EAP version so I dont one how acurate this is to his, but none the less this is a very frustrating story.


A multi-millionaire prepares for worldwide diseases (common in 1996) by fortifying his mansion and selecting a small group of people to live with him. One member of his circle contracts the red death and we learn of the millionaire's true colors.

Jardine Delovino

Another Poe adaptation and this one annoys me more than most. Maybe they are just beating down my resistance. A bit of muddled eco-concern accompanies this story of a wealthy man who seeks to escape a lethal pandemic by closing himself up in his inaccesable mountain-top retreat. Simple minded, two dimensional, characters talk at one another in order to fill time till the dull and unsurprising ending. Is it possible that Roger Corman did a better job? I think so.


Taking place in the not too distant future year of 1996, the Red Plague has struck the Earth causing people to take refuge where they can. One millionaire has constructed a fortress in which he takes his daughter and son in law, and his bimbo girlfriend. He also brings with him a servant and his deaf-mute wife to tend to the menial day to day tasks. The son in law is distraught over the state of the world and feels guilty about surviving in such lavish and opulent conditions. The bimbo admits she has nothing in her head and doesn’t know what to think or do. The daughter is a staunch supporter of her strict and selfish father. When the servant woman is struck with the Red Plague, she is tossed out of the house and the man servant pledges revenge. A great episode with an imaginative scenario, believable characters, captivating plot, and well acted.

Mr. Foster

This is a decent adaptation of a Poe story. The sci-fi aspect of it doesn't exactly hurt, but I don't think it enhances it in any way, either. Neither is the ending as eerie as the original--with the lack of the Black chamber and the ebony clock and its disconcerting chime. Another odd aspect of this broadcast is the weird "outro" by E.G. at the end of ACTII (Where he speaks of knowing us so well and what a good time it's been..etc....) Very strangely written and executed. The performances by the two leads (Staats Cotsworth and Karl Swenson) are both very strong and helps keep our interest. Good story....Not the best Poe adaptation RMT did, but a fun experience overall. Until Next Time.....................


This was an okay story, but not nearly as good as the original. The other adaptations up to this point were much better and I didn't think the ecological aspect did much to help it out. Oh well, I would guess when you have to do so many adaptations in a short amount of time you might get a some not as good as others.


Overall, this is one of the better episodes (but that's not saying much). The thing that killed it for me was Jack Grimes. He sounds exactly like Speed Racer's mechanic. His voice belongs on "Leave it to Beaver" or "Ozzie and Harriet". He sounds like a 14 year-old guy going through puberty. In this episode, he constantly whines and complains, and is generally miserable. The rich guy is saving his life and he complains about it! What a jerk...


Yes I agree! Jack Grimes sounds annoying!! But it was a decent story! I deleted my account though. I will try to re-instate the account today!!.

Cathy Konicki

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. George Lowthar wrote a lot of great adaptations from the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, and Oscar Wilde. As for this Edgar Allan Poe classic, it was very entertaining, but not the best adaption to it. It was a good effort to write this horror classic to take place in the year of 1996. In the original story, the main character is named Prince Prospero, not Milo Manderson. Why would George Lowthar change the name? In 1964, Vincent Price played the role of Prince Prospero in the film adaptation directed by Roger Corman and it worked well. The sound effects of the helicopter, doors, tableware clinking, tray slipping, glass breaking, party music, champagne bottle, and champagne glasses were OK. As for the music, OK as well, but it needed more frightful melodies into the mix. Many of the scenes were dead silent. If only CBSRMT added the horror music from #1245-THE JUDGE'S HOUSE into this particular episode, it would've been "blood-curdling" exciting. In our Host's Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by quoting Mark Twain about the weather, followed by the topic of apathy. Why quote Mark Twain when this is an Edgar Allan Poe story? (That's like quoting Arthur Conan Doyle in an O.Henry story. Great writers, but different styles of writing.) In ACT-1, our Host brings up another disease in the story known as "jealously." In ACT-2, he quoted a biblical passage on "reaping what you sow," which makes sense as to what the main character is doing. In ACT-3, not much to report other than the Red Death has killed off the main character. E.G. Marshall's Epilogue was short; explaining that this story was just an allegory to inform viewers that this was a cautionary tale. His narrations were OK, but very brief. But the BEST thing about this episode, was the cast: Staats Cotsworth (as Milo Manderson), Karl Swenson (as Nils a.k.a. The Red Death), Lois Smith (as Doreen), Jack Grimes (as Jack), and Evie Juster (as Flossie). First off, outstanding work from our 2 actresses. And excellent performances by our 3 actors. So much dialogue, a lot of compelling arguments coming from all 5 of them. If you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's work, check out this radio adaptation, but also read the story. The other adaptations that CBSRMT has done, are a lot better and more frightening. Episode #0200-BERENICE is a good one. Also, check out Roger Corman's film adaptation of this tale. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


Masque of Red Death IS a great episode & remake of Poe. CBSRMT always did Poe very well; often with a modern twist. Pit & Pendulum and Cask of Amontillado come to mind. BUT the best Mystery Theater takes on Poe , and one of THE MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES of the whole series was Arnold Moss as Roderick Usher in Fall of the House of Usher. Robert Dryden is brilliant too. - Juror # 4.

Juror #4

It’s 1996 and multimillionaire Milo Manderson has secluded himself, several members of his family and two servants in a huge mountain retreat in order to escape the plague that is killing people by the thousands. Soon there is much bickering and, to relieve the tension, Manderson proposes a masquerade party. Enraged when one of the “guests” arrives in a blood red costume, Manderson rips off the wearer’s mask only to see no face, just a blood red skull—the “red death” itself has now invaded the sanctuary.


This one, and " A Horror Story" are probably my favorites. Definitely in my top 10.


This is a great episode. I appreciate the references to organic agriculture and soil health. And the impact of rampant industrialization on human health. Still relevant in today! Great adaptation of Poe. Thanks for this site.


As we are seeing damage to our environment and what the causes are. Interesting red death and the pandemic occurring. This was an Interesting episode but not as good as others of Poe adaptations. The sound effects, the two women characters were the strong points. Enjoyed the news and commercials.


It's ironic how realistic this situation is when you stop to consider current events and many people around the world are in lockdown just like the characters in this story. It's a good time to listen to this particular episode. What I don;t understand is, why are they so guilty about isolating themselves? What good would going out and catching it do for anyone? That just doesn't make sense. The Red Death seems to have a fatal death rate, so only a doctor or an epidemiologist would have even the slightest chance of being able to help. I don't recall any doctors in this story, so why is it selfish for these people to wait it out? For all they know, they might the only ones left to rebuild humanity when it's over.


Amazing how timely this episode is ... This adaptation of a Poe story rings true over 125 years later.

Kathy D

Fast forward to current day... starvation on the rise across the globe, Covid, climate disasters, total isolation of some countries not just a rich mans hide away..... who would have thought back in 1975 just how true the events told in this story would actually come to pass.


Fast Forward to today and the story still rings true after 180 years and a recent world wide pandemic. Good interpretation from Poe's short story published in 1842.


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