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The Altar of Blood


A superannuated professor is obsessed with the mysteries of the Aztec civilisation. He decides to relocate to a new residence with his daughter whose mother was Aztec. But their new home hides a pyramid and they are accidentally sucked back in time through it. Now the father must witness his daughter sacrificed in an ancient Aztec ritual.



Air Dates

  • First Run - April 9, 1975
  • Repeat - July 12, 1975





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12 Responses to Episode 0253

I really like listening to that little station call letters and then 'Wichita' tune. I don't live anywhere near there so I have only heard them thru these shows. Silly, but I enjoy the little jingle, or mini jingle, not sure what to call that, lol.


A archaeologist specializing in Aztec civilization struggles with life and happiness after the untimely death of his wife, herself a descendent of the Aztec people. He takes his daughter to Mexico to immerse himself in work where his daughter starts having dreams of being sacrificed on an altar in an Aztec ceremony. The father apologizes saying his work is interfering with their happiness and they go off on a vacation. Arriving at their destination, they dig holes in the back yard (why, I can’t remember, maybe it’s just an archaeologist thing,) and find a slab of stone that swallows them up.


Pretty good story and pacing for a time-travel story. The "now" and "then" are well balanced. A script like this one would probably never be filmed or recorded in today's multi-cultural and politically correct times.

Vicky Hernandez

Excellent sound quality on this one! The only things missing that would make it perfect would be the commercials and news.


I agree with Vicky and John, plus it's got Fred Gwynne. There was a moment I thought that it could've been the imagination of one of them, but they both had the same experience, therefore it was "real".


Fred Gwynne did everything, he participated in, very well. I am glad it does not have commercials. No commercials make it possible to listen to more of the great CBS Radio Mystery Theatre mp3's..... Thanks Sine-Off and Budweiser.....


I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. This story is very similar to Ep. #0698-THE RETURN OF POMPEII where the main character loses their significant other, the widowed person travels to another country that has a history of ancient civilization, and goes through a time warp that brings them to that particular time period right before it gets buried in lava and ashes. Another way to title this CBSRMT episode would be "Echoes of the Past". I give credit to Ian Martin for writing a Fantasy-Mystery involving time warp; however, my question is why would the main character's daughter be the reincarnation of an Aztec Princess? The professor travels to Mexico, to bury his grief on the death of his wife, as he studies deeply on the Aztecs. When he goes back in time and sees the ancient settlement where the Aztecs need to sacrifice the princess to please their Rain God: Tlaloc, wouldn't it make more sense if the princess was the resemblance of his dead wife so he can see her one last time before departing? I digress. But anyway, E.G. Marshall's role as the Narrator was very informative, yet questionable. In his Prologue, he explains how the Aztecs lived in the 1575 A.D. (or as the Aztec Calendar labels it as the 9th Cycle, 7 Rabbit, 2 Crocodile). In ACT-1, he asks us fans is there a legend, created by superstition, to protect a mountain shoreline. In ACT-2, the main characters ignore the legendary warning and pursue their journey. Then, he asks us if we believe the girl in this tale is the reincarnation of ancient princess who can speak Nahuatl: the Aztec language. In ACT-3 he asks us again if the character's journey was real or just an illusion. Finally, in his Epilogue, he explains that there are excavations of the Aztec settlement still and informs us about the professor's daughter got married, but he left it at that. Informative on the Aztecs, but questionable at the end of each act. The sound effects of the automobile, the tires blew out, the car brakes, birds chirping, seagulls and howling wind by the water, the boat motor, animals in the forest, the thunder storm, tarp rustling, the shovels, a flash of lightning, igniting a cigarette lighter, the rainstorm, lighting a match, opening the great stone, wind blowing, slapping the professor in the face, motor of the bulldozer with a crane, intense drum beats, lightning bolts with a volcanic eruption, and moving the piles of stones were spot! And so was the music. In ACT-1 there was this theme of serenity at the 10-minute 55-second mark that I enjoyed, along with the mysterious beats at the 14-minute mark, suspenseful tunes all through ACT-2, and epic tracks in ACT-3 with a stunning climax at the 39-minute 51-second mark. Speaking of epic, excellent work from our cast: (Fred Gwynne (as Professor J. Hallington Wells), Jennifer Harmon (as Maria Wells), Mason Adams (as Bill Hallam), and Ian Martin (as the Alcade). My favorite part was the actress's speech at the 38-minute 20-second mark when she said, "All things on Earth have their term. And in the most joist career of their vanity and splendor, their strength fails and they sink into the dust. The things of yesterday are no more today. And the things of yesterday shall cease perhaps on the morrow. Let us cast aside the horrors of the tomb and reach only for the brilliance of the sun. The shadows cast of death bring the stars no brilliance. Let us, everyone, seek and make his own future and his own heaven. No one else can make it for you." It seems as if Ian Martin wrote that speech in the story for the CBSRMT fans that we must acknowledge the fact that every subject will come and go, so we must use time wisely and make the most of what we have and leave our mark onto this world. Everyone should tune in to this episode, especially if you enjoy time warp tales and the talent of Fred Gwynne. Enjoy!


Truly is any episode with Fred Gwynn in it bad? I loved this episode! It held my attention all the way through! The sound effects as Russell has pointed out were right on and the acting was excellent! Check this episode out and make a comment! We know you are out there let us know what you think!


Very clunky and overwritten dialogue. And not Gwynne's bext performance.

Commodore's watch

Fred Gwynne episodes are the best!

Scooter D & the end of the Greens

Not a fan. The characters are too flat.


I didn't care for this one. It did not hold my interest, and at the same time I found it hard to follow. Well, to each his own.


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