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Triptych for a Witch


Masquerading as an elderly and widowed distant relative, a witch moves in with a young couple who recently married together with her strange pets.



Air Dates

  • First Run - October 30, 1975
  • Repeat - April 16, 1976





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22 Responses to Episode 0371

So That's what they were; last time I was out to the coast I came across a nest just like he described. Little ones running all over, yet you couldn't catch them, they bit HARD. Well looks like I'm better off without one.

Randy Mc

An editorial comment before this review. As I have stated before, I don't like to say much more in my reviews than whether or not I recommend a program and then to offer a brief review of what the program is about. I don't like to really say more about the program than what you will learn in the first few minutes of listening to it. Sometimes the teasers at the beginning of the program will give away quite a bit of information about what is to happen - sometimes too much I think. This program is different. I put off reviewing it for a couple of days while I tried to determine what to say about it. I'm not really sure whether I can tell you that I like or dislike it after listening to it, or whether or not it belongs in my top 10%. Since the word "witch" is in the title, you know that this story will have something to do with witchcraft. The premise of the story is simple; A young couple in their early 20's (possibly living in North Carolina due to a reference in the beginning of the program) is getting started on their life together. He is a police officer and they are raising their first child - still a baby. Suddenly, they receive word that the woman's 80-something great-grandfather (who lived in Minnesota) had remarried and then shortly afterward perished in a fire. She seems to "have forgotten" that her great-grandfather was still alive. (That's a little strange.) So, since the man is now dead, his widow is homeless and needs somewhere to stay. Although they have never met the woman, they agree to take her into their home. One thing that really confused me when listening to the program is that when the couple first meet the lady at the airport when she arrives, she introduces herself as "your great-grandfather's sister." I went back and listened several times to confirm this. Then, throughout the program, the young lady refers to the older lady as a "great aunt". This was starting to confuse me but they do seem to indicate throughout the program that the older lady is the widow of the younger lady's great-grandfather. I wondered if this confusion was to be part of the story but it never resurfaces so I don't know what to say about it. Not long after the old lady arrives, she accompanies the young family to a beach-front cabin where they are to spend some vacation time. It's there that the husband of the younger woman starts to have serious concerns about who the older lady really is and what her intentions are.

J. Romney

A witch posing as a kindly, widowed, great aunt comes to live with a newlywed couple. She brings with her a couple interesting pets.

Rodolfo Q.

interesting structure to this episode of a couple and their dealings with a grandparent’s new wife recently widowed. The wife stands by her deceased grandfather’s bride, her cat and parrot, but her husband, a policeman, is much more suspicious. His senses lead him to investigate and he uncovers some curious details


I *thought* Aunt Hester sounded like the witch from the Wizard of Oz -- no wonder, she was played by Margaret Hamilton! I loved it when she was talking w the cat and the parrot.

Susie Q.

Fun script and performances, but so-so audio quality.


I first heard this episode on my birthday, October 30, 1975. I had just been given a Panasonic clock radio that day as a gift from my grandmother. I fell in love with CBSRMT the first time I heard it, and am thrilled to be able to fall asleep once again to those calming(?)words "Pleasant Dreams...."


I am thrilled to find Radio Mystery Theatre once again! I used to listen to these shows in my early teens in my room at bedtime...E.G. Marshall's voice was a familiar companion...and to discover this episode featuring Margaret Hamilton exactly 38 years after it first aired...what fun!


Joan calls Hester "aunt" because she's part of the family but not a blood relation. "Step-Great-Grandma Hester" is a mouthful! This episode takes the "annoying cat voice" trope to the next level by doubling down with an annoying bird ("Captain Jack").


That's a great episode!


Alec, I see on your comments that you seem to be listening in sequential order of episodes. What are some of your favorite episodes thus far?


This was an interesting listen for me and I liked how the husband (policeman) was, like in many of these episodes, quick to call someone a witch and did some research on it. I also liked the bird and cat as being aspects of the old woman (which [not witch] I just saw duplicated as my kids were watching Spy Kids 3 [Sylvester Stalone's character had 3 aspects of himself]). The sound effects were pretty good and another pretty good Ian Martin story. Melanie - To be honest I'd have to look at the titles to make a determination of which are my favorites. There are definitely more on certain writers that I like more, certain actors that I like more, some adaptations I like more, and some themes that I like more. This is actually my second time listening through and it's interesting on which ones I remember and which ones I don't. For some reason I ALWAYS remember the very first one - The Old Ones are Hard to Kill (I think I got that right). There are a few others that I remember the stories, but not necessarily the titles. I don't think I heard too many of them when I was growing up listening to them on WCCO in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, but there was only 1 that I really remembered and I heard it again the first time I went through all of them. However, for the life of me I don't remember the title and I remembered it differently than it actually was (although I may have been interrupted when listening when I was younger or fell asleep).


Alec, Wow that's interesting that you are listening straight through but have no favorites! I guess you like them all. I skip around, but by author my favorite is Bob Juhren. When listening, I tend to comment only on the ones I like, so all the ones that have a comment from me are what I consider to be really good episodes. I love love love when commenters recommend good episodes, because that is how I have found good ones to listen to! My favorites are: Return to Shadow Lake, Ranee of Rajputana, The Other Soul, Island of the Lost, Cezar Curse, White Wolf, Cabinet of the Unsolved, out of the Past, the Long Blue Line, the Devil God, dreamers and Killers, Silver Medal, judges House, Sagamore Cottage, willy and Dilly, How to Kill Rudy, Burning Bough, Specter Bridegroom. Of course, there are many more! But I think to get into the series it is good to be steered to the good ones initially, because if someone starts listening and hears a few of the weaker episodes, someone might give up not realizing all the gems there are!


Melanie, I guess I'm just a completionist or a sucker for punishment. I have listened to them all before and I love to listen to other shows as well.  I used to find some on tape for sale, then some on CDs, now I found this site and it definitely has a larger range. Some of the old shows are interesting in how they viewed how the future would be (X Minus One for example, but those were based off of short stories). The Shadow was good with all the different people playing Lamont Cranston (did I get the name right?). I guess I just like a variety of audio dramas, especially while driving, but sometimes on tedious jobs at work, too.


Triptych for a Witch is my favorite.


I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Ian Martin's Witch story was 75% of a Drama-Mystery and 25% of a Fantasy-Mystery. The main characters were focused on investigations and less focused on superstitions. It's an entertaining story, suitable for the Halloween season, only thing that puzzled me was the ending. We heard the witch's motive and we heard the Climax scene on how she was defeated, but the Resolution of her pets? The humans ended up safe, but what about the witch's talking cat & the talking parrot? Where do they go now that the witch is gone? A mystery we'll never know. Great title for this CBSRMT episode, though. Another way to title it would be "The Sea Witch" or "The Black Magic Ingredients." The sound effects of the airport terminal, cat meowing, radio music, rotary phone, ocean roar, seagulls, roaring thunder, people murmuring at the police station, window shutters & curtains close, doors, and the howling wind were supportive. But the music was highly supportive with its eerie tunes; especially during the 30-minute mark after hearing the witch's devious plan. In our Host's Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts the show off by describing what a Triptych is. In ACT-1, he explains the 1st panel of the Triptych is one character's fear. ACT-2 is where he explains that the 2nd panel of the Triptych is another character's instincts. Finally, in ACT-3, the last panel is no other than the witch. Plus, at the end of out mystery tale, E.G. Marshall mentions Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: a German Poet who knew about sea ghosts/witches. In the Epilogue, our Host quotes Malcolm from MACBETH about the death of the leading character. That quote suits for this tale and I'd give big props to E.G. Marshall for hosting this one! Now for our cast: Margaret Hamilton (as Aunt Hester Madden a.k.a. The Witch), Kristoffer Tabori (as Walter Madden), Evie Juster (as Joan Madden), and Gilbert Mack (as Doctor Damon). SPECIAL NOTE: Himan Brown is in this who plays the role of Jake. Margaret Hamilton deserves big recognition for the playing the villain in this, just like she did for playing The Wicked Witch of the West from THE WIZARD OF OZ. Even though Kristoffer Tabori is a good actor, I think he over acted in his role; like he's on a warpath while feeling agitated. Let's not forget that there was Captain Jack: the talking parrot and Smokey: the talking cat. It's puzzling to figure out which of our actors played these roles. If you know, please let the CBSRMT fans know. Check this witch story out, everyone. And if like stories about witches and/or cats, check out Ep. #0545-THE QUEEN OF CATS (written by Ian Martin) and #0736-THE THERAPEUTIC CAT (written by Elspeth Eric). Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


What great episode! Just from the title I was anxious to listen to it! I envisioned the Classic Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner Nightmare at 20000 feet and even though I am not a fan of remakes , was remade with John Lithgow in that same role in the Twilight Zone Movie in 1983 and he did an excellent job. But I digress. This episode as Russel has covered was just excellent all around. Sound effects acting storyline and a wonderful twist to it all. Check it out!


I listen to CBSRMT daily, and when I've gone through every single one from 1974 to 1982, I start again. There's one that stands out as not quite having the RMT formula - listen to Ring of Roses. There's just something about this one that sticks out from the rest as not being a RMT show somehow. Not sure if it's the vocal delivery (all the actors sound like they were standing on top of the mike in an echoey room) or the absence of the usual SFX. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but when you listen to these shows daily, it's strange to hear something that just doesn't quite fit. Have a listen if you have it, and tell me if you hear it too...


Joan Madden and her husband Walter receive an unexpected visit from Joan’s great aunt, Hester, recently widowed by a tragic fire. Although Walter senses something strange about Hester, he invites her to join them on a shore vacation. When Walter thinks he sees Hester’s pet cat change into the form of its mistress, he becomes convinced she is a witch. When he discovers that Hester has been collecting a rare type of poisonous seaweed, he suspects Joan’s life may be in danger.


This could have been scarier, but it was Margaret Hamilton as a witch, so, there you go!


Definitely one of my favorites, but I also wish it had been scarier. MH is perfect in it.


Great acting here...Margaret Hamilton's voice was great... The old commercials left in are a great bonus... Story could have been better...


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