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The Diary of a Madman


This namesake of the famous Nikolai Gogol story deals with the confession of a magistrate to multiple arbitrary homicides.



Air Dates

  • First Run - March 25, 1974
  • Repeat - June 15, 1974
  • Repeat - September 30, 1978
  • Repeat - March 31, 1979





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22 Responses to Episode 0062

Just to clarify. Gogol and de Maupassant both wrote short stories called "The Diary Of A Madman," bearing no resemblance to one another. This episode was based on the de Maupassant story, but set in modern times in the USA. A creepy episode, and well done. Horror thriller, no supernatural elements.


Really creepy story of a judge who commits a series of random murders that are linked to others and then presides over their trials, which ultimately end in death penalties. All the while, he keeps a journal in which he meticulously describes the killings. His wife, meanwhile, makes him nervous by constantly talking about how she just has a "feeling" that the accused aren't guilty, and, not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, tells him about it when she accidently finds his journal. I guess that's as good a place as any to stop. There are a couple of other twists and turns that aren't plausible in any real life situation, but do create an interesting listen in the make-believe world of CBS-RMT.


An excellent thriller that lets us look into the heart of an evil man. He kills because of the laws of nature. Eventually, the "artist" has the book thrown at him.


An intelligent man rationalizes his urges to murder. The natural law must be obeyed!


It's 1950 and Frank Wallace is a respected judge. He has a problem though - once in a while he gets the urge to go out at night into the streets and find someone and just kill them. Then, he goes home and writes down the details in a diary that he keeps. He's done it before but a new wrinkle is that some of the murders he committed are blamed on other people - and those people end up in court before him.

Kasey H.

The lowdown: A prominent (very prominent) member of society is a compulsive killer. A well respected, well educated, well known man within his community. He has a twisted mind and believes in killing as a way of nature, a basic fundamental NEED that all humans have but most aren't aware of. He believes in it to the point that killing has become his god. It's his little secret. But killers have to let it out. They have to tell somebody of their depraved deeds and desires. So this killer confided in his diary.

Alvin P.

Isn't Fred Gwynne in the lead role in this episode?


Trivial exercise based on, as I recall, a very minor story. A pillar of the community is secretly commiting murders just because he wants to and because "killing is the law of nature". There's an interesting resolution that seems familiar but I can't remember where I've run into it before.

T. Durante

A judge chronicles his secret life of random, dispassionate murder. Guy de Maupassant translates well to CBSRMT. This is one of the best. Highly recommended.

Jonel P.

Fantastic story based on a Guy de Maupassant story (see also Episode 0044 The Horla). A man believes that the urge to kill is part of the greater laws of natural instinct and indulges this need when he sees fit. Being of upper class status, he believes he is perfectly positioned to execute these murders without being suspected. I don’t want to give any more away because I thought the story moved along pretty well and kept me interested right through.

Jacobe James

This is the episode that got me "hooked" on CBSRMT for the second time. Thanks for sharing this episode with the group. This, like all my favorite shows, relies on fantasic narration to paint a great picure in the mind.

Aian V.

I liked the voice performances by the actors. Distinct, believable, dramatic. The one thing I might change would be the ending. Did anyone else find it a little abrupt and almost too easy of a way out to end the show?

Malcolm G.

This is a memorable episode, one I can definitely remember hearing the first time around back in the 1970's. I also remember hearing de Maupassant's The Horla which is also a good listen.

R. Parks

just listened to this one tonight. while it didn't really "scare" me, it certainly was very freaky. just hearing it from the narrative point gave me slight chills! this was a top-notch show and one i am so happy i got to hear (it turns out it wasn't in my collection).


just curious, also, did anyone else's copy have audio blurps and hiccups? i'm hoping it was the file and not my ipod. yikes!

F. Poe

Sorry, but for whatever reason I can't download this file . . . "unexpected error occurred" . . . any thoughts or solutions on this?


I'm starting to wonder about that! A nice creepy show all around. And just enough versimilitude to make it work. A judge who murders; we read about similar things in the real world. A hospital intern who murders, for example. I like the way the final "wrong man", to use a Hitchcock type description, turns the tables on our villian by baiting him and increasing the pressure until he cracks. Nicely written. The copy I downloaded also had jumps and skips in the thrid act. But not a bad encode otherwise. The judge's spouse seemed oddly calm, even during her most stressful moments. Weird. But a fun show all the same!


My copy has about two spots where it skips in the third act also. It's not that bad at all though. Towards the end you can hear it skipping alot.....I thought my first copy of this episodes had no skips....but I erased it. I'm going to try and locate it now.


I agree that there were a lot of skips on this recording and that the ending was a little too quick and pat. However, overall it was certainly an enjoyable episode and the main character did indeed want to be caught so he could show what an artist he thought he was.


Vincent Price starred in the film version of this as the Judge in 1963. Though that story combined elements from TWO de Maupassant short stories. DIARY OF A MADMAN and THE HORLA. Not sure what Gogol's name is doing on this.


This is an excellent episode, as most all episodes based on Guy de Maupassant short stories are. However, I would say that the very best one, in fact, one that is also one of the very best episodes of Mystery Theater in general, is "The Graveyard"- an episode you won't forget.


This is a creepy episode, makes you wonder how many times this might have happened for real. Liked the internal dialogue of the magistrate. I agree with other comments about quality of recording and skips, to bad because it is a great episode.


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