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Return to Pompeii


An American widow tours Italy with her colleague. When their tour bus breaks down, they are forced to walk to Pompeii. There, the widow has a strange dream.



Air Dates

  • First Run - August 22, 1977
  • Repeat - January 1, 1978





49     8

3 Responses to Episode 0698

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. First things first, this excellent cast: Marian Seldes (as Jennifer Matthews/Marcela), Patricia Elliot (as Olga Wilson/Claudia), Paul Hecht (as Paulus), and Larry Haines (as Milos). Both the male actors played their roles with confidence. But the 2 actresses, who magnificently stole the show, they played their roles skillfully! One of the best performances I’ve heard from the leading ladies. The sound effects of the bus engine, howling wind, birds chirping, vendors and dogs at the market place, chariot wheels, horse neighing, horse whip, footsteps, gladiators practicing in the arena, patrons laughing, water splashing at the Harbor, and of course Mount Vesuvius erupting were highly effective. The music, with its melodies of suspicion, curiosity, and drama, were highly compelling. In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall begins with the old saying, “You cannot escape the past,” which was this episode’s theme. In ACT-1, the brief facts of Pompeii when it was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. In ACT-2, he asks, “If losing oneself in the past is a way of escaping the pain and loneliness of the present, how much resistance can even the sanest person give?” (a pensive question to think about) Later on, he discusses the laws of physics. In ACT-3, when the main character knows what’s going to happen to the city of Pompeii, our Host states that risks run high by those who predict the future. In the end, he knows what the main character has learned: Life is for the living. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall concludes with a pondering thought: “If we cannot escape the past, we cannot escape the future either. For in a cycle, are they not all one in the same?” Pensive narrations he brought us. Now here’s why I rate this 4 out of 5 stars: the Script. Victoria Dann’s story was entertaining, but it was also predictable. A woman goes on vacation in Italy, travels back in time to August 24th, 79 A.D., talks to others that remind her of the people she knew in the 20th Century, escapes the town when it erupts, and gets back to the present. It was predictable that she’d travel to the past and end up going back to the present, just like the 49th episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE titled “Back There.” But when Jennifer Matthews/Marcela (played by Marian Seldes) goes back to the past and questions about peoples’ clothing, how come she does not describe her clothes? Was she wearing the clothes from the 20th Century or was she wearing the outfits that women wore in Ancient Rome? Victoria Dann forgot to write that specific part in. Also, if you have the CBSRMT Episode Guide Book, it has a typo where it states that Patricia Elliot played the role of “Olga Peterson” but E.G. Marshall said her name was “Olga Wilson.” Other than that, it was an entertaining Fantasy-Mystery. For those that love Marian Seldes’ acting and/or stories involving time travel, check this episode out. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


Am I the only one who is annoyed by Patricia Elliot's voice? I think it's because she usually sounds so cold and haughty most of the time. That can be a good thing if her character is meant to have that kind of personality, but for other roles she grates on my nerves. The worst thing is when she lets out a sharp sigh after every other sentence. I find her very distracting. The sound effects are good in this episode. Not too loud or overdone. The sounds really do capture the atmosphere. As mentioned above, the plot is predictable, so there isn't much suspense, but it's still enjoyable to listen to, (as long as I can get past Patricia Elliot's voice mannerisms).


Patricia Elliot is totally annoying


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