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The Burning Bough


A woman is convinced that her son's life is tied to the existence of single tree bough in this ancient myth come to life. However, her son's misdeeds bring her despair; and like the Greek goddess of decades past, will she have the resolve to cast the branch into the fire and end his life?



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 24, 1979
  • Repeat - July 24, 1979





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9 Responses to Episode 0949

Norman Rose plays a friend of a pregnant woman who's lost her husband. He's with her shortly after she gives birth to a sickly, ill baby boy. At her house, the boy seems to be dying within a few days on earth...but something strange happens. His mom remembers a greek story about a woman in a similar situation. Logs are burning in the fireplace, and the woman, almost mechanically or as if in a hypnotic trance, says " ." (There could have been some interesting plot twists due to this, but as always this was only a one hour show.) After she does so, the baby suddenly gets better, and Mom tells Rose's character: "I don't know why I remembered that." She puts the "rescued" log in a very safe spot in her house. She also remembers, somewhat uneasily, the rest of the greek myth. In this story, it parallels the boy's story. He grows up to be a self-centered, pot-smoking, uncaring ne'er-do-well. (Fortunately at least he wasn't an anti-christ, either.) He doesn't kill people, but people die because of his foolishness. He doesn't die, though...he's invulnerable. (My favorite line from this show. A girl who made the mistake of falling in love with this kid ends up dying, and "Jerry", her former suitor, knows what a bad guy this fellow is and attempts to confront him at an airport and shoot him but ends up getting accidentally shot to death." WITNESS: "But Jerry shot him at point blank range." (ROSE'S CHARACTER): "He could have thrown an atomic bomb and it wouldn't have killed him."

Ernie O.

I liked Jimmy's (Russell Horton) sneering comment on hearing a girl he was interested in was engaged, "What's a diamond? A piece of coal with big ideas."


I loved that line too! These radio shows are awesome.


Does Norman Rose do the sherif's voice as well?

Bill King

This is one of my favorite episodes. I would put it in the top ten.


This is one of the best endings of any episode! Great radio play, excellent voice work and story.


@Bill King: The sheriff was Russell Horton. PS. I don't think "Jerry Crane" was ever heard.


A masterpiece.


Madelyn Hunter, a teacher and a widow, resorts to superstition to save the life of her dying baby, Jimmy. Like Althea of Calydon in Greek mythology, she pulls a blazing log from a fireplace. Althea was told that until the log was consumed her son would live. Jimmy turns into a spoiled brat, causing the deaths of five others. Madelyn’s brother, George, insists that she throw the log back into the fire, but she, always a loving mother, refuses to do so.


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