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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
The Fall of the House of Usher
('Edgar Allan Poe classic')
Plot:
The evergreen horror tale by Edgar Allan Poe tells the story of a heir driven insane by the ancient house of Usher, which he believes to be sentient. The ultimate macabre phantasmagoria winds with him burying his cataleptic sister alive.
Episode:
0057
Air Dates:
First Run - March 14, 1974
Repeat - June 8, 1974
Repeat - September 16, 1978
Repeat - May 27, 1979
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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22 Responses to Episode 0057


A good rendition of the famous story, although not even George Lowthar can match the creepy storytelling ability of Edgar Allan Poe. It is interesting to note that, like Britt Reid and Clouseau, if you're going to be rich, you have to have a servant named Kato. Gothic thriller, questioned supernatural events.

I heard this when I was a kid and I will NEVER forget the powerful ending. I'd read it but to hear it....and instead of commenting at the end, if I am not mistaken, E.G. Marshall just says "This is E.G. Marshall. I'll be back shortly." I need to listen again.

This is one of the greatest of the mystery tales, no only because of Poe's unparalleled story-telling, but also the voice of Roderick Usher (is it Robert Dryden or Kevin McCarthy?) is so expressive of madness as to carry much of the horror of this performance by himself. --JCR

Roderick Usher is played by Arnold Moss. McCarthy is Mannering, Dryden is Dr. Wyndham.

Thanks to Dr. Chalkdust for your correction about the actor playing Roderick Usher. Since reading your comment, I've noticed Arnold Moss's name many times. Still a great performance! --JCR

I agree it's a great performance. And if you need some more Moss, check out the first season Star Trek episode The Conscience of the King. The distinctiveness of Moss's voice is actually a plot point.

A Poe tale that is thick in dark fear and despair. Dismal to the end.

Weak. This story has been done often. (NBC University of the Air, The Weird Circle, GE Theater...) The best version is probably from Escape. Since it's primarily a mood piece, most adaptations feel it necessary to add characters or business. Having Madeline in fear of burial alive merely makes obvious what is meant to be a nagging uncertainty. You know, I think I'll nip out and buy the AIP film version. It's on DVD now paired with "The Pit and the Pendulum". I'm looking forward to what CBSRMT did with other Poe stories... mostly updatings I believe. I seem to recall liking their Masque of the Red Death.

Adaptation of Poe's classic tale of a castle haunted by the living dead. One of the creepiest stories from the man who defined the genre. Superb adaptation that is well acted. Highly recommended.

A man's sister suffers mysterious illness that mimics death at times but during periods of recession she appears quite normal, except for the spots of putrifaction that develop during her periods of stasis. She is terrified of being burried alive and a family friend promises to help out. Some rather dramatic, over the top acting in this episode! Rather fun - classic Poe.

Edgar Allen Poe's story of a man's descent into madness over a family curse. Versions of this story also appeared on NBC Short Story, Weird Circle, and Escape

RMT featured several adaptations of Poe's stories and for my money this is the best. It is very creepy; the music and sound effects are used to good effect. My favorite part of the episode, is when the story is related of how the mother was buried alive. Spooky stuff. Nice selection!

a very enjoyable choice! it was fun to revisit this one. thanks wadenjulie and Boo-radley!

I really enjoyed this one. i always listen in the dark, it makes it that much more enjoyable. thank you .

Thanks for digging this one from the archives. I remember this as one of the very first I ever heard..then again..It WAS in the first season. I guess I was in 5th grade when this first played. My brother was off to college and I finally got to move into his room in the dark, damp basement (muah hahaha) I listened as often as I could in the darkness of my room, before going to sleep. Great episode and great memories. Not quite as good as I remember it as a kid, but still a great rendition of House of Usher.

Probably the best adaptation by RMT of a Poe story. Certainly the most faithful. In fact the opening monologue is directly lifted from the opening passage. Another great use of sound effects, especially the howling wind-- it just chills you to the bone, especially, as already alluded to, during the sequence describing the premature burial of the mother. And, Arnold Moss does an oustanding job of conveying a man on the brink of madness. What a fantastic voice! This could easily be one of RMT's top ten!

Very nice adaptation! I also like "Bernice", which is nearly as creepy. Two Poe adaptations I don't really go for are "Pit and Pendulum" and "Telltale Heart". They go so far from the original tale as to be almost unrecognizable. But I do like this one . . . and the use of sound effects during EG's outro . . . don't recall if they ever did that in any other show .

Well done. 4 stars.

FANTASTIC voice acting in this one. Wow. Arnold Moss, especially, did a wonderful job of bringing out the madness of his character. The timing, pauses, wild swings in tone and pace and volume and...simply, wonderfully well done. The story itself isn't my favorite, but it is just what Marshall claimed it would be--grotesque, disgusting, suspenseful, etc. Great example of radio theater.

One of the things that eventually got me interested in Old-Time Radio was listing to RMT as a kid. I still have a vivid memory of listening to the RMT adaptation of "The Fall of the House of Usher" and being forced to turn it off before it finished because I was literally too scared to continue listening.

Fall of the House of Usher: SPECTACULAR adaptation of E. A. Poe's classic tale and one of my top three favorite CBSRMT episodes of all-time (along with Murder Preferred and Prisoner of the Machines). I can listen again and again, mostly due to Arnold Moss's performance as the unbalanced and deeply disturbed Roderick Usher. His sudden outbursts are frightening and impactful. I especially love his mumbling and rambling to himself during the dialogue of other characters. MOSS'S RENDITION OF RODERICK USHER IS, IN MY OPINION, THE MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER PERFORMANCE IN THE ENTIRE CBSRMT SERIES. Robert Dryden is stellar playing both Dr. Wyndham and the Usher's butler Kato (are ALL house boys named Kato?). Best Supporting Actor goes to the Usher mansion itself: "Indeed, the house is vast... above... and BELOW." House of Usher earns the 5-star maximum - Juror 4

I always like this story and this was no exception (with the exception that the audio recording was clipping very often towards the end). It is easy to see why more modern horror writers were influenced by Poe. I'm not sure about poets as I never liked Poe's poetry that much.

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