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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge


To escape an appointment with the gallows at Owl Creek Bridge, a confederate spy embarks on a dangerous journey through hostile territory in order to reach Dixie.



Air Dates

  • First Run - June 4, 1974
  • Repeat - August 24, 1974
  • Repeat - September 15, 1979





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24 Responses to Episode 0101

Great story! Never saw the ending coming! I assumed his physical distress (trying to phrase this not to be a spoiler) was due to some divine retribution for trying to complete his mission after being spared from his death and that as he attempted to try again he would forfeit his mercy. But the wind...


Nice adaption of the Ambrose Bierce classic. French film of the same was presented by Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" in that fine series last season. (The CBSRMT theme music is lifted from TZ's "Two" episode starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson). I discussed this episode with my Junior High English teacher the next day after hearing it the night before back in June '74.- he had screened the French film for our class earlier that year. A bit melodramatic compared to the story and film short, effective nonetheless. Gallows sound effect in Act One is especially eerie. And of course there's "the wind!".


More of a plot here than in the original short story, which makes sense, since its radio. Having him run through the woods for half an hour wouldn't be nearly as intriguing. The famous twist ending is still intact. Fantasy.


Good but somewhat over-telegraphed expansion on the story of a man who has a miraculous escape from hanging during the American Civil War. The film version which appeared, slightly edited, as a Twilight Zone episode is excellent.

Benjie Balastre

A Confederate spy escapes the hangman's noose at Owl Creek Bridge. He flees through enemy territory, headed back to Dixie. Superb adaptation of this fantastic story many of us enjoyed as a child. Highly recommended.

Chavis Buck

A Civil War tale about a rebel fighter who is captured trying to blow up a bridge and is about to be hanged to death. The rest of the episode describes the events that got him to that point, and how his mind is processing that and a possible future. Classic story, well done script. Finely produced with a rich tapestry of characters.


One of the American authors that the RMT frequently took screenplays of was Ambrose Bierce (he who disappeared mysteriously in Mexico). He may have been a bit downbeat, but he had some fascinating stories and the CBS RMT did will with them.


Next to "Sorry, Wrong Number," this is the story that seems to pop up the most. At least twice on TV (one of which was a Twilight Zone produced in France) and three times on radio that I've heard. Too bad Ambrose Bierce wasn't around long enough. but  CBSRMT did an OK job with it.


Especially the ending. Surprised to hear the woman on the farm git shot! I was familiar with the twilight zone episode of this story and loved it as well. Very well done adaptation of this story!


Great selection for this week’s episode - one that I’ve always enjoyed and one of the few I actually remember from the original broadcast. As many Twilight Zone fans probably know, a short French film was procured by CBS and aired this story as an episode of The Twilight Zone, during it’s original run. This was also one of 5 episodes never released into syndication, and highly sought after for many years, but finally became available on home video. The short film is excellent in my opinion, but unfortunately it covers only a fraction of the story and seems to assume the viewer is already familiar with it and there’s little or no dialogue. The first few seconds shows a close up of a posted warning, which states “anyone caught tampering with railroad bridges, tunnels or tracks will be hanged”. So we’re left with the possible understanding that the man about to be hanged was guilty of the listed infractions, but not much else. Listening to this episode provides insight as to exactly what the man was guilty of and why, along with many more details of what he is thinking during those last few seconds. I also liked the simple sound effects… subtle wind and chirping birds. I like the structure of this story: we’re setup to believe that this man was blessed with a miracle and the listener is quickly lead down another path and then suddenly returned to reality. A classic.


Great episode. I'm adding it to the list of episodes that younger kids can listen to.

Dukes Jr.

I've always liked the Bierce adaptations, this one in particular. Though they flesh out the original story somewhat to fill the time; particularly with the love interest. You can read the original tale in less than the 45 minutes it takes to listen to this story. For those interested, Bierce wrote a couple of dozen stories with a Civil War theme and they all had this element of preternatural. (sp?) But they do stay close to the plot and especially the feel of the original. And did the same with other Bierce stories. I like the Poe adaptations as well, although in a couple of those RMT wanders pretty far from originals. And as someone else was inquiring about a couple of months ago . . . too bad RMT never tried any Lovecraft stories.


Speaking of adaptations, what do you think of the Sherlock Holmes stories done by RMT? I wish RMT had been able to adapt a Stephen King story, but I assume that would have been too expensive in terms of the rights. There actually was a radio adaptation of "Salem's Lot" done by another show; it was ok, but lacked the RMT touch. The Poe stories are strong. "Berenice", "The Oblong Box", and "The Fall of the House of Usher" are some of my favorites. "Dracula" was a great adaptation but it would have been better as a two-parter.


This episode was extremely well done. I especially liked Peyton\'s repeated references to the \"On coming storm\" as a foreshadowing as to what the real conclusion of his adventure was to be. It\'s interesting to note that in the \"Escape\" and \"Suspense\" versions of this tale the main character is portrayed far less sympathetically. He\'s haunted on his supposed \"escape\" by many of his past wrongdoings, including an encounter with a former slave he intentionally sold off, since he was of little use anymore, knowing he would soon perish of consumption. I wonder-- is this character more in keeping with the Bierce story? My favorite Bierce adaptation is \"The Damned Thing\". I wonder how faithful that one is? I agree RMT\'s \"Dracula\" is absolutely first-rate, but the ending is too rushed. It definately should have been a two-parter. But, so far as I know they never did a 2-parter, did they? Great selection. Until next time..............

Rick S.

Liked how they worked in the burning sensation on the neck and having it get stronger until the end. Classic!!!

Garry Leasing

This story, I can't say anything too negative about it because I simply didn't get into it. I will admit that some of these stories are a struggle without the added dimension of sight. I have found that many of these Mystery Theater episodes are even more effective with the use of the imagination. Also, a woman was shot in cold blood that was a little jarring for my innocent ears. 3 stars and a promise that I will give this episode another shot. Look above at the positive comments.


The story itself dragged a bit here and there but it had an excellent ending. This story made me think I was listening to a Twilight Zone story at one point. Good writing overall.


It only takes a 6 ft. drop to break a mans neck. 30 ft. of rope would take a mans head clean off in a blink of an eye. Thank you Sam for the poetic license, we needed the time. And I still can't believe there are so many people still beating these dead horses. Just how many times do you have to repeat the same plot? Second time around is even better than the first.

Randy McLeod

Very well written with solid acting. Like many others noted, did not expect the ending. Overall, very enjoyable episode.


A good story, but 30' of rope seems a bit excessive. I believe the normal length was 6'. There have been several stories like this one, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head is the movie Jacob's Ladder (unless I'm not remembering the movie correctly). I agree that it's not necessarily easy to figure out what's going on at first, but when he starts feeling pressure on his neck, it may be more obvious then.


I just watched the episode "Two" of the Twilight Zone witb Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson. I notice the opening segment music from CBSRMT right after Bronson belted her over a can of chicken. It was pretty neat episode. Elizabeth Montgomery sure was a gorgeous!


Great listen! All the characters seemed well developed. The lady who helped him said 'Run Mr Forest, run!', about 17 years before Forest Gump.

Michael B 1970

I have to say this is one of my favorites, even without commercials and news. I do enjoy Civil War stories. The acting was well done and the sound effects quite good. Ending took me by surprise, even though he kept mentioning the wind, i just assumed he was courting trouble with going back. Really enjoyed this!


I admit I haven’t read the story and can’t recall from the adaptations whether the character feels the wind from falling or the tightening around the neck during the story. If not, i enjoyed that creative plot addition.


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