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End of a Queen


A classic retelling of the tragic life and death of Marie Antoinette, and her final hours on the earthly plane.



Air Dates

  • First Run - May 11, 1981
  • Repeat - August 18, 1981





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7 Responses to Episode 1196

Thanks...I'm not always a fan of the CBS Radio "History" theatre episodes, either, (unless they're dramatized and/or fanciful episodes like "The serpent's tooth" or "The rise and fall of the fourth reich", both dealing with Hitler) but this did indeed pick up in the third act. I like the our fingertips we can have bios and pictures of those whom the RMT episodes of a few decades ago profiled in one way or another. I love that, when it was the HISTORY theatre, most likely political correctness won't enter in but facts will. (I wonder, for instance, if a contemporary remake would even mention the "incest" charge as was presented in the RMT's "court".) Fascinating period music/sound effects, and the TRANSFORMATION of Tammy Grimes in the final minutes was a fascinating acting job. On a technical note, I've said before how I always enjoy listening Russel Horton and Bob Kaliban in an episode together, as their voices sound so similar at times. Those two plus he of the wonderful baritone voice, Norman Rose, are all together in an episode called "A god named Smith" and, which, apart from the fate of the central character, is as far in plot from this episode as is planet pluto from the sun.

Rowan Franco

I cannot say that I am very knowledgeable about the French revolution, but it is an era that I find fascinating. This episode was very well-balanced between the excesses of both monarchs and the retributive revolutionaries, as well as the strengths and weakesses of Antoinette. I listened twice and liked it much better the second time, having a better comprehension of the flashbacks. A very haunting ending, a very good episode.

Valentine L.

I gave this one a 9 in my 1-10 scale based on the exceptional dialogue and Tammy Grimes' stellar performance. This was masterful writing and acting. Norman Rose was also strong. I did not much care for the for the CBS Radio HISTORY Theater that seemed to come later. My reasons for picking this episode are: 1. Almost everybody who starts listening to the show starts from the beginning. Few get through to the end. I wanted to pick a later show that I rated highly for others to listen to. 2. I really liked the show alot.

Anna Miranda

I hate to be anything but totally positive, but for me "End of a Queen" was a pretty typical CBSRMT foray into historical drama--never the strongest type of story for this program. The tale only really came to life near the end, as Marie was being readied for execution--her emotion at having her hair cut off I found quite powerful, and the music and sound effects as she approached her death really made the climax an intense listening experience. And I think I could listen to Norman Rose's Godlike voice for hours, even if he was only reading from the phone book. Though if he was reading from the phone book I might ask him to drop the slightly dubious French accent. Clearly this story is in no way a "Mystery." which is maybe why it was hard for me to get very interested in the first two acts. The third went some distance in redeeming the episode for me and making it worthwhile overall. And I must say that this is far from the worst historical drama I've encountered on CBSRMT. I heard a 1982 episode recently called "The Great Catherine" which was approximately as interesting to listen to as dial tone.

F. Irons

This episode didn't grab me. I wasn't sure what the purpose was during my entire listening experience. The take away message was that Marie Anntoinette was a queen and she was put to death. I didn't hear any reason to be sympathetic to her. History says she didn't care about the little people and this episode illustrated that aspect of her life. Overall, I was not moved by this episode. Maybe someone who really likes French history would like this episode. For me, I wasn't interested.


I thought Tammy Grimes was excellent, and was surprised at how compelling I found this play. I don't always love RMT's historical dramas, but this one drew me right in. (Better, I think, than the "Nefertiti" series they did in '79, which also starred Grimes). This episode was structured very well----her life told in flashback while she's awaiting execution. It gave emotional punch and suspense to the play. The ticking clock. The writing was great, revealing Marie Antoinette as a human being with whom we could sympathize, without hiding the less savory aspects of her personality and social class----this is a tricky dramatic tightrope which I think they walked very successfully. Also, as I said, Tammy Grimes was AWESOME, especially at the end. I only just recently heard this episode for the first time and would definitely count it as one of my favorites.

Brad Dolph

defiantly tragically clueless to the end!!!!!!!!!!!!

terence jones

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