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The Smile of Deceit


A woman finds herself living with a strange tribe after marrying a rich and eccentric college professor. She is forced to participate in a bizarre ritual to appease the natives when she is accused of an extra-marital indiscretion.



Air Dates

  • First Run - June 16, 1975
  • Repeat - October 12, 1975





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10 Responses to Episode 0292

A young woman graduating from college marries a much older man (a professor) because he is rich. After their marriage they move to South America so he can conduct research. One of the customs of the tribe that they live with is that they make those accused of wrongdoing drink from a spring that will apparently prove whether or not they are guilty. If you're innocent you are supposed to be fine and if not, you die. The water is known to be clean but they witness an accused woman die when she is forced to drink it. The real trouble starts when the tribe's chief accuses the professor's wife of being unfaithful to her husband and asks her to drink the water.

Dottie D.

A woman marries an independently wealthy college professor. They move in with an isolated tribe of natives. She is accused of adultery and must undergo a strange ritual to prove her innocence.

Winjo Riviera

A young woman marries a significantly older man despite the objection of her dear aunt; her objections are heightened when she finds her niece is marrying solely for money. Her husband, an anthropologist, is off on field research and the young bride does not expect the old man to live more than 5 years. After as many years living with a South American tribe with very strict notions of morality and a system of justice that relies on divine intervention that is either liberating or fatal, the wife grows tired and seeks to escape.

J. Webber

An interesting listen. It begs one to ask whose belief is the strongest? Apparently they had the same (or similar) cultural morals.


I really enjoyed this episode. The name of the young Femme Fatale was Velma, an ode to the classic film Mildred Pierce starring Joan Crawford, whose young spoiled daughter in the film was named Velma. Although here, instead of a kind enabler mother, we have a kindly enabler aunt, whose best line is "Bless you my children", with italics on "children".


Wow! This is my own radio tape recording from the 80s. I recognized the intro and from kmpc am los angeles radio station and the outro music cool to be part of the collection great episode too.

Jose Preciado

Arnold Moss is always great.

Brian Collins

I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. Sam Dann's mystery story involving money, marriage, and sacred rituals was entertaining. However, the ending was Foreseeable. In the words of the Tribe Chief in this story, she was "A Spirit of Death." Another way to title this mystery would be “The Jungle Of Infidelity” or "Velma: The Adulterous.” In our Host's Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by saying: "Your Chaperone at these arcane rebels which are celebrated here 7 times each week." Awesome introduction! In ACT-1, the topic in this mystery is about success, even quoting the old phrase: "Nothing succeeds like success." In ACT-2, discuss on what's the basis for marriage, especially when you have group of characters that are in a May-December relationship. Plus, quoting Benjamin Franklin: "Where you have marriage without love, you'll soon have love without marriage." In ACT-3, the Resolution on the Widower, both his demise and his wealth. In his Epilogue, he quoted the poem “Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray: "And all that beauty, all that wealth, ever gave, awaits alike the inevitable hour, the paths of glory lead but to the grave." What's even more thought-provoking, was our Host’s interpretation that the only successful ones on Earth are the worms. These views and quotations that E.G. Marshall gave us were captivating! The music was satisfactory, a variety of suspenseful tunes that kept the story moving forward. Sound effects of the doorbell, footsteps, background noise in the restaurant, wild animal calls, tribal ceremony music in the jungle, gun shots, tableware clinking, jeep engine, and body thuds were a major plus! Now onto our cast: Jennifer Harmon (as Velma Straight Hastings), Arnold Moss (as Robert Morris Hastings III), Joan Shay (as Aunt Rose and Marva), and Robert Dryden (as Chief Aryra and Dennis). Robert Dryden's role as Dennis was nicely done, but his performance as the Tribe Chief didn't sound believable enough. For Joan Shay, she was phenomenal as Aunt Rose, but her role as Marva, the way she yelped at 20:30 mark, was aching to hear. But Arnold Moss was stupendous in his acting. And the leading lady, Jennifer Harmon, was marvelous as the main villain. If anyone enjoys jungle mystery stories, tune in to this. Plus, at the end of episode, there's a commercial for CitiBank VISA. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


Velma Straight shocks her Aunt Rose when she announces her engagement to Robert Hastings, three times her age, and admits that she expects soon to be a young, wealthy widow. Hastings’ work as an anthropologist takes them to a South American jungle to observe a primitive tribe whose immortality and harboring evil spirits forces them to drink from the Spring of Bitter Waters. If innocent, they will survive, if guilty the water is said to kill them. Though disbelieving, Velma is forced to take the test when she is accused of adultery with Hastings’ young assistant.


Hated this episode until the twist at the end. Turned out to be a good one!


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