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The Birthmark


A scientist believes that a hand-shaped birthmark on his wife's cheek is the only thing standing between her and perfect beauty. He develops a means of removing it and his wife is willing. What price will they pay for their vanity?



Air Dates

  • First Run - June 20, 1977
  • Repeat - November 5, 1977
  • Repeat - November 18, 1979





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6 Responses to Episode 0668

Elspeth Eric has done it again for writing a fantastic adaptation from a Nathaniel Hawthorne classic. It's a good title. Another way to title it, would be "The Departure" because not only it involves of the departure of the birthmark, but also the departure of the love that these characters had. It's a Romantic-Drama-Mystery. Out Host, E.G. Marshall, made a great contribution to this CBSRMT episode. From his Prologue about Nathaniel Hawthorne, to ACT-1 about the love of science VS the love of a woman (plus quoting a Shakespeare sonnet), to ACT-2 on the world of science & its logical deductions, to ACT-3 on learning that science is a servant instead of a master, to his Epilogue about other writers that admired Nathaniel Hawthorne's work. Writers like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe. And speaking of Poe, go read his short story "The Oval Portrait" because it's similar to this story. The sound effects of the lab equipment boiling were decent, but more importantly, was the music. Hypnotic tunes, including the TWILIGHT ZONE track from Ep. 51 "The Invaders", that created the themes of despair, misery, and also bereavement. Listening to those themes while hearing our characters speak will make you feel like you're in the scenes with them and you could feel their emotional torment. And if there is one word to describe our cast starring Tony Roberts (as Alymer: the Scientist), Gordon Heath (as Aminadab: the lab assistant), and Marian Seldes (as Georgianna: Alymer's wife), the word would be: COMPELLING! These 3 played their parts to a T! You got Alymer acting like he's a cross between Pygmalion & Dr. Frankenstein who strives for perfection. To summarize, he uses his scientific skills to create a "Heavenly" experiment to help his "Earthly" angel on removing the birthmark, but all 3 of them ended up in a "Hellish" conclusion. These were the roles that they were destined to play.


Excellent episode! To those who only listen to episodes that are heavily voted on and have numerous comments.......think again.


What melodrama! Nothing about the acting is natural or believable. Every line is delivered like a bad adaptation of Shakespeare where the actors are nothing but hammy. They could have done much better than this, imo.


As for the story, the scientist doesn't really love his wife at all. He is so insanely superficial that any imperfection would disgust him. Even if she hadn't ever had a birthmark, what would happen when she gets old and starts getting wrinkles? He would obsess over every line and sag, as she gets older, lol! What if she had an accident and her face or body was damaged? He would never be able to stand that because he didn't love her soul. He only loved her beauty. The servant truly loved her, and I wished he could have married her instead. I realize it was impossible, due to class separation, (especially in those days), but one gets the feeling he truly loved her, no matter what. The husband was truly a jerk! It was so disgusting when he called her "woman" and basically told her to beat it out of his laboratory because of being reminded of her birthmark. What a disgusting, abusive, awful person! Georgiana herself is also disgusting because she grovels and simpers at his feet, even after that display of arrogant, insulting behavior. No matter what he does, she grovels and whines. What a whimpering, unlikable character! The only one I truly liked in this story is the servant. I don't know if the original story depicted the characters in such an awful way, but it's possible that Elspeth Eric simply ruined the story by exaggerating every aspect of it.


Perhaps the finest episode of the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre catalogue. Marian Seldes’ performance was magnificent. Tony Roberts spot on as always. Gordon Heath had his best performance on this episode. Very good sound quality as well.


I wasn't familiar with Hawthorne's story and I thought the production and performances fine, but it was so obvious where the story was headed, I was a little disappointed the author didn't come up with an ending that wasn't so predictable. The best endings are those you don't see coming. Just my two cents.


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