In this opera, alcoholic Madame Flora stages another fake séance for her customers with the help of young Monica and Toby. The terrified faker calls a halt to the proceedings when when she ... See full summary »




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Episode credited cast:
Marie Powers ...
Madame Flora / Baba
Lois Hunt ...
Leopoldo Savona ...
Toby (as Leo Coleman)
Beverly Dame ...
Mrs. Gobineau
Joseph Bell ...
Mr. Gobineau
Catherine Mastice ...
Mrs. Nolan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Branson ...
Announcer (voice)


In this opera, alcoholic Madame Flora stages another fake séance for her customers with the help of young Monica and Toby. The terrified faker calls a halt to the proceedings when when she feels a pair of hands clutching her throat. Madame Flora accuses Toby of choking her despite his claims of innocence. Days later, the drunken woman thinks she hears a ghost in her room and begins firing at the would-be specter. Written by Jay Phelps <>

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Release Date:

12 December 1948 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the only opera performed during the series' run. See more »


Remade as The Medium (1951) See more »


Prelude to the Stars
By Vic Oliver
Performed by Mantovani
See more »

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User Reviews

An opera that makes for less than appealing television
25 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My rating: 5 out of 10 (it was so-so)

This particular episode of Studio One is a performance of the short opera "The Medium" which was popular in the late 1940's. If you find a copy of it either on DVD or on the internet you'll notice that the quality of the picture that has survived is quite poor, but that's to be expected because live broadcasts at this time were filmed using kinescope recording (video wasn't invented yet). But don't let that scare you away from watching because this is some of the earliest television ever produced and is therefore historically significant.

And you shouldn't let my rating scare you away, either.

Now, don't misunderstand my low rating; it has nothing to do with the fact that this is an opera. I'm sure many people would stay as far away from this episode as possible if they knew what it was, but I was a music major in college and I have a great appreciation for classical music, including opera. So, my rating is not because I hate opera or something like that. No, it's simply that I don't happen to be crazy about this PARTICULAR opera. Some may find the music beautiful but it just doesn't appeal to me so much (and neither does a lot of other 20th century classical). I apologize to any fans of "The Medium" who might be annoyed with me on this…as with all music, it's just a matter of personal preference that's hard to explain.

However, I probably would have given this episode a 6 if it hadn't been for one other thing: I had no clue what was going on because I couldn't understand the words, even though they were sung in English. I know, I know…English-speakers can't understand the majority of opera lyrics, anyway, because most of them are written in foreign languages. However, I just wasn't in the mood to sit back and concentrate on the music like I would in a concert hall. When I watch a TV show what I want is a good story. So, eventually the only thing I could do is scour the internet for a copy of the text to the opera and follow along. I suspect that I'm not the only one who found this frustrating. I think a lot of people, even back in 1948, would be turned off if they watched a TV program and had no idea what the story was about, which is too bad because it turns out that it's not a bad little story. Dark, mysterious, creepy, tragic…some good stuff.

Anyway, having said all that, I encourage you to watch it. The performers were all very competent, and it may well be that you'll really find the music to your liking. One man's 5 out of 10 is another man's 10 out of 10.

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