"The Death of Barbara Allen" is one of a series of episodes that Suspense created to dramatize popular folk songs. The song "Barbara Allen" originated in England or Scotland, and the earliest known reference appears in 1666. The song was first printed in England in 1750 and in America in 1836.
The ballad of Barbara Allen usually takes place in Scarlet Town and involves a young man named William, who is dying of unrequited love for Barbara. On his deathbed, he asks to see his love, but when she arrives, all she can say to him is, "Young man, I think you are dying." Later she regrets her cruelty and dies shortly afterward. They are buried side by side. A rose grows on his grave and a briar on hers, eventually they become entwined.
Some variations of the ballad explain Barbara's attitude as the result of her belief that William had not been true to her, and that is the version that Suspense has chosen to follow. In their dramatization, Barbara mistakenly believes that William loves the new girl in Scarlet Town. There is also the addition of a suitor named Sean, who tries to keep Barbara and William apart.
"The Death of Barbara Allen" was written by Morton Fine and David Friedkin. Elliott Lewis produced and directed. Anne Baxter starred. Jeannette Nolan played the old woman and Joseph Kearns played Barbara's father. Also appearing were Harry Bartell, William Conrad, Louise Lewis and Junius Matthews. This episode aired on October 20, 1952.
(Image of Anne Baxter)