Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment — Nathaniel Hawthorne

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“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” first saw print anonymously in The Knickerbocker magazine in 1837 as “The Fountain of Yonder,” and later the same year under its present title in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s collection Twice-Told Tales. The theme is the ages-old search for immortality, as Dr. Heidegger comes into the possession of water supposedly from Florida’s legendary Fountain of Youth. He tests the water on four of his friends:  a playboy, a merchant, a politician, and a once beautiful woman who was quite “popular” in her day. How each of them react to regaining their youth reveals the author’s perspicacity on human nature.

Favorite Story aired “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” on May 15, 1948 as episode 35 in its series of classic works chosen by personalities of the day. The show was ably hosted by well-renowned star of the early silver screen, Ronald Colman, who many times took the lead role in these popular, well-produced dramatizations.

Coincidentally–since this adaptation is presented the weekend of July 4–Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804. He died on May 19, 1864, just short of his 60th birthday. It is probably no coincidence, therefore, that Favorite Story saw fit to schedule this Hawthorne story as close as possible, given their weekly schedule, to the date of Hawthorne’s passing, May 15th.

Play Time: 28:01