Night Gallery – The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes (S2E1)

ngearthquake01Starting Season 2 on Hulu because I’m not sure the box is worth $23 at Amazon.  Outside of the Pilot, NG has had zero rewatch potential.

This whole episode is a cornucopia of 60’s and 70’s stars.  In this segment,  we get Michael Constantine (Room 222), Bernie Kopell (Get Smart, Love Boat) and Clint Howard (geez, everything from Gentle Ben — Christ, a show about a kid who has a full grown BEAR for a pet! —  to Arrested Development, with one iconic episode of Start Trek in between).

10-year old Clint is at a TV studio with his grandfather.  They have given him a spot doing commentary, apparently having the same criteria for maturity as MSNBC.

He begins talking about some books he’s read and a telescope he hopes to get, driving the station manager crazy at the banality.  Then he gets very serious and describes a missing girl being found, and an earthquake occurring the next day.

Despite Clint’s track record of having been 100% right on previous predictions, the station manager is outraged and threatens to fire everyone and burn the tape.

Of course, Clint is 100% correct, so we flash forward 18 months (during which young Clint has not grown an inch).  Finally, after a year of public predictions being 100% correct, a doctor is sent to study Clint.  The government also sends a man to monitor every show.

While getting made up for the day’s show, Clint gets very anxious and wants to go home.  He is cajoled into staying,and makes a prediction of an event the next day which will turn earth into a paradise with everyone loving each other.  Of course, he is lying.

ngearthquake02The next morning, Clint admits the sun is going supernova and will incinerate the earth.  Unfortunately, the episode takes a couple of minutes making this revelation when the audience gets the gist in a few seconds.  Also, the cast seem to be bathed in a amber light, but the event doesn’t happen until tomorrow, so why the special lighting?  Clint even points to the sun and says tomorrow it won’t be like that, indicating that today, the sun is normal.  Maybe it was just magic hour.

Other than botching the twist, everything was pretty great, especially Clint Howard.  I give it a 6.5 on the Richter Scale.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Michael Constantine was in another heliocentric episode, I am the Night – Color Me Black.
  • Nice opening shots in what I assume was an actual production studio at NBC.  It’s like old-time NASA with the bulky equipment.
  • John Badham went on to direct Blue Thunder, WarGames and Saturday Night Fever.
  • Hulu sucks.

Ship of the Golden Ghoul – Lazar Levi

pulpmegabride01Bruce and Julia are threading their sailboat through a narrow channel.  Julia says another boat has been chasing them for an hour and is concerned as she believes it to be a ghostboat with a dead man for a pilot.

Earlier, they had nearly collided, and they saw no crew, only a corpse at the wheel — moldy clothes on a bony frame, and rotten flesh.  On the other hand, there is also a radiant golden siren (the breasty kind, not the police car kind).  They play cat and mouse around the islands, but Bruce runs aground and their boat is lost.

As always in these stories, there is a house in this unlikely location.  The door is opened by Jerry Dunn, wielding a gun.  Cuthbert Stapleton is not keen on letting them in, but the owner George Kober thinks it is OK.  There is another man named Slim — apparently named for his characterization — his presence is barely commented upon and he quickly ends up mysteriously slashed “from chin to navel” in Julia’s bedroom that night.

Julia did not witness the murderer, but Bruce says he saw a grotesque face at the window making an escape.  There are several accusations of jewelry smuggling and tax evasion.  Dunn quietly reveals to Bruce that he is actually a G-man on the case.  Bruce and Dunn hear a scream and find that Kober has also been killed in the same grizzly fashion. The empty safe next to the bloody corpse suggests that Stapleton has made off with the treasure.

In the mean time, Julia has disappeared.  Despite having zero reason to believe the ghostboat was involved, Bruce decides to swim — swim, I tells ya — in pursuit of the black schooner. After an hour of swimming through the wild surf, he reaches the ghostboat and, unlike the dumbbells in Adrift, is able to climb the anchor chain.  He is quickly conked on the head.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

He awakens in the cabin, which is covered in tapestries.  Two sword-wielding, turbaned Arabs are flanking a golden snake-god statue.  There is also a woman with cascading hair like spun gold posed seductively on a couch wearing “a thin transparent gossamer which enshrouded, but did not conceal her voluptuous charms.”

Just in case we don’t get it, we are also subtly informed that she has “breasts like ripe melons.”

The woman, Thyra — another good Barsoom name — offers to take him away and make him emperor to her empress, but he demands to see Julia.  She orders the swordsmen to bring in Julia, who she promptly orders to be “stripped to the waist!” revealing the lack of follow-through that will prevent her from ever really being successful.

Turns out, she is just a common ho’ and Dunn is not a G-Man, he is in cahoots with her.  There is blood and killing and dismemberment.  And Thyra also being stripped to the waist — you know this Lazar Levi guy just doesn’t know how to close a deal.


  • First published in Mystery Novels and Short Stories Magazine in September 1939, the same issue as Bride of the Ape.
  • Also that month:  Germany invades Poland and conducts first air attacks on Great Britain.  FDR declares US neutral as such blood-thirsty, savage nations as New Zealand, Canada, Australia and even France declare war.
  • Archaic words:  welter, incarnadined, objurgations, flossie.  Or, at least unknown to me.

Tales from the Crypt – Lower Berth (S2E14)

ftfclowerberth01A carnival barker is rounding up rubes to see the Freak Show.  If he had shortened his spiel, he might have squeezed in one more show per night.  After an interminable intro, he lets the people in.

After the Fat Lady and the Midgets, he brings out Enoch the 2-Faced Man who is exactly what he sounds like.  I’m not a fan of birth defects as entertainment, so no pictures.  Being obese isn’t a birth defect, but I’m no fan of Fat Ladies either, so no pictures of her either.

A well dressed man — a tuxedo at the carny — shows up in Mr. Sickles’ trailer.  He is played by Mark Rolston, the Space Marine from Aliens.  No, not Hicks, not the robot, not the black guy, not the women, not Bill Paxton, not the Lieutenant . . . the other guy.  Yeah, him.

He has come into possession of a Mummy which he wishes to sell to the carnival.  Sickles agrees to take the Mummy and pay the man a 40% commission.  Enoch probably doesn’t get much action, so is enamored of the Mummy.  Sickle mocks him for having human feelings.

Sickles sees in the newspaper that the Mummy was stolen in New Orleans.  The man does not deny it, but says he had no use for the Mummy, he just wanted the jewelry which could not be taken from the Mummy due to a curse which would castrate the thief.  If a very brief scuffle, Sickles accidentally kills the man with hedge clippers.

Hmmmm, castration curse and the introduction of hedge clippers.  Don’t need to visit Madam Zoltan’s tent to see the future for this one.

Sickles steals the jewels, and Enoch uses the hedge clippers to castrate him.  He can’t say he wasn’t warned; at least, he can’t say it in a low-pitched voice.


Gotch’er nose!

Enoch and the Mummy miss their next curtain call.  One year later, the police pay the carnival owner a visit.  A local boy discovered a cave where Enoch and the Mummy had lived. And apparently gave birth to the Cryptkeeper, who appears at the end as a baby.


  • These TFTC titles are getting tedious.  I get that they are calling this baby a product of lower or lesser beings, but it should have been “Lower Birth” to make the pun work.
  • Screw the producers!  Knowing my dislike of the Cryptkeeper, they made him part of the story so he couldn’t be avoided.
  • Kevin Yagher has only two directing credits, both on TFTC.  His brother Jeff plays Enoch the 2-Faced Man.
  • Kevin married Catherine Hicks, and Jeff married Megan Gallagher.  Wow.

Blood-Bait for Hungry Mermaids – John Wallace

pulpmegabloodbait“The afternoon was grey, cheerless, and suffused by a miasma of melancholy.”

As first sentences go, that doesn’t exactly grab me by the lapels and scream “read the bejeebus out of me!”

Bob Barton is fishing on his cabin cruiser along with his wife Pamela and her sister Lucy, artist friend Wilson, business partner Forsythe and Captain Hawkins.

Wilson tells Barton the fish are biting and they go down to Mermaid Rock.  In the water, they clearly see three mermaids with girl’s faces, “full white breasts” and “scaly, bluish, finned” tails.  It seems strangely reasonable to Barton that they should be there, that he should cast his line into the water, and that he should hook one through the cheek.  She screams in agony as he reels her in, pretty much as I suspect a trout would.  As he removes the hook, she bites his wrist.

Wilson stabs her in the fishy area (. . . . . . er, nevermind), and stitches her mouth shut with wire.  He intends to stuff her and mount her as an objet d’art.  As Wilson strings the creature up and begins to gut it, Barton sees the scaly bottom half part to reveal a pair of human legs.  Seeing this and the thrill the men are getting out of fishing for the other mermaids snaps Barton back to sanity.

He discovers that someone has drugged them all with “Scopolamine — the liquid hypnotism.”  There actually is a drug called Scopolamine, which is used to treat nausea and vomiting according to Wikipedia.

It is also known as Devil’s Breath and can leave victims as zombies with no free will, assisting criminals, looting their own bank accounts, or being forced into prostitution.  There is an article at the Daily Mail which I will not link because it has a LOUD ad not only auto-playing, but on a loop.  Somebody should really go to jail for that.  The story accurately recounts those side effects and also correctly notes that it prevents the formation of short-term memories.  Basically, a Forget-Me-Now.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

Barton searches for Pamela and finds Forsythe outfitting her with fins.  Barton knocks him out, but Pamela still drugged up tries to bite him.  Barton does manage to save her and also Lucy who was already suited up and swimming topless in the ol’ fishing hole.

There is a motive and a nice piece of misdirection based on the effects of the drug.  It’s pretty goofy with an over-complicated James Bond villain revenge plan, but it does have a lot of fun elements.


  • First published in Mystery Tales, December 1939.
  • Also that month:  Gone with the Wind premieres in Atlanta.
  • I thought I had found a strange coincidence that there was a character named Bob Barton in two consecutive stories.  I think it is just a Kindle X-Ray error as the first Bob (Bride of the Ape) seems to have no last name; which must have been awkward as the story had him getting married just the day before.

Outer Limits – Birthright (S1E20)

After a press conference hyping his energy bill, Senator Richard Adams from Idaho is in a car being driven by his aide.  Adams puts some eye-drops in his eye, and the aide says he could use some too.

So the Senator gives the aide the bottle — while he’s driving.

And the aide leans his head back and takes a few drops — while he’s driving.

These guys are too stupid to be in poli . . . . er, never-mind.

The human gene-pool is strengthened by the death of the aide, but Adams wakes up in the hospital.  Maybe his doctor is not so sharp either as she seems surprised to find that Adams has strange organs and four lobes in his brain instead of two.  Frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal lobes are pretty much standard issue on humans.  Oh, we could throw in the limbic, but don’t start your cerebellum crap.

olbirthright09Adams’ security detail swarms his hospital room and hustles him out of the room.  When it is clear he does not realize who he is or what “the mission” is, the men decide he has to be killed.  He is able to escape and make his way back to the only person he can trust, the doctor.

He begins falling apart.  He is cold, fatigued, losing his hair, fingernails peeling off.  This is a result of his not taking a supplement that had kept him looking human and being able to breathe earth’s air.

He discovers that his energy bill, rather than being good for the atmosphere, will actually destroy it, making it poison to humans, but hospitable to his alien race.  We’re on to you, Al Gore!

olbirthright16He decides to rat his people out to the press.  Things don’t work out.

At the end, he is wearing the doctor’s Redskins cap.  So not only is he an alien, he’s a raaaaacist.


  • The US Senators from Idaho when this episode aired were Larry Craig and Dick Kempthorne.  Craig resigned after some suspicious shenanigans in an airport restroom.  Kempthorne managed to hold on to his job after being accused of spending $222,000 on renovations to his bathroom at the Dept. of the Interior.
  • Them Idaho senators sure loves their shitters.  Kempthorne was even succeeded by a guy named Mike Crapo.
  • Hulu sucks.