Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Equalizer (S3E19)

ahpequalizer05Eldon Marsh (Martin Balsam) has just whipped his boss at golf.  The boss is better at the long drives than the diminutive Eldon, but has a tendency to be a 3-putt chump. Eldon credits his putter which he dubs “The Equalizer” for the win.

At the Club that night, his boss isn’t sure he will fare too well against the strapping young new salesman Wayne Phillips (Leif Erickson (really?)).  At the moment, Eldon should be more worried as Phillips is dancing pretty close with his wife Louise.

After they return to the table, the boss suggests the men-folk retire to the game-room for some Bridge.  Phillips declines, mortifying the other salesmen; maybe because of the effrontery to his new boss, or maybe because he is left alone with their wives — a situation he immediately takes advantage of by flirting with another wife, making Louise visibly jealous.

ahpequalizer06That night in their bedroom, Eldon asks Louise what she thinks of the new salesman Wayne Phillips.  She not quite convincingly assures her husband that she did not like Phillips. She slips off her robe and they get into their separate twin beds, as real couples did in the 1950’s.

The next day Phillips, with his salesman smile, comes into Eldon’s office.  He tells Eldon what a lovely girl Louise is.  Phillips accuses him not not trusting his wife,  Eldon says he trusts Louise implicitly but doesn’t trust Phillips as far as he could throw him.

Phillips stands up, about 6 inches taller than Eldon and says, “That wouldn’t be be very far, would it little man?”  Eldon warns him, “Don’t try to test your irresponsibility with my wife.”  Eldon actually comes off as a pretty cool customer.

ahpequalizer07That weekend when Phillips misses a tee-time with the boss, speculation runs wild among the salesmen that he was playing a round with some dame instead. Overhearing this, Eldon assumes Phillips is banging his wife; especially when she does not answer the telephone (back when they were tethered to the wall and not easily transported to a Motel 6).

Later at the club, Eldon believes he sees his wife and Phillips making eyes at each other.  After she leaves, he throws a drink in Phillips face, and says, ‘I want to fight this man!’  Phillips refuses to fight, but finally Eldon takes a swing at him and Phillips decks him.

At home, the real switch is that Louise admits Eldon was right.  Not only that, she berates, him, “These things happen all the time.  Some men have enough sense not to make a spectacle of themselves.”

He assumes she will go to Phillips now, but she blames him again.  “You very nicely ruined that for me!  You created such a scandal that we couldn’t possibly go on!”  She does leave him, though, just not to go to Phillips.

ahpequalizer08The next day, cleaning out his desk, even his boss blames him, saying, “I don’t understand why you put me in a position where I had to fire you. You couldn’t just let this blow over?”

Eldon says he could have tolerated it if Phillips had loved Louise, but he was just making her look cheap.  For that, they must fight.  His boss even offers to fire Phillips instead of Eldon, but it’s no good — he wants that fight.

Later at the club, as Phillips is flirting with another of the wives, Eldon comes in and challenges him to a duel.  They idiotically agree to meet for a duel — 10 paces, turn and fire.

Eldon arrives for the duel, but doesn’t see Phillips.  As he is looking out over the city, he hears Phillips emerging from the shadows.  Before he can say anything, Phillips plugs him.  Phillips dutifully calls the cops and claims self-defense.  Unfortunately, Eldon is unarmed, not even bringing a knife to this gunfight.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  All equally dead.
  • Title Analysis:  The titular Equalizer is the fact that Eldon feels he has nothing left to lose, thus he is not afraid of Phillips.  That would be good had they not muddied the water-hazard by Eldon earlier referring to his putter as the Equalizer rather than, say, the old Billy Baroo.
  • For a more in-depth look at the story, performers and production, head over to bare-bones ezine.

Night Gallery – The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes (S3E6)

ngvelvet03The awful-named James Figg (played by manly-named Gary Lockwood) is in his dressing room after winning the boxing championship.  While his manager is on the phone, he sees a hallucination of his dethroned opponent, the even more manly-named Big Dan Anger (played by the just weirdly-named Ji-Tu Cumbuka).`

Figg doesn’t have a scratch on him, but Anger looks like he took a massive beating, which isn’t unreasonable given that he just lost a heavyweight fight.  Making less sense is that he is black and I think Lockwood is the first American white champion since Rocky Marciano.  Anger sneers at Figg and says mockingly, “Champion!  You just think you’re champion . . . you’re no more of a champ than I was.”  His manager hangs up the phone and tells him Anger is on an operating table.  So it’s a safe bet he’s dead.

ngvelvet07Figg goes into an extremely steamy shower which apparently transports him to another place — the home of Sondra and Roderick Blanco.  He meets Sondra in the game room. She says she likes him because he is different from the others, the other champions.  Raaaaaaacist!

Roderick enters the room.  He says that Anger was never the real champ because he had knocked him out.  Now he wants to fight Figg for the real championship.  “A private match. In my ring.”  Just like the end of Rocky III, but without the dreadful Leroy Neiman painting.  “Winner take all”.

That night, Sondra comes to Figg’s room and asks him to throw the fight, let Roderick win.  The next day in a red room, they climb a set of red stairs, duck through the titular red velvet ropes, Roderick in a red robe, trunks and boots.

ngvelvet04Figg beats him to a pulp and finally wins by a knockout.  He berates everyone for not stopping the fight, which, of course, he could have done at any time.  The ref then announces that Blanco is dead. Everyone arises and chants, “The champion is dead.  Long live the champion.”

I guess it’s like The Masters — Figg is given the red robe.  Blanco, having been champion since 1861, is now a dried up old man.  Old, yes, but not bad for being about 125 years old.  The all in “winner take all” includes Sondra . . . for as long as he wins.

So presumably he is stuck there forever to take on each new champion until he loses.  Sounds suspiciously similar to the TZ episode A Game of Pool.  Not that it matters, but did Big Dan Anger have to die?  Did Roderick have to die?  Could Figg have won on a decision?  Is he marooned in this other reality or can he go back and forth?  If so, who is the new champion now that he is missing?  Who is this support staff?  Where did they come from, especially Sondra who is just a whore for the latest champion.

ngvelvet05Not an awful episode and the leads were competent as the boxers, even though we did not see their faces much of the time.  I give it 7 out of 12 Rounds.



Tales From the Crypt – New Arrival (S4E7)


In this scene in the episode, Felicity (the one WITH her head) is at the bottom of the stairs.

The cringing starts immediately with Robert Patrick playing a DJ.  I have become convinced that it is impossible to play a DJ on screen.  They are always dreadful and would have zero audience in the real world.  I’m looking at (but not listening to) you Clint Eastwood, Adrienne Barbeau, Stephen McHattie, Arte JohnsonEric Bogosian, Kathy Bates, and the casts of WKRP in Cincinnati and NewsRadio.  I would include Wolfman Jack in that list, but he actually was inexplicably successful on the radio.

Robert Patrick, a very good actor, is particularly awful playing Lothar, a bandanna-wearing hipster in dark glasses who seems to be playing to a late night goth crowd, although his shift ends at 10 pm. After his shift is over, the next host David Warner enters — he is a child psychologist and author of “The Art of Ignoring Your Child.”  WTF is programming this station?

tftcnewarrival02He gets a call from Nora, a frequent caller. Her daughter has taken to banging her head against the wall; most likely because her mother keeps the radio tuned to this station.

In order to prove his worth and save his show, Warner agrees to come to Nora’s home to see Felicity.

He goes to Nora’s house accompanied by his producer (Twiggy) and the station manager (Joan Severance). After Joan is knocked on her fine, fine ass by an electrical short in the doorbell for no reason, the door is answered by Zelda Rubinstein, the imbecile in Poltergeist who prematurely declared the house “clean.”

They go in and hear Felicity screaming upstairs.  Zelda says Felicity’s father will be home any day . . . from WWII.  So the nut didn’t fall far from the tree.

tftcnewarrival04They look for Felicity and go down a hall covered in the chewed grape bubble gum that her mother bribes her with.  They enter her bedroom and find a lot of crazy stuff, including Joan’s dead, though still crazy-hot, body.

At the bottom of the stairs, Warner and Twiggy see Felicity, a little girl wearing a mask. Warner runs down to meet her, but she runs away.  Twiggy, still at the top of the stairs is decapitated, in a complete non-sequitur,  by a descending ceiling fan blade and tumbles down the stairs; followed by her head.

Warner regains consciousness tied to a chair.  He asks her to sit on his lap and maybe make her happy.  He tricks her into loosening his restraints and begins choking her.

Zelda enters and tells him he should be ashamed of himself.  Felicity falls from his lap, and her mask falls off revealing a face not unlike the Cryptkeeper.  “I spoiled her to death,” Zelda admits.  “She’s been dead 40 years.”  They spin Warner’s chair around so he sees several eminent child psychiatrists, dead, mummified and cob-webbed.

Zelda places a radio on Warner’s lap on which Lothar announces he has taken Warner’s time slot.  Felicity dances around his chair as he repeats, “Ignore it. Ignore it.” The End.

Many questions are left unanswered, and uncared about.


  • Title analysis:  So who is the new arrival?  Warner is the latest in a string of child psychologists, but that doesn’t seem enough to merit the title.
  • On the plus side, I did like the girl in the mask.  It started to lose me when I thought it was just going exploit a deformed child; but a 40-year dead zombie is A-OK.
  • Sadly, not pictured.

Thriller – Pigeons from Hell (S1E36)

tpigeons01After very lackluster episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Ray Bradbury Theater, I have been looking forward to Thriller coming up in the rotation again.  It got off to a great start last week.

Johnny & Tim, a couple of college boys, are touring the south and get stuck driving through a swampy shortcut.  Johnny tells Tim to go find a pole, and he responds, “Since you’re the one who wanted to fight the Civil War again, you find the pole.”  Too bad they weren’t refighting WWII.

Johnny hears a blood-curdling screech that could be human or feline and goes deeper into the woods to investigate.  He sees a large run-down house with a yard full of the titular pigeons; and presumably, shit.  It seems to be abandoned so they decide to sleep there for the night.

tpigeons02Johnny is captivated by an old portrait.  That night, he awakens and hears something beckoning him upstairs.  A few minutes later, Tim hears him scream and runs upstairs. He sees zombie-Johnny emerge from the shadows with a hatchet that he tries to put in Tim’s noggin.

Tim runs away from the house, but trips and falls in the woods.  He is found by the county sheriff, who takes him to a nearby shack.  They go back to the house — the old Blassenville Place — and discover Johnny dead on the floor, still hanging on to that hatchet.

Tim and the sheriff go upstairs.  Their lantern mysteriously goes out, so they retreat, but it burns again once they get downstairs.  After they put Johnny in the meat-wagon, they go back upstairs.  The lantern continues to restrict where they can go, especially deterring them from one room in particular.

They go to see Jacob Blount, an ancient former servant at the house.  He says every one is dead at the house.  Before he can spill the beans, a snake crawls out of some wood and kills him.  They go back to the house.  In a nice touch, the police car is covered with pigeons.

tpigeons03That night, Tim goes into a trance and is also beckoned up the stairs.  An old woman comes out of a bedroom wielding a butcher knife. The sheriff fires at her several times. He pursues her into a secret room where he finds skeletons of the Blassenville sisters — including the half sister he just killed.

Maybe the thought of her being a child of the master of the house and a servant woman was the horror of the episode.  This was set long after slavery, but the job description didn’t seem much removed.

All in all, a major let down from last week.


  • Based on a short story by Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian. First published in Weird Tales, May 1938.
  • Stephen King considered the short story “one of the finest of our century.”