Ray Bradbury Theater – The Lonely One (S6E1)

rbtlonelyone04Lavinia and Francine are walking to the movies despite the fact that there is a serial killer called The Lonely One on the loose; presumably because he killed all his friends.

They take a short-cut through the woods and find a dead body who happens to be a friend of theirs

Lavinia decides they should continue to the show and not let a little thing like the murder of their friend Elizabeth spoil their girl’s night out.  This obliviousness would have made me suspect her immediately.  They pick up their remaining living friend Helen, tell her nothing, and continue to the theater.

They make it to the theater, but Francine freaks out when someone touches her shoulder. After some milkshakes, they decide to go home, first dropping off Francine. For some reason they start singing the most cringe-inducing version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat since Star Trek V.

After a ways, Lavinia and Helen part ways to their respective houses.  Lavina takes the same shortcut through the woods where she and Francine spotted the body.  This time she hears someone whistling Row yada yada Boat.  Despite putting up a brave front for the whole episode, she gets scared and hides.  The whistler descends the stairs.

rbtlonelyone05But it’s just Officer Kennedy who had shown up when the body was found. And if there’s anyone you want escorting you safely home at night, it’s a Kennedy.

When Kennedy suddenly disappears (hey just like after Chappaquiddick!), she takes off running.  She finally makes it home and frantically unlocks the door.  She calls Francine and tells her that she’s fine and they will have a picnic tomorrow.

Then she notices through the window an empty glass that she had poured lemonade into earlier.  And sees the shadow of a man in her house.

Just nothing here.  No story.  It could have been an exercise in style, but was not. Although brief moments (very brief) reminded me of Halloween, its suspense was not replicated.

Even the setting is not nailed down — the cop’s uniform looks modern, but they still show cartoons before movies.  The phone looks modern, but the women hang out in a malt shop with an adult soda jerk.  Stylistically, this ambiguity could have worked, but no effort was made to exploit it.


  • Joanna Cassidy is considered an old maid at 47.
  • Sheila McCarthy (Francine) was the female TV reporter in Die Hard II.
  • Joanna Cassidy is better known from Blade Runner.  But sadly less known from the great, largely forgotten, Buffalo Bill.  And fortunately for her, not at all known for Live! From Death Row!
  • Based on the short story The Whole Town’s Sleeping.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Miss Bracegirdle Does Her Duty (S3E18)

This was brutal.

It is 1907 and Millicent Bracegirdle is going to Paris to bring her sister back to England.

ahpbracegirdle01Just so much to dislike — the older woman in the lead, the score, the relentless voice-over, the English accents, the French accents.  Normally, none of that would bother me, but it just piles up.

Then we get a voice-over in an extended scene with the unattractive old woman in the tub where we are treated to as much skin as 1958 TV would allow.  She claims to be 45 in the voice-over, but the actress is really 53.  F***n’ actors, man.

ahpbracegirdle02After her bath, she mistakenly enters the wrong room and is trapped in there with a dead man.  So to top things off, this is the same premise as an episode from just three weeks ago.

Except this time we get the high-larity of an old woman hiding under the bed or in the closet and some jaunty komedy music.

Just a really dreadful episode worthy of no more discussion.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  All dead, maybe of embarrassment.

Night Gallery – Spectre in Tap-Shoes (S3E5)

The title fills me with a sense of dread that Night Galley only wishes it could achieve legitimately.  I fear another Godawful maudlin show-biz tale like Make Me Laugh.  I was completely wrong in pre-judging Thriller, though, so there is hope.

Millicent Hardy arrives home early from a vacation at “the cape” where rooms were going for an outlandish $35 per night.  She can’t find her sister Marion anywhere.  Her room is a mess, half-open drawers, clothes everywhere, a burned-through cigarette resting on the vanity.  The kitchen isn’t much better with dishes everywhere.

Millie hears tapping upstairs — not the usual haunted house tapping — Marion was actually a tap dancer. She goes to the upstairs studio to see her sister, and finds her hanging from a rope deader that Henri Radin.

ngspectre07Every day for six weeks, Millie has been having strange experiences.  Today she saw Marion’s wig and passed out screaming.  Yesterday, a dress of Marion’s mysteriously appeared in her closet.  Marion’s hair is showing up in Millie’s hairbrush.  There are apple sauce jars left around — a favorite of Marion’s.  Cigarette butts, but Millie doesn’t smoke.

While talking to her boyfriend about selling the property, she mindlessly picks up a cigarette to smoke.  That night she hears the tapping again.  Well unless they were triplets, this has got to go better than last time.  Nothing really happens, Millie just begs forgiveness for not being with Marion in her time of need.

ngspectre08The next day she gets a visit from William Jason to purchase the property.  As he is making his pitch, the piano and tapping start again.  Jason doesn’t hear anything, and it stops the second he leaves.

Going to answer the phone, she finds a locket was buried with Marion that has pictures of a skull and Millie; or maybe Marion herself — who can tell with twins.

She goes to see the doctor who called an begins taking on the characteristics of her dead sister — smoking, referring to Millie as her sister, admitting to being a slut.

That night, a spectral voice calls out to her and lays out a tap dancing outfit for her which she puts on.  There is another noose hanging in the studio and the voice beckons her to “come to me”.  She hesitates and Jason steps out of the shadows.  There are a couple of switcheroos and it turned out to be a good episode.  So much for my prognostication skills.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Dane Clark was in Prime Mover and Stuart Nisbet was in In Praise of Pip.  What’s up with Pip?  Serling used that name a few times.
  • WTF!  Sandra Dee (Millie) played Penny on Lost?  That one had me puzzled until I saw that it was a movie from 1983.

Tales From the Crypt – What’s Cookin’ (S4E6)

tftcwhatscookin01While Fred is searching through a cookbook for more permutations of squid than Bubba had for shrimp, his wife Erma is butchering the latest in a long line of squid served in their squid-only restaurant.  Fred is convinced that he will do with squid what Col. Sanders did with chickens.

Drifter / clean-up guy Gaston suggests that maybe the restaurant might just bring in bigger crowds with, oh say, BBQ rather than squid.  Fred spends a late night chopping vegetables when his landlord Chumley walks in and demands the 3 months back rent owed to him.

Fred loses his temper just briefly enough to nick Chumley’s hand with the chopping knife, and is witnessed by the stoop-dwellers across the street including Gaston.

Officer Phil comes in for breakfast, but Erma tells him they might have some eggs left.  When she looks in the fridge, there are eggs, but also some steaks piled on top of them.  Gaston says a friendly BBQ distributor gave him a good deal.  Can any human being not predict what the steak is?  Especially seconds later when Officer Phil says Chumley has disappeared.

tftcwhatscookin04The smell from the steaks starts attracting other customers off of the street.  When Fred sees Gaston using Chumley’s handkerchief, he gets suspicious.  As business picks up, Gaston must get more steaks from the freezer so he goes in and starts hacking away at Chumley’s fat ass.  Fittingly, Chumley is played by Meat Loaf.

At the end of the day, the restaurant takes in $1,500.  Gaston convinces Fred to keep quiet since the blame would fall on him and Erma.  Soon the Gaston, Fred & Erma Steakhouse opens to lines out the door.

When Officer Phil tells Fred that they might be able to track Chumley’s killer by a residue left by the knife in blood taken from his car, Fred gets worried and Gaston gets busy.

tftcwhatscookin03While Fred is at the restaurant, he goes to see Erma and tells her what is happening and that it was Fred’s idea.  There are a couple of nice twists.

Just an OK episode.  What happened to Christopher Reeve is beyond tragic.  He is still the definitive Superman, and always seemed like a very nice guy; just not much of an actor.  The stiffness actually served him well in Superman (in both roles), but not so much in a comedic episode like this.  Judd Nelson and Bess Armstrong delivered, though.


  • Title Analysis:  Meh.
  • This was 3 years before Christopher Reeves’ accident.
  • Coincidentally, Director Gilbert Adler was later a producer on the dreadful Superman Returns.
  • I can’t believe I almost missed this great gag on Fred ‘n Erma’s sign.  Sadly, as frequently happens with the punny titles, there is no relation to the episode.

Thriller – The Grim Reaper (S1E37)

tgrimreaper09There will be no more Outer Limits because my Hulu-hate won out; also my cheapness as Season 3 is $35 at Amazon.

I was immediately leery about Thriller.  Stephen King’s blurb says “The best horror series ever put on TV.”  On the other hand, this collection of “Fan Favorites” had to to go all the way the episode 37 for the first entry.  I can only hope they are not going chronologically.

Late at night, there is a knock at the door.  A man is looking for the artist Henri Radin.  For a shiny nickel, the chambermaid takes the man right up to Radin’s room, but warns the man that he might be drunk or on drugs — wow, already edgier than Alfred Hitchcock or Twilight Zone.


The Grim Reaper is the one on the right

She is not a fan of Radin’s art which she says is evil.  The man suggests, “Perhaps a nude?” She responds “There is no evil in nakedness.”  Scandalous for 1959!

The woman knocks, but there is no answer.  The man insists on being let in as he is Radin’s father.  We see the shadow of Radin’s legs as he swings dead from a noose — finally, back to some wholesome 1960’s entertainment.

They take a look at his last painting, and is fairly evil, and better than any of the oil-slicks on Night Gallery.

In his intro to the story, Boris Karloff is examining the painting, which we learn is now over 100 years old.  And there is fresh blood on the scythe.

Paul Graves (William Shatner) arrives at a house and is greeted by his aunt Beatrice (Natalie Schafer).  He is surprised that she bought a hearse, but being a a writer of 27 mystery novels, she bought it as publicity.

tgrimreaper11Beatrice introduces Graves to her fifth husband, Gerald Keller, who is much younger than her.  Also to her young secretary Dorothy.  They go downstairs to see Beatrice’s new acquisition, Radin’s “Grim Reaper.”  It was this purchase that disturbed Graves so much that he had to visit his aunt.  He warns her to get rid of the picture.

He says that since it was painted in 1848, the painting has had 17 owners, 15 of which met with violent deaths.  Beatrice was aware of the curse and also bought that for publicity.  She had also previously heard Grave’s revelation that the painting began to bleed before each death.  Like NOW for instance!

Of course, that night they discover Beatrice dead at the bottom of the stairs.  A few days later, the will is read and everything was left to Keller.  So now Keller is the owner of the painting, and the pieces start to fall into place.

tgrimreaper12They might play a little fast and loose with criminal evidence and estate law, but accompanied by a shrieking score and great performances, it moves toward a twisty, satisfying conclusion.

My initial pessimmism was unwarranted.  This was one of the best episodes I’ve seen in the past year.  At the most basic level, it looked great, very crisp black and white.  The camera work was excellent, and Robert Bloch (Psycho) came up with a very witty script that was well played by everyone.

If there is one nitpick, the score seemed a little overwrought.  But if that was meant to heighten the feel of unease, it worked.  Also, as host, Karloff was no Rod Serling (TZ not NG).

Overall:  Excellent.


  • It is bizarre that Beatrice jokes that the hearse she bought was driven only by a “little old corpse from pasadena.”  It was not until 3 years later that Jan & Dean recorded The Little Old Lady from Pasadena.
  • At 12:15, it really sounds like Beatrice calls Dorothy “Samanatha.”  She could have said “What’s the matter” — several replays later, I couldn’t be sure.  She later clearly refers to “The Decoration of Independence.”
  • Of course, the two leads went on to be Captain Kirk and Lovey Howell.