Night Gallery – Camera Obscura (S2E12)

ngcameraobscura02We begin with William Sharsted (Rene Auberjonois) exiting a carriage and daintily paying the driver.  After having a chamber-pot unceremoniously dumped at his feet — and really, what kind of ceremony would that call for? — he goes up a flight to see Mr. Gingold (Ross Martin).

Despite the treasures in Gingold’s home, Sharsted has come to collect on an outstanding 300 pound loan which has been accruing at the usurious rate of 13%.  This episode aired a few years before Jimmy Carter’s policies made 13% look like free money. Gingold deflects him and proudly shows him his camera obscura.

Through a series of mirrors and prisms, Gingold is able to project an image of the town onto a flat surface, to Sharsted’s amazement.  He zooms in on the residence of Norton Thwaite.  Gingold accuses Sharpsted of destroying Thwaite by foreclosing on his mortgage.

ngcameraobscura08Sharpsted points out that Gingold should probably worry more about his own situation.  Perhaps, he suggests, Gingold could sell off some of his objets d’art to pay his debt.  It is worth noting that he massacred the pronunciation as “objects dart”, but it is particularly bizarre coming from a guy named Rene Auberjonois.

Gingold wants to show Sharpsted another camera obscura that he has in the basement.  This one is able to zoom in on the Corn Exchange — a building that burned down when Sharpsted was a boy.  It is even able to zoom in on his father’s shop, long since closed.

When Sharpsted leaves, he finds himself in the past where there are no taxis and the streetlights run on gas.  Surely the greenish / sepia tones should have clued him in that he was on the past.

ngcameraobscura13He encounters several people, all deceased, who he had wronged. Through the camera obscura, Gingold watches Sharsted being consumed by the angry mob.

As frequently happens on NG, the punishment is a little extreme for the “crime”, and I’m a law & order guy (although I’ve never seen the TV show).  What was Sharsted supposed to, let his customers just stop paying?  It’s not like he had a Bush or Obama to bail him out.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Milton Parsons was in three episodes of TZ, Ross Martin was in two.
  • Skipped Segment:  Quoth the Raven.  Nevermore, indeed.

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