Night Gallery – Certain Shadows on the Wall (S1E3)

nightgallery01It is impossible to see that title without thinking of the Statler Brothers song from Pulp Fiction.

Agnes Moorehead’s brother is reading to her from Charles Dicken’s Bleak House.  He and their two sisters all live in this house under the thumb of Agnes as she alone inherited their father’s fortune.  His patience is clearly running out as he has been at her beck and call for 25 years — most of it probably spent reading the 1,000 page Bleak House.

He gives her some pain pills.  She asks him to start reading Great Expectations to her.  At this point, no jury in the world would convict him.

Agnes’ brother is a doctor who has abandoned his failing practice.  After giving her the pills he goes downstairs for some standard Rod Serling padding-out-the-run-time dialogue.  He eventually gets to the point, which is that Agnes “has only a matter of days left.”  Demonstrating the diagnostic acumen that sent his practice into a tailspin, she croaks within 5 minutes.

Hearing a noise upstairs, her brother goes up to check on her and finds her dead.  He calls to make arrangements for the funeral as his sisters, or one of them anyway, get weepy.  They are startled to find that Agnes’ shadow has suddenly appeared on the wall.

ngcertain03The doctor is troubled by the shadow, and calls it a trick of refraction, maybe due to the way the furniture is positioned.

The funeral home calls and the doctor tells then the cause of death was acute dyspepsia — that’s the ticket — and uh, no need any verification on that, no siree Bob.

Wracked with guilt, he tries painting over the shadow, but to no avail — although the paint also does not even cover up the pattern on the wallpaper, so maybe it just isn’t very good paint.  And wouldn’t the solution be to strip the wallpaper, not to paint over it?

Sister #2 believes a cover-up is impossible, and she plainly states that she means covering up the murder also.

Sister #1 puts some of Agnes’s “meds” in the doctor’s tea to calm him down.  He dies just as he killed Agnes.  This whole process is a little too cutesy as far as who knows what.

The sisters don’t seem too upset at his death.  His shadow has joined Agnes’ so he will be reading Dickens to her for eternity.  Or until they redecorate.  “It is just like having them here,” says one sister.  Yeah, if there were silent, grey and two-dimensional before they died — well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

The shadow of Agnes really is very well done.  The silhouette painted on the wallpaper is great and the coloration is perfect for a shadow.  When they reveal the brother’s shadow, it is obviously a real shadow; clearly they did not want to pay the artist to come back a second day.  There was no attempt to match the colors, and as they pan to show the two shadows, the brother’s shadow is even moving for the first few frames.  Very cheesy.

Post-Post:

  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Agnes Moorehead was in the classic The Invaders.
  • Directed by Jeff Corey who was in The Dead Man.
  • Whereas the other tale in this episode, The House, reused the interior from Roddy McDowell’s house in The Cemetery, this episode reuses the exterior of that same house.
  • And minor point, but is it too much to ask that shows be in the same order as they aired or appear on the cover?  20 Horror Movies for $5, Night Gallery and Ray Bradbury Theater all fail on this most fundamental level.
  • RBT is especially a challenge as the episodes are in somewhat random order, and not listed on the box or the disks.  When I say watching that show is a chore, I mean it literally.

One thought on “Night Gallery – Certain Shadows on the Wall (S1E3)

  1. PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WILL YOU PLEASE START SELLING PAINTINGS OR PRINTS OF THE PAINTINGS SO I CAN COLLECT THEM ALL!

    THERE IS AN ENTIRE UNDERGROUND MARKET READY TO SPEND MILLIONS ON NG PAINTINGS!

    I WILL BUY THEM ALL!

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