Night Gallery – Dr. Stringfellow’s Rejuvenator (S2E9)

ngstringfellow02This is Serling’s contribution to this fairly ignominious episode.  We start off in a nice western frontier town where Forrest Tucker is beating a drum to draw customers to his wagon.  And by customers, I mean rubes.

He is hawking an elixir, “a strengthening cordial that reinvigorates the stomach, stimulates the liver, regulates the kidneys and restores health and vitality.”  It cures cholera, yellow fever, acne, chills and dizziness of all kind.  Although I think a cure for anthrax or syphilis might have gone over better with this crowd.  Being a humanitarian, he is willing to let this miracle tonic go for only $1 per bottle.

One of the suckers comes to Stringfellow’s wagon and asks him to look at his daughter.  He finds her in an uncovered wagon.  She says there is a pain in her abdomen and it is growing.  Rather than thinking she is knocked up, Stringfellow unsurprisingly prescribes his Rejuvenator and predicts she will be up and around in a week.  He pockets a buck for the tonic and a small honorarium.

As he walks away pocketing the 2 bucks, he is approached by a Dr. Snyder who calls him out on his flim-flammery.  Snyder makes a much more medically sound diagnosis of the girl

ngstringfellow04When the rube’s daughter continues to “die an inch at a time,” he confronts Stringfellow. Stringy prescribes another bottle of the Rejuvenator.  Another honorarium probably wouldn’t hurt either.  He changes tacks and says that he is actually selling faith, and that “if that child crosses into the shadows, I will bring her back to life.”

Sadly, the girl does cross into the shadows (i.e.croak).

When Stringfellow goes outside, across the dusty road he sees the dead girl rocking in a chair.  He asks her if it is a haunt or a resurrection.  She stands and the camera cuts to Stringfellow and then back to the empty chair.  The girl has disappeared, but the chair is still rocking.  This makes no sense as even if she is still there, but invisible — she had stood up, so the chair should not be rocking.

Then he croaks.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Murray Hamilton was Mr. Death in One for the Angels.  But he is more better known as the mayor in Jaws, and most better known for his cool anchor jacket in that movie.
  • Skipped Segment:  Hell’s Bells.  Neither good enough nor bad enough to merit comment.  It does, however, star the always-entertaining John Astin.  He is playing a hippie kind of like Bob Hope would play in sketches long after the hippie era ended cuz a 106 year old dude saying “groovy” spellz komedy.

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