Carol Lynley and Donna Douglas are browsing in an antique shoppe. Donna sees a statue that is the spitting image of Carol’s husband Bill Bixby. She calls Carol over and she also sees the resemblance. The audience, not so much. I honestly see no resemblance whatsoever between the statue and Bill Bixby.
But, for a cool 75 bucks, she has it delivered, placing it the backyard. Bixby is less than impressed. She tells him that she bought it because it looks like him. Bixby, who complains about the cost on his junior law partner salary says “overruled.”
That night, he has a nightmare about the statue coming into their bedroom. The next morning, he notices foot-steps of dead grass leading from the statue to the house. That day, he goes to the shoppe to ask about the statue. I was pretty pleased with myself noting that both Bixby and the owner were saying Drood instead of Druid. Then Bixby realized what the old man was saying and corrected him. Kudos for suckering me in, anyway.
On the other hand, there is some really botched composition in that scene where Bixby’s face is directly behind a vertical pole on a quilt rack. Was no one looking through the camera?
Turns out the owner, after 10 years, just happened to find a picture of the statue with historical information on the back. At home, Bixby reads to his wife that the statue is of a “defrocked Abbot of Penicude Cathedral, Father Balamaster, referred to as Bruce the Black.” This delights Carol as Bruce is Bixby’s name in the episode. She buys into Donna’s theory that this is Bruce’s great-great-great grandfather.
Bixby continues, “He practiced sorcery, and the religious ceremonies of his particular order were purely satanic. And the worshipers followed their leader’s habit of debauchery and rapine as well as sacrifices both animal and human.”
And now the bloodline has really devolved . . . to a lawyer — the horror!
While barbecuing the next day, Bixby sees see statue appear closer to him after he looks away for a second, like the topiary in The Shining (or not, I read it eons ago). After burning himself on the grill, the statue is back in its place. Bixby talks to it, telling it that he is not intimidated by it.
He is caught talking to the statue by Donna. The grill flares up, bathing them in magic-hour light. Bixby is possessed by Bruce the Black, grabs Donna and gives her a hard long kiss. She actually seems OK with it, hoping he tries it again some time.
He continues being a little crazy when he sees an image of Bruce the Black in the fire, and tries to barbecue the neighbor’s cat. When the maid catches him and he calls her an “old bag”, the party is pretty much over.
That night, he has another nightmare where Bruce the Black suggests that he kill Carol so he can have Donna. That’s just crazy — that bed will hold three. He manages to resist. He goes downstairs and gets a crowbar to destroy the statue. On the first swing, there is a flash of light and Bixby has become the statue and Bruce the Black is lying on the ground, restored to life. The new statue still looks nothing like Bixby.
Wow, two good segments and no filler sketch segment — highly unusual for Night Gallery. This outting was also unique in that, even though it was not one of the comedy segments, it did have several clever situations and witty lines. Unlike most of the comedy segments.
-  Bixby also played Bruce on The Incredible Hulk — or should have. For some reason, his character was renamed David Banner for that series.
- Is your name not Bruce?
- Twilight Zone Legacy: Donna Douglas was in the classic Eye of the Beholder. Ned Glass and Bill Bixby were also in one episode each.
- A Beverly Hillbillies twin spin episode with Jed Clampett in the first segment, and now Ellie May Clampett (or Ellie may not (hooo-aaah!! misspent youth reading Mad Magazine finally pays off!).
- That last scene does kind of bug me. Donna takes the statue back to the store to see if the owner wishes to buy it. Where is Carol? Is she dead? What is that mischievous smile Donna gives? Was this some sort of plot by her?