Night Gallery – Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay (S2E3)

ngada03Aunt Ada is staying with Joanna and Craig.  She peers out the window as Joanna goes through the daily ritual of picking a green carnation and pinning it on Craig before he goes to work.

That afternoon, while transplanting some roses — he apparently has the standard college professor 2 minutes per week of office hours — he sees Ada suddenly disappear. He then sees her in the kitchen having tea with Joanna.

That night, Craig awakens and Joanna is not in bed.  He goes downstairs and finds Ada and Joanna having more tea.  He has some of the tea analyzed, and finds that it is seaweed.  But it is also known as “Witch’s Weed”.

Fortuitously, there is an expert in the occult on the staff, Dr. Porteus (Jonathan Harris). Just to drive home Craig’s frustration, it turns out he is a professor of “Logic and the Scientific Method.”  Porteus says the weed is used by old witches who have used up their present body to facilitate their transfer to a new young body with a big rack.  The weed must be administered in small amounts, say about a teacup-full, over three weeks.

ngada10Completely out of left field, Craig goes searching for Aunt Ada’s true whereabouts.  He discovers a grave with Ada’s name.  The cemetery caretaker is shocked that flowers have sprouted on the grave which had been barren previously.  This adds a completely superfluous level of nonsense to the segment.

He confronts Ada and she responds with a witch’s cackle as she splits into multiple bodies.  Suddenly Mr. Logic isn’t so sure of things, so he calls Porteus. Upstairs, Ada casts a spell giving Porteus a stroke.

Craig is sure Ada is going to transfer to his wife’s body 2 days later — even more frightening, his wife might end up with Aunt Ada’s body.  He substitute-teaches in a friend’s class, and drags Joanna along with him so he can keep an eye on her. Unfortunately, Ada casts a spell causing Joanna to sneak out of the class and return home during a brief 30 minutes when Craig has his back to the class.  Seriously, the Life Drawing class doesn’t see this much ass.

Craig is still droning on with his back to the class at ten minutes to midnight.  Now this is what I call night school.  I’m not sure I could have stayed awake through this lecture at high noon let alone almost midnight.  In fact, I’m getting drowsy watching it now.

ngada11He finally notices his wife is not in the classroom and is possibly facing death just as she is parking at the house.  Aunt Ada offers her yet another cup of tea.  Craig runs home through the rain.  When he confronts Ada, she spawns several other witch’s identical to her.  He takes Dr. Porteus’ advice and sets fire to his green carnation which is deadly to the witches.

But was he in time?  For the first time, Joanna forgets to pin a green carnation on his jacket as he goes off to work.  She even recoils as she sees the bush in the front yeard. This is a fine ending, but is is played so listlessly that it loses all impact.

Post-Post:

  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Jeanette Nolan (The Hunt, Jess-Belle), Charles Seel (The Hunt, He’s Alive), Jonathan Harris (The Silence, Twenty-Two), Alma Platt (The Trade-Ins).
  • Jeanette Nolan was last seen in The Housekeeper.
  • In the opening, Rod Serling takes a shot at the Master of Suspense calling himself “the undernourished Alfred Hitchcock.”  Yeah, well he lived 30 years longer than you, wiseguy.
  • The subject of the lecture is Aristotle’s Square of Opposition.
  • Director William Hales was fired for running overtime due to some fancy camerawork.  For displaying such creativity, he never worked on Night Gallery again.
  • Skipped Segment 1: With Apologies to Mr. Hyde — a short one-joke sketch with Adam West.
  • Skipped Segment 2: The Flip Side of Satan — A tedious one-man show with Arte Johnson playing yet another TV / movie DJ that no one on earth would ever actually listen to.  Upside: he is killed.

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