Night Gallery – The Dead Man (S1E1)

ngdeadman02Dr. Max Redford has invited his colleague Dr. Miles Talmadge to his private sanitarium to see the only patient he has there.  Dr. T sees a very healthy young man who appears to just be asleep.  He turns to speak to Dr. R about the man.  When he turns back, the man has become very sickly, emaciated.  Dr. R tells him to take another look whereupon the patient is healthy again.  The shenanigans continue through a couple more iterations before the patient, John Fearing, jumps up and introduces himself to Dr. T.

Redford has discovered that Fearing has the world’s worst / best case of psychosomatic illness.  By giving him suggestions under hypnosis, Redford can cause the symptoms of any sickness to manifest in Fearing’s body.

No, and you can’t make me.

It is not clear what the market is for this ability.  Although duplicating certain side effects of E.D medications might be interesting

That evening at dinner, it is clear that Fearing and Redford’s wife Velia (consistently written as Velda in the CC) are infatuated with each other.  Redford recognizes this, but prizes his research too much to boot Fearing out of his house.  So just as in the atrocious Three’s a Crowd, we have a husband who is allowing his wife to be swept away as he stands by and watches.

The next day, Redford shows off his new trick, producing the symptoms of death in Fearing — no pulse or breath.  Again, not sure what the market is for this skill.  When he tries to revive Fearing, he discovers he isn’t only mostly dead — this guy is stone cold dead.

Redford is truly remorseful and gathers a team to revive Fearing.  But he is too dead.  Velia is distraught.

ngdeadman03Some time later, Dr. Talmadge discovers what went wrong.  Redford was using the wrong post-hypnotic suggestion to revive Fearing.  Velia overhears and rushes to the graveyard to try out the new signal.

It plays out as a Tales from the Crypt but without the humor — just like Three’s a Crowd.  Unlike that turd, however, this episode works.  The actors inhabit their roles perfectly.  And these were solid 1960’s actors who probably had a stogie and glass of scotch just out of the frame.  Louise Sorel as Velia is a little over the top, but maybe the episode needed that juice.

In all, nothing very original, but very well done.

Post-Post:

  • For some reason, it took NBC a year after the pilot aired to get this episode on the air.
  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Co-Writer & Co-Director Douglas Heyes directed 9 TZ’s, 2nd most of anyone.  Despite a long writing career, he had no TZ scripts filmed.
  • Based on the short story by Fritz Leiber, Jr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.