Night Gallery – The Dear Departed (S2E11)

ngdeardeparted04The episode opens at a seance being conducted by Radha Ramadi aka Mark Bennett aka Steve Lawrence aka Sidney Liebowitz.  Bennett is summoning his spirit guide Running Deer.  He seems to be a little confused — although he is technically wearing authentic Indian garb, it is a Nehru Jacket.

Running Deer makes himself known by playing the traditional Indian instrument, the tambourine.  Bennett tells Running Deer they are trying to reach the spirit of Dorie Harcourt whose mother is at the table.  Dorie appears in the form of a porcelain head that seems to have toilet paper flowing from her shoulders.  She drops a stuffed elephant onto the table which convinces her mother that this truly is her dead daughter’s toilet paper shedding, disembodied, immobile mannequin head.

ngdeardeparted07Dorie’s mother offers Bennett a little something extra for contacting her daughter.  He makes a good show of refusing it, but it does end up in the pocket of that Nehru jacket.  After she leaves, he is joined by his partners Angela and Joe Casey, with whom he will split the $500 windfall.

Joe thinks he is not cut out for this life.  He believes himself to be too coarse and low-class to work with Bennett, too unsophisticated.  Bennett is brilliant in giving credit to Joe for their success at hustling the rubes.  He says Joe is an artist, and tells Angela that she should be nicer to him.  On the other hand, it is revealed that Angela and Bennett are having an affair behind Joe’s hairy back.

At dinner, they try to ditch Joe so they can have the sex, but Joe and Bennett are both just too nice.  Bennett agrees that the three of them will go out to a movie.  Joe runs out to get Angela something for a headache and is run down by a car.

The next day, Bennett is forced to prepare all the special effects that Joe used to handle for the seances.  Without Joe, Running Deer is a less adept at the tribal tambourine than Davy Jones.  When Bennett pretends to summon a woman’s dead husband, we get another lifeless disembodied head.  This time, without Joe’s steady hand, it is bouncing around and the voice is is crazy.

ngdeardeparted24When he tries again to summon the man, Joe appears instead — not as a doll’s head, but as a true translucent ghost.  He says that they are going to “stay a team — forever!”

The ending fails completely because there is no sense of danger attached to Joe’s appearance, even at the threat of forever.  NowDelbert Grady’s daughters really knew how to really work that word.

ngdeardeparted40Steve Lawrence never got his due because he was mostly a lounge singer.  But he was a good actor, and really sells this role.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  None.
  • Skipped Segment:  An Act of Chivalry — another short sketch not worth the words already typed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.