Night Gallery – The Miracle at Camafeo (S2E17)

ngmiraclecamafeo10Hey, didn’t that murderer Harry Guardino just get the electric chair in Last Request?  When he died, like all bad people, he went south — but only as far as Camafeo, Mexico.  He is in a bar watching a line of Mexicans make their way to a local shrine in such a steady stream that it looks like they’re heading for the border.

When an American woman walks into the bar alone, he strikes up a conversation.  Even though she says she is married, he buys her a margarita and says he wants to tell her a story.  The story turns out to be about her husband Joe Melcor, and Guardino is really an insurance investigator named Rogan.

He tells her what she already knows — how Joe Melcor (later called Joe Morgoth) was sideswiped by a bus.  He was taken to a hospital, but no signs of injury were found. Never-the-less, Melcor claims to be paralyzed and sues the bus company.  After seeing him being wheeled into the courtroom everyday, the jury awards him $500,000.  Rogan is sure Melcor is faking it.

ngmiraclecamafeo19Mrs. Melcor goes back up to her room.  Naturally, Melcor is able to walk.  His wife is feeling guilty that the other people are going to the shrine to pray for a miracle, and they are going there to cheat, using the people’s faith as an alibi.

The next morning, Rogan walks to the shrine.  Along the way he helps a small blind boy, carrying him up the hill.  No one ever seems to go back down the hill; it is just a steady stream up to the shrine.  It should be packed like a soccer stadium, but there is only about a Home Depot parking lot’s worth of worshippers.  At the shrine, he sees Melcor carried inside on a stretcher.

ngmiraclecamafeo15Outside, the blind boy miraculously can see again.  Inside, Melcor decides he can safely end the charade and jumps up, pats the priest on the back and slips him a few dollars.

He struts out the door of the shrine and the sun seems very bright to him.  He puts on a pair of sunglasses but realizes that he has been stricken blind.  He takes the sunglasses off and the crowd gasps — despite them all being behind him.  He has the same cataracts over his eyes that the little boy had.  Pathetically, he stumbles about begging for help.

Good episode.  I liked that we thought Rogan was a jerk, but he turned out to be decent and respectful of the people.  Mrs. Melcor began as an accomplice, but saw the light (irony noted).  Joe Melcor was just a prick throughout — scamming the bus company, threatening to smack his wife around, exploiting the shrine to explain his recovery., and a lousy tipper  Also, not a great performance from him.  And that suit!

Maybe the irony or symmetry would have been more perfect if Melcor had truly become paralyzed after faking it.  The blindness was more theatrical, though and the kid was a nice counterpart in trading off the infirmity.

Post-Post:

  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Rudolfo Hoyos was in The Mirror.
  • Mrs. Melcor was played by Julie Adams of Creature from the Black Lagoon.
  • Skipped Segment: The Ghost of Sorworth.  Meh.

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