Night Gallery – The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes (S3E6)

ngvelvet03The awful-named James Figg (played by manly-named Gary Lockwood) is in his dressing room after winning the boxing championship.  While his manager is on the phone, he sees a hallucination of his dethroned opponent, the even more manly-named Big Dan Anger (played by the just weirdly-named Ji-Tu Cumbuka).`

Figg doesn’t have a scratch on him, but Anger looks like he took a massive beating, which isn’t unreasonable given that he just lost a heavyweight fight.  Making less sense is that he is black and I think Lockwood is the first American white champion since Rocky Marciano.  Anger sneers at Figg and says mockingly, “Champion!  You just think you’re champion . . . you’re no more of a champ than I was.”  His manager hangs up the phone and tells him Anger is on an operating table.  So it’s a safe bet he’s dead.

ngvelvet07Figg goes into an extremely steamy shower which apparently transports him to another place — the home of Sondra and Roderick Blanco.  He meets Sondra in the game room. She says she likes him because he is different from the others, the other champions.  Raaaaaaacist!

Roderick enters the room.  He says that Anger was never the real champ because he had knocked him out.  Now he wants to fight Figg for the real championship.  “A private match. In my ring.”  Just like the end of Rocky III, but without the dreadful Leroy Neiman painting.  “Winner take all”.

That night, Sondra comes to Figg’s room and asks him to throw the fight, let Roderick win.  The next day in a red room, they climb a set of red stairs, duck through the titular red velvet ropes, Roderick in a red robe, trunks and boots.

ngvelvet04Figg beats him to a pulp and finally wins by a knockout.  He berates everyone for not stopping the fight, which, of course, he could have done at any time.  The ref then announces that Blanco is dead. Everyone arises and chants, “The champion is dead.  Long live the champion.”

I guess it’s like The Masters — Figg is given the red robe.  Blanco, having been champion since 1861, is now a dried up old man.  Old, yes, but not bad for being about 125 years old.  The all in “winner take all” includes Sondra . . . for as long as he wins.

So presumably he is stuck there forever to take on each new champion until he loses.  Sounds suspiciously similar to the TZ episode A Game of Pool.  Not that it matters, but did Big Dan Anger have to die?  Did Roderick have to die?  Could Figg have won on a decision?  Is he marooned in this other reality or can he go back and forth?  If so, who is the new champion now that he is missing?  Who is this support staff?  Where did they come from, especially Sondra who is just a whore for the latest champion.

ngvelvet05Not an awful episode and the leads were competent as the boxers, even though we did not see their faces much of the time.  I give it 7 out of 12 Rounds.

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