I’ll bet this was quite a casting coup in 1972, having Ozzie & Harriet in an episode of a horror anthology. They were before my time, but I get the sense that their TV show made Leave It to Beaver look like The Wire.
Here, Ozzie is a bumbling inventor. He must have been successful at some point, though, because he lives in a gigantic Gothic mansion. Also, he has managed to lure some of the “finest scientific minds of our time” to his place for a demonstration. Perhaps a free meal was mentioned. Or strippers.
He reveals his scientific breakthrough to be the ability to turn a common rock into gold — alchemy — by boiling it in Palmolive liquid for 30 seconds. Any self-respecting scientist would have walked out before the amuse-bouche (that’s why you always put the strippers on first). And really, by 1972, wasn’t this idea pretty corny?
He applies a flame to the beaker containing the green liquid and rock. It begins to boil, then explodes. The fact that there weren’t big nuggets of gold handed to them as they entered the door should have been a tip-off that this hadn’t even been tested.
Dr. Burgess (frequent loud-mouth Michael Lerner) chews Ozzie out, calling him a charlatan. He reminds Ozzie that he was just in his home one year ago to witness a alleged perpetual motion machine Ozzie had invented. OK, Ozzie might be an eccentric dreamer, but Burgess is the credentialed dumb-ass who falls for every scientific boodoggle. Although, noting his heft, my meal theory might come into play.
Ozzie is distraught as they file out. Harriet dutifully tries to console him, but it becomes clear to him his wife is slipping into dementia or what would now be called Alzheimer’s. She is very forgetful, constantly late, etc.
This inspires his next scientific break-through. He has devised a potion that will bring the dead back to life and give them immortality. Rather than test it on a freshly dug-up corpse like any normal scientist, he poisons his wife to create a perfect test subject.
She soon croaks, and Ozzie carries her down to the basement with no doubt that she will be back up cooking & ironing in no time. Their nephew George, a physician, gets wind of this experiment and calls the police. Ozzie is still so sure of his creation that is baffled why the police would even be interested.
When George finally makes Ozzie understand that Harriet isn’t coming back to life, he retires to his room to await the police. After the police arrive, George discovers that Ozzie has killed himself. In an O’Henry twist, Harriet, late as usual, comes up the stairs and asks where Ozzie is.
It’s a fun little episode despite the idiotic science. The ending is muddled, however. Harriet indeed arises from the dead, and speaks normally and we don’t see her lurching like a zombie. So is she 100% recovered? This is brought into question by her pallid face. Granted, she was dead for a few hours, and was no spring chicken to start with — maybe it takes time for the blood to started recirculating. And is she really immortal?
In any case, this is the invention that will finally make Ozzie a rich . . . oh, yeah.
- Twilight Zone Legacy: Don Keefer and Lew Brown were each in 3 episodes. Stuart Nisbet was in 1.
- Title Analysis: 75% non-sequitur. She is indeed Mrs. Millikan, but who is giving her permission to “come up”? And from where? The basement? Death?
- The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet ran 14 seasons. Their son Ricky had some credible hits like Traveling Man and Garden Party. Although he seemed to have some sort of grudge against truck drivers (either you get it or you don’t).
- Palmolive / Palm-Olive. Never made that connection before.
In third season rarity, there is also a short sketch in this episode — Smile, Please. It is worth noting only because it means the first segment was not as padded out as it could have been. And for the second NG appearance by a very cute young Lindsay Wagner — sporting an English accent and snappy 1970’s hat. The story is just shit, however.