Postman Sam Brown is making his rounds and is stopped by Clara Goodwater (Sally Kellerman). Clara catches him by surprise and he stuffs a book he was reading into his bag. She asks if he has her book of Albertus Magnus like the other occult books she has been receiving. He makes a poor decision of lying to a witch and says no.
Young Tom is mowing the Brown’s yard when he hears Elmira Brown screaming in the kitchen. She has somehow managed to cut herself while slicing a cake. Being a good civil servant, Sam stops by his house for a piece of cake while making his rounds and shows Elmira the book he should have given to Clara — “Albertus Magnus: White & Black Arts for Man and Beast, Revealing the Forbidden Knowledge and Mysteries of Ancient Philosophers.” That mouthful is the title, not the first chapter, and it is a real book.
Elmira goes to see Clara and recruits Tom for moral support. At this point, there is evidence that Tom is a) her son, or b) a neighbor who mows their lawn, and c) an Indians fan as he always wears their cap. On the way over, Elmira face-plants in the yard and blames Clara’s magic.
After Elmira accuses Clara of being a witch, Clara invites her in for a cup of tea, leaving Tom on the porch. Elmira accuses Clara of using her magic each year to be elected president of the Ladies Honeysuckle Harmony Lodge. She reels off her misfortunes every year around election time — being sick, breaking a leg, and various clumsy accidents.
What is strange is that during this entire exchange, Tom can be seen through the window, and seems to be taking notes. My first thought was that he represented the author, but I don’t know of a Bradbury-Cleveland Indians connection.
Leaving Clara’s house, she is nearly hit by a car. At least we are told at that point, that Tom is not her son. That night she continues her list of screw-ups that she attributes to Clara’s magic. The morning of the election, she adds one more as she has a giant zit in the middle of her forehead.
For some reason, she drags Tom to the election with her. Current president Clara introduces Elmira who has asked for the chance to say a few words. She accuses the members of voting for Clara every year to avoid the same problems she has had. She plans the titular exorcism.
The vote goes as usual with the the entire membership giving an angelic “aye.” Elmira runs out and emergency exit and falls two stories. Clara uses her powers, and tells Clara that if she comes back to life, Clara will pass the presidency to her.
Just a strangely unappealing episode. It wasn’t clear who Tom was until he referred to his parents; it still isn’t clear why Elmira drags him everywhere and why he goes along. I’m assuming Sam and Elmira are married, but she seems quite a bit older, so could be mother and son — certainly a postman son living with is mother is not unheard of.
And, sorry but the presidency of a club of women in their 50’s just isn’t going to grab my interest. A club of 20 year old strippers threatening to unionize — then you got something.
- Clara introduces Elmira as being the wife of the local graphologist (one who studies handwriting). All we know about Sam is that he is a mailman, reads people’s mail, and seems to have married a woman 10 years older than him — so I don’t get the graphologist reference.
- OK, I guess it refers to reading people’s postcards, but it’s a stretch.
- Dead last in IMDb’s always-suspect ratings.