Night Gallery – She’ll Be Company for You (12/24/72)

This one is painful.  Maybe it’s because it is following a run of pretty good reviews.  Or maybe it is just awful.

Henry Auden is at the funeral of his wife.  He loved her, but she had become a burden with her wheelchair and her bell that she would ring to call him.  Of course, he could have save a lot of trouble by having her bedroom on the first floor.  Truthfully, he is relieved to have her gone.  As soon as the funeral wraps up, Maggie’s best friend Barbara (Chief Brody’s wife in Jaws) tells Henry that they need to go back to his house, to Maggie’s bedroom.  This woman is a player.

Sadly, Barbara is just a nut who just wanted too see the room and see if Maggie still somehow occupied it.  Downstairs, Henry believes he hears the bell that Maggie had used to summon him.  He accuses Barbara of ringing it, but she is coy about whether she did or not — way too coy for the story.

Barbara feels bad for Henry all alone in the big house, but apparently the bedroom tease leads to nothing.  She does, however, send him her cat Jennet to keep him company.

ngshellkeep02In addition to hearing the bell ringing, Henry also hears the roars of large jungle cats just outside his home.  He even believes he sees their shadows.

The next day he hears the bell again in concert with the roaring cats.  This sets not only his head spinning, but his entire body as the director apparently had him standing on a lazy-susan.  Now there’s a behind-the-scenes photo I want to see.  Finally, he thinks he’s sees a leopard in the doorway.

That night he hears the ringing again, but he sees the bell sitting on the table.  In fact, when he examines it, there is no clapper.  OK, that proves there was no ringing, but there must have been one in there when Maggie was alive.  What happened to it? Nothing happened to it — it was just needed for a story point.

ngshellkeep04Hearing another roar, Henry looks out Maggie’s bedroom window.  The leopard has changed its spots; in fact, he changed them into stripes because he’s a tiger now.  Henry looks for a weapon in the kitchen. Initially picking up a rolling pin.

Remembering he is not a 1950’s housewife, he discards it for a carving knife about the size of a machete.  What were they have at Thanksgiving, ostrich?  Even with that lethal weapon,he’s pretty ballsy going after a tiger.

He begins hacking away at foliage, even beginning with some plants in the house.  He gets glimpses of the tiger slinking away, but never catches him before falling exhausted to the ground.  He walks back to the house, still hearing the bell.  He dutifully marches up to Maggie’s bedroom.

Barbara comes by to see Henry that day and we see Jennet his lapping up blood dripping from his mauled body.


  • Or maybe it was all just a bad case of tinnitus.
  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Leonard Nimoy was in A Quality of Mercy.
  • The director has only 3 directing credits but a ton of Director of Photography credits, including the just about the entire run of Star Trek. so, that Leonard Nimoy was really a good sport.
  • The director has admitted he was over his head in directing this episode.  The writer also accepted some blame, but he has a pretty impressive resume.

Night Gallery – Finnegan’s Flight (12/03/72)

Pete Tuttle is standing in the yard as Finnegan (Burgess Meredith) enters.  Well, yard is charitable as there is no grass to be seen.  It is a prison yard enclosed by concrete walls.  No pool, no tennis courts, so you can be sure there are no politicians here.

Finnegan approaches the wall and looks at the guard atop it.  He asks for permission to leave.  Even though he says “please”, he is understandably denied, and begins pounding the concrete walls with his fists until they are bloody and broken.

He wakes up in the infirmary with the prison shrink.  He has been a model prisoner for his extended stay — current 30 years for murder, and before that a string of lesser crimes. Nowadays he mostly says please and thank you and follows orders, gets three meals a day, clean sheets and free health care.  Although haircuts do not seem to offered.

The doctor asks why he smashed his hands, and he says, “Do you know Pete Tuttle? Just between us, Doc, that’s the only time I care about living. ngfinnegansflight09 When Pete Tuttle makes me feel I’m something.”  This is getting a little uncomfortable, but he continues that Pete Tuttle has the ability to make him feel that he is somewhere else, outside the prison.

The shrink calls Tuttle into his office and learns that on the outside he was a professional hypnotist.  Apparently it didn’t work on the judge, because he is in the jug too, doing 5 years for a B&E.  He says Finnegan is the perfect subject for hypnotism — a guy locked up forever longing to get out.  Why Tuttle felt the best way to assist him was to give him the suggestion that “his fists were made of pig iron” is not clear.  How about, “You are the best laundry truck driver in the world.”

Suggesting (or maybe “suggesting”) to the shrink that Finnegan is so amazingly responsive to hypnosis, that there might be a book in it, the shrink has the guards bring Finnegan down to his office. Tuttle puts him under in a few seconds.  Pouring a cup of water from a cooler, he tells Finnegan that the water is boiling hot and commands him to put his fingers in it.  The power of his suggestion, or the receptiveness of Finnegan’s mind is so strong that blisters appear on his fingers.

ngfinnegansflight10It is an impressive display of hypnosis, but couldn’t Tuttle come up with demonstrations that didn’t end up mangling Finnegan’s hands every time?

The next time, Tuttle gives a more gentle suggestion that Finnegan is in an airplane.  We see Finnegan pretending to hold the controls and even making an airplane noise.  The warden comes in — bizarrely seeming to have been costumed for a WWII Nazi role — and doesn’t like what is going on.

Finnegan begins coughing and laughing.  Imagining himself in the jet, he has induced hypoxia — a lack of oxygen — in himself.  Did he imagine the Jet had no canopy?  Well, it was mentioned earlier in the episode that jets were invented after his incarceration, so I’m willing to give that a pass.  His face begins to blister as he were 50,000 feet up, almost in a vacuum.

ngfinnegansflight11Tuttle suggests to Finnegan to bring the plane down, but Tuttle must have also trained the 9/11 hijackers — he got Finnegan in the air, but can’t teach him how to land.  Finnegan is terrified, imagining himself in a dive.  His hair is even being blown back by his imagination, so maybe he does think jets are open-cockpit like bi-planes.

His perception of being in a jet is so strong, that as he “crashes”, the hospital ward explodes in flames even though — just as at the Pentagon on 9/11 — there were no airplane parts. [1]  Coincidence?

Pretty good episode of what I suspect is not an original concept.  But Burgess Meredith elevated every episode he was in . . . just not above ground-level in this one.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Burgess Meredith appeared in 4 episodes.
  • Aired 4 years before Meredith was in Rocky.
  • [1] Of course an airplane hit the Pentagon — shut up.

Night Gallery – The Other Way Out (11/19/72)

Brad Meredith (Ross Martin) returns to the office after a cruise with the missus.  Maybe it is a forgotten 70’s custom, but he is welcomed back to the office with a huge vase of roses.  I just returned after a few days off and didn’t get shit.

His oddly hot secretary (could have been Kitty’s mother on Arrested Development) is catching him up on mail and hands him a strange hand-written note suggesting that he might find something of interest on Page 5 of the March 14th newspaper.  He is startled to see an article titled “Go-Go Dancer Mysteriously Slain”.  23 year old Marilou Doubleday, a dancer at a local topless bar has been found dead.

ngotherway03At the golf club, he finds that another letter has surreptitiously been slipped into his coat pocket.  This one instructs him that full instructions can be found in his glove compartment.  The valet gets his Caddy . . . or did the caddy get his valet?  No, the valet gets his Caddy.  Sure enough, in the glove compartment, there is more information.  And isn’t it about time we found a new name for the glove compartment / glove box?  Is anyone still storing their Dick Dastardly goggles and gloves in these things?  Of course, maybe the goofy concept of measuring the engine by the number of horses it equals should be the first step into the 21st century.

Someone has left a picture of the topless girl — sadly only a head-shot — and a map.  He is instructed to bring the money at 11 pm or “tardiness will produce lamentable results.”  Who wrote this thing, William F. Buckley?  Stating the amount of money might have been helpful, but maybe it’s like an interview — never limit yourself by saying how much you can earn in a year.

ngotherway04Also, the map is utterly useless.  He is presumably starting from San Bernardino, then is to veer off to the right onto an unnamed road.  That road shows an X at the 7-mile mark for no discernible reason.  Then the maps says “To Hesperia 11 Mi.”  It then shows the unnamed road meandering to a T junction labelled Hesperia.  On the other hand, it is easy to refold and takes up little room in the glove compartment (means nothing to the GPS generation, I know).

That night, he heads out to Hisperia (in blatant disregard for Hesperia as mentioned in the letter).  He stops at a sign that says Hisperia 11 Mi. — just as was indicated on the map — to check his briefcase, cash, and gun.  After resuming, he swerves to avoid a fallen telephone pole and runs aground, requiring him to hoof it the rest of the way.

ngotherway06He finds a house with the lights on. Getting no answer at the door, he lets himself him; as you do.  He is startled by Burl Ives who tells him the phone is out — hey, foreshadowing! — and he can’t loan out the car without consulting Sonny who is at the movies.

He is shocked when Ives locks him in a room.  Even more so when he sees several pictures with the faces cut out.  The head-shot he found in his glove compartment perfectly fits one of them.  Ives re-enters with a shotgun and says that was his grand-daughter, Sonny’s sister in the picture.

ngotherway05Meredith attempts to escape, but Ives’ wild dogs keep him in the house.  He managed to shoot several of them, but only has one bullet left.  And Ive’s ominously reminds him that Sonny is on the way.  He does, however, taunt Meredith that there is the titular “one way out.”

There are two twists.  Neither are original, but both are always fun tropes, so no hard feelings.  Pretty good episode marred only by the absolute-zero performance of Sonny. He could have been hammy, campy, horrific, comedic, almost anything.  Sadly he was an absolute nothing.  Still, he played a certain part and left Meredith wimpering in horror, so ya gotta respect that.


  • Twilight Zone Legacy:  Ross Martin was in 2 episodes.
  • $10,000 in 1972 dollars would be $57,000 in 2015.


Night Gallery – You Can Come Up Now, Mrs. Millikan (11/12/72)

ngmillikan02I’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?

ngmillikan03He 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.

ngmillikan04Ozzie 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.

ngmillikan06When 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.

The dude with his back to the camera was the Mayor in Animal House.

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.

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.