Tales from the Crypt – Death of Some Salesmen (10/02/93)

tftcdeathofsome02After we see Ed Begley Jr. humping some floozy in a hotel, he is up early the next morning to check the newspaper obituaries; presumably to see if my appetite is listed. Actually, we were fortunate enough to see very little of him, but did get some swell nudity from the girl — in a show hosted by a puppet. That still baffles me.[1]

Apparently he made her promises about rescuing her from her lousy job and that dirtwater burg.  She accuses, “But you said you loved me” and he responds, “Yes, and you dropped your little panties.  It’s called salesmanship.”  No, it’s called lying.  Sharknado / Sharknoddo.

He drives out to a farm where Yvonne DeCarlo answers the door.  Asking for her husband, she tells him her husband died a few days ago.  Unlike her first husband, this one ain’t coming back — not even on TFTC.

tftcdeathofsome07He pretends to be shocked and does a variation of a gag that Chevy Chase did so much better in Fletch. He explains that just last week her husband had made a down-payment on a cemetery plot. He says it is too bad he died before paying the balance because the plot package covered funeral expenses plus $10,000 cash.  “Reluctantly” Ed agrees to bend the rules so Yvonne doesn’t lose out on the bennies (i.e. he bilks her out of $250 cash).

Having ungilded the Lilly (see what I did there?), he arrives at another farmhouse.  In a bizarre but fairly pointless bit of casting [2], the door is answered by the always welcome Tim Curry, but playing a woman (an actual woman — Ma Brackett — not just a sweet transvestite).  Although he went to the wrong address, and there was no obituary to lay the groundwork, Ma is still interested in what he is selling and calls out Pa Brackett — also played by Tim Curry. Very strangely, Ma looks like Tim Curry, but I can detect no resemblance in Pa.

tftcdeathofsome10They are very impressed by the brochures he has had printed up. He generously offers them a package deal for $750 that will provide $20,000 in death benefits.  Sounds like a good deal to them, but Pa is pretty shrewd and says they will have to see the plot in person.  Ed is able to stall them for a day and they go down stairs to get the cash.

While alone, Ed sees several of his predecessors — salesmen who have been decapitated, gutted with vacuum cleaner hoses, stuffed into TV consoles, etc.  He heads for the door, but is locked in and Pa clubs him to unconsciousness.

They rouse him, handcuffed,  and introduce him to their daughter Winona (also played by Tim Curry).  Despite all manner of hideousness, he tells her she is beautiful.  She takes him upstairs and rides him cowgirl style, although more cow than girl.  During pillow talk, she says she wants to get married so they can take her dowry and get away from her parents.  The dowry is money from all the dead salesmen and Winona estimates it at $40 – $50,000.

tftcdeathofsome08Begley shoots Winona and digs down about 4 feet in the basement where he finds a box with a piece of paper in it.  He unrolls the document to see one of his own contracts for a Restful Hill Cemetery plot — that is the dowry. This is where things go awry.

The contract is a mess.  I guess they figured that no one would notice in state of the art 1993 low-rez TV. Why were Mr. Jones and Begley filled in the Witness line rather than as the active parties?

And why was it buried under 4 feet of dirt?  Did one of the family dig the hole that night? And then fill it in?  For what purpose?  OK, the microwave salesman’s head was in the microwave, the TV salesman’s body was stuffed in the console, so it makes sense that Begley would be buried.  But irony shouldn’t require that much work.  In fact, irony should require no work  — the universe does the heavy lifting.

tftcdeathofsome06Turns out Begley was shooting blanks (with the pistol, presumably not in bed).  Winona is not dead, and Pa blows Begley away just before telling him that this is salesmanship — a phrase that sort of worked in the beginning, but makes little sense at the end.

If you overlook the nonsense at the end, it is a fun episode with great performances from Begley and especially Curry.  It was nice to see Lilly Munster again even though she had put on a lot of pounds and years (but haven’t we all).

Post-Post:

  • [1] It never occurred to me before that there really aren’t any cute Muppets. Granted, there aren’t that many humans among them, but — again, just occurring to me — they are almost all male. In fact, the only female I can think of is Janice — a groovy chick, but with a mouth that goes half-way around her head.  Just because it works — awesomely, BTW — for Anne Hathaway, doesn’t mean everybody can pull it off.
  • [2] Maybe I was wrong about the pointless casting.  The IMDb also cites his Emmy nomination for playing mother/father/sister/daughter, but he only portrayed 3 characters.  Sister and daughter don’t count as two people — this ain’t Chinatown, Jake.  Maybe this is why they all look so similar and the daughter is a little off.
  • The ugly daughter is named Winona.  Begley’s name is Judd.  Coincidence?  Just as an aside, PC I am not, but I never call real people ugly.
  • Title Analysis:  Inevitable, I suppose.  But shouldn’t it be “Deaths” since there were several killed?  Maybe “Death of Another Salesman” would have been a better choice grammatically and parody-wise.

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