Tales from the Crypt – The Ventriloquist’s Dummy (S2E10)

Image 006Don Rickles is the titular ventriloquist, onstage and getting big laughs.  After the show, he signs a photo for an admiring youngster who will grow up to be Bobcat Goldthwait.

That night, the hotel where he was performing burns down, and Rickles becomes a recluse for the next 15 years.

Bobcat tracks him down in his remote cabin.  He spots a newspaper clipping that says Rickles was injured in the fire; he shows the covered stump of his hand to Bobcat.  Bobcat asks him to come see his act that night and see if he’s got what it takes; other than a left hand.

Bobcat goes on during amateur night and is awful.  Rickles walks out.  Later, Bobcat finds him at the bar.  Rickles, being Rickles, tells him he was terrible.

tftcvent02Outside, Bobcat sees a woman who has just been murdered and realizes that Rickles killed her and also a showgirl 15 years ago, and also started the fire.  He confronts Rickles, but he blames Morty, his dummy.

Bobcat tells him it is just a dummy. Despite Rickles protests, he pulls Morty’s case off the shelf to show Rickles that it is just an object.  But he discovers it is an object without a head.

In the normal universe, Rickles would just tell Bobcat the head was out for cleaning or stored in another case, or destroyed in the fire.  Turns out Morty is Rickles twin brother conjoined at the wrist.  Morty’s head was really Rickle’s mutant brother.

Rickles / Morty attacks Bobcat, and Rickles chops his brother off at the wrist.  Morty rips Rickles throat out, killing him.

tftcvent04Bobcat goes after Morty with a baseball bat.  He launches him with a loose floor board, swats him with the bat, he lands in a meat grinder and Bobcat starts grinding.  Then stops.

Bobcat goes on stage using Morty in a mask.  They argue and Morty painfully grafts himself onto Bobcat’s wrist.

A good episode with great performances and a great twist.


  • Written by Frank Darabont of Shawshank, The Mist, and that season of The Walking Dead — you know, the good one.
  • Don Rickles’ daughter is in the episode billed as “Girl at Bar.”  Her next TV role was in Herman’s Head as “Woman at Bar.”  I eagerly await her future turns as “Middle-Aged woman at Bar” and “Old Woman at Bar.”

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