Twilight Zone Tuesday – Passage for Trumpet

Passage for Trumpet

Joey Crown – Jack Klugman
Gabriel – John Anderson
Baron – Frank Wolff
Nan – Mary Webster
Truck Driver – James Flavin
Pawnshop Man – Ned Glass


Trigger Warnings: Thoughts of suicide, attempted (and partly successful) suicide.

A passage for self-pity might be a better title for this episode. Prepare for heavy snark incoming. I’m not in a humour to tolerate stupidity this Tuesday.

We hear the ubiquitous jazz music (what else did you expect with an episode entitled ‘Passage for Trumpet’?) It looks like we’re in a back alley with old signs and I really hope some old statues. Either that or there’s a ballerina frozen in place in the alley.

SERLING:
Joey Crown. Musician with an odd, intense face. Whose life is a quest for impossible things. Like flowers in concrete, or like trying to pluck a note of music out of the air and put it under a glass to treasure.

The music stops and Joey Crown grabs his trumpet out of it’s case and looks very nervously anxious. Some well-dressed people come out and look with uncomfortable disdain at Joey. The man who had been playing comes out soon after them to have a smoke in the alley. Joey squares his shoulders and seems to gather his courage to talk to the dapper man. The man, whose name is Baron, seems very glad to see Joey and shakes his hand vigorously. Joey says he brought along his baby (his horn and I long to make a rubbing your brass joke here but I’ll restrain myself) and wants to know if Baron needs a horn for the night. Baron looks a bit uncomfortable and tells Joey that he doesn’t need a horn that night. The last time Joey played for him the alcohol got in the way. Joey replies, “Psssh! Booze! Don’t remember what it tastes like! He’s way up on the wagon now!”

Baron doesn’t look like he believes him. Joey gets affronted and says he’s not an old coot. He acknowledges what booze does to him. But he’s not an old man and he and his trumpet have a lot of years left in them. Baron softens a bit. Joey flings an arm about Baron’s shoulders. He assures Baron that he wouldn’t throw his talent away on a bum habit. Joey rattles on, trying to convince Baron, telling him that when he plays he can make people cry. Which might sound weird but listening to certain music can affect me the same way. Except jazz. It’s one of the few musical genres I have no interest in. I don’t mean to slight those that do like it, everyone has their own taste.

Anyways, back to the story. Alas, as Baron sits down on a nearby crate Joey snatches up his case and a bottle of whiskey, Golden Delight, falls out and shatters on the ground. Baron looks disappointed and Joey looks ashamed. Baron says, “Don’t do it.” I’m not sure what he means, exactly. Don’t lie? Don’t go onstage? don’t be ashamed? Baron slips some money into Joey’s pocket, telling him it’s for when he had a magic horn. Harry James, Max Kaminski and Butterfield. Taking a quick tip-toe through the internet I find that these are actual, well-known jazz musicians. Baron tells Joey that he had a little of all their talent rolled into one. Joey traded it for some booze and got the crummy end of the stick. Baron wants to know why? What happened to him?

Joey says it’s because “he’s sad, because he’s nothing, because he lives and dies in a crummy one-roomer with dirty walls and cracked pipes.” So? Some people have it a lot worse. Clean your walls, fix your pipes. Sheesh.  He doesn’t have a girl, he’ll never be anybody. Since he’s decently good looking I’m thinking his attitude is probably what keeps the ladies away. He goes on to say that the horn is half of him. He can’t even talk to people because the horn is half his language. But when he’s drunk, oh boy, he doesn’t see the crummy apartment and doesn’t see the hours going by because then he’s Gabriel with the horn. Baron is exceedingly patient throughout this speech. Joey puts his trumpet to his lips. I think the actor screws up but I don’t play the trumpet so I’m not really sure. At first he puts the whole mouthpiece in his mouth, then takes it out. I only played the flute (for one year and very, very badly, sadly my dreams of being the next Ian Anderson were crushed). So i thought maybe it’s something players do to wet the mouthpiece.

Anyways, Joey goes on to say that when he’s drinking he’s Gabriel with his golden horn. When he puts the trumpet to his lips, it comes out jewels, a symphony, the smell of fresh flowers in the summer. Beauty. I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for his neighbors. But only when he’s drunk. Joey wanders off and Baron looks like he feels very sorry for him. He doesn’t wander very far, in fact, I can’t see that he’d really be even out of sight of Baron. Joey throws a bit of a fit and chucks his case down, settling himself down in the scaffolding. Then he calls himself a plain, nothing, nobody. He decides to let out his misery in a melancholy trumpet riff. As little as jazz thrills me (although I do like the trumpet in some songs, Johnny Cash’s ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ has some excellent horns in it) I do get the reason behind his doing so. As the great philosopher Jem says, music is magic. And weirdly, when I’m bummed or annoyed, depressing music actually cheers me up. Either that or metal. Whichever.

As Rod talks, Joey continues to play. It does look like he’s actually playing. So maybe I was wrong earlier.

SERLING:
Joey Crown. Musician with an odd, intense face. Who, in a moment, will try to leave the Earth and discover the middle ground. The place we call…the Twilight Zone.

Joey wanders into a pawn shop and sets his trumpet down on the counter. The pawn shop guy greets him by name and Joey calls him Nate so I’m guessing that this isn’t the first time Joey’s pawned something. Joey says that this time he’s selling the trumpet. Nate offers him eight and a half for it. Joey starts to argue but says fine. Eight and a half. Nate says he’d give more but he has enough instruments there to provide two sousa bands and he needs another trumpet like he needs his taxes raised. Which, if Joey weren’t so caught up in his own misery, should make him think that he’s not the only one with unfulfilled dreams of music. Joey takes out the trumpet to touch it a bit more before he sells it. Why bother selling it? He obviously loves it, he’s not getting much money for it so he might as well keep it. He does the mouth thing on it again so now I’m guessing it is actually something trumpet players do. Any of you guys know?

Joey took his newfound wealth to a bar. He bows to a lady walking by but when she doesn’t pay him any attention he changes it to a hand gesture that’s not quite a flip-off but close. Joey walks over to the pawn shop, which looks like it’s right next door to the bar, so Joey didn’t go far. He watches as Nate puts his trumpet in the window with a price tag of $25.00. A far cry from the eight bucks he paid for it. Joey taps on the window to let Nate know that he sees him. Nate has the good grace to look embarrassed and shrugs and tells Joey that he won’t get that price for it that quickly. Nate says he’s got an overhead that he has to meet and that guys like Joey wouldn’t understand that. They don’t have anyone to be responsible for. Which is generally how pawn shops work so you’d think that Joey would know that. Joey agrees with himself that he has no responsibilities, no nothing.

As he stumbles from the window he leans against a post for a minute, chewing on his nail. Weirdly the light looks as though it’s turned from night to day. He watches a truck hauling down the road and at the last minute throws himself in front of it. Great. Traumatize the driver because you want out. Don’t worry, I’m not going off too much here but that’s a pretty crappy thing to do, since now the driver will feel guilty about hitting him.

Joey bounces off the hood and back onto the sidewalk. There’s a very nice shot of Joey’s face reflected in the pawn shop window. It’s night again and Joey wakes up and gets up. There’s only one person around and that’s a police officer, talking on an emergency telephone. When he gets off the phone Joey talks to the officer and tell him that he’s not a real drunk, just ask the officer who’s normally there, Officer Flaherty. The officer is making notes in a notebook and doesn’t appear to hear him.

Joey walks off, asking a passer-by for a light but the passer-by ignores him. Hmm, wonder what’s going on? A guy is combing his hair in the reflection of a window and Joey asks him for a light. The Comber ignores him, too. He asks the ticket cashier at a theater if the movies are any good. He sounds like he’s getting a bit frustrated now. He says he’s “not a masher” but he knows the girl that usually works there. a girl named Gracie. Can someone tell me what “masher” or “mashing” means? I also came across it in Robert W. Chambers’ ‘The Yellow Sign’, in which a young lady says that she “made a mash”. The only thing I could think of was a flirter or flirtation?

He keeps talking to the lady. It sounds like he’s trying to convince other people (and himself) that it was an ‘accident’ not attempted suicide. She continues to ignore him. He tells her that she could at least be courteous. He yells at her to look at him. It’s finally dawning on him that it might have actually been successful rather than an attempt. Although I always had an issue with the phrase “successful suicide”.

He looks at the window the Comber was looking into but does not see a reflection. So he’s either dead or he’s a vampire. He starts getting a little worried and falls back on the favored Twilight Zone fallback of “someone’s pulling a gag”. I truly believe you could make a drinking game out of how many times that phrase is used. He tries talking to the girl again and then back to the window/mirror. He sees a man reflected behind him and runs over to him. Joey again asks for a light and is relieved when the guy pulls out a matchbook. Joey thinks that he’s finally heard but the joke’s on him. The guy lights his own cigarette and walks on. I always said that would be hell. Cigarettes a-plenty but nothing to light them with.

Joey’s cigarette falls from his mouth as the truth finally sinks in that he’s dead. He yells to some people coming out of the theater that the truck worked after all. As a woman comes up to purchase a ticket he tells her that he’s haunting her – Boogee booggee (really, that’s exactly what he does). I’m not sure if he’s freaking out about being dead or enjoying it. He says that at last in his short life he was successful at something.

He walks back into the bar and asks the bartender if Charlie’s off. Then he yells if anyone hears or sees him. He’s looking a bit bored with his newfound ghosthood. He says he used to come in there a lot but he doesn’t know any of them and they surely wouldn’t have noticed him. It does strike me odd that everyone’s different. Shouldn’t they be the same people? And if they’re afterlife people shouldn’t they see him? Even though he’s a ghost and nobody sees or hears him, he’s able to pick up the bottle of Golden Delight whiskey and pour himself a drink. Without the bartender noticing a floating bottle right in front of his face. I don’t know why but I feel like there’s something to the name of the whiskey, Golden Delight, that makes me think it’s not a random name but for the life of me I can’t pin down what it could be referencing.

The bartender is so studiously looking away from Joey that it looks a bit unnatural. I’d think that he’d glance in his direction once by accident, even if he doesn’t see him. And I don’t know what the bartender is doing behind the bar but the hand motions look…odd.

Joey says Charlie was a really nice guy and would sometimes give him a drink on the house. He also went out and got an old Tommy Dorsey record from way back, when Joey was playing with him. On that same record was a long passage of Joey playing the trumpet, solo. Charlie ordered it just for him and put it on the jukebox. Charlie does seem like a very nice guy. After cuddling the jukebox a bit more, Joey wanders back to the club from earlier.

As he’s checking out a blonde who apparently went outside to take two puffs of a cigarette and go back in, he hears some soulful horn music from somewhere nearby. It draws Joey like a magnet and he soon finds the player. He watches, enraptured as the player (who’s half in shadow) plays. When he stops, Joey begs him to continue, it’s so beautiful. The player says thank you. Joey gets all excited because the Mysterious Trumpet Player heard him. Joey asks him if he’s a ghost, too, and the player laughs and says “not really”.

I know it’s not, nor is it supposed to be, but damn. The Mysterious Trumpet Player looks like Abraham Lincoln. Joey says he is, he stepped in front of a rather large truck that morning so he’s not fit for “The House”. It doesn’t seem to trouble him much. Abe Lincoln asks Joey, by name, if he’d like to blow on his trumpet for a bit. I…will say nothing here. Either way, is that normal because I know how wet mouthpieces get (this is killing me) and it seems a little icky to me to share a mouthpiece. Joey catches that the man called him by name. The Player replies that yes, he knows Joey, has known him for quite some time. Joey says they’ve never been introduced. The Player says that’s true but he does know him, Joey plays a pretty good trumpet. He says he should know, he’s a pretty good expert on trumpets. Joey says The Player is no slouch. He tells him to go ahead. Joey plays a bit (I notice he doesn’t stick it in his mouth, though). The Mysterious Player watches with pleasure.

Joey wants to know how The Mysterious Player knows him. He’s not a ghost, and not dead. The man replies no, he’s not dead. And neither is Joey. This strikes Joey and he doesn’t look particularly pleased about it. The player says nope, by no means. Joey wants to know why the other people didn’t see him. The Mysterious Player says that they are ghosts. They just don’t know it. Sometimes they have to work it that way to make it easier. They let them go on in a life that they’re familiar with.

Joey says he stepped off the curb and the player says yes, he did. Joey’s in a kind of limbo. Neither here nor there. The Mysterious Player asks which Joey prefers? Joey mulls over the question. He says he always felt that he was getting dealt from the bottom but then says that maybe he just forgot how much there was for him. And maybe he forgot about how much he loved playing the trumpet and going to Charlie’s and talking to people and movies. He says he never won a beauty contest but he had friends. Good friends. as evidenced by Baron, earlier. And, really, I do think he’s rather good looking. Maybe not dazzling eye candy but handsome. Twilight Zone must think so, too. This guy shows up on a lot of them.

Joey says somewhere along the line he forgot about all of the good things. Just forgot. I think a lot of people do, myself included. The Mysterious Player says that Joey has a choice. Joey looks excited at this. He says if he really has a choice then he wants to go back. The Mysterious Player says, ok, you go back, then. He tells him no more stepping off of curbs. Impressing upon him that this is his choice and will be the only chance. Sometimes life is sweet and sometimes it’s sour and goes down hard. Since I like sour stuff I think I’d compare it more to a rock being shoved down your throat and being kicked in the gut while you’re down. But hey, that’s just me.

Mysterious Player tells Joey that he’s got a good talent. To make music, to move people. To make them want to laugh, to cry, to tap their feet, dance. It’s an exceptional talent. I’ve got to agree with him. Any art form is a true talent and shouldn’t be slighted. Drawing, painting, music, computer graphics, all of them. He takes back his trumpet and tells Joey not to waste his talent. He says he’ll see Joey around and walks off.

Joey yells after him to “Wait! I didn’t get your name!” The man with the trumpet yells back that his name is Gabe, short for Gabriel.

Joey runs after him and ends up in front of the pawn shop. He hears tires screeching and a scream and turns to look. Suddenly he’s on the sidewalk, with the man from the truck leaning over him. The guy says he’s sorry, he didn’t see him, Joey just stepped right out in front of him. Joey’s lucky he only got grazed a bit. Joey says it’s ok, no harm done. The truck driver says he hasn’t had an accident in fourteen years and he’d be much obliged if Joey didn’t call any ambulance or insurance companies or anything. He thanks Joey for being a pal and shoves some money in his hand. Well, since Joey deliberately stepped in front of the truck it is the least he could do.

Joey looks at the money in his hand and runs into the pawn shop to reclaim his property. Later he’s playing on the rooftop of an apartment building, presumably the one with his crummy room with the dirty walls. A lady appears out of nowhere and compliments Joey’s playing. Joey tells her that he gave it up this morning but now he’s taking it back. She tells him that she just moved in. Joey tells him her name and she surprises him by asking him to play some more. He says he’ll play whatever she wants for as long as she wants him to. He tells her it’s a pretty nice city. The lady asks if maybe he can show her around. Methinks Joey’s gonna get a girlfriend. Maybe he’ll clean his walls if he’s got a lady friend. He starts telling her all about the cool things he can show her. We leave with him excitedly talking to the lady and pretty assured that things will be looking up for Joey.

SERLING:
Joey Crown, who makes music and who discovered something about life. That it can be rich and rewarding and full of beauty, just like the music he played. If a person would only pause to look and to listen…Joey Crown, who got his clue in the Twilight Zone.


Another Serling lesson about slowing down and smelling the roses. At least it’s not an escaping to the past episode. Not to sound annoying but this episode does have a pint. Life’s just a tad too short to be too ‘cool’ to not enjoy stuff.


Join us next week for yet another life lesson in being happy with what you are and/or have: Mr. Bevis

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Chaser

The Chaser

Professor A. Daemon – John McIntire
Leila – Patricia Barrymore
Roger Shackleforth – George Grizzard
Homburg – J. Pat O’Malley


I will warn you right now, this is a fairly skeevy episode. Just about anything to do with love potions is, really. Anyways, off we go.

There’s a line forming to use something rare and hardly ever seen anymore…a payphone. A semi-young man is tying up the line listening to a busy signal. A man rushes into the diner, asking for the telephone. He sees the line but his is a really important call so he bypasses it with a hand wave.The lady at the head of the line gives him a look that sends him to the back of the line. Even though he’s only been there a moment and has no idea what’s going on he calls it ‘madness’ to wait for the phone. For all he knows the guy on the phone just got there. The man on the phone hangs up and begins dialing again. This sends the newcomer from a snit into a perfect tizzy. It’s simply outrageous that he’s making another call! The lady at the end says it’s the man’s fifth call. He doesn’t even talk. Just dials and hangs up. Then she says, “Maybe he’s got a dialect!” Uhh, ok?

SERLING:
Mr. Roger Shackleforth. Age, youthful 20’s. Occupation? Being in love. Not just in love but madly, passionately, illogically, miserably, all-consumingly in love with a young woman named Leila who has a vague recollection of his face and even less than a passing interest. In a moment you’ll see a switch because Mr. Roger Shackleforth, a young gentleman so much in love, will take a short but very meaningful journey into the Twilight Zone.

The newcomer is in a dreadful hurry and buys the young lady’s place in line for a buck. The same with the man before her. He tries to buy the lady’s top of the line but she’s not so cheap. She wants two dollars for her place in line because why should first place be the same as third? She has a point. She gets her two dollars so now the only thing between him and the precious phone is Shackleforth, still listening to the dial tone.

Finally the young woman, whom I can only assume is Leila, picks up the phone. She’s attractive and really dressed up for lounging about in bed. She was clearly hoping for someone more interesting because when Shackleforth announces himself she loses all interest. He asks if he can come over and she says no. She looks a mess and can’t see anyone. Well, we know she’s lying but Shackleforth blows that off and says he must see her. Furiously, fiercely must see her. Dude. Take a cold shower. She says it’s impossible and when he says he loves her she tells him to stop this. He’s acting like a baby. I agree. He’s one restraining order away from stalking her. Although I’m not sure if they even had those back then. I will once again ask you, dear readers, to enlighten my ignorance.

He begs again to see her and then begs her to say something, anything. She says she’ll say something: “Why doesn’t he go and take a flying jump at the moon?” and hangs up. As soon as it’s clear that Shackleforth has hung up the newcomer shoves his way into the booth and deftly squeezes Shackleforth out. Shackleforth is still clutching the phone. He insists that he’s got to call leila back. She hung up on him so he has to make sure that she isn’t sore. Take. A. Hint. The newcomer tells Shackleforth that he heard it all through the door and his problem can’t be solved on the phone. Then he hands Shackleforth a card and tells him to go and see that man. If Shackleforth goes to see the man on the card, all his problems will be solved before the day is over.

Shackleforth looks at the card. He must have taken the man’s advice because the next time we see Shackleforth he’s in front of a rather large looking house. The name on the door reads: Professor A. Daemon. I’m sure this will end well. He rings the doorbell and the door swings open on it’s own. It reveals a dark room with wooden panel doors. The slide open of their own accord as well, revealing a large, library-looking room. An older gentleman is puttering around inside.

The older gentleman seems a bit crotchety and tells Shackleforth to stop lurking. Shackleforth says he wasn’t lurking, he just didn’t know if…Professor Daemon tells him that’s a common problem. ‘Not knowing if’. Daemon tells Shackleforth to sit down on a nearby pile of books. And I’ve got to say. The books he sits on are freaking huge. Daemon asks if Shackleforth has come for glove cleaner. Shackleforth says he didn’t come for that. Daemon dismisses him and Shackleforth says (for the third time) “As a matter of fact”. Daemon snaps at him to get to the point.

Shackleforth says he’s not sure why he came. That a man gave him a card but he’s not sure why he’s there. Shackleforth starts to set the scene but Daemon breaks in and says that Shackleforth wants what he has. Shackleforth protests that he doesn’t even know what Daemon has. Daemon says he has *ahem* : “Ointments, salves, powders, sovereign remedies, nectars, lotus blossoms, toxins, tonics, anti-toxins, decoctions, concoctions and potions”. And they all come guaranteed. Daemon goes back to flipping through his book and Shackleforth gets up to leave, saying he doesn’t need any of those things. Daemon says that he must, he’s here after all. Shackleforth says he doesn’t need any medicines because he’s not sick. Daemon says Shackleforth certainly seems ill, he looks feverish.

 

Shackleforth claps a hand to his head, just to check, I guess. He says it’s nothing, really. Daemon says he hasn’t got ‘nothing’, ‘something’ is what he supplies and you can get ‘anything’ here. Daemon finally smiles, asking if Shackleforth is ambitious and wants money, fame and the world at his feet. Shackleforth says no, that’s not what he wants at all. Daemon catches Shackleforth by the shoulder and guesses power, what Shackleforth wants is power. Shackleforth says no, all he wants is Leila. If he can have Leila he can do everything else for himself. Which seems a little backward to me. Leila looks entirely like a woman who would be impressed by wealth, fame and power. Or, hey! Here’s an idea! If you have all of those things you might find another woman whom you want and who would actually (willingly) love you back.

This seems to disgust Daemon and he says he should have known. He’s offering Shackleforth everything but all he wants is Leila. Shackleforth lays it out for Daemon. It’s pretty simple. Shackleforth loves Leila but she doesn’t love him. And there’s nothing Daemon can do to make it any different. Daemon says that’s the simplest thing of all. A mere trick of his science. He looks disappointed that Shackleforth doesn’t want something more complicated. Daemon tells Shackleforth that he can make a potion that will make Leila love him and him alone.

This catches Shackleforth’s attention. He asks Daemon if he can really do this. Daemon says he can make a potion that will make Leila want to spend every minute with him. When she’s not by his side, she’ll be gazing lovingly at him. She won’t even eat until he does. She’ll do anything that Shackleforth asks her to. She’ll worship him, weep at his touch and beg for his kisses. Sounds like we’re wandering into Christian Grey territory here. Instead of a contract it’s a potion. Ick. The potion will even make her forgive him if, in time, he should be unfaithful. Daemon wraps it up by saying that Shackleforth would get the same unconditional love from a Cocker Spaniel. Unless you’re into bestiality there is one major difference. But it’s a difference that’s just as icky if a potion is used on her against her will.

 

 

Shackleforth says, yes! That’s exactly what he wants! Shocker. Daemon mocks him, saying if it’s not his Leila’s love then it’s his Dorothy’s love or Gwen’s. He asks Shackleforth again if he wouldn’t be interested in the “glove cleaner” as he calls it. He also calls it the “Eradicator”, among many other names. Shackleforth looks confused and says he doesn’t want any glove cleaner. I’m assuming that the ‘Eradicator’ or ‘glove cleaner’ is actually a love eradicator. When paired with glove, well, the phrase ‘love glove’ comes to mind and now I want to bleach my brain, a bit.

Daemon tries urging the Eradicator again but since Shackleforth is as thick as a brick he doesn’t really get what Daemon is saying so he tells Daemon that he’s not making any sense. Daemon retorts that sense is all he makes and that’s why he’s so lonely. He says the Eradicator is swift, sure and leaves no trace. Daemon says that perhaps Shackleforth can’t afford it, it is $1,000 a bottle but the love potion is only a buck. Ok, so a terrible potion that is basically a drug is only a buck, while the cure for an unwanted infatuation is $1,000. Makes sense. And Daemon wonders why people choose the love potion? Daemon says it’s over-priced at that.

Shackleforth has a bit of scruple to ask if the potion will hurt Leila. Daemon says the only one likely to get hurt is Shackleforth himself but Shackleforth probably won’t believe that. Probably not because I don’t buy it. I’d think the person being drugged out of their free will to love is the most hurt in that situation. The Professor tosses him the bottle and Shackleforth forks over his dollar. Daemon says it will give Shackleforth everything he thinks he wants. Daemon tells him to put it in anything to drink and it’s effects are instantaneous. Shackleforth says he doesn’t really believe it but he’s willing to try anything. Shackleforth says that if it works he’ll be “the happiest man in the world.” Daemon says the words with him, rolling his eyes as though he’s heard it all before. Which he probably has.

Shackleforth apparently hurried over to Leila’s because now we’re at her apartment. The doorbell is ringing. Something tells me she was waiting for a different gentleman. She hurries to the door, primping her hair and wearing some sort of diaphanous, flowy negligee that looks a bit like a curtain. She opens the door but as soon as she sees it’s Shackleforth she tries to shut the door but he sticks his head in it. I think I would have shut the door anyway, it’s rude to force yourself through the door. He gives her an insanely large bouquet of flowers which she takes grudgingly. Then she asks him to leave again. He says he couldn’t have lasted the night without seeing her. He smooshes his face against the door and tells her that she doesn’t know what it’s like to love someone so passionately. Uh, how do you know? Just because she doesn’t love you then she must never have been in love? Besides Mr. Shackleforth, you’re not in love, you’re in lust and obsession which is a far cry from love.

He tells Leila that he’s brought champagne. Just enough for two glasses. So you brought her open champagne? Gross, it’s going to be flat. Either that or it’s a tiny little bottle.He begs her to give him five minutes and have one glass of champagne with him. She tells him that he’s being a stupid, silly clod. He tells her he loves her again and kisses the door. Get a freaking life! Whether it’s the champagne that tempts her or she feels sorry for him, she eventually relents and lets him in for one drink.

He follows her in very closely. She tells him to back off, she’s got to change out of her curtain and into a proper dress. He’s so thrilled that he says it’s like millennium. Okey dokey. Maybe he’s been listening to Prince’s ‘1999’ or something. Well, it is a tiny little bottle. That’s weird. I honestly didn’t know they had those back then. He opens it up and puts the GHB, I mean love potion, into Leila’s glass. She says let’s get this over  with. He watches her drink down her glass. Not sure if the champagne is that good or if she’s just trying to get rid of him. My guess is the latter since right after he drinks it she checks her watch and tells him that his time’s up. He doesn’t drink anything but just stares at her while she does. Oh, no. You’re not a stalkery creeper, not at all.

She thanks him for the champagne and flowers and tells him goodbye. He follows her and just keeps staring at her. Finally she asks what he’s staring at. He says it might be his last look so he wants to make sure it’s a good one. She says fine, you’ve had it, now leave. Then he asks for a kiss. She refuses. One thing you can’t really blame her for is that she doesn’t lead him on for gifts and stuff. She probably could if she wanted to. She tells him pretty bluntly that she does not love him, she doesn’t want him there and she doesn’t even particularly want him there or like him at the moment.

He walks away, all dejected looking. Again she takes pity on him and gives him a slight kiss on the lips. She says that’s the best she can do and it took all of her strength. He goes to leave but she tells him to wait, perhaps she’s being cruel and that she doesn’t mean to be. I’m guessing the potion is starting to work. He says he knows and starts to leave again. She tells him to wait again, and then asks if she can make the kiss a little nicer. Then she plants a lip-lock on him. She looks confused and asks what’s happening. She drops her shoulder wrap and Shackleforth says (ugh), “What a difference, baby! Come here!” and they lip-lock again. Gag.

It’s a while later, probably about a year. Shackleforth is reading a paper. As he lowers it we see that Leila is crouched at his feet, gazing at him adoringly. He tells her that she should sit on a chair. She says of course, she’s very sorry it bothers him. She just loves to kneel at her feet. He tells her to go kneel on a chair. she says ok and hops up. She asks which chair and he says any, it doesn’t matter. She offers to take his shoes off and get his slippers. He says no, they make his feet hot. And shoes don’t?  She tells him that if his feet are hot then she could soak her hands in ice water and caress them. I think I’m going to throw up. She offers him his pipe but he says it’s not broke in yet so she offers to break it in for him by smoking it all day for him.

There’s more but I think I’d honestly be sick detailing it all. Point is, she literally won’t leave him alone and he’s getting tired of it. He tries to read again and she starts tickling his chin with her fuzzy shoe. He hops up and says he’s got to go out. By himself. She wants to know if he wants her to go with but he says no, no, no. He says he might be late and gives her his jacket to cuddle with.

In an unsurprising turn of events, he’s headed back to Professor Daemon’s house. He rings and waits impatiently for the doors to open. Daemon says he rather thought that he’d be seeing Shackleforth again. Shackleforth tries to act casual and says he thought Daemon would like to know how everything turned out. And boy does that potion work! Shackleforth wants to know how Daemon’s been and what he thinks about their situation in China. Daemon looks like he could care less either way. Daemon pulls out the ‘glove cleaner’ again and repeats his sales pitch from before: “No taste, no smell, no way to detect it’s presence and it’s sure to work”. That is what Shackleforth came for, correct?

Shackleforth says gosh no! He just stopped by to tell Daemon how hunky-dory everything is. Daemon rubs it in that he was right about her loving Shackleforth all the way. Shackleforth finally breaks down and admits that it’s too much love. Isn’t there any way to tone it down or transfer it to something else a bit? Daemon says nope, you wanted her, she’s yours. Daemon tells him that the glove cleaner is the only way. Shackleforth says he can’t use that. Shackleforth says that Daemon doesn’t know what it’s like and he says of course he does. Why does he think he created the glove cleaner in the first place? Shackleforth tries to haggle the price down a bit, saying that $1,000 is his entire savings. Shackleforth breaks down and grabs the bottle from Daemon. Then he pulls a check, already made out from his pocket.

Daemon warns him about one thing. That when Shackleforth uses it, he must use it immediately and he must use it all. Shackleforth asks if it will spoil and Daemon says no. But if Shackleforth hesitates then he won’t use it at all. Daemon watches him leave. He comments to himself that it’s always the same way. First the stimulant, then the chaser.

Shackleforth comes home and she is literally cuddling with his coat and petting it. She, of course, is overjoyed when he walks in the door. He’s brought her another ridiculously large bouquet of flowers and tells her they ought to celebrate. Ok, they’ve been married for six months. She’s delighted, (of course) and says it’s just like the first time only this time he doesn’t have to beg to stay. he goes to get glasses. What a dick. He gives her the potion, then acts like she’s smothering him. How do you think she felt the nine billion times you called and wouldn’t leave her alone? She prattles on a bit about how much she loves him and he dumps the love glove cleaner in her glass eagerly. He’s perched on the back of the couch but she pulls him down to sit next to her and calls him her “Lover Marshmallow”.

She says she has news for her bunny rabbit and holds up a baby bootie. he freaks out and drops the glasses, along with the Eradicator. She says that’s all right, they don’t need champagne. He starts muttering to himself that he never could have gone through with it, anyways. She says it’s only the beginning and they’ll be like this for the rest of their lives. He looks terrified. Then he passes out.

SERLING:
Mr. Roger Shackleforth, who has discovered at this late date that love can be as sticky as a vat of molasses, as unpalatable as a hunk of spoiled yeast, and as all-consuming as a six-alarm fire in a bamboo and canvas tent. Case history of a lover boy who should never have imagined the Twilight Zone.


Love potions and wishes always creep me out. And it’s weird to me that in some stuff they’re used so casually. I can think of examples from Harry Potter to Supernatural.


Join us again next week for another episode of the Twilight Zone: Passage for Trumpet. And I’ll warn you right now, it might be a bit snark heavy.

Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Stop at Willoughby

A Stop at Willoughby


Gart Wiliams – James Daly
Mr. Misrell – Howard Smith
Janie Williams – Patricia Donahue
Helen – Mavis Neal Palmer
1960 Conductor – Jason Wingreen
1888 Conductor – James Maloney


Trigger Warnings: Suicidal thoughts, actions. Heavy snark.

Ah, a boardroom. Looks like fun. Looks like someone’s fidgety and tapping a pencil. At least he’s being considerate and tapping it on his knuckles so he doesn’t bother anyone. The Big Boss Man Smoking the Cigar is glaring at him disapprovingly. Tappy gets up to use the phone and wants Jake Ross’ secretary. Looking for Jake Ross, who is still out to lunch. Cigar Smoking Man wants Mulder! I mean, Jake Ross.

Tappy Guy wants Joni (the secretary) to get Jake. He’s out to lunch. And if he’s been gone since 12:00 then that’s a really long lunch. Tappy guy tells her to get Jake there now and after he hangs up he grabs his stomach with a wince of pain. Normally I’d suspect poisoning but since this isn’t that kind of episode I’m guessing that it’s an ulcer. Mr. Misrell (CSM) asks where Nervous Guy’s underling is with the three million dollar automobile account client. I’m not really sure what their business is, yet. Advertising? Insurance? Car dealership? Nervous Guy says it’s probably a big lunch rush but Mr. Misrell calls him an idiot and says the guy is probably chugging down martinis. He told Nervous that his underling was way too young to put on an account that large.

At this point there’s a knock at the door and a secretary hands in an envelope to Williams (Nervous Guy). He reads it to himself and does not look happy about it. Williams tells Mr. Misrell that it’s from Jake Ross. Misrell wants to know if Williams wants to share with the class. I’m guessing Williams probably really doesn’t but he does. Quite simply, Jake Ross is resigning and moving to another firm and taking his automobile client with him. Ok, I don’t know big business but is that legal to do? If Mr. Misrell is the boss there I can’t say it’s really surprising but it’s a dick move to Mr. Williams. Whom, if I’m understanding right, gave Jake the account in the first place.

Mr. Misrell is none too happy about this development. He won’t even let Mr. Williams sit down while he yells at him. He pretty much says that it’s all Williams’ fault. Even though Williams is just as surprised as Mr. Misrell and has clearly been screwed over by Jake. Misrell asks Williams what he’s going to do now that his pet project has flown away. Mr. Misrell is now doubting Williams’ taste in men. Whatever their business is, it’s a “Push, push push business! Push and drive!”

Misrell then humiliates Williams a bit more and repeats the whole push thing a lot more. Williams actually tells him to shut up and runs out. Outside the door, he grabs his stomach again. He looks up to see all of the secretaries looking at him. He goes across the floor to his own office. His secretary tells him that there are messages on his desk and fresh coffee. Then asks him if he wants anything. He says he wants a “sharp razor ad a chart of the human anatomy”. Not sure if he’s homicidal or suicidal. Either way, calm down dude! There are other jobs in the world. Although, I confess, I’d probably be feeling a tad homicidal to the guy who snagged my big account. He goes into his office and turns off the light. Isn’t that a little backward? He sits down at his desk and there’s a framed photo of a lovely, stylish woman. I’m guessing she’s Mrs, Williams. And with the way she’s dressed she’s not going to be happy at the loss of income if he’s fired for insulting his boss. But that’s unfair. We haven’t met her yet.

SERLING:
This is Gart Williams, age 38. A man protected by a suit of armour all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams’ protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. He’s been cannonaded this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target and blown him apart. Mr. Gart Williams, ad agency exec, who, in just a moment, will move into the Twilight Zone in a desperate search for survival.

I will admit that at first I kept spelling his name Garth. Gart is a little weird. Mr. Williams is on a train heading home, the fake snow whipping around the dark night. The conductor, who has seen Williams enought to ask “how do you do tonight?” Williams replies that he’s in the pink. I’m assuming he’s being either sarcastic or bitter. My money’s on bitter. The conductor comments that it seems to get colder every year. Williams replies “That’s the way of the world. The rich get richer and the days get shorter.” Um, ok? Are the rich literally stealing the sunlight? My, Williams is in a metaphorical mood tonight. Gart leans back, still tense. That’s…quite the feat. I’ve never really seen someone relax-tensely. In his mind he keeps hearing Mr. Misrell saying “Push, push, push!” The man does have an unpleasant voice. Williams freaks out and snaps, “That’s enough!” startling a few passengers. Gart curls up with his briefcase and shuts the window on the evil snow.

He dozes off. Bright light awakens him. He notices right away that the light fixtures are different, older. The other passengers are gone and Gart is alone on the train. He raises the window shutter (which are now blinds instead of a pull-down shade) the sunshine streams in and the first thing Gart sees is a large sign proclaiming the town to be “Willoughby”. He sees a typical idyllic past scene. A gentleman and lady are sitting on a bench by a tree. The tree looks a tad thin to provide much shade but whatever. He also sees a couple of kids that look like they escaped from Tom Sawyer. There’s also a man riding a Penny Farthing. Which looks like this:

I had no clue what a Penny-Farthing was. To be completely honest, I had no idea what one was. If you don’t mind a little personal digression, I was playing a hide and find game about Jack the Ripper and it asked us to find a Penny-Farthing. We had to look it up. I can see why it was named that but at the time I thought it was some kind of coin. I’m honestly admirable of anyone who can ride one of those. They look quite uncomfortable. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure that’s why bloomers became popular.

Anyways, Williams is stunned and looking bewildered. He also sees a coach for the bus depot. The friendly driver waves at him. A conductor announces that they have arrived at Willoughby. Williams asks what’s going on, where’s Willoughby? The conductor says that right outside is Willoughby. Williams says that there’s no stop on the line called Willoughby. And it’s summer outside! The conductor agrees and says that it’s mid-July. Williams argues that it’s November. Williams asks again where Willoughhby is. The conductor says that’s Willoughby, mid-July, 1888. Wait a minute…1888 was when Jack the Ripper was active. I think I’d make sure that Willoughby wasn’t in England (you never know, it is the Twilight Zone). And wasn’t Williams just asking for a razor and a chart of human anatomy? Holy Cthulhu! I know who Jack the Ripper is!

Um, anyways, The conductor gives the whole spiel. A nice, quiet town where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure. Why does this remind me of Gremlins II? Clamp’s Corner’s…where life slows down to a walk, Sorry, I keep getting distracted. The conductor wanders off, ringing the disembarking bell for Willoughby. Gart is the only one on the train. He starts to step onto the platform but is jolted awake from the past and back onto the train. Williams peeks out of the window to see if Willoughby is still there. It’s not. Just snow. The conductor asks him if he’s had a nice sleep. Williams agrees and also says he had an idiotic dream. Williams asks the conductor if there’s a Willoughby but the conductor says not on this line and walks away. Williams shakes his head a bit and then gets up to depart.

Williams is finally home and pouring himself a large drink. I can’t blame the guy but I don’t think it will do his ulcer any good. The lady from the picture comes down the stairs. She poses for a second and then snippily asks what he plans to do that evening. She asks if he’s going to get sloshed and sing “all-colored songs”. Um, is she referring to the Blues? If so it’s a pretty bigoted way to do it. And with Serling’s well-known hatred of blind prejudice we can tell right away that this is a specimen known as the “disagreeable, nagging wife”. A certain woman who pops up often in fifties/sixties programs. To do the Twilight Zone justice, though, it is a character that pops up very little. Most often it’s the husband who’s the jerk.

She knows all about his little spaz attack at work. Bob called his wife who then called Helen. I’m sure if it had been today it would have been live streamed by Bob with an, “OMG! Gart’s flipping out!” Hit like and share.

Moving on, Gart comments a bit bitterly that all the guys at work were very solicitous about him. Except that what he really means is that their compassion toward him is only because they’re relieved it’s not their heads on the block. She just wants to know one thing: Did he lose his job or not?

Oddly, he did not. Misrell called Gart before Gart left the office. Gart then goes off on a very sarcastic monologue about Misrell and his great, human generosity in letting Gart remain in his employ. He also adds that Misrell does not want to lose him because then a lot of clients would probably follow Gart and leave Misrell’s firm. Um, if Gart’s that good, Misrell, you might not want to be such a jackass.

Janie pours herself a drink, very calm now that her paycheck is secure and wants to know if there’s more. Gart tells her that’s it and then plops on the arm of a couch. He’s tired. Then I think you might find the sofa itself more comfortable than perching on the edge of it. He tells her that he’s sick and tired.

Janie tells him that he’s come to the right ward. They specialize in people that are sick. Because she’s sick and tired too, of a husband who’s favorite past-time is to wallow in self pity every time the competition gets too tough. Gart replies that some people aren’t meant for it. Or for big, pretentious houses they can’t afford and communities they don’t feel comfortable in. Or big country clubs that are more of a status symbol than club.

He says that, although he’s never been asked, he’d prefer a job where he can just be himself. A job where he doesn’t have to play pretend and act the part of an executive. A job where he doesn’t have to imagine himself “the bright young man who’s on his way up” because that’s not him. I don’t want to be unkind but yeah, Gart isn’t exactly a ‘young’ man on his way up. Unless young in the advertising world is late forties.

Janie, through this entire speech, has been turned away basically “Not listening, la la la la”. Gart says he’s a not very young, not very old, very uncompetitive, rather dull, quite uninspired, average type of a guy. With a wife who has an appetite. She wants to know where he’d be if it weren’t for her ‘appetite’. He knows where he’d like to be. Now he’s perched on one of the sunken living room steps. Dude, you have furniture! Quit perching like a gargoyle! He says he’d like to be in a place called Willoughby, the town of his dreams.

He says it was summer and warm and kids were barefoot with a fishing pole. It looked so pretty to him, like a Currier & Ives painting. There were bicycles and the almighty band stands. I honestly think you could play a drinking game with the number of times someone fondly wishes for a band stand. He says it was very serene and must be the way people lived a hundred years ago. I could probably go on all day about the fallacy of the ‘serenity’ of living a hundred years ago but I won’t.

He says it was a crazy dream and she agrees. On her way up the stairs she tells him to let her know when he wakes up. He begs her to wait a minute. She tells him he was born too late and he could be satisfied with a lazy summer afternoon and horse-drawn wagons. And band stands, don’t forget the band stands! So it’s her own fault for marrying a guy who’s big dream is to be Huckleberry Finn. She leaves Gart sitting on the living room steps and he starts talking to himself about how much he wants Willoughby, a place where a man can live his life full measure.

Gart’s back on the train, in the evil, evil snow. He hears a voice call “Willoughby” and looks outside but it’s still snowing. It’s the conductor, talking to Gart. The 1960 conductor. He tells Gart that he looked for Willoughby on every old timetable he could find but there’s no such place as far as he could see. That’s very nice of him. Gart tells him thank you and that it was probably just a dream. Gart closes the shade and leans back to nod off, trying to summon Willoughby again.

It works! The 1888 conductor is announcing Willoughby. I think he’s supposed to look elderly and gentle but he kind of looks like he could be Satan, to me. Gart raises his shade to look out at Willoughby. Now there’s a flower vendor and a band is playing in the band stand. The glorious, glorious band stand. He goes to disembark but the train starts moving. Although not very fast, really. I think he could hop off pretty easily. Gart calls for the conductor but the conductor is almost to the next car and doesn’t hear him. Wait a minute. Doesn’t the conductor…conduct the train? Or is it the engineer that actually drives it? I’m very confused.

The 1960 conductor turns around, hearing Gart call out in his sleep. He asks Gart if he’s ok and Gart says yes, fine, thank you. He vows that next time he’s going to get off at Willoughby.

The next shot shows a miserable Gart in his office. Misrell is going on about a new show and entertainer and, of course, push push push. I thought they were an ad agency not  talent agency? Oh, well. Whatever. Gart has a conference call going on but before speaker phones so he’s just got the handset laying on his desk. It does seem like they’re talking about a new show. Again, I thought this was an ad agency. It’s kind of like Rod forgot what business Gart was in halfway through the show. Either that or he’s being sneaky and comparing it to the ‘push push push’ of show business. Williams keeps saying, “I understand” and chugging down antacids. Gart says he’ll do what he can but Misrell tells him to do more than he can.Point is, it’s a busy, annoying day at the office. Gart’s phone is ringing off the hook with problems. There’s also a Bradbury name-drop that I missed before. He’s got two telephones talking to him ad his secretary is telling him that the boss wants to see him. Williams runs away into the bathroom and sees little floating Misrell heads in the mirror, yelling at him. Williams smashes the mirror. I’m guessing he’s done for the day.

He calls his wife and tells her he’s coming home. He can’t take another day of it and wants to know if she’ll help him. Her kind and compassionate response? She hangs up on him.

Gart rides the train home. And he does not look happy. The conductor wishes him a good evening but Gart doesn’t respond. Gart pulls the shade to doze off and summon Willoughby again. It works. He’s in Willoughby again. And the glorious, magical, mystical band stand. You’d better get off now, Gart, because they take off fast in Willoughby. Gart leaves his briefcase behind and goes to disembark. It’s like ‘Cheers’. Everyone knows his name. Gart starts being pulled in by the beguiling band stand. Happily, the conductor checks his watch against the grandfather clock at the station.

There’s a very nice fade from the pendulum to a swinging light. Two men are looking at a crumpled body. The man with the light asks the conductor what happened. The conductor looks stunned and a little sick. He tells the man with the light that Gart yelled out something about “Willoughby” and just jumped off the train. The doctor says Gart must have died instantly. The guy with the light shakes his head and says, “Poor fella.” They load Gart into the back of an ambulance that the funeral home sent. The back of the door closes and it reads “Willoughby & Sons Funeral Home”.

SERLING:
Maybe it’s wishful thinking nestled in the hidden part of a man’s mind. Or maybe it’s the last stop in the vast design of things. Or, perhaps for a man like Gart Williams who climbed in a world that went by too fast, it’s a place round the bend where he could jump off. Willoughby? Whatever it is, it comes with sunlight and serenity and is a part of the Twilight Zone.


Wow, for such a boring episode this was pretty long. Fortunately next week’s episode is The Chaser which is a bit more disturbing in essence but will be a lot more fun to talk about.

Top Ten Horror Anthologies – Movies

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.I love a good horror movie anthology. Although that is a clunky, clunky name for them. They’re pretty much the movie equivalent of a short story collection. Great for when you want just a short movie but also a long one. They can range from ‘creepy as all hell’ to ‘cheesy goodness’. So enjoy the list and maybe find a new, spooky favorite. They seem to have fallen out of favor a bit lately as feature films but I’m counting on the indie film industry to fill the gap.

Movie posters are linked to IMDB and all synopses come from there as well.

 

Black Sabbath

 A trio of atmospheric horror tales about: A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past; a Russian count in the early 1800’s who stumbles upon a family in the countryside trying to destroy a particularly vicious line of vampires; and a 1900-era nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients – an elderly medium who died during a seance.

Favorite Segment: The Telephone

 

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Creepshow

 An anthology which tells five terrifying tales based on the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s. Segments are titled: Father’s Day, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verril, Something to Tide You Over, The Crate and They’re Creeping Up On You

Favorite Segment: Father’s Day  because…this

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Twilight Zone: The Movie

 

Four horror/sci-fi segments directed by four famous directors, each of them being a new version of a classic story from Rod Serling’s landmark television series The Twilight Zone.

Favorite Segment: The re-imagining of the Twilight Zone’s classic “It’s a Good Life”

A bit of trivia. I do like this compilation but I have a hard time watching it knowing what happened with the segment about the bigot who gets a lesson in humility. It’s a good segment, well-written and, though it may be devoid of any Twilight Zone twists, it does touch upon one of Rod Serling’s favored topics. Prejudice. However, a tragic accident that happened on set makes it hard to watch.

In case you’re new to the site, every Tuesday at 6:30 PM EST, I put up a new recap and review of a Twilight Zone episode.

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Nightmares

 Anthology of four horror tales with a supernatural twist based on urban legends. The four ‘Chapters’ are: Topanga, Bishop of Battle, The Benediction, and Night of the Rat

Favorite Segment: The Benediction

Majorly cheesy as the rest of it is, The Benediction is a great segment.

 

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From a Whisper to a Scream

The uncle of an executed murderess relates four stories of his hometown, Oldfield, to a reporter: an elderly man pursues a romance with a younger woman, even to the grave and beyond…a wounded man on the run from creditors is rescued by a backwoods hermit with the secret to eternal life…a glass-eating carny pays the ultimate price for looking for love on the outside…and Civil War soldiers are held captive by a household of orphans with strange intentions for them.

Favorite Segment: A toss up between the glass eating carny and those creepy as all get out Civil War kids. And, of course, I love the wrap-around with Vincent Price. He was way too hard on this movie.

 

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Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

A young boy tells three stories of horror to distract a witch who plans to eat him. The three segments include Lot 249, Cat from Hell, and Lover’s Vow

Favorite Segment: Definitely “Lover’s Vow”. Such a good one!

 

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Tales from the Hood

Four short, moralistic horror vignettes (a la EC Comics) that deal with mostly black characters. The framing story introduces three youths out to pick up a drug shipment at a funeral parlor from the strange director, Mr. Simms. As the three punks wind their way through the parlor, Mr. Simms tells them the last stories of some of his more interesting clients.

Favorite Segment: I really like the wrap-around story and the segment just before the final reveal. The first segment with the little boy also has a great ending.

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Three…Extremes

An Asian cross-cultural trilogy of horror films from accomplished indie directors. The three segments included are Dumplings, Cut and Box

Favorite Segment: Um, Dumplings? Yeeaahh….

 

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Trick ‘r’ Treat 

Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.

Favorite Segment: Hmm, so many good ones to choose from. If I have to select one it would probably be the woman who hates Halloween and has a run-in with ‘Sam’. I mean, really, who can hate Halloween!?

 

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Tales from the Dead

Tales from The Dead is a Japanese-language anthology feature film of four ghost stories, each one with a unique personality…each frightening in a different way. Some stories involve revenge while others are warnings about appreciating the value of life. Tales From The Dead is four terrifying, original ghost stories in one.

I caught this on Netflix one evening and I am so happy to have found it again.

Favorite Segment: Really, on this one, the wrap-around story is the real star which is rarely the case. But the medium telling the stories is such a charismatic young lady that I always looked forward to seeing her again.

 

 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the list and will check some out that you may not have heard of before. I know there are quite a few good ones that I have left out. If I left out a favorite of yours or you want to know more about any of them, please, let us know in the comments.

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Nightmare As A Child

Nightmare As A Child

 


Season One – Episode 29: Nightmare As A Child

Helen Foley – Janice Rule
Markie – Terry Burnham
Peter Selden – Shepperd Strudwick
Narrator – Rod Serling


A very lovely lady is coming home from what looks like a long day at work. As she unlocks her apartment, however, she notices a little girl sitting on the stairs, staring at her.

Helen says hello to the little girl and asks if she’s new to the building or just visiting someone there. The little girl doesn’t answer. Miss Foley rambles on a bit, telling the little girl that she’s a schoolteacher. The little girl finally talks and tells Helen that she knows Helen is a teacher. She also goes one further on the creepy little kid scale and tells Helen that she knows all about her. And she is a bit creepy. Helen doesn’t think so though and invites her in for a cup of hot chocolate. She always makes a cup of hot chocolate when she comes home from work. The little girl says, “I know, but you don’t like marshmallows, do you?” Helen tells Creepy Little Girl that she’s right and Creepy Little Girl says that she doesn’t like them either.

They go into Miss Foley’s apartment, which is very nice looking, except that it looks like no one has stepped foot in the place. Ever. No, that’s not part of the show, just my commentary on their set design. Helen asks the Creepy Little Girl if they should tell her mother that she’s there so she won’t be worried. The little girl primly says that it won’t be necessary. I’ve noticed in shows with Creepy Little Kids that they always speak very formally and it’s basically a tell-tale sign that something’s off about them. I kind of wonder why that is? Maybe because kids sound very unnatural when speaking very formally?

SERLING:
Month of November, hot chocolate and a small cameo of a child’s face, imperfect only in it’s solemnity. And these are the improbable ingredients to a human emotion. An emotion, say, like fear. But in a moment this woman, Helen Foley, will realize fear. She will understand what are the properties of terror. A little girl will lead her by the hand and walk with her…into a nightmare.

I love you Rod but damn, I really want to correct your grammar sometimes. Oh well, on with the show. Helen brings Creepy Little Girl a cup of hot chocolate. Helen hopes it isn’t too rich but the little girl says it’s fine. Then she adds that she’s glad it isn’t too hot. She doesn’t very much like hot things. Helen says she understands and the little girl says of course you do, you got burnt once yourself. She even points out where the scar is. Then she asks Helen if she remembers. Helen snaps, “Of course!” and looks a little confused. Creepy Little Girl asks Helen how she got it. Helen then looks a little embarrassed ad says she actually doesn’t remember. Helen says something happened to her at a certain age but she doesn’t remember what it was and that there’s a lot of things she doesn’t remember from around then. Little Creepy Girl says she knows that. She knows all about you, remember Helen?  Helen says she remembers and finally looks like the kid is freaky, too. So this fgirl is either Helen (younger) or the world’s smallest stalker.

Creepy Little Girl asks if random people on the street look familiar at all to her. Helen says yes, sometimes. Why is she letting this freaky little girl interrogate her? I have to admit, though, the acting in this is phenomenal. There’s bee n a slow transition from adult to child in Helen and from child to adult in Creepy Little Girl. Helen very much looks like a child getting questioned by an adult. Her body language is perfect.

Ok, done fangirling. Creepy Little Girl asks if anyone Helen passed today looked familiar. Helen says, no. Creepy Little Girl looks amused and says, “Really?” Helen tells her that it’s not polite to contradict people. Helen, meet internet. You’re going to love it here. The Creepy Little Girl tells Helen that there was a man in a car that Helen saw. He looked familiar. Helen wanders to the window and remembers. Creepy Little Girl tells Helen there’s a reason she recognized him. Creepy Little Girl tells Helen there’s a reason he looked familiar and why he scares Helen and her. Now why would the Creepy Little Girl be afraid of him, hmm.

Helen finally asks the little girl’s name and wants to know where she came from. The little girl says she lives around there and she has a nickname. She tells Helen that her name is Markie but it’s not her real name. She yells at Helen, “Markie! Did you hear me?” Helen snaps back that yes, she heard. Helen tells her that it’s a nice name. Markie wants to know if that’s all Helen has to say about it. Helen wants to know what more Markie wants her to say. Markie says she just thought…And then she straightens up and asks if Helen’s warm. Helen says yes, it does feel a bit warm. Markie says that she feels perfectly comfortable.

Something loud clangs in the hallway and Markie freaks out. She yells that someone’s coming and runs to Helen. Helen tells her they aren’t the only people on that floor to calm her down. Markie says that whoever is coming through the lobby is coming to Helen’s apartment. Helen tries to convince her but Markie is totally freaking out and says she’ll come back later.

It looks like Markie was right because shortly after there’s a knock at the door and a man’s voice asking for Miss Helen Foley. Miss Foley asks who’s there and the man introduces himself as Peter Selden, an old friend of her mother’s. When Helen opens the door Creepy Peter stands there for a minute and then asks if Helen remembers him. She says he looks familiar but can’t really place him. Helen asks if he was…and he finishes for her. Yes, he was in front of the school, stopped at a red light. He thought she looked at him oddly. So, because she looked at you a little strange you tacked her down to her house. Yeah, that’s not creepy or stalkerish at all.

Tell me that’s not a creepy face. He walks in with a “Do you mind?” but he’s already in the door and halfway across the living room before he gives her a chance to answer. And apparently she’s too polite to boot his butt back out the door. There are times when the “impolite” thing to do is the safer thing to do, Helen. Peter says it’s been almost twenty years so he wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t remember him. Peter Selden says he worked for her mother. Helen’s polite smile fades a bit at that. He asks her again if she remembers him. Peter Selden,, ring any bells? He says that after the “tragedy” he’d heard that Helen was ill for a while. He wants to know if she ever remembered anything about that night. I’m assuming that the “tragedy” has something to do with her mother.

He seems way too interested in whether or not Helen remembers him or not . And if she remembers what happened. He tells her that she was in the room when “it” happened. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about at all and he looks very surprised by this. She says after “it” happened she had a shock and when she recovered she went to live with an aunt in Chicago. Selden says he was passing through on business, someone pointed her out and he thought he’d stop and say hi. Ok, so someone randomly pointed her out and you thought you’d say hi after twenty years? Riiiiight. Selden says he worked for her mother for almost a year, then he smiles his very creepy smile and says it’s been good to see her all grown up and just as beautiful as when she was a little girl. And then says he had a crush on her. Ew.

 

Selden says he lived in the same apartment building and heard her screaming that night. He was the one to find her mother. They finally get to what the tragedy is. Helen’s mother was murdered and they never caught the killer. Helen was in the room when it happened and witnessed the whole thing but blocked it all out. I know that’s a plot device used in movies a lot but I’m curious as to whether it’s actually possible to block something that completely. Helen says that as far as she knows the killer never was caught but she doesn’t know for sure. and Helen just starts spilling everything she does remember. She was asleep and heard her mother scream and then this…person. She doesn’t question at all why this guy would randomly show up and start ta;king about her mother’s murder? Okey dokey.

Then she pops back into hostess mode and asks Selden if he’s staying in town. He reminds her that he’s only passing through. She picks up Markie’s cup of cocoa and then asks Selden if he would like a cup of coffee or coca. Looking down she sees that Markie’s cup is still full, even after the multiple times it’s shown her taking a drink. Selden sees her staring at the cup and wants to know what’s wrong. Helen could swear Markie finished her cup and then starts to talk about Markie, calling her a “strange, little thing.”Selden asks who she’s talking about. SElden says he’d better be going. Yeah, because she’s the weird one.

As Helen walks Selden to the door she says she’ll have to learn that trick from Markie. To sit and sip but not actually drink anything. The name Markie gets Selden’s attention. Helen says the girl said her name was Markie and wouldn’t tell Helen her real name. Selden tells Helen that her nickname used to be Markie. Dun, dun, dunnn!

After this not-so-startling revelation, Helen hears a child’s voice singing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Selden obviously doesn’t hear it. Helen’s looking a little distracted so he asks her what wrong. She says nothing, it’s just a weird coincidence that she met this little girl named Markie and that was her nickname as well. She is starting to remember more now. She remembers being called Markie. He tells her that, in time, he’s sure she’ll get her entire memory back. He does not sound happy about that prospect.

 

Helen says that Markie is full of talents and Selden asks what she means. She’s surprised that he can’t hear her. After Markie stops singing Selden says he has a picture of Helen that her mother gave him. He pulls it out  and hands it to her. To nobody’s surprise, it looks just like Markie.

Then Selden tops his already high Creeper Status by saying that Helen was an exceptionally beautiful child ad she looks so much like her mother, especially now. She’s freaked out by the picture looking so much like her. I think I’d be more concerned with the guy carrying my childhood photograph for twenty years. I’m funny like that.

After Selden leaves Helen is lying down on the couch. It’s been a rough day for her. I hope he’s left anyways. Who knows, he’s probably lurking in her sofa cushions. The screen gets all wavery so I’m guessing we’re heading into Flashback Territory. Through Helen’s mind (quite literally) we see and hear her mother arguing with a man about something. She says if he doesn’t tell them then she will. He tells her they could both get into trouble but she doesn’t care. They start struggling and she slaps him. He shakes her around a bit and she runs into Markie’s room to get away. Good job. Lead the crazy guy right to your kid’s room. Then he hits her over the head with…I’m not sure. A vase maybe? It’s hard to tell. When she sees her mother get hit Flashback Child Helen screams. The man starts toward her with the vase raised but gets interrupted by people chattering in the hall, drawn by Helen’s screams.

Helen hears Markie singing again and goes to see where she is. She’s sitting on the steps again. Markie wants to know if the man left yet. Helen nods and says he left a while ago. She tells Markie that it’s late and Markie should go home, it’s past her bedtime. The little girl tells Helen that her mother won’t be worried. She doesn’t have a mother anymore. She sounds way too cheerful about it. Markie asks if Helen remembers about Markie and the nasty burn she got as a child. Helen grabs Markie’s arm and reveals a scar just like the one Helen has. I swear this kid makes killer faces. The look she gives Helen in this scene is priceless. She’s looking at her like, “Now do you get it?”

Helen starts freaking out on the girl asking who she is, where she came from, what she wants and she wants to know now! Markie, very patiently, looks Helen in the eye and asks if she has no clue at all. “And you were doing so well, Helen.” Markie says Helen was starting to remember things. It’s a little repetitive but i is kind of a cool back and forth. It’s like Helen is struggling with her consciousness personified to try and remember what Adult Helen clearly wants to forget.

Markie is getting frustrated and sassily goes and gets the photograph and says, “Familiar?” The little girl can do sass well. Helen says it’s supposed to be her but it’s not. It’s of Markie. Markie is getting very irritated now and starts saying, “Don’t you get it? I’m you, dumbass!” I may paraphrasing a bit. She certainly has that tone. The kid is really laying into her now, describing the night the murder took place. She says Helen screamed so loud. And stops. wen Helen turns to look at her she gasps. Selden is standing in her doorway. Told you. He was probably behind the curtains.

Like any good villain he wants to tell her all about his villainous deeds. He was in the bedroom and killed her mother. He says that he was embezzling and her mother wouldn’t cover for him and to top it all off, she was going to tell! It was her fault, really. We get the details, again, of what happened. She tries to make a run for it but he stops her. Then tells her that he’s been keeping tabs on her. Whoa. Shocker. Like any good stalker he knows what she’s been doing over the years. He’s been keeping tabs because he knew she’d start to remember someday. Um, ok?

He makes a grab for her but misses and she runs out the door. he teleports to the right of the stairs and grabs her. They thrash around a bit and then selden goes tumbling down the stairs.

Cops are around the body, taking pictures and speaking with the downstairs neighbors. A detective walks up to Helen’s door just as a doctor is coming out of it. The detective asks if she’ll be all right. The doctor kindly gave her a sedative and asks the detective if he has everything he needs. the detective says sure, everything is all tied up. The doctor says she was “fortunate and if she had been less fortunate she would have been a homicide victim.” They share a few deep thoughts about the child she’s been telling them about like “Weird, really weird” and “the human imagination is often weird”. i have to agree with the second statement.

Helen looks much happier. In the distance we can hear a little girl’s voice gleefully singing “Twinkle, Twinkle”. Helen looks outside but it’s a little brunette girl now. Helen says hello and tells the girl she has a lovely smile and to never lose it.

SERLING:
Miss Helen Foley, who has lived in night and who will wake up to morning. Miss Helen Foley, who took a dark spot from the tapestry of her life and rubbed it clean. Then stepped back a few paces and got a good look at the Twilight Zone.


That was a bit of a long one! As much as I riff on it here it’s actually one of my favorite episodes. Sometimes I just can’t help it because as much as I love it, there are a lot of parts that don’t make sense. Selden was so worried about her remembering that for twenty years he stalked her. Why wait twenty years? Because it’s not fair to murder her before she remembers? Plus, he’s mostly the one who keeps reminding her of everything so it’s his own fault she recognizes him. I also think we’re in the same apartment building as ‘The Big, Tall Wish”.


Join us again next week as I snark my way through next week’s episode: A Stop at Willoughby”

Footsteps in the Dark (Dark Fantasy)

Title: Footsteps in the Dark | Author: Carlo Armenise | Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc. | Pub. Date: 05/16/2017 | Pages: 132  | ASIN: B072J2MVCF | Genre: Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration


Footsteps in the Dark

“Footsteps in the Dark” is a collection of eight short stories, with a Twilight Zone flavor, that highlight the eternal struggle between good and evil, brought on by the human condition and the lengths we go to satisfy our desires. In addition to predominately supernatural themes, each of the stories present an intricate character study that identifies the flaws, frailties and weaknesses of a host of interesting characters, and the outcomes of the actions they take to get what they want. “Footsteps in the Dark” is written in an extremely engaging and intriguing story telling style that will get and keep your attention as you take each of the “Footsteps in the Dark”

Footsteps in the Dark Review

I really liked this collection although I found it to be a pretty good mix of Tales from the Darkside and Twilight Zone. That’s not a dismissal or put down at all, I love Tales from the Darkside. I liked the way it was set up, with each story being another step into the dark. I also liked the pictures in it, they fit well with the stories.

A Conversation with Death is definitely at the top of the list for me. It was creepy, touching and I loved The Diner. I thought it was a very cool idea and the end surprised me. A lot.

The Potion had a very ‘Death Becomes Her’ feel to it but with a much better ending to it.

Deadly Dream was a bit…middling for me. It seemed very repetitive for such a short story and the ending was a little easy to predict.

Best-Laid Plans was one that really brought the Twilight Zone feel to it. It had that level of irony and gotcha! to it. It was a story I liked very much.

The Not So Wise Guy was hilarious and I loved it. It had a great twist at the end that was also worthy of the Twilight zone.  In fact, Frank reminds me of a character in the Twilight Zone I just watched.

The Set-Up was a good story. The ending was a bit easy to see coming but it was very satisfying when it did.

Deadly Diagnosis was a great story and would probably come in second to A Conversation with Death. It’s also a bit more realistic that he does serve a bit of time before the actual legal finding happens. It also gets to a more emotional depth than some of the other stories.

The Collector was another ok one. It seemed a bit of a rush to the end when it actually could have done with a bit more of a led up to the actual plot point.

All in all, I would recommend it. Even for people who don’t typically like short stories these stories are very short and conclude satisfactorily. Which is a common complaint with some short stories. They either leave too much undone or conclude so fast it barely feels like you’ve read an actual story. These are somewhere in the middle of that and they are good. I’d like to see what the author has in store for future stories.


4 out of 5 Skulls

      

Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Nice Place to Visit

A Nice Place to Visit

Henry Francis ‘Rocky’ Valentine – Larry Blyden
Mr. Pip – Sebastian Cabot
Narrator – Serling


We’re looking at a closed business called Southside Loan Company and a flashlight is moving around inside. Methinks it’s getting robbed. Inside a man lies dead on the floor and we see a guy in thug clothes emptying a cigar box of jewelry into a paper bag. Ok, I was thinking this was a money lending service but I guess it’s more like a pawn shop. What a dick. Killing some poor old man for some (probably) crappy jewelry.

SERLING:
Portrait of a man at work. The only work he’s ever done, the only work he knows. His name is Henry Francis Valentine but he calls himself ‘Rocky’ because that’s the way his life’s been. Rocky and perilous ad out at a dead run all of the way. He’s tired now. Tired of running, or wanting, of waiting for the breaks that come to others but never to him. Never to Rocky Valentine.

Rocky hears a siren and starts grabbing up his jewelry and flashlight. Then he makes a run for the door, jumping over a counter cluttered with a bunch of stuff. Ok, so it’s definitely a pawn shop but a bit of an upper class one since some of the stuff he crashes through look antique. He runs out of the front door and, on seeing the cops, drops the bag of jewelry. Way to go dipshit.

He runs down an alley to try to escape the cops. At first he tries to hide behind a box but they park at the end of the alley and start to search so Rocky tries to climb the wooden fence to get away. The police warn him to stop or they’ll shoot but he screams “You’ll never take me alive, coppers!” or words to that effect, and fires his gun at him. They shoot back and Rocky falls off the fence, presumably dead.

SERLING:
A scared, angry little man. He thinks it’s all over now, but he’s wrong. For Rocky Valentine it’s just the beginning.

We fade back in. Rocky is still lying on the ground and a pair of mysterious white shoes approach him and call Valentine’s name a few times. Valentine opens his eyes and looks up at the man who called his name. It’s an elderly, portly, jovial looking man who introduces himself as Pip. Pip says, “Can I help you?” to Rocky and Rocky’s first inane question is how Pip knows his name. Is that really the big question here Rocky? Pip replies that it’s his job to know everything he can about Rocky. Rocky then wants to know if Pip is a cop. Pip says no, he’s Rocky’s guide. Rocky says he needs a guide like he needs a hole in the head. Well, no holes in the head but I’m sure you’ve gotten a few holes in other places. Rocky starts to get up but looks a little woozy.

Rocky wants to know what happened. Pip tells Rocky that he’s had a small ‘accident’ but he’ll be good as new in no time. He offers Rocky the chance to change out of his rumpled clothes and tries to take Rocky’s arm. Rocky pulls away though. Apparently, the only thing Rocky cares about is how Pip knows his name. Pip says he already told Rocky that it’s his business to know Rocky. That’s not good enough for Rocky. He doesn’t like playing games. Pip says that’s not exactly true. He pulls out a pad from his pocket and says that Rocky seems to like roulette, blackjack, poker and craps. Those are all games. And, despite the very real consequences to people, that’s all they are is childish games. Sorry, bit of commentary there, just ignore me. Pip also says that between the ages of 7-10 Rocky was also quite fond of ‘mumblety-peg’. I’ve seen this word before but I have no idea what they’re talking about. Anybody? Anyone at all?

Rocky snatches the book away, hands it back and then hands it back. He wants to know what Pip is after. Pip says he’s only there for Rocky’s comfort. To get him whatever he desires. Rocky, knowing that nothing is ever really free, wants to know what Pip wants in exchange. Pip says nothing at all. Rocky, being the rude jerk he is, tells Pip to “stop putting me on, Fatso”. Rocky says that everything he’s ever gotten he’s had to fight or work for (some ‘work’) so quit putting him on. Does Pip want him to pull a job or something? Pip sighs at Rocky’s thick-headedness and says rocky doesn’t understand. In response, Rocky pulls his gun on Pip and demands he hand over his wallet. Pip chuckles and says that he doesn’t carry a wallet. Rocky tells him to fork one over. Pip chuckles and says the wallet isn’t what Rocky wants, it’s money. So Pip whips out a huge wad of 100’s from his pocket and hands it to Rocky. It’s about seven hundred bucks. Pip asks if that is enough or does Rocky want more? Rocky asks if ‘Fats’ has more. Gotta say, the ‘Fats’ thing is getting annoying. Pip says he has much more, as much as Rocky wants. Then he asks if Rocky is ready to go. Rocky loads a bullet into his gun and tells Pip not to try anything.

Pip ushers Rocky into a very posh apartment. Rocky slinks into the apartment. Pip asks if Rocky likes it. Rocky says yeah, it’s some posh pad and wants to know if it belongs to some politician. Pip tells rocky that it belongs to him if he approves of it. Rocky is checking the place out. Particularly a picture of a curvy woman on the wall. rocky approves very much. Pip offers to make any changes that Rocky wishes but Rocky says it’s all good. Pip says he wasn’t too sure about a few things but Rocky interrupts him and asks if the apartment gets thrown into the deal. Pip says it’s already in the ‘deal’ as Rocky puts it. He takes Rocky outside to show him his name on a plaque outside of the apartment. Pip hands Rocky the key. Pip starts to show Rocky around the apartment. He shows Rocky the bedroom and then the bathroom. He offers Rocky the chance to freshen up and change his clothes. Rocky agrees and bounces off the bed.

As he gets up to go to the bathroom he shoves Pip around and asks what the catch is. What does he have to do for all of this. Pip says he’s told Rocky all he knows. Rocky asks Pip if he works for someone else and Pip says yes, in a way. Rocky wants to know when he gets to meet the boss. Pip says he’s not sure. Rocky plops in a chair and Pip goes to a wardrobe and asks what clothing Rocky would like. Rocky tells him to pick. Pip doesn’t want to presume but decides on a nice checkered suit. He grabs out a snazzy suit for Rocky and Rocky approves of it. Rocky goes to put his clothes on and does a little catwalk twirl for Pip.

They walk back out into the living room and now there’s a nice dinner laid out. Everything seems perfect. Rocky starts to dig into a nice steak and now I’m hungry. Thanks a lot. Rocky is still paranoid though and insists that Pip taste it first. Pip says he doesn’t eat, that he hasn’t eaten in two or three centuries. Rocky asks if there’s anything wrong with it. I’m assuming he thinks it’s poisoned. He insists that Pip try it. Pip says he really doesn’t know how, he can’t remember how to. Rocky freaks out, thinking that yes, indeed, they are trying to poison him. He pulls his gun and tries to shoot Pip. Of course, nothing happens. Rocky thinks Pip has a bullet-proof vest on so he tries to shoot Pip in the head. He shoots a lamp, just to check if is gun still works. It does and the lamp breaks.

Rocky plunks down in a chair and reaches for drinks that have suddenly appeared on a side table. This startles him and he wants to know what’s going on and where he is. Pip explains that when they met earlier Rocky, in fact, had a few holes in him from his run in with the cops. Rocky comes to the conclusion that he’s dead and Pip cheerfully agrees. Rocky starts to think about the joint, the booze and the clothes and concludes that he’s in Heaven. Rocky asks if Pip is his guardian angel or something like that. Pip agrees to “something like that”. Rocky starts getting excited at the prospect. He tells Pip that he wants a million in five C-notes, right now. And a chick that won’t quit, that’s stacked and beautiful. He closes his eyes for a second and then opens them, wondering where his stuff is. Pip tells Rocky to look in the drawer for the money. Rocky finds it and then throws it around gleefully. Then he asks for the chick. Every time he mentions the chick he does a booby gesture with his hands.

The record player starts playing a lively dance number and a spiffy blonde dances into the room. Pip asks if there will be anything else and Rocky says yeah, “stick around, Fats”. Then he starts dancing with the lady. I think it’s trying to make him look a little doofy dancing but you can tell the actor actually dances pretty good.

At a casino looking place, a croupier is asking people to place their bets. Rocky hits big and is surrounded by adoring, beautiful women.

He’s winning and just can’t stop. He invites Pip over to lay down a few bets. Wouldn’t it be a little awkward to have women all over you with Pip hovering nearby? Pip says he doesn’t have any money. I notice that Rocky doesn’t offer him any. Rocky shoves all of his chips onto one number and then squinches his eyes shut while he waits for the roulette table to stop. He looks a bit constipated.

Rocky has won forty grand in an hour or so. He tells one of his dolls to go trade it in for him. He stops her to tell her not to rip him off any. He’s bored with the roulette table so the gaggle wanders off to go see what’s shaking with the dice. And here’s something else I’ve always wondered. Why do they call it Craps? It just seems like such a gross name. He hands his cup to one of his adoring flock and orders her to go get him some more booze. After Rocky’s done winning they all pour out onto the street and Rocky orders the valet to get his car and be careful with it. As they’re standing there a patrolman walks by and Rocky gives him the evil eye.

Pip wants to know what’s wrong and Rocky says the cop thinks he’s hot stuff because he’s a little taller than him. Pip says “how thoughtless of me!” and shrinks him down a bit. Rocky’s enjoying that. He calls him over to mess with him and then shove him away. The valet pulls up with the car and Rocky actually gives him a pretty good tip. Color me shocked. The girls file in the backseat and Pip hops in the passenger seat.

They arrive back at the penthouse and they all flood in. Rocky says “It’s magic time!” and I kind of want to throw up a little. Rocky tells Pip he wants a different car and Pip wants to know what’s wrong, it certainly goes fast enough. Rocky says yeah, the ashtrays are full. Hilarious. He ushers the women into his boudoir then steps out to talk to Pip for a bit. He tells Pip that tomorrow he wants to look up some of his old (presumably dead) buddies. Pip says there might be a problem. Rocky asks if they didn’t make it or what? Pip says no, it’s not that, exactly but this place was created privately for Rocky alone. Rocky asks what about the girls, then? Are they props or something? Pip says yes, in a sense.

Rocky has a sit-down with Pip for a talk. Rocky wants to know why they let him in. He thought Heaven was only for schoolteachers and stuff. Pip chuckles and says they do have some schoolteachers there. Rocky says he must have done something good at one time. Something really good that made up for all of the rest. But he really can’t think of anything good that he’s ever done. He wants to know if he can find out. Pip says they have a Hall of Records if Rocky would like to see it.

Rocky peeks into the bedroom to tell the girls to stay put, he’ll be right back. He makes a really weird face when he does which makes me wonder if the girls are starting without him. He makes the face again as they’re heading out of the door.

They find themselves at the Hall of Records which is an overly large staircase leading up to some filing cabinets. The wall looks kind of grungy for Heaven. Pip starts digging out Rocky’s folders. In the background there are more cabinets, probably leading into infinity. His file is actually quite thin, comparatively. Rocky seems really excited to be looking through it and, to be honest, I’d be curious too.

Rocky seems a bit, um, psychotic. At the age of six he killed a small dog. Rocky claims it bit him. At seven he stole some toys from a toy store, At age eight he started a street gang named The Angels. Rocky thinks that’s a bit funny and takes a moment to remember them fondly. At nine he broke into a bike store, it doesn’t say for what. To steal a bicycle maybe? It seems his file is a bit thin for all of the rotten stuff he’s done. Not to mention killing the pawn shop owner. Rocky wants to know what the deal is and Pip says that it’s his record. Rocky wants to know if there’s been some kind of mistake or something. Pip says that’s impossible. Rocky figures that if it doesn’t bother Him then he won’t worry his moderately pretty head about it. Pip asks Rocky what he’d like to do now. Rocky looks somewhat befuddled and says he’ll go play with his ‘dolls’ and maybe shoot some more craps. Pip says that if Rocky requires assistance just dial P-I-P on the phone.

Rocky’s back in the casino playing roulette and winning forty grand. He’s looking a bit bored and just walks away, leaving his chips there. He puts some money in a slot machine and pulls the handle. a bunch of money comes pouring out and, again, he walks away, looking bored. He and his harem leave the casino and go back to Rocky’s place.

Back in the bedroom Rocky’s playing cards with his harem. he’s still winning and just can’t lose. Rocky’s whining because winning all of the time is boring. Which it would be. Although, I wouldn’t be adverse to at least one thing going my way occasionally. The brunette with the lovely eyes asks if there’s anything else she can do for him. I could be wrong but I do believe that she’s Maya from Perchance to Dream. Rocky tells them they can get the hell out because beautiful, adoring women at your beck and call can be sooo irritating.

He grabs an apple but gets annoyed at that, even. He goes to throw it back art the table. He sees that the dinner table has turned into a billiard table. He gets happy and goes over to play. He breaks the balls and all of them go into the pockets perfectly. He gets annoyed again and breaks the cue stick and throws it.

 

He dials P-I-P on the phone and Pip appears. I’ve gotta say, I do not miss rotary phones. Pip wants to know what’s wrong and Rocky says nothing, nothing at all everything’s way too perfect. Ricky says that nothing is fun if there’s no challenge. Pip says he could arrange for Rocky to lose occasionally. Rocky at first says it might help but then says he’d know so it wouldn’t be the same. Pip asks if Rocky would like him to arrange a robbery for him for fun. They start working out the details. Rocky asks if there’s a chance that he might get caught. Pip says of course! He’ll make a note of it. Rocky is unhappy with that and says it’s hard to explain. The long and short of it is that he’s bored with perfection.

Rocky starts going on about how he doesn’t belong in Heaven. He wants to go to Hell. Pip stops him short and says, “Heaven? What made you think you’re in Heaven? This is the other place!” Rocky tries to get out of the door but it won’t open. Pip stands there and laughs at the idiot.


I love this episode. It has some great acting and a great twist at the end. If you think you recognize Rocky’s voice he plays the Wandering Minstrel Rooster in Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’.


Join us again for next week’s episode: Nightmare as a Child which is one of the best episodes, I love it.

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Big Tall Wish

The Big Tall Wish


The Big Tall Wish

Bolie Jackson – Ivan Dixon
Henry Temple – Steven Perry
Frances Temple – Kim Hamilton
Joe Mizell – Walter Burke
Thomas – Henry Scott
Joey Consiglio – Charles Horvath


We open on a flyer for a boxing match at the St. Nicholas Arena between Bolie Jackson and Consiglio. Main Event! And there’s a dude leaning on some apartment stairs with a newspaper over his face. The boxer named Bolie Jackson is making a comeback that night. A boxer, whom I can only assume is Bolie Jackson, is practicing in front of a mirror.

Rod Serling:
In this corner of the universe, a prize-fighter named Bolie Jackson. 183 pounds and an hour and a half away from a comeback at St. Nick’s arena. Mr. Bolie jackson who, by the standards of his profession, is an aging, over the hill relic of what was. And who now sees the reflection of a man who’s left too many pieces of his youth in too many stadiums for too many years, before too many screaming people. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who might do well to look for some gentle magic in the hard-surfaced glass that stares back at him.

Bolie Jackson is looking a little the worse for wear. A little boy sits behind him on the bed, watching Bolie. They start goofing around, pretending to spar. It’s actually really cute. The kid gives Bolie a nice pep talk. Bolie asks if he’s going to be watching and the kid says that Bolie will be able to hear him cheering all the way to St. Nick’s. Bolie tells Henry that a fighter doesn’t need a scrapbook. His whole history is written on his face. What he’s done and where he’s fought. Then he starts listing all of his scars and when and where he got them and who gave them to him.

Bolie seems to be enjoying his trip down memory lane but Henry doesn’t seem to be enjoying it that much. Bolie calls himself a tired old man and says his bus left years ago. He says he’s short of breath with one eye almost gone. heavy arms and legs like rubber but still trying to catch the bust to glory and fame. Doesn’t really seem worth it to me. I’ve never been a huge fan of boxing so pardon me if there’s any boxing fans out there. I might get snippy about it from time to time. Anyways, when Bolie finishes up Henry hops down and snaps his fingers. Then he tells Bolie that he’s going to catch that tiger tonight. Henry’s going to make a wish. A big, tall wish. Bolie’s his good and close friend and Henry’s going to make a wish so that Bolie will win and not get hurt at all.

Bolie gives Henry a hug and goes downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs a lady, Frances, is watching him. Bolie tells Frances that she’s got quite a boy in Henry. Bolie tells her that Henry talks like a little, old man and that Henry got really intense when he said that Bolie was his “good, close friend”. Frances tells Bolie that he’s very good to Henry. Bolie takes Henry to ball games and a lot of other things. He sounds like a good guy. Frances doesn’t want Bolie to get hurt and to take care of himself. Bolie says he’ll try. It’s a little hard to promise something like that in a sport where the main even is watching two men trying to beat the crap out of each other. Henry comes down and gets all intense again and repeats that he’s going to make a wish.

 

Frances tells Bolie that Henry worships him. Bolie says he’s “nothing but a scared old man who doesn’t know anything except how to bleed.” But he’s very obliged to Henry for his wish. Frances says that Henry spends all of his time wishing. she starts to tell Bolie something but trails off. Bolie wants to know what she was going to say. Frances says that she needed fifteen dollars for the rent. Henry said he was going to make his “big tall wish”  (the biggest wish of all, he doesn’t waste it on just anything) and then a woman she had worked for sent her a check she was owed for some work done. A check for fifteen dollars exactly.

Bolie looks very sad and talks to the mailboxes about little boys with heads full of dreams. But what happens when they find out that there’s no magic. “When does someone shove their face into the sidewalk and say, ‘Hey little boy, it’s concrete.’ ?” Damn. That got dark. Bolie’s in his own little depressed world for a moment. Frances tells Bolie good luck and Bolie says sure and that he’ll see Henry later. Leaving the apartment building he passes the guy with the newspaper on his face. Maybe he’s just reeeaally near-sighted. As Bolie passes him he pops up and tells bolie good luck, too. Everyone in the neighborhood wishes him luck as he walks down the street and says they’ll be watching. Henry watches from an upstairs window ledge and waves to Bolie.

Bolie’s getting taped up for his big fight. Bolie’s manager lurks in the corner, smoking a cigar. After the trainer tapes Bolie up the manager walks over and blows a big puff of cigar smoke right in Bolie’s face. That’s just rude. Bolie tells him to put it out. The Smoking Man tells Bolie that since Bolie hired him for the night it’s a package deal. His cigar goes where he does so get used to it. Talk about your phallic symbols. Bolie says he doesn’t care and tells the Smoking Douche to put it out. He finally does and the Smoking Man calls Bolie a yapping old man. That the older they get, the louder they talk. And the more they want, the less chance of getting it. Why does everyone keep calling Bolie old? He doesn’t look that old to me. Maybe they mean in boxing years. Bolie asks himself how he ended up with this ass for the night. The jerk says that he’s a bargain because he’s an expert on has-beens. Bolie says he’s seen this dude’s boys. Basically punching bags who can stay in the ring to get knocked around long enough to earn their pay and then patched up for the next round. The Leech agrees and says that since Bolie has about had it then maybe he’ll sign him up in a month or two. He tries to sell Bolie on this being a good idea. That he should get in the stable why he has a chance. Why are they called stables? It seems very…demeaning. Bolie says he thought the smell of B.S. came with the cigar. Then to make it clear he tells The Leech (whose name is Thomas but I prefer Leech) that he stinks. There’s a knock on the door, letting Bolie know he’s got ten minutes. The Leech says Bolie will be ready and wanders off, probably to play with his cigar.

 

Bolie wants to know what to watch out for with his opponent. Bolie’s only seen the guy fight once and that was a few years ago. The Leech tells Bolie that he’s never seen Consiglio fight at all. Bolie calls b.s. on this, saying that The Leech has seen Consiglio fight at least six or seven times this year. Bolie figures out what’s going on. He grabs The Leech by his lapels and accuses him of betting on Consiglio. Wow. I’m thinking The Leech is too good of a name for him. I’ve decided to change his name to Double D. You can use your imagination on what the second ‘D’ stands for. I don’t know exactly what a boxing manager does but I would think checking out the competition would be at least one thing that they do. So there’s some shady stuff going on here.

 

Bolie threatens to lay D.D. out right then and there and D.D. says he’ll have Bolie up on charges for assault. The trainer is trying to break it up but not before Bolie lands a punch on the cement wall. Way to go. Somehow I don’t think that a broken hand will help you in your match much. While some sad harmonica plays the trainer chews Bolie out saying how’s he going in the ring with four busted knuckles. And, wouldn’t you know, a guy pops his head in right then and tells Bolie it’s time to get in the ring and tosses him his gloves. The trainer asks Bolie what he’s going to do. Bolie says there’s nothing to do except go on. Bolie thinks about Henry and that he’s given him two strikes on his magic. I get the second one, the broken knuckles, but what was the first? Bolie being ‘too old’ or the sleazy twenty buck manager? The trainer says, “Booze?” and I’m not sure if he’s asking Bolie if he wants booze or if he’s already had booze. I dunno. Of course Bolie says that there’s no such thing as magic. Great. You just killed a fairy. Happy now, Bolie? They put his robe on him and they head out.

There’s a shot of the eager crowd. People are cheering, landing punches on their hands. A lady is compulsively clutching the arm of her companion, rubbing their hands together in anticipation and shoveling popcorn in their faces. A woman also bizarrely has her hands up in front of her face like she’s blocking her face from…I have no idea. If she’s so freaked out by being there, why is she there? Another woman is hiding her face (again, why?) and a man is wringing the hell out of a newspaper. I’m going to take a wild guess and say he’s got a bit of money on the fight.

 

Bolie seems to be getting pummeled in the ring by Consiglio. For the fifties it’s quite brutal looking. Of course, that could just be me. In my opinion it is a brutal sport. No offense to any boxing fans out there. Bolie Jackson goes down and the scene suddenly flips from Bolie looking up at the ref to Henry at home. Henry is repeating Bolie’s name over and over.

As the ref is counting Bolie out it flips again to Henry muttering to himself with his eyes closed. Everything freezes for a minute while Bolie is still down and being counted out. The only movement is Henry. Doing his big tall wish.  Suddenly things start moving again but it’s not Bolie on the mat being counted out but Consiglio! Henry’s big tall wish must have worked. Bolie looks confused for a second but then they’re holding his arm up, declaring him the victor. Bolie grins happily and leaves the ring through the ropes.

Back in the dressing room Bolie is fully dressed and looking very confused again. The trainer comes in and Bolie says that they must have been wrong about his knuckles being broken. The trainer doesn’t seem to know what Bolie’s talking about. Bolie says that it sure felt broken but they tell him he beat Consiglio with it so it must not have been broken after all. Bolie says when Consiglio knocked him down but, again, Joe doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Bolie says he doesn’t even remember getting back up. Joe says they must have been watching two completely different fights because as far as he knows Bolie never went down. Bolie’s very confused and asks again if Joe’s sure he didn’t go down. Joe tells him to read about it in the papers and that he’s proud of Bolie. Then he says good night and leaves.

Bolie still looks bewildered after Joe leaves. On his way back home everyone is congratulating him and telling him he was great. Bolie’s very happy. Once inside the apartment building he goes up to the roof where Henry is feeding some bunnies. Bolie asks Henry if he looked ok and Henry says that Bolie looked like a champ, like a real tiger. Henry says that old boy must have hit him so hard it knocked all of the hurt right out of him because he feels great. But he thinks he must have been punchy because he didn’t remember some of it. Bolie tells Henry that he remembers laying there looking up at the ref and the lights but then says it must have been a dream or something. Henry walks sadly over to his bunnies and Bolie wants to know what’s wrong. Bolie insists that he never was off his feet and never went down. Henry just stands there looking sad and shaking his head a little. Bolie grabs Henry and asks if he was on his back and on his way out?

Henry nods his head, still looking sad. Bolie says nobody remembers it but nobody else does. Well, Henry does. Bolie says (again) that he was on his back and being counted out. Henry says that he made his big wish then. That he wished that Bolie had never been knocked out. He closed his eyes and wished real hard for it. A big tall wish. Henry tells Bolie that it was magic and that Bolie needed it then. While Henry is talking about the magic, Bolie calls him a crazy kid and that there’s no such thing as magic. He tells Henry that he’s too old to believe in ‘nutsy’ ideas like magic and fairy tales. Because eight yeas old is way too old to have an imagination, I guess. Henry tells Bolie that if he wishes hard enough and believes hard enough that it will happen. Bolie believes that someone has to knock those ideas out and it’s time for Henry to hit the sidewalk of life. Metaphorically, fortunately.

Bolie tells Henry that he’s been wishing all of his life and he doesn’t have anything to show for it but a face full of scars and a head that aches from all of the hurt and the memories that go with it. Bolie asks Henry if he’s trying to tell him that Henry ‘magicked’ him out of a knockout and back on his feet. When Henry nods yes, Bolie calls him a ‘little kook’ and how did he get mixed up with a crazy little boy that still believes in magic. Dude! He’s a little boy! I’d say maybe eight or so, ten at the very most but I think that’s stretching it. Why don’t you kick a puppy, too, while you’re at it, Bolie?

Henry pretty much just keeps telling Bolie that if Bolie doesn’t believe then the magic won’t work. Bolie says that it was all him and that he had that fight in is pocket from the start. Yeaah, when was that, exactly? When you stupidly broke your hand on a wall? When the other boxer was pulverizing your face? Bolie says that it was all him. Slugging and punching and winning. Winning!

I kind of get why he’d want to believe it was all him but, speaking for myself, I’d take magic anywhere I could find it and tell the little boy thank you. Bolie tells Henry again that there isn’t any magic but god he wishes there was. Well, if you wish it that badly you can’t believe the kid for two seconds instead of crushing him?

They go back and forth with “You’ve gotta believe”, “I can’t believe” for a while. Dude, just take your win and be happy. Damn. The light from the streetlamp fades into the light from the arena. Consiglio is still on the mat and everything is still frozen. After a quick shot of the popcorn eater everything goes back to normal time and now it’s Bolie on the mat. Guess you should have believed Henry, Bolie.

His team helps him up and out of the ring. As he’s walking back home from the match the whole neighborhood is looking at him like he just killed all of their puppies. The guy who was formerly wearing the newspaper tells Bolie that he should have “stood in bed” and asks why he didn’t use his right hand. If you’re such an expert why don’t you do it Newspaper Man? I also have to ask. Was “stood in bed” a perfectly acceptable way of saying “stayed in bed” at one time or is that a Serling-only phrase? Because it sounds weird and he uses it a couple of other times.

Anyways, Bolie goes into the building and knocks on Frances’ door. Frances looks kind of sad when she sees how beat up Bolie looks. Have I mentioned how pretty this woman is? Because if you didn’t notice from the pictures above, she is. Very.

Frances tells Bolie that Henry is in bed but Bolie asks to see him anyways. She tells him that Henry’s probably waiting for him. On his way to Henry’s room Frances tells Bolie she’s sorry he lost.

Bolie tells Henry that he threw a punch before he should have and hit a wall. He went into the ring with half of his artillery gone. Henry tells Bolie that he still looked like a tiger and that he’s still really proud of him. Bolie gives Henry a kiss on the head and goes to leave but Henry says his name. Bolie tells him that he’ll take Henry to a hockey game or something tomorrow. Henry says ok but calls Bolie back again.

Henry says he’s not going to make any more wishes. he’s too old for magic, right? Bolie says that’s right. Way to go Bolie. But he does say that maybe there are wishes and magic but that maybe not enough people believe in them. Then he says goodnight and leaves the room.

SERLING:
Mr. Bolie Jackson, 183 pounds. Who left a second chance lying in a heap on a rosin-spattered canvas at St. Nick’s Arena. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who shares the most common ailment of all men the strange and perverse disinclination to believe in a miracle. The kind of miracle to come from the mind of a little boy. Perhaps only to be found in the Twilight Zone.


This is the first of a few boxing episodes on the Twilight Zone. Perhaps he drew on his own knowledge of how the sport worked and the people were. To me it’s a bit schmaltzy but not too bad.


Join us again next week for a great episode: A Nice Place to Visit

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Execution

Execution

 

Professor Manion – Russell Johnson
Joe Caswell – Albert Salmi
Paul Johnson – Than Wyenn
Old Man – George Mitchell
Minister – Jon Lormer
Faye Roop – Judge
Bartender – Richard Carlan

 

Trigger Warning (highlight to see) : A cowboy lynching and a strangling

We pan down to see some manly cowboy men riding down to a tree. They have a guy on a horse and he has a rope around his neck. I’m guessing things aren’t going too well for him. I guess it’s true that bad guys wear black because he is dressed all in black from head to toe. As Serling is talking Mr. Joe Caswell looks a bit amused at the proceedings.

SERLING:
Commonplace if somewhat grim, unsocial event known as a necktie party. The guest of dishonour – a cowboy named Joe Caswell. Just a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground and then the dark eternity of all evil men. Mr. Joe Caswell who, when the good lord passed out a conscience, a heart of feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Caswell in the last quiet moment of a violent life.

The minister comes down to read Mr. Caswell his last rites but Joe says to forget it. He’s not interested in his mortal soul at that moment but his mortal neck. Joe yells to a man still seated on his horse that it will be his pleasure to see it stretched a bit. Joe wants to get it over with quickly. The Judge offers to let him say his last words as is his right. His last words are pretty much “The kid I put a hole in had more mouth than brains and he’d call him out again.”

The older gentleman interjects that Caswell shot his son in the back, not exactly fair play. He also mentions that he’d like Joe’s execution to take a while. He wants to see him kick and suffer. Joe promises not to let him down and then asks again if they can get it over with already.The judge calls Caswell an evil man and a disease and it will be a public service to hang him. Then tells the other two helpers (deputies perhaps?) to get on with it.

They give the horse a smack on the butt and the deed is done. However, as Joe is hanging his shadow slowly disappears from the ground and when it shows the noose again, it’s empty. The witnesses are stunned.

Caswell slowly awakens to find that he’s been teleported to Gilligan’s Island! Well, not really, but it is The Professor from Gilligan’s Island and since he seems to be some sort of scientist here I’m just going to keep calling him The Professor.

The Professor tells Caswell not to be afraid, he’ll explain what has happened in a moment. Caswell, very hoarsely (which is a nice touch), asks where he is. The Professor tells him he’s a long way from home. The Professor tells Caswell that he’s in New York City, at least eighty years from when Caswell originally was. Caswell, naturally, wants to know how he got there so The Professor shows him his Time Travel Machine. Which looks something like this:

The Professor reassures Joe that he wouldn’t understand the principles behind how it works. The Professor tells Joe that he doesn’t really care who he was but he has a most distinguished future ahead of him. I’m guessing The Professor plans on exhibiting his real, live cowboy along with his Time Travel Machine. Maybe I’m being a little cynical (blame YouTube and Photoshop) but unless The Professor could actually produce more then I would think that he built a shiny, diamond-shaped box and hired a guy who acts like a cowboy.

Anyways, carrying on, The Professor tells Joe that he’s the first person in the history of the world and The Professor will teach him all about the future (well, present, I guess) and wants Carswell to tell him all about his world of the past. Joe kind of passes out again  and rubs his neck. The Professor takes this opportunity to check Joe’s neck (all the while Joe making owie faces) and sees the rope burn.From what I can tell the rope burn is up too high to give an instant neck snap that would give an instantaneous death. It looks placed just high enough to give Joe the kind of death the murdered boy’s father wanted. It’s actually a good make-up job and shows an attention to detail. In most movies, tv, etc. they put the rope burn straight across which I don’t think would happen if that person were hanging. I may be wrong but in my opinion it’s at least trying to be authentic.

Professor Manion’s Recording:
At 8:15 the subject appeared desperately tired so I put him to bed. After two hours I’ve discovered the following. His name is Joseph Caswell. He tells me he was a trail boss on a cattle ranch in the territory of Montana. His last moment of recollection was November 14, 1880. He says he was riding herd when he suddenly blacked out. He awoke to find himself on the cot of my laboratory. He felt no sensations and only in the last few moments did he seem to have any grasp of what has occurred.

The Professor turns off his recorder and sits brooding to himself for a bit. He looks a bit perturbed so he lights a smoke and goes back to recording.

Professor Manion’s Recording:
There’s one disturbing point. There are the marks of a rop etched deeply into his neck. He has no explanation for this. I have one other observation, hardly scientific, but I don’t like his looks. I don’t like the eyes, the face or the expression. I get a feeling of disquiet. I…I get the feeling that I’ve taken a 19th century primitive and placed him in a 20th century jungle. And heaven help whoever gets in his way.

The recording ends as The Professor hears the door open and Joe enters the room. Caswell wanders through the lab, checking things out as he goes. Finally he makes his way to The Professor. He stares at The Professor’s cigarette until The Professor offers him one. The Professor lights it with a lighter which startles Joe for a minute then says this, “Fire right out of the air”. Ok, I think that’s taking it a tad too far. It might be an unusual device for Joe to see but they did have matches. I kind of doubt he’d go all caveman on seeing a Zippo.

Joe’s already tired of hanging out at the lab and wants to see the new world he’s landed in. He wants to see the buildings and carriages without horses. The Professor opens the curtains, the dangerous kind with the dangly ropes, and Joe sees the present for the first time. Joe gets a little freaked out by all the cars and neon and noise. You should see it now buddy. Although it kind of makes me chuckle that The Professor’s laboratory is on what looks like the 6th floor. Usually they’re in basements or castes and whatnot.

The Professor says that some things don’t change, however, like the concept of right and wrong. Joe says he knows about right and wrong. A Sheriff in Dodge City tried to beat it into him with a wet rope. Ouch. Although I notice he says he knows about them but doesn’t say he knows the difference. Nitpicky or do you think it’s a purposeful writing decision?

While Caswell is still holding his neck The Professor wants to know if Joe knows about justice. Joe asks why should he? The Professor says that justice came at the end of a rope for Caswell, didn’t it? The Professor asks Caswell if he got to him just in time, before his neck snapped. Probably 6 or 8 feet above the ground. Caswell rightly points out that “when you’re dangling at the end of a rope it doesn’t really matter whether it’s 8 feet or a hundred”. Same drop, same ending. The Professor wants to know if Caswell killed someone. Caswell says, yeah, a whole bunch. He stopped counting after twenty.

After this confession he lets Caswell walk right up to him and then tells Caswell that he’ll have to send him back. I see The Professor living a long and healthy life. Not. Caswell wants to know what he means by back. The Professor answers back to where Caswell came from, to that exact moment if he can. Caswell says he already died and went to hell and now he’s back. The Professor wants to know what about the twenty men he killed? They died with no discomfort at all? Caswell just shrugs him off. Something tells me that philosophical argument is not Joe’s strong suit.

He says that The Professor can talk comfortably about justice when he’s in a nice warm room with a full belly and just a few yards from a soft bed. Caswell says they don’t mean much when another man’s bread or jacket is what keeps you alive. As much as I hate to admit it, he does have a slight point. However, did he try asking them to share? Or try working for a bit of money? His clothes don’t look too rough and the fact that he back shot someone doesn’t speak too strongly for his character. Any kind of back attack is a bit cowardly unless it’s an absolute necessity. Again, though, he makes another slightly good point when he suggests The Professor hop in his time machine and go back to where he came from. He might see things a bit differently.

Caswell freaks out and starts tussling with The Professor, knocking him over the desk. The Professor tries to get to something in his drawer but Caswell beans him in the head with a lamp. Then he takes the gun out of the drawer that The Professor was trying to reach for. The recorder starts playing, repeating the last part of what The Professor had recorded and it freaks Caswell out.

Caswell runs out onto the streey and somehow stumbles into the exact same neon jungle from ‘The Four of Us Are Dying’ (first picture). As Caswell pushes his way through the crowd I even see the same club advertising a ‘water show’. And I still want to know what it means. Wet t-shirt contest?

He looks a bit discombobulated and runs out into the street (don’t they all?) He runs into a telephone booth. Weirdly, the telephone is ringing. Looks like the lady who just left stiffed them for a quarter for the call. He fumbles it off the hook and drops it, freaking out at the voice coming out of the phone. The doors have shut, though, and he crashes through the glass trying to get out.

He then pulls out a kerchief to wipe at a scratch from the glass. He crashes into a bar from the street, bumping into a couple of city slickers. The jukebox scares him so he attacks it. The bartender just watches while Caswell goes a few rounds with the jukebox. He even stands there watching when Caswell takes a chair to it. Then he just makes a “Why I oughta!” face. Caswell stumbles to the bar, holding his ears and complaining about all the noise. The bartender tells Caswell that if he doesn’t pay for it then he’ll have to himself. Well, I’m sure the perfectly nice man who just smashed your jukebox will be happy to pay for it.

The bartender tells Caswell that he doesn’t want any trouble so if Caswell has any he’d better take it outside. In response, Caswell takes out his trouble and plops it on the counter. A gun, you guys, get it out of the gutter will ya! Caswell says he wants “one of those” and nods to the whiskey bottles. Even though the gun is on the counter and Caswell isn’t holding it, the bartender obliges him and pours him the bottle instead of calling the police. Caswell wants to  know why the thing won’t shut up and wants to know where the music comes from. The bartender tells him it’s just a jukebox and asks where Caswell has been, a star? Caswell says he just needs some sleep. The horseless carriages are also making him a bit disoriented. The bartender suggests to Caswell that he go home and have a sleep. He even gives him a couple of bottles of whiskey to leave with. Very obliging of the bartender. Caswell doesn’t look, though, he’s staring at a box on the wall. A TV. Caswell thinks it’s a window and the bartender chuckles and offers to giver him a demonstration. The bartender turns it on to show him.

And there just happens to be a cowboy show on! What are the odds? The cowboy on the screen is also walking straight at the camera on the screen and talking to the camera which is weird because that’s a big no-no in television and movies unless they’re intentionally breaking the fourth wall. Caswell thinks the tiny little tv man is talking to him, challenging him to a showdown. Caswell accepts and shoots the tiny tv man. The bartender makes another “Why I oughta!” face and tells him, “You’ll have to pay for that!” I’m sure it will work just as well this time as it did with the jukebox. Caswell looks befuddled (again) and runs out when the bartender starts yelling for the police. So the bartender has a tv in the bar but no phone? By all rights Mr. Joe Caswell shouldn’t even know what the police are. He runs back out into the urban jungle, dodging cars.

Finally he takes a shot at a cab. I honestly can’t tell if he’s hit the driver or if the driver just ducked. As a general clamor arises, he takes a tumble into some dirt. By now he’s looking sweaty and very, very tired. He eventually makes his way back to The Professor’s laboratory. He begs The Professor for help. I guess he doesn’t grasp the idea that he killed the dude so it may not be the best time to ask for help. As he’s begging for help a light is suddenly switched on. In the doorway stands a man with a gun. Caswell puts his hands up (what happened to his gun?) and the intruder says he thought the place was empty. He tells the “cowboy” to take it easy. Really, though, he doesn’t look like a cowboy exactly. His clothes aren’t that peculiar, really. Caswell asks what the intruder wants. The intruder says he wants whatever’s around for the taking.

Mr. Intruder sees the body of The Professor and thinks that Caswell got there before him and saved him the trouble of killing The Professor. He talks to himself a bit, rummaging through the desk. He asks Caswelll if he’s looked for a safe and Caswell just stares at him. Mr. Intruder leans a bit closer to ask again and Caswell tries to grab the gun. They fight a bit and at first Caswell is holding his own but then Mr. Intruder gets the upper hand even though Caswell is supposed to be a roughand-tumble cowboy who’s a bit bigger than Mr. Intruder. Of course, it didn’t sound as though he fought fair so maybe he is at a disadvantage. Mr. Intruder pushes him toward a window and almost knocks Caswell through. Mr. intruder grabs the dangerously dangling blind cords and strangles Caswell to death, delivering the justice that was delayed a bit but couldn’t escape. Mr. Intruder starts ransacking the office, looking for money or…something. What exactly does he expect to find of value in a Professor’s laboratory? Test tubes? He sees the big flashing lights on the wall and, just like most people, can’t resist fiddling with a few of them. The wall thing lights up and he stops fiddling. The large machine catches his eye and he steps inside.

As it starts to glow he bangs on the walls, wanting out.

Back In The Old West:
The shadow of the rope is still in silhouette on the ground but now it’s filled in with the shadow of a man. The men of the necktie party rush over to cut him down but they soon realize  that the man on the end of the end of the rope is not Joe Caswell. They don’t know who the man is and are baffled by his clothing. The deputies take off and the other three are wondering if they hung an innocent man. They hope not.

SERLING:
This is November, 1880. The aftermath of a necktie party. The victim’s name, Paul Johnson. A minor league criminal and the taker of another human life. No comment on his death, save this: Justice can span years Retribution is not subject to a calendar. Tonight’s case in point in the Twilight Zone.


Karma’s a bitch and the story drips with irony. Not really one of the best since most of the people don’t act like normal people would in those situations. If you were The Professor would you tell a murderer to his face that you’re sending him back to be hung? Or would you trry to trick him into the box? Also, wouldn’t the bartender call the police (on the telephone, not just yelling for them) instead of bribing the crazy man with more alcohol to get him to leave?


Join us again next week for another Twilight Zone Tuesday episode: The Big Tall Wish (prepare yourself, the snark is coming).

Flyby Five: 5 Very Attractive Devils

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Here at Sci-Fi and Scary we like to give everyone an even deal. Even the Devil. Over the years the Devil has been played many times on-screen but sometimes more…elegantly than others. So here is our list of five times the Devil was awesome on-screen.

Welcome to Flyby Five, where we abandon all sense of seriousness and do silly lists about whatever pops into our heads. This segment will be posted every Wednesday we feel like posting it. This is not a serious list, nor is it a “Top 5” list. And there is every possible chance that some of these lists or the language in these lists may not be PG-13 friendly. You have been warned. -L&G

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1.  The Man – Gabriel Byrne from The End of Days: Gabriel Byrne is pretty smoking in all of his movies but he’s sexily sinister as The Man looking for his bride.

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2. Miss Devlin – Julie Newmar from the Twilight Zone episode Of Late I Think of Cliffordville: She was gorgeous as Catwoman but in Twilight Zone she plays a sultry Miss Devlin with a coy evilness.

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3. Lucifer – Viggo Mortenson from The Prophecy: He was yummy as Aragorn but even nummier as Lucifer in The Prophecy. When he asks Detective Thomas Dagget (Elias Koteas, who doesn’t look too bad either) to come home with him I want to jump up and down saying, “Pick me, pick me!”

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4. The Devil – Ray Wise from Reaper: His attractiveness may be debatable among people (since he’s on this list you can probably guess my opinion) but you cannot deny his charisma. And scariness.

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5. The Devil – Elizabeth Hurley from Bedazzled: I’m sure she made many a heart (or other organs) go thumpity thump with the scanty clothing she dressed up in as The Devil. And, according to the commentary, most of them were from her own closet.

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Have any particular demons you’d like to exorcise? Let me know down below (no, not that far down below. I’m not heading there. Yet.)