Starring Robert Vaughn, Kathleen Crowley, Robert Ellenstein.
Written by Donald S. Sanford.
Directed by Laslo Benedek.
While working in his lab, University scientist Dr. Frank Cordell (Robert Vaughn) accidentally mixes Methylindole with Polonium and, as anyone versed in the two chemicals can attest, experiences a loss of pulse. If this was the only problem the good doctor experienced, this would be a very short episode.
PE: Cordell finds whenever he hears a bell ringing, the whole world sways, he squishes his face in his hands, and becomes a teenage werewolf.
JS: Is that what was going on? I thought he was turning into Dennis Hopper. Interestingly enough, I found myself squishing my head in my hands several times throughout this episode.
PE: I think in some alternate Thriller universe, Gil Thrasher (The Shat) and Carolyn the Assistant (Alice Backes) had a love child before Gil threw himself out of the castle window and Dr. Frank Cordell is the result. I know all the Robert Vaughn fans will come to his defense and remind me that he was gold in Man From U.N.C.L.E. and I'll give you he was solid in Bullitt but here he's just another scenery chewer.
JS: I don't get it. Just a year earlier he was great in The Magnificent Seven. Did you like how he interrogated That Girl when she inadvertently stumbled into his unlocked lab? With all the beakers and gas masks, you can understand how she thought it was the library. I tell you she had it coming.
PE: And to think we did our commentary on "The Fatal Impulse." If only we'd have been a bit more patient. We should have known something more ludicrous was just up over the next grassy knoll.
JS: Unfortunately, this episode lacks the entertaining charm that made "The Fatal Impulse" so watchable. If this were "The Ordeal of No Deal of Dr. Cordell" I'd go with No Deal.
PE: My Thrillah moments- After a co-ed is found viciously murdered (well, we're told her little bell earrings have been ripped off), the investigating detective (Russ Conway) asks an M.D. (an M.D. I repeat) his advice:
"Do you remember those deep scratches on her earlobes? Well, you were right, she was wearing earrings. The killer did tear them off. My men just found them about thirty yards from the scene. What kind of a psycho would ignore her wristwatch and the money in her purse and just take a worthless little thing like this?"
Then, later, the good doctor attends a pep rally and is thrown yet again into a psychotic frenzy by a pretty girl with a bell. First he strangles the cinematographer for the episode (Benjamin H. Kline) and then goes on to murder the young lady.
JS: I think my favorite came during the pre-credit sequence. With Frank unconscious, they have to suck the nasty gas out of the chamber. The other Doctor decides to eyeball it, and jumps in the room despite our being able to see visible vapors (let alone those deadly invisible gasses...).
PE: (SPOILER ALERT) When Cordell tries to warn his assistant, the lovely Dr. Lois Walker (Crowley) about the debilitating effects of the gas they've been experimenting with, she suggests they meet to talk about it in... oh, you guessed, a chapel. Cordell, being the genius that he is, perhaps forgets that it's bells that trigger his nuttiness and face squishing, and chapels tend to have really big bells. These scientific geniuses can be absent-minded, you know. When the bell begins ringing, Frank heads up top to try to silence it. He gets bonged back and forth and this leads, inevitably, to another unconvincing fall from a great height by a Thriller star (which brings this back full circle to Gil Thrasher). "The Ordeal of Dr. Cordell"? What about the ordeal of the A Thriller A Day guys?