Starring Jane Greer, Robert Webber, George Mitchell.
Written by Jason Wingreen.
Directed by John Newland.
Artist Robertson Moffat (director Newland) is about to start work on his masterpiece "The Angel of Death" when he's shot through the head with a crossbow by a masked figure from the skylight in his studio (not by Professor Plum with a plunger in the loo). Six months later, Arthur Henshaw (Webber) is sent by his gallery to catalog Moffat's work for an exhibit, only to discover that Moffat's final blank canvass is painting itself a picture... of the artist's murder.
PE: What in the name of Gianni Versace is Robertson Moffat wearing? If it's not a bathrobe, it's a bath mat with buttons.
JS: I was too busy appreciating his fine art. Did anyone else notice that it wasn't a particularly good likeness? And here I thought the model wanted it because she was embarrassed by it, not because she was worried it might tank her nude modeling career...
PE: Perfect picture of an episode gone all wrong. The concept is very cool (and was done much better, in a way, years later on Night Gallery) and it ropes you in with lots of false promises before settling for Inner Sanctum territory. By the climax, we're buried with ludicrous expositions.
JS: Once again, Season 2 has you and I on opposite ends of the spectrum. My wife had it all figured out the moment the first drop of paint was on the 'blank' canvas, but we still enjoyed it start to finish. I no sooner commented how much more I was enjoying Newland's performance in this than in "Andrew Bentley," and WHAP! Crossbow bolt in the head.
PE: SPOILER ALERT: I actually tried to recreate in my living room how fast a Robertson Moffat forgery could be painted that would fool a renowned expert (Professor Martin Vander Hoven aka Sergeant Shultz). It took me 2 hours to paint the arrow through his head. I fail to see how Arthur Henshaw did it any faster. Stencils? I did add one quarter of a Karloff head for the final reveal on the portrait. It made no sense but so what?
JS: Did you have to use your 64-color assortment of crayons? Let me get this straight—turning men into pigs, no problemo. An artist painting faster than you—complete inability to suspend disbelief. Got it. (Apples and oranges, Scooter. Mrs. Hawk is an ancient goddess; Arthur Henshaw is not a cosmic painting deity. -PE; Or IS he? -JS) You don't even give Big K any love for killing his cameraman?
|The real killer revealed?|
JS: I actually thought the crossbow-bolt-in-the-head was more effective than the axe-wound-in-the-head shot from "Pigeons from Hell." If there's one thing about this episode I didn't like, it's Katherine 'The Cackler' Squire, whose performance was so annoying I had to create a montage of screenshots.
PE: The first time Agatha Moffatt lets out one of her banshee cackles, it's funny and outre. By the 40th time, I was convinced that Ed Wood had taken over for the director while Newland was readying the infamous flop One Step Beyond: The Musical. There's no rhyme or reason to Agatha. We're not told whether she's mentally ill, senile, or just a happy camper. She's just a tool to make noise now and then and add "atmosphere," John Newland style.
JS: Perhaps Newland was using her to prevent the audience from dozing off. (oh, so we do agree about this mess. -PE).
PE: The two leads, Jane Greer and Robert Webber (who reminds me of a less world-weary Gig Young), do what they can with what they're given. Greer became famous playing dames in such noir classics as Out of the Past, The Big Steal, and They Won't Believe Me. Seeing her publicity pics from those flicks, I'm reminded of Paul Newman's classic line in The Verdict: "My God, you are some beautiful woman." She was. In 1957, she played Lon Chaney's second wife, Hazel, in the biopic Man of a Thousand Faces. Webber became a fixture on television through hundreds of guest star roles on shows like Police Woman, McMillan & Wife, Cannon and Ironside. Greer and Webber co-starred over at Hitch's place in "A True Account," during the 4th season in 1959.