Starring Lloyd Bochner, Marion Ross, Henry Daniell.
Written by Robert Arthur.
Directed by Herschel Daugherty.
Professor Harry Langham (Bochner), while in Paris, discovers the lost mirror of the infamous Count Alexander Cagliostro (Daniell), painted black decades before. Removing some of the paint, he catches a glimpse of the beautiful Yvette Dulaine (Patricia Michon), who has been trapped in the mirror by the evil Cagliostro. Convinced he can free Yvette from her prison, he brings the mirror back with him to America with disastrous results.
JS: This is another unique episode in that there's a prologue, a Karloff intro, the episode begins (or so you think), and you get Karloff again—all before the Thriller sticks appear. What immediately hooked me in this episode was the transformation of the man into a skeleton in the pre-credits sequence. Sure, skeletal hands are unintentionally silly looking, but I didn't let that bother me. I can only imagine how creepy this was to a kid in the 60s!
PE: Let's get the obvious out of the way first: Mrs. C was a Thriller babe! And co-habitating with two men in a reverse-gender Three's Company! What would Richie and the Fonz have to say about Mrs. C's younger, more lusty self? And isn't it the whip cream on the top of the sundae when Bochner toasts Mrs. C with "Happy Days"?
JS: Yeah, that was a pretty wild coincidence. Henry Daniell does a fine job, though I must admit his role in "Well of Doom" was so good I think it overshadows this performance here.
PE: I've seen enough bad acting in this series to know how wrong Lloyd Bochner's "first I'm this guy, then I'm that" character change could have gone. Instead, Bochner rises to the occasion, no scenery chewed here, and gives a bravura performance. Cagliostro's personality comes to the forefront and the nice but nerdy Langham is gone, confined to the mirror and another Bochner. I'd have to list him in my nominees for Best Thriller Performance.
JS: I can't argue with that. I liked the scenes where he's so interested to get back to the mirror he literally ignores what the other people around him are saying and doing. At one point, when he's conversing with Yvette, there's a knock on the door and he gestures to the lovely gal in the mirror to hang on for a second. The scene could have devolved to a comedy skit at that point, but Bochner sells it so well it seems perfectly natural.
PE: You all should have watched this episode for your homework already but if there are some stragglers, you want to steer clear. Are they gone? Good. So tell me how the heck the ending of this show made it past the "happy ending police" at NBC? I'd have to search long and hard to find something (outside of the "Hitch," that is) broadcast during this era that was this downbeat and grim. First, good guy Harry is trapped in the mirror while Cagliostro strolls the docks killing and generally having a good time in the professor's body. Then the Count murders Mrs. C when she finds out the truth about his night out (Nice lighting in this sequence! - JS) To top off Harry's real bad day, Cagliostro and Bob Denver/Jerry Lewis have a tussle and the mirror is destroyed, trapping Harry in mirrorland forever (albeit with the woman he was obsessed with in the first place—how bad can that be?)! He can't even get out to clear his bad name.
JS: Great music, and I also thought they did a very simple yet effective handling of the 'inside the mirror' sequences.
PE: Writer Robert Arthur, at the time of this broadcast, was a prolific author (he wrote several stories that were adapted for Hitchcock, including the classic "The Cadaver") and the ghost editor for several of the Hitchcock prose anthologies. He also wrote ten of the "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" series of children's books.