Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Weird Tailor: Season 2 Episode 4

Originally aired 10/16/61
Starring Henry Jones, George Macready, Abraham Sofaer.
Written by Robert Bloch, based on his short story.
Directed by Herschel Daugherty.

After his son is accidentally killed during a black mass, Mr. Smith (Macready) acquires the cursed tome, De Vermis Mysteriis, and prepares to bring the boy back to life. To aid him, he hires Erich Borg (Jones), a bankrupt tailor who'll do anything for the money. Equipped with a bolt of the most unusual material he's ever worked with, Borg constructs a suit to die for.

PE: One of the most effective prologues to a Thriller ever. I wish we knew a little more about what Macready was up to before Junior stumbled into pop's pentagram.

Director Daugherty in an ad from Theatre Arts magazine.
JS: I think it's effective in part because we have no idea what he's doing (well, okay, we have some idea). Sure, the son (Gary Clarke) is a tad over the top, but it works. Director Daugherty does a great job with the buildup, so what happens to junior actually comes as a surprise!

PE: I love Love LOVE how Bloch found a way to work a little Lovecraft Mythos into this episode (his De Vermis Mysteriis is Bloch's entry in the Mythos bestseller list, used mostly when calling up Elder Gods or Great Cthulhu). Interestingly enough, the book was not named in the original short story.

JS: The scene with the acquisition of the book was classic Bloch, too. What could have been staged as a very dark, atmospheric and serious scene in some old, moldering bookshop instead plays out in the bright light of a used car dealer's office. When he names his price for the magical tome, I half expected it to roll off his tongue as, "one meeeeelioon dollars."

PE: This is a very solid episode with a great cast and another solid Bloch script. Macready's intensity is mesmerizing and Jones is solid.

JS: As is Iphigenie Castiglioni as the blind fortune teller. She's no Maria Ouspenskaya, but I thought she was effective in the role.

PE: If I have a few problems (you know I would), they are minor. Borg's hostility to his wife is hard to get a handle on. I know there are people that are just mean, but Borg seems to keep crossing back and forth across that line from poor downtrodden bastard to mean, wife-beating son of a bitch.

JS: I didn't have a problem with the relationship struggles between he and his wife. I felt it was another interesting example of Thriller pushing the envelope in terms of onscreen husband and wife relationships. My only complaint is that Anna's accent occasionally dips into the grating realm of "Inga vrum Sveeden."

PE: Anna's "relationship" with the clothes mannikin, Hans, is subtly sexual but also not so subtly silly (the remake would downplay that aspect to good advantage). I think it was unwise to film the dummy using a human being, (played by Freddie Mercury in his second Thriller role) but then who would know, in 1961, that fifty years later folks would be watching "The Weird Tailor" in HD and noticing that Hans was moving and breathing (before he was supposed to be). And, of course, even those enthralled in the events will giggle a bit when Hans comes to life as one of The Jackson Five. Those little nits aside, the show is fantastic and holds up well after repeated viewings.

JS: As it would have really stood out if Hans shifted from being a real mannikin to a man in make-up, I was fine with how this was done. It adds an extra layer of creepiness the first time you see 'him', and it's even more disturbing when you begin to understand (or extrapolate) about Anna and 'his' relationship. David Lynch would be proud. That said, I think the coolest shock of the show was the reveal of junior in the fridge.

PE: "The Weird Tailor" first appeared in the July 1950 issue of Weird Tales and can be found reprinted in The Skull of the Marquis de Sade (Pyramid pb, 1965). Thriller sticks pretty closely to the original story. For the teleplay, Bloch added the prologue to pad out the 20 page short. In the original, we're never told how the son died.

A decade later, Robert Bloch would dust off "The Weird Tailor" for the anthology film he was writing called Asylum. Produced by the celebrated runner-up studio to Hammer, Amicus*, Asylum is comprised of four Bloch Weird Tales ("Tailor," "Frozen Fear," "Lucy Comes to Stay," and "Mannikins of Horror") within a silly framework (a psychiatrist, applying for a job, must guess which inmate is actually the warden). Given roughly half the time to work magic that he was given on Thriller, Bloch does his best. He's aided by a good cast, including Barry Morse as the tailor and Peter Cushing as the grieving father. The prologue from the show is dropped as is the subplot with the car salesman/rare book dealer and most of the subtle shenanigans between Anna and Hans (here rechristened Otto and "gifted" with the face of Burt Reynolds) have fallen by the wayside. It's a good adaptation but nowhere near as effective as the Thriller version.

THE COMMENTARY:
JS: While we haven't had a chance to listen to the entire commentary, we wanted to remind folks that this episode includes the recreation of Tom Weaver's interview with Thriller associate producer Douglas Benton. The ever versatile Gary Gerani provides the soothing tones of Weaver (Better than Weaver himself. -PE), and Sanford's son Daniel takes the place of his late father.

*I just have to get in a rare non-Thriller plug: the entire fascinating, troubled history of Amicus is detailed by Philip Nutman in a special issue of Little Shoppe of Horrors (Issue #20), a first-rate magazine usually dedicated to Hammer Films. You'll find nuggets galore about Robert Bloch's six films with the studio, including Asylum. You can order it here.

OUR RATING:


30 comments:

  1. Great episode and one of my favorite THRILLERS. The wife was such a doormat that I wished I could slap her around some too. Usually Henry Jones plays the sad sack being bullied, so it was nice to see him beat up on someone else.

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    1. You, sir, sound like someone I'd NEVER want to meet.

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  2. Terrific episode in general, and I love Freddie Mercury's turn as Hans in that ultra-disturbing, WAY OUT-like finale. I'm glad most folks seem to be enjoying our rather offbeat "commentary," and it was a genuine honor to become historian extraordinaire Tom Weaver for an hour. Only down side to all this? "Weird Tailor" (WEIRD TALE-OR?) is such a great episode, it's a shame we couldn't also have included a story/production analysis commentary as well. Maybe for the blu-ray release, if that should ever happen...

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  3. Part 1 -

    This could be Thriller's most perfect episode.

    Daugherty's work is magnificent, from first frame to last--set-ups, composition, lighting, pacing---all taking us deeper into the inner workings of these fascinating characters.

    Of all the great, showcase-quality performances that "Thriller" featured--Rip Torn, Guy Rolfe, Daniell (Well of Doom), Edward Andrews (Good Imagination), Natalie Schaefer, etc etc, I would cite Henry Jones' portrayal here of the title character as perhaps the best of all. Each of the others were in their comfort zone, doing what comes naturally. Jones, who usually played hum-drum minor officials, mousey henchmen, bookworm-types, etc, re-invented himself here in terms of voice, accent, mannerisms, stance, etc and then totally inhabited the character that he (Bloch and Daugherty) had created---from meek and subservient (w/MacReady) to cruel and hostile (with the Missus). His every word and action rings true for this small-time, old-world working-class immigrant (anyone who has ever been around folks who answer to this description [I have] will IMMEDIATELY recognize the characters of both Borg and his wife; their relationship is VERY realistic); the fact that
    Jones accomplished this transformation almost instantaneously to meet "Thriller's" intense schedule demands makes ita all the more impressive.

    Sondra Kerr--even though her performance gets a tad annoying at times---is ABSOLUTELY spot-on in terms of subtle realism (check the brief scene between her and Stanley Adams); she's really wonderful.
    Her off-screen story is a sad one that has unfortunate parallels to her role as Anna Borg.
    The same year that this show was made ('61), she married Robert Blake (they remained married 'til 1982); need one say any more?
    The month after "Tailor", the Gunsmoke episode "Chesterland" premiered, with Ms. Kerr giving another fine performance (again with a very convincing dialect), this time in the role of a lovely southern-style Belle that almost marries Chester. I believe these were her FIRST TWO TV appearances--so clearly she was on a big career path. But it was not to be (much more recently, she was called to testify at Blake's murder trial, recounting her scary relationship with ol' Mickey Gubitosi; check it out on Google). All of this adds an extra layer of pathos and intensity to her fine "Thriller" performance.

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  4. Part 2 -

    Macready is an actor who often left some pretty big teeth marks on the scenery, but I don't care; he was one-of-a-kind, and his performance here is really riveting. And yes, Bloch throws us (and Macready) a major curve with the ancient book of diabolical spells being housed in a corrugated tin office/trailer on a used-car lot; this and the brief scene with Henry Jones delivering the suit at the loading dock are the ONLY moments when we find ourselves outside of the cramped, dilpidated tailor shop/apartment or the dark and mysterious dwellings of Macready and the fortune-teller.

    I LOVE the "passage of time" shots of that huge, honkin' spider in its giant, mettalic web.
    Goldsmith's music (another great score) for the immigrant Borgs (and Hans) has a sad, weary, folk-like quality to it, and the spider shots feature a flute duet and harp figure that subtly suggests a tolling clock (when I first heard the 3rd Movement of the famous 5th Symphony of Shostakovich in the mid '60's, I immediately thought of this passage from Goldsmith's score; come to think of it, I see the fat old spider in the window EVERY time I hear the symphony, to this day).

    Incidentally, the Herschel Daugherty ad which is posted above was from October of 1942; clearly he was on his way up in the world, as both director and actor. His understanding of the actor's craft is nowhere more apparent than in this great episode.

    TEN KARLOFFS will barely suffice for "The Weird Tailor".

    LR

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  5. PS---

    "Weird Talior" network premiere: 49 YEARS AGO TODAY.

    Way to go, guys, for giving us a chance to
    honor it via ATAD.

    LR

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  6. This is the episode that frightened me into submission, and is in fact my very earliest recollection with THRILLER. As it aired in October, 1961, I had just turned 7 in August, and was showned the episode by a 40ish "baby-sitter" who was actually my first cousin's aunt from his father's side of the family. She was an Irish woman who got a special thrill out of scaring young kids (in a civilized way mind you) and she insisted I watch that week's installent. I had nightmares for weeks, but I was a convert for an early age, and to this day remain smitten with this show like none other. (I do of course love TZ and OL, and just the other day raed a section of THE OUTER LIMITS COMPANION by the site own David J. Show) Of course the final scene where the dummy comes alive is one of the most ghoulishly terrifying scenes in all of THRILLER, and the episodes as the others here assert boasts some of the show's best performances and a diabolical undercurrent that is the essence of Bloch's exceptional story.

    The Amicus re-make, directed by Roy Ward Baker (who sadly passed on just last week, but well into his 90's) also boasted a fine adapation by Bloch, but the moody atmospherics of THRILLER episode remains unsurpassed.

    It should be mentioned that the DVD transfer on this episode is so pristine and cystal clear with superlative contast and depth, that is should be offered up to the extreme minority who continue to praise teh quality on the laserdisc set of the six episodes at the expense of the DVD set that very often eclipses the picture on the LD.

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  7. Sue me, but this one didn't register with me.
    It seemed like 3 different tales of differing weight -- the opening, with the comical drunk walking in on his paranormally masterbating father. Then McReady becomes a man on a mission, although I could have used an additional scene that showed me how badly he was hurt from his soused son's foolish meander... And then the weird tailor, which was the strongest piece to the puzzle but just didn't jibe with the other two pieces. And that fake mannequin, looking like something out of a Thomas Dolby music video... While all the elements were there for a thriller, and i am probably off base and needing a drink, this was one that missed the mark.
    Five out of 10 Karloffs...

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  8. Remembering that TV screens back then were 21" max. I think ours was 17", minimizing scrutinization. Now that these episodes are seen on huge screens, the slight movements of the mannequin may take one out of the moment, clearly forecasting the finale. But overall a creepy THRILLER.

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  9. DEADLY HANS OF ... HANS

    This is one of those THRILLERs for which I'd love to see a shooting schedule. Why not use a mannequin for Hans in the medium and long shots? Perhaps because they only had him for one shooting day, or couldn't duplicate the makeup on a (ahem) dummy. Given some of the excellent face-casts seen in THRILLER (like that superlative one of Michael Pate in "The Mask of Medusa"), having Hans become mobile only when he "becomes" actor Diki Lerner would have sold strong.

    Diki Lerner — obviously a dancer! — can be seen in such fare as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR. T, and THRILLER's upcoming "The Innocent Bystanders," but my favorite credit for him has got to be "Gay Boy at the Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel" (club) in COOGAN'S BLUFF.

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  10. Yes, clearly the decision to use the actor/dancer throughout the episode was an unfortunate corner-cutting...perhaps because when I was watching this in the mid-'70s, it was one of those seventh-generation dupes or at least bad 16mm copies being broadcast by the Hartford, CT, ABC station, so I didn't note the breathing and small movements...and reading the story for the first time (yes, of course, WEIRD TALE-or...this is Bloch) five or so years later conflated with the episode in memory (the story, oddly enough, is better, even w/o the DVM namecheck). But it was my favorite episode of the series, and my rosiest memory of TV horror.

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  11. Douglas Benton's slightly scrambled, in the statement (completely scrambled in the judgement), assertion that Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber were writing Mere Pulp while Lovecraft wrote literature almost disqualified Benton from being taken seriously at all, but he does redeem himself in large part with his assessments of Bloch and Karloff as two of the nicest people he'd met in the Industry. (What he meant was that Bloch and Leiber were more dramatic writers. No shit. And Bloch and Leiber were the best writers in the Lovecraft Circle [not quite excepting CA Smith], the ones who really picked up HPL's ball and ran with it.)

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  12. As one or another of us points out in one of the commentaries, a lot of Lovecraft's "Cthulhu Mythos" stuff as-logged in public awareness actually came from August Derleth's augmentations. Our great classic literary tradition of horror initially sprang from a gang of pussywhipped mama's boys, with Lovecraft the most overrated of the lot — windy, logorrheic and frequently, unintentionally hilarious (just try reading most of Lovecraft aloud without laughing). Lovecraft deserves his slot in the pantheon of the Weird Tale — he earned it — but it is reductive and wrong to look at him as a kind of next-generation Poe. Had Fitz-James O'Brien not died unduly, that mantle would probably be his, today. And for anyone to consider Lovecraft "literature" while dismissing the likes of Bloch or Leiber as coattail-riding hacks, well, that's just so wrong and uninformed on so many levels it's not worth addressing. It pains me whenever ignorant, so-called fans of horror canonize Poe and Lovecraft, then jump straight to Stephen King in a kind of simple-minded denial of nearly a century of interim work by others. Horror as an emotional literature has far too many backwaters, byways, nooks and secret passages to be summed up by the work of one or two over-cited writers. Virtually the only thing Poe and Lovecraft had in common was that both of them wrote excellent essays on the nature of horror; in fact, HPL's "Supernatural Horror in Literature" is better than most of his own prose attempts at same.

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  13. The whole point that makes this the best Thriller episode ever for me
    is that it is an equal party of heartbreak and terror
    Rebekah

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  14. What a shame about the moving Hans! Everything else in the episode was just right but, for me, that really destroyed the suspension of disbelief - shouting what was going to happen at the audience, even people who already knew the ending. This episode would be a prime candidate for the kind of "remastered effects" that the STAR TREK Blu-rays got: keeping Hans still would be so easy in a remastering nowadays...as it is, I'm afraid I only give it three Karloffs out of four.

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  15. The episode started and before too long I realized I had already seen an adaptation of this story, but without this explanation of the son's death. Sure enough,as already noted above, it was part of the ASYLUM feature I had watched on DVD last year. I prefer this one which gives more background to the story, although I'm undecided about Anna's obsessing over Hans. And yes, it would have been better if the ending hadn't been telegraphed by the so-obvious-human-as-mannikin throughout the episode.

    I've been primarily an SF reader, but watching THRILLER has engaged my interest in the crime and horror genres. I'd already pored over a tome of Poe's work a few years ago. But now, on the horror side, I've picked up some Lovecraft whom I've read little previously. But before I launch into those books, I decided to read older material (based, actually, on names Bradbury would toss out in such stories as "Usher II"). So, thanks to Progject Gutenberg, Google Books, etc., I'm reading a smattering of Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, and Ambrose Bierce. I just finished Machen's "The Great God Pan." According to Wikipedia, Lovecraft scholor Robert M. Price has said, "There is little in Lovecraft's [The Dunwich Horror] that does not come directly out of Machen's fiction."

    I like the way, in the commentary, that Daniel repeats an entire phrase when he errs while reading the transcript (such as "and we were talking about Judith AHN-derson . . . and we were talking about Judith Anderson"). Should a Blu-Ray emerge, it should be relatively easy to edit out the flubs.

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  16. Like Dark Legacy, the Weird Tailor starts out with another old white guy dabbling in black magic. Something about the visuals of a conservative old white guy playing with black magic with a mid twentieth century backdrop just doesn't convince this viewer. They could at least give us Jimmy Page in Aleister Crowley's mansion with some naked groupies. Instead we get his spoiled and drunken kid walking in on the old man, which leads to fatal consequences for junior.

    There is something about George Macready's style of acting that is both too stiff, and at other times, too emotionally over the top to make his Crowley wannabe character come to life.

    I enjoyed the scenes with the blind fortune teller and the used car salesman. Things were still interesting when Mr. Smith sought a solicitation for the tailoring of a gold lame outfit. If I was the tailor, I immediately would have guessed that the real client was Elvis, who was ready to unveil it during an upcoming stand at the International Hotel in Vegas.

    After this nice buildup concerning Mr. Smith has kept my attention focused, the action switches over to the down and out immigrant tailor and his wife. Erich is pathetic rodent of a man, while Anna his wife, is far too kind and attractive for this weasel. I loved the portrayals by Henry Jones and Sondra Kerr. They added just the right bit of foreigner kookiness without going into caricature.

    The Borg's relationship and plight in life was quickly laid out and I immediately had empathy for poor Anna. I was surprised at the way the domestic abuse was so casually portrayed. Oh, and lest I forget Hans, the goofy mannequin in the back room, who is very obviously being played by someone that is breathing. This bit here pretty much gives away the ending, but this little peak behind the curtain still doesn't spoil the fun.

    Now, after we get acquainted with the Borgs, Mr. Smith and his predicament are sort of put on the back burner. As dull as the Borg's situation is compared to Mr. Smith's, I still found myself more interested in the sitcomesque dealings of Anna and Erich.

    Once the Elvis suit is stitched up and ready for delivery we find that Mr. Smith has slid down from his mansion to a transient rental. That large jump cut in Mr. Smith's life gives the episode a disjointed feel, especially considering how carefully laid out Mr. Smith's plight was during the first half of the episode. When Mr. Smith reappears, he is quickly disappears via a stab from our favorite tailor. Seriously, how could a girly-man like Erich kill anyone?

    Erich comes back to his rent overdue pad and we know where the action is headed. Despite, our knowing, the ending is still creepy and disturbing. The way Hans moves and talks is something straight out of a childhood nightmare.

    I loved the parts of the episode that dealt with Hans and Anna. The Mr. Smith threads, I think were the right material for the suit, but the writers might have needed more material or a different needle to weave those threads into the fabric.

    Hans gives The Weird Tailor three Karloffs...

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  17. Hans was played by Diki Lerner, not Freddie Mercury.

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    1. YOUR RIGHT, I'M A BIG QUEEN FAN AND I KNOW HANS WAS NOT PLAYED BY FREDDIE MERCURY EITHER *LOL* ... OH'WELL , I GUESS THEY WERE ONLY JOKING ANYWAY... HOWEVER I MUST SAY THE RESEMBLANCE IN THE ABOVE SCREEN SHOT IS PRETTY CLOSE TO FREDDIE THOUGH.

      P.S. SORRY FOR ALL THE CAP'S DUE TO POOR EYE'S ANS POOR TYPING SKILL'S

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  18. Only nits to pick about this one too. An effective episode, but a few portions didn't pass the smell test. I didn't buy Macready as the kind who'd dabble in Black Magic in his spare time. Especially without locking his door, if it's that dangerous. I also didn't buy him as someone who'd give up his entire fortune to get that book with no guarantees that it would work. If Sofaer has been waiting 15 years to sell that book, isn't it possible he might have come down his price a bit? Macready is too lousy a businessman to have amassed so much money.

    Was the icebox sequence supposed to be as funny as it was? The instant Henry Jones started going on about "You say you're poor, but you've got this brand new giant refrigerator in your apartment!" I burst out laughing, because it was obvious where this was going. I'm not saying I didn't like it. It was kind of cool, and definitely hilarious. But was it supposed to be funny?

    Same with Sondra Blake telling us she put the suit on the dummy. Whoa, whoa, you're telling us too much too soon! We all know what that suit is supposed to do. Don't let us know the dummy is wearing it until the last possible moment.

    The idea of a suit that grants the wearer some kind of power had me thinking of "The Greatest American Hero" all through the episode. There's even an "instruction book" of sorts, which I half expected Macready to lose.

    I found it a little unsettling shifting stories in mid episode. For most of the episode the story is about Macready's attempts to regain the son that he so stupidly lost. Then, halfway through, a major character dies (what, again???), and they tell us to forget that story, let's start caring about this one about Henry Jones and his wife's odd relationship with his tailor's dummy. In the end, it all works out (having the son come back to life as planned would be too anti-climatic). It just took me a few minutes to re-orient, and figure out what the plot was going to be for the rest of the episode. ("Oh yeah, yeah, whatshername likes to talk to the dummy", which had been kind of going under the radar up to that point.)

    What was the bit about Macready promising to pay Henry Jones after his son comes back? How is the son coming back to life supposed to recover his fortune? Did I miss something?


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  19. Just saw this episode again last night on METV. Even though I knew what was going to happen as I'd seen it once in late night reruns when I was growing up, and in "Asylum" on rented VHS when I was in college, the ending is still pretty wild. My wife who's never seen the series thought it was creepy. I didn't notice the moving/breathing either time, probably because the first time I saw it was over 30 years ago on a 19inch Sears TV watching over the air and my current flatscreen is only 720P! Another bit of trivis is the landlord character was played by Stanley Addams, who is known to Star Trek fans as Cyrano Jones from "The Trouble With Tribbles."

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  20. I kept wondering why the wife would hang in with the tailor and then her hoped for release ends with her being with a cracked in the head former dummy. She couldn't win for losing. As for the black magic aspect quit a few of these center on some relative in the dark arts who have gained or maintained a certain style of living through such machinations. It always makes me wonder whether this is a true showing of some aspect of society. Is mild mannered Bill Gates dancing in pentagrams late into the night?

    I love Thriller and try to watch religiously. (Maybe I'm into the dark arts as well) so was taken in by the total weirdness of the Weird Tailor from the get go. Seeing Robert Bloch's name attached was a clincher for me. My favorite non tailor scenes were with the blind fortune teller there were chilly little details which fleshed out these scenes nicely! 31/2 Karloffs

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    1. I didn't see this episode when first aired in the '60s when I was 12. Ventriloquists with humans and the puppets or marionettes. Ain't Howdy, Dowdy! Smile-MAD Magazine parody of the show-Howdy Dowdy is the human and Buffalo Bob is the dummy-yessir you under 40's critics. A kid from Nuyawk was on his show way back when. Calif kids were deprived!

      Several takes on this theme - Hitchcock. twice, Twilight Zone. And Magic w/Anthony Hopkins. All in theme with mental illness. So, not one of the best, without mental illness, or so we think, but passable with its limitations.

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  21. A really wonderful episode, BUT not nearly enough has been said about director Daugherty's egregious decision to use an actor (dancer? Acrobat?) to enact the mannequin throughout. It ruins what would have otherwise been a perfectly written and acted piece. It isn't just the actor's movement that's a problem, it's his appearance: long-nosed, weak-chinned and made up to look like a Latin Lover/gigolo, he looks NOTHING like the blandly handsome mannequin, the parody of male physical perfection that a scared, lonely immigrant might get a crush on. And the badly stippled makeup doesn't suggest cracked or broken composite material at all. We should have been looking at a real mannequin, which could in close-ups as the story continued, been lit to look more sinister. We would have guessed where the story was going anyway, but we still would have been chilled, rather that been filled with scorn.

    More than a season earlier, THE TWILIGHT ZONE cast the perfect actors and then made perfect fake-y mannequin masks of them for the instant classic "The After Hours." That decision (and Anne Francis's great performance) created the kind of creepy, dread-filled atmosphere Daugherty was presumably going for here but completely botched with some poor choices. Though I thought Sondra Kerr was very good, casting a younger, smaller and more childlike actress would have made the wife's pathetic fantasies about the mannequin more believable.

    Otherwise this was wonderful. Macready's clipped, distinctive voice, his coldness pierced occasionally by grief, was very effective, and Jones was superb in a very atypical performance. As the son, Clarke looked disconcertingly like a young George Bush, so I was glad he died.

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    1. barsh1956@sbcglobal.net
      Difficult episode. Yes--2 stories in one. Certainly a loving father by today's cutthroat wall street/capitalist goons. A million bucks in early 1960s=wow, The ethnic tailor and wife-say a Queens, NY sweatshop today-don't ask, don't tell. The clothes mannequin--hokey now, but scary for youngsters like yours truly when first shown, Maybe in the top 20 episodes.

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    2. Mannequins and clowns are scary to some people. Forgive me if I mention Crusty the clown on the Simpsons!

      We have Twilight Zone episodes of both. As well as baby dolls.

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  22. Note to John Scoleri

    You wrote: "My only complaint is that Anna's accent occasionally dips into the grating realm of 'Inga vrum Sveeden.'"

    Actually, "Inga vrum Sveeden." would actually have been more accurate than her "Anna von Deutschland", because even though the Borgs are depicted as Germans, "Borg" is a Scandinavian surname--its German equivalant being "Berg". (Probably, the best-known Borg to modern Americans would be Swedish tennis great Björn Borg.)

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  23. The spell Macready is casting at the beginning of the episode comes from Bloch's early story THE SHAMBLER FROM THE STARS. Lovecraft helped the teenage Bloch with the Latin, and the spell translates as "To you, Great Unnameable One, the sign of the black stars and the sigil of toad-shaped Tsathoggua..."
    So I suspect that Clark Ashton Smith's demonic Tsathoggua and Bloch's fiendish book De Vermis Mysteriis were the first Cthulhu Mythos elements to be mentioned on television...

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  24. Jack Rabbit, INLAND EMPIREDecember 4, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    I love the bookending/rhyming of the son talking to the statues and throwing his coat over one in the opening scene with the mannequin coming to life when wearing the suit at the end of this episode.

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