Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kill My Love: Season 2 Episode 26

Originally aired 3/26/62
Starring Richard Carlson, K. T. Stevens, David Kent.
Written by Donald S. Sanford, based on the novel by Kyle Hunt.
Directed by Herschel Daugherty.

Guy Guthrie (Carlson) is given an ultimatum by his mistress, Anthea (Kasey Rogers): own up to his wife or she will. Evidently, Guy is not a guy to be given ultimatums to as he very quickly dispatches the girl with her best nylon. When he arrives home to his cold wife, Olive (Stevens) and loving son, Julian (Kent), he tries very hard to keep everything under wraps but the best laid plans of mice and men...

PE: A better title for this episode would have been "Slap My Love Then Kill My Love."

JS: Much to my surprise, this one actually grew on me as it progressed. I thought Daugherty did a nice job keeping things visually interesting for the most part.

PE: Richard Carlson used to be a good actor as far as I can recall. You'd never know it from this swill. Carlson's idea of showing any kind of emotion is to swivel his eyes or grin. When he's given his choice by Anthea, he becomes so angry he wraps her nylon around his knuckles and then hesitates. You can almost see the slot machine rolling above his head... cherry.... cherry.... cherry.... then he looks down at his hands and the light bulb turns on. Which is ironic considering what happens later.

JS: Not only does the murder occur off screen, the shot lingers on the hall and there's no sound—no screams, no sounds of a struggle, nothing. I thought Thriller had gone soft on us.

PE: The murder weighs on Guy so much that he leaves all kinds of incriminating evidence in his car for his son to find. What, no nylon on the antenna?

JS: Is it the old man's fault his kid was a regular Sherlock Holmes? Clearly Carlson is just a bad cheater. Of course forgetting that he's got a photo with his mistress right in his wallet, can someone tell me what the hell he's doing in that picture?

PE: Guy fixes a bulb in the basement to spark off an opened water heater gas valve. The explosion is something horrendous. A screen full of smoke and falling bits of rubble. Cut to the next scene (after the funeral) and Guy and little Guy come into the kitchen where there seems to be no structural damage whatsoever, not even a big "Do Not Enter" sign across the basement door. How is there a basement door? I really thought at that moment, his wife Olive would open the basement door, a bit scorched much like Wiley Coyote would look after the Acme bomb, exclaiming "Wow, that was close! What can I get you boys for dinner?"

JS: That was a classic bit—although it would have been even better had they shown the mushroom cloud. Obviously the insurance company rebuilt the house between the accident and the funeral. Times were different in the 60s.

PE: What's the story with Dinah (Patricia Breslin)? For some reason she finds Carlson attractive and thinks of no good reason to hide that fact. When Olive has her "accident" and lands somewhere in the next town, Dinah feels so bad for Guy she sends him a card with the cryptic message "If I can help, call me." She then seems surprised that Guy is hitting on her while the wife is newly planted, but agrees to a date! Julian shows up to interrupt the party and dad slaps him around a bit. When Dinah suggests they take the boy to a doctor, Guy snaps and tells her to mind her own business. The skeazy piano player says "All right, I will. You're a terrible father" then leaves, obviously not that worried about the beaten boy.

 JS: When he calls Dinah after the funeral, she says, "You sound low." Really? On the day he buried his wife? Of course, the funny thing is he didn't actually sound low to me. I thought the episode took a particularly dark twist when it comes to Guy's dealing with his son Julian. While killing wives and mistresses was Thriller's stock-in-trade, filicide hadn't previously entered the picture (now who's using the Google search? -PE). I'll be the first to admit that I've been against abrupt endings, but in this particular episode, I actually think we were better served by it. Rather than knowing for sure that Carlson will get his due when his boy wakes up, I'd much prefer to imagine from the look in his eyes that he now has to take care of Grandma and Grandpa in addition to ensuring Julian shuffles off this mortal coil.

PE: Richard Carlson starred in several science fiction and horror flicks in the mid-1950s: The Magnetic Monster, It Came From Outer Space, The Maze (all 1953), Riders to the Stars, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). He made two more genre films before his death in 1977 (Tormented (1960) and Ray Harryhausen's The Valley of Gwangi (1969)), but appeared more on the little screen than the big (he was the titular Colonel on Mackenzie's Raiders for a season in 1958-59). Kasey Rogers went on to success on Peyton Place and then as Larry Tate's wife, Louise on Bewitched.

JS: "Kill My Love" was based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Kyle Hunt. It was published as part of the "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" series.



  1. Carlson wa funny as hell in this one, first killing his girlfriend, then his wife, then attempting to murder his son. I guess the grandparents would have been next. By the way, you didn't mention his most famous role as Herbert Philbrick in I LED THREE LIVES, 1953-1956, over 100 episodes.

    This episode provides the answer to the question about Herbert Philbrick's private life. We know he was an FBI agent and a Communist spy but we never really got to see his day job as a family man. This THRILLER show provides the answer; he was a philandering, murdering, salesman! No wonder he was so paranoid in I LED THREE LIVES.

  2. It seemed everyone was speaking in the code of the obvious 'He's a real family man', 'son, i've never lied to you' and 'after i settle your hash and tie your cheating heart down, please remember to call the gas man about that highly explosive leaking gas'... When I first saw the kid come out to greet his old man, i thought it was Willy Shoemaker -- his kid had a real grown-up face. The first murder happened too quickly, it was more interesting watching Boris demonstrate what nylon was good for... Carlson was just not convincing as the subtle lothario whose trigger temper quickly turned into the weakest apologies this side of Dick Cheney. The dynamics between lover-and-husband, husband-and-family and husband-and-bartender seemed all too two dimensional; I just can't imagine what kind of job this salesman would have taken in the father-in-law's branch -- casanova clerk in charge of slapping around mortgage applicants?
    And i had the exact same question regarding the post-explosion crime site. Where was the crater in the kitchen? Or was this a case of one of those cartoon explosions, where the house is blown sky high but in one piece, only to land back down on bugs bunny's hideaway...
    Four exploding Karloffs...

  3. Mustn't forget Dick Carlson's colorful turns in HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT opposite Dr. Frank Baxter and George Pal's THE POWER (1969, same year as GWANGI -- but he's far better cast as a cold-hearted scientist than an aging cowhand). Earlier in his career, RC was being groomed as a major star -- check out WHITE CARGO, THE LITTLE FOXES and that Cary Grant historical epic (forget the title), among others. He was also very funny as a bespectacled nerd in Abbott and Costello's HOLD THAT GHOST.

  4. A big thank you to my girlfriend Casey for identifying "that Cary Grant historical epic" as THE HOWARDS OF VIRGINIA. You're the best, hon!

  5. This has probably been one of my top three favourite read of all the reviews you guys have posted, possibly 'cause the comic brickabrats have landed so appropriately. Maybe it's because the segment is so outrageously, unintentionally, outlandishly inept in a cartoony way and yet played resolutely down the line with a straight face, amid a bland TV-land landscape.

    It's preposterous melodramtic plot antics have to be seen to be believed, like a person you might respect but who ends up doing an eyebrow raising silly dance at a birthday party. It's so bad in a schlocky way, that it's curiously, endearingly, entertaining, if you have rotten fruits to toss at the screen. From 'Weird Tales' to 'Inner Sanctum' all within less than half a dozen episodes and not even stopping along the way for a "Shudder Pulp".

    After Carson's supporting appearance in 'The Little Foxes', he drank a bottle and lost his acting chops to body-snatchers. A sad case..

    No heads, though I'm tempted for the sheer post episode amusement.

  6. I hated this show and everything about it, and I promise I will never watch it again (how about a laugh track for THIS one!?)

    I even hated the kitchen set, with that striped wallpaper, the glaring bright garage wall---everything. Sorry. I LOVE the Wiley Coyote idea, though---AND the Willie Shoemaker riff. There is definitely something weird about that kid--kinda' like Willie Shomeaker-meets-Beaver-Cleaver-meets-Mini-Me; loved it when Carlson slapped the crap out of him.

    (Incidentally, Richard Carlson's role in "The Little Foxes" (1940) was a very big deal---he joined a great cast in an amazingly great film; his role was written especially for the screen version of the play, to provide a love interest for Zan (Teresa Wright). And he's very good in it).

    But now, back to the work in question. Love the way Carlson sticks his hand in the cabinet and pulls out 3 big-old light bulbs, neatly tucked between his fingers; pre-set, perhaps? And that huge explosion was capped off by what looked like atomic fallout superimposed over the smoke; Thrller's most Apocalyptic moment.

    And while we're at it, Mr Boris Karloff--I'm getting JUST a bit tired of you poking stuff in my face every time I watch one of yer' shows; if it's not an old haunted wig, it's a nylon stocking, or a branding iron, a scythe, a shovel full of dirt...or you're shooting crossbows or guns in my face---I'VE ABOUT HAD IT WITH THIS CRAP!! SO LAY OFF, MAN.

    Now that I've got that off my chest, it's also discouraging to hear how Morton Stevens fine music for previous episodes is trotted out again and again for these minor shows that frankly don't deserve them. That very cool piano thing (with the harp and plucked strings) that accompanies the cast introduction in this show and "'Til Death do Us Part" was originally composed for the fabulously entertaining "Attractive Family", and was a major part of that show's success.

    "Kill My Love" belongs, in my opinion, at the bottom of the barrel with "Big Blackout" and a couple other of those first season crime shows; but they were produced by Maxwell Shayne, so their drawbacks are understandable. This one was a Wm. Frye show...and he should have known better.

    TWO out of Ten Willie Shoemaker-too-big-for-the-body Karloff heads.


  7. Yeah, creepy looking kid. I was reminded of Opey's kid brother, Clint. Or a kid with Progeria. Or a bobblehead doll. It's late. I have to go now.

  8. Even the lame Thrillers usually give us a good prologue, but Kill My Love killed with a dull a mute adultery snuff. I did learn the meaning of "spare rib". Ah, those swinging mad salesmen of the early 60s...

    I didn't have high hopes for Kill My Love, but oddly enough Kill wound up keeping me interested with it's weird mix of bad acting, illogic and creepiness. After the prologue, Boris introduced the freshly dead Kasey Rogers with a nice bubble bath photo, which made me think that she might have survived the attack and we'd see more of her...

    Next our murdering salesmen goes and gets himself the obligatory double for the road. Those highways sure must've been safe! The whole Dinah lusting after Guy thing just didn't work. No way am I to believe that a young, cute bacherollete is looking for a married middle aged vanilla suburbanite.

    Things got wacky once Guy got home. As everyone has already mentioned, his son Julian is wacky looking. So much so, that every time he is on the screen I couldn't focus on anything else. Then there is the 50 below martial relation that Guy enjoys with his lovely Olive. The whole thing is topped off with real bad acting by the whole ensemble. It just gets weirder when Guy delivers his "In defense of cheating" speech to his teenage alien boy.

    We soon learn that Guy wasn't nearly as tricky as he thought and Olive has already ordered her leash. Not only that, but she's locking her door! Why not just get a divorce? Funny, that she doesn't much care about the fact that her hubby just strangled someone.

    We soon find out that no one is putting a leash on Guy and in a long drawn out sequence, Guy rigs a wife kaboom trap, which utilizes footage from Hiroshima. Fortunately for Guy and Julian, the local contractors fixed the house up the next day, so that Guy could continue his swinging ways with a sympathetic Dinah. I wonder if a young John Edwards watched this episode when it originally aired?

    Ok, even though we kinda know where this is heading, I'm surprised that Thriller folks could shove this taboo subject right out front. The first thing that I was gonna do after I read this entry and start typing my review was to google "definition of parent murdering child", but lucky for me John already beat me to it. This part of the episode creeped me out similar to, but not as much as The Fingers of Fear pedo. I imagine that it placed some disturbing thoughts of doubt into the kids who watched it when it first aired. Watching it was made even weirder by the warped acting of Guy and Julian.

    The ending with a sauced and remorseful Guy saving Julian and then his parents arriving just hoping to find out what really happened after Julian comes to. The obvious question is what will Guy do when he sobers up?

    Kill My Love had terrible flaws, but somehow still manages to score two Karloff heads from me.

  9. Okay, lots of valid arguments against this show and not one I`m apt to rewatch anytime soon, but it did keep me interested all the way through, which is more than I can say for many episodes. Sure, often in a you-gotta-be-kidding-me vein as I wondered how far slap happy dad could possibly go, but I liked the sons performance and if you consider Carlson`s portrayal as a study in sociopathology maybe it all gels together. Ambiguous ending also a plus. Two Karloffs.

  10. Funny Beaver Cleaver should be mentioned, because early on were times I was thinking of the plot as Ward Cleaver gone bad ("Ward, don't you think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night?!") and was half expecting at some point for "the Beav" to be lectured by Wally.

    Incidentally, I did a search on David Kent, the actor who played son Julian, and he's a bit of a mystery man, as his date of birth can't be found. So for all we know, maybe in reality he was just a few years younger than Richard Carlson, much as Laurence Harvey was only three years younger than Angela Lansbury, who played his mother in "The Manchurian Candidate". (Kidding, but couldn't resist.)

    Coincidentally, Kent appeared in four episodes of "Leave it to Beaver" as one of the neighbor boys, Bill Scott.

    1. I really liked David Kent. He was such an under-used talent. Hope he is happy and did well for himself.

  11. On the heels of "The Bride Who Died Twice", another episode of "Makes No Friggin' Sense Theater".

    World's stupidest crook leaves incriminating evidence all over his car for anyone to find. Nearly loses his lunch when the kid finds the San Diego handbill (even though there was no real reason to deny being in San Diego at all). Lies about the date, but tears up the bill and leaves it lying there for his wife to check it out for herself.

    Okay, maybe he's just an idiot. But if things are going so badly between him and his wife that they sleep in separate bedrooms, is it really worth murder to keep her from finding out he's having an affair? With that kind of relationship plus the fact that he's on the road, surely she suspects that already.

    Yep, sure enough. She had him followed by a Private Gumshoe last year. In fact, she didn't even have to put 2 and 2 together. Only has to add 1+1 to know that he killed the girl in San Diego. And yet oddly enough, she still wants him, even knowing that he's a murderer and that he doesn't love her. She's got a wealthy banker father, and is perfectly capable of leaving him, but doesn't.

    It's obvious to absolutely everyone in the audience that he's going to start plotting her murder next. Yet the woman who was smart enough to figure all of this out never even considers this extremely obvious possibility or takes any steps to forestall it. A sealed envelope left with her father and/or the private detective is all it would take.

    So he plots to kill her with The Old Gas Bomb in the Basement Trick. Something this haphazard could just as easily have killed the son he's supposed to care so much about, but this never occurs to him either.

    He then makes a date with pianist, with said son in the house. Whoops! You mean he was listening??? Who could have seen that coming?

    When the lead character is both Evil and a blithering idiot, what reason is there to watch? And when the supporting characters are alternately smart or stupid, depending on the requirements of the plot, how can you take it seriously? Hitchcock's writers solved these plotting problems so well as to make it look easy, but Thriller consistently shows that it's not easy at all. Boris deserved better.

  12. "Slap My Love", indeed. By the time he started working the kid I was actually laughing, which is probably not what the writer intended. Not at the violence but at the fact that it was simply impossible to take seriously any longer. When the piano player came in and asked "What kind of father are you?", I was thinking "Slap her too! Slap her too! Complete the set!" Ditto when he comes in with the pills to do in Junior, it was downright funny.

    Someone as stupid as Guy should not be able to get away with even one murder, much less three. I hate these stories where people who should know better just line up for the slaughter. The wife knows he's a killer, but wants him for no reason, and fails to protect herself for no reason. The kid knows he's a double killer but just goes home to confront him and cheerfully swallows anything the dad gives him. This is the writer's way of saying "I couldn't think of any way to make this story work." In any decent mystery story, the kid would have only pretended to swallow the pills, but actually cheeked them, but there was no way the writer could have come up with something that reasonable that late in the game. Boy, is this episode bad.

  13. I dunno, I found this interesting throughout, and thought the portrait here of a sociopath went pretty far for TV, even considering this was the era of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, which specialized in grinning murderers.

    Speaking of that series, it went to an hour this same season ('62) and managed to attract far bigger star names, so it would seem to have sealed THRILLER's demise, so it's especially intriguing to me that at just this time, THRILLER did an episode that could have been on ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS without a change (except that a better and more famous actor would have had Carlson's part).

    I'm not surprised that the actor playing 'Julian' creeped people out -- he was a tiny man but was probably in his mid-20s -- the iconography was all wrong whenever he was onscreen. Yet the role was probably considered far too intense for the network to allow a real adolescent to play the part.

  14. I'm watching this episode now, and googled 'Thriller Kill My Love so much slapping' and this was the first hit (no pun intended). I wanted to find a snippit of all the slapping strung together to post on FB. They'be been playing Thrillers on a local TV station lately, and it seems there was a LOT of slapping going on in 62. haha

  15. Kasey Rogers was also the murder victim at the hands of Robert Walker (literally!) in Hitchcock's "Strangers On A Train" (acting under the name Laura Elliot then).

  16. Boy, you learn something new every day. I had no idea Kasey Rogers was the snitty, slutty wife of Farley Grainger who gets offed in that shocking scene from "Strangers on a Train." Glad I checked in 11 years after we all did this blog. LR

  17. But I'm still not going to break down and watch this turd of a show just to see Kasey Rogers in action. LR

  18. Nobody has mentioned that Patricia Breslin, the cute piano player who has a crush on our retarded alcoholic homicidal maniac, was coming off of her biggest professional success--William Castle's "Homicidal" (1961). She played Miriam, and was one of the two top-billed "stars" of the film. She also appears on the film's poster in a negligee, sprawled out on a bed. (I'll pause for a moment so you can do an image search.)

    But that's not all. In 1969, she married Art Modell, a very rich guy who owned the Cleveland Browns. Breslin and Modell were married until her death in 2011; Modell died the next year. They're buried together in a giant crypt in a fancy cemetery near Baltimore. It's said that Dick York sometimes prowls around it at night, leaving his wife to be menaced by a retired professor with theories about immortal life.

    "Kill My Love" was awful, and the blame has to go to Donald Sanford, the writer. With a few inspired tweaks, this could have been a top episode. It wouldn't have taken much. But it was too much for Donald Sanford.

    A further word about Kasey Rogers. She was incredibly hot in "Strangers on a Train." She had a little something in this episode too, but alas she was gone in the first five minutes. The opening scene between her and Carlson reminded me of the opening sequence in "Psycho," where John Gavin and Janet Leigh are cavorting in a cheap room, post-illicit tryst, and talking about the vagaries of the divorce laws. Leigh and Rogers both have that helmet hair, and they're both good-looking enough to pass as mistresses. And in short order, they're both dead.