of What Opera?
The scene is modeled on Julian’s film, the beautiful prisoner is carried downstairs to the cellar and admonished not to remove the phantom’s mask. He has a great deal of trouble extinguishing the long match with which he lights three candles on his organ, the veil on the mask’s lower half prevents him from blowing it out, he pinches it to no avail, when he shakes it, it bends.
At last he plays, the girl slips behind and unmasks him, hideously. He turns and strangles her, dislodging a previously unsuspected mask. She has the same affliction, they embrace.
The great dramatic actor Leslie Nielsen in a relatively early comic role.
Lovecraft Sent Me
Gumcracking Sue Lyon is the babysitter, Joseph Campanella is Count Dracula, she’s settling in for a night with her transistor when she hears him upstairs with the baby, whose nether limbs evidently exceed the norm of two. She drops the radio and splits.
Snow, Secret Snow
Among the poetic descriptions of madness is this one by Conrad Aiken, adjudged “a literary masterpiece” by Rod Serling in his introduction.
It’s read substantially by Orson Welles, another masterpiece. The photographic capabilities of the unit are displayed in snow studies. The cast are Lonny Chapman, Lisabeth Hush, Jason Wingreen and Radames Pera.
The story is transparently itself, a boy wakes up one morning without hearing the postman’s heavy boots quite as usual, therefore it has snowed. He goes to the window, it hasn’t.
In his mind, the snow advances, the postman recedes, until it’s a matter of urgency, already a leaf begins to drip in his imaginary world. The snow invites him like Goethe’s Erlkönig.
Devil Is Not Mocked
The Third Reich is undone by resistance in the deeps of Central Europe. The headquarters of all the partisans in the region is a castle, says the SS officer demanding entrance. It’s a waste, “a mat for wiping one’s boots before reaching the Fatherland” (thus in retreat). Nothing but Serbs, Croatians, Slavs.
The point of the exercise is to make it known to the Count that all this must change, he will henceforth “serve an entire race,” his present circumstances will be lost to him. Martial law is declared.
The Count bares his fangs, the German Army is not equipped with silver bullets. He tells his grandson all about it many years later, shows the boy a medal on the mantelpiece.
Helmut Dantine as the officer is perfectly keen, an open razor. Francis Lederer is the blasé and infinitely jaded “leader of the secret resistance”.
Sportive husband Ellis Travers swaps houses with the Twitchells of London, the three-room flat is too small for entertaining, however, and he goes to a Piccadilly estate agent offering houses of all kinds with all kinds of ghosts. Travers is most particular, he wants a country house, chooses one with a stairwell ghost rather than attic or rumpus room.
His wife Iris has dizzy spells, he has an English mistress. Iris is dragged along the hallway by invisible hands, the mistress is impatient.
A doctor is summoned, Iris hasn’t long. The mistress says, “it’s all over, ducky.” Iris tumbles down the stairs, pushed by the late owner, a hard businessman who drove the Earl to the wall and was killed by him after the Earl’s pregnant wife threw herself down the stairs.
The ghost, a Mr. Canby, demands the sum each month henceforth that was to devolve upon Ellis after his wife’s death, he too has “a bird on the side,” in Manchester.
in Touch—We’ll Think of Something
All his life a man dreams of a girl who calls to him. In college they never meet, later he hires a private investigator. Finally he goes to the police with a tale of a hitchhiker, and obtains a police sketch. She’s found and put in a lineup.
He refuses to identify her, they meet in a bar. Her husband is in Venezuela. He dreams of someone strangling him in bed, a guilt complex, says the doctor. She’s not happy, the man observes, hence the guilt. The strangler has a long scar on the back of his hand. The man doesn’t. “You were hoping,” he says. They embrace, “children of destiny”. Behind her back she cuts a long wound on his hand with a pair of scissors from her purse. She wraps it in a napkin, he’ll stay with her until the stitches come out.
The story begins at the police department, the dream is told as dialogue in the middle section before the surreal conclusion.
A very busy and very noisy city, full of sirens by night and demolition crews by day. Mrs. Moore has bought an interest in a thrift shop, which she belabors with cha-cha records and a “businesslike” bell operated by an electric eye, noisily installed. Mr. Standish tends the porcelain and old customers like Mrs. Chase with her cart of belongings (“I’ll give you a dollar for the cart,” says Mrs. Moore), such as a Maxfield Parrish recalling days of romance, and a mirror dully painted over as long as she can remember.
He scrapes the paint off with much difficulty. Inside the frame is a prehistoric world. “How is it possible?”, he asks. Mrs. Chase replies, “I never could understand how a real mirror works, either.”
Mrs. Moore is on the phone to her lawyer. “He shouts, he makes Pookie nervous, how cheap could I buy him out?” Pookie is her toy dog.
The shop’s cat ventures in, and watches dinosaurs fighting. Mr. Standish and Mrs. Chase watch from outside. She wants to go in. “Come on, Frank, what have we got to lose?”
Mrs. Moore announces he’s been bought out, he’ll have to move, she contemplates improvements. The cat runs back into the shop, Mrs. Chase throws Pookie’s ball through the frame. Mrs. Moore pursues her dog in the forest most primeval, calling its name over and over again, exciting the interest of the giant lizards. She runs back toward the shop and almost reaches it when her former partner and his client finish repainting the surface, blocking her passage.
Other Way Out
The mistress wants to tell the wife and must be killed, afterward the happy couple take a long-deferred vacation.
Upon his return, a note with blackmail instructions appears in the glove compartment, and a map.
The way is blocked, the dark house where the girl grew up is ringed by dogs, there is no exit. Her grandfather and young brother observe the murderer in a rat-filled secret corridor or tunnel with a trapdoor down into a pit, whence the only way out is a bullet to the heart or brain.
An impressive day for night succeeds the exterior day of the malefactor who receives a note sent to each of the names in her diary.
State prison, years of twelve-foot walls, Charlie Finnegan is cracking. Pete Tuttle has a hypnotist act, puts him under with “pig iron fists” that break.
The prison doctor observes experiments on the most suggestible subject ever, a cup from the water cooler blisters Finnegan’s fingertips.
The warden is cautious. The jet in Birdman of Alcatraz haunts Finnegan, so high, so fast.
He suffers hypoxia in an infirmary bed, induced to feel he’s piloting a plane. The warden calls a halt to this study of “prison psychosis in all its forms,” Finnegan observably doesn’t know how to land. An explosion and fire kill him.
“Tell me, Charlie boy,” Tuttle asks nobody, “how does it feel to be free?”
Summer of ‘69
New York has a killer of women on the loose. It develops that the m.o. is the same used in a 1969 case handled by Kojak, who shot and killed the culprit in a rooftop pursuit. Certain details of the crimes were never released to the public, nevertheless they’re recurring.
The killer’s partner in crime was a burglar not connected to the murders. This fellow, after his release from prison, has settled down with a nice Puerto Rican couple who grow marijuana in their capacious foil-lined basement.
Kojak is taken off the new case for its resemblance to the old. He makes it a working vacation. A college film crew sets up a camera over an abandoned car to see how fast the stripping goes. Another victim turns up in the trunk, Kojak knows the kid who stole the radio, which surprisingly reveals a clue by pinpointing the locale of its preset stations.
The art direction takes over in a re-creation of the YMCA where the shootout took place in 1969. Kearney intercuts the pastel walls and new carpeting of the makeover with its original state as Kojak revisits the scene. The events are shown as they happened, the pair were watching the Mets’ victory on television in the lobby, one bolted upstairs and fled through the window in his room, from which Kojak returned fire.
The lieutenant nearly married that year, she’s back, briefly. He was too much of a cop.
Kojak isn’t the only one who discerns that the dead man was the burglar, not the Clothesline Killer. A man with a limousine and muscle ferrets out the released prisoner at a boxing gym and hires him as a hit man. When it’s all over and Kojak has killed the real culprit in a shootout among the marijuana plants, this bigwig sadly calls a higher-up from a phone booth to lament, “we could have used him in Cuba.”