Night Gallery | Season One | Episode 1 | December 16, 1970
Segment One | The Dead Man
Dr. Radford (Carl Betz) demonstrates his new psychosomatic test case to his colleague Dr. Miles Talmadge (Jeff Corey). The patient, John Fearing (Michael Blodgett), while under hypnotic suggestion, precisely mimics all the physical symptoms of a disease, but then reverts to perfect health when so instructed.
John Fearing’s physical state is so perfect under hypnosis, in fact, that Dr. Radford suspects that he has unlocked the key to immortality, with the power of suggestion triggering the mind’s ability to perpetually mimic the symptoms of perfect health. However, golden-boy Fearing is engaging in an overt affair with the middle-aged doctor’s young wife, provoking Radford to the ultimate test of psychic suggestion.
After a talky opening set-up (with Dr. Talmadge conveniently turning his back on the patient during each transformation), The Dead Man delivers an effectively spooky finale, as Mrs. Radford rushes to the crypt to save her lover.
Segment Two | The Housekeeper
Something of a throw-away segment, The Housekeeper revolves around Cedric Acton’s (Larry Hagman) attempt to swap the soul of his attractive but contemptuous wife (Suzy Parker) with that of an elderly housekeeper (Jeanette Nolan). Larry Hagman displays an engaging comic touch as the black-magic-dabbling husband, but the one-note story and cornball animal-swap sound effects hobble the fun. Good advice to antagonistic spouses everywhere: beware the frog-as-a-magic-fulcrum.