I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Mr. George" (1961)

"Mr. George" was one of the more memorable and enjoyable episodes of "Thriller" (1960-1962; NBC), a horror/suspense anthology show hosted by Boris Karloff.

Edna (Virginia Gregg), her brother Jared (Howard Freeman), and their cousin Adelaide (Lillian Bronson) are upset when they learn their late cousin has left a half-million dollars to her daughter, Priscilla (Gina Gillespie). They will only get a small stipend which Edna dismisses as "charity", and not enough to pay their bills.  While they grumble about their lot in life, young Priscilla has tipped out of the house to pay a visit to the grave of Mr. George.  She is so young that she doesn't quite understand the permanence of death.  Priscilla believes Mr. George is only sleeping.  She leaves a note at the graveside asking him to come back.

Meanwhile, Edna is angry that there is nothing that can be done to break her late cousin's will.  She maintains that she, Jared, and Adelaide are more entitled to the $50,000 than Priscilla.  We learn that Edna didn't think much of her late cousin nor of the relationship she had with Mr. George. We also learn that none of the adults in the house think much of Priscilla nor are kind to her. Edna starts talking about how some children have met with fatal accidents.  Jared is nervous about what Edna is suggesting.  But he changes his mind when Edna hints that Adelaide, who appears to be emotionally and mentally unstable, could be manipulated into doing something drastic.

None of them are aware that Mr. George has indeed answered Priscilla's letter.  When Priscilla is overheard talking to someone, it is assumed she is imagining that Mr. George is nearby.  Adelaide uses that to lure the girl up to the attic and pretend that Mr. George is hiding in an old trunk.  But Priscilla's protector is one step ahead, and he tells the girl to go to her room.  The heavy lid of the trunk comes down on Adelaide's neck instead.

Jared is convinced by Edna to stage another "accident" involving hitting Priscilla in the head with a heavy swing.  Mr. George tells the girl to run along to a playhouse in the back yard.  Jared doesn't understand why she has run off, but he figures it out too late when he notices the swing hanging in mid-air -- and no one is holding it up there.

Laura (Joan Tompkins), the sister of Mr. George, comes by the house to offer condolences to Edna for Jared's death.  She also announces that a judge has given her custody of Priscilla. Edna accuses Laura of having designs on Priscilla's inheritance.  Laura points out that she was close to Priscilla's mother, and that Mr. George and the girl's mom had planned to be married.  Besides, Laura has correctly guessed that Priscilla is unhappy, and she reported that to the judge.  Laura makes plans to pick up Priscilla the following day.

The next day, a desperate Edna strings piano wire across the top of the stairs in the hopes that Priscilla will trip and fall before Laura arrives at the house.  Mr. George tells Priscilla to go down the back stairs instead, and that Laura will not leave without her.  When Priscilla doesn't come when she calls her, Edna runs upstairs and notices the piano wire has come loose.  In her haste, Edna comes back down the stairs, not noticing that the piano wire has been re-fastened.

Laura collects Priscilla.  Before the horse-drawn trolley leaves the house, Mr. George gives the girl a final farewell, assuring her that Laura will take good care of her.  Thus, the episode ends on a sweet note.

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