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I saw this episode of GE THEATRE on TV when I was nine years old, and I've never forgotten it. I don't know why my folks let me stay up that late on a school night, but they did, and I thought it was hilarious. If I remember correctly, Fred Astaire plays a Madison Avenue executive who one day gives a panhandler some change and the bum, supposedly in gratitude (but really to get rid of it), gives Fred his "imp on a cobweb leash." Fred says yeah, right, whatever, thanks, and goes his way. But all day he's shaking his hand like he's trying to get something off his fingers, and he starts doing weird stuff. I remember he has a bunch of big-shots from work over for a barbecue and he makes them sit around slurping their martinis through straws, then he barbecues their hamburgers until they're little charred bricks. I don't remember much beyond that, but the story, and the idea of an imp on a cobweb leash, has always stayed with me.
At the time, I didn't even know who Fred Astaire was. In fact, later, when I started seeing his movies on TV, I remember thinking, "Hey, that's the guy from 'Imp on a Cobweb Leash.'" Anyhow, I remember GE THEATRE as one of the very best of the anthology series from the 1950s; they always had big stars in great stories, and this is one I still remember. Hopefully some enterprising distributor will someday gather some of these episodes into a DVD package.
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