A woman in a hideous Japanese mask refuses to remove it or give her name, as she riles up a Texas town after arriving to stage a memorial for a long-dead girl. Buz is fascinated by the ...
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A woman in a hideous Japanese mask refuses to remove it or give her name, as she riles up a Texas town after arriving to stage a memorial for a long-dead girl. Buz is fascinated by the scorned young woman but she refuses his help. Written by
Tod and Buz are in a small Texas town getting some minor repairs done on the car when a bus pulls up and a young woman wearing a mask steps out. She walks down the street, causing all heads to turn. She starts getting harassed by the local toughs and so naturally the boys have to intervene. They take an interest in her that is not responded to. She marches to the local paper, (run by Harry Towns in a small role for him), and places an ad, inviting everyone to a ceremony where she ties a doll to a tree and burns it. It nearly starts a riot. Somebody says something about a young girl who died years ago. Tod and Buz try to find out the back story but are told it's not their business. The sheriff intervenes and demands the woman take her mask off and identify herself. She does the former and we see it's Tuesday Weld. But she still won't reveal her identity, although she goes to the grave of a girl who lived from 1937-1952. Is she that girl? Does she know that girl? Does she know why she died?
This one reminded me of "Black September", the pilot/premiere, (there's even a tree involved) and also of both "Welcome to Amity" (6/9/61) and "Burning for Burning" (12/29/61), in both of which a pretty blonde woman comes to a small town where she isn't welcome by anybody, (and thus Tod and Buz take her side). I think this is the best of those and when the secret is revealed and they go to the closing credits with a freeze frame of that mask, it leaves quite an impression.
Cloris Leachman, a decade away from "The Last Picture Show" and "Phyllis", plays the mother of the 'deceased' child and has a great breakdown scene at the end. The chief thug is played by Burt Reynolds, between his "Riverboat" and "Gunsmoke" gigs. When George Maharis left this series, Reynolds was offered the chance to replace him but turned it down, preferring to play an original character in Quint Asper. So they gave the job to Glen Corbett instead. (Robert Redford narrowly lost the "Tod" role to Martin Milner: the series could have had two future movie stars in that corvette: but they wouldn't have been better actors than Milner and Maharis). Burt Reynolds was smart guy and a good actor but his manor seems gruffer and more down-to-earth than Maharis, (both of whom were frequently compared to Marlon Brando). It's hard to imagine him speaking Stirling Silliphant's poetic dialog the way Maharis could, (but then Glenn Corbett couldn't either).
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