Lawman Conny Miller rides into a small dusty town not long after the townsfolk have gunned down the man he's been tracking for four months. He feels like he's wasted that four months and someone bets him $20 he hasn't the nerve to visit the dead man's grave. He takes that bet and has little difficulty going to the grave. Leaving it however proves to be another matter however. Written by
Many reviewers have cited Leo Rosten's very short story "The Path Through the Cemetery" as the source of this episode. While this much-anthologized tale is probably the immediate source, there are many other available ones which include the three essential story elements: grave, wager, & knife. The oldest printed version in English to be found dates from 1825 when it appeared in the pages of The Terrific Register. The story has been recently reprinted in the compilation Tales From The Terrific Register: Book of Ghosts (2010) pp. 107-112. The setting is Westminster Abbey around the year 1735 when the Henry VII Chapel Vault has been opened for the admission of the Queen's body. (The Queen must be George II's consort Caroline of Ansbach who died on 20 November 1737 and is the only Queen buried in the vault anywhere near the year 1735). The only significant change is that the wielder of the knife survives his ordeal and relates much of the tale in the first person. It should be noted that The Terrific Register was notorious for publishing fiction as fact and that it was probably a well-known legend by 1825. See more »
As Conny Miller climbs the hill to the grave, a very prominent vertical line is visible, where the backdrop artwork for "the cloudy night sky" was folded. See more »
Final comment: you take this with a grain of salt or a shovelful of earth, as shadow or substance, we leave it up to you. And for any further research, check under 'G' for 'ghost' in the Twilight Zone.
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Far more of a western-ghost story than the usual style of TZ which tended to be ordinary people caught up in a sudden, weird turn of events. Pinto, a western bad guy is shot dead when the townsmen surround him and they fire eight bullets. So who shot him? No one wants to claim to have killed him, as their fear of Pinto transcends the rational. They only know that the hired bounty hunter Conny Miller (Lee Marvin) was not there to do it.
An intriguing ghost story, written and directed by Montgomery Pittman. Slowly but effectively building as Lee Marvin puts in a good performance as a tough guy who tries to shake off the implied suggestion of cowardice. The barfly townsmen tentatively dare Marvin's gunfighter towards visiting Pinto's grave late at night. Something they're afraid of themselves, especially as they don't know who's bullet killed him. One of them says that he reckons the dead Pinto knows now!
The supporting cast is impressive, Lee Van Cleef ('The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'), James Best ('The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank',also series three), and Strother Martin (of numerous westerns).
Not an episode with a message, but one to be enjoyed late at night... unless...well...'unless maybe you ain't brave enough ?'.
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