Monday, June 7, 2021

TALES OF TOMORROW / "Ghost Writer" - 1953

An out of work writer decides to accept a well-paying offer from a mysterious man, to help with the bills while his wife works at a small market. But, he becomes increasing disturbed after the fictional incidents he writes about occur in real life! 

This crazy little story stars Leslie Nielsen as Bert, Gaby Rodgers as Joan, Murray Matheson as Lee Morton and Harry Mehaffey as Lou, the store owner.

Bert was laid off from his job and is writing a novel that he wants to sell to a publisher, but he still has a ways to go before it's finished. His wife Joan encourages him to just keep chipping away, and that it's just a matter of time before it sells...

Bert gets a letter from a Mr. Lee Morton, he says he'd like to hire him as an assistant writer. Bert wants to go for an interview but wifey says no way, do not get sidetracked with other projects, you need to finish your novel.

But thinking about the money, he gives Mr. Morton a call...

Bert goes to Morton's home to meet with him. Mr. Morton's a strange kind of fellow, he's written a number of novels, but none of them have an ending! He tells Bert that he will pay him $500 dollars each for two endings!

Bert agrees to try and he finishes the two stories. Morton is thrilled with the endings he comes up with and pays Bert his $1000. The endings are about how people die in their particular situations in each different story Morton has written about, love triangles, adultery, blackmail, disputes, etc.

As Bert is leaving, Morton gives a sly smile, you think something's going on here?

Bert goes to see Joan at work and tells her the great news! Joan is not happy, he had told her that he would not contact Morton. She tries to leave but trips over a pile of newspapers.

Bert goes over to help her and notices the headlines on the newspaper, he reads the article and it is exactly what he had written for the ending, even the names are the same! Then he finds out that the other ending also came true, a deadly fire...

By 1953 ABC had started running network ads of upcoming events, like this Saturday Night Fights promo with commentators Red Smith and Don Dunphy. I remember watching the Gillette Friday Night Fights in 1955 with my dad when I was 7.

Joan demands that Bert give the money back to Mr. Morton. Shaken by the events, Bert agrees.

But when Bert tries to give the money back, Morton offers him $1000 for one last ending.

With the lure of the money though, Bert decides that he'll come up with his last ending for a total of $2000. Man, that was a lot of money back then, rent was like $50 a month, or less!.. Anyway, Morton sets up the scene for Bert, then Bert describes how it should end. He takes the money and goes back to the store to see Joan.

He only finds Lou, the owner, at the store. He tells him that Joan was leaving, then Bert realizes that the ending he wrote was about him and Joan, he runs outside to watch her die in a car crash, just as he had written...

Later, Mr. Morton drops by the store and reminds Lou, sometimes you have to pay for the things you want. This was a fun episode...

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