The Return of the Sorceror (TV)

Clark Ashton Smith

Rod Serling's Night Gallery 29, (1972)

"Two sorcerers, twin brothers. One kills the other, and furiously seeks a translator for the key to a mysterious Arabic text ("fifteenth century, school of Samarkand") not Latinized in the Necronomicon. Two have quit the job already. A third arrives. "I'm not into occultism and satanism," he says, but the handsome pay and the lovely assistant are inducements to stay.

The text is a forbidding one, he who reveals it shall be burned and dismembered. At the point of a gun, the translator does so. Even if a sorcerer be hewn in pieces, "separately or in concert" they shall have power to rise and perform his "undone actions". The brother appears, hacks off his enemy's head in a black mass. The girl invites the translator to her room.

As elsewhere in the series, there is a conscious acknowledgment of La Belle Et La BĂȘte in the style, and the sorcerer's trepidation echoes "The Fall of the House of Usher". The rich, lurid tones of the set amplify the refined burlesque. Bill Bixby is the straight man, Tisha Sterling the assistant Fern, Vincent Price the two brothers, one bearded. A goat sits at the dinner table. "That's my father, who built this house. He's known as The Falling Tower."

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