A woman visits a funeral home to inquire about a budget-minded arrangement for her husband’s “accidental” death in the Night Gallery segment “The Late Mr. Peddington,” reviewed here.
“The Late Mr. Peddington” **
Teleplay by Jack Laird • Story “The Flat Male” by Frank Sisk
Directed by Jeff Corey
Harry Morgan as Thaddeus Conway
Kim Hunter as Cora Peddington
Randy Quaid as John
Funeral director Thaddeus Conway (Harry Morgan, with a distinguished-looking beard and excellent comic chops, a solid precursor to his casting as Col. Potter in M*A*S*H* three years later) takes a couple swigs from a whiskey bottle just as he is alerted to a customer’s arrival. Washing up, freshening his breath and smoothing out his appearance in a mirror, he prepares to greet Cora Peddington (Kim Hunter, yes, Zira from the Planet of the Apes movies—her final appearance in Escape From the Planet of the Apes came out just months before this).
She explains that she is looking for the cheapest funeral possible for her husband’s accidental death, falling from their apartment’s balcony which had recently been removed for repairs. The reason she needs to economize, she tells Conway, is that her husband arranged a complicated pre-nup where she must live on just the $2,000 life insurance policy for two years before inheriting his substantial wealth.
After she leaves, Conway chats with his embalmer (Randy Quaid in an early role), telling him he thinks they’ve got the job, telling him no other mortuary can underbid them and that “she was shopping. She had to make certain that under the conditions of her husband’s will she could realistically afford the price of even a cut-rate funeral,” and we cut to Mr. Peddington falling from his missing balcony to his death.
Not particularly funny, but Harry Morgan is quite good and Kim Hunter isn’t too bad herself without ape makeup.