An extremely verbose woman comes to the police to file a complaint against her husband, who, according to her, is literally worrying her to death, in the Night Gallery story “Stop Killing Me,” reviewed here.
“Stop Killing Me” **
Teleplay by Jack Laird • Story by Hal Dresner
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Geraldine Page as Frances Turchin
James Gregory as Sergeant Stanley Bevelow
A one-act, two character piece, which could have used some trimming, “Stop Killing Me” is a Jack Laird script, similar to his comic blackout sketches, but expanded to about fourteen minutes. It drags, but it’s partially redeemed by the terrific performance from Geraldine Page as Frances Turchin.
Frances comes to a police station where desk Sergent Stanley Bevelow (James Gregory, always a pleasure to watch, although here he doesn’t have a whole lot to do) patiently listens to a long monologue from her detailing how she feels her husband is planning to kill her, or rather, is killing her right at that moment.
The sergeant is perplexed and he hears a long litany of complaints from Frances. For example, at the movies or at get-togethers with friends or family, he’ll turn to her out of the blue and say “I’m going to kill you, Frances.” She thinks he’s planting these seeds inside her head so that she will eventually freak out with worry and succumb to some sort of accident, such as being hit by a car or falling down a flight of stairs.
When Bevelow finally gets a word in edgewise, he asks the increasingly annoying Frances why her husband might want to do that and she explains that she won’t divorce him and asks “is that reason enough?” The sergeant replies, “I’ve known some who thought it was.” Funny line and drily delivered by the old pro James Gregory.
Eventually, she badgers the sergeant into agreeing to speak to her husband about the matter, which he does, no doubt at least in part to get her to leave.
Shortly after she departs, we hear the sound of a horn and a scream. The sergeant looks down at a photo on his desk of his wife, an almost comically stern-visaged woman. He then does indeed phone Mr. Turchin. To ask him how he did it (so he can do the same).
A too-long one-joke sketch, made tolerable by work from some solid actors, Geraldine Page and James Gregory.