When this show is good, it’s good. “Alter-Ego” was written by D.C. Fontana, who is mainly known for her Star Trek episodes, and Richard Matheson, who is the king of anthology horror. It’s based on a story by Stanley Ellin, a mystery writer who wrote several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and had six of his books made into movies: Dreadful Summit became The Big Night, Key to Nicholas Street was made as Claude Chabrol’s A Double Tour, The Best of Everything was made by Clive Donner as Nothing but the Best, House of Cards, The Bind which was filmed as Sunburn and Stronghold was made into A Prayer in the Dark.
In the director’s chair? David Lowell Rich, whose mark was made in disaster movies like SST Death Flight and Airport ’79…The Concorde, horror such as The Horror at 37,000 Feet, Eye of the Cat and Satan’s School for Girls, as well as one of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone, “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville.”
Bobby is stuck at home from fifth grade, unable to go to the class of his beloved Miss Gilden (Helen Hayes), but he soon gains an alter ego who can go to school in his place. However, his other half is a child of pure malice and wow, what a star turn by Michael-James Wixted. As time goes on, everyone that the other half of Bobby meets must pay, from family animals to even the kindly teacher, all as a game of chess between the two takes on the highest of stakes.
This description won’t explain just how upset this episode made me at times, as the evil Bobby is just horrible. Gilden is dealt scorn for scorn throughout, abused by a child who surely can’t be pulling off all of the horrible things that she claims that he’s been doing in her class. The scene where he slowly teases eating potentially poisoned chocolates? Borderline Satanic.
If you were to pick one episode of this show to check out, this would be my pick.
You can watch this on YouTube.