Night Gallery season 2 episode 17: The Miracle at Camafeo/The Ghost of Sorworth Place

As always, I enjoy when Night Gallery only has two stories and room to stretch out to better tell them. But are these tales worthy of the longer time they’ve been given?

“The Miracle at Camafeo” was directed by Ralph Senensky and written by Rod Serling from a story by C. B. Gilford. The holy shrine of the Nuestra Senora de Camafeo is supposed to be able to cure any damage to the human body. That’s why Joe (Ray Danton) and Gay (Julie Adams!) Melcor have come here. However, Charlie Rogan (Harry Guardino) thinks this is all part of a half-million-dollar insurance fraud.

Of course, he’s right. And he’s angry, because actually sick and infirm true believers come to this shrine every day, praying for intercession, and here comes Melcor, using it to be able to act like he can walk. Thing, as they often do in the Night Gallery, have a way of working out.

If this story is familiar, it was also used in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and was titled “Strange Miracle.”

Senesky directed both stories tonight. “The Ghost of Sorworth Place” was written by Alvin Sapinsley and inspired by the story “Sorworth Place” by Russell Kirk. Ralph Burke (Richard Kiley) gets lost in the Scottish countryside and finds an old home in the middle of nowhere. Looking for lodging, he’s turned away by the maid, Mrs. Ducker (Mavis Neal Palmer), but the house’s owner, Ann Loring (Jill Ireland!) directs him to a local inn.

She invites him to tea, but not before he learns that she’s a widow. Her philandering husband had a weakness for alcohol — and “the evil” — and Ralph wonders why she stayed in this small town. That’s when this gets weird — and wild — as Ann tells him that she can’t enjoy physical love after her abusive marriage, but needs a man who will protect her from her husband’s ghost. And he’s coming…tonight.

This is a tense episode with an ending that lives up to the build.

The director has a blog and man, it has some great insights into this episode, including an admission that he sees it in a better light today: “In December, 1971 at age 48 I thought THE GHOST OF SORWORTH PLACE was a failure. Now in March, 2020 at age 96 I’m not as sure.”

This story was filmed back to back — with two days break — with the first story in this episode. And those steps that cause the end of this tale, well, they’re the same steps from last episode’s tumble for Mr. Peddington.

Wow! An episode that I have no complaints about. What a magical time!

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