Tales From The Darkside Season 1 Episode 1 The New Man

 The first episode of the series proper (the pilot aired the year before) of Tales From the Darkside is definitely not it's strongest episode. Alan is a former drunk who is now doing great in real estate. Things go wrong when his young son Jerry shows up at his office. See, he doesn't have a young son Jerry. His wife Sharon and his son Petey seem to remember Jerry, but Alan does not. SHaron becomes convinced that Alan is drinking again. Days go by without his realizing it. His work suffers.

Sharon decides to leave Alan. He comes home and hallucinates Sharon telling Jerry about what a disappointment Alan is. He goes in and begins trashing Alan's room. In the process he finds a bottle of whiskey hidden in a drawer. He gets drunk and wakes up with a greasepaint beard. There's a new guy working at his old job. His boss offers him a drink, like he did Alan at the beginning of the episode, and we discover that he is a recovering alcoholic. As the boss leaves Jerry shows up to meet his "dad" at the office. So, Jerry is not a manifestation of Alan's psyche, he is obviously some external force. Is the boss in on it? We're not really sure. Jerry does end the episode with a great creepy kid smile.

Alan is played by Vic Tayback, who is best known for playing Mel in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Alice (which we'll be getting to here soon enough). He also did a lot of one shot t.v. appearances. A lot. Chris Hebert played Jerry. He was in The Last Starfighter and did some other t.v. work (including an episode of the 80's version of The Twilight Zone), but doesn't seem to have done anything since 1996. Kelly Jean Peters (Alan's wife Sharon) also did a lot of t.v., and was in Little Big Man, Poltergeist II, and Jack Frost. She does not appear to have made anything since 2001.  The boss was played by Paul Jenkins, who was in Chinatown and Network, besides having a host of t.v. appearances of his own. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 74. Finally, Petey was played by Billy Jayne, who was in Cujo, did a voice over on The 'Burbs, and whose numerous t.v. appearances include a regular cast spot in the highly thought of Parker Lewis Can't Lose. 

The episode aired in syndication on September 30, 1984. Also on the air that night were Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Hardcastle and McCormick, and the t.v. movie Heartsounds on ABC.  Over on CBS they had 60 Minutes, Murder, She Wrote and Trapper John, M.D. And at NBC (remember a lot pf people still only had a few channels to choose from back then) they were showing Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster, Knight Rider and the pilot episode of Scene of the Crime. I plan on covering a few of these here. The best thing about this episode, quite honestly, is you get the feeling that the show can only get better from here.


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