The Ray Bradbury Theater

Season 3 Episode 2


Aired Unknown Feb 06, 1988 on USA

Episode Recap

Professor Bert Harris is obsessed with his health. When his bones hurt, he reads up at the library about the human skeleton, and then visits his long-suffering physician, Dr. Burleigh. Burleigh sees him right away rather than have Bert sit in his waiting room staring at the other patients. He tells Bert that he's been visiting for years about all of his illnesses and tells him that he's a hypochondriac who makes himself sick by obsessing about each minor little pain and ache. When Bert objects, Burleigh tells him to get out.

Desperate, Bert looks up bone specialists in the phone book and finds the name of a M. Munigant. He goes to the man's office and discovers bones and x-rays mounted on the walls and in cases. Munigant comes in and boasts that he is a master of extraordinary cures, and then praises the skeleton as a wondrous architecture. He takes Bert to his examination room, decorated with more bones and skeletons, including those of Caesar and Cleopatra. When Bert notes that their bodies have never been found, Munigant boasts that he was able to find them.

Munigant has Bert lay on a table and notes that his skin fits poorly. He scans Bert's skeleton and produces a life-sized x-ray, and then tells Bert to open his mouth wide. Munigant tries to peer in, getting as close as possible, but Bert abruptly snaps his mouth shut. The doctor says he can't help until Bert learns to cooperate, and that his problem is primarily psychological. He then gives Bert an x-ray of his skeleton and tells him to take it home and study it, and come back when he's ready to be cured.

At home, Bert eats supper with Clarisse, his wife. She notices the x-ray of his skeleton and he talks about how it is the spectre of death that everyone carries with them. Clarisse, a nurse, tells him to get rid of it but Bert insists that he's following Munigant's orders because the doctor truly understands his problems. That night, Bert examines his skeleton as he gets into bed. Clarisse tries to make love to him but Bert can't stop studying her bone structure and talking about how her nose is formed from gristle. She finally gives up and goes to sleep.

As time goes on, Bert begins to lose weight and comes to believe that his skeleton is conspiring against him so that it can reveal itself. In the bathroom, Bert feels his skin constricting on him, trying to crush him to death. Clarisse has had enough and starts throwing away his collection of pills and lotions. As she burns the skeleton x-ray, she tells him that she's going to fatten him up.

Bert begins to wonder if she's right and goes to a bar to consider things and buy his rebellious skeleton a drink. He notices a fat man and asks him what the secret to gaining weight is. The fat man describes eating in glorious terms and talks of how fat can be used to protect oneself from the outside world. Once the man is gone, Bert realizes that the whole thing is psychological and Munigant was right. He calls the doctor and tells his skeleton that it's not going to win.

That night, Munigant visits Bert at home while Clarisse is out. Bert admits that the bone specialist was right and lies down. Munigant asks if he wants to be cured and Bert tells him that he's ready. The specialist has him open his mouth wide and then bends over and peers deeply down Bert's throat. He then talks directly to the skeleton, telling it "Out." After a few seconds, Bert opens his eyes and discovers that Munigant has left. He tries to get up but clutches at his chest in agony as a cracking noise fills his ears.

Clarisse comes home as Munigant steps out of the house. He chews on a bone and nods briefly to her and then walks away. Clarisse goes inside and discovers Bert... his skeleton sucked from his body.

Back at his office, Munigant contemplates his newest acquisition: a full skeleton. A new patient arrives and Munigant informs him that he's a master of the extraordinary cure.
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