The Ray Bradbury Theater

Season 6 Episode 23

The Tombstone

Aired Unknown Oct 30, 1992 on USA

Episode Recap

Salesman Walter Bean and his wife Leota are driving to a job interview he has set up. They're unable to find a hotel room. Meanwhile, an elderly couple is checking into a boarding house. An existing guest, Mr. Whetmore, runs down the stairs and complains that "it should have been White." He runs out of the house.

The Beans arrive at the boarding house and Whetmore runs past tem. The landlord offers them Whetmore's room and they accept. As they go in, they discover a large tombstone in the middle of the room with the name "White" on it. The landlord explains that Whetmore carved tombstones for a living, but misspelled White with an "i" instead of a "y". A perfectionist, Whetmore couldn't take it and left. The superstitious Leota wants to leave but Walter says it's the only room they can find and insists on staying. The landlord assures the couple that he has men removing it in the morning. Leota tells Walter to stop the practical joke, but Walter insists that he had nothing to do with the tombstone and tries to go to sleep.

That night, Whetmore returns to reclaim his hammer and chisel that he left behind. The elderly woman comes down and goes to the local pharmacy to get medicine for her sick husband. As she gets direction from the landlord, he half-jokingly suggests that the dead man, Whyte, may not have moved on yet.

Leota can't get to sleep and Walter tells her to be quiet. She goes downstairs to get some flowers as the elderly woman returns with her husband's medicine and enters her room, below the Beans' room. Outside, Leota notices Whetmore sitting on the porch. When he explains that he's waiting for someone, Leota doesn't know what he's talking about. She collects the flowers and goes upstairs to place them on the tombstone and clean the area in front of it. Walter hears her and wakes up, and Leota promises Whyte that she won't step on his grave. She comes to bed and explains to her husband that she's trying to make sure that Whyte rests easy so he won't come back and haunt them.

At midnight, Whetmore waits outside while Leota hears muffled shouting from below them. She insists that it's Whyte but Walter says that insists that it's just the elderly couple, arguing with each other. Leota believes it's the dead man and insists that they leave. They hear heavy footsteps above them and Walter goes to investigate. Leota insists on going with him and they check out the attic. The door closes on its own behind them as a cat runs past them, and Leota tries to get out. The landlord finally comes up and lets them out, and insists that the cat somehow managed to close the door.

Walter goes back to the room and thinks they should check out the couple downstairs. Leota refuses to let him go and Walter reluctantly stays. As they try to get to sleep, Whetmore knocks on the door. When they answer, he tells them that he has a new customer, someone named White, and wants to take the tombstone away for the dead man's wife. Walter is more than glad to get rid of it. Once Whetmore leaves, Walter throws away Leota's flowers. Nervous, she's unable to sleep.

The next day, the Beans pack to go and Leota insists that the tombstone's original owner was the one haunting them. As they leave, Walter glances at the ledger and realizes that the elderly couple's last name was White. He quickly gets Leota away before she can realize there was a dead man in the room below them. As they drive out of town, Whetmore, the landlord, and Mrs. White take the tombstone to the graveyard and inter her husband.