The Ray Bradbury Theater

Season 6 Episode 6

The Utterly Perfect Murder

Aired Unknown Feb 07, 1992 on USA

Episode Recap

In his youth, Doug Spaulding is tormented by the neighborhood bullies, including his supposed friend Ralph Underhill. They tie Doug up in the woods at night and leave him. On his 40th birthday, Doug is now a successful jingle-writer for an ad company. At his party, he goes into the next room and calls Ralph, but immediately hangs up. The next day, he remembers how he promised to get revenge on Ralph. Doug goes to his workshop and looks at his childhood collection of knickknacks. He then says goodbye to his wife and says that he's leaving for a business trip to Chicago. He puts the knickknacks in a case, picks up a photo of himself and Ralph, and puts it with the other items. He calls Ralph again and immediately hangs up, and then puts one final item in the case: a revolver. Before the tree incident, Ralph torments Doug regularly, taking one of his marbles and throwing it in a creek. Stopping at a diner for lunch, Doug considers the marble, which he recovered, and almost drops it. He then continues on his trip. Doug tries to join Ralph's gang and they dare him to break a neighbor's window. He almost goes through with it, but at the last second Doug runs away. They call Doug chicken and eventually catch up to him. Ralph tells Doug to look him up when he's an adult so he can remind him that he was chicken. Doug remembers everything that Ralph did to him. He finally arrives in his hometown and visits the neighbor's house. It's abandoned and boarded up. Doug then goes to his childhood home. Looking in the window, he sees his piano. Doug played constantly on the piano, perfecting his skill. Ralph and his gang call him a freak. Doug takes his case and walks to Ralph's house. Doug begs Ralph to be his friend and let him join the gang. Instead, Ralph and the other boys chase Doug into a nearby ravine and then tie him up to a tree at night. Doug walks through the ravine and makes his way to Ralph's house. He sees Ralph through the window, confirming that he still lives there. Doug then hides behind a tree, takes out his gun, and waits until dark. He then sits on Ralph's porch and puts out the toy soldiers and marbles and other childhood knickknacks. Ralph's wife sees him outside and tells Ralph to investigate. Doug gets up and rings the doorbell and Ralph answers the door... an old wizened Ralph who is nothing like the monster of Doug's boyhood. Ralph, startled, goes to pick up Doug's items on the porch. Doug stands over him, takes his hand out of his pocket, and points his empty hand at his childhood tormentor. He merely points his finger, says "Bang!" several times, and then declares that Ralph is dead. Doug then walks away while Ralph calls out his name, wondering if it is the boy from his childhood. Doug goes to the ravine and sits down next to the tree where he was tied as a boy. The next morning, he goes back to his childhood home, looks up at his old bedroom window, and tosses some gravel at the window. He imagines himself coming to the window to find a friend waiting for him. The imaginary Young Doug comes down and goes off to play, and Doug begs him to stay, but his childhood imaginations fade away.