“Teacher’s Aide” is… well, I really do try to be positive, so I’ll just say it’s about a teacher who gets possessed by a gargoyle. It wouldn’t have been out of place on Tales from the Darkside.
It’s paired, however, with one of the best known segments of the 1985 Zone, the absolutely beautiful “Paladin of the Lost Hour.” It’s almost entirely a two-hander, written by Harlan Ellison and starring Danny Kaye and Glynn Turman. Kaye plays a lonely old homeless widower with a gigantic secret, and Turman plays a Vietnam veteran with a traumatic case of survivors’ guilt. After Turman’s character saves the old man from a mugging, the sweet old man helps himself into his life, feeding him wonderful beef stew and sharing stories.
The interesting science fiction twist might not have been so overshadowed in Ellison’s original short story, but onscreen, bearing in mind my fascination with actors and their craft, it’s almost an afterthought because Turman and Kaye are just so amazingly good. They could have spent their thirty-odd minutes discussing anything at all and I think it would have been time well spent. But in this subtle, sweet, and life-affirming little tale, they make some real magic.
Today’s feature was a gift from Marie’s brother Karl and we really appreciate it! If you would like to support this blog, you can buy us a DVD of a movie that we’d like to watch one day. We’ll be happy to give you a shout-out and link to the site of your choice when we write about it. Here’s our wishlist!