Year 1971
Studio NBC
Show Night Gallery, Episode #14
Producer Jack Laird
Director Jerrold Freedman
Writer Jack Laird
Cast Carl Reiner
Length ??

   
Professor Peabody’s
Last Lecture

‘‘Now if there are no further questions...’’

coolair picture Another NIGHT GALLERY segment is a little more recognizably Lovecraftian (unlike Miss Lovecraft Sent Me). Professor Peabody's Last Lecture was telecast November 10, 1971 written by Jack Laird who also produced the Cool Air episode and Dark Intruder.

The professor (Carl Reiner) is lecturing about the folly of ancient religious cults, including Cthulhu and Lovecraft's other "Old Ones." A student warns the professor not to ridicule these powers and tries to discourage Peabody from reading from the dreaded Necronomicon. A storm comes up suddenly. A flash of preternatural lightning replaces Peabody's bald head with something that looks very much like an octopus. Could it be Cuthulhu him/her/itself? The punch line is Peabody's: "Now if there are no further questions...?"

Maybe just one: Why does this have to be such a dumb (although amusing) installment in a series that treated Pickman's Model and Cool Air so respectfully?

What's even more frustrating is that writer Laird apparently knows a good deal about Lovecraft. The arcane information in the script is on target, and the members of Peabody's class have names familiar to any Lovecraft enthusiast: (Robert) Bloch, (August) Derleth, and Miss (Hazel) Heald.

In fact, it is worth taking a closer look at Jack Laird not only because his name is attached to every installment of Lovecraft on NIGHT GALLERY (as writer and/or producer), but because he is responsible for producing the first Lovecraft-based made for TV movie -- DARK INTRUDER (1965).