Story by Arthur Gray (based on his short story, "The Everlasting Club"
Teleplay by Robert Hunter
Directed by Ben Bolt
Original Airdate - March 28, 1986
Ben Cross - Frederick
Hywell Bennett - Grant
Robert Schenkkan - Eli
Wayne Alexander - Cornelius
Ethan Phillips - Deaver
Osmond Bullock - Andrew
Jim Piddock - Brian
Stuart Dowling - Creditor
Christopher Carroll - Chimney Sweep
Christopher Grove - Assistant



No Opening Narration

A group of Cambridge students have formed a fraternity of sorts, called the Devil's Alphabet; each one of their names starts with a respective letter of the alphabet. They pledge themselves in blood, and wear special rings,and agree to always meet on the same day every year, after they graduate.  They will toast each other with "high-blown words and revelry."  After graduation, life starts happening to the men.  As the years go by they one by one start to die, either by their own hand or through a more sinister agent. After the first man dies, his ghost shows up at the next meeting, alarming the others.  It seems like they are doomed to meet throughout eternity in the same room, as men or ghosts, in whatever form they happen to be when the annual day comes around. 

The deaths accelerate, and finally only three men are left alive.  They no longer have a majority to dissolve the Devil's Alphabet Society, so they can only attend and hope they live through the night.  After the meeting, two of the three are killed in a carriage "accident," which seems to not have been an accident but deliberately done, by some dark agent…possibly the Devil?  The last living member shows up for the next meeting, and faces the ghostly figures of all the others.  He says that the Devil's Alphabet Society was made for revely, not the sullen silence that is happening now.  He asks for a show of hands to dissolve the group…and he gets them.  He removes his ring, throwing it on the signed scroll, which bursts into flames.



"The Devil's Alphabet" has always been one of my top episodes; I find the entire story interesting.  It's supposedly based on Arthur Gray's "The Everlasting Club," but it has no resemblance to that extremely short story except for the basic idea; it's a great story, but nothing you could build a TV episode on.  It was adapted by Robert Hunter, who really should get the credit for fleshing out the story and virtually creating it himself. 

This production is filled with veteran actors from both sides of the Atlantic.  Ben Cross plays the main character, and I've never seen him better.  Hywell Bennett plays Grant, the real instigator of the pact with the devil, since it was his idea to sign the bylaws of the society in blood. Robert Schenkkan has been in many productions, and has had great success as a writer. Ethan Phillips went on to acclaim in "Star Trek: Voyager" as Neelix, and is still busy today. Jim Piddock went on to films like "Independence Day," and is usually in one of Christopher Guest's extremely funny films.

One of the most effective scenes in the production is the final one, where the ghosts of his predeceased comrades surround Cross.  The effect is sensational, and adds a great deal to the story.