Doomsday, Episode 26
This episode was originally broadcast on Oct. 13, 1959
The story takes place in a castle centuries previously.
The lord's song is dying.
The "physician." Keep in mind that a "physician" of the time would today be labeled a quack, if that much. The standard treatment for someone ill was to bleed them; that is, let blood out of the body either by using leeches or cutting a vein. Such treatment, of course, more often killed the person then helping them. There was also nothing known about the need for cleanliness in getting well.
The father says that the day his son is buried, each of the other three men in the room will be buried. The son calls out for a woman he once knew. The father had told the son to give up the girl but he refused, and so the father had the girl sent away. The father thinks the girl had bewitched his son; in other words, she was a witch.
The physician talks to the father more about witches he has had experience with or heard of. The song dies and the physician tells the lord he must punish the girl who cast a spell on his son.
They find her and put her on trial. Keep in mind here that trials of witches were not like regular trials today. First, the person accused was assumed to be guilty and would have to, somehow, prove their innocence. The standards of evidence used were very, very poor, and virtually any of the witch trials would be thrown out of today's courts. The trials were also generally a product of religious intolerance and fanaticism.
She is found guilty (of course) and sentenced to be executed (which was the standard punishment when found guilty.) As she's being dragged away she curses the lord and all those who come after him.
The curse was that the oldest son would die before his father dies. The film shifts to a more modern time where a father seems that he will die before his eldest son, thus breaking the curse. Apparently that happened for eight generations in a row to this one family.
The eldest son has worked himself into a state, convinced he will die within an hour and trying to figure out how it will happen. As worked up as he is I'm betting on a heart attack, although considering how totally nasty he is being to everyone, including his wife, I think a direct hit by a meteor might be more fitting.
His wife comes in and tells him his father has just died. Of course, there's no doubt in my mind at this point that his wife has lied to him and his father is still alive.
He goes to see his father, thinking he's dad. He ends up standing on a balcony when the father regains consciousness and starts to speak. This terrifies the son and he falls off the balcony to his death, thus fulfilling the curse.
The announcer says that the odds of the particular number of deaths of eldest songs in a single family as actually happened to the family in the episode were three billion to one against it's happening.
The also adds that the final son chose not to ever marry or have children.