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The Tale of Laughing in the Dark
Season 1, Episode 2
Eplogo2
Air date August 22, 1992
Written by Chloe Brown
Directed by Ron Oliver
Episode guide
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The Tale of the Phantom Cab
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The Tale of the Lonely Ghost
The Tale of Laughing in the Dark is the Second episode of the First season Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the Second episode in total.

Cast

Midnight Society Cast

Story Cast

  • Aron Tager as Zeebo / Circus Carney
  • Christian Tessier as Josh
  • Daniel Finestone as Weegee
  • Tamar Kozlov as Kathy
  • Rebecca Henderson (now known as Beki Lantos) as Girl #1
  • Erica Tough as Girl #2

Intro

At nighttime (during a full moon), we see huge rides with flashy lights at a big amusement park. Many terrified and excited children are heard screaming, as they enjoy and endure these rides. Betty Ann narrates and explains that the park was called Playland. It was the best amusement park around. There children could laugh and scream and get scared to death on the rides. Also get filled up on junk food, and ditch their parents all in one night.

Also there was a spook house called "Laughing in the Dark". It is dark inside and it is like a maze: depending on the path the visitors take, there will be different scary monsters (with flashing eyes) that will pop up to appear and scare the visitors. Then at the end, there are a series of numbered doors. The visitors need to pick the right door to go free. If they pick the wrong door, something scary will come out. Two terrified girls are shown opening door #6. Then a huge terrifying clown comes out scaring them to death! They huddle together screaming for their lives.

Then back to the Midnight society (in reality), Kristen is terrified and she cannot take it anymore. So she gets up and prepares to leave asking for her thermos. Frank asks her what the problem is, and Betty Ann explains that she was just getting started. Feeling very upset and nervous, Kristen explains that she cannot stand Clown stories. Since she thinks that clowns are creepy and they give her nightmares. Eric tauntingly explains that she must has bozophobia: the fear of clowns, while David just sits there saying nothing. Then Kiki point out to everyone that Betty Ann finally found something wrong with Miss Perfect. They all "ooh" in unison and agreement. Betty Ann reminds her that she wasn't the one who said it though.

So taking her friends up for the challenge, Kristen agrees to sit down and hear the entire story. She tells Betty Ann to do her worst. Then Kiki cajoles Betty Ann to go on and see if Kristen can handle it. So Gary hands the pouch to Betty Ann and asks her to begin for real now. So Betty takes the pouch. Then she throws in a handful of non dairy creamer powder into the fire. This causes the fire to intensive while she introduces her story. So she submits her story for the approval of the Midnight Society, titling it "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark".

Story

Betty Ann tells the story. The story is about teenage boy named Josh. He is hanging out with his best friend Weegee and his little sister Kathy at the Playland Amusement Park. Josh, isn't very nice. He is somewhat a cocky and obnoxious bully. Also he constantly teases and belittles Weegee and his sister. Making them feel he is better than them.

They arrive at Laughing in the Dark spook house, Kathy refuses to go in because she explains that it is supposedly haunted by a clown ghost named Zeebo. Weegee doesn't want to either, because of all of the creepy stories he has heard about it. Josh at first cannot believe them. He feels he can understand Kathy being chicken. Since she is a little kid, but he cannot believe that he is too. So Josh reminds them that it is just a mere Kid's ride. Then he accuses the both of them of being chicken. So he taunts them repeatedly, by flapping his arms and making chicken sounds.

Then Josh bumps into a creepy looking man in a striped suit. The man introduces himself as the Circus Carney who runs the place. The Carney can see that Josh is a non believer. So he encourages Josh to take on the spook house all by himself. Then the Carney reminds him that at the end, he needs to pick the right door and he will go free. But if he picks the wrong door, then there HE will be! Then the Carney asks Josh if he is ready to go in. Now Josh stares at the spook house very nervously. Then he tells him that perhaps he will another time and they leave.

The next day, they do some research on the place and discover the place's background: In 1924, a circus came to town and was set up by Playland. One of the clowns, a smoker named Zeebo, stole the circus' payroll of $4,000 and when the police chased after him, he ran into the Playland amusement park and hid in the Laughing in the Dark spook house.

He almost got away with it too, unfortunately, while hiding in there, he dropped his cigar and accidentally started a fire that burned down the spook house along with him in it. Then a short time later, a new Laughing in the Dark spook house was built with a Zeebo dummy at the end. It is said in an urban legend that Zeebo still haunts the place. Josh calls Kathy and Weegee chickens, implying that they really do believe in Zeebo's ghost and are too scared to enter Laughing in the Dark. In anger, Weegee dares Josh to enter Laughing in the Dark alone. Josh takes Weegee's challenge and says that he will take Zeebo's nose to prove that he made it to the end. If Josh wins the bet, Weegee will have to wear Zeebo's nose to school for a week.

That night, Josh prepares to enter the spook house. Before he does, Weegee wants him to admit that he is just as scared as he is. But Josh denies it, saying he isn't. So he will go all the way to the end. Also he WILL bring the clown nose out to prove it. Then Josh enters the spook house and he ventures through the spook house. Also he actually reveals himself to be quite nervous. Then when he gets to the end, he hears a message from the Circus Carney: "Pick the right door and you'll go free. Pick the wrong door and there HE'LL be!". So he opens one of the numbered doors, and he actually finds the right door pointing him the way out. He is about to leave, then he remembers he needs the clown nose, or they will think he is a scared person. Then he opens the rest of the doors, and finally out comes the Zeebo clown. He screams feeling terrified. Then he snaps out of it, reminding himself it is just a dummy. Then he finally steals Zeebo's nose. He begins to laugh; saying that now is a hero: the guy who beat Zeebo. Then on his way out, he taunts the dummy. He tells it that he hopes he can still smell his stinky cigars now.

Back at the Clearing

Eric tries to make a break for it saying he has a cramp. But Kristen tell him she doesn't think so. Then she pulls him down to make him stay and hear the rest. Kiki taunts her telling her to just give up and admit that she cannot take it. But Kristen says she is fine and to keep on going. So Betty Ann happily continues on.

Back to the Story

So now as agreed, Weegee has to wear it. The next day, Josh boasts that he is now a hero and he should be known as the kid who beat Zeebo. So Weegee reluctantly admits that Josh is a hero and he is the loser. Then after being teased by Josh, Weegee throws the clown nose into the bushes. Josh goes to retrieve it and smells cigars. He finds nothing, gets the nose, and leaves (the audience, however, sees some cigar smoke coming from behind Weegee and Kathy's house, along with an evil laugh, after he departs).

That night, Josh comes home and discovers that his parents have left a note that telling that they are at the theater and have left food, and to not stay up too late playing video games. Josh nukes the spaghetti and gets some chocolate pudding from the fridge, but drops it when he hears a noise from the closet. Now Josh gets very nervous and apprehensive. So he arms himself with a baseball bat. Then he warns whoever is in the closet to come out and face him. Or else he will beam them. Then he nervously opens the closet. But he find nobody in there. Then he tries to get a grip of himself. He can only imagine how embarrassing it would be if Weegee could see the way he was acting right now.

Then he nervously answers a phone call from Weegee. Weegee calls Josh to apologize for complaining and acting like a baby earlier that day. Since Josh did with their bet fair and square. Josh accepts his apology and agrees to only make Weegee wear the clown nose to school for one day. Weegee disappointingly tells him that he was hoping that he could call it off completely. But Josh just obnoxiously laughs at him. Then tells Weegee that tomorrow at school will be Zeebo day for him and then hangs up chuckling. Then Josh gets another phone call. It is one in which a scratchy voice that tells him to "give it back." Josh is really beginning to freak out now. He is extremely nervous now. So he tries calming himself down by thinking it is only a prank from Weegee. So he nervously enters the kitchen thinking he will just have dinner and try and calm down. Then he notices that the microwave is smoking. He confused on how it could have burned so fast. Then he is skeptical to find that the pot reeks of cigar smoke. Then when he opens it, instead of spaghetti, the pot is full of burnt smoking cigars. Also there is a footprint with a "Z" in the spilled pudding on the floor. Josh is now terrified and he is screaming his head off. He is as scared as a human being can possibly ever become.

Still feeling terrified, Josh runs up to his room and calls Weegee, inquiring whether or not he prank called him. Weegee asks him why he sounds so scared. Then Josh confesses that yes he was scared of the spook house, and he is really scared now. All he wants to know, is if he just made a prank call to him pretending to be Zeebo. Then another receiver gets in their conversation and Josh asks Kathy to put it down, only for Weegee to reply that his family has only one phone in their house. The call is then interrupted by the strange voice, who insists to "give it back", or else he'll come upstairs to take it, revealing that Zeebo's ghost is in Josh's house. Josh locks his door and escapes through his window after seeing a purple balloon blow up under the crack of his door that says, "GIVE IT BACK!" blow up.

Josh returns to Laughing in the Dark, enters the last room and returns Zeebo's nose. There he sincerely apologizes, and he has brought a humidor of cigars with him as a peace offering. He says out loud "Okay, I shouldn't have taken your nose I'm sorry" he bends down and puts it on the floor and says "There it's all yours", then he gets out the humidor of cigars opens it and shows a few and says "And uh... just to show there's no hard feelings... Cigars! All for you".

He puts them down and slowly leaves. Zeebo accepts the gift and lets Josh go. At the end of the story, the carny of Laughing in the Dark says its signature line "It's the most fun in the park when you're Laughing in the Dark!" and smokes a cigar, proving that he may have been Zeebo's ghost all along.

Ending

At the end of the story, Betty Ann ends her story by merely saying: the end. Then Frank mentions it must have been the crazy old circus carney all along. Gary however disagrees on how he could have done all of those things in Josh's house and be at the amusement park at the same time. David suggests that perhaps the carney really was Zeebo's ghost. Kiki agrees with David saying yeah. Then Kiki teases Kristen. She asks Kristen how she feels and if she is going to have nightmares about Zeebo later at night when she is asleep.

Kristen smiles proudly and tells her that she has done it: She has sat through the whole story, and she is okay now. Then she asks her friends on what they have to say about that. Then Eric startles her in a clown mask. He tells her that it is a good thing. Since he doesn't want her having nightmares right away. Kristen gets scared and she screams and runs off. Eric chases after her wearing the mask. So David chases after him. Gary quickly declares their meeting adjourned and puts out the campfire and runs after his friends.

  • Betty Ann's first story.
  • This is the only time Gary says something official other than "I declare this meeting of the Midnight Society closed." at the end (he hastily says "Meeting adjourned." as he flings water on the fire and with everybody else chases Eric chasing Kristen).
  • The first (and only) appearance of Zeebo.
  • One of five episodes to feature a different opening (a door appearing against a sky backdrop opening into a dark area with ghostly images rushing by to form the title).
  • One of two episodes to open in a storytelling rather than at the fire, and the only one where the traditional opening was shown a moment later (Betty Ann started telling the story before an interruption, and it was only after that she threw the powder on the fire and named it).
  • This is the only episode to have more than one break in the story to show the Midnight Society discussing it. Excluding the early interruption during which Betty Ann named the story, there was one break five minutes into the show and another at the halfway (commercial-break) point, where the others teased Kristen for her coulrophobia.
  • The 1924 Circuses payroll of $4,000 going up with inflation over the years was worth $37,200.00 in 1992 and now worth $56,088.89 as of 2015 and up.
  • Aron Tager who portrayed the role of Dr. Vink in the episodes yet to come, portrayed Zeebo / Circus Carney in this episode being the only time he portrayed any other character.
  • Christian Tessier who played Josh would later reappear again in the series in the episode "The Tale of the Curious Camera" as the bully Kullback.
  • Tamar Kozlov who played Kathy in this episode would reappear later again in the second season finale in the episode "The Tale of Old Man Corcoran" as Cissy Vernon.