|The Tale of Laughing in the Dark|
|Season 1, Episode 2|
|Air date||August 22, 1992|
|Written by||Chloe Brown|
|Directed by||Ron Oliver|
The Tale of the Phantom Cab
The Tale of the Lonely Ghost
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The Tale of Laughing in the Dark is the Second episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Betty Ann introduces her story before calling it "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark".
A teenage boy named Josh is hanging out with his best friend Weegee and his little sister Kathy at an amusement park called Playland.
They arrive at Laughing in the Dark, its spook house supposedly haunted by a clown ghost named Zeebo, but they don't go in. 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 fun house.
He almost got away with it too, unfortunately, while hiding in there, he dropped his cigar and accidentally started a fire that burnt down the funhouse along with him in it. A little later. a new Laughing in the Dark fun house was built with a Zeebo dummy at the end. It is said in an urban legend that Zeebo still haunts that place. Josh calls Kathy and Weegee chickens, implying that they 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 mean 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.
Josh enters the spookhouse and steals Zeebo's nose, and as agreed, Weegee has to wear it. The next day, after being teased by Josh, Weegee throws it 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. Josh nukes the spaghetti and gets some chocolate pudding from the fridge, but drops it when he hears a noise from the closet, with nothing in it. After answering a phone call from Weegee, Josh gets another one in which a scratchy voice says to "give it back." Josh, thinking it is only a prank from Weegee, goes into the kitchen to find the pot of spaghetti full of cigars and a footprint with a "Z" in the spilled pudding.
Terrified, Josh runs up to his room and calls Weegee, inquiring whether or not he prank-called him. 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 balloon that says, "GIVE IT BACK!" pop.
Josh returns to Laughing in the Dark, enters the last room and returns Zeebo's nose. He apologize and along with a box of cigars 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.., to show there's no hard feelings. Look 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 carney 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.
At the end of the story, Kristen (who was revealed to be scared of clowns) defiantly tells the others that she can withstand her fear, only to get scared and run off when Eric chases her with a clown mask. As the credits begin, the rest of the group runs after the two.
- This is The first story that we hear Betty Ann tell.
- The first appearance of Zeebo.
- One of 5 episodes to use a different opening theme.
- 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 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.