Twilight Zone Tuesday – Long Distance Call

Long Distance Call

Chris Bayles – Philip Abbot
Sylvia Bayles – Patricia Smith
Billy Bayles – Bill Mumy
Grandma Bayles – Lili Darvas
Mr. Peterson – Reid Hammond
The Babysitter – Jenny Maxwell
The Doctor – Henry Hunter
The Fireman – Lew Brown
Narrator – Rod Serling

Trigger Warning:

Spoiler Tidbit
Death, funerals, near child death, drowning (off-screen)[, life support equipment on a child /su_spoiler]

A man is helping his elderly mother down the stairs. Apparently she is ill as he insists that after the birthday party is over she needs to go right back upstairs. She says of course, she always follows the rules of the house…except when she doesn’t agree with them. She looks a little faint and he takes her arm to lead her into the dining room.

In the dining room a little boy is fiddling with something on the table and his mom puts a party hat on him. When his grandma comes in he runs to her and gives her a big hug. She calls him her angel and picks him up. Her son scolds her for doing so. He tells her that the doctor told her not to exert herself. She says she’s not exerting herself, that Billy is as light as a feather. Chris’ wife, Sylvia, asks him to get the lights so they can light the cake. Grandma sits down with Billy on her lap and tells him not to open his eyes until she says. The cake comes and Billy blows out the candles (five of them). Grandma asks if he made a wish and he nods. She asks to hear it and he whispers it in her ear. Sylvia asks Billy if they can all hear his wish but Grandma says no, it’s their secret. Chris gives Sylvia a “what can you do?” look. The look she gives back seems a trifle more…annoyed.

Grandma pulls the cake over and begins to cut it. Chris suggests letting Sylvia cut it but Grandma isn’t having that. She starts cutting it. Billy takes too big of a bite and icing squishes out of his mouth. Grandma’s on it, though. Wiping his mouth and calling him her love and her angel. He’s not a freaking toddler. She says her heart is full and she wants to make a speech. She goes on to say how much she loves Billy and how when he held his hands out to her he made her feel alive. She gets a little teary and Billy wants to know why she’s crying. She says she doesn’t know, probably because she won’t be there very much longer. Mom does not look happy and I really can’t say I blame her. Billy wants to know why and she says she’s going to be away. Billy wants to know where. Dad breaks in and says nowhere, Grandma’s going to be right there next year. Grandma says not to lie to him, she’ll be gone. Uh maybe they just don’t want to talk to him about it right then.

Dad grabs Billy up to take him into the other room. Mom starts to say something to Grandma but notices that Grandma’s out of breath. She asks if Grandma’s all right. Grandma says yes but I’m guessing not. She also looks weirdly happy about it. In the other room Billy has opened a present. A cap gun (I hope it’s a cap gun, anyways). His mom starts to hand him another present but Grandma calls Billy over to open her present. Mom looks annoyed. I can’t say I blame her. She literally waited for the Mom to hand Billy one to call him over. Billy unwraps it and it’s a telephone. Grandma says it’s for her and Billy. So they can talk at any time, even when she’s not there. They then pretend to talk for a minute on it. Grandma starts to get up but doesn’t feel well. She asks her son to take her upstairs now. Billy asks if she wants to play. Grandma tells him to talk to her on the phone, she’ll hear him. As Chris helps her from the room Billy says into the phone “Please don’t be sick, grandma”.

As must be obvious this is a house hovered over by Mr. Death. That omnipresent player to the third and final act of every life. And its been said, and probably rightfully so, that what follows this life is one of the unfathomable mysteries. An area of darkness which we, the living, reserve for the dead. Or so it is said. For in a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge which separates light and shadow. And, of course, he must take the only known route, that indistinct highway through the region we call the Twilight Zone.

Upstairs a doctor is checking out Grandma and down below Chris is pacing and they’re all waiting for the doctor to come down. Billy wants to see his Grandma but his mom tells him that he can’t at the moment, she’s not feeling well. The doctor finally comes down and shakes his head at Chris. The doctor says she isn’t in any pain and Chris asks if they can see her. The doctor doesn’t suggest it because he says she might not know who they are. Chris says they’ll know her. Billy wants to go and Chris tries to explain what’s going on. at first he says no but Billy starts to cry so the dad says ok and picks him up to take upstairs. Chris tells him that if Grandma acts a little strangely that it’s just because of the medicine. Then they go up to see her.

Grandma’s laying in bed and Billy runs to her. She knows him. When Chris says hello, though, she doesn’t know him. Well, she sort of does. She says he’s not her son because her son was taken away from her by a woman. Ouch. Billy’s her son now. Mom looks like she’s about to get into it with Grandma over that. Deathbed or not I kind of understand that. She says she’ll be lonely and she wants Billy to come with her. Billy asks where and she just says away. She wants for it to just be her and Billy, no one else. Ok, because that’s not creepy. In the middle of this Grandma passes away. After Sylvia takes Billy out of the room Chris grieves for his mother by himself for a moment.

The next scene is a very peaceful looking pond with some flowers floating in it. And Billy bent over, seemingly staring into the water. His mother comes out and asks if he heard her calling him. He says no and then she scolds him a bit for playing so close to the pond. Inside the house Chris is going through his mother’s jewelry and stuff. Not in a nasty, greedy way. Sylvia sends Billy upstairs so she can talk to Chris. He asks what’s wrong and she says she’s worried about Billy. He’s been walking around like he’s in a trance. Chris says that’s not too surprising, she knows how close they were. She says she knew, in a weird voice. Chris wants to know what that’s about. Sylvia says they were too close. It wasn’t normal. Then she repeats what is bothering her. That Grandma called Billy her son. Chris says she didn’t mean it. Sylvia doesn’t buy that, neither do I. Sounded to me like she knew exactly what she was saying. He says no, she was full of sedatives and dying. Sylvia apologizes. She says they’re all upset today.

Sylvia walks off and picks up Billy’s suit coat from where he dropped it. As she does she hears Billy talking. He’s asking someone to come over and play. He goes on to talk about lunch and asks if it’s cold there. Sylvia asks who he’s talking to and Billy says that he’s talking to Grandma. Grandma wants him to come stay with her. Billy asks if he can. To which I would give a hearty “Hell no!” Sylvia doesn’t answer but she looks at the telephone in a scared way.

The next scene Sylvia and Chris are returning from the funeral, looks like. As they walk in the door Shirley, the babysitter, calls for Mrs. Bayles and she says to hold on a second. She asks Chris if he’d like to be alone but he says that’s the last thing he wants. Sylvia says ok, she’ll go make some coffee. Sylvia goes in to where Shirley is waiting nervously. As she starts to talk to Sylvia a man gets up from the couch and says he hates to bother them right now, the babysitter told him about the funeral. Sylvia wants to know what’s going on and the man says it’s about her son. This freaks Sylvia out (naturally) and she looks at Shirley. Shirley says that Billy is ok, she put him down for a nap. She says she’s not, she’s been shaking for the last twenty minutes. The man starts yelling at them about Billy playing in the streets. Sylvia goes to check on Billy. Chris says that Billy doesn’t play in traffic and Shirley says she knows that, that’s why she didn’t say anything when Billy went out to play. The man breaks in saying that Billy played in the streets today, he didn’t even have time to put on his brakes and barely missed Billy by inches. Shirley says it wasn’t her fault and Chris says he knows, it wasn’t anybody’s fault. I have to disagree. Shirley was supposed to be watching Billy so she should have been keeping an eye on him. I get the guy being scared and irritated but what does he expect to get from going in there and yelling at them? They obviously weren’t there. Unless he didn’t trust the babysitter to tell the parents.

Billy’s upstairs, not sleeping, but when his mom peeks in at him he acts like he is. He seems to be waiting. Downstairs the guy who almost hit Billy is getting ready to leave. As he’s putting his coat on he tells Chris that he’d better have a talk with his son. Chris wants to know why. The guy says that when he saw Billy was all right he asked Billy why he would do something like that. Billy told him that someone told him to. Chris thinks that’s ridiculous and asks the man if Billy told him who told him to do that. The man says Billy didn’t say. Shirley breaks in and says that she would never tell Billy to do something like that. Sylvia wants to know who else Billy talked to. Shirley says he didn’t talk to anyone, just stayed in his room talking on the toy phone. Sylvia freaks out and calls Chris to go upstairs with her. Chris apologizes to the man and the man says don’t apologize, just be glad the boy’s safe. Chris goes upstairs, Shirley’s still hanging out downstairs.

When Chris gets upstairs Sylvia is listening at the door to Billy talking to someone. Chris goes in. He asks Billy about the street incident and why he did it. Billy says he doesn’t know. Sylvia asks who he was talking to. Billy says nobody. Sylvia tells him not to fib and asks him again who he was talking to. Billy insists that he wasn’t talking to anyone. She gets a little radical and asks again…vehemently. Upset, she leaves the room. After she leaves Billy asks Chris if Mommy doesn’t like him anymore. Chris says of course she does. Chris says she’ just upset. Then he tells Billy that Grandma didn’t go away. She died, so she won’t be coming back. Chris tells Billy that he knows Billy is just pretending to talk to Grandma but he wants Billy to not do it in front of his mother. Billy asks why not. Chris tries to come up with an answer but ends up with “just don’t”. After he leaves the room he listens at the door for a minute but doesn’t hear anything. Then he looks irritated and walks away. After he does Billy, talking on the phone, says something about his Mommy.

In the evening Chris is smoking moodily by the window. Sylvia asks him to talk to her. He says that funerals suck. He’d rather have remembered his mother the way she was. He goes on to say that he knows it’s been a little hard on Sylvia but his mother never meant any harm. Sylvia half-heartedly agrees. Chris insists it’s true. He says that the two children his mother had before him, she lost. He was all she had. Sylvia says “Until Billy”. He says to her Billy was him, a chance to go back. Chris says that he realizes that it wasn’t right or fair to Sylvia. But she did it out of love.  Well, then that makes it ok. You’re right. It’s not fair to your wife. When he says she did it out of love Sylvia says love for whom? Chris gets annoyed and she apologizes but yeah, I think ‘Grandma’ was being pretty damn selfish. They snog and make up and go to bed.

Over in Billy’s room it sounds like Grandma is telling Billy the story of Peter Pan. Hmm. I think we can see where this is going. After the snog Chris and Sylvia are asleep in their chaste twin beds. Sylvia wakes up to Billy giggling. Billy’s talking on the phone, saying something will be their secret and asking if he can have a chocolate bar. Sylvia yanks it from his hand and listens for a second, then she screams and drops the phone. Billy freaks out about his phone. Chris hears from the bedroom and goes running to see what’s wrong. Chris rushes into Billy’s room. Billy is still freaking out about his phone and Sylvia is hyperventilating. Chris grabs her and asks what’s wrong. Sylvia says that she heard Chris’ mother. She says she didn’t hear words but she heard her breathing. Chris tells Sylvia to snap out of it and Billy runs out the door.

They look for him and find him in the pond. Chris pulls him out. The ambulance comes and the EMT’s have him on a respirator (or CPR machine, I’m not sure what it is…something to help him breathe, anyways). Sylvia says that she took him. The Grandmother took him. Chris tells her not to say that but she does. And then he tries to put his hand over her mouth in a really awkward way that looks like he’s smooshing her face. Sylvia starts to cry. Chris leaves her for a minute and asks he EMT’s what Billy’s chances are. The EMT looks awkward and says that they’re not good. He says if they’d gotten there a little sooner then maybe it would have been better. He tells Chris that the doctor will be there soon and he’ll give Chris’ wife a sedative. Chris looks at his wife for a second.

He goes upstairs and looks at the telephone. He picks up the phone and starts to talk to his mother. He tells her that she said she loved Billy. He begs her to give him back if she really loves him. He pleads with her, saying that Billy hasn’t lived yet. this is actually a very well-written, well-acted part. and  love that they have the father begging for his child back. You don’t see that much. It’s usually the mother. The actor also plays it perfectly. I have to admit, this scene is one of the few Twilight Zones that make me tear up. The mother’s mile-long stare is also pitch perfect.

Downstairs the EMT’s are fiddling with the gauges saying they’ve got him. The EMT says he doesn’t know how but they got him back. Sylvia calls for Chris. They embrace happily and shocked at the same time.

A toy telephone, an act of faith, a set of improbable circumstances, all combine to probe a mystery to fathom the depth, to send a facet of light into a dark after-region. To be believed or disbelieved depending on your frame of reference. A fact or a fantasy, a substance or a shadow but all of it very much a part of the Twilight Zone.

This episode was a difficult one for me. I don’t like how much the media uses child death to boost its stories or for shock value or cheap emotion manipulation. in particular, drowning seems to be a ‘popular’ accident, as well. I’m cutting Twilight Zone some slack because it is older and they don’t use it very much. The Grandmother also is very grating.

I’m pretty sure that the boy who plays Billy in this episode is the same kid who has the unfortunate tendency to send people into the cornfield.

Next week’s episode is a great one so stay tuned!

Join us again for next week’s Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Hundred Yards Over the Rim

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Prime Mover

Prime Mover

Ace Larson – Dane Clark
Jimbo Cobb – Buddy Ebsen
Kitty Cavanaugh – Christine White
Big Phil Nolan – Nesdon Booth
Sheila – Jane Burgess
Narrator – Rod Serling

We see the Happy Daze Cafe from the outside. A few people can be seen through the glass front. Even though it’s a diner, I feel like the Happy Daze Cafe should refer to a bar. Well, they do have cold beer, ham & eggs & french fries for eighty four cents, burgers for thirty cents and hamburger steak for sixty five cents. Man, with our paychecks now we’d be, if not millionaires, incredibly well off. A trucker is sitting at the counter and a young, dark-haired lady is pouring him some coffee. Another man looks up when the fourth man starts talking. Ace pops into the scene cajoling his sweetheart. He says he’s her lover boy and they’ve been through thick and thin together and he’s been real good to ‘her’. He says he fed her, took care of her so it’s time to start paying off. Just when you’re getting creeped out and disgusted it is revealed that the gal he’s sweet-talking is a slot machine. He puts his quarter in and closes his eyes when he pulls the handle. The counter lady (Kitty) rolls her eyes as the bars come up as a loss. He pulls out another quarter saying this time it better pay up or it’s out of there. He quickly says he’s just kidding. Wouldn’t want to hurt its feelings now, would we? I think that he and Franklin would get along great. Another coin, another loss. He asks Kitty for another quarter. The trucker at the counter tells Ace he ought to slow down, he’ll blow a gasket.

Ace offers to flip the man for the burger. The trucker tells Ace he must like getting kicked around. Ace tells him to never mind what he likes. Are they on? The trucker agrees and Ace demands a quarter from Kitty again. She starts to say something but he just demands the quarter in a snippy voice. He thinks that he can’t lose forever. Yeah, just keep thinking that dude. Ace does the flip and guess who wins? The trucker says thanks! It must be a lucky quarter and he snags it from Ace. Which seems a little jerkish but Ace did bet double or nothing. The guy plugs it into the machine and hits the jackpot. And, to be fair, the guy gives Ace his quarter back and tells him thanks without rubbing it in. Ace gets pissed at the machine and kicks it. Jimbo says that Ace’s luck will change sometime. Ace replies that yeah, he’ll probably get electrocuted next time.

While Ace is grumping around, Kitty is putting on her coat and heading for the door. He asks where she’s going. She’s going home to bed, does he have a problem with that? He chills out and says no an he wouldn’t be surprised if she quit. She says that she’s not going to…he owes her three months salary. Umm, I think I’d still quit and get my pay. However, methinks she has another reason for sticking around. As Kitty leaves, Jimbo asks Ace when he and Kitty are going to get married. Ace says what can they get married on? Jimbo says that he has a little saved up and they could use that but Ace thinks that a little is not enough to get married on. Why not? You don’t need to spend a gajillion dollars on a wedding. He says a girl like Kitty deserves the best and the best doesn’t come cheap.

As they’re talking they hear a screech of tires outside. They look in time to see a car roll over across the street and crash into a big electrical thing, throwing up sparks. They run out to help but the electricity is making the car untouchable. Ace says there’s people inside and wants Jimbo to help. Well of course there’s people inside! The car didn’t drive itself. Jimbo doesn’t move but gets a really weird look on his face. At first he looks like he’s concentrating really hard. Then he looks constipated. The car moves by itself and rolls off of the electricity. Ace looks surprised and Jimbo looks tired.

A portrait of a man who thinks and thereby gets things done. Mr. Jimbo Cobb might be called a Prime Mover. A talent which has to be seen to be believed. In just a moment he’ll show his friends, and you, how he keeps both feet on the ground and his head in the Twilight Zone.

Jimbo’s laying on a bed, rubbing his head. Ace comes into the room and says that the people in the car are going to be ok, just a few broken bones. Then he asks Jimbo how he did it. Jimbo tries to play dumb but Ace wants to know. Jimbo tells him to leave it alone and Ace gets pissy and tells him to keep his secrets, he doesn’t care. Jimbo relents and says he’ll tell him. Jimbo says he can’t explain it very well but it’s a power. He can move things around by thinking about it. Ace is a bit dumbfounded so Jimbo says that he knows it sounds dumb but he can. He doesn’t know how or why but he can. Ace asks how long he’s been able to do it. Jimbo says that for a long time he thought that it was something everyone could do. Ace wants to know why he hasn’t seen him do it before. Jimbo says it used to get him in trouble at school  and stuff so he gave it up. It also started to give him very bad headaches, like the one he’s got now.

Ace is all excited and wants to know if Jimbo can do it again, like now? Apparently Jimbo rubbing his head and neck and saying he gets headaches. Ace don’t care though and he pulls Jimbo off the bed and asks him to do something with it.  So Jimbo lifts it and Ace is amazed. He asks Jimbo if he could move something a little smaller, like a quarter? Jimbo says sure, the smaller the easier. Ace asks Jimbo to flip it to heads and Jimbo does. This gives Art an idea and he has Jimbo roll some dice. Ace is super psyched and he calls Jimbo a big dummy. They’re busting their humps in the diner every day when they could e getting rich. Jimbo wants to know how. Ace doesn’t answer him but calls Kitty and tells her to get ready for a trip, don’t pack, just get ready.

And boom, we’re in Vegas. On a side note my grandpa used to go to Vegas every year in the spring. The Golden Nugget and Stardust were his favorites. He also brought back a hat one time…imagine my surprise later when I found out it was a strip club…

Ace, Jimbo and Kitty are all at the roulette table. Ace bets a hundred and Kitty freaks out, saying that’s all they have. Ace tells her not to worry. The ball goes and Jimbo makes it land on the right number. He spreads out the winnings and Kitty again tells him to chill out out he again tells her that it’s ok. Jimbo once again helps. They hit casino after casino, raking in the dough using Jimbo’s power. Apparently they didn’t let Kitty in on it because she’s worried that Ace’s luck will change and he’ll go bust. He says they’ve got a system and not to worry. Jimbo breaks in to say that he’s got to take a break, his head’s killing him. At first Ace wants to keep going but then he realizes that maybe they shouldn’t push Jimbo’s talent too much. He cashes their chips out. As he is a cigar/cigarette girl comes over. Ace scoops up a handful of cigars and throws her a hundred. She says she can’t cash a bill that big but he says keep it. Kitty looks a little disgusted and Jimbo looks tired. Apparently they’ll just hand you cash in boxes when you cash out large sums. Is this accurate? That can’t be safe. Ace yanks Jim off the couch and they head up to their room.

It’s a very large room. Jimbo just wants to sleep, he’s very tired but Ace wants to go out and party. Kitty says that she’ll see them tomorrow. Ace gives Jimbo a head massage and has Kitty get him some aspirin. Jimbo says that he can’t do it anymore, that it isn’t right because it’s cheating. Ace says fine, they’ll quit. Jimbo asks if he means it and Ace says sure. After one more time. Jimbo says fine, one more time. He takes an aspirin and he lays down to rest his head. Ace grabs Kitty and says they’re going to go out and have some fun. Kitty wants him to stop though, she’s worried that the luck will run out and why can’t he be happy with all of the money that he’s made? Ace says that it’s not enough and by tomorrow he’ll have enough money to buy the state. Aceville, USA. Kitty She’s having none of it. She says she’s going home and look her up when he’s done playing Ceaser. Ace wants to know wht her problem is. Jimbo says that he’s been ignoring her all night. Ace says he’s been busy. Jimbo says a man should never be that busy and Kitty’s worth more than any money and urges Ace to go after her.

He catches up to Kitty but she hasn’t changed her mind. If he’s going to gamble the next day then she’s out of there. She leaves and Ace looks bummed for about two seconds. The cigar/cigarette girl asks if anything’s wrong with a pouty little expression. He asks her name and she says it’s Sheila. He asks how she’d like to come work for him? She rolls her eyes and says doing what? he wants her to help him spend some money. She doesn’t believe him but he hands her a grand and says it’s a down payment. She takes it and asks when he wants her to start. He says right now and she whips off her box of goodies. Her boss comes over and wants to know if there’s a problem. Ace says no, he’s buying the girl for the night, oh, sorry “hiring” her for the night and hands the boss a wad of bills. Ace asks the manager who the biggest whale in town is. No limits. The guy thinks for a minute then says Mr. Phil Nolan. Ace wants Phil to call him at the hotel and bring plenty of money. Ace goes back to his cigarette homey and she says she’s ready to go but she wants to get dressed first. Ace says ok but not too much. Ew.

The next morning the phone rings. Jimbo floats it over to the bed and answers it. It’s Mr. Nolan for Ace. He tells Mr. Nolan that he’s got two hundred grand and wants a game. You’re lucky Mr. Nolan doesn’t just show up with a shotgun and take your money. Jimbo is a bit leery. He asks if Mr. Nolan is from Chicago and asks if he’s a gangster. ace says yeah but so what? They have a code of honour. Uh huh.  Every single one of them. While Ace cleans up Jimbo asks him about Kitty but Ace just shrugs him off. Jimbo looks a bit worried.

Mr. Nolan shows up with some other guys and ask to see the money. Ace orders breakfast while he’s counting it and asks if Nolan’s boys want something. They don’t eat. Ever. They start off with ten grand. Ace starts to roll but Nolan suggests they use his dice. i think either way is unfair. They should call the casino for some dice that are more likely to be untainted. Ace says fine, they’ll use Nolan’s dice. They roll, Jimbo helps. The usual. Ace is pretty stupid. He should lose occasionally, it would look less suspicious. Nolan does get suspicious and grabs the dice to double check that they’re his. Nolan tells Ace to remember that people only cheat on him once.

After the threatening Sheila comes bouncing in, asking if Ace is ready to go to Lake Meade. the toughs ask who the dame is and Ace says she’s his lucky charm, his shweetheart. They have a snuggle. Jimbo looks very upset. To hurry things up Ace decides to bet it all. Jimbo tries to get his attention but Ace ignores him and asks for the other box of money. Nolan seems hesitant but says that Ace is covered. Ace says he wants an eleven and eyeballs jimbo meaningfully. Jimbo tries to get his attention but Ace ignores him. Ace is all happy but he’s a little premature. He hasn’t looked at the dice which are decidedly not on eleven. Nolan’s thrilled, though. His guys scoop Ace out of the way to scoop up the money. Ace looks stunned.

After the other guys leave Jimbo says that he’s sorry but he tried to tell him. Jimbo says that a fuse must have blown or the power went out because he just couldn’t do it. Ace should have quit while he was ahead. Jimbo asks if Ace is mad at him. Sheila wants to know if they’re still going to Lae Meade. Ace just says that Jimbo blew a fuse. She gets huffy and leaves with a glare for Jimbo. Ace snaps out of it and starts laughing at the blew a fuse. Jimbo, looking a bit relieved, joins in. To give him credit, Ace does not yell at Jimbo or blame him. Which was unexpected. usually they turn into dicks.

Back at the diner some guys are removing the slot machine. They ask Ace if he’s sure he wants to get rid of it and he says, yeah, who needs it? Ace is in a good mood and not as grouchy as he was in the beginning of the episode. After its gone ace starts to ask Kitty something about pooling their money after…will she marry him? Jimbo’s broom falls, startling them. Kitty looks a bit shocked and asks Jimbo if he’s got a quarter. She tells ace to call it. She flips it and he calls ‘Heads’. She peeks at the quarter and then tells Ace, yes, she will marry him. Did you really doubt it? Jimbo goes to grab his broom but remembers that it’s on the floor. He uses his mind powers to pick it up. I don’t blame him. He probably saved Ace’s ass from a dirt nap, eventually.

Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it. When that happens, the talent becomes a curse. Jimbo Cobb knew that right from the beginning. But before Ace Larson learned that simple truth he had to take a trip through the Twilight Zone.

This one is a bit, eh to me. Well, next week’s episode is good and creepy, anyways.

Join us next week for Twilight Zone Tuesday’s episode – Long Distance Call

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Odyssey of Flight 33

The Odyssey of Flight 33

Capt. ‘Skipper’ Farver – John Anderson
1st Officer John Craig – Paul Comi
2nd Officer Wyatt – Wayne Heffley
Navigator Hatch – Sandy Kenyon
Flight Engineer Purcell – Harp McGuire
Janie – Beverly Brown
Paula – Nancy Rennick

We’re on a jumbo jet that appears to be making an average flight. The pilot’s chill and smoking. Everyone looks pretty relaxed. Captain Skipper says that thank to the aircraft, the fine weather and his awesome piloting they’ll hit Idlewild on schedule. The radio guy calls ahead to say they’ll be arriving on schedule at 18:30. That’s actually pretty funny. Let’s hope mine is. They also report their fuel and other plane stuff.

Janie the Stewardess pops in for a minute. the passengers are doing well but the stewardesses have a request: That they get to New York as fast as possible. One’s going to the opera, two have hot and heavy dates and the fourth is available to any good-looking, honorable, single male crew member. Not sure if that’s her or not. Skipper asks his co-pilot if he felt anything. His co says no, why? Skipper says he’s not sure but he felt something. Like they suddenly sped up. He dismisses it as getting old. His co checks the speed and it seems normal. He suggests that maybe they picked up a tailwind. Everything looks normal but Skipper can’t shake the feeling. He asks the navigator to check the ground-speed. The ground-speed says they’re going at 900 which is impossible. He’s checking with Loran. Whoever that is. He says that Loran reads the ground speed as 830.

The navigator keeps reading it as it keeps climbing, so fast that he can’t even keep up with it but the last readable number was 1,500 knots. Skipper wants to know what Charlie says. Radio Guy says that he can’t raise Charlie on the radio. Their ground speed is up to 2,100 now. Which doesn’t seem possible. I would think that if the plane wasn’t built to go that speed it would break. Skipper, trying to calm his co down, says that ground speed doesn’t really matter, it’s air speed and that they must have hit one heck of a jet stream. The Skipper keeps calling the Navigator Magellan. I don’t know if that’s a nickname or what because the credits say his name is Hatch. So, I’ll call him Magellan.

Skipper says that his needle just “reversed past Gander V.O.R.”. Whatever the hell that means. I’m guessing it’s impossible because the Skipper is asking how is that possible. He asks Magellan to give him a fast position check but Magellan says that they’re past Gander. Ok, what is Gander? Magellan is freaking out, saying that they must be going at least 3,000 knots. Skipper tells the Radio Guy to try raising different airports. He tries all three but receives no response from any of them. They all look very worried.

You’re riding on a jet airliner from London to New York. You’re at 35,000 feet atop an overcast and roughly 55 minutes from Idlewild Airport. But what you’ve seen occur inside the cockpit of this plane is no reflection on the aircraft or the crew. It’s a safe, well-engineered, perfectly-designed machine. And the men you’ve just met are a trained, cool, highly efficient team. The problem is that, simply, the plane is going too fast. and there is nothing within the realm of knowledge or at least logic to explain it. Unbeknownst to passenger and crew this airplane is heading to an uncharted region, well off the beaten track of commercial travelers, it’s moving into the Twilight Zone. What we’re about to see we call “The Odyssey of Flight 33”.

An exterior shot of the plane moves inside and we see Janie looking worried and befudddled. A stewardess is in the galley. She jokes with Janie that she hopes Janie’s proud of the flyboys, she’s going to see The Valkyrie tonight. So this must be the opera stewardess. Opera stewardess says she’s always had a thing for Valhalla, she hopes Janie will say that they’ll make the airport in time. Janie doesn’t know what to say except that she hopes that the Valhalla she’s talking about is at The Met. The other stewardess asks, “Instead of?” to which Janie replies “Instead of a conducted tour through the real thing.” Opera Stewardess is understandably confused. Janie says that they’re in trouble. Opera Stewardess wants to know how bad and Janie tells her that they don’t know yet. Then she tells Opera Stewardess to go ahead and serve the coffee. Janie reminds her that it’s “Coffee, tea or milk, with a smile” and nothing else. Paula (Opera Stewardess) says she’s got a deal. Paula heads out of the galley with a very troubled face.

Janie walks through the airplane, getting the eyeball from a passenger who’s chatting with an old lady. Well, she’s chatting. He looks like he wants to escape her aunt’s health problems. The soldier is just nodding and smiling. Ah, he’s not a soldier, he’s a Group Captain and military attache. Bet you were wondering about that, weren’t you? The lady goes on to tell him about her nephew in World War II. I might be wrong but she looks like Flora from ‘The fever’. He feels something and asks his seatmate if she felt it, too. She says no and goes on chatting. Down the aisle Paula almost drops a cup on a passenger. He asks if she’s ok and she says that she’s got a hot date and is a little shook up. Paula is not holding up her end of the bargain vry ell. She might as well have “Something’s Wrong” tattooed on her forehead.

Back in the cockpit Radio Guy is still trying to get into contact with anyone on the ground. There’s still no answer. Everyone shakes as a loud noise happens and something shakes the cabin. They all do some admirable Shatner shaking. Weirdly, the first thing the co-pilot (I think his name is Craig) asks is if they hit something. Skipper says he doesn’t know but check for damage just in case. Everyone checks the engines and they all seem to be ok. He tells Purcell to go aft and check for damage and calm down anyone who’s freaking out. Skipper says that they’re in trouble but he doesn’t know what kind. Magellan asks what the crazy light was. Skipper says it’ll be something they’d better find out about and quick. Craig the co-pilot wants to know if the shaking was turbulence. Skipper says no, it felt like a sonic boom. As though they went past the speed of sound. Craig says that they didn’t get a mach warning. Skipper replies that since their true air speed is only 470 they probably wouldn’t get a warning. Ok, I know jack about planes. Is it possible to have a ground speed that is different from air speed? Obviously not that drastic of a difference but is it normal for them to be different?

Skipper says that with their last ground speed check put them at over 3,000 knots then they could have gone through some kind of sound barrier, just not one that he’d ever heard of. Skipper asks for another ground speed check. Magellan fiddles with his equipment a bit while they all look concerned. He says that the bump must have knocked the equipment out of whack. Radio Guy tries the radio again but still no go. Co-Pilot Craig says that everything looks in working order, the altimeter and climb rate. Shouldn’t they be cruising, not climbing?Skipper says if they can’t figure their location or raise anybody then he’s going to go below the cloud cover to make visual contact. Craig freaks out, saying they’ll run smack into a dozen other flights. Skipper says they’ll have to take that chance.

Purcell returns to say that there’s no damage aft but the passengers are scared and shook up. Skipper says he is too. Then he (reluctantly) picks up the cockpit phone to talk to the passengers. He lays out what’s going out nd stresses that they’re in no danger. He also says that they should be landing at Idlewild if all goes according to plan. The passengers look more annoyed than scared. He asks where their fuel is. Skipper comments that he doesn’t feel that weird sensation of speed anymore. Skipper asks what their heading is but without anything to go by Magellan is just guessing at 262. Skipper lays it out that they’re going to have to chance going under the cloud cover. Craig turns on the ‘No Smoking and Fasten Your Seat belts” sign. Skipper eases the plane down into the clouds.

Magellan says that if his calculations are correct they should be by Manhattan Island. Purcell says that there’s no skyline, no city. Skipper says that he recognizes the area but it seems to be minus the city and people. Craig, looking out of the window, looks shocked and asks Skipper to verify something for him. They all look out of the window and Purcell wants to know what in holy hell is going on…because there’s dinosaurs. A brontosaurus to be exact, munching on a tree. He’s cute! And now they know something’s screwed up. Royally.

Janie goes through the cabin, smiling at people. Paula wants to know what’s up, they’ve been circling for half an hour. Paula doesn’t get to see the dinos? That”s mean. And wouldn’t the passengers be able to see things are a bit…off? There’s some looking out of the window. Janie says that they don’t know but they’ll keep in touch. Back in the cockpit the guys are flying quietly. Craig wants Skipper to tell him what’s going on. Skipper says he’ll give them a guess but they might think he’s crazy. Um, dude? Dinosaurs! I think that I would be pretty open to just about any suggestions after seeing a brontosaurus munching shrubbery.

Basically his theory is that the thing they went through sent them back in time. They all want to know what they do about it. Doom & Gloom reminds Skipper that their fuel is dropping. Skipper’s plan is to climb back up into the clouds, go as fast as they can and try to hit that jet stream again. The rest of the crew doesn’t look too thrilled about it but they realize that they don’t have much of a choice. They do the things and everyone looks tense while Magellan counts off the knots. They hit the thing again and the cabin shakes. Right after, Janie pops into the cabin and tells them that she knows they’re busy but please get on the phone and calm the passengers down.

They now realize that they’ve landed in 1939. They decide to try to climb and give it another go. Skipper speaks to the passengers, telling them what they’re going to try to do. He says he doesn’t know but it’s the only thing they can try. He starts off by saying that what’s going on, evn he can’t explain. That the crew is as much in the dark as they are. Very comforting, dude. It ends on their hope that this time it will work.

A global jet airliner en route from London to New York on an uneventful afternoon in the year 1961. But now reported overdue and missing. And by now searched for on land, sea and air by anguished human beings fearful of what they’ll find. But you and I know where she is. You and I know what’s happened. So if some moment, any moment you hear the sound of jet engines flying atop the overcast, engines that sound searching and lost, engines that sound desperate…shoot up a flare or do something. That would be Global 33 trying to get home from the Twilight Zone.

This is a weird one, even for the Twilight Zone. It has a touch of whimsy with the dinosaurs and all but such a depressing ending. They’re basically flying off into the unknown, trying the jet stream again and again until they run out of fuel and crash. Quite the depressing and nihilistic ending for Twilight Zone.

The ‘Skipper’ is on quite a few other episodes of Twilight Zone.Two I haven’t gotten to yet but one that he’s in that I have done is ‘Passage for Trumpet‘ as Gabe.

Co-Pilot Craig is also on other episodes as well. One that I have done is ‘People are Alike All Over‘ as the optimistic Marcusson.

I was wrong about the chatty passenger. She is not Flora from ‘The Fever‘ but she is on an (awesome) later episode of Twilight Zone that I can’t wait to cover.

Paula (Opera Stewardess) is also on ‘The After Hours‘ as Mrs. Keever

So far the Military Attache passenger has been in the most. ‘Twenty Two‘ (PA Announcer, uncredited), ‘A Thing About Machines‘ (Intern), ‘One for the Angels‘ (Doctor), and ‘Where is Everybody‘ (Reporter #2) plus a few that I haven’t gotten to. One of which is my all-time favorites.

Join us again for next week’s episode of Twilight Zone Tuesday – I was considering skipping the next episode: Mr. Dingle the Strong and moving ahead to the episode after: Static. I will leave it up to you, dear readers. Would you prefer I skip Mr. Dingle the Strong and move onto Static? Or should I keep going in episode order. Let me know down below which you would rather have next week: Mr. Dingle the Strong or Static?

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Twenty Two

Twenty Two


Liz Powell – Barbara Nichols
Nurse in Morgue – Arline Martel (Credited as: Arlene Sax)
Barney Kamener – Fredd Wayne
The Doctor – Jonathan Harris
Day Nurse – Mary Adams
Night Nurse – Norma Connolly

Trigger Warnings:

Spoiler Tidbit

A blonde woman is sleeping restlessly, clutching a Raggedy Ann looking doll. A clock is ticking very loudly. She reaches for a glass of water but it slips out of her hand and breaks on the floor. There are footsteps outside of her door but they don’t stop or come in. She’s very sweaty and looks terrified. As she leaves her hospital room she sees the elevators at the end of the hall close. A nurse is in them. Her nightgown is a little weird for a hospital. It’s a regular, silky  nightgown, not a hospital gown. She watches the dial move down to the basement then hits the call button to bring it back to her floor (the 3rd floor, in case you were wondering). Whatever is in the basement must be cold because she starts shivering. She turns a corner to see Room Twenty Two, The Morgue. As she stares at them, the doors are opened by a nurse, who says, “Room for one more, honey”. This freaks the woman out and she screams and runs away.

This is Miss Liz Powell. She’s a professional dancer and she’s in the hospital as a result of overwork and nervous fatigue. And at this moment we have just finished walking with her in a nightmare. In a moment she’ll wake up and we’ll remain at her side. The problem here is that both Miss Powell and you will reach a point where it might be difficult to decide which is reality and which is nightmare. A problem uncommon perhaps but rather peculiar to the Twilight Zone.

I’m thinking by peculiar Rod means specifically which was its original meaning. Because I would think everything in the Twilight Zone would be peculiar-strange. And I noticed he seems to go by a word’s older meaning. Or hell, if he can’t find a word he’ll just make one up. Well, now that Mr. Serling has made us feel like stalkers, let’s continue.

A man in a suit and glasses straightens himself up before knocking on the door and entering the room. He asks how Liz is doing, calling her ‘Kitten’. She asks if he got lost. She has a very strong Brooklyn accent. He tells her that she’s looking great and she says that it’s been awhile between talks. He brought her a present which is a picture of…herself? He says they’ll get it blown up and put it in front of the Chi-Chi when she opens there. Ok, so I’m guessing that Barney is her agent or manager. She asks where he’s been and he says that hospitals depress him. She says that he ought to try being in one flat on your back for several weeks and the only time it’s not depressing is when it’s visiting hours. Well, not depressing if someone visits, that is.

He chuckles nervously and says what a mind she has. Liz says that’s what he thinks is wrong with her, isn’t it. Her mind. That maybe Barney thinks she left it in a bus station or something. He says there’s obviously something wrong if she keeps talking ‘nutsy’. Yes, because it’s so weird to be depressed after being in the hospital with no visitors. How weird! Liz says she was counting on Barney to believe her and when he didn’t show up she thought he’d dropped her. She says he has to believe her, he’s the only one. Which is a little sad, actually.

Liz insists that they’re not dreams, that they happen just like she says they happen. Barney walks a little ways away and starts to nervously polish his glasses. He says, “I know, Kitten, I know” but he’s obviously doing it to placate her and she knows it. After she says this the door opens and the Doctor comes in, telling Liz that she’s looking pretty as ever. Liz looks very annoyed. He and Barney introduce themselves to each other. Then the Doctor makes a creepy ass ‘joke’ about Liz “making him wish he weren’t an old doctor but a young intern”. Ew. He and Barney have a chuckle over that. Liz covers her ears and says he must be great at funerals, Laughing Boy.

The Doctor says, “We’re a little feisty today, aren’t we?” and looks annoyed. Liz says “We” are not feisty, “We’re” sick and tired of people coming in to peek at her every two seconds like “we’re” a freak or something. She tells them to get off the dime because there’s nothing wrong with her. The Doctor agrees and says she’s in perfect shape, just a little overtired and overworked. He supposes a dancer’s life isn’t the easiest. If she’s jut overtired and overworked then why is she in the hospital? I think I’d rather recuperate at a nice spa or resort. And it would probably be cheaper, too.

Barney says Liz’s talent makes it look easy. That he’s been her agent for 12 years and she’s the best stripper he’s ever seen. She corrects him and says she’s a dancer. This makes Doctor Giggles giggle some more. Liz asks what’s it going to be tonight? Dreams and Freud? He says she doesn’t seem interested in dreams because she keeps rejecting the fact that her ‘delusion’ is a dream. She says you know it. I notice that when he’s speaking directly to her instead of over her to Barney or in the “We” sense he looks and sounds irritated. He says he doesn’t know it. He knows the reverse. He says it is a dream. Oh, well then, problem solved, right Doc?

Doctor Giggles runs through the ‘dream’ again. It’s exactly what I narrated in the first paragraph. Except he’s really creepy sounding. He’s got a very “Look into my eyes” voice going on. In all of his detailing it obviously doesn’t strike Doctor Giggles as strange that Liz would know exactly how to get to the Morgue (ok, that might be easy since they’re usually in the basement, at least in movies) but it also doesn’t strike him as strange that she knows the Morgue is door Twenty Two. Which, for it being the only door down there Twenty Two is kind of a weird number. Liz breaks in and says that’s exactly what the nurse says. She says, “Room for one more, honey” and points to the Morgue. Doctor Giggles asks Barney if that isn’t a very strange dream. Barney says “it’s a weirdo, Doc!” So I’m guessing this is the first that Barney is hearing of the dream.

Liz insists that it isn’t a dream. Doctor Giggles says that Liz believes it’s one of his nurses. She corrects him saying that she doesn’t know if it’s one of his or not. Liz tells him to bring her in there and she would recognize her. Doctor Giggles says, very well (we’ll humour the hysterical girl). Apparently he’s been waiting for this because he whips aside a curtain to reveal a nurse. Not the one Liz has been seeing. Which makes me wonder how long that poor woman has been standing there. He says she’s the night nurse assigned to the basement. Then he adds (rather snippily) that she’s the only nurse assigned to that floor. He orders Liz to look at her then asks sarcastically if that’s Liz’s phantom lady. Liz says no and describes the woman that she’s seen. Doctor Creepy says that even Liz has to admit that if it’s not the nurse she saw then it must be a dream.

Liz says no, she knows what she saw and she knows what she did. Which sounds weird but I’m guessing she means her actions in the ‘dream’. Doctor Creepy wants to try something different. The Doctor wants her to try changing the actions of her ‘dream’ since it always happens in such a specific order. He tells her to try not reaching for the glass to see if breaking the routine of the dream will stop it from happening. Barney is all for this idea. It’s “groovy”. Liz tries to get Barney to tell the Doctor that the same dream six nights in a row means something. Doctor Creepy says that with her being overtired and overworked that nightmares are not uncommon.

Barney doesn’t care. He’s happy to see Liz looking beautiful again and tries to kiss her cheek. She tells him thanks a bunch. That he couldn’t boost morale if it weighed a quarter of a pound. Then she tells him to beat it.After Barney leaves Doctor Creepy goes to the foot of her bed and tells her again to try not to repeat the actions of the dream. He’s a jerk but that does make sense. Whether it’s a dream or not. He tells Liz that “We’re on our way to recovery”. Liz snarks back, “We’re just delighted we feel that way.” I do like her.

Later that night Liz gasps awake. She starts to reach for the glass of water but stops herself. So she lights a cigarette instead. When she puts the lighter back it falls on the floor. As she bends to retrieve it she knocks over the glass and it breaks. The rest of the ‘dream’ plays out the same. Although I think I would have tried changing a different part. But maybe the point is that she couldn’t. Anyways, it ends the same. With her standing in front of Room Twenty Two – The Morgue, and the nurse saying “Room for one more, honey”.

The next shot is of her freaking out in bed and they’re giving her an injection of something. I’m guessing a tranquilizer. After Liz falls asleep the nurse joins the doctor by the nurse’s station. The doctor looks perturbed and says something’s odd. The nurse asks what he means and he describes Liz’s dream to her. It’s just now striking him odd that Liz knows the room number even though she’s never been there. They dramatically puzzle on this for a minute.

Liz seems to be ok now, she’s packing up and ready to leave. Barney’s waiting downstairs for her. Doctor Creepy offers to carry her suitcase but before he lets her leave he asks for a postcard from Miami Beach and gives her another lecture on “They were only dreams”. Buuuut, he can’t let her leave without being creepy one more time. he says h doesn’t want to see her back at the hospital, the next time he sees her he hopes will be a ringside seat and he’d like a subtle wink. Ew and double ew.

It’s been awhile since I’ve used this

The next scene is an airport The counter agent tells her where Area C is, and that Flight Twenty Two will be loading soon. This gives her pause and the agent asks if anything is wrong. She says nothing but goes to a window to think to herself for a minute. She says it’s that crazy feeling. She’s thirsty, She says it’s the same feeling she had in the dream but she knows she’s awake. She hears the clock ticking loudly then runs into a lady, knocking the absurdly large vase out of her hand. It shatters on the floor. Liz screams but the lay just shrugs and walks away. Liz makes her way out to the boarding gate, clutching her stuffed tiger. She makes her way up the stairs where a flight attendant greets her with “Room for one more, honey”. It’s the same woman.

Liz (understandably) freaks out and screams and runs back into the airport. The plane starts up and the flight attendant closes the door with a strange smile on her face. Liz is inside the airport being calmed down by two agents. She’s repeating to herself that it couldn’t be a dream. As she stares out the window the airplane explodes.

Miss Elizabeth Powell. Profession – Dancer. Hospital diagnosis: acute anxiety brought on by overwork and fatigue. Prognosis? Witch care and rest she’ll probably recover. But the cure to some nightmares is not to be found in known medical journals. You look for it under “Potions for Bad Dreams” to be found in the Twilight Zone.

This story is a little different. It doesn’t come from one of the usual stable of writers. It was adapted from a book called ‘Famous Ghost Stories’. If I figure out which one I’ll try and link it here. Since this is actually a fairly common premonitory type of story it will probably be hard to track down. Barbara Nichols is awesome as Liz, sassy but very sympathetic. She does the terror well. Arlene Martel is beautiful in this episode as the mystery woman. She also shows up in the episode ‘What You Need‘ looking much less sinister.

I always wondered about the ending. Was the flight attendant trying to warn her? And, if so, why only her? Definitely in my Twilight Zone top ten. Or twenty two.

The book has been found thanks to Brian Bixby! I could not locate it on Goodreads but here is a link to it on Amazon – Famous Ghost Stories by Bennet Cerf 

Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Penny for Your Thoughts

A Penny for Your Thoughts

Hector B. Poole – Dick York
Helen Turner – Jane Dayton
E.M. Bagby – Dan Tobin
L.J. Smithers – Cyril Delevanti
Sykes – Hayden Rorke
Jim – James Nolan

Our ‘Everyday Joe (or Hector) of this episode enters a busy city scene amidst the cries of “Papers! Get Your Papers Here!” cries. He buys a paper a flips his coin into the boy’s cigar-box. The newspaper kid thinks it’s awesome but Hector just looks a tad, “Whatever”. As he walks away from the stand someone bumps into Hector. The guy smiles politely but Hector hears, “You miserable, dirty, lowdown”…Hector shakes it off as he walks away. A lady walks near him fixing the relationships in Hollywood hoping for Liz to marry Rock. Presumably Rock Hudson. Another guy rams into Hector. He shakes his head at Hector but his interior monologue says, “Oh, gosh, terribly sorry…if he hits me I’ll die!” Wow. Are you used to getting jacked when you accidentally run into someone? Although I think it’s more to show the difference between thoughts and looks. The first guy looked sorry but was a dick internally. The second guy looked displeased and angry but his interior thoughts were scared.

Not looking, Hector steps out into the street. This seems to be a real problem or Twilight Zone characters. I’m not sure if he actually got hit or i he just fell over. The driver rushes out to help him and says they should get Hector to a hospital but Hector says no, no. He’s good. No broken bones or even any scrapes and scratches. The driver apologizes profusely, even though Hector stepped out in front of him. Inside though, the guy is calling Hector a clumsy fool. Hector wants to know what he said. The guy looks confused and asks Hector if he’s sure he’s alright. As Hector walks away the guy thinks to himself that Hector’s a “Lamebrain and that his asinine jaywalking took ten years off his life”.

Mr. Hector B. Poole, resident of the Twilight Zone. Flip a coin and keep flipping it, what are the odds? Half the time it will come up heads and half the time tails. But in one freakish chance in a million, it’ll land on its edge. Mr. Hector B. Poole, a bright human coin on his way to the bank.

Hector is ten minutes late for work. As he slides into his cubicle we get to see his boos on the phone with his mistress. It sounds like she’s pushing for him to get a divorce but he doesn’t want to because the headlines will say “Prominent banker divorces wife to marry chorus girl”. Headlines? Would the papers care? As the bank prez is about to cajole her into a weekend together instead of marriage Hector comes rushing in, eager to explain why he was late. Apparently he prides himself on his promptness and spotless record. He must because whenever I was late I tried to slide in and hope no one noticed. Mr. Bagby really doesn’t care, though. He’s more anxious to get back to his honey on the phone. Thinking to himself, Bagby says, “If you ruin my weekend I’ll string you up by your thumbs”. Hector asks about the weekend and Bagby starts wondering if Hector knows about Felicia. Hector starts catching on and leaves the office.

He walks around the bank a bit, listening in on people’s thoughts. The bank guard is thinking about baseball. He asks a patron if everything’s ok and the guy smiles and says “Yes, thank you” but inside is wondering if Hector is the “grinning ape that sent him the overdrawn notice”. Hector says no, he works in a different area. I think he’s testing out whether the thought reading is real or not. He goes to listen in on a well-dressed woman fondling a bunch of hundreds. But it’s strangely silent…

He goes to his desk and the lady behind him has some nice thoughts about him. He hears his name but doesn’t immediately look, thinking it’s in his head. Finally he looks up at the speaker. The speaker is introducing a Mr. Sykes of Ajax Cement. I’m curious why Ajax was such a generic name then? Mr. Sykes’ loan has been approved and Hector is to make sure the i’s are dotted, the t’s are crossed and the check is made out. The loan is for $200,000. Quite the sum. Hector asks Mr. Sykes if he’s expanding and Mr. Sykes agrees. Apparently the loan is to be repaid within 90 days. Holy crap. That’s a lot of money to repay in three months. He doesn’t plan on that, though. In his head he’s planning on doubling it at the track enough to keep Ajax out of bankruptcy and repay the loan. Yeeah, good luck with that plan. I’m guessing I know how Ajax got into bankruptcy in the first place. Hector asks what he means by Nimble Runner at 5:1. Mr. Sykes takes offense and Mr. Bagby rushes over to see what the yelling’s about. Hector says that Sykes just told him he’s going to bet the loan. Mr. Sykes warmly refutes this. Bagby ushers Sykes into his office to calm him down and tells Hector that he’ll speak to him later.

He starts hearing a female voice sympathize with him in how he does all of the work but never gets any credit. At first he doesn’t see anyone and starts to eye a bust (statue) suspiciously. Then the lady from earlier, Helen, pops up from where she was watering something. He follows her to the water jug and thanks her for the kind thoughts. As they’re talking, Jim from earlier wanders over and teases Hector about romancing the staff. Then he says, who can blame him? Helen is the prettiest girl in Accounts. In his head though, he says that doesn’t count for much since he hasn’t seen such a collection of beasts since the circus. After more chit-chat with Hector Slimeball Jim thinks to himself that “Helen is probably a ‘tiger’ under the right circumstances”. Ick. Hector is properly grossed out as well and pours his cup of water over Jim’s head. Jim gets riled but gets called away. Helen smiles to herself and says good for you, he certainly had that coming.

After all this Hector goes back to his desk but is tuning into the guy next to him. He appears to be planning on robbing the bank when he leaves this afternoon and jetting to Bermuda. Almost everyone is leaving and as they go out the guard thinks to himself “One more day nearly done and no notches on the gun”. He sounds happy about it, not damn, I didn’t get to use it. Hector asks if he would really use it and the guard says yes, what does hector think he keeps it on his belt for? To hold up his pants? Ok, yes, a belt is used to hold up pants but a holster on a belt with a gun tends to drag them down. I’m only explaining because I was actually asked what that meant. Hector is obviously thinking about the geriatric bank robber.

Hector hurries over to Helen and says he must speak with her. She’s sitting at her desk but urgent speaking requires…standing…I guess. She thinks to herself that she wishes there was somewhere they could talk in private an that Mr. Jones’ office is empty since his transfer. Hector says that’s a great idea! So they haul off to said office. She looks a little be-fluttered. I think she’s hoping for him to ask her out. He lays it out for her, the mind reading and all. He tells her to think something. so she thinks, “This is a strange approach. Why did he wait so long?” He responds that it just happened that morning. He clutches her shoulders to make her believe him (and in the process seems to realize they are very nice shoulders). What is it with desperation and shoulder-clutching? He tells her that someone’s planning on robbing the bank. She says if he knows that then he should do something about it. He’s afraid he might be wrong. He also has that “I just noticed you’re hot” voice. She says he has a responsibility to the bank’s customers. It looks like he might be leaning in for a smooch but jets off to tell Bagby about the incipient robbery. Incidentally, I’m not sure why they bothered to go in the office. As they enter and when he leaves you can see the door doesn’t touch the ground and only comes partway up.

Bagby isn’t happy with Hector and says they lost the Ajax account because of him. He wants to know why Hector has been weird today and wants to know if something’s bothering him. Hector is a bit hesitant to tell Bagby about the robbery. Finally he does tell Bagby that Smithers is planning on robbing the bank. Bagby is a bit hesitant on believing him because Smithers has worked there for eons. Probably literally. Bagby is at first resistant but then, watching Smithers, it comes to mind that the person that usually runs off with the company funds is an old, trusted employee. Bagby tells Hector that he’s a good man and since Bagby seems like an ok boss (a rarity in the Twilight Zone) then something’s going to go wrong with this praise. He does seem to be a douche of a husband though. And, I will point out that thinking a random thought is much different than acting on it. Hector said he wouldn’t have believed it to be possible if he hadn’t ‘heard’ it himself. As they watch Smithers, Hector tells Bagby what Smithers is planning. As they watch we get a riveting account of what Smithers is doing, step-by-step.

After Smithers goes into the vault, Bagby rushes over to inform the guard. As Smithers comes out of the vault the guard grabs his briefcase away from him. Careful! Smithers is old! Hell, he’s practically a mummy, he might break! Smithers wants to know what’s going on. As Bagby is gloating they empty the bag. Even though he hasn’t stolen anything, Smithers does keep some weird stuff in his briefcase. Travel folders, a sandwich and socks. Let’s just hope the socks are clean. Bagby asks where the money is. Smithers, understandably, wonders what in the heck is going on. Bagby looks like a fool and goes after Hector.

Bagby lays into Hector for making him look like a fool. Bagby apologizes handsomely to Smithers and walks over to Hector to say “Poole…” and Hector finishes for him. He’s fired. Ok, so it’s a bit embarrassing but I don’t think it’s firing worthy unless Smithers makes a big deal out of it. Which he doesn’t seem to be. Feeling badly for maligning him, Hector also apologizes profusely to Smithers. After a quick look around Smithers does confess that he does think it and plan it, not always Bermuda. Sometimes he chooses another spot to flee to. But it’s just a dream of his. He wants to know how Hector knew, though. He says he dreams of it but he’ll never go through with it.

As Hector goes over to clean out his desk, Helen tries to comfort him by saying that it doesn’t matter, a man with his abilities…she trails off into thinking “Believing he can read minds, what a strange delusion. But with proper medical care it will go away.” This frustrates Hector and he tells her that it’s not a delusion! She looks startled and he says, “See! I can read your thoughts!” He doesn’t like it. It’s screwed up that day for him and seems…a little dirty, like seeing people with their clothes off. He says that people do things without thinking and also think things they have no intention of doing. He says he’s learned one thing: People are not like you think they are at all.

In the middle of this speech Bagby comes bursting in, glad to have caught Hector before he left. Helen wwalks a few steps away to give them a bit of privacy. Bagby says that Mr. Sykes was just arrested for “gambling with the company funds, I know” finishes Hector finishes for Bagby. Bagby is grateful that the loan hadn’t gone through and offers Hector his old job back. Helen thinks at Hector: “If he really can hear her then he’s wasted in that job. Everyone knows that he should be in charge of the Accounts section”. And he should be moved into Mr. Jones’ old office. Bagby starts to put up some resistance but looks at his watch and thinks of his honey waiting for him. He tries to contain a rather creepy smile as he thinks what a wonderful weekend it’s going to be. Ugh. Helen is giving some mental moral support during this conversation. Hector says they should go into Bagby’s office to talk ‘business’.

Bagby wants to know what kind of business. Hector says the business Hector says the business of Felicia and his wife. Hector says he knows all about it. This catches Bagby’s attention. He immediately gives in and gives Hector a promotion and begs Hector not to say anything. Seeing Smithers’ desk however, Hector makes one more demand. At the bank’s expense he wants to buy Smithers a round trip to Bermuda. Bagby reluctantly agrees. I think after everything was carried through I would still drop an anonymous tip to the wife. It’d only be fair.

Hector hurries to meet Helen and like a gentleman helps her into her sweater. She ‘forgets’ he can read minds and she says she’d go anywhere with him but wishes he’d call her Helen. H does and she calls him Hector. I smell romance in the air! He asks if he can walk her home and she thinks to him “What do you think she’s been waiting for?”

As they’re walking home Hector gets a paper and when he tosses his quarter in it knocks the first quarter down. The paper-teen starts to complain, saying that the quarter was on its side all day. Then he realizes that it’s the same guy and says what a coincidence! The mind-reading seems to be gone. Hector is thrilled and he and Helen walk off happily.

One time in a million a coin will land on its edge. But all it takes to knock it over is a vagrant breeze, a vibration or a slight blow. Hector B. Poole, a human coin on edge for a brief time in the Twilight Zone.

I like this one. One of the few played more for comedy with the slight moral message that people can think differently than what they say. Something I daresay everyone has figured out from time to time.

Thank you for joining us and come back next week for: Twenty Two (another great episode)

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Whole Truth

The Whole Truth

Harvey Hunnicut – Jack Carson
Honest Luther Grimbley – Loring Smith
Old Man – George Chandler
Young Man – Jack Ging
Young Woman – Nan Peterson
Irv – Arte Johnson
The Premier’s Translator – Patrick Westwood
Nikita Krushchev – Lee Sabinson

We get a used car sign and a nauseating whirl past said used cars with the crappy video camera. For some reason it really stands out in this episode. There’s more blurry panning until we see a sign that proclaims “Get a honey from Hunnicut!” Guess he’s a pimp, too. We see the eponymous Hunnicut watching someone drive off in what is presumably a clunker. He wishes him good health but if these cars are that bad I don’t see the good health lasting too long. He sees a couple of suckers, er, customers, and puts on his best salesman smile. The young man says that they’re just looking. Hunnicut tells them to go ahead, nobody pushes around there. Uh-huh. Heard that one before.


The young man says they want a late model coupe, something around $500. Damn. I wish cars were still that cheap. Hunnicut is shocked. He wants to know if the young man knows why they push the late models “all up and down the road”? That’s a lot of car lots on one road. He asks if they think it’s because they’re so honest? Oh, no! He’s got his arm wrapped around the kid’s shoulders and the kid looks like he wants to escape. “They’d rather make a buck than a friend! They’d rather make a profit than a relationship.” I think he just want a car, dude, not to move in with you.

The kid says they’re just looking for a car and they figured the newer, the better. So, by late models they mean new cars? He gives them some more blather about how they don’t want newer cars, pshaw! Who wants a newer car what with their fins and better safety designs. No, they should want a traditional car like this sweet little ’38 Coupe. Ok, if this is ’69 then that’s a thirty year old car. Hunnicut says this car is reliable and will get them there and back. He gives it a little kick and something falls off the back.

This, as the banner already has proclaimed, is Mr. Harvey Hunnicut. an expert on commerce and con jobs. A brash, bright and larceny-loaded wheeler and dealer who, when the good lord passed out a conscience, must have gone for a beer and missed out.

A little old man pulls up in a car as Rod is talking.

And these are a couple of other characters in our story. A little old man in a Model-A car. But not just any old man. And not just any Model-A. There’s something very special about the both of them. As a matter of fact, in just a few moments, they’ll give Harvey Hunnicut something that he’s never experienced before. Through the good offices of a little magic, they will unload on Mr. Hunnicut the absolute necessity to tell the truth. Exactly where they come from is conjecturable. But as to where they’re heading, this we know. Because all of them, and you, are on the threshold of The Twilight Zone.

We’re back to Hunnicut trying to sell these guys the hunk of junk by telling them that the original design for it was the Mark II tank. Um, ok? That tiny thing? He’s got his arms around both of them now and is trying to steer them to the office. But the man wants to look it over a bit. Hunnicut is more than obliging for them to sit in it. Uh, they may want to drive it to test it out. He’s going on about how luxurious it is and they should really have candlelight and a bottle of wine. Ah yes, the components of good driving…booze and fire.

Hunnicut finally notices the little old man and the Model-A. It looks gorgeous to me. Well, shiny, anyway. Hunnicut tells him that if he came to park it he’ll only charge him nominal rates but if he came to sell it he’ll have to give Hunnicut three minutes for a laugh. Hunnicut says that a junkman will give him twelve for his Model-A and the Smithsonian might even top them by a buck or two. The little old man says that he thinks cars were built better in the old days and Hunnicut (to show us what a lying ass he is) says that’s what everybody says. Including him, apparently, because that’s what he was just telling the ‘kids’ he was talking to.

Hunnicut says that it’s the new cars that sell. That they combine genius, ind and muscle. Then he kicks the guy’s car! Oh hell no you don’t! You kick my car you’ll lose a foot. He tells the little old man that he will do something nice because he “loves his face”. He reminds Hunnicut of his grandfather “a man of dignity until he died rescuing people from a capsized rowboat”. Hmm, I smell the distinct smell of bullshit. He offers the little old man twenty five bucks for the car. He’ll buy it for twenty five even though he’ll probably have to strip it down and sell it bolt by bolt to any itinerant junkmen that come wandering through. Jesus he’s laying it on thick. The little old man says he really needs the money and couldn’t he make it thirty? Hunnicut absolutely refuses. Dick. A whole five bucks. Then he pretty much manhandles the guy into his office.

Being the sneaky liar he is he grabs a coil of wire from a toolbox to wire the bumper back on the car the kids are sitting in. So they’ve been hanging out in the car this whole time. Because you can really tell a car’s worth by sitting in it.

Hunnicut goes into his office where the little old man is signing everything and handing it over. He says there’s one thing he ought to mention about the car. It’s haunted. It’s been haunted ever since it came off the assembly line and each owner can attest to that fact. Hmm, haunted ever since it came off the assembly line….that sounds familiar *cough* Christine *cough*. Hunnicut obviously doesn’t believe him and asks how it’s haunted and how he can un-haunt it. The little old man says he’ll find out soon enough how it’s haunted and that the only thing to do to un-haunt it is to sell it. At first I thought this was a goof because you would think the man would have had to tell the truth about the nature of the ‘haunting’ (although I think that falls more under the category of ‘cursed’ than ‘haunted’) but he has already signed off on it to Hunnicut so he can probably lie as much as he pleases now.

As he’s walking out, the little old man tells Hunnicut that he may very well have gotten the best of the bargain. Hunnicut says that it was his charity case for the day and tells the old man to dwell on that. The little old man says no, he thinks Hunnicut will be dwelling on it. For quite a while.

Hunnicut walks out to join the other two. After inspecting the interior thoroughly they’ve decided to take it. Hunnicut tells them it’s not for sale. The kid asks why not when he was pushing it so hard. Hunnicut isn’t sure and looks confused. He then goes on to detail everything wrong with it. Most of which should have been obvious if they had looked at it a tiny bit and not just sat in it. Even after this the kid asks what else he has. Holy crap, this guy is just begging to be ripped off. Hunnicut says that he hasn’t got anything else to show them. He has more lemons than Carmen Miranda’s hat. He tells them to go somewhere reputable and get a good car. Now that they can’t buy a car they’re going to look at…television sets. Because that’s the same thing.

Hunnicut goes to his office, followed by his minion, Irv. They start talking cars and Hunnicut can’t lie about any of them. He asks Irv if he’s looking alright. Irv says not really and asks Hunnicut what he ate the night before. He tells Irv about the old man and haunted car and says that’s crazy, right?

Hunnicut calls his wife and tells her he’s going to be late. It’s inventory time, ya know? But he’s lying and he’s actually going to be playing poker with the boys. As he has all of the other times he’s been home late. Something tells me there’s going to be a row in the house that night. He finally realizes that the car is reallyreally haunted. And now doesn’t know what to do.


Next thing Hunnicut is downing milk of magnesia and Irv is bringing in the new signs for the cars. ‘Not Dependable’ and ‘Not Ready to Go’ and Irv thinks his boss has lost his damn mind. Hunnicut sas his wife isn’t talking to him. Irv says that’s not his only problem, they haven’t sold anything in three days. Irving also brings up his raise. Hunnicut had told him that if he sold three cars in six months he’d get a raise. Hunnicut starts to bullshit him but then says it’ll be a cold day in Fiji before he gets a raise. He says every yokel that works there starts and stops at the same pay rate. He says he dangles the raise until they get wise and leave. This, understandably, ticks Irv off and he decks Hunnicut. With the weirdest, weakest punch I’ve ever seen but it manages to knock Hunnicut out. Irv then puts a sign on Hunnicut that says ‘Not Guaranteed, In Poor Condition’.

After he wakes up Hunnicut goes out to see a guy smoking a cigar and looking at the cursed car. He introduces himself as Honest Luther Grimbley, 30 years in politics and up for re-election. So we know he’s anything but honest, then. Alderman of the 13th ward. Whatever the heck that means. They go over everything that’s wrong with the car. Honest Luther wants to know how much for the car, if someone wanted it for a gag or something. Honest Luther offers sixty for it and Hunnicut tries to talk him out of it, or at least down to thirty. They come to a deal but Honest Luther wants to know the strings. Hunnicut tells him that the car’s haunted and they giggle about it for a bit. Honest Luther believes him right away. Probably because no car salesman in his right mind would say all of that stuff about a car if it weren’t true.

Oddly enough, Honest Luther doesn’t want a car that makes him tell the truth. “Holy Hannah, he couldn’t make a single speech!”. Hmm, it would be ice if politicians were required to have those cars. Just imagine what we’d hear. They have the same thoughts and start listing who they’d love to give the car to ike his opponent and the mayor. They finally figure out who they want to sell it to. Nikita Krushchev. Because I’m sure Krushchev would buy a car from a jankety car lot in the U.S. They dance around a bit but that’s who they sell it to. Bwomp-bwah. The episode ends with Hunnicut calling the papers and placing a call to Jack Kennedy.

Couldn’t happen you say? Far-fetched, way out, tilt of center? Possible, but the next time you buy an automobile, if it happens to look to look as if it had just gone through the Battle of the Marne, and the seller is ready to throw one of his arms into the bargain be particularly careful explaining to the boss about your grandmother’s funeral. when you were actually at Chavez Ravine watching the Dodgers. It’ll be a fact that you’re the proud possessor of an instrument of truth manufactured  and distributed by an exclusive dealer in The Twilight Zone.

Not the Twilight Zone’s best episode. Pretty much one for laughs and that’s about it. With an ending more far-fetched that The Twilight Zone itself.

Thanks for reading and join u again next week for the next episode: Invaders

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Night of the Meek

Night of the Meek

Henry Corwin – Art Carney
Mr. Dundee – John Fiedler
Flaherty – Robert P. Lieb
The Bartender – Val Avery
Sister Florence – Meg Wyllie
Elf – Larrian Gillespie

We open on a crowded department store with a train set and a Santa chair in the background. You can really tell the switch to videotape in this episode. I don’t blame Serling for being upset with the switch. An irate line has formed in front of the empty Santa seat. a little, bald man is apologizing, saying that ‘Santa’ should be back at any minute. There’s a sign propped in front of the chair saying that ‘Santa Claus will be back at 6:00″.

At the local bar is a rough looking Santa downing shots. The bartender tells him that ‘they’ told him to tell Santa that it was 6:30. Behind him on the bar mirror is “Mery Christmas” in what looks like aftershave. The bartender asks Santa if his sleigh is coming for him. He wishes. Santa asks the bartender for another shot. There’s a couple of kids making piggy-noses on the glass, waving at Santa. Santa waves back and downs his shot. Corwin (Santa) wants to know why there isn’t a real Santa for kids like that. The bartender really doesn’t care. Corwin wants another shot but doesn’t have enough so he offers to flip the bartender for it. The bartender tells him to buzz off and answers the phone. As he’s on the phone, Corwin tries to snag the bottle. The bartender tells him if he tries that again he’ll break his arms and tells him to scram.

Santa stumbles out into the ‘snow’ and into the path of a car. Luckily the ‘snow’ isn’t slippery because the car stops just fine. I don’t suggest doing that around here in the winter. The kids see him and get excited. He trips on the opposite curb and falls. The kids run up, giving him their Christmas requests (the usual – the little girl wants a doll, the boy wants a pistol). The little girl also asks for a job for her daddy and the little boy asks for a turkey for Christmas dinner. Corwin hugs them and starts to cry, knowing he can’t actually do those things.

This is Mr. Henry Corwin, normally unemployed, who once a year takes the lead role in a uniquely popular American institution. That of the department store Santa Claus in a road company version of the night before Christmas. But, in just a moment, Henry Corwin, ersatz Santa Claus, will enter a strange kind of North Pole which is one part the wondrous spirit of Christmas and one part the magic that can only be found in the Twilight Zone.

Corwin comes back and fiddles with the train set, making the trains crash. The store manager grabs Corwin and tells him he’s an hour late and to get up there and try not to disillusion a bunch of kids and pretend Santa’s not a lush. Corwin stumbles up to his Santa chair, almost falling on the steps. The mom at the front of the line practically throws her kid at Santa. Corwin asks the boy his name. He says his name is Percival Smithers. Santa Corwin asks him what he wants for Christmas and Percival says that he wants a new first name. Santa Corwin goes to reach for a present and falls off of his Santa chair. Percival tells his mom that Santa’ s loaded and the mom starts freaking out. With the mom being such a harpy it feels like we’re supposed to feel sorry for Corwin but I really don’t blame them for being pissed either. Buuuut…the kid looks so smug and snotty and the mom hopes it won’t be “traumatic” for him (he’s freaking twelve, he’s probably already figured out the whole Santa thing). The manager wants to know what the trouble is and the mom says she’s not going to trade there ever again because they hire drunks for Santas.

The manager grabs Santa and tells him he’s had it and shakes him a bit (I don’t know if I’d stand within throwing up distance if he’s that tanked). The manager also tells Corwin to tell him to get the Santa suit back before he ruins it. Corwin thanks the manager and says that as to his drinking he says it is indefensible and Dundee has his abject apologies. Corwin says that lately he has trouble expressing his emotions…he can drink or he can weep. And drinking is more subtle than weeping. Well, sometimes but it’s not that subtle when you are literally falling over. He does, however, protest that he was rude to that woman.

“Someone should remind her that Christmas is more than barging up and down department stores aisles and pushing people out of the way. Someone has to tell her that Christmas is another thing, finer than that. Richer, finer, truer. And it should come with patience and love, charity, compassion. That’s what I would have told her if she’d given me the chance.”

Dundee manhandles Corwin toward the door and asks him how to go about living up to his lofty Yule standards. Corwin responds:

“I don’t know how to tell you, Mr. Dundee. All I know is that I’m an aging, purposeless, relic of another time and I live in a dirty rooming house on a street filled with hungry kids and shabby people, where the only thing that comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve is more poverty.”

Dundee tries to shush him but Corwin continues:

“You know another reason why I drink, Mr. Dundee? So that when I walk  down the tenements I can really think it’s the North Pole and the children are elves and that I’m really Santa Claus bringing them a bag of wondrous gifts for all of them. I just wish, Mr. Dundee, on one Christmas, only one, that I could see some of the hopeless ones and the dreamless ones. Just on one Christmas I’d like to see the meek inherit the earth. And that’s why I drink, Mr. Dundee, and that’s why I weep.”

He makes his way out of the store with the kids somewhat behind him. Percy’s at the front, looking like he feels bad. Corwin goes down the street and back to the bar but all he has is the penny from earlier so he just peeks in the door. The bartender waves him away. As Corwin walks away he hears bells but brushes it off. As he keeps walking, however, he hears them again. He leans against a building for a minute. We can see a big bag sitting on some trash cans but he doesn’t notice it until a cat knocks it down. What spills out is a bunch of tin cans. He kicks them aside but when he looks back there are presents spilling out of it. His eyes get big and he starts yelling to everyone.

Inside of the Salvation Army a lady is singing ‘Joy to the World’ (very badly) to the gentlemen sitting there. An older man comes in, excited, with a new-looking scarf around his neck. He is telling the men there something but the lady is singing louder. Damn woman, ‘Joy to the World’ is insipid at best but you’re killing it. And not the good killing it. Mrs. Scrooge finally stops singing and wants to know who dares interrupt her damn joy?! The older man says that he’s not touched a drop but Santa Claus is coming down the street giving everyone their hearts desire. They don’t need to go out because Santa Corwin comes in and starts handing out gifts,a sweater, a pipe…and so on. Sister Scrooge wants to know where he got the gifts from. Because that’s your business, how?

Corwin says he can’t explain but he’s got a Santa Claus bag there that gives everyone exactly what they want/need and “as long as it’s puttin’ out, he’s puttin’ in”. In the spirit of the season I will resist the dirty joke that springs to mind. He asks Sister Scrooge if she wants a new dress but she gets huffy and runs off. He hands a box to one of the men and tells him to give it to her when she comes back. There’s a man sitting in the front row that doesn’t say anything but Corwin pulls out a cane for him and the older man says thank you.

He hands out socks and as a police officer comes in the door he hands him a new whistle (not a Wienie Whistle). Sister Scrooge brought the cops. How very charitable of her. The police officer asks Corwin if he’s drunk and Corwin says yes, he’s drunk with the Spirit of Yule.

The police officer asks him if he’s got a receipt for all of the stuff he’s handing out. Seriously?! If I had bought a bunch of stuff legitly I wouldn’t keep all of the freaking receipts. The police officer deputizes Sister Scrooge to collect the “stolen goods” and put them in a pile. He’ll collect them when he figures out whom they belong to. Uhh, I don’t think that’s procedure there. Even though he has no proof he owns it they have no proof that he stole it. So I don’t think they have the right to take it. Especially her! She’s not a cop! Ok, on with the episode. The officer tells Corwin to come with him and Corwin tells the gentlemen not to worry. He’ll be back when he gets it straightened out. As they walk off he starts to tell Officer Flaherty how it all happened. The best place to start probably isn’t “I was in the bar getting hammered”.

They go to the police station (which appears to be about five steps from the Salvation Army place) and Dundee is there. Because Dundee has apparently decided that all of that stuff came from his store. Again, without a shred of proof. He’s thrilled at the prospect of Corwin going to prison. Flaherty tells Corwin that it doesn’t look good. They have no proof he did anything!! I’d be asking Dundee to prove that it’s his stuff. Does his store even sell that stuff? I’d be asking him for inventory sheets proving that the stuff is missing. Flaherty tells Corwin that they’ll go easier on him if he tells them where the rest of the stuff is. Corwin starts to say there’s obviously a slight discrepancy because…but Dundee interrupts him to yell at him some more for ‘stealing’ from him. To which I’d say “Prove this stuff is yours, douchebag”.

As Dundee is yelling at Corwin for being a thief Flaherty pulls a couple of tin cans out of the bag and Dundee pulls a cat out (I guess the cat’s out of the bag…I’m sorry, that was bad). Flaherty says that it was giving out gifts when he saw it and Corwin backs him up. Dundee starts bitching about Flaherty not being able to tell the difference between a sack of garbage and a bag full of stolen goods. Flaherty says that they’re dealing with the supernatural. Dundee is a smart-ass about it and tells Corwin he fancies a bottle of cherry brandy, vintage 1903. Dundee goes back to griping at Flaherty while Corwin pulls out the brandy for him. He gives it to Dundee, tells them Merry Christmas and heads out the door. Dundee decides to have a drink.

Corwin is handing out toys to the neighborhood kids until they’re gone and the bag is empty. He looks a little bummed out now and he sits on the steps. The gentleman that he gave the coat, scarf and pipe to comes out. They give each other good nights and Merry Christmases. Corwin starts to walk away, leaving the empty bag there. We hear magical, mystical music so we know  we’re not out of the Twilight Zone yet, baby.

Santa Corwin finds a sleigh with actual tiny reindeer! Well, they got that right! A tiny little elf pops out and says “Hey! We’ve been waiting for you, Santa!” He pokes the elf (that sounds dirty but, really, it’s not) to see if she’s real. She says they’ve got a lot of work to do before the next Christmas. So the new Santa Claus hops in and away they go.

Flaherty and Dundee stagger out of the police station and see Corwin fly off overhead. They decide they’ve drunk enough straight brandy so they’re going to go to Dundee’s house to pour out some hot coffee and pour some  brandy into it. And toast Santa Corwin and…miracles.

A word to the wise, to all the children of the 20th century whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers, or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas, and theirs a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek. And a Merry Christmas to all.

Basically it’s The Santa Clause without all of the depressing child custody battles. Other depressing stuff, though. And, unfortunately not stuff that can be fixed in a night (oh would that it were so). But, whatever holiday you celebrate (or don’t, we’re easy) I think we can all agree on the wish for next year to improve so, peace out, y’all, I’ll see you next year on the first with a little Twilight Zone take that makes its owner tell the truth. That oughta be a good one.


Twilight Zone Tuesday – Dust


Luis Gallegos – John A. Alonzo
Gallegos – Vladimir Sokoloff
Estrelita Gallegos – Andrea Darvi
Sheriff Koch – John Larch
John Canfield – Paul Genge
Mrs. Canfield – Dorothy Adams
Peter Sykes – Thomas Gomez

Trigger Warnings: Execution by hanging

Spoiler Tidbit

There was a village built of crumbling clay and rotting wood and it squatted ugly under a broiling sun like a sick and mangy animal wanting to die. This village had a virus shared by its people. It was the germ of squalor, of hopelessness, of a loss of faith. For the faithless, the hopeless, the misery-laden there is time, ample time, to engage in one of the other pursuits of men. They begin to destroy themselves.

You can always tell what kind of episode it’s going to be from Rod Serling’s voice alone, even if you had no synopsis. You can tell from the amusement, the wryness or, in this case, the absolute disgust with humanity.

It’s a dry, dusty town. Exactly as described by Mr. Serling. The horse in the foreground is absolutely pitiful looking. I hope it was taken care of. It’s very skinny and sway-backed. As it stands there in the dust someone comes riding up, yelling that he’s there, Peter Sykes is there. A man in a ail cell looks annoyed and distressed. Sykes is apparently a peddlar but a nasty one. He’s dirty and looks like he’d be stinky. He says that he’s stocked up in St. Louis with everything one needs for the house, kitchen and a parched throat. If the only whiskey he’s got is the one he’s chugging on, thanks but no thanks. He’s leading a pack of four mules (the middle one must not like company because it has blinders and a muzzle on). Sykes takes a swig from his bottle and sidles up to the jailhouse window. He greets the man inside. His name is Mr. Gallegos.

Sykes acts forgetful and says that it’s a very special day today for Mr. Gallegos, isn’t it? Mr. Gallegos just looks at Sykes. Sykes, being the kindly gentleman that he is, suddenly remembers why it’s such a great and special day. Mr. Gallegos is set to be hanged that day. Gallegos turns his back on the window and Sykes. Sykes gleefully announces that today “Young Mr. Gallegos, killer of children, dances on the gallows!”

Who he’s shouting to is beyond me because it doesn’t seem like there’s anybody around. Sykes slides into the jailhouse and asks Sheriff Koch if he needs anything. More rope, perhaps? The Sheriff does not look amused. In fact, he looks deeply troubled at the thought of the day before him. Sykes goes on to tell Gallegos of the fancy, brand-new, five stranded rope that he sold the town for Gallegos’ necktie party. He says it could lift five more of Gallegos so it’s super-strong. He turns his attention away from Gallegos to ask what Sheriff Koch has a fancy for. Sheriff Koch says he has a fancy for taking Sykes’ carcass and his loud mouth out into the open air. He finally raises his head from his hands to glare piercingly at Sykes. Koch says it’s a small room and a hot time of the morning. Failing to get much out of the Sheriff, Sykes turns his attention back to Gallegos. Sykes asks what Gallegos would like, a nice hacksaw, maybe? Sykes says that there’s going to be a burial procession down the street soon. They’re burying the little girl that Gallegos ran over with his wagon. Gallegos looks up at Sykes. Sykes says that now that Gallegos has sobered up he remembers the little girl that he ran over with his wagon while stinking drunk. To be fair, it doesn’t look like he’s forgotten. His depression seems a bit more than just for his own pity. That’s the last straw for Gallegos and he lunges at Sykes and tries to grab him through the bars. Sykes says “uh uh uh, he’ll have plenty of time to move round later that day. Then he laughs and turns away.

Sykes takes another swig of his ‘tonic’ and tells the Sheriff that it will be just the thing to set him up for a hanging-. Eww, I wouldn’t want to drink after him (or anyone else, for that matter). Sykes says that it makes a man strong and firm and then makes a muscle for the Sheriff to feel. The Sheriff tells Sykes that he doesn’t touch dog meat. Sykes looks quite offended. Sykes accuses Koch of talking big while hiding behind a badge. Koch replies that it only sounds big because Sykes is such a midget, Sykes says he always wondered about Koch, how he’s always taken to foreigners and strays but is close-lipped when it comes to his “own kind”. Koch says he’s not any kin to Sykes so kindly stop claiming that. Sheriff Koch tells Sykes that Gallegos has had his trial and will swing for it later that day. Koch goes on to say that there’s nothing in his sentence that says Gallegos has to be tormented by a pig that sells trinkets at funerals. Koch tells Sykes to get out and Sykes huffily snatches up his ‘tonic’ and stomps out. Sykes pops his head back in to ask Koch what he’s hoping to be a zinger: “After today which one will you weep for, Koch?” Koch replies that he has tears enough for both.

Just after Sykes leaves the door a procession appears down the street. It’s a wagon with a coffin on it. It’s followed by a preacher and mourners. Sykes takes off his hat and wheedles up to the Canfields and gives them his condolences. The Canfields are the parents of the little girl. They don’t seem to be listening to Sykes. He tells them that the afternoon would be a lot more cheerful. Sykes goes on to say that the dirty dog who did it is going to be strung up and their little girl will be avenged. He acts like he caught the guy himself and got the whole thing done. Sykes prattles on to say that “they’ll string up that mangler of children” yessiree. How freaking tacky is it to say that to someone going to their child’s burial. Douche. The Canfields don’t seem to be listening to him, at least. The Sheriff stops Sykes from following and bothering the Canfields further. The Sheriff tells Sykes he can act like a brainless ijit some other time but not now.

Looking down the street Sykes sees something that offends his delicate feelings. He says that Gallegos’ old man has a lot of nerve to show his face. yeah, what a jerk, showing compassion for something his son did. He starts to say that somebody ought to horsewhip him but the Sheriff gives him a look that stops him.

As the procession goes by the man and little girl, the old man takes off his hat and kneels to the parents. Speaking for him (I think to show humility and that he doesn’t feel that he has the right to address them himself) the little girl starts to talk: “My gather wishes me to tell you that his heart is broken. That if he could, if he could give his own life in return, he would. He would do so with great willingness.” She starts to say he understands but Mr. Canfield tells her to get out of the way. Not unkindly, exactly, but blankly, I guess. Which is understandable.

Some men are approaching the jail and the father starts to say to them that his son did not mean to do it. That he’s a lover of children. They throw a rock at him. Gallegos tells his father to go, he’s no needed. Sykes breaks in to say “That’s what you say to your own father?” Uhh, yeah, when he’s trying to not get his father toned in front of his sister. I think Sykes was just hoping for more rock-throwing. Luis’ father tries to give his son a coin. A lucky coin that it’s said one can make a wish on it. Sheriff Koch tells Gallegos’ Father to go home and make his prayers and wishes. Father Gallegos asks the sheriff if he’s ever been drunk? If he’s never been so filled with misery that salvation only seemed to look at him from a bottle? Has he never felt such pain that he’s had to ride through the night and not look behind him? He says that his son was so hungry and felt such pain that he felt the need to drink to forget it.

After everyone leaves Sykes tells the little girl to go and get her papa. To tell him that his coin is no good but he, Sykes, has magic dust that turns hate into love. But it’s very, very precious. So he wants her to run home and tell her papa to bring 100 pesos to his room in an hour and he’ll sell him the dust of love and forgiveness. As the little girl runs off he chuckles to himself and takes out a bag of tobacco (I think) and dumps it. Then scoops up a handful of dust out of the street and puts it in the bag. To presumably be ‘magic dust’. What a dick. He’s very pleased with himself over his plan.

There are more people gathering in the town and Luis remarks that it should be a good gathering. Sheriff Koch remarks a bit bitterly “When was it God made people? The sixth day? He should have quit on the fifth.” Luis says they’re tired of hating the town, they need something else to hate. The Sheriff tells the man driving the wagon that just pulled up that it’s a hanging, not a carnival. Mr. Rogers tells Sheriff Koch that he brought the kids because they’ve never seen a hanging before and that it’s a good time to show them what happens to drunks who kill kids. Koch wants to know how he teaches them pain? Shoot them in the arm? Rogers just rolls his eyes and unloads the family, telling them to stay together. One of the little boys marches over to the window and asks if Luis is the man they’re going to hang. Luis says yes, he is. The boy asks if it will hurt and Luis responds “If God wills it”. Koch tells the boy to run along. He asks Luis if he’s ready, it’s about that time. Luis says he’s ready. Sheriff Koch leads him out of the jail, where more people have gathered.  Luis is on the scaffold, with the crowd looking on. Luis kneels down to pray with the priest. People are pissy about it and want to get on with the show. The Canfields are not yelling, just the crowd.

Back at the town, Father Gallegos comes running to see Sykes, who dangles the bag in front of him. Sykes tells the father that the dust is very special, magic and if it’s sprinkled over the heads of the crowd it will make them feel sympathy for his son. Then he asks if Papa brought the money with him. Father Gallegos holds out a handful of gold coins to Sykes. Sykes is astonished to see gold coins and asks where Father Gallegos got them from. Father Gallegos says that all of his friends helped. One sold a wagon, one a horse and some borrowed. They got many pesos and converted them. He asks Sykes if it will work, is he sure it will work? Then he says that Sykes sold the rope that will hang his son and now he’s selling him that which will save him? Why? Sykes says that he’s a businessman. He makes no distinctions, he repeats that the dust will work. Sykes takes the money and Father Gallegos grabs the bag and runs to his son. Sykes is very pleased with his scam.

The onlookers are getting restless. Father Gallegos runs through the crowd yelling at them to wait. He runs to the front of the crowd and says to please wait! They must pay heed to the magic, now, and starts throwing the dust around. The people laugh at him (because there’s nothing funnier than a desperate parent, dontcha know). Father Gallegos keeps throwing the dust around saying “Magic for compassion, magic for his son’s life”. He falls off the scaffold but still tries to throw it. Sykes and the rest of the crowd are highly amused. Father Gallegos is saying the magic is for love, for compassion, for them to be like they used to be.

As he’s begging for his son the gallows doors bang open and the crowd gasps and looks stunned. I’m not really sure why since that’s what they were all gathered for and were just bugging the Sheriff to get on with it. The crowd gasps and the father looks around and gasps in surprise. The rope is broken and Luis fell to the ground, still alive. Sykes is baffled. The rope he sold was awesome and strong and absolutely could not break. There was supposedly a rule that if the rope broke then it meant that the criminal could go free. I don’t know if that’s true or just an urban legend.

Someone in the crowd tells them to go ahead and try it again. Sheriff Koch tells him that there are only two people in the crowd who have the right to ask for an eye for an eye. Sheriff Koch asks the Canfields how about it? Are they ok with Luis going free? Mr. Canfield looks like maybe he does but Mrs. Canfield tells him no. No more. Mr. Canfield says that he killed their child. Mrs. Canfield says that he also killed part of himself when he did so.

Mr. Canfiled tells the sheriff for the rope to break like that there must be another hand in it. Perhaps the hand of Providence. Sheriff Koch asks Mr. Canfield if that’s the end of it then and Mr. Canfield says that this is where it ends. One victim is enough. Everyone wanders off. No hanging today. Sheriff Koch uncuffs Luis and tells him he can go home. Father Gallegos insists that it was the magic dust that brought back the love to the people. It brought back the love to the people. Luis agrees that it was magic and asks to go home now. Luis and his father look happy at the turn of events as they walk off but not overly happy. Just relieved, really.

Sykes wanders over to marvel at the rope breaking some more. Then he clinks his ill-gotten coins in his hand. Three children walk up and look at him. One of them is Estrelita, Luis’ sister. The other two kids are probably the children of the neighbors that helped to buy the dust. Sykes tosses the coins on the ground and tells the kids to go ahead, pick them up. He walks off, laughing at the thought of it being actual magic.

It was a very small, misery-laden village on the day of a hanging and of little historical consequence. And if there’s any moral to it at all let’s say that in any quest for magic, any search for sorcery, witchery, legerdemain, first check the human heart. For inside this deep place there’s a wizardry that costs far more than a few pieces of gold. Tonight’s case in point in the Twilight Zone.

Spread out by a week it’s probably not as noticeable but The Twilight Zone watched back to back can give you whiplash. First there’s a goofy camera, a cute Santa story and…a hanging. I also have to give Rod credit for not taking the easy way out and making the boy totally innocent. There’s a large grey area that leaves a lot of room to talk about. we welcome comments but please keep them polite.

Thank you for joining us and come back for next week’s episode: Back There

Twilight Zone Tuesday: A Most Unusual Camera

A Most Unusual Camera

Chester Diedrich – Fred Clark
Paula Diedrich – Jean Carson
Woodward – Adam Williams
Pierre the Waiter – Marcel Hillaire
Narrator – Rod Serling

A very snazzily dressed blond is sitting on a couch, reading an article from a newspaper about an antique shop that’s been burglarized. The police surmise that the burglar must have had an accomplice, to which she gives herself a proud *ahem*, and the thieves jimmied the lock, entered and began “to remove items from the shelves”. Well, yes, that is in general how burglaries work. The items listed as being stolen are two vases from the Ming Dynasty (to which Chester replies that they’re more like Garage Sale Dynasty and throws them on the floor), a silver set, a Louis XIV candelabra, a Queen Anne chest and 3 Picasso’s.

Chester points out that the candelabra is a fake, the ‘silver set’ is World War II surplus and the paintings (which are of a horse, a city-scape and one more that I can’t tell what it is) are posters in frames. Sounds like the store is going to make out better from them being ripped off than the thieves made out with. Paula says they forgot to list something and pats an antique camera. Chester says it at least fits with the rest of the haul. An antique camera for nothing that’s worth nothing.

A hotel suite that, in this instance, serves as a den of crime. The aftermath of a rather minor event to be noted in a police blotter, an insurance claim, perhaps a three inch box on page 12 of the evening paper. Small addenda to be added to the list of the loot. A camera. A most unimposing addition to the flotsam and jetsam that it came with. Hardly worth mentioning, really. Because cameras are cameras. some expensive, some purchasable at 5-and-Dime stores. But this camera, this one’s unusual, because in just a moment we’ll watch it inject itself into the destinies of three people. It happens to be a fact that the pictures that it takes can only be developed in The Twilight Zone.

Chester picks up the camera and says ten years ago you could get one for $.39 and he’s got to grab one in a heist.There’s no place to put the film in and it has “crazy foreign writing” on it. I’m no expert but it looks like it says,”Dix a La Proprietaire” “Ten per owner’. He decides to give it a go anywas and tells his honey to go pose by the window. She strikes a pose (they even go through the whole “say cheese” thing) and he takes the picture but nothing seems to happen.

Chester says the whole haul is worth maybe five bucks and they’ll only get a buck or so from a fence. I may not be up on all of the criminal underground workings but since the items they stole were not reported correctly and are worth so little, why would they need a fence at all? I thought those were for items that were risky to move. Chester gripes a bit about her and her “curio shops”. She says he’s the one that fingered it, cased it and did all the planning. Chester says right back that she’s the one who wanted to try a curio shop because they have more “objects d’art” than a hock shop would. And all they have to show for it is 400 pounds of junk. Either he’s exaggerating or they made a lot of back and forth trips. In the middle of Chester’s griping they hear a whirring and a ‘ding’ from the camera. A picture pops out. Chester stares at it for a bit and Paula asks how she looks. He doesn’t answer so she toddles over to him.

She asks what the deal is (although she should be able to see the picture clearly from where she’s standing) She says it turned out nice and clear. He tells her to go look in the mirror. She asks if he has a few buttons loose. He tells her to just go and look. The picture shows her wearing a fur coat which she (quite obviously) does not have on at the moment. Paula wants to know what’s up with that but Chester doesn’t know.

Then he gets an idea! Chester says that it’s a gag camera, like the cardboard cut-outs at carnivals. The pictures inside already have pictures painted on them so when they take a picture it looks like she’s wearing a fur coat. I can’t even begin to explain how dumb that is. First, the coat would have to be painted as realistically as possible, take into account the way the person might be standing and a whole bunch of other technical crap I’m sure it is possible to pre-paint a picture but I highly doubt that you could do it that precisely.

He calls it kind of cute then they decide to clear up the rest of the junk. Starting with the “Queen Anne” trunk. Chester asks if there’s a key with it and she says no, “he’ll have to open it in his own inimitable style” a bit sarcastically. Chester tells her that she has a nasty disposition and Paula responds that “it’s because she’s married to a nickel and dime heister that wouldn’t know a real diamond from a baseball”. Chester says that he’s paying for their $28 dollar a night room out of profits that he’s collected over a lifetime of hustling, much of that she wasn’t even in the picture for. He goes on to say that he needs her like he needs a three-time conviction. As they’re bickering, he’s trying to jimmy the lock open and finally gets it.

Paula snatches out a full-length fur coat and puts it on. She says they’re not taking it to any fence, this belongs to little old Paula. She dances around the room with it a bit, ending up at the window and (surprise, surprise) strikes the same pose as in the picture. Chester is comparing the picture to her. She wants him to cue her in and let her know what the matter is. Apparently she hasn’t connected the picture and the coat yet. Even I’m finding the (extremely) dumb blonde thing offensive at this point. They stare at the picture for a second and then turn to look at the camera.

Now it’s nighttime and Paula is in her tasteful single bed. No sharing bedsies! Chester is sitting at a table studying the camera intently. She tells him to quit staring at it and come back to bed. Chester asks if she wants him to just forget about it. I have to agree. I’d want to know what the heck was going on with it, too. Paula says big deal, it’s a crazy camera that takes pictures of things that aren’t there. Chester says yeah, things that aren’t there…yet. But they do happen. She says it’s just a lousy camera and takes a random picture of the door to their room. There. No lightning. Therefore it’s just a plain old camera. Um, ok. Nothing happened the first time either there, Scully. Chester says he doesn’t want to drop it (probably a good idea since it would break the camera. I know, that was bad). It could have been made by sorcerer’s or witches and be stuffed full of black magic. Actual quote. Now I would probably jump to that conclusion but it’s odd that he does.

As Paula is trying to talk him out of it the camera pops up it’s picture. It’s a man, entering their door. Paula says that it’s her brother Woodward. He agrees that it’s her cheap, no-good brother. Paula says that can’t be right because Woodward’s in jail for 7 years for breaking and entering. Since he only went in a year ago it’s impossible. She says it’s throwing them a curve. Maybe it’s only somebody that looks like Woodward. Chester says nobody look like Woodward. I’d have to agree. Paula says she’s so scared she’s palpitating. Um, ok. Chester says a little palpitating never hurt anybody. The camera’s obviously wonky. There’s no way Woodward can be there and he isn’t going to be and that’s that.

As soon as Chester is done with his speech the doorknob turns and in walks Woodward. He says he didn’t want to wake them so he jimmied the hotel door open. But you didn’t think walking into their bedroom unannounced might wake them? He and a couple of guys broke out in a laundry truck so he was wondering if he could stay with them for a couple of days. They just keep staring at him in bewilderment. He was thinking that if he was around they wouldn’t fight so much. That’s actually a sweet thought. Chester doesn’t say anything, just hands Woodward the picture. At first Woodward is all jazzed up about science and stuff but then he realizes that they didn’t take his picture when he came in so…how did they get it?

They are all sitting around, staring at the camera and trying to figure out what to do with it. Chester says that if you tried to tell the truth and sell it, they’d laugh at you and put you away. Or burn you at the stake. I’m starting to wonder how old Chester is. People aren’t generally burnt at the stake anymore. Woodward’s idea is to sell tickets. Chester has a moment of nobility. He says they’re three small-time heisters who actually have the chance to do something good, like give the camera to science. They could do something for humanity. Paula wants to know what humanity has ever done for them. He says that’s what he’s talking about. Summed up, they’re greedy bastards and they have the chance to change that. Somehow I don’t think his noble spirit will last very long.

They all have a moment of imagining saying, “Here, world. A gift from Chester Diedrich and his wife (and Woodward, too).” Chester sends Woodward off to watch tv while he and the wife have serious dreams. Woodward decides to turn on the horse races. And he’s sitting so close to the tv he might as well be on top of it. The races catch Chester’s attention aaaand the noble spirit’s gone. wow. that took less time than I thought. Chester is struck with a brilliant idea. His idea is to take a picture of the winning board before it’s announced. Woodward doesn’t get it and it takes Paula a minute or two. To which her brilliant addition is ‘We take a picture and then we look at it!” They take another full minute to lay it out word by word for Woodward then pool their money. They all grab their coats and it’s off to the races.

At the races they get a good seat and take a picture of the board. So far, so good. They find out the winner is Tidy Too (wtf kind of name is that?) and head off to bet. We get some non-tense shots of the race and them cheering (or chanting) for, ugh, Tidy Too.Tidy Too wins, of course, and they get a *ahem* tidy sum of money, $9,600 of it. Call me a cheat but it’s not a bad plan. It is cheating a bit but they’re not knee-capping anyone for it nor threatening anyone nor drugging any horses. They take a few more pictures and get stacks of money. i’m curious since I’ve never really been to a horse race. Did they actually give out stacks of cash, even in 1960? it also seems to me that if they have been doing this on the same day, at the same track and are consistently winning on the long shots, that they would be getting an unpleasant visit from some very unpleasant people.

Back at the hotel they’re busy enjoying their ill-gotten booty (or ill-booten gotty. Sorry, too much M*A*S*H). Paula is all sparkly with a mink stole. Woodward is in a new checked suit, chowing down and Chester is on the phone, special ordering a car. Which costs $11,000. Holy crap. I’d take two, also. There’s a knock on the door whom they assume to be the waiter, which it is. And like idiots they have the money lying everywhere. Gee, wonder what will happen there? As Pierre is picking up the dishes he notices the camera. Then, after speaking a little French he asks them what happens when they use up the ten pictures? They brush it off at first but then ask him to repeat himself. He tells them that “Dix a La Proprietaire” means “10 to an Owner” (thank you 10th grade French Class). Pierre goes on to say that he presumes that means you can only take ten pictures. Very odd. Chester reminds Pierre about the champagne Madame Paula ordered and rushes him out.

In a panic they start to count up the pictures that they’ve taken. They figure out that they have taken eight so they only have two left. These kinds of arbitrary numbers always make me wonder. Whom is considered the owner? Does it count for just one, two or all three? After Chester was done (since he was the one to take the first picture) could he pass it on to Paula? And then from her to Woodward? It bugs me. What do you guys think? Chester thinks Pierre is wrong (unlikely), Paula is more concerned that they only have two pictures left and Woodward votes to sell it. Chester tells Woody to shut up, it’s not even his. Chester says they should use them at the track, Paula votes for saving them for a rainy day (which seems the sensible thing to do) and Woodward again says they should sell it. That seems the dumbest course of action, to me. They all start playing tug of war with the camera (ijits) and accidentally take a picture. Sigh.

Chester is ticked that he wasted a picture and Paula starts palpitating again. Chester says she has phony palpitations and a dumb brother. Woodward says he doesn’t have to take that. Well, since you have contributed absolutely nothing then, yeah, you can either shut up or leave. Fortunately, Woodward is easily placated with a drink. The camera whirrs and the picture pops up. It shows a terrified Paula with her hands up. I thought it was about time they turn on each other (although it has been well set up that Chester doesn’t like Woodward so I can’t fault them there). Chester says that Paula is screaming because someone is trying to do something to her husband. Although, to be fair, she only looks mildly distressed, not screaming in terror. He obviously suspects Woodward of trying to pull something. Chester whips out an itsy bitsy knife (that actually looks familiar, I think I might have one) and starts to advance on Woodward. Paula tells him to stop. Woodward says she’s screaming because someone’s trying to kill her brother. Although through this Paula is not screaming but very mildly begging them to chill out.

They grapple together and end up falling out of the window together. Paula is briefly saddened at the loss of her brother and husband. She says that there’s nothing left for her…except for the piles of money she sits down next to. She packs away her grief as quickly as she starts to pack away the money. As she;s packing up the money she notices the camera. And for some bizarre reason decides to use the last picture to take a picture of their splatted corpses on the sidewalk. Okey dokey. Not my last choice to use it on. She tells them to both rest in piece(s) and gives the camera a smooch.

Pierre strolls in to take away the ‘laundry’ and starts packing the money away in a bag. She threatens to call the cops but Pierre implies that with the two dead gentlemen outside she might get herself in a bind. Oh, please. Unless she has a warrant all she would have to do is bat an eye, produce a few years and she’s be fine. Pierre declares that the money is now up for grabs. Because somehow, in the five minutes that he’s been gone, he’s checked on her, her husband and brother and found out they were all wanted. Well, the husband and brother hardly matter anymore. Realistically she could say that she wanted to go to the police, he brother tried to stop her, he and her husband fought and boom, not guilty.

Pierre is kind enough to tell her that with the mess in the courtyard downstairs Miss Paula might want to get out of there before the police come. He even snatches the little paper bag out of her hand. Damn dude, you could have at least left her that! He decides to be a gentleman and leave her with the last picture. Although, as he looks at it he says there are more than two bodies in the courtyard. Paula runs to look and trips over a lamp cord and takes a header out the window herself. Pierre can’t resist a peek at the bodies and counts them in the picture. He’s stunned that there are four bodies, not just three. He drops the camera and screams off-screen, joining the others on the sidewalk, presumably. Although how, I don’t know. He was several steps from the window so unless, like an idiot, he stumbled backward in shock, he really shouldn’t have. The camera lies on the floor.

Object known as a camera. Vintage uncertain, origin unknown. But, for the greedy, the avaricious, the fleet of foot who can run a four-minute mile so long as they’re chasing a fast buck, it makes believe that it’s an ally, but it isn’t that at all. It’s a beckoning come-on for a quick walk around the block in the Twilight Zone.

Despite Mr. Serling’s condemnation of the camera I can’t help but feel that there have been a few times in my life when I could have used that camera. Perhaps not for money so maybe that’s all he’s condemning. If anyone has noticed the change in quality of the film it was because the studio decided to switch from actual film to another, cheaper type. Much to the displeasure of Rod Serling. I have to agree. Season Two looks a little strange when compared with Season One. It’s more evident in certain episodes. The next episode was to be “The Night of the Meek” but I’m pushing that one back a few weeks until it’s more seasonally appropriate.

So, join us next week on Twilight Zone Tuesday for episode 12 – “Dust” which is a very good one. And will probably be quite long because I have a lot to say on it.

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Trouble with Templeton

The Trouble with Templeton

Booth Templeton – Brian Aherne
Laura Templeton – Pippa Scott
Arthur Willis – Sydney Pollack
Marty – Dave Willock
Sid Sperry – King Calder
Freddy – Larry J. Blake
Eddie – David Thursby
Barney Flueger – Charles S. Carlson

We open on what looks like a very nice mansion where a distinguished, older man is getting dressed. Templeton, I presume. While he’s doing up his tie he takes a peek out of the window to watch the two people playing by the pool. A young lady playfully pushes the man into the water and a few other tomfooleries. I was thinking it was his daughter but from the way he’s watching them I’m thinking she’s his wife. As he’s watching a butler enters the room carrying a tray with a glass of water. Apparently the young man is a ‘guest’ at the house. I’m guessing his wife’s guest since Templeton doesn’t even know the guy’s name. Templeton says the guy must be ‘new’, then he asks if “these are new too” gesturing to some medication on the tray.  One every hour, on the hour. That…seems like a lot of medicine.

As Templeton and his butler watch, the Mrs. and her, ahem, ‘guest’, walk off with their arms around each other. Not very discreet, I’m guessing. Templeton says that her discretion was an early fatality and that perhaps she’s hoping that his pills will one day fail or that he’ll forget to take them. And you’re married to her…why? Templeton then adds that perhaps he’s hoping for that, too. Well, this episode is off to a cheery start. The Butler tells Templeton that he shouldn’t say such things. Templeton tells his friend not to be anxious. When a man his age marries a woman her age he gets exactly what he deserves. Again, why are you married to her, then? Templeton tells Marty (the butler) that he’s getting old. Marty tells him that that’s nonsense. Then Templeton gives a speech and a quote  from “all of his plays” (so we know he’s an actor) about being old leading to contentment or some crap like that. Marty is a bit troubled by his boss’ depression so he suggests calling the theatre and telling them that Templeton won’t be able to make it. Templeton thanks Marty for the thought but he’ll go in. He says that he’ll cover up the years with make-up, stand in the right places, hope to say his lines right and when it’s over they’ll say “You were wonderful, Mr. Templeton”. And then do it all again the next day. Bed, sleep, oblivion, they all sound good to him.

Marty tells Mr. Templeton that he shouldn’t talk like that but Templeton tells Marty not to worry. With a small nod at the window, Templeton tells Marty that he doesn’t love her anymore. In fact, he’s not sure he ever did. He can’t recall one single moment when he did. Then maybe you shouldn’t have married her! It doesn’t look like she gives you much companionship and hell, you could hire someone to be your friend for probably less than your wife costs. Templeton says that he hasn’t known much contentment in his life, except for some. “Laura” he sighs and picks up a little music box.

Laura is apparently his first wife. They were only married for eight years. She was eighteen when they were married and twenty-five when she died. It doesn’t say how nor how long it has been. Although, I’ll just make this comment. If you marry someone else still mourning your first to the point that you think them the ultimate perfection then there’s an almost 100% chance that your marriage will not work out. So, for the last time, why bother remarrying? Marty begs Templeton not to do this to himself. Templeton says that the only moments left to him of “indescribable loveliness” were those moments with Laura. Templeton reassures Marty that he’s all right.

Pleased to present for your consideration, Mr. Booth Templeton, serious and successful star of over 30 Broadway plays who is not quite all right today. Yesterday and its memories are what he wants, and yesterday is what he’ll get. Soon his years and his troubles will descend on him in an avalanche. In order not to be crushed, Mr. Booth Templeton will escape from his theatre and his world and make his debut on another stage, in another world called The Twilight Zone.

Mr. Templeton arrives at the Savoy Theatre in a long, fancy car. The play being billed is “The Angry Lovers”. A man rushes out to tell Mr. Templeton that it’s late, it’s after 12:00. He warns Templeton that ‘The Boy Wonder’ won’t be pleased. Templeton wants to know who ‘The Boy Wonder’ is. The man says that his name is Arthur Willis and he’s the new director. Templeton says that he thought Dothmeager is directing. The other man tells Templeton that Dothmeager was fired the night before. The man (i’m guessing some sort of investor?) wants someone younger, with more pep. This doesn’t bode well for Templeton. Especially since it seems he fired him without knowing anything about the business but he “knows what’s good and what’s bad as well as the next guy”. The man says he wanted to drop by that morning to let everyone know that he’s very personally interested in ‘this thing’. Then he asks if Templeton is ok with Art Willis being the director. It hardly seems to matter now since the other director has been fired, seemingly on a whim. Templeton says that he’s heard of Willis but doesn’t know him. Templeton stumbles on the guy’s name and he reminds Templeton that his name is Sid Sperry and that his money is backing the play. So, I’m curious. I don’t know much about how plays work but do backers actually have that much power? Can they fire and hire people willy-nilly? Sperry looks like a smarmy jackass. Templeton apologizes for forgetting his name and says he’s always been bad with names. Sperry accepts his apology but looks displeased and ‘jokes’ that he hopes  Templeton doesn’t forget his lines. Templeton looks a bit offended at that. Sperry opens the door for Templeton with a stupid grin and Templeton gives him a glare as he goes by.

As Templeton is walking in he hears The Wonder Boy giving a very serious speech that he’s going to make sure everyone understands it and he’s going to say it once, and only once: “Don’t talk about Fight Club!” Err, sorry, wrong movie…Anyways, the all-important message is that Michael Franz is producing the play, Mr. Coombs has written it (I guess the writer doesn’t warrant a first name), and they have been hired to act in it. and he has been contracted to direct it. So make no mistake about what they’re doing there and make no mistake about him. Is he planning t storm the beach of Normandy, or something? It’s a freaking play, not D-Day. He goes on to say that he will direct the play his own way at all times and that had better be clear to everyone. So, in other words, he’s an insecure baby that’s worried because he’s “young” he won’t be taken seriously. A secretary in heels and a dress she can barely move in (but she’s wearing glasses and is a brunette so you know she’s serious) comes up to whisper in his ear. Sperry takes this interruption to tell Templeton that he likes Mr. Willis very much, take charge right from the start. I’m more of the opinion that if you have to pee on the hydrant to show you’re the boss then you’re probably not going to be a very good boss. But that’s just me. Sperry remarks that Art will “give us a good play”. Templeton wants to know what he means by us…Mr. Whatever. Templeton apologizes for forgetting Sperry’s name again, it was impolite of him. Sperry says it’s ok but I don’t like the look he’s giving Templeton. Sperry is being more impolite. Templeton is consistently calling Sperry “Mr. Sperry” but Sperry keeps calling him “Templeton” right from the start although they obviously barely know each other.

Art Willis is yelling at the secretary to call “him” at home. Then he tells her, Valencia, to forget it. They were obviously talking about Templeton and Willis sees him now. And his first words are “Some of us are young, some of us are old” (and this is very obviously directed at Templeton, who looks a bit hurt by it) “But neither state precludes any of us, young or old, from ignoring the basic cooperation that will be necessary here.” So, basically, cutting through the pompous all he’s really saying is that he wants teamwork. He goes on to say that there are no ‘significant’ actors in his productions. But there are significant dates. The first day of rehearsal, opening night and closing night. Really? I’m sure the actors didn’t know that! He’s a freaking genius! He goes on to say that when he says 12:00 for rehearsal, he means 12:00, Templeton! Everyone, young and old! I notice he’s not saying experienced and non-experienced, he’s really hammering the young and old thing. And it’s maybe a couple of minutes past twelve. Templeton obviously got there in time for the speech he was only going to say once. He yells at Templeton if he’s ready to work with them. And, he asked a question so he expects an answer, dammit! He keeps yelling at Templeton so Templeton says no, and leaves. Mr. Director is telling (well, yelling at) Templeton to come back. Ugh, he sounds like he’s talking to a kid. I’d leave, too, if I had just showed up and some dick was yelling at me. Sperry yells at him to come back, too.

Templeton bursts out of the door to be greeted by people clapping. He looks as confused as we are. They all crowd around him as he goes to a car that he thinks is his but it zips away. Oops, wrong car. Then he notices a poster on the building advertising a movie called “The Great Seed”. No. Comment. It’s starring Booth Templeton and introducing Laura Templeton. I don’t know if we’re supposed to notice that but you can see it sticking out from under the “1927’s Big Hit!” banner.

An older man calls to him from off-screen and tells him that his wife is waiting for him at Freddy Iaccino’s. Templeton asks what year it is and at first the older gentleman is wondering if Templeton is joking, then tells him that it’s 1927. Templeton says that Laura’s dead, how can she be waiting for him? The other man answers that she’s the best-looking ghost he ever saw then. Templeton looks extremely happy and goes running off to meet her at Freddy’s. The street he walks on looks very familiar. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a standard street-scene set or if cities just look alike like that.

Templeton buzzes at a door to be let into Freddie’s (I’m assuming, what with Prohibition and all) speakeasy. Freddie recognizes him and lets him in. Templeton is amazed to see Freddie alive. Freddie gives the secret knock on another door that opens into the real part of the club. Freddie asks if Templeton wants a steak or chops. Mmm. Steak. He tells Templeton that his wife is having the Kansas City and Templeton goes rushing over to their ‘usual table’ but she’s not there. Freddie points to a table literally right behind Templeton and she’s sitting there with a younger  man. I don’t know how he didn’t see her running up to the table.

Templeton zeroes in on Laura and tells Freddie that he doesn’t want anything to eat. They won’t be staying long. His wife is drinking and laughing it up with the other guy, who’s name is Barney. Barney excuses himself. Templeton tries to hug her but she kind of shrugs him off and says that the steak is great tonight. Really juicy, as she takes a big chomp out of it. Great. Thanks a lot. Now I’m hungry. She tells Templeton that he looks worried then says she told him to take his make-up off before coming in there. He touches his face but, no make-up, he’s just older. Then she waves at someone at another table. He asks if they can go somewhere else, somewhere quieter, he wants to talk with her. She pouts for a second and then says she wants to have a good time. She flags down a waiter  to bring her another tankard of booze. He says again that he wants to talk to her so she says, “Well?” He starts to talk about being there and he doesn’t know how he got there or for how long he’s there but he wants to make good use of the time. She starts to primp in her compact. He says that he wants her all to himself. She tells him not to be dull.

Barney comes back with a beer for Laura and says the new band is swell. Barney tells Templeton that he’d better order and she yells at the waiter to bring him a steak. Then she starts fanning herself with what looks like a sheaf of papers. Then she wants to know why on earth Templeton is wearing an overcoat on a night  that’s too darn hot. He grabs the papers out of her hand and stuffs them in his coat. He says he doesn’t know what happened or why but he’s here with her and she’s alive so he wants to make the most of it. He says that he’s been lonely for so many years with only the memory of her to live on. And he’s missed Barney, too, his best friend. He’s just so thrilled to have them back again. He tries to explain that he doesn’t have make-up on, that he’s actually older and he’s not sure how long he can stay there. They’re looking pretty tenderly at him through the speech but then toast each other and say, “Let’s have a good time, huh?” Barney drops a wink at Laura but it doesn’t seem to be a flirty wink.

He asks Laura why she’s so different. She says it’s the way she is and what did he expect? Barney chimes in with a “What did you expect, old chap?”. Templeton says he doesn’t know. Then he tells Laura she was his love and everywhere they went people knew they were in love. She asks impatiently if he’s finished. He tells her he doesn’t like what she’s become. She covers her mouth for a moment then bursts out laughing. Barney joins in and Templeton yells at them to shut up. He tells Laura to come with him but she says no! He’s a silly old fool of a man. She looks weird for a second then the music starts up. She says, “That’s for me!” and starts jitterbugging like she’s on speed or something. He tries to grab her again and she slaps him and tells him to go back where he came from. They don’t want him there. Then she starts dancing again. Templeton looks around, very confused and hurt. The band’s playing, Laura’s still doing her cracked out jitterbug and he runs off.

As he runs off the people stop clapping and lose their smiles, the lights dim. The camera focuses on Laura and Barney, quietly watching him. Laura steroids forward as the lights dim behind her with one last, longing look at Templeton.

Back on the street Templeton runs back to the theatre. As he runs, he accidentally runs into some fans who recognize him. It seems like they’re asking him to start but he says no, thank you, he can’t. He’s very polite. He sees the same poster from the twenties. When he runs inside the theatre, though, he sees Sperry and Boy Wonder. Upset and confused, he wonders if it really happened. He takes the papers that he took from Laura out of his coat and fans himself with them. As he fans himself he noticed the title. It reads “What to Do If Booth Comes Back”. Inside he sees the same lines that the people were saying. They were acting. All for him. This makes him happy and he figures out that they want him to live the life he’s in right now. Really live it.

Wonder-Schlong sees Templeton and asks him very snottily if he’s in or out? Templeton says he’s most definitely in and Mr. Youngster Director can call him Mr. Templeton. He also tells Sperry that he insists that those not directly involved with the play not attend his rehearsals. Sperry starts to object but Young’un tells Sidney to run along. Templeton asks the Director, Art Willis, if he’s ready for rehearsal. He’s being much nicer, now. Templeton tells him he just had a wonderful experience and he can’t possibly expect Mr. Willis to understand. Maybe he will when he’s older.

Mr. Booth Templeton, who shared with most human beings, the hunger to recapture the past moments, the ones that soften with the years. But, in his case, the characters of his past blocked him out and sent him back to his own time, which is where we find him now. Mr. Booth Templeton, who had a round-trip ticket into The Twilight Zone.

I really do like this one but it is one of the ones better to be watched. The faial expressions are great. I feel so bad for Templeton but that last look Laura gives him is almost heart-breaking. It’s also nice when he gets his ‘zest’ back. Hopefully he ditches his current wife for one he actually likes.

Join us next week for Twilight Zone Tuesday: A Most Unusual Camera (which should be titled three yahoos find a magic camera). So, tune in next week to enjoy some snark!