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.

SERLING:
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.

SERLING:
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.

SERLING:
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.

SERLING:
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!

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Nick of Time

Nick of Time

Don Carter – William Shatner
Pat Carter – Patricia Breslin
Counterman – Guy Wilkerson
Desperate Man – Walter Reed
Desperate Woman – Dee Carroll
Narrator – Rod Serling


A couple is being towed in a nice looking car, maybe a Firebird? to as small town garage. The mechanic tells them it will be 3-4 hours for their fuel pump because they don’t stock them there. They decide to have some lunch while they wait for the unfathomably long time of four hours. Hey, be thankful that it’s not going to take four days. He wants to call and check on a promotion that he may be getting. He thinks he’s not going to get it though. As they talk back and forth about it they almost walk with a pole between them. He says, “Bread and butter” and pulls her over to his side. Not to be pedantic but you say “Bread and butter” when the people are actually divided by the object. And both people are supposed to say it.

Pat rolls her eyes at it so I guess we’re supposed to infer that Don is the superstitious one and Pat thinks it’s silly. They go into a diner. Don goes to sit at the counter but Pat sees a jukebox. After giving Pat a smooch on the neck they start to dance to the music. Those darn, romantic newlyweds. I guess Pat isn’t into the whole dancing thing because she shortly says that she thought they came in the diner to eat. what’s the rush? You’ve got four hours to kill. They choose a booth nearby.

As they sit down they see a creepy little machine on the table called “The Mystic Seer”. Pat wants to try it. They decide to ask if anything exciting ever happens around there. Wow. I think I could have thought of a better one. Especially since he’s so worried about his promotion and their car being fixed. Don pulls out a card that says “It is quite possible”. Very specific.

SERLING:
The hand belongs to Mr. Don S. Carter, male member of a honeymoon team en route across the Ohio countryside to New York City. In one moment they will be subjected to a gift most humans never receive in a lifetime. For one penny they’ll be able to look into the future. The time is now. The place is a little diner in Ridgeview, Ohio. And what the young couple doesn’t realize is that this town lies on the outskirts of the Twilight Zone.

The waiter comes over to take their order and the lady orders a tomato and lettuce on whole wheat and iced coffee. Huh. I didn’t think that was even a thing back then. At least not a common drink. Shows how much I know, I guess. Don orders the same thing even though the waiter tries to tempt him with some good chicken fried steak. Don takes a drink of his water and pronounces it disgusting and tasting like swamp water. Don starts digging in his pocket for more change. Pat wants to know what Don’s going to ask it now. He gives the head a bobble before putting in his penny and asking if he’s going to be promoted. The card he pulls out says, “It has been decided in your favor”. Don decides to call. Pat protests but he says he was going to anyway. She gives him a “oh, you. Go ahead.” look and he gets up to make the call.

As he makes his call Pat stays at the table and plays with Don’s key chain which has a rabbit’s foot and a four-leaf clover on it. He needs another quarter and she brings him one, asking if the call is necessary. Don asks for Mr. Weldon’s secretary and tells Pat to cross her fingers. She tells him that she’s doing it in her mind. After a few pleasantries he asks what the word is. He got the promotion. Yay! And, amazing in TV World, he actually says goodbye before he hangs up. Pat is very pleased and says she told him that the promotion would be his. Don says The Mystic Seer told him, also. But she said it first,, Pat points out. She gives him a dime for the jukebox to put on some celebration music.

The waiter brings them their food and coffee (which looks suspiciously like Coke) and the waiter says again that they ought to have tried the chicken fried steak. Don says they’re good, thanks, and the waiter leaves. Don says that The Mystic Seer really came through on that so he wants to ask it another question. Pat jokes that it should have warned them the whole wheat bread was stale. Well, you didn’t ask it, did you now? Don reads one of the suggested questions “Does he/she love me?” Don says that he knows the answer to that one. The second question he reads is “Will I be rich?” Don says that he knows that answer, also. He’ll be the world’s first millionaire accountant. Uh-huh. If he’s not planning on becoming a money launderer or falling in with millionaires I don’t see that happening. Don decides to ask if they will get out of there in four hours or not. The card says, “You may never know”. Don worriedly asks Pat what that means. Pat shrugs and says “Who knows?”. Don says The Mystic Seer does and Pat points out that it may be but it’ll cost another penny.

Don says now that he’s an office manager he’ll splurge and spend another penny. At first he asks what it means but Pat reminds him that that’s not a yes or no question. Don changes his question to ask if something will keep them from knowing? The card says, “If you move soon”. Don wants to know what that means as well. He goes to plug in another penny and Pat jokes that she’ll have to be the frugal one in the family. Don says just one more and asks The Mystic Seer if that means they’re supposed to stay there. The Mystic Seer says “That makes a good deal of sense”. He puts in another penny and asks if they should stay until 2:30 (it’s 2:15 at the moment). He gets nothing for his penny and trouble but a card that says, “Try again”. So he does so. Don asks if they should stay until 3:00. The card now reads “There’s no question about it”. He’s astounded that every answer seems to fit his questions. He goes to insert another penny into the machine. He ignores her and then asks very specifically that if they don’t stay in there until 3:00 something bad will happen to us? The Mystic Seer responds with a card that says “Do you dare find out?”

Pat wants to go but Don says he hasn’t finished his sandwich yet and takes a big bite out of it. Which is fair, he hasn’t touched it yet. He asks Pat if she wants some ice cream. He checks his watch and it still says 2:15. So they have 45 minutes to wait until they’re ‘allowed’ to go outside. The scene fades out and onto the clock on the wall, which now reads 2:55. Pat buys a pack of cigarettes from the machine and also gets a really weird look from the waiter. Maybe he’s irritated because they haven’t left yet? She walks back over to the table where Don is eating ice cream with tiny little bites. She asks if they can go yet. He asks her if she wants a cold drink and after looking at the clock and The Mystic Seer machine he says all right. Don asks for the check and the waiter/counterman tells him he doesn’t need a check. They had two sandwiches, two ice creams and an iced coffee. Ha! They both had iced coffees. But I guess it works out well for them since they only get charged for one. Don pays and leaves a pretty decent tip (I’m guessing from the counterman’s reaction).

Outside, Don remarks that it’s hot. They chat about the car for a second and Pat says he didn’t really want to stay in there did he? Don says no and she says honest? Don wonders why the machine was so specific. And, really, they only had five more minutes to go so what would it have hurt? Pat blows it off saying that it’s just a napkin holder in a tiny diner. It’s not magic. He says what about the promotion? The Mystic Seer said it had been decided in his favor and it had been. Then he stops and says that he’s just being stupid. She says he’s not stupid, just…He cuts in and tells her not to say it. Then he does, superstitious. He says it’s like she married an alcoholic but instead of bottles of booze in the chandelier it’s rabbit’s feet and four-leaf clovers in the car. Um, I don’t think there’s that much of a comparison there. Being superstitious is unlikely to get you or anyone else killed (except for maybe the unlucky rabbits whose feet you have). And hiding bottles of booze in the chandelier is a little weird. I think I’d rather hide mine somewhere within reach and where I’m not going to possibly break my neck in retrieving them. He starts to say and…but she breaks in with “And you’re all mine”. And gives him a smooch on the cheek.

As they walk across the green he keeps looking around and she asks him what he’s doing. Then she says “You really are worried, aren’t you?” and then says she wonders when he acts like that. He says he’s not trying to upset her. He says that doesn’t change the facts, though. Pat is getting upset and says what facts? He says six straight answers in a row. She gives him an “Oh Don!” and he tells her to stop treating him like a child. Actually, he says something a bit ruder but I’m not going to write it.

They go to cross the road and there’s a truck coming. Pat says they should wait but Don thinks they can make it. As they’re scooting across the road a car passes the truck and almost hits them. He looks at the town clock and it reads…dun…dun…dun…3:00.

Pat is sitting on a bench, a bit shaky from the near-miss. Once they’ve settled down a bit he grabs her hand and starts to cross the street, back the way they came. She asks where he’s going, they’re heading back to the diner. Pat protests and he says why not? She admits it was a strange coincidence. He says if it was coincidence then what’s she worrying about? He says if it was a coincidence then it was a pretty crazy one. They go back into the diner but there are two older women sitting at The Mystic Seer’s table, sippin’ on some milkshakes. Pat (a bit snarkily) says uh-oh, someone’s sitting at their machine. So they sit at the counter in front of a different one. Don does not look happy about it. He wants his machine. He’s giving the elderly ladies the side-eye.

She asks if he really thinks that the machine can foretell the future. He responds that it foretold theirs. She wants to know how. Don says they almost got hit by the car at 3:00, just like The Mystic Seer said. She points out that Don said 3:00, not the machine. She says that he, Don, made up the questions and the machine just gave back general answers. He asks her what she’s getting so upset about. She says she’s upset that he could even think of it as being real. He starts to tell her to listen but he sees the elderly women get up from the table. He asks the counterman for some pennies. Don goes to the booth and Pat follows with their coffees. Don asks The Mystic Seer if it knew about the car almost hitting them. He pulls the lever and gets his card “What do you think?” He gives Pat a significant look and she kind of rolls her eyes. Then he asks if they’ll get to New York all right now. It says “The chances are good.” This pleases Don but Pat says snarkily that it’s very precise.

Don asks her what she wants, a card specifically saying “Hi Donsy and Patsy, so how’s by you?” She tells him that he could get the same kind of answers out of any of the machines in there. She tells him to try and see. He says that they’ll get the same kind but not the same answers. Huh? I think I’d at least try it to see if the others were accurate as well or if they gave the exact same answers. He asks if it will still take four hours before the car is ready. The Mystic Seer says that “It has already been taken care of”. Don’s excited, Pat looks less than thrilled. She says great, let’s get out of here, then. Right then the mechanic comes in to tell them that their car is ready. They got lucky and found a fuel pump in town, instead of having to send for one from the next town. The mechanic says that he figured they wouldn’t come back for a couple of hours so he thought he’d go looking for them. Don says thanks, they appreciate it. All the while he’s pawing the card. Even Pat looks a little taken aback.

Don asks if it’s still a coincidence. She says yes. He dares her to ask it some questions. Or is she chicken? She asks if they will reach Columbus by tomorrow. Don starts to say that they’re not going through Columbus. She shushes him and pulls the lever. The card says “If that’s what you really want”. Then she asks if she’ll ever be married. The card says “The answer to that is obvious”. She asks if it’s even possible to tell the future. The machine answers “That’s up to you to find out”. Then, getting a trifle angry, she asks if it’s just a piece of junk machine. “It all depends on your point of view”. She gets up and says that she doesn’t want to stay there anymore. He asks, even if it’s true? And she responds “Especially if it’s true”.

He wants to know what she’s talking about, then accuses her of being scared. She says she is but not of the machine. He asks what she’s afraid of then? She says don’t you know? And yanks her arm away from his hand. She starts to walk away but he stays to ask it more questions. She comes back and yells his name. He says the machine is predicting the future, how can they just walk away from it. He holds her face and then grasps the machine like Gollum with his precious. Ah, there’s the Shatner we all know and mock. She says she won’t let the machine run their life. She says it’s running their lives. It made him call the office, it made him stay instead of leaving. Uh, by saying that you, yourself are giving the machine power.

She says it doesn’t matter if it can tell the future or not and that he believes in fortune and fate more than he does himself. Blah, blah, blah pep talk. You can do it! type of stuff. She bursts into tears and wants to make their life themselves and she doesn’t want to know the future. The counterman wants to know if anything is wrong. He tells her that they’ll get in the car and go anywhere they please. He gives the machine a “So there!” look and they leave.

As they leave, a very harassed looking couple come in. They keep asking questions of the machine but apparently they’re not allowed to leave yet. They ask if there’s any way out at all. Apparently not as they’re still asking questions as it pulls away.

SERLING:
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstition, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence, having escaped one of the darker places of The Twilight Zone.


Not one of the best Twilight Zone episodes but not one of the worst either. William Shatner is more restrained here (except for his brief Gollum episode with the machine) than he usually is in Star Trek and even a later episode of Twilight Zone. I’m not really sure why it’s called Nick of Time, though. I would think something a bit more fortune-telling would be better.


Join us again next week for Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Lateness of the Hour

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder

Janet Tyler (revealed) – Donna Douglas
Janet Tyler (under bandages) – Maxine Stuart
Doctor – William D. Gordon
Janet’s Nurse – Jennifer Howard
The Leader – George Keymas
Reception Nurse – Joanna Hayes
Walter Smith – Edson Stroll
Narrator – Rod Serling


We open on a hospital room with a bandage on her face. A nurse comes in and tells the lady that it’s time for her medicine. She asks the nurse what it was like outside. If it was warm and sunny with clouds and a pretty blue sky. The nurse supposes so. She doesn’t stare at the sky much. The bandaged lady grasps the nurse’s hand and says that she loved to look at the sky. If you stared at clouds long enough they look like different things. The nurse takes her temp and the lady asks when exactly she can get her bandages off. The nurse says that it depends on how bad her face is. The lady in the bed says that it’s pretty bad, huh? The nurse reassures her that she’s seen worse. Wow. How very comforting. Janet (the bandaged lady) says that she knows how bad her face is. Ever since she was a little girl people have turned away from her in horror. In fact, her first memory is of another little girl screaming when she looked at Janet. She starts to cry a bit and clutches the nurse’s hand again. She never wanted to be beautiful, not like a painting or anything (apparently Picasso’s, Dali’s and Escher’s don’t exist in their world). She just wants to be ‘normal’ looking. For people not to scream in terror. The nurse hushes her and to make sure she stays hushed she sticks a thermometer in Janet’s mouth.The nurse asks if it really matters how long it will be since Janet has waited this long already. Janet can’t really answer because of the thermometer in her mouth but shakes her head sadly and slowly.

The nurse walks to the Nurse’s Station to give her report to the doctor and have a smoke. While there she chats with another nurse about Janet. She wants to know if Nurse #2 has ever seen Janet’s face. Nurse #2 says that  she has and if she had that face she’d kill herself. Damn, woman. I guess compassion isn’t a big thing in your society. Nurse #1 says that Janet is a “poor thing” for wanting o live no matter what. Gee, self-preservation, what an odd concept. As they stand there being judgmental a shadow walks by the outer curtain. It looks a little malformed but as it rounds the corner we see it’s Rod Serling.

SERLING:
Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler who lives in a very private world of darkness. A universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of the swathe of bandages that cover her face. In a moment we’ll go back into this room. And, also in a moment, we’ll look under those bandages. Keeping in mind, of course, that we’re not to be surprised by what we see. Because this isn’t just a hospital. And this patient in 307 is not just a woman. This happens to be The Twilight Zone, and Miss Janet Tyler, with you, is about to enter it.

Two figures chat behind a curtain, a doctor and a nurse. He’s giving instructions. The nurse leaves and the doctor comes in to talk to Janet. We can’t see his face, the camera is solely on Janet. He tells her that it’s very warm today. He also tells her that they’ll have the bandages off soon and he expects she’s pretty uncomfortable. She says she’s pretty used to the bandages on her face. He agrees and says that she should be, it’s her ninth visit there. She corrects him and says that it’s her eleventh. She waxes melancholy a bit, saying that sometimes she feels as though she’s lived her life in bandages and hospitals. She says it’s a bit comforting, though, being inside her gauze cave. It’s very private and no one can ever see her.

She asks suddenly if it’s hopeless. He says it’s hard to say. Weirdly, he runs his hand down her leg as he walks to the window but it doesn’t really look like he’s trying to feel her up but is either trying o be comforting or is distracted. He says that she hasn’t responded to shots, medications or any other proven techniques. He still has his back to the camera as he looks out at the lovely cardboard city. He says that she’s stumped them. Nothing he does makes any difference. He’s hopeful that  this last course of treatment is successful but they won’t know until they get the bandages off. It’s also unfortunate that, in her case, plastic surgery is not an option because of her bone and flesh type. She says that this is it, after this there won’t be any more treatments and he agrees. Eleven is the mandatory number of treatments/experiments that they’re allowed to do.

Janet asks what now? He says they won’t know until they get the bandages off so try not to get so down about it. This last treatment may have worked. She seems to be a realist, though, and asks him what happens if it did fail? He says there are alternatives. She wants t know what they are and he says “Don’t you know?” It seems she does but doesn’t want to say it. Ok, now they’re scaring  me. They’re not going to kill her are they?!

He goes on a bit about why these rules are in place. Each person has a (state, presumably) given right to try to blend in as much as they can with society. He tells her to think of all of the time and money spent to make her look ‘normal’, the way she’d like to look. She begs the doctor to go outside for a little while to feel the breeze, smell the flowers and pretend that she is normal? If she sits out there in the darkness then the whole world is dark. She’s not just a grotesque woman with a bandage on her face and a special darkness. She clutches onto him and begs him to help her, to please help her belong and to be like everybody.

The doctor is at least a bit more compassionate than the nurse, he holds her for a minute while she cries. He tells her that there are people who share her misfortune of being, different, and there are other people who look much like she does. One of the alternatives that is available, just in case, y’know, is to allow her to move into a special area with other people like her are living. She doesn’t seem to find this appealing since she starts to cry/laugh at his word choices of “people of my kind” and “congregated”. Then she totally loses her shit and says “No! You mean segregated, not congregated. Segregated in a ghetto designed for freaks!”. He talks to her sharply and tells her that she’s not being rational. That the state (told you) is not unsympathetic, it’s doing all it can for her, her being in the hospital proves that. He says that there’s no way she could live among normal people if the treatment fails. She says she could try. She could wear a mask or a bandage. She wouldn’t bother anybody, she’d just go her own way. She could get a job, any job. Then she starts getting angry at the state for making all these rules that people who are different have to stay away from people who re normal.

He tries to calm her down but she says that the state isn’t God. It hasn’t the right to penalize somebody for an accident of birth nor to  make ugliness a crime. She runs to the window and unlatches it and sticks her head out saying that she can feel the wind and smell the flowers. He tries to pull her away and she begs again to get the bandages taken off. She then tries to pull them off herself but he restrains her hands. Nurse #1 and Nurse #2 come running at the commotion and help  the doctor trundle her into bed. He agrees to take the bandages off and tells the nurse to get an anesthetist.

Before the bandage removal, the doctor is catching a smoke in, I’m guessing, the doctor’s lounge. One of the anonymous nurses comes in and tells him he looks tired. He agrees. She says that she knows it means a lot to him. He says he knows he’s supposed to stay impartial but he tries everything possible, everything humanly possible but in the end he’s just crossing his fingers for luck. And sometimes it happens. Not often but enough to convince himself that he’s not being foolish in hoping for one. The nurse  tells him that he’s making himself a wreck and that he shouldn’t get personally involved. He knows this but still…

He says that he’s looked under the bandages. The nurse interrupts and says she has too. It’s horrible. He tells her that he means that he’s looked underneath the pitiful, twisted lump of flesh. Deeper than the misshapen skeletal mask. He’s seen her ‘real’ face. Her true self. He says  that it’s a ‘good’ face, a human face. The nurse understands but she admits that it’s easier for her to think of Janet as human when her face is covered by bandages. The doctor wants to know why? Why should they feel that way? What’s the difference between something beautiful and something repellent? Is it skin deep? No, less than that. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to be different? The nurse tells him to be careful. That what he’s saying is treason. She tells him that this case has upset his balance and his sense of values. He tells her not to worry, he’ll be all right once the bandages are off, once he knows for sure one way or the other.

Back at the nurse’s station one of the nurses is telling the doctor that Leader will be speaking that night. She slides down a future-y screen and trumpets sound and the screen looks a bit static-y for a moment and then The Leader comes on to talk about glorious conformity and the delight everyone should have over being unified.

In the hospital room the doctor is about to remove Janet’s bandages. He asks that she remain rational, with no tantrums. She nods in agreement. He tells her that he’s going to unwrap the bandages slowly so that her eyes can become accustomed to the light. He says that the treatment may have had some effect on her vision so he wants her to keep her eyes open and describe to him the gradations of light that she sees. If she starts freaking out then he’ll have the nurses hold her down and put her under sedation. She promises that she’ll behave. He starts to cut away the bandages.

They finally get down to the last layer of bandages. He asks her if she’d like a mirror but she says no, thank you. He asks her to listen for a moment. They’ve done all that they can do. If it’s been successful then great, there shouldn’t be any problems. However, if it was not successful then she can live a long and fruitful life among people like herself. She asks, in the advent that she is still ugly, then couldn’t she be put away? The doctor says that under certain conditions the State does provide for the extermination of ‘Undesirables’. But there are many factors to be considered with that. They’d rather not execute her for her ‘disability’ but have her go live with others like herself. She seems very resistant to this, though. She asks if he’ll make her go and he says yes, probably. He wishes her “every good luck” as he takes off the last bandage.

They finally undo the last bandage. The nurse screams, the doctor drops the scissors and says, “No change, no change at all!” Janet raises her head to reveal…a very lovely woman.

She feels her face and starts to cry and freak out. They hold her against the wall, ready to sedate her. Now that the lights are on we can see that all of the ‘normal’ people have pig-monkey faces.

I guess beauty really is in the ‘eye of the beholder’. Janet runs from the room and they chase after her. She runs by a screen where their Leader is still giving his speech that “there must be a single norm, a single entity of peoples, a single virtue, a single philosophy of government. It is important in this society that we not only have a norm but that we conform to that norm!” The screens are pretty much everywhere that Janet is running to and it looks like he’s chasing her down to yell at her for being ‘different’. He continues to rant that “Conformity we must worship and hold sacred. Conformity is the key to survival.”

Janet runs into a room where she is confronted by a man who is ‘ugly’ like her. She gets scared and kind of oozes down to cry on a table. The doctor tells her not to be afraid. That the man is a representative of the group that she’s going to live with. The doctor says that oddly, she’s run right to him. I think they’re going for a “meant to be thing” but the line is worked in very awkwardly. The doctor gently pulls her up and tells her not to be afraid, the man won’t hurt her. He introduces her to Mr. Walter Smith, who’s in charge of the village group to the North. Mr. Smith is quite a good looking guy. He gently takes her hand and says that they have a wonderful village with wonderful people. Once she’s there, with her own kind, she’ll feel a sense of great belonging and she’ll be amazed at how little of a while it will take her to adjust. That she’ll feel as though she’s loved, and she will be loved. Mr. Smith nods to the doctor to leave. He still has Janet’s hand but she’s still cringing away from him.

He tells her that they can leave at any time and if she’d like to get her things now? She asks him why they have to look like that and he says he really doesn’t know and that once they get to the village it really won’t matter.Then he tells her about a very, very old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” He tells her to repeat that to herself. He holds out a hand to her and she comes to him. On the other side of the door are  nurses and the doctor. The doctor tells Janet goodbye and she and Mr. Smith walk off, hand in hand.

SERLING:
Now the questions that come to mind, here is his place and when is it? What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is, it doesn’t make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” in this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet or wherever there is human life. Perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned, in the Twilight Zone.


Such a great episode. And, unfortunately, no matter how far we seem to progress it’s still relevant. If anyone recognizes ‘Janet’ it’s Ellie May Clampett. I wonder why they had two different actresses to play the parts? Perhaps Donna Douglas wasn’t willing to do half the show wrapped in gauze? Can’t say I blame her. For someone with claustrophobia it would be very confining.


Join us again next week for Twilight Zone Tuesday: Nick of Time with Shatner in one of his more subdued roles.

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Howling Man

The Howling Man

David Ellington – H.M. Wynant
Brother Jerome – John Carradine
Howling Man – Robin Hughes
Brother Christophorus – Friedrich von Ledebur
Housekeeper – Ezelle Poule


We open with thunder, lightning and a very sweaty man telling us that it’s an incredible story. It must be to make you sweat so, dear. Whatever it is we wont believe it until he tells us the whole thing. Then we’ll believe him for sure because…we must. Well, I’m convinced. After World War I our sweaty man was on a walking trip through Europe but one evening got lost in a storm. We zoomy out the window, through the rain and back into the past.

A very tweedy looking man is staggering through the rain and knocks on some really big wooden doors. His coat looks awfully dry for having been wandering about in a storm. A monk who looks like a Planet of the Apes extra opens the door for him. Ellington tells the monk(ey) that he’s been lost in the rain and can he please com in? The monk tells Ellington that they don’t allow visitors. Ellington says that he’s not a visitor. He’s a stranger to the area and he’s lost. He tries to walk around the monk but the monk cane-blocks him. Apparently, saying he’s lost the third time is really the charm because the monk lets him in.

It looks like it might be a bit drier inside but the hall they walk through looks like it’s just as cold. As they walk through the hall all the monks come out to check out the new guy. Ellington can barely walk and gives a very dramatic cough and clutch at a rail/banister/divider/thing. Even though the monk doesn’t seem all that concerned Ellington reassures him that he’ll be all right once he’s dried out. Brother Christophorus tells Ellington to wait there. Ellington takes a minute to dramatically catch his breath. While he’s doing so he hears an ungodly howling noise that startles him. Immediately after Brother Chris comes out to tell Ellington that Brother Jerome will see him now. Ellington asks what the noise is. Brother Chris says it’s the wind.

Brother Chris leads Ellington into a room to talk to Brother Jerome. Who looks a lot like Moses. Brother Moses wants to know why Ellington came there. Ellington explains that he was on a walking trip and got lost in the storm. He gives another little cough. Brother Moses wants to know what Ellington wants from them. Ellington says some shelter and maybe food. I get that he got lost but did he really bring no extra food at all? That doesn’t seem very smart. Either way Brother Moses says they’re all out of that stuff and tells Ellington to leave. Like now. Ellington looks surprised but turns to go. Luckily for him, he faints.

SERLING:
The prostrate form of Mr. David Ellington. Scholar, seeker of truth and, regrettably, finder of truth. A man who will shortly arise from his exhaustion to confront a problem that has tormented mankind since the beginning of time. A man who knocked on a door seeking sanctuary and found, instead, the outer edges of the Twilight Zone.

Ellington is pacing around the hall, holding his head. I guess they just left him lying there? He hears the howling noise again. He finds the source of the howling just a few doors down. He peeks in to see a dirty, bearded man dressed in raggedy clothes. The man in the cell comes to the bars and grabs Ellington’s shoulder, begging for help. The man in the cell says that Ellington isn’t one of them. Ellington says that he’s an American. The man tells him to come closer, they only have a few minutes. Although I’m not sure how much closer Ellington could be unless he gets in the cell with the guy.

The Howling Man tells Ellington that the monks are mad. They’re all stark, raving mad. Well, they might be mad but they looked pretty calm. Nary a rave to be seen. The man then goes on to tell Ellington that he lived in the village of Schwarzwald. While walking with his honey one day they paused for a kiss. He stops here to ask Ellington if it’s wrong to kiss. Ellington (who still looks either wet from the rain or sweaty) says no, he doesn’t think so. The man agrees. Ok, everyone agrees that kissing is a-ok. The man then calls someone a lecherous old fool. As the man and his woman were smooching he looked up to see someone watching. Before he could say anything the guy watching them beat him down with the big heavy staff. Ah. They’re talking about Brother Moses.

Ellington asks why would Brother Moses do that. The Howling Man claims that his woman rejected the advances of Brother Moses. Ellington says he finds it hard to believe. The Howling Man says of course it is, that’s how convincing and powerful Brother Moses is. Which would make more sense if Ellington had talked to Brother Moses for more than two seconds. The Howling Man says that Brother Moses seems like a harmless madman. Just your ordinary religious zealot. Then goes on to say that it’s not a religious order. He says that they’re cast out of the world because the world doesn’t want them. He does speak very eloquently. The man in the cell says that they’re not evil…just mad. The man in the cell has some pretty buff-looking arms. Ellington starts to walk away and The Howling Man asks where he’s going. Ellington says he’s going to speak to Brother Moses. The Howling Man freaks out and says that Brother Moses is the maddest of them all. Ellington asks how he’s supposed to help him then. From the door Brother Jerome calls Ellington. Uh-oh, busted.

Brother Moses tells Ellington to come with him. Once they’re in a different room Brother Moses tells Ellington that he’ll have to leave immediately, they don’t have the facilities to care for the ill. So monks never get sick? Brother Moses starts to say that arrangements can be made in Schwarzwald but Ellington interrupts him. Ellington gets pissy and says he’s not leaving until they explain what’s going on. I don’t really think they have to. You barged into their monk hangout, talked to a random guy for two seconds and now you’re demanding answers. Bit presumptuous, no?

Brother Moses says that Ellington doesn’t understand. Ellington wants to know why Brother Jerome wants him out so bad. He’s already seen The Howling Dude. Brother Moses wants to know what Ellington thinks he’s talking about. Ellington says he doesn’t know anything about their order, what’s permitted and what’s not. But he doubts that they have the authority to keep a man unlawfully locked up. Brother Jerome agrees that they don’t have that authority. Brother Jerome dances around the truth for a bit by saying that no man has ever been imprisoned in the hermitage. Ellington is like “I just talked to him!” Brother Jerome tries to tell Ellington that he’s been ill, intimating that Ellington is delusional, but right then another howl is heard. Ellington tells Brother Jerome that “honest men make unconvincing liars”.

Ellington tells Brother Jerome that eventually he’ll find out what’s going on and the police will be very interested in knowing they have a man locked up there. Brother Jerome insists that there is no man locked up there. Ellington says forget it and starts to walk out. Brother Jerome stops him and asks Ellington if he’d really go to the police. Ellington asks Brother Jerome wouldn’t he in his place. Brother Jerome gives in. He tells Ellington that he told him the truth but not all of it. He tells Ellington to come back inside and he’ll tell him. As Ellington comes back in the howling starts again and Brother Jerome covers his ears. Ellington says, “Aha! You hear it, too!”Brother Jerome says he’s heard it every hour of every day for the last five years. And then he does such a great eye-roll.

Ellington wants to know why Jerome lied. He says that he didn’t lie when he said no man howled there. He tells Ellington that what he spoke to was not a man. It is The Devil himself..

Just after a perfectly timed thunder crash Jerome continues. What is in that cell is Satan. Ellington believes him doesn’t he? Ellington’s all “Suuure, I believe you!” Brother Jerome can see that Ellington’s full of it, though. He says that Ellington thinks he’s mad. Then he tells him to have a seat (he might as well, Jerome backed him into a chair). Jerome tells Ellington that he’ll explain it all then we’ll just see who’s mad and who’s not. It’s ok. We all go a little mad sometimes. Sorry.

Brother Jerome tells Ellington that he supposes Ellington thinks of himself sophisticated and they primitive because they live in solitude. Ellington starts to interrupt and say he doesn’t think that but Brother Jerome just gives him a “bitch, please, I know you do” and continues his story. Jerome says he lived in the “real world” for forty years with the best schooling, a degree in philosophy and a job that took him to the ends of the earth. I’m wondering what job he got with a philosophy degree. He says the beard, the staff and the faith are merely the results of a differing point of view. Never underestimate the beard. Another howl interrupts. Jerome goes on to say that five years ago there wasn’t any howlin’ in the monastery. It was just a bombed out ruin belonging to Wolfen. The Baron gave the Brothers the monastery in exchange for tending the vineyards.

Ellington asks if it’s a legit religious order. Brother Jerome dances around it a bit by saying that they feel that they are recognized by God. Truth is their dogma, believing it to be the ultimate weapon against The Devil, The Father of Lies. Brother Jerome says that after The Great War everywhere was in chaos, except the little town of Schwarzwald. They were happy and God-fearing and resistant to despair. Of course, the Devil can’t resist destroying happy so he popped in for a little corruption campaign. The Mighty Brother Moses stopped him though.

The Devil thought he would be easy to tempt but Brother Moses chucked him in a cell. Makes me wonder how he tempted Brother Moses? And now Ellington looks like he is thinking Brother Moses might be a crayon or two short of a rainbow. He asks Brother Moses how he keeps The Devil in a cell and Brother Jerome answers with The Stick (Staff) of Truth. And “He Shall Not Pass!”

Ellington wants to know how Brother Jerome recognized him as Satan and Jerome says he’s seen him literally all over the world. Sin, strife, corruption…boom, The Devil was there. Well, yeah, that’s kind of his thing. Ellington is getting dizzy again and the camera is tilting again. Ellington says he doesn’t doubt Brother Jerome but is it possible he might have made a mistake. Nope, uh-uh. Brother Jerome is sure. There has been peace for the last five years. Um, I’m going to call b.s. on that one. Ellington points out that there’s still murders and robberies and general bad shit still happening. Basically that’s just your normal, everyday human suffering. It’s just the really bad stuff like unnatural catastrophes, wars and whatnot that putting The Devil away stopped.

 

Ellington says he believes Brother Jerome. He didn’t at first but Brother Jerome has him convinced. Uh-huh. Sure. Ellington promises to keep their secret. Brother Jerome thanks him and then says that Ellington may leave the next day if he’s feeling well enough. What’s with this “you may leave”? They were trying to kick him out the door a minute ago. Jerome tells Ellington to go straight to Brother Christophorus’ room.

Ellington makes his way down the hall, passing The Devil’s cell. Maybe if they don’t want people to know about The Devil being there they shouldn’t keep him in the main hall. Ellington just can’t resist one more peek at The Devil. The Devil instantly says that Brother Jerome lied to him, he can see it on Ellington’s face. Ellington tells him that Jerome said he was The Devil. The Howling Man thinks it’s funny and laughs a bit. But stops when he sees Ellington’s face. He asks if Ellington believed Jerome. Ellington says he guesses not. The Howling Man asks Ellington to help him again and Ellington is kind of wiffly about it. He says he’ll come back with the authorities. The Howling Man says that he’ll be dead and disappeared by the time Ellington comes back. At this a very large hand falls on Ellington’s shoulder and Ellington turns to see Brother Chris. Brother Chris came to escort Ellington to his room. Ellington follows Brother Chris into the room but freaks out a little when Brother Chris locks the door.

The key is on an extremely long necklace, just right for gently lifting off over the head. Which Ellington proceeds to do as soon as Brother Chris is asleep. Ellington overacts his way to The Devil’s cell. Ellington asks what does he need to do to help the man get out. The Howling Man tells him to lift the bar off the door. That’s one mighty big Stick of Truth. Ellington asks why hasn’t the man done it himself? Which is a valid question. It’s within arms reach and easily grabbable. I think I would start wondering a bit, myself. The man tells Ellington that if he doesn’t do it they’ll kill them both. Well then why haven’t they? They’ve had him there for five years and Ellington’s been there for several hours. If the monks were that crazy they could have killed him years ago. If Ellington weren’t sick (and his thinking skills ill as well) he’d probably realize this. Right about now Brother Chris wakes up and realizes that his key is missing. Ellington has locked him in so he yells at Ellington to stop. Ellington goes to grab the staff but it looks like it burns his hands at first? I’m not sure but he grabs it, drops it and then wipes his hands on his shirt. The second time goes fine and Ellington frees the man. Ellington hands him his coat as protection from the storm.

The man throws it on then does some magic whammy at Ellington that makes him drop like he’s a rag doll. Well, now we know he’s The Devil because he evilly strokes his goatee before heading for the door. He turns Ellington’s coat into some pretty snazzy demonic threads and poofs away in a puff of smoke (and presumably brimstone or sulfur). Ellington watches him then face plants back onto the floor. Brother Jerome and Brother Chris come in. Jerome kneels down by Ellington and says he feels sorry for him because he’ll remember tonight for the rest of his life and he’ll know exactly who he let back into the world. Ellington says he didn’t believe him. He saw him but didn’t recognize him. Well, The Devil’s tricksy like that.

Aaand we’re back to the beginning of the episode. Ellington says he spent the rest of his life tracking down the Evil One. Looks like it took quite awhile because it wasn’t until after the Korean War had happened. Way to go Ellington. Ellington says he finally did it and points to a steel door with a little baby Truth Staff on it. I guess it doesn’t need to be a great big staff. He’s telling all this to his housekeeper, saying she must never, never open the door. Or touch the staff. Dude, I think a “Don’t open this door or you’re fired” would be sufficient. Or clean your own freaking house. He says that he’s taking him back to Brother Jerome. So maybe it’s a freight crate? How would one transport The Devil? He tells the housekeeper that The Devil will howl a bit but just ignore it. I can already tell by the “this guy’s crazy” look on her face that she’s going to open the damn door. Yup, first damn howl and she takes it off. So The Devil gets free again because she can’t keep her hands off the staff (the ladies love the staff) and he can’t clean his own damn house.


SERLING:
Ancient folks say “You can catch The Devil but you can’t hold him long”. Ask Brother Jerome. Ask David Ellington. They know, and they’ll go on knowing to the end of their days and beyond in the Twilight Zone.


Uhh, did Serling just insinuate that Ellington and Jerome are going to Hell for their failure to hold The Devil. It kind of sounded like it to me. A good episode but holy crap. I could do a better job of keeping The Devil than this ijit. Maybe all he needs is an Uncle Bobby. I always wondered though, why does he howl? Just to annoy the hell out of the person keeping him? I thought it was to makethe person keeping him seem crazy but he seems to do it whether or not anyone’s there.


Join us again next week on Twilight Zone Tuesday for – Eye of the Beholder (one of it’s top-rated episodes and an awesome one).

Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Thing About Machines

A Thing About Machines

Bartlett Finchley – Richard Haydn
Edith – Barbara Stuart
TV Repairman – Barney Phillips
Policeman – Henry Beckman
Girl on TV – Margarita Corrdova
Intern – Jay Overholts
Narrator- Rod Serling


Pulling into a large, spacious lawn is a very nice looking Roadster (I guess, I’m not sure what kind it is exactly). Whatever it is it must be an English car as the driver exits from the right side of it. Weirdly the driveway seems to go right by the pool. Strange place for it. There’s a TV REPAIR van sitting in the driveway as well. Mr. Bartlett Finchley stops to peek in his mailbox and proceeds to the house.

I guess house isn’t the right word for it. Mansion seems more appropriate. Whatever Finchley does he must make some good money doing it. He’s greeted by the repairman who has the audacity to ask Finchley how he’s doing. Finchley says he’ll answer when he knows how much the current bit of ‘larceny’ is going to cost him to fix the tv. The repairman tells him that it’s going to include parts and labor. Finchley says that he’s sure that, once again, he’s going to be dunned into paying more than what the thing cost. Well, if it’s that much then why bother repairing it? Why not just get a new one? The repairman tells Finchley that the last time he was there to repair it was because Finchley had put his foot through the screen. Finchley says that it was not working correctly so he tried to fix it in a perfectly normal way. Normally I’d agree but everyone knows when you use the “Thwack! Fixed it!” method you never kick the screen. You kick the side. I also have one little question. If you put your foot through a tv while it’s plugged in would that electrocute you? Or at least give you a shock?

Finchley dispenses with the chit-chat to ask how much the current ‘extortion’ will be. He also wonders why there’s a Better Business Bureau at all when roving, repairmen blackmailers can hold his set for ransom. Here’s a thought…either learn to fix it yourself, find a different repairman or buy a new tv. Normally I’d go with the first two only because tv’s were quite expensive then (and he seems to have a deluxe job with a very pretty cabinet) but he seems quite wealthy so he could most like;y afford a new one. Mr. Repairman takes rightful offense to that and says that they’re no con outfit, they run a legitimate business. The reason it cost so much to fix this time was because Finchley got in the back of it and ripped out a bunch of wires and did who knows what else to it. He goes on to exposition that he was at Finchley’s last month to repair a radio that Finchley had thrown down the stairs. Finchley claims that the radio wasn’t working properly either. Mr. Repairman says that they probably don’t work properly because Mr. Finchley doesn’t treat them properly. Finchley snarks that he’ll probably be billed more for this psychoanalysis. The repairman asks what it is with Finchley and machines? After a rather withering stare the repairman backs off and says that he’ll send Finchley the bill. Finchley says, “No doubt” in an uppity, snooty way and they start to go their separate ways – Finchley upstairs and the repairman out the door. Before the repairman leaves,however, Finchley mnages to work in a final insult. He tells the repairman that he’ll file the question under “Things I Give Zero Effs About” in his memoirs and devote a single page to the repairman, titled “One of the Most Forgettable People of All Ever”. The repairman leaves, a trifle miffed.

After the repairman leaves Finchley bursts out with, “It just so happens that every machine in this house is…” but stops, wipes his face witch a handkerchief and calms himself down. As he’s pouring himself a drink (sherry, no doubt) a clock starts chiming, ticking Finchley off good and proper. He yells at it to stop and when it refuses he snatches it up and smashes it on the floor. When it still obstinately chimes he whacks it with a poker.

SERLING:
This is Mr. Bartlett Finchley, age 48, a practicing sophisticate who writes very special and very precious things for gourmet magazines and the like. He’s a bachelor and a recluse with few friends, only devotees and adherents to the cause of tart sophistry. He has no interests save whatever current annoyances he can put his mind to. He has no purpose to his life except the formulation of day-to-day opportunities to vent his wrath on mechanical contrivances of an age he abhors. In short, Mr. Bartlett Finchley is a malcontent, born either too late or too early in the century, and who, in just a moment will enter a realm where muscles and the will to fight back are not limited to human beings. Next stop for Mr. Bartlett Finchley, the Twilight Zone.

Edith is typing away on one of those new-fangled electric typewriters. Not in an office, however, she gets a raised stage-thing on which to type. He holds out his hand for the papers she’s typing up (guess it’s too much trouble for him to walk up the three steps and get them himself) and she brings them down to him. He asks if that’s all she has written up and she says yes, 30 pages in three hours is the best she can do.That’s ten pages an hour. That seems awfully slow for an electric typewriter but I honestly can’t remember. He responds that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence with a feather quill in half a day. That sounds like bull to me so after exhaustive research I learned it took seventeen days. She tells him to hire Mr. Jefferson then and he accuses her of being insubordinate. She tells him that he should find himself a girl with three arms and a thick skin and they can work together in bliss for eternity. In other words, she quits.

Finchley snaps his book shut, annoyed, but as she looks like she’s really going to leave he drops the snootiness. The papers he was holding have magically disappeared. He starts talking really fast trying to get her to stay. He invites her to dinner and maybe the theatre. She gives a very nice thank you but no thank you. As she walks away he calls her back with a “before you go”  and, even though he seems like an utterly pompous ass, I feel kind of bad for him. He looks kind of scared. She asks what he wants and he says that he’d very much like to not be alone.

She looks very worried and asks him if he’s ill. She then asks if there’s any family trouble. He throws a hissy fit and yells why does there have to be a problem?! He calms down quickly, though, and tells her that he’s very, very tired. He hasn’t slept in four nights and the thought of being alone right now is intolerable. He tells her that things have been happening, very strange things. She sits beside him and listens compassionately.

 

He tells her that the television goes on every night and wakes him up. All by itself. The radio would go on and off, too, just as he would be falling asleep. He tells her that there’s a conspiracy. The tv, the radio, the clock, even his damn car. The evening before he drove the car into the driveway, very carefully and slowly and the wheel turned in his hand, it twisted itself and drove deliberately into the garage. It smashed a headlight and cost him $140.00 to replace it. This seems insanely high to me but the car does look like a British import and fancy. Maybe one of you guys can tell from the picture what kind of car it is and if that would seem a reasonable amount. Maybe it’s Christine’s English cousin. He motions to the clock over the mantle piece, well, the one that was there until he turned it into ceramic dust. Which is oddly cleaned up.

What he’s trying to get at is that he’s never been able to operate machines. Edith suggests softly that maybe he ought to see a doctor. I disagree. For being inanimate (supposedly) non-sentient creations they do seem to sometimes have a perverse will of their own. They wait for the most inopportune moments to break down, lose your files, spontaneously go off, waking you from a sound sleep.

Bartlett does not take kindly to this suggestion, “If you’re depressed, see a doctor. If you’re happy, see a doctor. If the salary is too low and the mortgage is too high, see a doctor (although that would seem to fall under depression or perhaps seeing a financial adviser). He tells her to see a doctor and that he’s a rational, intelligent , logical man. To prove it he says he knows what he sees and hears and throws a plate on the floor. For the past three months he’s been under siege by mechanical monsters. What does she think of that?! Huh?!

She thinks he’s terribly ill and needs to see a doctor. She also thinks that he’s suffering terribly from nerves due to lack of sleep and that he himself has to realize that they are nothing more than delusions. He screams that he won’t be intimidated by mechanical devices and it follows that an empty headed female with a mechanical face cannot intimidate him either. I think you just blew your shot at company for the night, dude. Before she leaves she flings these words at him, “In the mechanical conspiracy he speaks of, she hopes he loses.” and departs in a well-deserved huff.

As soon as she’s gone the typewriter begins typing by itself. He rips the paper from the typewriter and reads “GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY” Hmm, I’m surprised it doesn’t say “All work and no play makes Finchley a dull boy.” He says he’s not going to be frightened off by a senseless, inanimate machine. As he touches it, however, it starts to type the same words again. He hears a voice from the tv say “Get out of here, Finchley”. He follows it and realizes that a woman is dancing. I believe it’s a Spanish dance but I’m not sure of what kind. Maybe one of you can tell me. As he watches she pauses in her dance and tells him to “Get out of here, Finchley”. Then goes back to dancing.

as everything is playing and clacking he yells that they’re not going to intimidate him! If he were yelling ‘We made you!” we could be in Maximum Overdrive. Later that evening he’s calling up an old ‘friend’named Miss Moore. I’m kind of surprised the phone is even letting him call out on it. They chat about how long it’s been…yadda yadda. He asks her out to dinner but it seems she turned him down. He says he’ll call her another time. He makes another call. This time to his favorite young widow, Pauline. It seems she doesn’t remember him right away. It sounds as though she’s remarried in the meantime. He promises to send a wedding present. Oddly he seems to blame the telephone for the women being unavailable. He accuses it of embarrassing him. He goes to turn on his electric razor but it whips out of his hand and starts to attack him like a snake. Although I’m not really sure how much damage an electric razor could even do. The phone he pulled out of the wall starts telling him to “Get out Finchley”.

He hears a knock at the door, straightens up his ensemble and goes to answer it.

A policeman escorts him to a crowd. Apparently something happened. The policeman gestures to Finchley’s car and tells him that it rolled down the driveway and almost hit a kid on a bike. He suggests that Finchley gets his emergency brake checked. Finchley tells him that it was on. The policeman disagrees and says that it either wasn’t on or not working properly. The policeman restates that it rolled right down into the road and Finchley’s lucky it didn’t hit anyone. Finchley calls the car a monster. Finchley tells the officer that the keys are in the house and the officer suggests he pulls it back into the garage. Finchley turns to the crowd and tells them they may remain ogling at his car for another 3 and a half minutes. If they are still there when he returns he will enlist the aid of the underpaid policeman to help them off the property. The kid who presumably had the near miss doesn’t look too perturbed, licking on a popsicle.

Finchley goes back into his house and has himself a drink…or ten. He is drowsing drunkly on the couch when a clock begins to chime. The clock is chiming, the typewriter is clacking, and the tv chimes in with it’s “Get out of here, Finchley” extravaganza. So he puts his chair through the tv. Which brings up an interesting point. The only two ‘necessities’ he has are the telephone and typewriter. The telephone is probably needed for business purposes (obviously not personal) and the typewriter could be replaced with a non-electric one. So why bother having the tv, electric razor and whatnot? even the car he could probably do without. He looks like he could afford a car service or cabs.

He goes to run upstairs but the evil electric razor starts slithering down the stairs toward him. He runs out the door only to be confronted by Christine’s semi-evil step-cousin. It kindly lets him pass so it can chase him down the driveway. And, like all sensible people running from cars, he runs right down the driveway even though there’s a stand of trees to his right and left that would make it difficult going for a car. He runs until he hits a fence but lo and behold! There are boxes stacked neatly into steps for him to climb over. The car crashes through the fence and into some other weird, randomly stacked boxes on this well-manicured lawn in the ritzy neighborhood.

Again, he runs back the way he came and does one of the fakest stumbles I’ve ever seen. I will do him the justice that he is an older gentleman and does seem to be doing all the running, climbing and falling himself. At least, if there was a stunt double switch it was fast enough that I didn’t catch it. Finally he hides behind some bushes and the car burns rubber going past him (even though it appears to be on sand or grass, not asphalt). He foolishly pops out before the car is out of sight. It notices him and comes careening after him. And back we go down the driveway (or road? not really sure at this point. All I know for sure is it’s not asphalt or cement so there should be no screeching) on a merry chase back the way we just came.

It chases him slowly down the path to the pool and Bartlett obliges because the hedges on either side are much too high to jump over (even though they only come to his waist). And, it looks like the car has been rehearsing its big moment as there are already tire tracks on the grass. Instead of jumping in the pool on his own he kindly stops and waits for the car to hit him. He falls into the pool, the evil headlights of the car being the last thing he sees.

The cop is chatting with the ambulance guy. He thinks it’s unusual that the body was not weighted but was on the bottom even though they usually float. The cop says he looked scared, like something was chasing him. Um, perhaps the car sitting two feet away? Even if they don’t think the car did it there could have been a driver doing it. Especially since Bartlett seemed a tad unpleasant. The neighbors told the policeman that Bartlett was running around and yelling last night. And nobody thought to call the cops? Also, they didn’t hear the car? They throw around a couple theories to which the answers are, “Could be”.

SERLING:
Yes, it could just be. It could just be that Mr. Bartlett Finchley succumbed from a heart attack and a set of delusions. It could just be that he was tormented by an imagination as sharp as his wit and as pointed as his dislikes. But as perceived by those attending this is one explanation that has left the premises with the deceased. Look for it filed under “M” for Machines…in the Twilight Zone.


As I pointed out the only really deadly thing he owned was the car. Unless an electric razor could shave his shoes off or something. It seems a bit more logical to get rid of most of the stuff rather than pay to get it fixed just so it can torment you some more. As far as the machines go, unless they feel no pain, it seems as though most of the actual damage they were causing was to themselves. That doesn’t seem very intelligent. This isn’t the last time that technology rears its ugly, human-hating head. Also, if you recognize the repairman he was also on the episode The Purple Testament. You’ll also be seeing him a few more times on the Twilight Zone.


Be sure to join us for next week’s Twilight Zone Tuesday episode. A really great one called The Howling Man

Twilight Zone Tuesday – King Nine Will Not Return

King Nine Will Not Return

Capt. James Embry – Robert Cummings
Blake – Richard Lupino
Narrator – Rod Serling
Psychiatrist – Gene Lyons
Doctor – Paul Lambert
Nurse – Jenna McMahon


Welcome to season two of the Twilight Zone! I’m geekily excited about it because seasons two and three have a lot of great episodes and I can’t wait to share them and talk about them with you guys.


SERLING:
This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine. B-25 medium bomber, 12th Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed. Not to return on this day, or any other day.

Scattered out from the plane is debris and ammo, leading up to a man lying in the desert sand. He shakes himself awake and looks at the wreckage.

As Capt. Embry sweats and rubs his face we get an internal monologue. He remembers the plane getting hit, falling behind and bellying in. He remembers his crew and goes to look in the plane. They don’t seem to be there and he wonders where they have gone. Did they bail out? Did he order them to bail out? No. He didn’t. They all went down in the plane together. He begins to name them. He, himself is Captain James Embry. Blake the co-pilot, Kransky the radio operator and waist gunner, Jimenez, navigator. Connors was the tail gunner and Kline the upper turret gunner. He tries to think if there’s anyone he missed. I feel bad for those guys. With the size of that plane (if it’s accurate) it had to have been cramped as hell in there.

He climbs up on to the top of the plane and hops into the cockpit. On the side the name Pilot Capt. James Embry is stenciled. There’s also a large picture of a ‘King’ playing card, the King of Hearts. There are also three swastikas (representing three enemy planes shot down) and around 28 bombs, representing either 28 bombs dropped or (more likely) 28 successful runs. Embry fiddles with his pilot glasses and his pilot hat for a minute. Amazingly they’re still in the cockpit.

He calls for Blake and Jimenez. Which is a little weird. He;s still in the lane so unless they’re hiding in the instrument panel or under the tiny little seat I don’t think they’re in there, He crawls up into the tiny upper area, calling for the rest of them. Again, it should be pretty clear that they’re not in there. He’d be better off looking outside. He calls a few more times then begins discussing the situation with himself, trying to piece it together.

He repeats that they bellied in and assumes he must have been thrown from the plane and may have been out cold for hours. It strikes him again that the rest of the crew is nowhere to be found. I will say the actor does a fair job with his facial expressions during the voice-overs. He doesn’t overdo them.

He realizes that they didn’t jump out because their chutes are all there. He says that they aren’t dead but if they walked away why didn’t they take him? At the very least I would think that they would have pulled him into the shade. He calls for them all, still inside the plane. Dude! They’re not in there!

As he calls their names a radio statics into life. He listens for a moment but hears nothing but static. He calls a Mayday from the King Nine to Firefly. Presumably base or another bomber in the area. There is no response, though. Just more static. He starts to get up quickly but calms himself. At least he’s being smart and staying in the plane, out of the sun. He tells himself not to go off half-cocked (that sounds painful). There must be reasons. They’re gone, he’s alone but there must be a logical reason behind it, behind everything. He just has to keep cool and think about it rationally. His main thought is for his crew. He’s the leader, it’s his responsibility to keep them safe and alive as far as it is in his power. He’s got to get them out of it. Well, seems like that’s accomplished at least. They are not there, thus, they are out of it. I may be poking fun a bit but I do believe that is the sign of a good leader. The desire to treat those under you well. And if you’re successful, they will do the same for you. Unless they’re out and out asses. Then nothing can help that, unfortunately.

As Embry is thinking his leader thoughts he hears a ‘thump’ that sounds like it came from outside. Embry calls for Blake again and rushes outside only to find the source of the noise is a piece of the plane banging against the outer shell. He wanders about a bit until he finds his pilot cap. Thus equipped he starts to wander again but spots a canteen lying in the sand. Embry picks it up and reads the name on it – Kline.

Embry starts yelling/laughing at/for Kline. I honestly don’t know if he’s pleased or crazy. He tells Kline that he’s a stupid jerk for dropping his canteen. Then he calls Kline a “Bronx Cowboy” and tells him that he’s in the desert, he’s going to need water. I think I’ve decided on that he’s going a wee bit crazy. He goes on to say he still has to babysit them and it’s “strictly not funny” what they’re doing. He collapses on the sand and gives a manly little sniffle.

He goes to take a drink from the canteen but sees something that distracts him enough to where he lets the water pour all down his face. Grrrrr. We get to see what he’s looking at. It’s a guy sitting in the cockpit giving a weird-ass laugh and fully decked out in coat and hat and everything. Embry yells, “Blaaake!” so I’m guessing the guy is Blake. Embry staggers toward the plane. Blake still looks like a laughing bobble-head then disappears. Embry yells at him to come back, he feels responsible.

A little while later Embry is calling MayDay again, trying to contact Firefly. He starts to wonder to himself if this isn’t just some hallucination. He might be lying in the desert with a cracked skull and dying. He goes into a happier train of thought by thinking that this also might be a dream and he’ll wake up back at base. Then he starts wondering if he got insanely drunk and is maybe in actuality sitting in a bar with a pretty girl. Unless he drank absinthe I think I’ll dismiss this last theory.

He gets a bit giddy but sobers up quickly. He tells himself that he saw Blake sitting there and that was no hallucination. Hmm. In theory, if he is hallucinating, why wouldn’t the disappearing guy also be a hallucination. He says he saw Blake siting there and no one can tell him different. Well, that is true. Since no one is there then nobody can absolutely say  that he didn’t see Blake. He grabs his pilot glasses because now he’s in charge, dammit!

Which he proves by ambling over to a grassy knoll and yelling at his crew that isn’t there. He keeps saying that he’s responsible and they’re being jerks by being missing. As he plays King of the Mountain by himself he hears a soft clanking noise coming from another grassy knoll. There’s nothing there but a cross with Kline’s name on it. It looks cobbled together and says he died of injuries sustained in the crash. Above, Embry hears a noise and looks up to see modern jets fly overhead. He tells himself that they’re jets but then he’s confused. It’s 1943, how does he know what jets are?

He thinks that there’s no way of knowing but he does. He knows all about jet aircraft. Embry yells at the planes. Asking where are they going? What are they even doing there? He runs back to the plane asking Blake and Connors if they know aboutjet airplanes. I actually think he’s lost it now. He’s talking to them like they’re there. Embry tells the that they’ve got to get out of there but they can’t walk out. Nossir, no way they’re doing that. They’ll have to fly. Okey dokey, Embry. Good luck with that. He tries doing something with the front of the plane. I’m not sure if he’s trying to spin the prop or lift it. Either way, it’s not working. Then Embry starts to laugh hysterically at it and calls the plane an illusion.

He goes back and forth between hysterics and seriousness for a while. He thinks he’s either dead or knocked out somewhere. Or he’s back ina ward somewhere on base. Or he doesn’t exist either. Well, I will say this for him. he certainly covers every possible theory. He tells his crew to break silence, that they can even yell at him. Or (and this would be freaking creepy) they can “all spring out of the sand like jumping jacks and stand there laughing at him.” Oh. Kay. I think Capt. Embry has left the building.

He calls Kline’s name and sees his crew, standing there and laughing at him. Then they disappear. Jerks. Embry falls on his knees, begging to know what’s going on. Now I almost feel bad for making fun of him. Almost.

Anyways, we get a close up of his hand digging at the sand, which fades to a hand, clutching sheets. A medical doctor is telling a psychiatrist that the guy in the bed is James Embry, aged 41. He was walking by a newsstand and went into shock. They have a look-see at the headline that sent him almost catatonic. The headline reads “World War II Bomber Found Intact in Desert: B-25 Mitchell Lies 17 Years in Desert, No Clue as to the Fate of the Crew”. They give a rundown of Embry’s military record. Which is what it said earlier but also adds that there was some indication of psychological problems but that he was discharged before they could figure it out. Well, nice of them to follow up on the vet with psychological issues.

the psychiatrist says that the plane found was Embry’s plane. wait, didn’t the headline say that there was no clue as to the fate of the crew? The medical doc agrees that it was Embry’s plae and Embry’s crew. It took off for what was suposed to be a routine flight. Oh, ok. Embry had called in sick that day and someone else flew the mission for him. so, following this I’m guessing that not knowing the fate of his crew was slowly driving Embry nuts. Which, to tell the truth, it would drive me crazy, too.

Embry wakes up and the doctor tells him where he is and that he’ll be ok. Embry is perfectly calm now and says he had a crazy dream. Embry says he went back to the desert. The doctor tries to stop him but the psychiatrist wants to hear about the dream. Embry tells them all about it. He says that it’s his fault, he should have been on the plane. He says he chickened out. The psychiatrist tells him that there’s no way that Embry could have known what would happen. The psychiatrist reassures Embry that now that it’s out in the open and not bottled up inside anymore. Embry says a crazy part of his dream was that he saw jets. This seems to bother the psychiatrist but if it was a dream I’m not sure why. Embry says it was crazy. 1943 in the African desert and there wee jets. Just as if he had gone back there today. Embry wants to know if that could be. Did he really go back? The psychiatrist assures him that if Embry went back it was only in his mind. The psychiatrist tells the doctor that Embry will be all right now. As they talk the nurse brings over Embry’s clothing. Tthe doctor tells her to just set them on the desk. As she does, Embry’s shoes tip over, spilling sand out of them. She calls their attention to it wondering what it could be. I know it’s supposed to call our attention to the sand but…really?! You don’t know what freaking sand looks like woman?! The psychiatrist comes over to grab a handful and let it run through his hand, which fades into an image of the sand falling on the nose of a plane. I will grant you that it’s a pretty cool shot and quite pretty but…but…but it came out of a guy’s shoe! And, if it did really happen, a sweaty shoe!

SERLING:
Enigma buried in the sand. A question mark with broken wings that lies in silent grace as a marker in a desert shrine. Odd how the real consorts with the shadows, how the present fuses with the past. How does it happen? The question is on file in the silent desert. And the answer? The answer is waiting for us in the Twilight Zone.


Even though I poked a bit of fun at the episode I do really like it. I like the sand kicked in the face of the overly smug psychiatrist. And it’s a good exploration of the survivor’s guilt people can suffer. Sometimes without even consciously realizing it. There’s also the throwaway line about Embry being discharged from the service with no follow-up, even though they suspected psychiatric issues.


Thanks for joining us this week and come back next week for another episode of Twilight Zone: The Man in the Bottle

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Mighty Casey

The Mighty Casey

Mouth McGarry – Jack Warden
Dr. Stillman – Abraham Sofaer
Casey – Robert Sorrels
Beasely – Alan Dexter
Monk – Don Kelly
Team Doctor – Jonathan Hole
Commissioner – Rusty Lane


Ah, Casey at Bat. A lovely little ro-bit story. There are no Trigger Warnings except sarcasm and disinterest. It’s not a favorite.

SERLING:
What you’re looking at is a ghost once alive but now deceased. Once upon a time it was a baseball stadium that housed a major-league baseball club known as the Hoboken Zephyrs. Now it houses nothing but memories and a wind that stirs in the high grass. of what was once an outfield. A wind that bears a faint, ghostly resemblance to the roar of a crowd that once sat here. We’re back in time now, when the Hoboken Zephyrs were still a part of the National League and this mausoleum of memories was an honest-to-Pete stadium. But since this is strictly a story of make-believe, it has to start this way.
Once upon a time, in Hoboken New Jersey, it was tryout day. And though he’s not yet on the field you’re about to meet a most unusual fellow. A left-handed pitcher named Casey.

This has been one of the longest Serling intro so far, I believe. If he thought baseball was dying then, he should see it nowadays. Anywho, as he’s talking we see a series of scenes of the deserted stadium that switches to it’s active past, betokened by a sign reading “Hoboken Zephyrs Try-outs Today”. I think the Zephyrs is an odd name for a baseball team. There are various men practicing. It doesn’t really look like a full team’s worth to me. they’re doing their jumping jacks out of sync and the pitcher id limping. Although I don’t see why that should matter. As far as I know, pitchers don’t run. But what do I know? I don’t do baseball. If anyone out there knows, feel free to correct me.

The manager doesn’t look too thrilled with this season’s batch of recruits. The coach walks over to the dugout to talk with a gentleman in a suit (the manager, perhaps?). He sarcastically comments that it’s a good looking bunch of boys. The suit wants to know what the coach expects when he puts up a sign for tryouts for a team that’s 31 games down. The coach snarks back that these are the boys the suit lines up. The coach asks the suit that as general manager can’t he get some better recruits? The GM snarks back that the coach wouldn’t know what to do with them because he’s 20 games out of fourth place. I don’t like to choose sides but it does seem like a good coach should be able to make at least passable players out of bad ones.

The GM goes on to say that the only thing that distinguishes their team is that their coach has the biggest mouth in two leagues. The GM also points out none too gently that if the Zephyrs win one game they have to call it a streak and Coach Mouth McGarry had better remember that come contract time. They watch the pitcher with the stiff leg. Mr. Mouth says he pitched one inning and only allowed six runs. Mouth snarkily says that makes him their most valuable player. Wow. Aren’t you nice. Making fun of a pitcher who’s still out there trying to pitch. Jerk.

The phone rings in the dugout and the GM answers it, “Dugout, yeah.” Um, there’s only one phone there. If it got called, chances are that the other party probably knows they’re calling the dugout. The GM asks Coach Mouth if he wants to look at a pitcher. Coach Mouth says he’s so desperate that he’d even consider the GM for pitcher. The GM says sure to whoever’s on the phone. After the GM hangs up he tells Coach Mouth that the new pitcher is a lefty. Coach Mouth doesn’t really care. As long as he has more than one arm and less than four he’ll look at him. Um, a person can pitch with one arm, you ass. And wouldn’t four arms possibly make him a better pitcher?

Coach Mouth yells at Monk in the catcher’s position that they’re going to look at a new pitcher so give Fletcher a rest for a bit and catch to the new guy for a bit. Couldn’t he just let Fletcher know himself? The GM wants to know if Coach Mouth has the line-up for the night. Mouth says he’ll let him know, he’s working on it. He tells the guy leading the jumping jacks to quit before the guy on the end passes out. Maybe if they did them more often his players might be in better shape. Yeah, I’m thinking Coach Mouth isn’t a very good coach. Mouth goes to get a drink of water when he hears a voice call his name. He turns around and looks startled.

Coach Mouth turns around to see a little man in glasses. Coach Mouth wants to know what the gag is. Because, Cthulhu knows, that a small guy in glasses can’t possibly play baseball. The GM walks off and Coach Mouth yells after him that it’s a crappy joke (paraphrasing a bit). The man introduces himself as Dr. Stillman and says that he’s not the pitcher. Although he has thrown a few balls in his time, before the war. Coach Mouth still decides to be a raging bag of penises and asks what war? Insinuating that Dr. Stillman is ancient, when he only looks maybe five or ten years older than the coach. A tall blond guy walks up and Dr. Stillman introduces him as Casey, the tryout pitcher. Someone hits a foul ball and Casey watches it until it bounces off his head. Coach Mouth  makes an “Ouch!” face but it doesn’t seem to bother Casey all that much.

Dr. Stillman introduces Casey and The Mouth. Although apparently I’ve  been wrong, Mouth is apparently the Manager, not the Coach. So who in the heck is the Coach? Or are they the same thing? Either way, I’m still calling him Coach Mouth. Casey shakes Mouth’s hand. Dr. Stillwell has to correct him on which hand to use. Apparently Casey has a strong grip as Coach Mouth grimaces. Dr. Stillwell seems to be taking a bit of pleasure in Coach Mouth’s discomfort. Finally he tells Casey to let go of Coach Mouth’s hand.

Coach Mouth says the guy out on the field with the big mitt and he’s the catcher. He tells Casey to go out and throw a few balls to him. Which strikes (heh heh, get it? Strikes? I’m sorry.) me as odd. If Casey is there to try out as a pitcher it seems reasonable that he would already know the rules of the game. Unless Coach Mouth is making assumptions again and figures that because the guy is big and strong he must have a toddler brain. Casey politely tells “Mr. McGarry” thank you and starts to head off. Dr. Stillwell reminds Casey to put on his hat.

Coach Mouth seems entranced by Casey and walks by a guy still doing jumping jacks. Coach Mouth tells him to “knock it off, he sees him.” They watch Casey wind up for a pitch. Coach Mouth asks Dr. Stillwell if he’s Casey’s father. The doctor says oh, no. Casey doesn’t have a father.He’s Casey’s creator. That catches Coach Mouth’s attention for a second but then goes back to watching Casey. And how freaking long is Casey taking to wind up? Coach Mouth asks how old Casey is. Dr. Stillwell says that’s hard to answer. Casey has only been in existence for three weeks but he has the mind and body of a twenty-two year old. Dr. Stillwell says he created and built Casey and shows Coach Mouth the blueprints. Coach Mouth clearly doesn’t believe him and talks to the sky, asking why He’s always picking on him.

Casey throws his fast ball and it leaves the glove and ball smoking. Then he throws his curve. We don’t get to see it but it’s apparently very curvy judging by the way the Coach and Dr.’s heads are moving. The coach starts wiping his face down with a towel that he pulled from nowhere. He tells the doctor to wait there and goes to stand behind the catcher. He has Casey throw him a fast one and a slow one. Monk is super-excited, telling Coach Mouth that Casey’s the best pitcher that he’s caught in a long time and oh my god did you see him! Coach Mouth says yeah, he saw him and stuffs his face-sweaty towel in Monk’s mask. Ew. He tells Monk to go take a shower. Well, yeah. You just shoved a sweaty towel in his face. I’d go shower, too.

Coach Mouth tries to play it cool by saying that Casey’s rough but they’ll give him a try. Dr. Stillwell  tells Coach Mouth that Casey’s a robot. Coach Mouth tells Dr. Stillwell to never say that. They’ll just keep it in the family. Never mention the word “r-o-b-b-o-t-t”. Coach calls Casey over and tells him that he’s rough but they’ll work it out. Coach is such a nice guy that he tells Casey he wants to help young ballplayers then gives Casey a friendly tap on the shoulder that hurts his hand. He tells Casey to go ahead and change is clothes. Casey just stares at Coach so Coach asks the doctor if Casey wears clothes. The doctor says of course. He tells Casey to hit the showers (is that a good idea, if he’s a robot?). Casey just stares and blinks at him. The coach suggests the doctor check him out. The doctor agrees and Casey and Dr. Stillwell leave the field. Coach Mouth watches them and looks very excited.

Coach runs to the dugout phone and calls the GM, telling him to draw up a contract right away. Coach is still rubbing his hand from his handshake with Casey. He tells the GM to hurry down there with a contract, he wants the GM to shake hands with their new ace pitcher. Then he hangs up and has a little daydream about their pennant flying high.

At the game everyone’s excited. Monk asks Casey if he’s got the signals down and Coach Mouth tells Casey not to be nervous. Casey doesn’t know what nervous means so the Coach explains. Uh, wouldn’t it be better to just leave him alone? Why try to make him nervous? Dr. Stillwell asks what team they’re playing. Coach tells him it’s the Giants and he’d love to beat them. He’d love to beat any team for that matter.

Coach wants to know what’s in it for the doctor. Dr. Stillwell says that it’s purely scientific. He sees Casey as superhuman and wants to prove it. Um, ok? He’s not human at all but whatever. He goes on to say that he once built a home economist who was a wonderful cook. The poor doctor gained 48 pounds before he dismantled her. And I’m officially disgusted. He figured with Casey’s speed and stamina that he’d be a great pitcher so he wants to have it proven in a field of competition. The coach doesn’t seem to be paying much attention even though he’s the one who asked. As an acid test the doctor wants Casey to pitch in the worst team around. The Zephyrs. This offends Coach Mouth a bit and he tells the doctor he’s got a lot of class. I wouldn’t be talking if I were you. You’re the same guy who was making fun of an injured player (who presumably got the axe when you signed Casey) and shoved a sweaty towel in a guy’s face. You don’t get to be the arbiter of class.

We get a nice montage of how awesome Casey is making the team and how much they’re winning. In one of the games though, Casey gets conked on the head by a ball. For some reason the team doctor is checking Casey out, not his creator. The team doctor tells them that there’s no concussion and no fracture. Of course not, he’s a freaking robot! Coach is happy that Casey is fine because if not there goes the winning and the pennant. The GM throws in that it would also be the end of Coach’s career, which bums him out.

The team doctor says he always wondered how Casey could throw the ball so fast. He’s checking Casey’s pulse and trails off when he doesn’t find one. He checks out Casey’s heart with the stethoscope but still doesn’t find one. Then he stethoscopes Casey’s stomach and tells him to cough. Casey does and it sounds a little mechanical. The Coach comes over and wants to know what’s wrong. The team doctor says nothing, really, , just Casey doesn’t have a heartbeat and doesn’t seem to be alive. Beaseley wants to know what Mouth is trying to pull. Mouth protests and Dr. Stillwell tells the team doctor that they need to talk.

Dr. Stillwell tells the team doctor that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for Casey not having a heart. He doesn’t have a heart, he’s a robot. The team doctor says he’ll have to notify the  Baseball Commissioner. The GM looks worried and the coach looks bummed. Aw, there goes his pennant. I think the doctor’s right. Having a robot is cheating. The coach tells Casey to move over. Then he grabs a random pill from the table and washes it down with what looks like brandy or something.

The Commissioner is reading from the rule book. Article Whatever, Blah Blah Blah Paragraph: “A baseball team shall consist of nine men.” Men. End of story. Casey’s banned. The GM tries to argue with him, saying that for all intents and purposes Casey is a man. He tells Casey to talk to the man and tell him about himself. Casey wants to know what he should say. The Coach also throws in that Casey is smarter than most of the “mutton-heads” on his team. The Commissioner insists that Casey isn’t human. The GM says he’s got arms and legs and a face and he talks. What more does the Commissioner want. The Commissioner says that Casey doesn’t have a heart. How can he be human if he doesn’t have a heart. Coach points out that Beasely doesn’t have a heart but he owns 40% of the club.

Dr. Stillwell has been largely quiet until now but he pops up and says, since the lack of heart seems to be the problem, what if they gave him a heart? Dr. Stillwell says that he can operate and give Casey a heart. The Commissioner asks Casey if he wants to play. Coach Mouth answers for him and says of course he does! And shakes Casey’s arm around a bit. Casey just looks at him like, “Don’t touch me.”

The Commissioner asks the doctor if he would classify Casey as human if he had a heart. What is he? The freaking Tin Man? The doctor says yes and the Commissioner says that with a heart he will let Casey play. Isn’t that still a little unfair? He is still a robot with super-human skills. The Commissioner says that the other clubs are going to scream blue murder. I don’t blame them. They’re cheating. In fact, if I were the Commissioner, I would discount all of their previous games. But that’s just me. Beaseley and the coach are thrilled because the Tin Man will get a heart and the coach is still holding Casey’s arm. Casey looks like he could really care less.

Everyone’s waiting in the locker room, suited up for the game. Beaseley is trying to ring Dr. Stillman’s house but he’s not getting an answer. The coach gives the team the line-up because they’ve got to start with or without Casey. Then, oh my god, he gives them the “Do it for Casey!” speech. Cheese overload. Monk starts to sniffle and hold a handkerchief to his eyes. I’m honestly confused. Now I have to wonder if the writers were having a little poke at ‘sports’ movies with this speech. It just seems so snarky.

In the middle of his very moving “ghost in the dugout” speech, Casey and the doctor walk in. Coach Mouth doesn’t even notice. He says hi to Casey and goes on with his “win one for Casey” speech. Casey smiles at him. When Coach Mouth finally realizes that Casey’s there he asks how about it? Casey smiles and opens his suit jacket so Coach Mouth can hear.

Casey’s very happy and he’s very cute when he smiles. He says he feels “like togetherness”. Coach Mouth tells the guys to go and get out there. He hands Casey his suit and tells him to go suit up, number 7. Coach Mouth looks weird and repeats “togetherness”.

Out on the field, Casey winds up for a pitch and the batter hits a home run. It doesn’t seem to bother Casey any but Coach Mouth and Beaseley look upset. Apparently having a heart has ruined his pitching arm. For some reason. The Giants keep getting hit after hit off of Casey and Casey looks very pleased by it. I’m just going to take a guess that with his new heart he doesn’t want to make the other team feel bad. The Giants are 14 up at the end of the first.

After the game Coach Mouth wants an explanation. Aaand I was right. Casey just couldn’t hurt the other team’s feelings. Casey has compassion. That’s what happens when you give someone a heart that hasn’t been around long enough to understand competitiveness, ego or drive. Casey apologizes to Coach Mouth and says he couldn’t hurt the careers of the other guys. What about your own team? It just seems a bit uneven. You’d think if Casey were really concerned about everyone he’d have made it a tie between the teams.

Dr. Stillman has suggested that Casey go into social work because he wants to help people. Then he says goodbye and leaves. Coach Mouth feels very sorry for himself. Dr. Stillman slides Casey’s blueprint to him and says a memento might cheer him up. Coach Mouth picks them up and starts to look them over. Then he starts to laugh. He catches up with the doctor as he’s walking across the field. It’s actually a pretty cool overhead shot. But, unfairly, we don’t get to see what he was laughing about.

SERLING:
Once upon a time there was a major league baseball team called the Hoboken Zephyrs, who, during the last year of their existence, wound up in last place and shortly thereafter wound up in oblivion. There’s a rumour, unsubstantiated of course, that a manager named McGarry took them to the west coast and wound up with several pennants and a couple of world championships. This team had a pitching staff that made history. Of course, none of them smiled very much, but it happens to be a fact that they pitched like nothing human. And if you’re interested as to where these gentlemen came from, you might check under “B” for baseball in the Twilight Zone.


Well, it makes me wonder how easy they were to make if an ass like Coach Mouth was able to make a team of them. I also realized that Coach Mouth also played Corry on the Twilight Zone episode ‘The Lonely’. He was a jerk on that one, also. The next episode is a good one with a very meta twist to it.


Thanks for joining us and come back for next week’s episode: A World of His Own

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Mr. Bevis

Mr. Bevis


James B.W. Bevis – Orson Bean
J. Hardy Hempstead – Henry Jones
Mr. Peckinpaugh – Charles Lane
Margaret – Florence McMichael

Narrator: Rod Serling


I will warn you now, the snark will probably be strong in this one so if it’s one of your favorite episodes you may want to avert your eyes now.

Trigger Warnings: A quite racist clock on Mr. Bevis’ desk that he seems quite fond of.


Twilight Zone has a new intro. It opens with a close-up of an eye, with a lot of mascara. The pupil fades into a sun and a black bar slowly creeps into the scene. The title screen comes up, fades into stars and pans down into the episode. So it’s a bit shorter, that’s good. As it plays Rod Serling narrates:

“You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, The Twilight Zone.”


As it pans down we hear organ grinder music. Kids are playing in the street together. They all gather around the organ grinder and the monkey. In the apartment above there’s a guy sipping a cup of coffee or tea. His house is cluttered with various toys and whatnot. I really like the Viking-looking ship and the shark jaws. It’s so cluttered that he has to step over things to get ready for work. He takes his coat down from a gazelle skull, which is pretty freaking awesome looking.

SERLING:
In the parlance of the 20th century this is an oddball. His name is James B.W. Bevis and his tastes lean toward stuffed animals, zither music, professional football, Charles Dickens, moose heads, carnivals, dogs, children, and young ladies. Mr. Bevis is accident-prone, a little vague, a little discomboomerated with a life that possesses all the security of a floating crap game. But this can be said of our Mr. Bevis – without him, without his warmth, without his kindness, the world would be a considerably poorer place. Albeit a little saner.

Kind of makes you wonder if he collects children and young ladies. Mr. Bevis heads out the door but then darts back in to leave his teacup on the sofa cushion. With the cup still half full. Which is disgusting. As he goes downstairs he literally runs into a third of the things he’s fond of. first he runs into a puppy, then a young lady who tells him good morning, and a boy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he walked outside and into a carnival.

Mr. Bevis is eyeballing the banister and the young boy tells him to go for it. Bevis slides down it backwards, shooting off the end (and incurring a pretty wicked looking hit to the goods). He tumbles out of the door and down the front steps of the building. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you slide down a banister facing forward. And if there’s any kind of finial or decoration at the end I recommend the gentlemen not try it at all unless you’re wearing a cup. The boy covers his eyes but Mr. Bevis is grinning and perfectly fine.

He lands at the feet of a thin, little woman who does not look happy with him. She stares him down until he runs away to throw the football for the kids. Dang, it was football, not a carnival. A fruit vendor passing by tosses him an apple and says hi to Mr. Bevis. We get it. Mr. Bevis is beloved by the whole neighborhood.

SERLING:
James B.W. Bevis is a fixture in his own private, optimistic, hopeful little world. A world which has ceased being surprised by him.

Bevis stops to wipe a bit of dirt off of his fender. As he goes to get into his car he sees a ticket under his windshield wiper. He gives a very exaggerated “Aw, darn it” face then whistles with his fingers. I could never do that. All of the neighborhood kids come running to help Bevis get his car off to a running start. He waves goodbye cheerfully as he leaves them in a cloud of exhaust. Bye, kids! Thanks for starting my car, have some black lung! I will give it credit for being a very diverse neighborhood at least. That’s a bit surprising for the time period.

SERLING:
James B.W Bevis, on whom Dame Fortune will shortly turn her back but not before she gives him a paste in the mouth. Mr. James B.W. Bevis, just one block away from the Twilight Zone.

We get an overview of a typing pool. Most of the desks are neat and tidy except for, you guessed it, Mr. Bevis’. Theres a bottle, a vase with flowers, a picture, a bull and a stuffed squirrel. There’s some other junk, too. There’s a banner of a smiling guy and the camera pans down to show the same guy but very unsmiling now. The boss tells one of the other workers to tell the gentleman that when he finally reports to work the boss wants to see him. He shakes his head again at the desk and goes back to his office. The acting in Twilight Zone is usually pretty decent but this episode smells strongly of ham.

Bevis comes in and, whaddya know? Everyone loves him here, too. The lady in the desk behind his tells him that Mr. Peckinpaugh wants to see him. Bevis goes to the boss’ office and all of the typing stops as they stare for a minute. They all lean forward to eavesdrop better. The boss tells Bevis that his book-keeping sucks, his desk is messy and Bevis keeps bringing phonograph records to work. Ironically he’s telling Bevis that his ‘eccentricities’ are distracting the office as they’re showing this lovely bit of kitsch.

Bevis also hires carolers to come in and serenade the office during it’s busiest hours. I think we’re supposed to find these traits charming but frankly, they would annoy me too. And having a dead squirrel on your desk is just gross. Apparently everyone knows he’s fired because as soon as Bevis comes out, some guy brings Bevis a box to clear his desk. He shakes his head at Bevis. Enough with the head shaking!

Margaret comes to commiserate and Bevis says it’s the sixth job he’s had this year. She offers to help him pack. Bevis picks up a wooden ship and says he was carving it for one of the kids. So, what? You have to stop because you got fired? It seems like he’d have more time to finish it. Bevis says the only job he’s held for more than six months was during the war, when he was in the Navy.

Bevis lugs out his box of stuff. It’s so big that it’s hard to see over. He tries to grab for the door handle of his car but it’s not there. A shiny new car accidentally caught bumpers with Bevis’ car and when it takes off it drags Bevis’ car to the middle of the intersection. Where it causes chaos. Fortunately the only car that’s flipped over or harmed is Bevis’. A cop strolls over and asks if the car belongs to Bevis. Bevis says it’s his and the cop asks if the car does that often. Bevis says it’s the first time as far as he knows. The cop gives him a head shake. One more shake of the head and I’m out of here. Bevis says he’ll call for a tow truck and then asks the cop if he wants to buy the car, it’s a ’24 Rickenbacker. What follows is kind of bizarre. The cop says he’s got his eye on a ’27 but wants to wait for the newer models. I feel like it’s just a joke that I’m not getting.

Bevis finally gets home with his big box of crap. On the way in he sees a box of other crap from his apartment. On his way up he passes his landlady carrying more of his stuff. She tells him that he’s been evicted. He’s six weeks behind in his rent. To be honest, I’ve never rented so I don’t know if this is reasonable or unreasonable. I think it’s supposed to make us feel bad for Real Life crushing this poor dreamer but I don’t.

After the eviction Bevis heads to the local bar. Maybe you should throw some of that whiskey money towards rent, there, Bevis. He sees a guy waving at him in the mirror behind the bar. The man gestures to Bevis to join him at his table. Bevis shrugs a “Why the hell not” and turns around to join him. But when he turns he sees that the table is empty. Startled, Bevis whips to the mirror The man is still there and gestures again for Bevis to join him. Bevis calls over the bartender and asks him what was in the drink. The bartender tells Bevis that he put everything in there but atomic energy. Bevis wants to know if that’s why he can see the other man in the mirror but not at the booth (I’m looking at the man in the mirror-yow!) The bartender asks Bevis who he sees. Bevis would be an excellent reviewer because he corrects the bartender’s grammar and tells him “Whom, objective case”. The man in the mirror agrees.

Bevis goes over to the table and start looking around it and under it. Bevis sits down with his drink on the table and the man pops into view saying, “We meet at last, Mr. Bevis.” Bevis says great, who the hell are you. The stranger corrects him and tells him that it’s “whom”. He introduces himself as J. Hardy Hempstead, Guardian Angel. We get a close-up of Bevis’ overly exaggerated confused face and it fades to black.

As the bartender walks up Bevis waves at the empty side of the table and introduces Hempstead. The bartender picks up the empty shot glass, sniffs it and says, “And a Happy Thanksgiving to you”. Man, they say some weird stuff in this one. Hempstead pops back into the booth after the bartender leaves. He lays it out for Bevis. Way back when an ancestor of Bevis’ performed a great act of courage and so was rewarded with a guardian angel for each of the descendants – currently it’s Mr. Bevis’ turn. He says that many Bevis’, under their care were famous explorers, members of the British Parliament, and Gunner Louis. Who was the first Marine to land at Nicaragua. Apparently that’s “Uncle Louie!”. Bevis says he’s going to close his eyes and when he opens them he wants Hempstead to be gone.

Hempstead says he’s not a delusion. He’s there to help Bevis with assistance by small, minor miracles. So where the hell were you when he was getting fired? A chandelier starts to very slowly descend over Bevis’ head. Hempstead snaps his fingers and it goes back to where it belongs. Then he says “Watched over. Get the picture?” Hempstead points out that Bevis had an uncomfortable time of it lately, getting fired from his job, yadda yadda. Bevis says that Mr. Peckinpaugh doesn’t like zither music. I don’t think I’ve ever heard zither music so I can’t say if it’s any good or not. Hempstead says they’ll go back to that morning and make it a little better. Bevis gets excited and says they can do that? Hempstead says of course, they’ll make some changes of course.

The first thing Hempstead changes are Bevis’ clothes from a loud checker pattern into a nice black suit. Bevis doesn’t like it, he says he looks like an undertaker. Hempstead walks through the door and for some reason Bevis thinks he can. Of course he runs into the door. Sooo funny.

Re-starting the day. Bevis goes downstairs and tries to pet the puppy but it growls at him. He says hello to the same young lady as earlier but she’s very cold to him. Bevis goes to slide down the banister but Hempstead says nu-uh. The land-lady is really nice to him, however. He tries to play football with the kids but they ignore him. He says hi to the fruit vendor and asks what about his apple. Tony tells him to bug off. He looks for his Rickenbacker but now he’s got a fancy new car. But Bevis liked his Rickenbacker. Dang it, he likes giving the neighborhood kids a face full of exhaust. Hempstead says that to have his new life Bevis has to give up his eccentricities. Although inviting the carolers to work did get Bevis some approval from “The Organizatiion’. Apparently God is the mafia.

They go to his work and Bevis says someone has cleared off his desk. Hempstead tells him no such thing and says “you’ll see” and teleports away. Bevis says hello to everyone but they ignore him. He asks Margaret where all of his stuff is but she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Mr. Peckinpaugh comes out beaming at Bevis and says that Bevis has just gotten a raise to ten dollars a week and that his work has been superb. Uhh, is that a good idea? To announce raises like that?

Bevis freaks out and runs away. Bevis doesn’t want a raise. He wants to go home and play football with the neighborhood kids. Hempstead says that’s not going to happen. Bevis leaves in the elevator. Hempstead asks Bevis to level with him and tell him what it is that Bevis really wants. Hempstead doesn’t ‘get’ Bevis. He’s used to Bevis’s with big dreams. He’s used to Big Bevis’ (heh heh). Bevis say he doesn’t want to seem ungrateful but he wants his old like. He goes into a long monologue about how his dreams are worth more than $10.00 a week.

So, Bevis goes back to his own life, fired, eviction and all. Little things start changing like a police officer going to give him a ticket for parking in front of the hydrant and the hydrant moves in front of another car. And that’s it. He makes plans to get another job and apartment and finish the model ship and I am so done with this episode. I’ll let Serling take it from here.

SERLING:
Mr. James B.W. Bevis, who believes in a magic all his own. The magic of a child’s smile, the magic of liking and being liked. The strange and wondrous mysticism that is the simple act of living. Mr. James B.W. Bevis, specie of 20th century male who has his own private and special Twilight Zone.


Ugh, this episode is so annoying. So, apparently, you can’t be a good person with a little bit of money and being responsible. Thank Cthulhu that the next episode is The After-Hours, which is an excellent episode.

Join us for next week’s episode: The After-Hours

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Passage for Trumpet

Passage for Trumpet

Joey Crown – Jack Klugman
Gabriel – John Anderson
Baron – Frank Wolff
Nan – Mary Webster
Truck Driver – James Flavin
Pawnshop Man – Ned Glass


Trigger Warnings: Thoughts of suicide, attempted (and partly successful) suicide.

A passage for self-pity might be a better title for this episode. Prepare for heavy snark incoming. I’m not in a humour to tolerate stupidity this Tuesday.

We hear the ubiquitous jazz music (what else did you expect with an episode entitled ‘Passage for Trumpet’?) It looks like we’re in a back alley with old signs and I really hope some old statues. Either that or there’s a ballerina frozen in place in the alley.

SERLING:
Joey Crown. Musician with an odd, intense face. Whose life is a quest for impossible things. Like flowers in concrete, or like trying to pluck a note of music out of the air and put it under a glass to treasure.

The music stops and Joey Crown grabs his trumpet out of it’s case and looks very nervously anxious. Some well-dressed people come out and look with uncomfortable disdain at Joey. The man who had been playing comes out soon after them to have a smoke in the alley. Joey squares his shoulders and seems to gather his courage to talk to the dapper man. The man, whose name is Baron, seems very glad to see Joey and shakes his hand vigorously. Joey says he brought along his baby (his horn and I long to make a rubbing your brass joke here but I’ll restrain myself) and wants to know if Baron needs a horn for the night. Baron looks a bit uncomfortable and tells Joey that he doesn’t need a horn that night. The last time Joey played for him the alcohol got in the way. Joey replies, “Psssh! Booze! Don’t remember what it tastes like! He’s way up on the wagon now!”

Baron doesn’t look like he believes him. Joey gets affronted and says he’s not an old coot. He acknowledges what booze does to him. But he’s not an old man and he and his trumpet have a lot of years left in them. Baron softens a bit. Joey flings an arm about Baron’s shoulders. He assures Baron that he wouldn’t throw his talent away on a bum habit. Joey rattles on, trying to convince Baron, telling him that when he plays he can make people cry. Which might sound weird but listening to certain music can affect me the same way. Except jazz. It’s one of the few musical genres I have no interest in. I don’t mean to slight those that do like it, everyone has their own taste.

Anyways, back to the story. Alas, as Baron sits down on a nearby crate Joey snatches up his case and a bottle of whiskey, Golden Delight, falls out and shatters on the ground. Baron looks disappointed and Joey looks ashamed. Baron says, “Don’t do it.” I’m not sure what he means, exactly. Don’t lie? Don’t go onstage? don’t be ashamed? Baron slips some money into Joey’s pocket, telling him it’s for when he had a magic horn. Harry James, Max Kaminski and Butterfield. Taking a quick tip-toe through the internet I find that these are actual, well-known jazz musicians. Baron tells Joey that he had a little of all their talent rolled into one. Joey traded it for some booze and got the crummy end of the stick. Baron wants to know why? What happened to him?

Joey says it’s because “he’s sad, because he’s nothing, because he lives and dies in a crummy one-roomer with dirty walls and cracked pipes.” So? Some people have it a lot worse. Clean your walls, fix your pipes. Sheesh.  He doesn’t have a girl, he’ll never be anybody. Since he’s decently good looking I’m thinking his attitude is probably what keeps the ladies away. He goes on to say that the horn is half of him. He can’t even talk to people because the horn is half his language. But when he’s drunk, oh boy, he doesn’t see the crummy apartment and doesn’t see the hours going by because then he’s Gabriel with the horn. Baron is exceedingly patient throughout this speech. Joey puts his trumpet to his lips. I think the actor screws up but I don’t play the trumpet so I’m not really sure. At first he puts the whole mouthpiece in his mouth, then takes it out. I only played the flute (for one year and very, very badly, sadly my dreams of being the next Ian Anderson were crushed). So i thought maybe it’s something players do to wet the mouthpiece.

Anyways, Joey goes on to say that when he’s drinking he’s Gabriel with his golden horn. When he puts the trumpet to his lips, it comes out jewels, a symphony, the smell of fresh flowers in the summer. Beauty. I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for his neighbors. But only when he’s drunk. Joey wanders off and Baron looks like he feels very sorry for him. He doesn’t wander very far, in fact, I can’t see that he’d really be even out of sight of Baron. Joey throws a bit of a fit and chucks his case down, settling himself down in the scaffolding. Then he calls himself a plain, nothing, nobody. He decides to let out his misery in a melancholy trumpet riff. As little as jazz thrills me (although I do like the trumpet in some songs, Johnny Cash’s ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ has some excellent horns in it) I do get the reason behind his doing so. As the great philosopher Jem says, music is magic. And weirdly, when I’m bummed or annoyed, depressing music actually cheers me up. Either that or metal. Whichever.

As Rod talks, Joey continues to play. It does look like he’s actually playing. So maybe I was wrong earlier.

SERLING:
Joey Crown. Musician with an odd, intense face. Who, in a moment, will try to leave the Earth and discover the middle ground. The place we call…the Twilight Zone.

Joey wanders into a pawn shop and sets his trumpet down on the counter. The pawn shop guy greets him by name and Joey calls him Nate so I’m guessing that this isn’t the first time Joey’s pawned something. Joey says that this time he’s selling the trumpet. Nate offers him eight and a half for it. Joey starts to argue but says fine. Eight and a half. Nate says he’d give more but he has enough instruments there to provide two sousa bands and he needs another trumpet like he needs his taxes raised. Which, if Joey weren’t so caught up in his own misery, should make him think that he’s not the only one with unfulfilled dreams of music. Joey takes out the trumpet to touch it a bit more before he sells it. Why bother selling it? He obviously loves it, he’s not getting much money for it so he might as well keep it. He does the mouth thing on it again so now I’m guessing it is actually something trumpet players do. Any of you guys know?

Joey took his newfound wealth to a bar. He bows to a lady walking by but when she doesn’t pay him any attention he changes it to a hand gesture that’s not quite a flip-off but close. Joey walks over to the pawn shop, which looks like it’s right next door to the bar, so Joey didn’t go far. He watches as Nate puts his trumpet in the window with a price tag of $25.00. A far cry from the eight bucks he paid for it. Joey taps on the window to let Nate know that he sees him. Nate has the good grace to look embarrassed and shrugs and tells Joey that he won’t get that price for it that quickly. Nate says he’s got an overhead that he has to meet and that guys like Joey wouldn’t understand that. They don’t have anyone to be responsible for. Which is generally how pawn shops work so you’d think that Joey would know that. Joey agrees with himself that he has no responsibilities, no nothing.

As he stumbles from the window he leans against a post for a minute, chewing on his nail. Weirdly the light looks as though it’s turned from night to day. He watches a truck hauling down the road and at the last minute throws himself in front of it. Great. Traumatize the driver because you want out. Don’t worry, I’m not going off too much here but that’s a pretty crappy thing to do, since now the driver will feel guilty about hitting him.

Joey bounces off the hood and back onto the sidewalk. There’s a very nice shot of Joey’s face reflected in the pawn shop window. It’s night again and Joey wakes up and gets up. There’s only one person around and that’s a police officer, talking on an emergency telephone. When he gets off the phone Joey talks to the officer and tell him that he’s not a real drunk, just ask the officer who’s normally there, Officer Flaherty. The officer is making notes in a notebook and doesn’t appear to hear him.

Joey walks off, asking a passer-by for a light but the passer-by ignores him. Hmm, wonder what’s going on? A guy is combing his hair in the reflection of a window and Joey asks him for a light. The Comber ignores him, too. He asks the ticket cashier at a theater if the movies are any good. He sounds like he’s getting a bit frustrated now. He says he’s “not a masher” but he knows the girl that usually works there. a girl named Gracie. Can someone tell me what “masher” or “mashing” means? I also came across it in Robert W. Chambers’ ‘The Yellow Sign’, in which a young lady says that she “made a mash”. The only thing I could think of was a flirter or flirtation?

He keeps talking to the lady. It sounds like he’s trying to convince other people (and himself) that it was an ‘accident’ not attempted suicide. She continues to ignore him. He tells her that she could at least be courteous. He yells at her to look at him. It’s finally dawning on him that it might have actually been successful rather than an attempt. Although I always had an issue with the phrase “successful suicide”.

He looks at the window the Comber was looking into but does not see a reflection. So he’s either dead or he’s a vampire. He starts getting a little worried and falls back on the favored Twilight Zone fallback of “someone’s pulling a gag”. I truly believe you could make a drinking game out of how many times that phrase is used. He tries talking to the girl again and then back to the window/mirror. He sees a man reflected behind him and runs over to him. Joey again asks for a light and is relieved when the guy pulls out a matchbook. Joey thinks that he’s finally heard but the joke’s on him. The guy lights his own cigarette and walks on. I always said that would be hell. Cigarettes a-plenty but nothing to light them with.

Joey’s cigarette falls from his mouth as the truth finally sinks in that he’s dead. He yells to some people coming out of the theater that the truck worked after all. As a woman comes up to purchase a ticket he tells her that he’s haunting her – Boogee booggee (really, that’s exactly what he does). I’m not sure if he’s freaking out about being dead or enjoying it. He says that at last in his short life he was successful at something.

He walks back into the bar and asks the bartender if Charlie’s off. Then he yells if anyone hears or sees him. He’s looking a bit bored with his newfound ghosthood. He says he used to come in there a lot but he doesn’t know any of them and they surely wouldn’t have noticed him. It does strike me odd that everyone’s different. Shouldn’t they be the same people? And if they’re afterlife people shouldn’t they see him? Even though he’s a ghost and nobody sees or hears him, he’s able to pick up the bottle of Golden Delight whiskey and pour himself a drink. Without the bartender noticing a floating bottle right in front of his face. I don’t know why but I feel like there’s something to the name of the whiskey, Golden Delight, that makes me think it’s not a random name but for the life of me I can’t pin down what it could be referencing.

The bartender is so studiously looking away from Joey that it looks a bit unnatural. I’d think that he’d glance in his direction once by accident, even if he doesn’t see him. And I don’t know what the bartender is doing behind the bar but the hand motions look…odd.

Joey says Charlie was a really nice guy and would sometimes give him a drink on the house. He also went out and got an old Tommy Dorsey record from way back, when Joey was playing with him. On that same record was a long passage of Joey playing the trumpet, solo. Charlie ordered it just for him and put it on the jukebox. Charlie does seem like a very nice guy. After cuddling the jukebox a bit more, Joey wanders back to the club from earlier.

As he’s checking out a blonde who apparently went outside to take two puffs of a cigarette and go back in, he hears some soulful horn music from somewhere nearby. It draws Joey like a magnet and he soon finds the player. He watches, enraptured as the player (who’s half in shadow) plays. When he stops, Joey begs him to continue, it’s so beautiful. The player says thank you. Joey gets all excited because the Mysterious Trumpet Player heard him. Joey asks him if he’s a ghost, too, and the player laughs and says “not really”.

I know it’s not, nor is it supposed to be, but damn. The Mysterious Trumpet Player looks like Abraham Lincoln. Joey says he is, he stepped in front of a rather large truck that morning so he’s not fit for “The House”. It doesn’t seem to trouble him much. Abe Lincoln asks Joey, by name, if he’d like to blow on his trumpet for a bit. I…will say nothing here. Either way, is that normal because I know how wet mouthpieces get (this is killing me) and it seems a little icky to me to share a mouthpiece. Joey catches that the man called him by name. The Player replies that yes, he knows Joey, has known him for quite some time. Joey says they’ve never been introduced. The Player says that’s true but he does know him, Joey plays a pretty good trumpet. He says he should know, he’s a pretty good expert on trumpets. Joey says The Player is no slouch. He tells him to go ahead. Joey plays a bit (I notice he doesn’t stick it in his mouth, though). The Mysterious Player watches with pleasure.

Joey wants to know how The Mysterious Player knows him. He’s not a ghost, and not dead. The man replies no, he’s not dead. And neither is Joey. This strikes Joey and he doesn’t look particularly pleased about it. The player says nope, by no means. Joey wants to know why the other people didn’t see him. The Mysterious Player says that they are ghosts. They just don’t know it. Sometimes they have to work it that way to make it easier. They let them go on in a life that they’re familiar with.

Joey says he stepped off the curb and the player says yes, he did. Joey’s in a kind of limbo. Neither here nor there. The Mysterious Player asks which Joey prefers? Joey mulls over the question. He says he always felt that he was getting dealt from the bottom but then says that maybe he just forgot how much there was for him. And maybe he forgot about how much he loved playing the trumpet and going to Charlie’s and talking to people and movies. He says he never won a beauty contest but he had friends. Good friends. as evidenced by Baron, earlier. And, really, I do think he’s rather good looking. Maybe not dazzling eye candy but handsome. Twilight Zone must think so, too. This guy shows up on a lot of them.

Joey says somewhere along the line he forgot about all of the good things. Just forgot. I think a lot of people do, myself included. The Mysterious Player says that Joey has a choice. Joey looks excited at this. He says if he really has a choice then he wants to go back. The Mysterious Player says, ok, you go back, then. He tells him no more stepping off of curbs. Impressing upon him that this is his choice and will be the only chance. Sometimes life is sweet and sometimes it’s sour and goes down hard. Since I like sour stuff I think I’d compare it more to a rock being shoved down your throat and being kicked in the gut while you’re down. But hey, that’s just me.

Mysterious Player tells Joey that he’s got a good talent. To make music, to move people. To make them want to laugh, to cry, to tap their feet, dance. It’s an exceptional talent. I’ve got to agree with him. Any art form is a true talent and shouldn’t be slighted. Drawing, painting, music, computer graphics, all of them. He takes back his trumpet and tells Joey not to waste his talent. He says he’ll see Joey around and walks off.

Joey yells after him to “Wait! I didn’t get your name!” The man with the trumpet yells back that his name is Gabe, short for Gabriel.

Joey runs after him and ends up in front of the pawn shop. He hears tires screeching and a scream and turns to look. Suddenly he’s on the sidewalk, with the man from the truck leaning over him. The guy says he’s sorry, he didn’t see him, Joey just stepped right out in front of him. Joey’s lucky he only got grazed a bit. Joey says it’s ok, no harm done. The truck driver says he hasn’t had an accident in fourteen years and he’d be much obliged if Joey didn’t call any ambulance or insurance companies or anything. He thanks Joey for being a pal and shoves some money in his hand. Well, since Joey deliberately stepped in front of the truck it is the least he could do.

Joey looks at the money in his hand and runs into the pawn shop to reclaim his property. Later he’s playing on the rooftop of an apartment building, presumably the one with his crummy room with the dirty walls. A lady appears out of nowhere and compliments Joey’s playing. Joey tells her that he gave it up this morning but now he’s taking it back. She tells him that she just moved in. Joey tells him her name and she surprises him by asking him to play some more. He says he’ll play whatever she wants for as long as she wants him to. He tells her it’s a pretty nice city. The lady asks if maybe he can show her around. Methinks Joey’s gonna get a girlfriend. Maybe he’ll clean his walls if he’s got a lady friend. He starts telling her all about the cool things he can show her. We leave with him excitedly talking to the lady and pretty assured that things will be looking up for Joey.

SERLING:
Joey Crown, who makes music and who discovered something about life. That it can be rich and rewarding and full of beauty, just like the music he played. If a person would only pause to look and to listen…Joey Crown, who got his clue in the Twilight Zone.


Another Serling lesson about slowing down and smelling the roses. At least it’s not an escaping to the past episode. Not to sound annoying but this episode does have a pint. Life’s just a tad too short to be too ‘cool’ to not enjoy stuff.


Join us next week for yet another life lesson in being happy with what you are and/or have: Mr. Bevis