Franklin Gibbs – Everett Sloane
Flora Gibbs – Vivi Janiss
Narrator – Rod Serling
There’s enough neon signs to let us know that yes, indeed, we are in Las Vegas. Let’s see, a roulette wheel, dice, cigarette girl, yup, it is a casino. Two suits from the casino approach a couple whom they call Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs. First Suit asks if they’re enjoying themselves and their room. First Suit says that it’s not every day they have ‘celebrated contest winners’. Second Suit chimes in with “no, just every other day” The Mrs. seems excited to be there but her husband (who looks quite a bit older than her) looks less than thrilled. Second Suit is the photographer for the casino and wants to get a picture for the Gibbs’ hometown newspaper. First Suit says he’ll get the picture off to the Elgin Bugle right away. he tells the Gibbs to enjoy themselves and remember they have unlimited credit. Mr. Gibbs still looks grouchy and First Suit walks away.
Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs. 3 Days and 2 nights, all expenses paid at a Las Vegas hotel, won by Mrs. Gibbs’ knack with a phrase. Unbeknownst to either Mr. or Mrs. Gibbs is the fact that there’s a prize in that package neither expected nor bargained for. In just a moment one of them will succumb to an illness worse than any virus can produce. A most inoperative, deadly, life-shattering affliction known as “The Fever”.
Mrs. Gibbs is extremely excited to be there. “There’s such a flavor to the place!” Her words, not mine. Mr. Gibbs basically tells her to cram her flavor, he hates it there. He tells her she knows how he feels about gambling. Flora says it’s different there but Franklin disagrees. Gambling is gambling and it’s an immoral den of iniquity. I’m paraphrasing a bit. He tells Flora that it’s her vacation, she won it. But he’s going to do his damndest to make sure she doesn’t enjoy it.
Flora tells him to try and enjoy it if he can. A lady wins the hundred grand jackpot and they bring it to her a nice big bowl of cash. Ok, I don’t know casino history but did they really do that? It seems a little unsafe to me. Flora eyeballs the Super Jackpot machine. Bad idea Flora. It just paid out. Then a different machine catches her eye. She has the temerity to put a nickel in the machine and Franklin freaks out, snatching her arm away. He says she might as well throw them away. Dude, chill. It’s a freaking nickel. Then he reams her out because she was an idiot and won a contest for the three days and nights that he’s wasting by being there all because she’s silly enough to want to have fun. It seems he was only good with it because it didn’t cost them anything but now that she’s spending actual money, a whole nickel! Well! He just won’t stand for that! Flora honey, cut your losses now.
He’s chewing her out in front of everyone like the douche chugger he is. She tries to calm him down by promising not to play anymore. Then she points out that the nickel is already in it so he ‘lets’ her pull the arm. Damn, it seems like your arm would get tired pulling those things. Which is probably why they switched to buttons on the electronic ones. Don’t want the gamblers getting tired and walking away. It doesn’t win and she jokes that she’s unlucky. Franklin decides he’s had enough of all of this debauchery and leaves to go back to their room.
On the way a drunk guy grabs Franklin, shoves a dollar in his hand and totters off. They’re definitely bigger than a quarter. Franklin gets tempted by a nearby slot machine so he gives it a try with encouraging looks from Flora. He yanks the arm and wins some coins. Franklin says that’s the difference between his intelligence and all the other crazy fools there. They’re going to take their loot and go home with it. Because they’re Baboons but the Gibbs are not. He decides to go off to have a shave before dinner. The drunk guy comes back and feeds another dollar into the machine Franklin just left, seemingly proving his point. But, since we know we’re in the Twilight Zone, things are going to get shaky for the Gibbs.
A freaky voice starts calling Franklin’s name. Ah, the siren call of the slot machines. Although it’s definitely not a nice voice. It’s harsh and rather annoying. In the hotel room Flora is fast asleep and Franklin is eyeballing the stack of dollars. He gets up all sneaky and grabs the stack. Flora turns the lights on and wants to know what Franklin is doing. Franklin says he wants to go get rid of the money. It’s tainted, immoral money and he wants to get rid of it. Whatever Franklin. First you’re a total douche canoe to your wife, in front of everyone, because she wanted to try a nickel machine. Now you’re making excuses to go lose $15 – $20 dollars. I’m thinking it’s Franklin that gets The Fever.
Flora follows him down and says it’s awfully late. Franklin ignores her. He promptly loses the dollars to the machine. He gets some money from the window, already sweating like a baboon. My apologies to the simians. I’d rather hang out with a monkey than Franklin. And I hate those poop-throwing little things. Flora tries to gently pull him away and he bites her head off asking her to kindly shut her mouth. Because he hates shrews that give him miserable luck. he says the slot machines are “inhuman” for letting you win a little and then taking it back. Well, yes, Franklin, machines are generally inhuman. And they don’t make you play. You’ve got legs, you can walk away and the machine won’t follow you.
Five hours later he’s still there. Flora tries to pull him away again but he tells her to leave him alone. I’m telling you Flora, cut your losses. The guys at the cage have a little conversation about him saying “when they get hooked, they get really hooked.” There’s a montage of Franklin using the machine and getting more money out to feed the machine. It’s the next morning and Flora tries to pull him away, again.
There’s more montage of him so we have no idea how much longer it has been. It appears to at least be a day or two. He puts his last dollar in but the machine’s arm jams. He yanks on the arm for a while and then just straight up attacks it. He wants his damn dollar back. They drag him off and says that he’s going to need a doctor. Two casino people prop it back up and hang an ‘Out of Order’ sign on it.
Franklin is upstairs in bed, wide awake and tortured by the machine calling his name. He blames the machine for breaking down so it didn’t have to pay out. He says it’s not a machine but an entity with a will of it’s own. He keeps babbling about that and his last silver dollar. He keeps hearing it calling him. “Franklin!”
He goes to leave the hotel room but “Aaahhh!” The evil slot machine is there! Guess I was wrong, it did grow legs and follow him. He slams the door and runs to the other side of the room. The Evil Machine follows him in and Franklin starts freaking out. Flora tells him there’s nothing there. Franklin backs away from it and falls. The doctor, police officer and cop have a little moralizing over the body. The Evil Slot Machine spits out Franklin’s last silver dollar at him.
Mr. Franklin Gibbs, visitor to Las Vegas, who lost his money, his reason and finally, his life to an inanimate metal machine. Variously described as a one-armed bandit, a slot machine, or in Mr. Franklin Gibbs’ words – a monster with a will all it’s own, for our purposes we’ll stick with the latter definition because we’re in the Twilight Zone.
I really, really hate this episode. Franklin’s an ass and the constant “Franklin!” is really annoying. Not much to really say about it.
Please join us again for next week’s episode: The Last Flight (which is much, much better).