Twilight Zone Tuesday – Twenty Two

Twenty Two


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

Trigger Warnings:

Spoiler Tidbit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s been awhile since I’ve used this

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Penny for Your Thoughts

A Penny for Your Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Whole Truth

The Whole Truth

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Twilight Zone Tuesday – Night of the Meek

Night of the Meek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dundee tries to shush him but Corwin continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Twilight Zone Tuesday – Dust


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

Trigger Warnings: Execution by hanging

Spoiler Tidbit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twilight Zone Tuesday: A Most Unusual Camera

A Most Unusual Camera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Trouble with Templeton

The Trouble with Templeton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).