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
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.