The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 30 – Hocus-Pocus and Frisby

Now this is more like it.  After those last two clunkers I was wondering if Season Three was all done.  But this will do.

Frisby (played by the unique Andy Devine) is a general store owner somewhere in the southwest named Frisby.  He is a spinner of tall tales and a terrible braggart.  According to him he has invented just about everything and has studied almost every field of science and engineering.  The customers of his establishment (one of whom is played by Howard McNear who was Floyd the Barber on the Andy Griffith Show) tolerate his lies because while he is pontificating, they are able to steal small pieces of candy behind his back.  We are subjected to an almost constant barrage of these tall tales in the first scene of the show.  Then a car pulls up to Frisby’s gas pump and while he fills their tank and regales them with the story of how he invented the rear mounted engine in their car the two men identify him as the man they are looking for.

Later on, as Frisby is closing his store he hears voices in the dark telling him to walk down the road to embark on a great adventure.  When he timidly refuses, he is levitated into the air and toward the destination that he was invited to.  On the desert floor we see a flying saucer (of course the one from Forbidden Planet) and the same voice invites him to enter.  Once inside, we see the two men from the car we saw earlier surrounded by other crew members.  They tell Frisby that they are aliens come to Earth to select a superior specimen for their menagerie.  After hearing of all his exploits and accomplishments they assume he is one of the most remarkable humans alive.  Frisby tells them that all the stories are lies.  But they do not understand the concept.  His lies have finally caught up with him.

When Frisby tries to leave they block his way.  When he resists and punches one of them in the face, the face cracks and is seen to be a mask hiding a strange non-human visage.  Seeing this Frisby faints.  When he comes to, the unmasked alien talks to him and declares that they will be leaving Earth momentarily.  To console himself Frisby begins playing his harmonica.  But the music has a toxic effect on the aliens and as they stagger back from the sound Frisby dashes for the door which they gladly open to allow his exit.  The saucer takes off to allow their escape from the “Death Sound” of Frisby’s instrument and he heads back to his store.  When he gets there the customers are throwing a birthday party for him.  He tries to tell them of his adventure but they laugh it off as just one of his wilder stories.

It doesn’t get much goofier than this one.  But it’s a great farce. A-

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 29 – Four O’Clock

Oliver Crangle lives alone in a cramped cluttered dark apartment and has a parrot that periodically squawks out the word nut. He is near-sighted almost to the point of blindness from obsessively documenting all his enemies and spends his day “investigating” people that he reads about in the paper or sees on television or meets in the street.  He categorizes everyone and any that he deems evil, he harasses and attacks.  If he thinks that the clerk in the post office is a communist then he’ll call up his boss and report him.  If he reads about an accident victim that died in a hospital, he’ll find out who the attending physician was and report him to the hospital as negligent.

The wife of the doctor who he has attempted to vilify comes to Crangle’s apartment to find out why he is doing it.  When Crangle asks whether the hospital is ready to discharge her husband she tells him that the hospital doesn’t believe the charge.  But she says her husband is a sensitive man and the abuse is wounding him.  But Crangle has no sympathy.

Later an FBI agent shows up and interviews Crangle about a complaint he has sent to the bureau about communist infiltration.  While talking to the agent Crangle reveals his new plan.  Crangle says that by using only his will he will turn all the evil people in the world into two-foot-tall midgets at exactly four o’clock pm.  The agent tells Crangle to seek psychiatric help.  Crangle reviles the agent and tells him that he too will be one of the midgets.

At four o’clock Crangle is reduced to two feet in height.

The previous episode, The Little People, and this present one are about height.  But I guess that’s a metaphor for moral stature.  This is a character study about a 1960s version of a social justice warrior.  I wonder what Rod would think of how his side in the culture war has mutated into the thing he hated.  Interesting inversion.  The episode is a little thin for my tastes.  Your mileage may vary.   C.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 28 – The Little People

Captain William Fletcher (played by Claude Akins) lands his space ship on an asteroid (of course) to repair damage done by a meteor shower.  His copilot Peter Craig bellyaches about the inconvenience of being stuck on a boring speck of dust and about having to obey Fletcher’s orders.  When Fletcher asks him why he’s so allergic to taking orders Craig confesses that what he wants more than anything else is to be the big boss.

While Fletcher is busy repairing the ship, Craig goes out exploring the asteroid.  He discovers water but what is astonishing is that he discovers a civilization of tiny people smaller than ants.  They have towns and automobiles and boats.  And what makes Craig really happy is that he has become their leader and in fact their god.  Because he can destroy anything in their world just by stepping on it the little people fear him and will obey any order, he gives them.

The next day Fletcher discovers that the little people have built a life size statue of Peter Craig.  Craig had ordered them to build it and complete it in one night.  But when Craig starts stepping on some of the little people’s town, just to keep them afraid and show who’s boss, Fletcher knocks Craig down and berates him for behaving like a sadist.

Later on, Fletcher tells Craig that he’s repaired the ship and now it’s time to leave.  Craig refuses to leave and when Fletcher attempts to force him to go Craig pulls out a blaster and threatens Fletcher with it.  In fact, he blows the head off of his statue to show he means business.  Craig intends to stay on the asteroid and spend his days as the deity of the little people and their curse.  Craig gives Fletcher an ultimatum, leave or die.  So, Fletcher blasts off in the rocket and Craig laughs as the ship ascends into the sky.  But later a space ship lands and two giants as tall as mountains happen upon Petr Craig and one accidentally crushes him to death while trying to pick him up.  The giants are saddened by the accidental death they’ve caused but they drop Peter back on the ground near the little people’s settlement as they leave.

Later we see that the little people use ropes to tip over the statue on top of the corpse of their former god.

What can I say?  Claude Akins is an amusing character actor but there’s not much to work with here.  It’s sort of a riff on Gulliver’s Travels and the bad guy gets his comeuppance, I guess.  C+ is the best I can do.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 27 – Person or Persons Unknown

Richard Long plays David Gurney a married man waking up with a hangover after a very late night out with his wife Wilma.  As he staggers around his bedroom trying to shake off his hangover he berates his sleeping wife for not even removing his shoes before letting him fall asleep the night before.  Getting ready for work, he is sore at his wife because she can sleep late so he slaps her on the butt to wake her up.  She wakes up but then becomes noticeably upset claiming Gurney is a stranger to her and threatening to call the police if he doesn’t leave her bedroom immediately.  David decides it’s some sort of joke cooked up between his wife and one of his friends at work.  After a few sarcastic words with Wilma he heads out of the house and drives to his job at the bank in his car.

When he gets to work nobody greets him and everyone acts as if they don’t know him.  When he sees someone sitting at his desk he gets angry and tells the occupant to leave.  The bank guard comes over and Gurney gets into an altercation with him.  The guard pulls his gun out and forces David out onto the sidewalk.  There waiting for them are a few policemen and Wilma.  David attempts to convince them that he is who he claims to be but they arrest him and take him in the patrol car.

In the next scene David is in the office of a psychiatrist who tries to convince him that he has built up an imaginary persona under the influence of a mental illness. To convince David of this the psychiatrist calls up the telephone numbers of the friends and family who David says will know him.  All of them, including his mother deny the very existence of David Gurney.  Desperate to prove his existence David dives through the office window and escapes in a stolen truck.  Going to his favorite bar he tries to get his friend the bartender to recognize him but with no success.  Finally, he goes to a photographer’s store and asks for the photos that he had taken with Wilma.  Looking in the envelope he sees a photograph of himself with his arm around Wilma.  Just as he’s leaving the store, the police and the psychiatrist intercept him.  David triumphantly tells the psychiatrist that he’s found proof of his own existence but when the psychiatrist looks in the envelope the picture only contains David.  Now David breaks down and starts wailing that he does exist.

The scene shifts to David back in his bedroom crying out in his sleep.  Wilma wakes up and tries to reassure him that he’s only having a bad dream.  David is overjoyed to wake from the bad dream to find that his wife knows him.  He wants to kiss her but she tells him to wait until she takes off her cold cream and her hair turban.  But when she returns from the bathroom Wilma is now a blonde instead of a brunette and even though she knows David he is seeing a woman different from the wife he married.  Dant, dant, Dahhhh!

To start off I’d like to express the opinion that Wilma #2 is significantly better looking than Wilma #1 so all things considered this hardly seems like a nightmare ending he’s left in.  Secondly this episode is a “man screaming at his surroundings” episode which I have often condemned on aesthetic grounds.  But I must confess that a number of details in the episode amused me.  First off, I found his hectoring of his sleeping wife and then slapping her on the butt very naturalistic. I always enjoy the portrayal of the war between the sexes as long as the playing field isn’t tilted against the husband as it so often is.  Secondly Richard Long is a decent actor and he made the character personable and sympathetic.  And finally, the psychiatrist was not as ingratiating and condescending as so many characters in that persona typically are portrayed.  Let’s give it a B-.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 26 – Little Girl Lost

Chris and Ruth Miller wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of their six-year-old daughter Tina crying for them.  Chris puts on his slippers and goes into Tina’s room but she’s not in her bed.  He calls to her and she answers him but he can’t see her.  Thinking that she’s rolled off and under the bed he looks underneath but she’s not there.  Ruth comes into the room and turns on the light.  Now they see she’s not in the room but they can still hear Tina crying out for them and now her voice seems to be coming from different places in the house.  Chris says he’s going to check under the house but as he opens the kitchen door the little family dog Mack runs inside and runs past Ruth and under the bed.  But Mack disappears too and only his bark indicates that he’s still nearby.

Chris rushes back in the room and after catching up with what happened from Ruth, he tells her that Tina isn’t under the house and he is going to call for help.  He calls his friend Bill and tells him to hurry over.  Ruth wants to know what Bill can do.  Chris tells her that Bill is a physicist and maybe he can explain what is happening.

When Bill arrives, he listens to the story from the couple and then with Chris’s help he moves the bed out of the way.  After some trial and error poking at the floor and wall behind the bed he finds a door sized area of the wall that, though it appears solid, allows his hand to pass through it.  Borrowing a piece of chalk from Ruth he draws an arch around where the portal to another dimension seems to have opened.

Bill tells the Millers that the portal is an opening between our three-dimensional universe and a higher dimensioned space that temporarily are juxtaposed next to each other.  Bill asks why he can’t just go in and get Tina and Bill says that the other dimension may not be normal enough for human sight to navigate it successfully.  He suggests that they call to Tina and tell her to hold onto Mack and follow him back out when they call the dog.  Apparently, the sharper senses of the dog would be a more reliable conduit for escape back into our world.

Tina does indeed see Mack and she begins to follow their instructions but while Chris is coaxing her to follow the dog, he falls into the portal and now is standing in the strange murky and confusing space inside the wall.  With much back and forth talk between Chris and Tina she slowly follows Mack back to where Chris is waiting.  Meanwhile Bill is imploring Chris to hurry the process as much as possible.  Finally, Chris has Tina by the hand and all at once the two people and the dog come tumbling out onto the floor of Tina’s bedroom.  Ruth grabs Tina and takes her out of the room for safety.  Bill stands talking to Chris about the escape.  Chris asks Bill how he was able to see him to pull him out of the portal.  Bill explains that Chris was never fully in the portal.  His back was still in the room.  And now Bill slaps his hand on the wall where the portal used to be.  It was shut.  Bill told him that it was closing all the time he was half in and half out of it.  Another few seconds and he would have been cut in half by its closing.

This is a weird one.  The dramatic effect of the episode is marred by a few problems.  The voice of Tina is actually noticeably that of a grown woman affecting a childish sound.  I found it quite annoying.  And the scene in the other dimension where Chris is calling to Tina and each can’t see the other but keep calling back and forth is also kind of monotonous and annoying.  I get that they were trying to build suspense and excitement but I thought it was overly long and not very effective visually.  And the fact that Chris would call a physicist to handle a missing child is kind of “Ghostbusteresque.”

But the use of the dimensional portal as a plot element in the conventional setting of a normal American household is original and interesting.  Well, at least original for TV.  After all, I remember Heinlein had that story “And He Built a Crooked House.”  Either way it’s an interesting story concept.  Despite the less than brilliant dramatic elements I’m giving this a B+.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – SF&F Movie Review – EEGAH!

EEGAH!  (also known as; “EEGAH! The Name Written In Blood”)

A 1962 schlock sci-fi movie apparently shot on a budget in the double digits. It is notable for three things; first, being one of the 50 worst movies ever made. Second, introducing us to Richard Kiel who went on to star as the giant alien in the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”, and as the melancholy villain/henchman Jaws in the James Bond franchise. Lastly, it proudly introduced America to the dune buggy, a sort of hot rod with “tires filled with water for traction” meant to climb desert sand dunes. If you ever watched the cartoon Speed Buggy as a child, you’ll get the drift.

The comely Marilyn Manning plays the beautiful damsel and a forgettable Arch Hall, Jr as the hero with a DA haircut and a poorly recorded singing voice.

Kiel was the only decent actor in the lot and he played well considering what he was given to work with. I love the movie as I love all scholcky sci-fi movies, the worse, the better. Arch Hall, Sr drafted his son as the hero and himself played a part in the movie. Senior wrote it and headed the film company.

Poor EEGAH. He somehow survived in a cave from the caveman days to present, along with his mummified family. How he managed to live years in the area around Palm Springs without discovery is a mystery, but the movie glosses over all that. Fumes or something. He is in the road looking for roadkill and is almost hit by the comely heroine, who passes out at the sight of him and accidentally scares him off by honking the horn. An Easter egg is that there are sheep bleating in the background when EEGAH picks up a deer carcass and carries it off. She tells her father, a sort of amateur archaeologist or something, who goes out in a helicopter to be dropped off to look around. The chopper drops him off but that is the last we hear of the chopper. It breaks or something so the hero and heroine ride off in the new Dune Buggy to go look for dear old dad.

Dad is found, the hero sent off, and the heroine captured by the amorous caveman. She’s the best looking things he’s seen in 10,000 years and she smells good, too. The heroine tries to keep EEGAH interested enough in her so that he doesn’t kill them both, while at the same time keeping things from going too far. Pretty much like a date with a fratboy, I guess. She shaves her father for some unknown and inappropriate reason, then EEGAH wants a shave, too. So she shaves him while he tries to make zug-zug with her and eat the shaving cream at the same time. A hilarious scene for me.

At any rate, the hero returns from wherever, gets dad and daughter out of the cave, and there is the predictable chase scene with the three of them running away from EEGAH in the dune buggy back to Palm Springs in time for a pool party which allows the heroine to show off her bikini bod (and a rather good, one, too), then to change into a form fitting sheath dress for a later party. Poor EEGAH comes to town looking for his love and instead gets into a comical series of adventures with civilization which were apparently stolen straight from the caveman scenes in Dinosaurus, another sci-fi movie from two years earlier. Then he crashes the pool party, whips all the fratboys, tries to run off with his lady love like a good caveman will do although he carries her instead of dragging her off by the hair. But the cops arrive and that is the end of poor EEGAH as he finds out a good club and a 7’2” frame are no match for little metal pellets going 1100 feet per second.

This movie is so loaded with cheese that it’s really a comedy. Marilyn Manning has two other IMDB credits, one of which was the actually good Sadist. Pity, as Ms Manning was very easy on the eyes, especially in a bikini. She could have given me a shave any day, if I had shaved back in 1962. Cuter than Annette Funicello of the Beach Party movie franchise. Mr Kiel went on to do bit parts calling for a tall guy and also got some better roles. As mentioned, he was an alien in Twilight Zone and Jaws in the James Bond franchise. He also played the tall man in the Adam Sandler movie Happy Gilmore. Overall, he has 82 credits on IMDB and had a successful career. Arch Hall Jr has a total of 9 IMDB credits, 6 of them his father’s films. He left acting to become a pilot. What happened to Marilyn Manning after her three movies is not known and I can find nothing really about her. She was a chiropractor’s receptionist in the same building as the film company for EEGAH! and was brought in because of her very good looks.

Overall, EEGAH! Is a hilarious send-up of sci-fi/horror movies. Like Plan 9 From Outer Space, it’s so bad, it’s good.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 25 – The Fugitive

In the first scene we see some boys playing softball.  When one is called out by the umpire a little girl with a leg brace (Jenny) complains about the call.  An old man (Ben) with a big moustache chastises her for contesting the umpire.  Then the old man is up to bat.  He hits the ball and it disappears over the trees like a rocket.  The kids lament the loss of the ball and the old man promises to make up for it by playing a game where they are space rangers and he is an outer space monster.  When the kids sneak up on the monster’s lair (a large bush) a real monster comes out and the kids “shoot” it with ray guns (really just their fingers pointing like a gun and making a ray gun noise).  The monster pretends to be shot and falls behind the bush.  And immediately the old man jumps out and says to the kids, “I think you got him.”

Old Ben carries Jenny (because of her disability) back to the apartment building where they both live.  Ben lives alone and Jenny lives with her very unpleasant Aunt Agnes (played by Nancy Kulp who was Miss Jane Hathaway on the Beverly Hillbillies).  Aunt Agnes is unhappy because she’s been forced to take responsibility for her orphaned niece.  And Agnes hates Ben whom she thinks encourages her niece to misbehave.  When Ben brings Jenny home, they both get abused verbally by Aunt Agnes.  Ben heads to his apartment.

Two men who claim to be police detectives show up at Aunt Agnes’ door and want to know information about Ben.  They imply that he may be a fugitive that they are chasing.  Hearing this, Jenny sneaks away to Ben’s apartment to warn him.  When Ben hears about the two men, he tells Jenny that he really is a fugitive but from a different planet.  And that he must leave Earth to escape these two men.  Suddenly the two men and Aunt Agnes are banging at the door of Ben’s apartment.  When they come in, they find Jenny but Ben is gone.  After interrogating her they bring her back to her room and the two men leave.  Aunt Agnes yells at Jenny and sends her to bed without supper.  As soon as she is alone, she takes a mouse out of her hand and putting it down it becomes Ben.  Ben tells her it is time for him to leave but before he goes, he has something for her.  She closes her eyes and Ben takes out a hand held device that has a whirling propeller and gives off a light and a noise.  He plays the light over her crippled leg and she is cured.  Ben turns into a fly and disappears out the window.

Jenny runs down the stairs to go after Ben but before she gets out the door, the two detectives point another device like the one Ben used before and Jenny falls unconscious to the floor.  A doctor is summoned and tells Aunt Agnes that Jenny seems to be dying.

Ben returns to Jenny’s room as a fly and then becomes himself.  Using his mysterious device, he wakes Jenny and tells her that the two men did this to her to force him to return.  And now they enter the room.  But what we discover from their talk is that Ben is a runaway king of a far distant world and these two men are loyal servants sent to bring him back to his loving subjects.  Ben acquiesces to returning home.  Jenny begs to go with Ben but the men say it wouldn’t be allowed by their laws.  When Jenny asks them to leave to the room to allow her to say goodbye to Ben the agree as long as Ben promises not to escape.  When they return Ben has changed himself into a twin of Jenny.  Since neither of the twins will admit which is Ben, the detectives will be forced to take both Jennies back to Ben’s world.

Serling’s closing monologue confirms that Ben doesn’t appear as an old man back on his planet.  A picture of him seems to be a boy of about sixteen, even though chronologically he’s hundreds of years old.  And Serling says when Jenny grows up, she’ll be a queen.

Most of the episode is a somewhat sentimental science fiction version of Cinderella.  But I found the idea that Old Ben who was very grandfatherly toward ten year old Jenny would eventually become her husband quite creepy.  Honestly, it ruined the whole thing for me.    F

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 24 – To Serve Man

Ah, one of my favorites!

The opening scene is of a disheveled man named Michael Chambers apparently an unhappy passenger in his cabin on a space ship, refusing a meal being offered to him over the ship’s intercom system.  He tells this story.

On a sunny April day in New York City a flying saucer lands and a nine-foot alien belonging to a race called the Kanamits speaks before the UN General Assembly.  He informs the humans that his people want to solve all of Earth’s problems and for completely altruistic reasons.  They will provide technological solutions to food and power scarcity and they will provide every country with an impenetrable force field that will render warfare obsolete.  When the Kanamit leaves the building, he leaves behind a book in the Kanamit language.  The American intelligence agencies pass the book over to their code cracking (cryptography) team, led by Michael Chambers and including his associate Patty.  After a while they are able to translate the title.  It reads, “To Serve Man.”  But the rest of the book evades their efforts to translate.

Meanwhile the Kanamits make good on their promises and provide the humans with technological wonders that make Earth a veritable paradise.  During a polygraph (lie detector) test the Kanamit reveals that as part of their new relations with Earth, the Kanamits were encouraging large numbers of humans to visit the Kanamit planet as a means of mutual cultural exchange.

In a scene at the Cryptography Department we see Michael Chambers and Patty talking about how their jobs have become obsolete with the disappearance of war and they note somewhat skeptically about how every day thousands of humans take the tourist trip to the Kanamit world while more and more Kanamits take up residence on Earth.  But then Chambers admits sheepishly that he has accepted an invitation to spend a lengthy sabbatical there in the near future.  Patty admits that she is still working to translate the Kanamit book even though no one now cares about the answers there.

In the next scene Michael Chambers is in line to go aboard the Kanamit space ship for his trip when Patty rushes up to the ship and calls to him.  A Kanamit restrains her but Chambers stops on the ramp and hears Patty say that immortal line, “Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book To Serve Man, it’s… it’s a cookbook!”

And of course, the other Kanamit at the ramp forces Chambers up the ramp and seals the ship for take-off.

In the last scene, on the space ship, Chambers finally relents and eats a meal when one of the Kanamits jokes that he wouldn’t want Chambers to lose weight.  Then Chambers summarizes the situation and speaking to the viewing audience he tells us that even if we are hearing this back on Earth, we’ll all be on the menu eventually, all of us.

The only cast item of note is that the Kanamits are all played by exceedingly tall actor, Richard Kiel who played Jaws in some of the James Bond movies.

What can I say?  I love this episode.  The title pun, the goofy looking Kanamits, the surprise ending.  It’s marvelous.  Oh sure, it’s all kinds of dopey.  A race that has intergalactic space travel capability and impenetrable force fields needs or wants to fool lesser beings into travelling halfway across the universe to be made into soup.  And the explanation for why the code breakers could translate the title of the book but not the text, because the title is in capital letters but the rest is lower case?  That’s nonsense.

But I don’t care.  How can you not love the payoff, the horrified woman trying to save her boss from the cannibal’s pot stuttering out the ultimate irony?  The Kanamits thought so little of our intelligence that they left behind the truth of their contempt for us in plain sight.  Marvelous.  A+

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 23 – The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank

The episode opens up with a funeral mass being held in a rustic church somewhere in a country holler.  A young man named Jeff Myrtlebank is being mourned by his family, friends and sweetheart.  He died two days earlier from influenza and the town is assembled to say goodbye and lay him to rest in the churchyard.

Suddenly the cover of the coffin is pushed open and Jeff sits up.  The congregation panics and stampedes out of the church.  When Jeff follows them out most of them are too frightened of him to go near him.  Jeff tells them that he just woke up in the box and doesn’t remember anything after he fell ill.  Jeff begs his family to welcome him back and finally his kid sister Liz comes up and hugs him.  Now the town doctor who up until this moment assured everyone that he had carefully checked for any sign of life when Jeff expired remembers a very rare syndrome that causes suspended animation as a side effect and declares this the reason for the miraculous cure.  This breaks the ice and the crowd calms down and Jeff’s parents get over their fear and take him home to a big meal to satisfy a three day fast.

But after a few days his parents notice some changes in their restored son.  Whereas previously Jeff was never a hard worker now he is relentless at performing all the hard farm work that he undertakes.  He has become remarkably stronger than he was before but despite this higher work output, he now eats much less than had been his habit.  Overhearing his parents talking about these things, Liz spread this information as gossip and it makes the rounds in the community.  Pretty soon the consensus around town is that Jeff is possessed by a haint or evil spirit.  When Jeff goes to see his girl Comfort Gatewood at her home, she is afraid of him, especially after the bouquet of roses he freshly picked for her turns out to be wilted and dead.  Her brother Orgram, who had always bullied Jeff when they were younger attempts to throw Jeff out of the house but Jeff easily beat him in a fistfight.

Now the whole town is convinced that Jeff is demon possessed.  Deciding that she still loves Jeff, Comfort reaches Jeff’s farm before the mob and warns him that they are coming to threaten him and force him to leave town.  When the mob reaches his property and gives him the ultimatum, Jeff asks Comfort if she will marry him.  When she accepts Jeff tells her to stand behind him and then he faces the crowd.

He makes a speech.  He says that there are two possibilities about him.  One is that he’s just a normal man and if that’s the case they have nothing to fear from him.  The other possibility is that he’s a haint and if that’s the case then he can use his powers to destroy their crops and kill their livestock.  When the mob thinks about this for a moment, they get the message and change their tune and say now that he is marrying Comfort everyone will be one big happy family and they depart quickly.

After they are alone Comfort asks Jeff if he really has those powers and Jeff demurs that it was just something he had to say.  But as he is lighting his pipe the match flares up without Jeff striking it.  Comfort exclaims about this but Jeff says, “Comfort, honey, first thing you got to learn is not to imagine things.”  Then as they’re walking toward his house the property gate at the road closes slowly behind them on its own.

Well, you all know I like the comical episodes and this one is definitely that.  And I liked the way it was done with just the right amount of cornpone, tongue-in-cheek hillbilly flavor to lay to rest any doubts as to its intentions.   It’s a B.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 22 – A Piano in the House

Jerry Fortune is a theater critic who doesn’t like anyone.  He is buying his much younger wife Esther a player piano because she wants to learn to play and he thinks it will be a cruel insult to taunt her with.  Jerry discovers that when this piano plays a song that is resonant with some hidden emotion in a listener then that person uncontrollably reveals the feeling to those present.  First the solemn faced butler reveals that he actually finds Mr. Fortune’s little cruelties quite funny.  Jerry decides to use the piano to reveal everyone’s secret feelings at Esther’s birthday party that night.

Esther reveals that she despises Jerry and wants to leave him.  Next, we find out that playwright Greg Walker is secretly in love with Esther and wants her to run away with him.  Then a very overweight “friend” Marge is humiliated by revealing her inner desire to be a dancer.  But before Jerry can continue the reign of terror Esther replaces the music spool with one that makes Jerry reveal that he is an insecure child that attacks everyone around him because inside he fears them.  When he admits his inadequacy Esther and Greg leave together, apparently to be together permanently and all the other guests leave as Jerry throws a childish tantrum.  When the butler returns Jerry asks him if he is going to laugh at him but the butler says, “You’re not funny anymore.”

This episode is pretty thin stuff.  I don’t even particularly dislike it.  It’s pretty forgettable.  C-.