The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 36 – The Bewitchin’ Pool

Sport and Jeb are the young children of Gil and Gloria Sharewood.  They live on a beautiful estate with a big house and a large in ground swimming pool.  But their prosperous parents dislike each other intensely and bicker constantly.  One day while their parents are fighting the children see a little boy with a Huckleberry Finn straw hat on his head appear in the swimming pool and tells them to follow him.

They swim down into the pool and end up somehow coming out into a swimming hole where they see a country cottage surrounded by a swarm of children playing happily together.  The boy they followed Whitt introduces them to Aunt T, an old lady who takes care of the children.  She gives them chores and acts as a loving grandmother to them.  She gets Sport and Jeb to frost a cake she’s making for the children and they are really happy to be in a happy love-filled environment.  But then Sport hears her mother worriedly calling to them and she tells Aunt T they have to back to their home because they and their parents love each other.  Aunt T agrees that a loving home is the best place for children.  They swim back into the pool and their parents are very angry with them for disappearing and punish them by sending them to bed without supper.

The next morning Sport is painting outside when her mother wants her to get her brother who has disappeared.  She says she has a big announcement and there won’t be any more fighting in the house.  Sport goes into the pool and finds her way back to Aunt T’s house where Jeb is happily helping out.  Sport tells Jeb that they have to go back and that things were going to be better without any more fighting.

When Jeb and Sport get back their parents tell them they’re getting divorced and the kids will have to pick who they want to live with.  Jeb and sport run back to the pool and their parents chase them and tell them to get out of the pool.  When they don’t resurface their father jumps in.  When he comes back up, he tells his wife that they aren’t in the pool.  She becomes hysterical crying for them to come back.

Jeb and Sport are happily frosting cakes with Aunt T when suddenly Sport hears her mother’s voice calling for them.  But she ignores it and they go back to their happy life at Aunt T’s.

This was the last episode to be televised in the Twilight Zone series.  Because of this, some technical problems they had with sound on the outdoors segments of the show caused major issues.  The actress who played Sport was not available to re-dub the sound and so a voice actress, June Foray had to be used to voice over Sport’s lines.  Foray was the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon series and her voice is noticeably different from the actress who played Sport.  This change is actually quite jarring for the listener.

Another incidental note for this episode has to do with the actress who played Sport (Mary Badham).  In this episode the sister and brother are named Sport and Jeb.  In a well-known movie that Mary had recently been in (To Kill a Mockingbird) the character she played was a sister named Scout with a brother named Jem.  A coincidence?  I think not!

This fantasy episode is addressing the topical problem of an increased divorce rate in America at the time.  Of course, compared to today it was an idyllic era for family life but modernity was already taking its toll on the sanctity of marriage and the family.  I see what Serling was saying in this episode and it is admirable.  Dramatically the story is simple but effective.  Even counting in the technical problems with the voice over I’ll call this a B+.


The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 35 – The Fear

Charlotte Scott is a New York City fashion designer hiding out in the back country recovering from a nervous breakdown.  State Trooper Robert Franklin shows up at the door of her out of the way but opulently appointed cabin to follow up on a report from some townspeople that Miss Scott had said she had seen strange lights in the sky.

While being questioned by the officer Charlotte displays all the phrases and behaviors expected from a city snob when denigrating the country folk, she despises.  Robert calls her out on this rudeness and is about to leave when suddenly a blinding light appears outside the cabin and forces him to leave her in the cabin while he investigates.  When he returns, she apologizes for her rudeness and claims she is masking insecurity associated with her fear of the unknown after seeing the mysterious lights earlier.  Robert accepts her apology and tells her he’s pretty scared himself.  He tells her he thinks that the lights are associated with a UFO.

They discuss how to determine what is going on when suddenly Robert’s car drives by with no one at the wheel.  It ends up on its side and Robert determines that the car radio is dead.  Now they retreat back into the cabin with the aim of holing up until morning when it will seem safe to leave.  Charlotte hears noise on the roof but when Robert goes outside and climbs up, he doesn’t see anything.  But he discovers that his patrol car is back in its original position but with a set of fingerprints visible on the surface showing that the car had been moved back into position by being lifted by a giant’s hand.  Robert tells Charlotte that there was nothing on the roof but if it had wanted to it could have crushed the house flat.  He approximates the giant as being about 500 feet tall.

They sleep the rest of the night but in the morning, they decide to walk back to town.  They come upon a foot print of gigantic proportions.  While talking about the danger they face Charlotte panics and bolts down the path.  When she reaches the clearing suddenly, she sees a one-eyed alien about 500 feet tall.  She screams and Robert comes running up.  He tells her to run away and he’ll attempt to stop the alien with his service revolver.  She refuses and says she’ll stay with him.  He fires several shots at the monster and suddenly the two humans are practically blown off their feet by a powerful wind.  Eventually we see that the monster was actually a balloon and the wind was caused by the bullets puncturing and deflating the balloon.

Charlotte is confused about how all this happened but Robert sees a small flying saucer on the ground nearby.  Inside they see and hear the tiny space men radioing their home base for permission to flee the Earth before they are attacked by the giant humans.  They report that their plan to frighten the humans with the phony giant alien and tricks with the car have failed because the humans are fearless.  The space ship flies away.  And Robert expresses sympathy for the aliens and hopes on the next world they land that they are the giants instead of Lilliputians.  Charlotte worries about what will happen if the next aliens she encounters are real giants.  Robert proudly tells her that he believes she’ll spit in their eyes.

This is a pretty silly episode but the characters are likable and the story moves right along.  I think what I like about the story is that it reflects the conventional but very appealing scenario of the maiden in distress and the knight in shining armor willing to fight the dragon to protect her.  And as opposed to the modern upended trope of the independent woman Charlotte is grateful to Robert for his valor and protection.  Based on all that, this is a solid B episode.  And Hazel Court who plays Charlotte is actually quite attractive, so, that’s got to be worth at least half a point.  B+.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 34 – Come Wander with Me

Floyd Burney is a rock and roll singer who calls himself the Rock-A-Billy Kid.  He received a tip that the owner of a store out in the back country could sell him some authentic folk songs.  Leaving his car on a ridge that’s blocked by a downed tree he finds the store and it’s full of old musical instruments.  But after negotiating with the old man the owner refuses to sell him any music.  Suddenly Floyd hears the voice of a woman singing a sad ballad.  The audience is shown a headstone that says “Floyd Burney, the Wandering Man.”  He follows the singing into the woods and unbeknownst to Floyd we see that a woman in mourning clothes is watching from a distance.

Tired of his futile search Floyd sits on a log and starts strumming his guitar.  From behind him a young woman in country clothes joins him.  Floyd welcomes her and asks her who she is.  She tells him that her name is Mary Rachel.  Two things we learn is that she is the singer Floyd’s been hearing and that she can’t sell the song because someone already owns it.  When Floyd starts showing romantic interest in Rachel she is bespoke, meaning she is engaged.  Floyd makes a play for her believing he’ll get the song if she thinks he loves her.  She agrees to go with him and run away from her boyfriend Billy, one of the Rayford brothers.  Now Floyd gets her to sing some of the song into his tape recorder.

But Billy shows up and at rifle point orders Floyd to come with him to see his brothers “who know how to deal with the likes of Floyd.  Floyd uses his guitar to push the rifle off of himself and attacks Billy.  Floyd hits Billy to the head and kills him.  Now we hear another verse of the song telling how Billy is killed and how the brothers look for Floyd.  Floyd panics and starts screaming at Rachel to tell him what’s going on.  She tells him that this is how it always happens and she asks him if this time he can not run away but let her hide him.  But he refuses and runs.  Now we see the woman in mourning is Rachel.

Floyd goes back to the store and begs the man to hide him.  The old man refuses and Floyd angrily strikes him.  The old man dies and suddenly all the instruments and music boxes start playing.  While Floyd cowers hiding in the store the Rayford brothers come in and shoot him dead.


I thought this episode sucked.  The music is boring and annoying.  The story is predictable and uninteresting.  I didn’t like the characters.  D.



The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 33 – The Brain Center at Whipple’s

Wallace Whipple is the CEO of Whipple Enterprises and he employs hundreds of thousands of people in his plants.  But he is obsessed with efficiency and he explains to his plant manager Walter Hanley that he intends to automate away all the workers in his plants.

Whipple waxes poetic about the joys of efficiency but Hanley chides him on his lack of feelings toward all the loyal employees that have worked faithfully for him for decades.  Whipple scoffs at Hanley and mentions the generous severance package and retirement benefits he will provide to all the employees he’s about to fire.

A mechanic named Dickerson becomes deranged when he hears about the computer that is replacing hundreds of men.  He comes back to the plant drunk and attacks the computer with a tire iron.  When the night watchman fails to act quickly Whipple grabs his gun and shoots Dickerson himself.

In the next scene we see Hanley returning from the hospital where Dickerson is expected to live.  When he castigates Whipple for shooting the man, Whipple tells him that he has purchased a machine that can do Hanley’s job.  And he adds that Hanley is fired.  Hanley’s answer is that he intended to quit that day anyway and in lieu of severance or retirement benefits he punches Whipple in the face as payment.

In the next scene Whipple is at the local bar and looks slightly disheveled with a one-day beard.  He sees Hanley at the bar and asks him how he’s getting along in retirement.  Hanley says it’s tolerable.  Whipple starts to explain that the Board of Directors of Whipple’s thought that Whipple had become too obsessed by his automation project so they retired him.  Now he whines to Hanley that it’s unfair that machines displace men and thereby diminish them.

In the final scene we see a robot in Whipple’s office talking on the telephone and doing all the things Whipple used to do, even twirling the same keychain that Whipple used to twirl.  Interestingly, the robot is Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet.

This is a silly episode but Serling couldn’t decide if it was serious or for laughs.  It comes off as odd and slightly flat.  I’m giving this a C.


The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 32 – Mr. Garrity and the Graves

Jared Garrity arrives in Happiness, Arizona circa 1875 and enters the saloon where he wakes up the saloon keeper Jensen and asks for a beer.  Praising the town Garrity marvels at how peaceful it is and Jensen tells him that it only was renamed Happiness ten months ago when the new Sheriff named Gilchrist established law and order in the previously lawless town by killing off the outlaws like Lightning Peterson.  Since then everything has been happy in Happiness.  But when Jensen asks Garrity what his line of work is Garrity replies, “I raise the dead.”

Garrity continues that he is able to resurrect the dead through scientific principles that he learned in the Himalayas.  As they were talking in the bar the hear a dog give a loud yelp from out on the street.  Rushing outside they see that a dog is lying apparently dead on the street and a man driving a wagon says that the dog ran under his wheels and was killed.

Garrity announces that he will resurrect the dog if everyone present will turn their backs while he performs his secret procedure.  After a few seconds of Garrity mumbling some words they hear a bark and turning around they see that the dog is indeed alive and unharmed.

Now Garrity announces that, that very night, he will resurrect all the dead in their Boot Hill and that the departed would arrive back in town at midnight.  As the hour approaches A form is seen walking through the fog toward the saloon and Garrity tells Jensen that since his brother was the last to die, he will be the first to return.  Jensen nervously tells Garrity that his brother John was a thief and a drunkard.  And he tells Garrity that if there is some way to stop the resurrection, he would want it.  Garrity tells him that resurrection is easy but reversing it is difficult, $700 of difficult.  Jensen pays.  Then each of the townspeople pay Garrity to keep their kin from returning.  Mr. Gooberman, the town drunk pays for his wife Zelda to stay dead so she won’t break his arm again for the seventh time.  And the sheriff pays $1,200 to keep Lightning Peterson from coming back, especially since rumor has it that Sheriff Gilchrist shot him in the back.

After collecting all his fees Garrity leaves town and in front of the graveyard he meets up with the man who drove the wagon over the dog and of course, his dog.  Garrity compliments his friend for impersonating Jensen’s brother and then they discuss their next con job in Tucson.  As he leaves, Garrity addresses the denizens of the graveyard and apologizes for not actually being able to bring them back to life.

As he drives away, the dead rise up from their graves and stagger down the road toward town.  John Jensen, Zelda Gooberman and Lightning Peterson each express their impatience to get back to Happiness and greet their “friends and relatives.”

What can I say?  John Dehner, J. Pat O’Malley and Stanley Adams as Garrity, Gooberman and Jensen respectively are fine character actors who take comic turns in this farcical passion play.  Between the cowardly hypocrisy of the denizens of Happiness and the creepy supernatural ending this is a very enjoyable comic Twilight Zone episode.  A.


The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 31 – The Encounter

Mr. Fenton is a WW II veteran of the Pacific Theater who is in his attic throwing away junk.  Taro (Arthur) Takamori is a young Japanese American who stopped by to ask if he could add Fenton’s yard to his lawn mowing route.  Fenton asks him to come up to the attic to help him clean up the junk and to share a beer.

During the conversation we discover that Fenton has a lot of hostility toward the Japanese from his time in the war.  He shows Arthur the samurai sword he took from a Japanese officer whom he says was trying to kill him with it.  Fenton claims he’s tried repeatedly to get rid of the sword by giving it away, selling it and throwing it in the trash but each time it’s been returned.

When Fenton leaves the attic to get a beer Arthur picks up the sword and says, “I’m going to kill him.”  Then he immediately asks himself “Why?”

Fenton continues to interlace insults with his conversation with Arthur and Arthur is clearly becoming angry.  Fenton becomes more and more agitated and begins describing just how dangerous a trained soldier like himself is.  At this point Arthur grabs the sword and seems to be preparing to attack Fenton with it.  Fenton arms himself with a small knife and attempts to disarm Arthur but Arthur ends up with the sword against Fenton’s throat.  Fenton placates Arthur by saying he was just describing his war training not threatening Arthur.  Arthur puts the sword down and they begin fencing with words again.  When Fenton says that he killed the officer in self defense Arthur calls him a liar and says the officer had put the sword down when Fenton killed him.  Fenton admits it but says that on Okinawa the standing order was take no prisoners.

Next we learn a little about why Arthur is so angry.  His father was construction contractor for the US Navy in Pearl Harbor and had built a dock for the Navy.  Initially Arthur tells Fenton that his father was a war hero who had warned the sailors about the approaching planes but later he breaks down and admits that his father had betrayed the Americans and had guided the planes to their targets.  He was a traitor and Arthur was consumed by the blood guilt.

When Arthur tries to leave the attic, he finds that the door is inexplicably stuck.  They continue to talk and we learn that Fenton has lost his job and his wife over his drinking and the anger that he harbored over the war.  Once again Fenton and Arthur become involved in a fight with Arthur wielding the sword.  After a prolonged struggle Fenton manages to pry the sword out of Arthur’s hands and tosses it aside.  But the sword was caught between some of the furniture in the attic with the blade protruding up.  And when Fenton attempts to get up off the floor where he had been wrestling with Arthur, the young man grabs Fenton’s feet out from under him and Fenton impales himself on the blade and dies.  Arthur grabs the sword with an anguished look on his face, yells banzai! And hurls himself through the attic window to his death below.  Finally, the door to the outside opens on its own.

Rod Serling returns to one of his fascinations.  Serling served in the Pacific and it scarred his mind.  Fenton to some extent symbolizes the barbarity of the war but typically for Serling, he faults the American soldier and makes the Japanese officer the noble victim.  To be somewhat even handed he gives Arthur a guilt complex over his father’s treason.  But it’s pretty clear where our sympathies are supposed to lie.  I would give this episode a B but George Takei plays Arthur.  George and I do not share political sympathies.  I think he’s a jerk.  So, I’m giving it a B- because I’m as vindictive as they come.


The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 30 – Stopover in a Quiet Town

Bob and Millie Frazier are Manhattanites that went to a party in the northern suburbs and have awakened the next morning in a suburban house in their party clothes from the night before with hangovers and no recollection of why they aren’t back home.

They squabble about whose fault it is that they’re there.  Bob was drunk so Millie drove them home.  But the last thing she remembers from the drive is a shadow enveloping the car and then nothing.  They walk around the house and find no one there.  When they try to use the telephone, they find out it’s not wired in but just hooked onto the wall.  Likewise, the cabinets in the kitchen are fake with the drawers just panels glued onto a blank wooden side.  And the refrigerator is empty except for some prop loaves of bread and empty food boxes.  The only sign of life is the sound in the background of a little girl giggling.

The go outside and find no people and only a stuffed squirrel propped on a tree branch.  The go to the church and it’s empty.  Bob rings the church bell for an extended time but nobody responds.  They walk down the street and every once in a while, they hear the childish laughter coming from nowhere.  They discover that the trees are fake and the grass is papier-mâché.  Finally, they think they’ve found a man sitting in a car but it’s just a dummy.  Then they find out that the car has no engine.

They start to crack up and Millie imagines that they crashed last night and they are in hell.  But then Bob here’s the whistle of a commuter train and they run to find it.  They rush on board just as it leaves Centerville (the name of the town).  The train pulls out of the station and they laugh with relief.  But the next stop is back where they started from in Centerville.

Now angry and determined, Bob tells Millie that they’re going to leave on foot down the main road.  But after a short time, they hear the laughter again and looking up they see a giant eight-year-old girl.  They run but she catches them and scoops them up in her hand.  Her mother shows up and tells her to play nicely with her pets because her father just brought them all the way from Earth.  But it’s lunch time so she deposits Bob and Millie back in Centerville until she finishes eating.

Alright, altogether!  What are my two primary rules for the Twilight Zone?

  • No mannequins, puppets or robots that think they are people.
  • No episodes where someone wakes up someplace alone and starts running around screaming for help.

Obviously, this falls under rule number two.  But you know what?  Seeing Bob and Millie in the palm of the giant little girl’s hand is just ridiculous enough to earn this the comedy exception clause.  Let’s go with a B-.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 29 – The Jeopardy Room

Martin Landau plays Major Ivan Kuchenko a Soviet defector trying to leave a neutral country bordering the Soviet Union and fly to the United States.  He is staying in a cheap hotel room waiting for his flight the next morning.  The phone in his room rings and a voice calling himself “a friend” tells him to expect a visit.

Commissar Vasiloff and his hitman Boris are occupying a room in the next building over and Boris tells Vasiloff that from the window he has a clear head shot at Kuchenko.  Vasiloff explains to Boris that the difference between them is that when it comes to assassination, Boris is a butcher and Vasiloff is an artist.  Vasiloff intends to have Kuchenko killed before the next morning but he intends to do it creatively and with finesse.

Vasiloff arrives at Kuchenko’s apartment door bearing a bottle of wine (amontillado, he states).  He tells Kuchenko that he intends to stop him from escaping but tells him that they can begin with a friendly drink.  Kuchenko refuses but Vasiloff drinks some wine to show it’s not poisoned.  Satisfied as to the safety of the wine Kuchenko drinks some of it but finds himself drugged and losing consciousness.

When he awakens, he finds Vasiloff gone but in his place a tape recorder.  When he plays the tape it’s Vasiloff’s voice explaining the present situation.  Vasiloff drugged him with a compound that he himself had become immune to.  Kuchenko is under surveillance by a gunman across the way and can be shot at any time.  Vasiloff has booby trapped something in the room.  Kuchenko must locate and disarm the trap within 3 hours.  If he finds it and disarms it within 3 hours, he will be allowed to leave the room alive.  If:

  • he doesn’t find it within 3 hours he will be shot
  • he stops looking for the bomb he will be shot
  • he tries to turn out the light he will be shot.

Boris observes Kuchenko through binoculars and informs Vasiloff of his progress.  Finally, Boris begs Vasiloff to tell him where it is.  Vasiloff tells him it’s in the phone but it’s only triggered once an incoming call rings in.  After Kuchenko has been searching fruitlessly for hours he tries to cover the window with a blanket and Boris sprays the room with bullets.  Kuchenko becomes enraged and breaks out the windows and loudly demands that Vasiloff have him killed.  As the end of the three hours is close Vasiloff calls Kuchenko’s room on the phone.  Kuchenko is about to pick up the receiver when he realizes where the bomb is.  Vasiloff calls again and this time Kuchenko makes a mad dash for the door and escapes before a hail of bullets hit the wall behind him.

Next, Boris and Vasiloff are shown in Kuchenko’s room and Boris gloats that his simple way would have been best but Vasiloff claims that there is time for him to finish off Kuchenko before he can reach America.  But suddenly the phone rings and without thinking Boris reaches to answer it.  Vasiloff begins to warn him but before he can finish Boris lifts the receiver and the bomb explodes killing them both.

In the last scene we see Kuchenko in a phone booth and we hear the operator say that the line has gone dead.  Kuchenko tells her never mind, because he has gotten through to the party he was trying to reach.  He leaves the public phone smiling.

Martin Landau was well known on tv as a part of the cast of the spy series, Mission Impossible, that was later turned into a series of movies.

This episode has a very simple plot and really is more of a spy thriller than a Twilight Zone episode.  But, it’s very entertaining, I think.  All three actors do a good job with the plot and lines they are given.  A-.

21SEP2019 – OCF Update

A major milestone is fast approaching.  October 9th will be the review of the final episode of the Twilight Zone Series.  It’s going to be a foot race between the last eight episodes and my will to watch them.  Season Five, with a few notable exceptions was pretty mediocre.  Once I finish I will be starting a review of the Star Trek original series.  That will be a lot of fun for me and I intend to be pretty merciless  when it comes to reviewing the skill of the acting especially of that Demigod of Bad Acting, Bill Shatner.  I intend to return to the Twilight Zone to pick my top ten and bottom ten and look at various themes and talk about the later manifestations like the revivals and the motion picture.  After a hundred and fifty six episodes I’ll need a break.  But never fear there is all kinds of worthwhile materials to review and recommend in both the sf&f genre and elsewhere in the world of entertainment.

I’m reading what so far seems like a very interesting book called White Shift.  It examines the current influx of Non-European immigrants into America and Europe and its effects on the white populations of those areas.  Regardless of the political point of view of the author it isn’t the usual “diversity is our strength” lecture.  I’ll finish it before discussing it in depth but it seems to include a relatively even handed approach to the different points of view of white Americans and for that alone it’s interesting.

Political events are starting to accelerate again.  Brexit, Kavanaugh, Creepy Uncle Joe and Fauxcahantas are all in the news and Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine are heating up.  The usual suspects (McCabe, Comey and company) are still not in jail so I’m beginning to wonder if there is an election timing aspect to this.   Or maybe, the Deep State really is untouchable.  Well, hang in there the next few weeks look like fun.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 28 – Caesar and Me

Former child star Jackie Cooper plays Jonathan West, an Irish immigrant who has a very unsuccessful career as a ventriloquist.  Caesar, his dummy is, of course, alive.  He berates Jonathan because of his failure and threatens to abandon him.  Having pawned his last valuables and owing the rent to his landlady Mrs. Cudahy, Jonathan and Caesar go on one last audition at a local nightclub.  But the audition is a bomb and now Jonathan is desperate.  Caesar mocks Jonathan and tells him that he is going to have to become a thief if he wants to avoid being evicted.  Caesar talks him through breaking into the local deli and stealing enough money for the rent.

But Mrs. Cudahy has a young niece Susan who dislikes Jonathan and suspects that something strange is going on with Caesar.  She eavesdrops on them talking together in their room and tries to figure out how Caesar seems to be talking.

Now Caesar tells Jonathan they need to get more money and relates a plan to rob the nightclub that they auditioned at.  Jonathan doesn’t want to do it but Caesar is adamant and they go to the club at midnight.  While escaping with the money they are caught by the night watchman but they convince him that they were there waiting for the boss.  He had seen them at the audition and believes their story so he lets them go.  That night Jonathan bewails his new career as a thief and Susan hears them talking about the robbery through the door.

The next day news of the robbery reaches Susan and she immediately calls the police to report Jonathan.  The police show up at Jonathan’s door and they tell him he’s been identified by the night watchman.  Jonathan confesses and is taken away by the police.  Susan watches Jonathan being taken away but then Caesar speaks to her.  He tells her that he knows where the stolen money is and if she will get the money and take him along he’ll show her around New York City.  She says she wants to but says her Aunt will stop her.  Caesar tells her that she can get rid of her Aunt (sounding like murder).

Regular readers of these Twilight Zone reviews know how I feel about living dummies.  But seeing how close we are to the end of the series and knowing this is the last dummy story I won’t go on and on.  The story is sort of melodramatic and Jackie Cooper plays the character as a pathetic figure.  The story is thin.  C+.