The Twilight Zone (1962) – Four O’Clock, Hocus-Pocus and Frisby, and The Trade-Ins

Paramount Pictures’ The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series on blu-ray continues to entertain. This week’s trio of episodes continue to guide me deeper through the third season of the iconic series.

First up is Four O’Clock, which first aired 6 April, 1962, was penned by series creator Rod Serling, basing it on a short story by Price Day, this episode follows Oliver Crangle (Theodore Bikel) as he makes people’s lives unbearable, he makes phonecalls to employers and school boards complaining about communists working for them, or inappropriate behaviour.

In effect, he’s a modern day troll.  He even goes so far to complain to the FBI, touting his long list of people to inform on. He also warns them that at 4pm on this very day, all the evil people will be revealed.

The FBI recommends psychiatric help… but what if he’s right?

The twist of course is pretty obvious from the get go, but Bikel’s performance is so engaging, you just dislike him so much, that you want to see him get his just desserts, and by story’s end he certainly does.

Unfortunately, there’s not much more to it than that. It ends up being a very basic tale and you can see the ending coming a mile away…

The extras include an isolated score, sponsor billboards, and a radio adaptation starring Stan Freberg.

fouroclock

Hocus-Pocus and Frisby features the fantastic Andy Devine in a story written by Frederick Louis Fox and adapted by Serling. The episode first screened on 13 April, 1962.

Frisby (Devine) runs a rural general store and gas station, and tells tall tales. He expounds on everything, and makes his friends laugh at his unbelievable tales.

He has, however, caught the interest of a group of unusual visitors, who believe he may be a superior intellect.

Aliens! That’s right. Aliens abduct him believing him to be a perfect specimen of humanity. Will Frisby be able to escape? And will anyone ever believe this over-sized tale?

It’s a fun, laugh-filled story that I found very enjoyable, and has a but of a moral as well. The episode has a delightfully playful side, and Devine is perfectly cast and plays the tole to the hilt.

The alien design when revealed is pretty interesting, and the means of Frisby’s escape is just hilarious…

But you have to wonder if he’s learned his lesson or will he fall back into his old ways? And after decades of lying will anyone believe him when he finally tells the truth?

This episode features an isolated score, and billboards.

hocuspocus

The Trade-Ins is the final episode this week. Written by Serling it first aired on 20 April, 1962.

The tale follows two octogenarians John (Joseph Schildkraut) and Marie Holt (Alma Platt) who are about to trade-in their bodies for a couple or younger models at the New Life Corporation.

They only have enough money for one of them to get the operation, and they’ll have to decide what that means for their future together. They try to come up with ways to get the money, but decide that one of them should go first.

The episode has a delightfully poignant ending, as the idea of love is more enduring and treasured than youth. I like that. It’s quite a nice episode, and proves to be rather sentimental, and very well put together.

The extras include an interview with actor Edson Stoll, an isolated score, billboards and a radio version with H.M. Wynant, and Peggy Webber.

That’s all for this week, but make sure you come back again next Wednesday for another trio of these classic episodes. Check out the The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Pictures.

trade-ins

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