Twilight Zone – A Thing About Machines

★★★ October 28, 1960 Season 2 Episode 4

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

There is one question about this episode. Are the machines really against him or is he having delusions? Richard Haydn plays Bartlett Finchley  a writer who is an insulting snob and one of the most unlikable characters you could meet.  There are not many redeemable qualities in Finchley…change “not many” to none. He has trouble with machines and it seems that machines have trouble with him…but is it in his mind?

Richard Haydn is great in this part of playing this character. You meet his secretary and TV repairman and it seems the abuse from Finchley has been going on for a while…so this is nothing new. Machines can be bothersome…your computer freezing, car stalling, or your phone dying when you really need it. On that note you can relate but it’s still hard to dig up sympathy for Mr. Finchley.

You have to wonder if this episode influenced future works like Christine and The Car.

This weekend we will have two excellent episodes…two of the best. 

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is Mr. Bartlett Finchley, age forty-eight, a practicing sophisticate who writes very special and very precious things for gourmet magazines and the like. He’s a bachelor and a recluse with few friends, only devotees and adherents to the cause of tart sophistry. He has no interests save whatever current annoyances he can put his mind to. He has no purpose to his life except the formulation of day-to-day opportunities to vent his wrath on mechanical contrivances of an age he abhors. In short, Mr. Bartlett Finchley is a malcontent, born either too late or too early in the century, and who, in just a moment, will enter a realm where muscles and the will to fight back are not limited to human beings. Next stop for Mr. Bartlett Finchley – The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Bartlett Finchley is an odd man, a writer who contributes to food magazines and the like. He lives alone and is always it seems in need of a repairman for one piece of household equipment or another. As time has gone by, he seems to be in a constant battle with machines – his typewriter, his television – which all have the same message for him: get out of the house. He has no intention of doing so however and the battle begins

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Yes, it could just be. It could just be that Mr. Bartlett Finchley succumbed from a heart attack and a set of delusions. It could just be that he was tormented by an imagination as sharp as his wit and as pointed as his dislikes. But as perceived by those attending, this is one explanation that has left the premises with the deceased. Look for it filed under ‘M’ for Machines – in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Richard Haydn … Bartlett Finchley
Barbara Stuart … Ms. Rogers
Barney Phillips … TV Repairman
Henry Beckman … Cop
Jay Overholts … Intern
Margarita Cordova … Girl on TV
Lew Brown … Telephone Repairman (uncredited)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

34 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – A Thing About Machines”

  1. Agree the problem with the episode is it couldn’t decide whether the machines fighting back was real or it was all in his mind – never really tipped it either way and so ended up being kind of a let down.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel like many times shows about technology fighting back aren’t done well and end up being kind of dopey. There was an X files episode that was like that. One exception was HAL in 2001

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh HAL was perfect…but they could build the suspense around him without him flying like a snake…That movie is still impressive in special effects.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi sorry got busy this weekend. Yes I think that’s what the episode was called – was in the first season. I just remember being at my in-laws and dragging every one in to see this cool new show called the Xfiles and that was the episode and everyone being underwhelmed. Granted it’s been years since I saw it. Xfiles is on Hulu. Maybe if I rewatch I’ll have a different reaction.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes I think my in laws were the latter. 😀. I don’t remember Kill switch but it sounds very intriguing esp if William Gibson was involved. I’ll go back a d check it out. Thanks for the rev!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. sounds like one I might skip. Serling was a fantastic writer, but if he had a flaw, it seems like he had hard times coming up with balanced characters… in quite a few of the episodes, the bad were super-villainous, the good were perhaps angels. Mind you, more often than not this seemed to work. And the half hour time frame probably made subtlety more difficult .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Back in the time this was made, machines in the home were more novel. I think if you look at the story as a metaphor it’s better (I say as a person who hasn’t seen it yet.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No I need feedback…I’m not great at reviewing…and I don’t like giving the end away…the TZ makes that hard.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. lol….the character is great…he does a great acting job but there are no teeth in the script…the next ones coming up are great though.

      Liked by 1 person

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