★★★1/2 March 3, 1961 Season 2 Episode 19
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This is a comedic episode that does have humorous moments. This is another one Serling wrote about human nature. Burgess Meredith plays Luther Dingle, a vaccum salesmen, who is pretty much a human punching bag. He lets people walk over him like the character played by Don Rickles . He is given the gift of strength by aliens and is observed. He then proceeds to over use the gift.
A year before, in an article about The Twilight Zone, a reporter had mistakenly referred to the main character of Mr. Denton on Doomsday as Mr. Dingle. Serling must have liked the name, for he created Mr. Dingle, the Strong. The casting as always is superb… it’s a very entertaining episode.
In this episode and many others like The Twilight Zone: Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?, a majority of the actors are smoking due to the demand of one of the Twilight Zone’s sponsors, a cigarette company.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
Uniquely American institution known as the neighborhood bar. Reading left to right are Mr. Anthony O’Toole, proprietor, who waters his drinks like geraniums but who stands foursquare for peace and quiet and for booths for ladies. This is Mr. Joseph J. Callahan, an unregistered bookie, whose entire life is any sporting event with two sides and a set of odds. His idea of a meeting at the summit is any dialogue between a catcher and a pitcher with more than one man on base. And this animated citizen is every anonymous bettor who ever dropped rent money on a horse race, a prize fight, or a floating crap game, and who took out his frustrations and his insolvency on any vulnerable fellow barstool companion within arm’s and fist’s reach. And this is Mr. Luther Dingle, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose volume of business is roughly that of a valet at a hobo convention. He’s a consummate failure in almost everything but is a good listener and has a prominent jaw. And these two unseen gentlemen are visitors from outer space. They are about to alter the destiny of Luther Dingle by leaving him a legacy, the kind you can’t hardly find no more. In just a moment, a sad-faced perennial punching bag, who missed even the caboose of life’s gravy train, will take a short constitutional into that most unpredictable region that we refer to as The Twilight Zone.
Luther Dingle is a meek and mild-mannered vacuum cleaner salesman. He spends some time in a bar but always seems to be in the middle of others arguments and always seems to get the worst of it. Courtesy of visiting – but invisible – aliens, he is given great strength, some 300 times greater than that of a normal human being. Dingle becomes something of a local celebrity but just how long will his powers last?
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Exit Mr. Luther Dingle, former vacuum cleaner salesman, strongest man on Earth, and now mental giant. These latter powers will very likely be eliminated before too long, but Mr. Dingle has an appeal to extraterrestrial notetakers as well as to frustrated and insolvent bet losers. Offhand, I’d say that he was in for a great deal of extremely odd periods, simply because there are so many inhabited planets who send down observers, and also because, of course, Mr. Dingle lives his life with one foot in his mouth—and the other in The Twilight Zone.
Burgess Meredith…Luther Dingle
James Westerfield…Anthony O’Toole
Douglas Spencer…1st Martian
Michael Fox…2nd Martian
Donald Losby…1st Venusian
Greg Irwin…2nd Venusian
Jo Ann Dixon…Woman with carriage
Jay Hector…Boy wearing white helmet