Twilight Zone – Mr. Dingle, the Strong

★★★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.

Summary

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.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Burgess Meredith…Luther Dingle
Don Rickles…Bettor
James Westerfield…Anthony O’Toole
Edward Ryder…Callahan
James Millhollin…Abernathy
Douglas Spencer…1st Martian
Michael Fox…2nd Martian
Donald Losby…1st Venusian
Greg Irwin…2nd Venusian
Douglas Evans…Man
Phil Arnold…Man
Frank Richards…Man
Jo Ann Dixon…Woman with carriage
Jay Hector…Boy wearing white helmet
Bob Duggan…Photographer
Robert McCord…Customer

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

21 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Mr. Dingle, the Strong”

  1. Those comedy ones- are a good break from the more serious episodes- but usually fall a little short of perfection. But then again you have Burgess Meredith- the old hockey puck Don Rickles and Michael Fox… oh not that Michael Fox….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed the acting In this one from Meredith and Rickles. I laughed out loud at the aliens they looked so hokey. Again great phrases in Sterling’s intro and ending – “valet at a hobo convention”. Missed the caboose of life’s gravy train. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. true, I can only assume the idea was a rising tide raises all ships kind of deal? If everyone is smoking, people (the theory goes) would feel inclined to smoke more or take it up as a pastime and no matter which brand they favored, sales would rise and the industry would boom.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds good. Don rickles in a semi-serious roll? That alone might be enough reason to watch. The caboose on the gravy train line is classic. Sad a lot of young ones wouldn’t catch its meaning!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Serling smoked like a chimney, too. What cigarette manufacturer sponsored the show?

    Burgess Meredith was good at anything you threw at him, and Don Rickles was a surprisingly good actor. Both were just as good doing comedy as drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea Meredith was great in all of his 4 spots on there. It’s hard to rate comedy TZ episodes to me.
      Oh Chesterfield is the brand that Serling pushed from what I remember and Phillip Morris paid for ad times also.

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      1. Chesterfield was Liggett & Myers. Mom used to smoke two packs of those a day. Evidently, so did Lucille Ball, even though The Lucy and Desi Comedy Hour was sponsored by Phillip Morris. Jack Webb was another Chersterfield fan, and Ronald Reagan did magazine ads for them back in the ’40’s and ’50’s, particularly around Christmas. My guess is that’s what Serling smoked…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the picture you chose for the top image here. My favorite part of the show. I had forgotten how abusive Don Rickles was! I like the guy who plays the bartender. Of course Burgess Meredith steals the show as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a funny one…I took today and Friday off…at 9am this morning…saw a text on my phone…email is down
      I had to work 5 hours on it…the server’s memory is maxed out…trying to keep it limping until we move the accounts.

      Like

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