Twilight Zone – A Piano In The House

★★★★  February 16, 1962, 1962 Season 3 Episode 22

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

A Piano in the House is not a well known episode but one of my favorites. It flies under the Twilight Zone radar. The episode highlights two things rather well…cruelty and justice. Fitzgerald Fortune played by Barry Morse is a despicable and sadistic theater critic who thinks he is above everyone. He buys a magic player piano that has the ability to reveal peoples inner selves and uses it to humiliate his wife (Joan Hackett) and many of her friends.

This one does show the artificial nature of everyday human interactions. The ways we will go to hide things about ourselves when with other people. I could relate to this one. Working in IT in the early days…I knew people like Fitzgerald  Fortune who thought all the end users were idiots.

This show was written by Earl Hamner Jr. and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, theater critic and cynic at large, on his way to a birthday party. If he knew what is in store for him he probably wouldn’t go, because before this evening is over that cranky old piano is going to play “Those Piano Roll Blues” with some effects that could happen only in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Theater critic Fitzgerald Fortune is looking to buy a different sort of gift for his wife’s birthday. In a curio shop, he buys an old player-piano. It’s delivered to his home, and when he starts it up, it has a strange effect on his manservant, a normally dour man who breaks into mirthful laughter. When he plays another song, this time for a guest, the man breaks down and admits he’s in love with Fortune’s wife Esther. He decides to have fun with his party guests that evening but Esther decides to turn the tables on him.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, a man who went searching for concealed persons and found himself in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Barry Morse…Fitzgerald “Jerry” Fortune
Joan Hackett…Esther Fortune
Don Durant…Gregory “Greg” Walker
Muriel Landers…Marge Moore
Philip Coolidge…Throckmorton
Cyril Delevanti…Marvin (the Butler)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

29 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – A Piano In The House”

    1. I want to see the Fugitive…that is one show I’ve never seen. I knew I recognized Hackett and figured it out… she was in Taxi right before she passed away.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The Fugitive was a huge televison show in the late 60s. David Jansen played the falsely accused Dr., always searching for the one armed man that he knew murdered his wife. The final episode was so big that it broke all ratings records for that time. Cool series if you can find it. The movie with Harrison Ford was a good remake.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. There was something chilling about this episode from the very beginning, when he walked into the shop looking for the gift. The butler was probably the most chilling of all! Some of the best horror is couched in the ordinary. Earl Hamner is a an excellent purveyor of the range of human nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The contrast that I liked…when he walked into the junk shop was that the salesman was awful to him…he held his comments around him but turned out to be worse.
      Yes when the Butler smiled it was frightening…not in a make fun of him way…but something that just wasn’t right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I didn’t think of how he held his tongue in the store, which made how he acted at home so shocking. Yes exactly on the Butler. Driven mad by this sadistic bully. Imagining he had a sick wife at home and really needed the job and had to put up with that to keep his wife alive.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. She was a scream in Support Your Local Sheriff and had been married to Richard Mulligan (think Soap & his abduction from aliens…he was a scream, too).

        Ovarian cancer. Her epitaph is even funny.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. YEP! No exageration…. every single time I’m either pulling up carpet…she is on the part that I’m pulling up…or I’m about to lay floor…she gets in THAT spot

        Like

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