★★★★★ April 4, 1963 Season 4 Episode 13
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This episode of the Twilight Zone is really good. It has everything…some horror, mystery, and a great twist at the end. It could have been a 50’s type horror movie. You expect Vincent Price to come on at any time. Martin Balsam plays Martin Lombard Senescu and he is fantastic. He is a sympathetic character that loves his job at the wax museum…maybe a little too much. Will Kuluva as Ernest Ferguson plays the owner of the museum who sees the writing on the wall, the museum is not as popular as it was and will have to close. He is a kindly older gentlemen who cares… and gently lets Martin go…but not without granting Martin a favor.
The pacing in this one is good. They use the hour to breathe life to the characters. The story builds nicely and there is a good payoff in the end.
There was a sad story behind the scenes. Charles Beaumont (his real name was Charles Leroy Nutt) was credited as writing this but Jerry Sohl had started ghostwriting for him by this time. Beaumont was only 35 and had been the top writer for Playboy and he wrote some of the very best Twilight Zones. He was probably the best writer the Twilight Zone had besides Rod Serling.
He was starting to forget things and could not concentrate. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease or Picks Disease…they could not know which one until he passed. He passed away at 38 years old in 1967 and his son said he had the body and mind of a 95 year old.
Jerry Sohl helped him out and split everything 50/50 and did all the writing in his name. He wrote for Hitchcock, Route 66 and Playboy under Beamont’s name. Sohl would write more Twilight Zones but not be credited. They had to keep this a secret because it was against Writers Guild rules.
Sohl’s script went before the cameras virtually unchanged, with no rewrites at all. This was the case with most of the scripts he ghosted. They went right in, and the reason is that Chuck Beaumont scripts were always so great that they didnt have to do anything.
Jerry Sohl on visiting the set:
Here I am standing with Chuck Beaumont, he recalls, and John Brahm, the director, comes up, puts his arm around him with the script that / did and says, Chuck, youve done it again! And here I am, standing right next to Chuck, unable to say a word!
This show was written by Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Jerry Sohl (uncredited)
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
Martin Lombard Senescu, a gentle man, the dedicated curator of murderers’ row in Ferguson’s Wax Museum. He ponders the reasons why ordinary men are driven to commit mass murder. What Mr. Senescu does not know is that the groundwork has already been laid for his own special kind of madness and torment found only in the Twilight Zone.
Martin Lombard Senescu is a gentle man and the curator of Murderer’s Row in Ferguson’s wax museum. He loves his work and is fascinated by what drives men to commit the crimes that they do. He’s informed by his boss Mr. Ferguson that the property is being sold to developers who will raze the building and erect a supermarket. Martin brings 5 of of wax figures home but after a year his wife is at her wits end. Martin spends all of his time in the basement with his beloved friends and the cost of keeping them is eating into their already limited income. When Martin finds Emma dead in the basement he buries her there. When her brother Dave shows up, he too is apparently killed. After Mr. Ferguson finally finds a buyer for the wax figures, Martin reluctantly agrees to let them go. There is a new addition to the exhibit however.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
The new exhibit became very popular at Marchand’s, but of all the figures none was ever regarded with more dread than that of Martin Lombard Senescu. It was something about the eyes, people said. It’s the look that one often gets after taking a quick walk through the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Martin Balsam …Martin Lombard Senescu
Will Kuluva…Ernest Ferguson
Margaret Field…Emma Senescu (as Maggie Mahoney)
Phil Chambers…Gas Man
Leonard Bremen…Van Man (as Lennie Bremen)
Eddie Barth…Sailor (as Ed Barth)
Milton Parsons…Henri Desire Landru
David Bond…Jack the Ripper
Bob Mitchell…Albert W. Hicks
Robert McCord…Burke (as Robert L. McCord)
Marcel Hillaire…The Guide