Twilight Zone – What’s in the Box

★★★1/2 March 13, 1964 Season 5 Episode 24

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

Two bickering and unlikable characters star in this episode. Do you want to see the dark side of marriage? Watch this episode. It reminds me of the episode A Most Unusual Camera. It’s almost too close to that episode. Both take place in a high-rise apartment building that features a window. This time it’s a TV, not a camera that after a “repair” shows the near feature in wonderful black and white. 

 William Demarest and Joan Blondell are effective in portraying their characters here, even if neither one is very likable. There is no need for a back story of these two, it’s clear why they fight. Sterling Holloway plays the TV repairman, and you might recognize his voice as Winnie The Pooh. Again, not in the top episodes but certainly not too bad. The next episode coming Wednesday…a classic. 

From IMDB Trivia: Joe Britt is surprised at getting Channel 10. When television began, it was broadcast over the very high frequency (VHF) band of the radio spectrum. The VHF channels were 2-13, but, to avoid interference, a city could not have channels with consecutive numbers, except for 4 and 5 or 5 and 6. Britt lives in New York, which had channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13.

While the TV repairman is fixing the television in the first scene, numerous voices can be heard. One of them is Rod Serling saying, “Next time on The Twilight Zone (1959)…”

According to The Twilight Zone Companion, Martin M. Goldsmith was brought in to write an episode of The Twilight Zone, due to his previous collaboration with William Froug on Playhouse 90. And according to William Froug, Martin Goldsmith came up with a notion of a guy looking at his own extramarital activities on TV, and trying to it off before his wife could see it. Martin Goldsmith would disown the episode, saying “I didn’t like it, it lacked all subtlety the way it was done. I think Joan Blondell and William Demarest overplayed it. It was just too broad.”

This show was written by Martin Goldsmith and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Portrait of a TV fan. Name: Joe Britt. Occupation: cab driver. Tonight, Mr. Britt is going to watch “a really big show,” something special for the cabbie who’s seen everything. Joe Britt doesn’t know it, but his flag is down and his meter’s running and he’s in high gear—on his way to the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Taxi driver Joe Britt usually makes his way home to his wife Phyllis but theirs is not a happy marriage as they constantly bicker and she accuses him of having a girlfriend. The obnoxious Joe is having his TV fixed but after the repairman leaves, Joe sees himself with his girlfriend in scenes from the recent past. Soon after, he has a glimpse of what will happen in the near future.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The next time your TV set is on the blink, when you’re in the need of a first-rate repairman, may we suggest our own specialist? Factory-trained, prompt, honest, twenty-four hour service. You won’t find him in the phone book, but his office is conveniently located—in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Joan Blondell…Phyllis Britt
William Demarest…Joe Britt
Sterling Holloway…TV Repairman
Herbert Lytton…Dr. Saltman
Sandra Gould…Woman On T.V.
Howard Wright…Judge
Douglas Bank…Prosecutor
Ted Christy…The Wild Panther
Robert McCord…Electric Chair Guard
Tony Miller…Announcer
Mitchell Rhein…Neighbour
Ron Stokes…Car Salesman
John L. Sullivan…The Russian Duke

 

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

13 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – What’s in the Box”

  1. I like what you say about these two: neither of them is very likable, and that is a difference from so many of the episodes. Usually there is one clear protagonist that we identify with, the hero in some form. Doesn’t it seem as if it’s one of those things where the picture falls into itself? They are watching TV and we are watching them watch TV. They did go way over the top with the acting, but unfortunately some households are that chaotic! Holloway’s voice is fine for Winnie The Pooh, but he’s danged creepy-looking and acting to me in this one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Holloway is different for sure…he is one one of the Andy Griffith Shows as a really nice guy…but yea…he is creepy in this one.
      It was so much like the Camera episode…same thing happened in the other…out the window one of the characters went.
      The other one was dark also

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Guess they were running out of ideas by then, so it’s probably good they called it quits… they had a great run . Msjadeli is right, it’s not great when there’s a show or movie where everyone is unlikable …you need someone to root for!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the next two are awesome….so at least they rebounded. The season was too uneven. I looked last night and in a row I had a 5, 4, 3, 3 1/2 and so on.

      Like

    1. Oh…that is some youtube uploader thinking they are funny…the pickings are slim in youtube and not giving the ending away.

      Like

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