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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Static, The Gift, Brain Center at Whipples, and Fear)

Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Static, The Gift, Brain Center at Whipples, and Fear)

1 rating: 3.0
A Twilight Zone Collector's Edition tape
1 review about Twilight Zone Collector's Edition (Static,...

One excellent, two good and one awful episode

  • Apr 12, 2010
Rating:
+3
While many people express "no regrets" regarding the course of their life, there are few that can say it honestly. In their later years, the overwhelming majority of humans look back on their lives and note what they did wrong and harbor a wish for a second chance. In "Static" cranky old bachelor Ed Lindsay expresses his displeasure at the quality of television. He lives in a boarding house with several other elderly people and they eat at a common table and share a common living room.
When Ed digs his old radio out of the basement, he is astonished to hear old radio programs from his youth. Unfortunately, when there is anyone else in the room, all he receives is static. His fellow boarders grow concerned about him, particularly his fiancé of many years ago. They finally have a conversation that they should have had many years ago, but Ed is not persuaded to give up his obsessive lapse into nostalgia. At the end, the transformation is nearly total, as he is young again; dancing with his equally reverted fiancé to the old tunes emanating from his radio.
Having regrets is inevitable; the only thing that we can do is manage them in the best possible way. This episode is designed to appeal to the older listener, as they will have accumulated the personal mileage needed to desire the opportunity to take the other option in the major forks along their personal road.
As we were watching this episode, my wife and I agreed that it almost certainly had to have aired during the Easter season. I checked the original airdate and it was indeed April 27, 1962. An alien spacecraft crashes near a small Mexican village and the pilot is injured. In an unfortunate tussle with a local police officer, the officer is accidentally killed and the alien injured. When the wounded alien enters the village, the local doctor and a young orphan boy (Pedro) befriend him. However, the remaining people are terrified of him and widespread panic starts to sprout. The remaining local police officer sends a telegram requesting military assistance.
The alien is a very kindly being, telling Pedro that he has a gift for him and the doctor removes the bullets from his body, marveling at his ability to tolerate pain. When the soldiers arrive, the alien tries to leave, but he is shot down in a moment of fear. One of the villagers then tries to burn the gift, but after a short time the doctor is able to save what is left of it. In sadness, he reads the title; it states that the remainder of the message is a list of formulas for cures for cancer. Out of the irrational fear of the unknown, humans have killed a great benefactor. The allusions to the origins of Easter are obvious.
"The Brain Center at Whipple's" is another poorly executed story about technology taking over human lives and costing jobs. Wallace V. Whipple is the owner of a factory employing thousands of people. In his desire to increase profits, Whipple begins a ruthless process of automation that will eliminate nearly all of the jobs. Hanley, his chief engineer and Dickerson, the head foreman protest, but to no avail. Both are dismissed for their objections and Dickerson is injured when he tries to destroy a computer. Whipple is portrayed as an insensitive, uncaring person and soon the plant is still producing products, but the cafeteria and parking lots are now empty.
One of the computer engineers, surprisingly played by a black man, unusual for the early sixties, also voices objections and is also terminated, although he had intended to quit. The story meanders on until it closes with an unemployed Whipple whining to Hanley in the bar within view of the plant. A robot is now the primary plant manager. While the episode is based on one of the most fundamental fears of modern life, the delivery is so poorly executed that the episode is somewhat boring.
"The Fear" is another installment of the aliens landing on Earth and the humans that encounter them being terrified of their presence. Mark Richman plays a state trooper called to the assistance of Charlotte Scott, played by Hazel Court. Scott is a former New York elitist that suffered a nervous breakdown and retired to a life of seclusion. However, she retains all her snobbery, so her initial reaction to the trooper is one of disdain. However, his bravery in facing the unknown endears him to her and in a short time, she grows dependent on him.
When his patrol car is damaged, the trooper is forced to stay the night, which is relatively quiet. There is evidence that the aliens must he enormous, there are giant fingerprints on the car and they encounter a footprint that is yards long. When a one-eyed giant is encountered, the trooper shoots it, only to discover that it is a balloon. The trooper then spots the alien craft, which is small, as are the aliens. It turns out that the aliens were even more frightened than the humans.
Fear of the unknown is a powerful force in human lives; it is a point of interesting speculation as to what the mass reaction would be to the public arrival of an alien spacecraft. The point of two of the episodes on this tape is that the reaction would be fear, although in this one, it is controlled fear, a reaction that would allow the event to be dealt with in a reasonable manner.

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