Caesar and Me

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"Caesar and Me"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 148
Directed by Robert Butler
Written by Adele T. Strassfield
Featured music Richard Shores
Production code 2636
Original air date April 10, 1964
Guest actors

Jackie Cooper: Jonathan West/voice of Caesar
Suzanne Cupito: Susan
Sarah Selby: Mrs. Cudahy
Stafford Repp: Pawnbroker

Episode chronology
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"Sounds and Silences"
Next →
"The Jeopardy Room"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Caesar and Me" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Plot[edit]

Jonathan West (Jackie Cooper) is an unsuccessful Irish ventriloquist. He is perpetually broke, selling valuable keepsakes like his grandfather's watch to pawn brokers to get some money. At the boarding house where he lives, he is mercilessly taunted by a little girl, Susan (Morgan Brittany), for failing to find a job. But unbeknownst to everyone, Jonathan's evil ventriloquist dummy, "Little Caesar", has a mind of his own and talks to him at will. Despite Jonathan's reassurances that they are on the verge of a big break, Caesar apathetically tells him that they've hit bottom.

When Jonathan and Caesar go to a nightclub for an audition, the performance is poorly received. The following day, Jonathan is unable to find employment because his lack of vocational experience and immigrant status; he may soon leave the boarding house because he is behind on his rent. Caesar berates Jonathan for being a hopeless "clod", but has a solution to his money woes: burglary. A reluctant Jonathan -- directed by Caesar in his suitcase -- breaks into a delicatessen and steals its money. Jonathan uses it to pay his rent, but Caesar, during a conversation overheard by Susan, pressures him into committing more burglaries.

Susan -- now aware that Caesar can talk -- sneaks into Jonathan's room in his absence to unsuccessfully speak with the dummy. Jonathan catches her coming out of the room and runs her off. Inside, Jonathan expresses a desire to flee, but Caesar cajoles him into carrying out the next burglary. The duo sneaks into the nightclub to break into the manager's office. However, they are caught by a night watchman after they steal money from the nightclub's safe. They manage to bluff their way past him by giving an impromptu routine.

When Jonathan and Caesar arrive home, Susan eavesdrops on their ensuing argument. The next morning over breakfast, Susan hears her aunt, Mrs. Cudahy, read about the nightclub theft from a newspaper. She calls the police to tip them off about Jonathan and Caesar. Two detectives arrive at the boarding house and interrogate Jonathan, who tries to make Caesar talk about his role in the crime. The dummy, however, remains silent. Mrs. Cudahy and the detectives stare at the one-sided exchange, thinking Jonathan mad. Jonathan now realizes that Caesar has abandoned him, and is willingly arrested.

After the detectives lead Jonathan out of the room, Caesar turns his head around and addresses Susan. He says that he likes her for her "hip attitude" and offers to help her run away to New York. Caesar assures Susan that Jonathan will now be gone "for a long, long time" and that the two of them are now "a team". Finally, Caesar implies that Susan should kill Mrs. Cudahy with poison darts.

Adele Strassfield[edit]

The writer of the episode, Adele Strassfield, was the secretary of William Froug, the producer of the second half of the final season of The Twilight Zone. According to Froug, they worked out this episode together. Strassfield (billed in the credits as "Adele T. Strassfield", not "A.T. Strassfield" per Zicree) is the only woman credited with writing an original teleplay for the original version of The Twilight Zone, though several women received credit for stories that were adapted for the show. She later wrote a first season episode of Gilligan's Island with executive producer Froug's assistance.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
  • Zircee, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)

External links[edit]