The Jungle (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||William Claxton|
|Written by||Charles Beaumont (adapted from his own short story)|
|Featured music||Stock from "King Nine Will Not Return" by "Fred Steiner" and African tribal music|
|Original air date||December 1, 1961|
|“||The carcass of a goat, a dead finger, a few bits of broken glass and stone, and Mr. Alan Richards, a modern man of a modern age, hating with all his heart something in which he cannot believe and preparing - although he doesn't know it - to take the longest walk of his life, right down to the center - of The Twilight Zone.||”|
Alan Richards and his wife Doris have recently returned from Africa, where Alan's company is constructing a dam. He discovers she has secretly kept several items given to her by a local shaman for protection. When he confronts her about them, she insists that they are nothing more to her than souvenirs. He decides to test her and burns them, which causes her to become upset and beg him to stop construction on the dam. He ignores her pleas and opens the door to leave for work. In the hallway of his apartment building, just outside his door, is the carcass of a dead goat.
Alan attends a board meeting, where they discuss the dam and the fact that, although the natives will benefit from it in the long run, they are upset that they will be displaced in order to build it. He warns that the local witch doctors have threatened to use "black magic" against anyone associated with the project. When the other board members scoff, he points out their own superstitions: One carries a rabbit's foot, another practices astrology- even the building does not have a 13th floor.
Later, he is in a bar having a drink with a friend before heading home, and shows him a lion-tooth charm his wife has given him. Supposedly the tooth will protect him against a lion attack. Both men laugh at the idea of a lion attack in the city.
Alan begins to head home but finds his car won't start. He attempts to return to the bar but it is locked and he has forgotten his lion-tooth inside. He can see it on the bar top through the window. He attempts to use a pay phone, but it's out of order. As Alan walks away, the phone begins to ring. He answers it and hears nothing but the sounds of the jungle.
He begins to head home on foot, still hearing the sounds of the jungle all around him (including tribal drums), becoming more and more nervous and jumpy. He then tries to take a taxi home, but the driver drops down dead while stopped at a traffic light. Alan meets a bum and asks him about the jungle noises, which the bum claims not to hear. He offers the bum money to escort him through the park but before the bum can accept the offer he disappears while Alan's back is turned.
Alan continues on, becoming even more frightened. He finally reaches the safety of his apartment. The noises suddenly stop, and relieved, Alan enters and pours himself a drink. Suddenly, he hears a lion's roar from the bedroom. When he opens the bedroom door, he finds his wife's body on the bed along with a lion. The episode ends just as the lion leaps towards him for the kill.
|“||Some superstitions, kept alive by the long night of ignorance, have their own special power. You'll hear of it through a jungle grapevine in a remote corner of the Twilight Zone.||”|
- The original short story by Charles Beaumont appeared in If Magazine in 1954.
- End titles screen features the image of the lion's tooth protective charm.
- 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
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)