The Trouble with Templeton
|"The Trouble With Templeton"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Scene from "The Trouble With Templeton" with Pippa Scott.
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Written by||E. Jack Neuman|
|Featured music||Jeff Alexander|
|Original air date||December 9, 1960|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
Aging Broadway actor Booth Templeton is at home, watching his current wife, Diane Templeton, flirt at poolside with a gigolo. Booth's servant, Marty, comes in with his daily medication, and Booth half-jokingly wonders about what will happen when his pills stop working. Booth notes that he hasn't achieved any contentment, and Marty suggests that he tell the director of his current play that he can't make rehearsal that day. Booth insists on going, however, and admits he can't remember when he ever loved his current wife. He fondly remembers his first wife, Laura, who died after seven years of marriage. Booth reminisces over his happiness with Laura and claims that he's all right.
Booth goes to the theater at noon for the first rehearsal of the new play and meets Sid Sperry, the play's unctuous financial backer. Sperry informs him that the director has been replaced by up-and-comer Arthur Willis. Booth goes in to find Willis declaring to everyone in no uncertain terms that he is in charge. Willis sees Booth entering late and delivers a miniature lecture about the importance of being on time and ready for the first day of rehearsal, ending with a pointed question at Booth about his commitment to the success of the play. Pressured, Booth runs out of the theater, and suddenly finds a crowd of admirers warmly applauding him for his latest performance. Their attire, nearby vehicles, and a play poster inform him that he is inexplicably in 1927, over 30 years in the past.
The "current" play, The Great Seed, was written by Booth's best friend, the late Barney Flueger. A stagehand tells Booth that his wife is waiting for him with the cast and crew at their usual speakeasy. Hopeful that he will soon see Laura again, Booth runs to the speakeasy, and the owner, Freddie, lets him in. Laura is drinking with Barney and assumes Booth is wearing aging makeup. He wants to talk to her in private about the phenomenon he is experiencing. She refuses, insisting that she just wants to have a good time. As she fans herself with a script, Booth tries to explain what's going on and how his best friend and wife are dead in his time and have been only memories to him for years. They assume he's joking and insist on partying, and when Booth professes his love, Laura casually dismisses him and bursts out laughing. When Booth tries to force her into leaving, she slaps him and tells him to go back where he came from. Angry, hurt, and puzzled by Laura's uncharacteristic actions, Booth storms out with Laura's script in hand. As soon as he leaves, the music ceases and everyone grows quiet. Laura and Barney watch his departure with sadness, and the "world" of the speakeasy goes dark.
Booth runs down the street and back to the theater to find himself back in the present. He notices that the script he is holding is titled What To Do When Booth Comes Back and reads through it to discover that everything that happened in the speakeasy was scripted. Booth realizes that the "ghosts" of his past were putting on a special performance, for him alone, to force him from his ennui and nostalgia for the past and to send him back to live his life in the present with new energy and focus. Sperry and Willis are waiting for him and demand to know if he's there to work. Booth asserts himself, overriding Sperry and demanding a student's obedience from Willis. Impressed, Willis tells Sperry to run along and listens as Booth says he'll someday explain what happened. The rehearsal for the new play proceeds as scheduled.
- 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
- "The Trouble With Templeton" at the Internet Movie Database
- TV.com episode page
- Full video of the episode at CBS.com