The New Exhibit
|"The New Exhibit"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Directed by||John Brahm|
|Written by||Jerry Sohl (credited to Charles Beaumont)|
|Original air date||April 4, 1963|
Martin Balsam: Martin Lombard Senescu
"The New Exhibit" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. In this episode a museum worker (played by Martin Balsam) takes a set of wax figures into his home, where they begin to show the homicidal tendencies of the famous murderers they depict.
|“||Martin Lombard Senescu, a gentle man, the dedicated curator of murderers' row in Ferguson's Wax Museum. He ponders the reasons why ordinary men are driven to commit mass murder. What Mr. Senescu does not know is that the groundwork has already been laid for his own special kind of madness and torment found only in the Twilight Zone.||”|
Martin Senescu works at a wax museum. His boss and best friend, Mr. Ferguson, informs him that, due to a long-term decline in sales and his desire to retire, he is selling the museum, which will be torn down and replaced by a supermarket. The dispirited Martin, desperate to save the figures from the "Murderer's Row" exhibit (Jack the Ripper, Albert W. Hicks, Henri Désiré Landru, William Burke and William Hare), volunteers to keep them at his house until a buyer can be found for them.
Martin's wife, Emma, becomes frustrated at having the figures in their basement. They require an air conditioner to keep from melting, and due to the hot weather the resultant electric bill wipes out their savings in just a month. Martin makes only perfunctory efforts at finding a buyer for the figures, instead spending most of his time tending to them. Emma is disconcerted by this, especially when he begins talking about them and even to them as if they were alive. Her brother, Dave, advises her to shut off the air conditioning so that the figures melt. After one last effort to convince Martin to return the figures to Ferguson's care, Emma sneaks out of bed one night and goes down to the basement. When she tries to shut off the air conditioner, the wax figure of Jack the Ripper stabs her.
The next morning, Martin discovers his wife dead and Jack's bloody knife. Realizing no one will believe Emma was killed by a wax figure, he buries her under the basement floor. The next day, Dave pays a visit. Martin nervously claims to have gotten rid of the wax figures, which arouses Dave's suspicions when he hears the air conditioner hum and finds the basement door locked. When he presses Martin further about Emma's whereabouts, Martin rushes him out of the house. Dave then sneaks into the basement through the back entrance. While he is examining the area, the wax figure of Hicks strikes Dave with its axe. Martin comes down later to find the carnage.
Several weeks later, Ferguson comes by to tell Martin that he has sold the figures to the legendary Marchand's Wax Museum in Brussels. Martin is still reluctant to give up the wax figures he's so greatly cared for. While he goes upstairs and makes tea, Ferguson takes measurements of the figures for the buyer. When he makes a passing remark about Landru's width, Landru lowers the rope around his neck and strangles him. Martin comes downstairs with the tea and finds Ferguson's body. Deeming this the last straw, Martin rebukes the figures and grabs a crowbar, planning to smash them. The wax figures get up off their pedestals and advance on Martin. They tell him that he was the one that murdered Emma, Dave, and Ferguson, even as Martin points out that he wasn't even in the basement when any of the murders were committed. Martin screams as the figures close in.
Years later, at Marchand's, the five figures of the murderers are now accompanied by a wax figure of Martin, who is believed to have killed Emma, Dave, and Ferguson.
|“||The new exhibit became very popular at Marchand's, but of all the figures none was ever regarded with more dread than that of Martin Lombard Senescu. It was something about the eyes, people said. It's the look that one often gets after taking a quick walk through the Twilight Zone.||”|
- 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