The Trouble with Templeton
|"The Trouble with Templeton"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Written by||E. Jack Neuman|
|Featured music||Jeff Alexander|
|Original air date||December 9, 1960|
|“||Pleased to present for your consideration, Mr. Booth Templeton; serious and successful star of over thirty Broadway plays, who is not quite all right today. Yesterday and its memories are what he wants, and yesterday is what he'll get. Soon his years and his troubles will descend on him in an avalanche. In order not to be crushed Mr. Booth Templeton will escape from his theater and his world, and make his debut on another stage, in another world, that we call the Twilight Zone.||”|
Aging Broadway actor Booth Templeton is at home, watching his much-younger wife, Doris, flirting with a gigolo at his backyard swimming pool. Booth's butler Marty comes in with his daily medication, and Booth half-jokingly wonders what will happen when his pills stop working and he dies.
He notes that he hasn't achieved any contentment with his wife and fondly reminisces over his happiness with Laura, his first wife, who died after seven years of marriage.
Marty suggests that Booth tell the director of his new play that he can't make the first day of rehearsal, but Booth insists on going.
He arrives at the theater late 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 Sperry informs him that the director has been replaced by up-and-comer Arthur Willis.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 enters to see Willis announcing to everyone in no uncertain terms that he is in charge and that everyone will do what he says. He lectures the cast about punctuality and discipline, implies that the distinguished Booth is no more important than any of the other players, and ends with a pointed question to him about his commitment to the play.
Pressured and desperately unhappy, Booth runs out the stage door, and finds a crowd of admirers applauding him for his latest performance. Their attire, nearby vehicles, a play poster, and a stagehand all inform him that he is inexplicably in 1927—more than 30 years in the past.
The poster says that "1927's Big Hit!", The Great Seed, was written by Booth's best friend, Barney Flueger. The stagehand tells Booth that his wife is waiting for him at the speakeasy around the corner.
Eager to see Laura again, Booth runs to the speakeasy, and the owner, Freddie, lets him in. Laura is drinking beer with Barney and assumes Booth is wearing aging makeup. He wants to talk to her in private about their relationship and the phenomenon he is experiencing. She refuses, insisting that she just wants to have a good time. She then ignores him and fans herself with a script, which Booth snatches and puts in his jacket pocket.
He tries to explain that he is from the future and that they are both dead in his time and have been only memories to him for years. They treat him as though he is joking or crazy, and insist on partying instead. When Booth objects, Laura says "What did you expect?" Barney adds, "Yes, old man, what did you expect?" This subtly indicates that, in fact, they both know very well what is going on.
Booth seriously professes his love, but Laura bursts out laughing. When Booth tries to force her into leaving with him, she slaps him and tells him, "Go back where you came from; we don't want you here."
Confused, hurt, and puzzled by Laura's hostility, Booth storms out. As soon as he leaves, the music suddenly ceases mid-song and everyone stops moving. The room becomes dark, with light only on Laura and Barney. Laura steps forward and Barney fades into the darkness. Alone, she stares sadly at the door of the bar. Then she, too, fades into the blackness and the world of the past disappears forever.
Booth runs to the theater and reenters the stage door. Suddenly, he is back in the present. He fans himself with Laura's script, and notices that it is for a play titled What to Do When Booth Comes Back. Flipping through it, he discovers that everything in the speakeasy was scripted.
Booth realizes that ghosts from his past were putting on a very special performance for him, to force him from his paralyzing nostalgia for the past and instead, live his life in the present with new energy and focus.
Sperry and Willis are waiting for him and demand to know if he is there to work or not. Booth asserts himself, dismissing Sperry and demanding respect from Willis. The rehearsal begins, with Booth now paying attention to where he is instead of desperately and helplessly yearning for the dead past.
|“||Mr. Booth Templeton, who shared with most human beings the hunger to recapture the past moments, the ones that soften with the years. But in his case, the characters of his past blocked him out and sent him back to his own time, which is where we find him now. Mr. Booth Templeton, who had a round-trip ticket - into The Twilight Zone.||”|
- Brian Aherne as Booth Templeton
- Pippa Scott as Laura Templeton
- Sydney Pollack as Arthur Willis
- Dave Willock as Marty
- King Calder as Sid Sperry
- Larry J. Blake as Freddie
- David Thursby as Eddie
- Charles S. Carlson as Barney Flueger
- DeSapio, Michael Martin. Twilight Zone Museum. http://twilightzonemuseum.com/media/templeton.php
- 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