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|
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 is 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 Sperry informs him that the director has been replaced by up-and-comer Arthur Willis.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 play of 1927, 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 is going on and how his best friend and wife are dead in his time and have been only memories to him for years. They treat him as though he were joking and insist on partying. 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 is still. 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 ghosts from his past were putting on a very special encore 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 is 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 that he will someday explain what happened. The rehearsal for the new play proceeds as scheduled.
- 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
"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."
- 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