“The reluctant gentleman through the sizable mouth is Mr.Frisby. He has all the drive of a damaged cam shaft and the aggressive vinegarof a corpse. Together you’ve no doubt gathered, his big stock in trade is the talltale. Now, what the doesn’t recognize is that the visitors out front space a veryspecial breed, destined to readjust his life beyond anything even his fertileimagination can manufacture. The place is Pitchville Flats. The moment is thepresent. But Mr. Frisby is on the first leg the a quite fanciful trip intothe place we call…the Twilight Zone.”
Somerset Frisby is an aging small-town yokel who spendshis job lazily manning his quiet basic store, playing his harmonica, and entertainingthe locals v extravagant story of a life fine lived. Taken in ~ his word,Frisby has been a war hero, an accomplished government engineer, and also ameteorologist—Old Cumulus Frisby, they dubbed him—to list simply a few of hisformer occupations. His girlfriend don’t believe a indigenous of his fantastical claimsbut listening come them passes the time simply the same.
if closing increase his shop one evening, two males in suitsdrive up to buy gas. Frisby walks the end to greet them. They seem inquisitive andslightly peculiar however Frisby brushes it off as the curiosity of out-of-townersjust passing through.
You are watching: Hocus pocus and frisby twilight zone
~ the shop is closed and also everyone has gone homeFrisby hears a voice. Believing that is a prank, he plays along. The voice tellshim to walk outside and also travel a mile or so under the highway whereby he willfind a an excellent surprise. Before he can make the journey, however, that is whiskedaway come a barren ar where the discovers a spaceship waiting quietly for him.Curious, he climbs inside and also finds the two guys in suits from earlier.
Theybelieve Frisby to it is in the most achieved human gift to ever live and theywant to take him earlier to their planet to it is in studied and marveled. Frisbytells them the his story are greatly lies, tale tales consisted of to entertainand pass the time. He needs that the aliens release him at once. They refusehis inquiry so Frisby punches one of them. To his fear the man’s face breaksinto several pieces before falling off totally revealing a bizarre figurebeneath.
Later,Frisby starts to pat his harmonica out of boredom. The creatures immediatelyclamp your hands over their ears and begin come scream. Frisby plays as loud ashe can and the aliens are forced to release him.
Frisbyraces back to his store and also is surprised to discover his friends wait for him.Today is Frisby’s 63rd birthday. He tries come tell them about thespaceship and also the aliens yet his story is met through good-natured laughs and also jeers.They just wish the a happy birthday and also thrust a box right into his hands. The opensit to find a trophy inside with the inscription: World’s greatest Liar.
“Mr. Somerset Frisby, who can have profited byreading one Aesop fable around a boy who cried wolf. Tonight"s tall tale from thetimberlands that the Twilight Zone.”
“Hocus-Pocus and Frisby” is rod Serling’s whimsicaladaptation of an unpublished story treatment by freder Louis Fox i beg your pardon itselfis a twentieth century take on “The Boy that Cried Wolf” fable as Serlingmentions in his closeup of the door monologue. This was actually the second Fox story thatSerling adjusted for the show, the an initial being “Showdown through Rance McGrew” whichaired in February the the very same year. Choose its previously counterpart, “Hocus-Pocusand Frisby” has actually an interesting premise and begins promisingly enough, with anall-star cast and also a well-crafted opening sequence, but quickly loser itsmomentum ~ the first act. The manages to redeem itself with a light-heartedfinal scene whereby Frisby is reunited with his friends who obviously treatment agreat deal around him yet by this suggest the episode has become much more or lessforgettable. This is unfortunate for several reasons yet mostly since itproves a missed opportunity for veteran manager Lamont Johnson and a highlytalented ensemble cast.
frederic Louis Fox (1902 – 1981) enjoyed a reasonably successfulcareer together a television writer during the medium’s golden age, contributing primarilyto western series such as Lawman, ZaneGrey Theatre, Branded, Rebel, and Bonanzaamong others. His film career to be a bit much more sporadic but it did produce ahandful the feature-length titles consisting of the 1956 crime drama when Gangland Strikes, the 1969 ElvisPresley vehicle Charro! and directorGerd Oswald’s 80 steps to Jonah (1969),featuring Twilight region alumni KeenanWynn and Mickey Rooney. Among his earliest display credits to be a 1954 JoeMcDoakes short film called So, friend Wantto be a Banker? which to be directed by regular Twilight zone director, Richard L. Bare.
In The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to aTelevision standard (OTR Publishing, 2008) author Martin Grams, Jr. Writesthat after perfect the script for “Showdown through Rance McGrew” Serling senta copy to freder Louis Fox as a gesture of good will. Fox created backcomplementing Serling ~ above a fine script and attached come his letter aparagraph-long story therapy titled “Mister Tibbs and also the paris Saucer.” InFox’s story an aging service station owner named Henry Tibbs desires oftraveling the world yet is trapped in his small town. Instead, the constructselaborate imagine adventures and also tells them come his regular customers.Unbeknownst come Tibbs, his fantastical tales are being broadcast on Martianradio. Someday he is contacted by a Martian who wants to pay him because that hisworldly adventures. He asks rather for a trip around the human being in a spaceship. Upon his return house he learns that he has actually been awarded first place inthe city Liar’s Contest. Dismayed, that decides no to tell people around his tripbecause he to know they would not believe him. Instead, the keeps a souvenir fromhis adventure in his home as a an enig reminder to himself.
Serlingliked the story and also promptly wrote back saying that he would be interested inadapting the quick treatment into an episode ofThe Twilight Zone.Overall that remained relatively faithful come Fox’sstory. His decision to nix the idea the the main character’s rants beingbroadcast ~ above Martian radio to be a clever one as it provides the plot tighter andeasier to follow. That was also smart to have actually Frisby’s friends bestow ~ above himthe location of World’s best Liar rather of the local paper as the establishesthat he has a healthy and balanced social life and makes the a likable character regardless of histall tales. Many of the various other changes—the title and character names—are mainlyfor stylistic preference.
This episode has traditionally not received high marksfrom fans or reviewers. If it has its re-superstructure of ill spots it is not withoutits own personal charm. Serling starts his script with a terrific opening act,full of witty tongue-in-cheek banter from an interesting set of charactersplayed through a amazing cast. Frisby is an extremely likable character from moment he shows up on screen and the close neighborhood of tough-talking friends hesurrounds self with appears natural and welcoming.
It’sthe second act that i think loses a lot of people. The audience is abruptlytransported indigenous a warm, familiar atmosphere to one that is cold and totallyalien come them—no pun intended. The juxtaposition between the sleepy Midwesterntown v its charmingly cantankerous peanut gallery and the boundaries of thealien courage is obviously intentional on Serling’s part but it simply does nottransition fine on the screen. It almost feels prefer two various episodes, notvastly so yet to the extent that it loser the audience’s attention and neverfully earns the back. The other weak spot of the second actis the rathercartoonish faces of wilhelm Tuttle’s extraterrestrial masks. Tuttle of course was anenormously talented assembly artist and industry legend who noted the showwith a variety of memorable designs yet unfortunately this simplistic masks arenot amongst them.
Thecast is yes, really what makes this episode memorable. The opening and closingscenes attribute a grasp of talented character gibbs which countless will recognizefrom various television and also film roles. Dabbs Greer, that plays Scanlan, theloudest the Frisby’s skeptics, was an immensely prolific actor. His profile onthe web Movie Database perform over 3 hundred exhilaration credits on both thesmall and large screens in every genre imaginable. Amongst his much more well-known televisioncredits space appearences ~ above AlfredHitchcock Presents, The external Limits, Perry Mason, and Gunsmoke and also roles in genre standards like invasion of the body Snatchers (1956), house of Wax (1953), and also the Jerome Bixby-penned It! The Terror native Beyond room (1958).He capped his film career off v a moving performance in The environment-friendly Mile in 1999.
HowardMcNear is most likely the most familiar face in the supporting cast thanks come hisrole as Floyd the Barber top top The AndyGriffith Show. His various other television credits include episodes that Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller.His movie career contains appearance in Anatomyof a killing (1959) and Voyage to theBottom of the Sea (1960).
Milton Selzer is probably finest known to Twilight region fans because that his wonderful performanceas the greedy son-in-law in season five’s “The Masks.” Selzner was frequently castin similar roles play unlikable personalities with overtly pathetic qualities.He appears a little out-of-place in this episode though. His performance below seemswooden and doesn’t really carry out the 2nd act that the episode any type of favors. Selzerlater showed up in Buzz Kulik’s 1963 screen adaptation of Whit Masterson’s novelThe Yellow Canary which was writtenby pole Serling.
The most memorable thing around the illustration of course isveteran character actor Andy Devine as the lovable however highly flawedprotagonist Somerset Frisby. Devine’s job goes earlier to the era that silentfilms and at the moment that this episode originally aired he was among thebiggest surname to show up on the show. Generally recognized through his signature raspyvoice and also heavy number he to be told repeatedly as a young actor that he wouldnever have a career together a performer. Similar to Frisby, Devine is psychic bythose close come him as a loud, lovable prankster who favored to it is in the facility ofattention. That was even known for bending the truth to obtain a reaction frompeople. For instance, he regularly told interviewers that he earned his scratchy drawlfrom a childhood accident in i m sorry a curtain rod became lodged in his throat.Several biographers have actually dismissed this together barely much more than a fabrication andDevine’s son said it was one of several story he provided to define his raspyvoice.
Devinewas often actors in westerns, generally as the quirky comedic relief yet he didoccasionally play much more serious characters. Over the course of his six decadecareer he worked with some of most highly acclaimed directors in cinemahistory. His first major function was as Danny McGuire in the 1937 version of A Star is Born directed by william A.Wellman. Devine would occupational with Wellman countless times throughout his career.He likewise appeared in films made by man Huston, George Stevens, James Whale,Michael Curtiz, Jacques Tourneur, and also Victor Flemming. He appeared in fivefilms make by man Ford including Stagecoach(1939) and The male Who shot LibertyValance (1962). He likewise appeared in ten films with Roy Rogers together hissidekick, Cookie. His unique voice additionally landed the a career together a voice artist.He worked extensively in radio, most notably for NBC’s The Adventures the Wild invoice Hickok, i beg your pardon would at some point make thetransition to tv delivering 112 episodes from 1951 come 1958. He alsovoiced Friar Tuck in Disney’s Robin Hood (1973)and listed the voice because that the rooster in the well known Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercialsduring the 1970’s. Frederic Louis Fox originally argued Ed win for the roleof Somerset Frisby and also Wynn would have undoubtedly delivered a fineperformance. Devine, however, was perfect for the part and is quickly the ideal thingabout the episode.
Lendingthis episode an appropriately nonchalant personality is renowned harmonicaplayer Tommy Morgan. Morgan"s job spans over six decades and he isconsidered among the most necessary harmonica players of every time,contributing to a countless number of projects in practically every medium. As asession musician that has functioned with Elvis Presley, the coast Boys, Johnny Cash,Randy Newman, ray Charles, and dozens the others. He has composed music fordozens of television series including Gunsmoke,The Waltons, environment-friendly Acres, The Rockford Files, and also Family Guy. His filmography consists of Blazing Saddles, Cool Hand Luke, and also How the West was Won. He has additionally recorded solo albums and also writtenbooks and instructional guides to play the harmonica. Morgan also composedthe music because that "The critical Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" and "Mr.Garrity and the Grave" and also can likewise be heard on the soundtracks for theepisodes "Dust" and "The large Tall Wish" which were written by closefriend Jerry Goldsmith. Morgan made decision the western typical "Red flow Valley" as Frisby"s recurring theme.
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While us will most likely never check out “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby”crack any kind of top ten perform it absolutely isn’t a destructive episode. Fox’s story ischarming and also Serling’s manuscript is full of witty conversation far better than most ofthe banter discovered in the lighter episodes. This one deserves at least oneviewing because that those who have actually never seen it and for the naysayers perhaps also asecond city hall if just to discover the quaint and pleasant charm that they mayhave missed.
The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door come a TelevisionClassic by boy name Grams, Jr. (OTRPublishing, 2008)
The Joe Franklin Show, interview v Andy Devine performed by Joe Franklin (1976)
www.filmmusicsociety.org/news_events/features/2008/121108.htmThe Twilight ar Museum (twilightzonemuseum.com)