The Twilight Zone Episode 45: The Trouble with Templeton

General Information

Director: Buzz Kulik

Writer: E. Jack Neuman

Cast: Brian Aherne, Pippa Scott, Sydney Pollack, Dave Willock, King Calder, Larry Blake, David Thursby, and Charles Carlson

Composer: Jeff Alexander

Air Date: 12/9/1960

Production Code: 173-3649

 

Overview

Considering himself an old man, Broadway actor Booth Templeton (Brian Aherne) feels unable to participate in a play directed by the demanding Arthurthe-twilight-zone-the-trouble-with-templeton Willis (Sydney Pollack). After leaving a rehearsal prematurely, Templeton travels back in time and happens upon his late wife Laura (Pippa Scott) and best friend Barney Flueger (Charles Carlson), both exactly as he remembered them. As Templeton soon discovers, however, reliving the past can be more daunting than one might assume.

A nostalgic episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Trouble with Templeton” contains an important lesson that all would be wise to heed. Also commendable are the scenic transitions employed by director Buzz Kulik, which effectively blur the line between two distinct time periods.

 

Pros

By combining a formal, dignified manner with an air of solemnness, Brian Aherne made credible the concept of a cultured stage performer experiencing a late-life crisis—a somewhat difficult premise to sell when taking into account the many comforts and the-twilight-zone-the-trouble-with-templetonachievements (e.g. marrying a trophy wife, living in a luxury home, and earning the reputation afforded to a renowned actor) attained by Templeton, a romantic who values affection, sentimentality, and interpersonal connectedness over pleasures of a hollow nature.

Contrasting the tragic pathos of Templeton, Laura—or the ghost thereof—exemplifies the frivolity of a woman whose affluent, pampered existence in the Roaring Twenties would seem, at least initially, to prevent her from enjoying the adoration showered upon her by an anachronistic husband. Laura’s cruel, callous reaction works to elicit sympathy for Templeton, who must confront the remnants of a time long past before accepting that which awaits him in the present.

 

Cons

the-twilight-zone-the-trouble-with-templetonIn the final scene, Templeton provides an expository (i.e. underwhelming) explanation for his temporal displacement.

 

Analysis

As opposed to “Walking Distance” from the first season, “The Trouble with Templeton” does not necessarily discourage audiences from viewing history through rose-tinted glasses; rather, the commentary in this episode suggests that memories—even cherished ones—should never be idealized at the expense of current happiness.

 

Concluding Comments

“The Trouble with Templeton” offers a poignant and creative spin on the time travel trope. Fans of delicate storytelling may therefore appreciate E. Jack Neuman’s narrative, which will no doubt evoke an emotional response from those of a sensitive disposition.

 

Overall Quality: 8/10

 

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One thought on “The Twilight Zone Episode 45: The Trouble with Templeton

  1. This is an intriguing, even daunting episode where it seems like an aging man with current troubles and low on confidence cherishes his past and then travels back to it to see how he was looking at it through rose colored glasses. But it also seems that maybe it’s not quite that.
    Yes, Templeton’s wife is cheating on him, his health is subpar, and he’s slipped at work, and he has formed into his mind how wonderful and perfect a lost love of his and his life once was decades ago. Then, he “goes” back 30 years and his old love was not exactly the way he had built us up to believe she was. Whether that is more to do with that his memories of her were distorted or it’s that she immediately changed the way she looked at him now since he suddenly appeared much older and carrying an uneasy desperation that put her off, is not made clear. Something even less clear to me is, did Templeton really go back in time to the 1920s? Or was everything staged in the present 1960 where they found replicas of his lost love, old friend, etc. to act out that entire scene? Because really back in the 1920s, how could his real lost love, friend, etc. have possibly known to put on such an act, to write out that revealed script, or know about the older Templeton in 1960?
    Either way, this episode was very interesting and good.