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
Considering himself an old man, Broadway actor Booth Templeton (Brian Aherne) feels unable to participate in a play directed by the demanding Arthur 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.
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 achievements (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.
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.
“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
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.