Twilight Zone S4 – In His Image (01/03/63)

tzinhisimage02At 4:30 am, Alan Talbot strolls out of his hotel.  It is a great location because he walks to the subway, goes down to the platform, and it is still 4:30.  He starts feeling woozy and hears electrical sounds.  The only other person in the station — a crazy cat lady with no cats — starts preaching to him, so he throws her in the path of the oncoming train.  It must be the Express, because it ain’t stopping.

His gal-pal Jessica is in her apartment when Alan comes to the door.  After a little goofy repartee about being a Junior Woodchuck, she invites him in.  He is astounded to learn he is 45 minutes late.  He was supposed to be there at 5:00 a.m. to take Jessica to meet his Aunt Mildred for the first time.  After a lengthy 4-day courtship, they are going to get married.

tzinhisimage03They arrive in Alan’s hometown of Coeurville and he begins pointing out the landmarks to Jessica.  He has only been away from home for a week, but his memory is a little spotty.  He doesn’t recognize some buildings, remembers a restaurant where there never has been one, goes to the wrong house expecting his aunt, and points out an empty field where he remembers his office being.

He goes to find his parents . . . at the cemetery.  In their plots he discovers a tombstone for Walter and Mary Ryder.  On the way back of town, Alan jumps out of the car and sends Jessica away for her own protection as the electronic noises overwhelm his brain.  Having second thoughts, he runs out into the road where he is hit by another car. The accident leaves a gash on his arm, exposing electronic circuitry.

tzinhisimage06Looking through a phonebook (a very thick object made of dead trees and containing phone numbers), he finds the name and address of Walter Ryder Jr.  At the Ryder house — as in every show I’ve posted about — Alan feels free to let himself in and explore the house.  He is surprised by Ryder who turns on the lights.  He is surprised again as Ryder looks exactly like him.  Ryder tells him, “You’re a machine, Alan!” — words he longed to hear from Jessica.

Ryder tells Alan how he dreamed as a kid of “building the perfect artificial man, not a robot, a duplicate human being.  Why he chose himself as the template rather than Marilyn Monroe or some other 60’s babe is a topic for discussion.  Sadly, Alan blew a gasket, attacked Ryder with a pair of scissors and fled the house a week ago.

tzinhisimage05Ryder takes him downstairs to his “birthplace” in the basement.  He shows Alan a couple of other spare Alans that were factory rejects.

Ryder is kind of a loser, but he does come up with a pretty good plan.  Someone with Alan’s face shows up at Jessica’s apartment.

There is a sly humor to the episode which is a sure sign Serling didn’t write it.  Some of it is slightly absurdist as when Alan points out the empty field where he works.  George Grizzard is quite good at delivering scenes like that, although he doesn’t get a lot of support from Gail Kobe as Jessica.  She comes off as a little desperate, and I don’t mean her character.

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