“As it happens to all men, a newcomer take away his firststep into the Twilight Zone next week once Mr. Andy Devine joins us for a showcalled ‘Hocus-Pocus and Frisby.’ the plays the function of a storekeeper the thecracker barrel range who follow me the fact like most civilization pull on taffy.This one is for laughs and also for the congenital liars among you. Next week, Mr.Devine, ‘Hocus-Pocus and Frisby.’”
*

“The reluctant gentleman v the sizable mouth is Mr.Frisby. He has actually all the journey of a broken cam shaft and also the aggressive vinegarof a corpse. As you’ve no doubt gathered, his huge stock in profession is the talltale. Now, what that doesn’t know is the the travellers out front room a veryspecial breed, destined to readjust his life past anything also his fertileimagination might manufacture. The ar is Pitchville Flats. The moment is thepresent. Yet Mr. Frisby is on the first leg that a rather fanciful journey intothe place we call…the Twilight Zone.”
Somerset Frisby is an aging small-town yokel that spendshis job lazily manning his quiet basic store, play his harmonica, and also entertainingthe locals v extravagant tales of a life well lived. Taken in ~ his word,Frisby has actually been a war hero, an completed government engineer, and ameteorologist—Old Cumulus Frisby, they dubbed him—to list just a few of hisformer occupations. His friends don’t believe a native of his fantastical claimsbut listening come them passes the time simply the same.
when closing increase his shop one evening, two males in suitsdrive up to buy gas. Frisby walks the end to greet them. They it seems ~ inquisitive andslightly peculiar however Frisby brushes it off as the curiosity that out-of-townersjust pass through.

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after the shop is closed and everyone has actually gone homeFrisby hears a voice. Believing it is a prank, the plays along. The voice tellshim come walk outside and travel a mile or so down the highway wherein he willfind a an excellent surprise. Before he have the right to make the journey, however, that is whiskedaway to a barren field where that discovers a spaceship waiting quietly because that him.Curious, that climbs inside and finds the two males in suits indigenous earlier.
Theybelieve Frisby to it is in the most accomplished human being to ever before live and also theywant to take him ago to their world to be studied and marveled. Frisbytells them that his stories are largely lies, tale tales comprised to entertainand happen the time. He demands that the aliens release him in ~ once. Castle refusehis inquiry so Frisby punches one of them. To his fear the man’s challenge breaksinto several pieces prior to falling off totally revealing a bizarre figurebeneath.
Later,Frisby starts to pat his harmonica out of boredom. The creatures immediatelyclamp their hands over your ears and also begin to scream. Frisby plays together loud ashe can and also the aliens are required to release him.
Frisbyraces ago to his store and is surprised to discover his friends wait for him.Today is Frisby’s 63rd birthday. That tries come tell them about thespaceship and also the aliens but his story is met with good-natured laughs and jeers.They just wish him a happy birthday and also thrust a box right into his hands. He opensit to discover a trophy inside with the inscription: World’s best Liar.
“Mr. Somerset Frisby, who can have profited byreading an Aesop fable around a boy who cried wolf. Tonight"s tall tale from thetimberlands that the Twilight Zone.”
“Hocus-Pocus and also Frisby” is stick Serling’s whimsicaladaptation of an unpublished story therapy by frederic Louis Fox i m sorry itselfis a twentieth century take on “The Boy who Cried Wolf” fable together Serlingmentions in his closeup of the door monologue. This was in reality the second Fox story thatSerling adapted for the show, the an initial being “Showdown through Rance McGrew” whichaired in February that the exact same year. Choose its earlier counterpart, “Hocus-Pocusand Frisby” has actually an interesting premise and also begins promisingly enough, v anall-star cast and also a well-crafted opening sequence, yet quickly loses itsmomentum after the an initial act. That manages to redeem itself with a light-heartedfinal scene wherein Frisby is rejoined with his friends who obviously care agreat deal around him yet by this allude the episode has actually become much more or lessforgettable. This is regrettably for several reasons yet mostly because itproves a missed chance for veteran director Lamont Johnson and also a highlytalented ensemble cast.
frederic Louis Fox (1902 – 1981) took pleasure in a relatively successfulcareer as a television writer during the medium’s gold age, contributing primarilyto western series such together Lawman, ZaneGrey Theatre, Branded, Rebel, and Bonanzaamong others. His film career was a bit much more sporadic however it did create ahandful the feature-length titles consisting of the 1956 crime drama as soon as Gangland Strikes, the 1969 ElvisPresley auto Charro! and directorGerd Oswald’s 80 measures to Jonah (1969),featuring Twilight zone alumni KeenanWynn and also Mickey Rooney. One of his earliest display credits to be a 1954 JoeMcDoakes brief film referred to as So, friend Wantto be a Banker? which to be directed by constant Twilight region director, Richard L. Bare.
In The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to aTelevision standard (OTR Publishing, 2008) author Martin Grams, Jr. Writesthat after completing the script for “Showdown through Rance McGrew” Serling senta copy to frederic Louis Fox as a gesture of an excellent will. Fox composed backcomplementing Serling ~ above a good script and attached to his letter aparagraph-long story treatment titled “Mister Tibbs and the paris Saucer.” InFox’s story an aging company station owner called Henry Tibbs dreams oftraveling the world but is trapped in his little town. Instead, he constructselaborate imagine adventures and tells them come his constant customers.Unbeknownst come Tibbs, his fantastical tales space being transfer on Martianradio. Someday he is contacted by a Martian who desires to pay him because that hisworldly adventures. The asks instead for a trip around the civilization in a spaceship. Upon his return house he learns that he has been awarded first place inthe city Liar’s Contest. Dismayed, that decides no to tell people about his tripbecause he knows they would certainly not think him. Instead, that keeps a souvenir fromhis adventure in his residence as a mystery reminder come himself.
Serlingliked the story and promptly wrote back saying that he would certainly be interested inadapting the short treatment into an episode ofThe Twilight Zone.Overall he remained fairly faithful to Fox’sstory. His decision to nix the idea the the key character’s rants beingbroadcast top top Martian radio was a smart one as it makes the plot tighter andeasier to follow. That was additionally smart to have actually Frisby’s friends bestow ~ above himthe location of World’s greatest Liar rather of the local file as the establishesthat he has a healthy and balanced social life and makes that a likable character regardless of histall tales. Many of the other changes—the title and character names—are mainlyfor stylistic preference.
This episode has traditionally not obtained high marksfrom pan or reviewers. When it has actually its re-publishing of ill spots the is not withoutits own personal charm. Serling begins his script with a great opening act,full that witty tongue-in-cheek banter native an interesting set of charactersplayed through a exceptional cast. Frisby is an immensely likable character from themoment he appears on screen and also the close neighborhood of tough-talking friend hesurrounds self with seems natural and welcoming.
It’sthe second act that i think loses a many people. The audience is abruptlytransported from a warm, familiar environment to one the is cold and also totallyalien to them—no pun intended. The juxtaposition between the sleepy Midwesterntown through its charmingly cantankerous peanut gallery and also the confines of thealien ship is obviously intentional on Serling’s part but it simply does nottransition well on the screen. It almost feels like two different episodes, notvastly so yet to the degree that it loses the audience’s attention and neverfully earns the back. The other weak spot of the 2nd actis the rathercartoonish faces of william Tuttle’s extraterrestrial masks. Tuttle the course to be anenormously talented makeup artist and industry legend who detailed the showwith a number of memorable designs yet unfortunately these simplistic masks arenot amongst them.
Thecast is really what makes this illustration memorable. The opening and closingscenes attribute a grasp of talented character actors which numerous will recognizefrom miscellaneous television and also film roles. Dabbs Greer, that plays Scanlan, theloudest of Frisby’s skeptics, was an extremely prolific actor. His profile onthe web Movie Database perform over three hundred exhilaration credits on both thesmall and huge screens in every genre imaginable. Among his much more well-known televisioncredits are appearences top top AlfredHitchcock Presents, The external Limits, Perry Mason, and Gunsmoke and roles in genre standards like intrusion of the human body Snatchers (1956), residence of Wax (1953), and the Jerome Bixby-penned It! The Terror native Beyond an are (1958).He capped his film career off through a moving performance in The eco-friendly Mile in 1999.
HowardMcNear is more than likely the many familiar challenge in the supporting cast thanks come hisrole together Floyd the Barber on The AndyGriffith Show. His other television credits include episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and also Thriller.His movie career has appearance in Anatomyof a murder (1959) and Voyage to theBottom of the Sea (1960).
Milton Selzer is probably best known come Twilight ar fans for his an excellent performanceas the greedy son-in-law in season five’s “The Masks.” Selzner was regularly castin similar roles play unlikable personalities with overtly pathetic qualities.He seems a bit out-of-place in this episode though. His performance below seemswooden and doesn’t really execute the 2nd act of the episode any favors. Selzerlater showed up in Buzz Kulik’s 1963 display screen adaptation the Whit Masterson’s novelThe Yellow Canary which was writtenby stick Serling.
*

The most memorable thing about the episode of course isveteran personality actor Andy Devine together the lovable but highly flawedprotagonist Somerset Frisby. Devine’s job goes ago to the era the silentfilms and also at the time that this episode originally aired the was among thebiggest names to show up on the show. Frequently recognized by his signature raspyvoice and heavy figure he to be told consistently as a young actor the he wouldnever have a career as a performer. Comparable to Frisby, Devine is psychic bythose close to him together a loud, lovable prankster who preferred to be the facility ofattention. He was also known because that bending the truth to obtain a reaction frompeople. For instance, he frequently told interviewers that he deserve his scratchy drawlfrom a childhood accident in i m sorry a curtain rod became lodged in his throat.Several biographers have dismissed this as barely an ext than a fabrication andDevine’s son stated it was one of several stories he offered to define his raspyvoice.
Devinewas often cast in westerns, commonly as the quirky comedic relief but he didoccasionally play an ext serious characters. Over the food of his 6 decadecareer he operated with several of most highly acclaimed director in cinemahistory. His an initial major duty was together Danny McGuire in the 1937 variation of A Star is Born directed by wilhelm A.Wellman. Devine would occupational with Wellman numerous times transparent his career.He additionally appeared in films made by man Huston, George Stevens, James Whale,Michael Curtiz, Jacques Tourneur, and also Victor Flemming. He showed up in fivefilms do by john Ford consisting of Stagecoach(1939) and The male Who shoot LibertyValance (1962). He likewise appeared in ten movies with Roy Rogers together hissidekick, Cookie. His distinctive voice additionally landed the a career together a voice artist.He worked broadly in radio, most notably because that NBC’s The Adventures that Wild invoice Hickok, i m sorry would at some point make thetransition to tv delivering 112 episodes from 1951 to 1958. That alsovoiced Friar Tuck in Disney’s Robin Hood (1973)and detailed the voice for the rooster in the renowned Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercialsduring the 1970’s. Frederic Louis Fox originally said Ed win for the roleof Somerset Frisby and also Wynn would have undoubtedly yielded a fineperformance. Devine, however, to be perfect because that the component and is easily the best thingabout the episode.
Lendingthis illustration an accordingly nonchalant personality is famous harmonicaplayer Tommy Morgan. Morgan"s career spans over six decades and he isconsidered among the most important harmonica football player of all time,contributing come a countless variety of projects in virtually every medium. As asession musician the has functioned with Elvis Presley, the coast Boys, Johnny Cash,Randy Newman, beam Charles, and dozens the others. He has actually composed music fordozens the television collection including Gunsmoke,The Waltons, environment-friendly Acres, The Rockford Files, and Family Guy. His filmography includes Blazing Saddles, Cool Hand Luke, and How the West to be Won. He has likewise recorded solo albums and also writtenbooks and instructional travel guide to playing the harmonica. Morgan likewise composedthe music because that "The critical Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" and "Mr.Garrity and also the Grave" and can likewise be heard on the soundtracks for theepisodes "Dust" and "The huge Tall Wish" which were written by closefriend Jerry Goldsmith. Morgan made decision the western traditional "Red flow Valley" together Frisby"s recurring theme.

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While we will likely never watch “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby”crack any kind of top ten list it certainly isn’t a devastating episode. Fox’s story ischarming and also Serling’s manuscript is full of witty dialogue far much better than many ofthe banter discovered in the lighter episodes. This one deserves at least oneviewing because that those who have never viewed it and for the naysayers perhaps also asecond viewing if only to uncover the quaint and pleasant charm that they mayhave missed.
The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door come a TelevisionClassic by martin Grams, Jr. (OTRPublishing, 2008)
The Joe Franklin Show, interview through Andy Devine carried out by Joe Franklin (1976)
www.mohavemuseum.org/andy.html
www.tmorganharmonica.com
www.filmmusicsociety.org/news_events/features/2008/121108.htmThe Twilight ar Museum (twilightzonemuseum.com)