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Recap / The Twilight Zone (1959) S 2 E 45 "The Trouble With Templeton"

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Laura prepares to stick the script to Templeton.

Rod Serling: Pleased to present for your consideration, Mr. Booth Templeton; serious and successful star of over thirty Broadway plays, who is not quite all right today. Yesterday and its memories is what he wants, and yesterday is what he'll get. Soon his years and his troubles will descend on him in an avalanche. In order not to be crushed Mr. Booth Templeton will escape from his theater and his world, and make his debut on another stage, in another world, that we call the Twilight Zone.
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Air date: December 9, 1960

Booth Templeton (Brian Aherne) is an aging stage actor who is unhappy with his life. His much younger wife flaunts her infidelities right in front of him, while Booth continues to mourn his first wife, Laura, who died young. After a confrontation with the arrogant director of his new play (a young Sydney Pollack!), Booth storms out of the theater—and finds himself back in 1927. He makes his way to a speakeasy to find his wife Laura, only to discover that things aren't as he remembered them.


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Tropes:

  • An Aesop: Live your life to the fullest instead of obsessing over the past.
  • Batman Gambit: Planned out with a script, no less: What to Do When Booth Comes Back.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: The shades of Laura and Barney in 1927, or whatever they are, are intentionally cruel to Booth in order to get him to leave, and go back to 1960, and live in the moment instead of always thinking about the past.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The script that Booth snatched from Laura at the speakeasy is how he learns what was really going on. It is entitled What to Do When Booth Comes Back and features all of the lines spoken by Laura and Barney.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: It's after reading the script that Booth realizes Laura and the others only shunned and insulted him to break him of his obsession with the past and get him to live his life.
    Laura: [slapping Booth] Go back where you came from! We don't want you here!
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  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Booth regains his drive for life and is done letting others walk all over him.
  • The Flapper: Laura was one in the 1920s.
  • Heroic BSoD: Booth spends much of the episode in a funk because he's longing for the good old days. It makes it easy for others to treat him badly.
  • The Roaring '20s: Booth continually hearkens back to the 1920s when he was young and his beloved wife Laura and his best friend Barney Flueger were still alive.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: In 1927, Booth is back with his beloved first wife and his old friends. However, while they are as they were at time (both in terms of age and personality), he's the same as he is in the present and clearly doesn't fit in anymore. This, of course, is the point the others wanted him to understand.
    Barney: Yes, old man, what did you expect?
  • Trophy Wife: We only get a glimpse of Booth's current wife in the far distance, where she's frolicking with a young man by the pool, but dialogue indicates that she's much younger than he is.
  • Wham Shot: The sad look on Laura's face after Booth leaves the speakeasy indicates what was really going on.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Booth is a Rare Male Example of this trope.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Booth's second wife has no problem flirting with others in plain view of him.

Rod Serling: Mr. Booth Templeton, who shared with most human beings the hunger to recapture the past moments, the ones that soften with the years. But in his case, the characters of his past blocked him out and sent him back to his own time, which is where we find him now. Mr. Booth Templeton, who had a round-trip ticket - into the Twilight Zone.
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