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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 2 E 50 The Whole Truth

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Hunnicut feels the burden of truth.

Rod Serling: This, as the banner already has proclaimed, is Mr. Harvey Hunnicut, an expert on commerce and con jobs, a brash, bright, and larceny-loaded wheeler and dealer who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, must have gone for a beer and missed out. And these are a couple of other characters in our story: a little old man and a Model A car - but not just any old man and not just any Model A. There's something very special about the both of them. As a matter of fact, in just a few moments, they'll give Harvey Hunnicut something that he's never experienced before. Through the good offices of a little magic, they will unload on Mr. Hunnicut the absolute necessity to tell the truth. Exactly where they come from is conjecture, but as to where they're heading for, this we know, because all of them - and you - are on the threshold of the Twilight Zone.

Air date: January 20, 1961

Harvey Hunnicut, a used car salesman (Jack Carson), buys a car that forces him to tell the truth.

The Whole Tropes:

  • The Alleged Car: The dilapidated Model A Ford that the old man brings in to sell. Even in the early 1960s it would have been 30 years old. Hunnicut only pays $25 for it. After he's unable to lie, he has to admit to customers that every car on his lot is The Alleged Car.
  • Alliterative Name: The protagonist's name is Harvey Hunnicut.
  • Bottle Episode: One of six episodes during the second season that were recorded on video tape as a cost-cutting measure. That's why the whole episode takes place on a single set, and is much blurrier than most Twilight Zone episodes.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: After buying the Model A, Hunnicut finds out to his horror that he can't tell a lie. And since he's a used car dealer, and specifically a bottom-of-the-barrel used car dealer that sells junkers, his business is ruined.
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  • Haunted Technology: The old man reveals to Hunnicut that the car is haunted, and that the only way to escape the haunted car is to sell it.
  • Hilarity Ensues: The fact that Hunnicut Cannot Tell a Lie after buying the haunted Model A Ford causes him some problems such as losing sales, getting into a fight with his wife and being punched by his employee Irv when he reveals that he never gives any of his employees raises in spite of all of his promises. However, he manages to avoid any serious consequences until he sells the car to Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Historical Domain Character: Hunnicut finally manages to sell the car to...Nikita Khrushchev. Hunnicut suggests that the Soviet Union exhibit it as a typical American car. ("You just try saying that."). It's almost Invisible President, but we do see Khruschev's face as his man is driving the car out of the lot.
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  • Honest John's Dealership: Hunnicut is the typical lying con artist used car dealer, which becomes a problem when a haunted car renders him unable to lie.
  • Sleazy Politician: Hunnicut tries to sell the Model A Ford to a local politician named Honest Luther Grimbley in order to escape its effects. However, his inability to lie means that he is forced to reveal the fact that it is haunted. Grimbley refuses to buy it on the grounds that he would not be able to deliver a single speech if he could not tell a lie.

Rod Serling: Couldn't happen, you say? Far-fetched? Way-out? Tilt-off-center? Possible. But the next time you buy an automobile, if it happens to look as if it had just gone through the Battle of the Marne, and the seller is ready to throw into the bargain one of his arms, be particularly careful in explaining to the boss about your grandmother's funeral, when you are actually at Chavez Ravine watching the Dodgers. It'll be a fact that you are the proud possessor of an instrument of truth - manufactured and distributed by an exclusive dealer - in the Twilight Zone.