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"A Most Unusual Camera" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"A hotel suite that, in this instance, serves as a den of crime, the aftermath of a rather minor event to be noted on a police blotter, an insurance claim, perhaps a three-inch box on page twelve of the evening paper. Small addenda to be added to the list of the loot: a camera, a most unimposing addition to the flotsam and jetsam that it came with, hardly worth mentioning really, because cameras are cameras, some expensive, some purchasable at five-and-dime stores. But this camera, this one's unusual because in just a moment we'll watch it inject itself into the destinies of three people. It happens to be a fact that the pictures that it takes can only be developed in The Twilight Zone."
Two thieves, husband and wife Chester (Fred Clark) and Paula Diedrich (Jean Carson), have just robbed a curio shop, and among the things they have stolen is a strange camera. Through accident, the pair discover that it produces photos of the future, about five minutes ahead. After Paula's jail-escapee brother Woodward (Adam Williams) shows up, Chester decides to use the camera to take pictures of the blank winner's board before races at the local racetrack and then use the camera's "predictions" in making bets. The trio win $9,500 on the first race. They bet and win on five other races and leave with a considerable load of cash. Back at their hotel, a French waiter named Pierre (Marcel Hillaire) takes notice of their camera and its French inscription dix à la propriétaire, meaning ten to an owner. When the waiter exits, Paula, Chester and Woodward discuss the use of the camera's last two pictures and fail to come to any agreement. While tugging over the camera, a picture of Paula - screaming and recoiling in horror - is accidentally taken. In further struggle, Chester and Woodward begin to fight, and they fall out of an open window to their deaths. Paula screams - as in the picture - but recovers immediately when she realizes that all the money and loot is now hers. She takes a picture (the last picture) of Chester and Woodward's bodies in the courtyard below the window, and begins collecting the day's winnings, planning to check out of the hotel. Before Paula can leave, Pierre returns and robs her, telling her that he knows about their crimes and will turn her in to the police if she calls them for help. He notes that her last picture shows "more than two" bodies in the courtyard. Panicked, Paula runs to look out the window, trips over a wire, and falls to her demise. Pierre then counts the corpses in the picture. "Yes, there are more than two bodies down there. Just like the picture shows. One, two, three ... four?!" In shock upon his realization, he falls out as well, leaving the camera lying on the floor.
"Object known as a camera, vintage uncertain, origin unknown. But for the greedy, the avaricious, the fleet of foot, who can run a four-minute mile so long as they're chasing a fast buck, it makes believe that it's an ally, but it isn't at all. It's a beckoning come-on for a quick walk around the block - in The Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
This may look to you like any dismal, dark and dingy alley that lies skulking out the million myriad shadow places off the main drags. Actually, it's the private domain of leprechauns and elves and supplies the locale of next week's Twilight Zone. With us for a very special occasion is Mr. Art Carney who plays the role of a department store Santa Claus. And he plays it with the heart, the warmth and the vast talent that is uniquely Carney. On The Twilight Zone next week, "The Night of the Meek".
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
Home media release
- Referenced in Night of the Meek.
- Inspired the children's novel Say Cheese and Die!.