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"The Trouble With Templeton" is the 45th episode of the The Twilight Zone.

From the CBS Video Library cover:

"Feeling very old and tired, stage-star Booth Templeton longs for those years in the Twenties when his angelic wife Laura was alive—the only truly happy time in his life. When brash young director Willis savagely berates him for arriving late to a rehearsal, Templeton flees the theater—and finds himself back in 1927! Templeton has only one overwhelming desire—to find Laura and stake his claim on the past. Soon enough, he gets his wish...but it's hardly the reunion he imagined."[1]

Episode Details

Opening Narration

"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."

Episode Summary

Aging Broadway actor Booth Templeton is at home, watching his current wife, Diane Templeton, flirt at poolside with a gigolo. Booth's servant, Marty, comes in with his daily medication, and Booth half-jokingly wonders about what will happen when his pills stop working. Booth notes that he hasn't achieved any contentment and Marty suggests that he tell the director of his current play that he can't make rehearsal that day. Booth insists on going, however, and admits he can't remember when he ever loved his current wife. He fondly remembers his first wife, Laura, who died after seven years of marriage. Booth reminisces over his happiness with Laura and claims that he's all right.

Booth goes to the theater at noon for the first rehearsal of the new play and meets Sid Sperry, the play's unctuous financial backer. Sperry informs him that the director has been replaced by up-and-comer Arthur Willis. Booth goes in to find Willis declaring to everyone in no uncertain terms that he is in charge. Willis sees Booth entering late and delivers a miniature lecture about the importance of being on time and ready for the first day of rehearsal, ending with a pointed question at Booth about his commitment to the success of the play. Pressured, Booth runs out of the theater and suddenly finds a crowd of admirers warmly applauding him for his latest performance. Their attire, nearby vehicles and a play poster inform him that he is inexplicably in 1927 - over 30 years in the past.

The "current" play, The Great Seed, was written by Booth's best friend, the late Barney Flueger. A stagehand tells Booth that his wife is waiting for him with the cast and crew at their usual speakeasy. Hopeful that he will soon see Laura again, Booth runs to the speakeasy and the owner, Freddie, lets him in. Laura is drinking with Barney and assumes Booth is wearing aging makeup. He wants to talk to her in private about the phenomenon he is experiencing. She refuses, insisting that she just wants to have a good time. As she fans herself with a script, Booth tries to explain what's going on and how his best friend and wife are dead in his time and have been only memories to him for years. They assume he's joking and insist on partying and when Booth professes his love, Laura casually dismisses him and bursts out laughing. When Booth tries to force her into leaving, she slaps him and tells him to go back where he came from. Angry, hurt, and puzzled by Laura's uncharacteristic actions, Booth storms out with Laura's script in hand. As soon as he leaves, the music ceases and everyone grows quiet. Laura and Barney watch his departure with sadness and the "world" of the speakeasy goes dark.

Booth runs down the street and back to the theater to find himself back in the present. He notices that the script he is holding is titled What To Do When Booth Comes Back and reads through it to discover that everything that happened in the speakeasy was scripted. Booth realizes that the "ghosts" of his past were putting on a special performance, for him alone, to force him from his ennui and nostalgia for the past and to send him back to live his life in the present with new energy and focus. Sperry and Willis are waiting for him and demand to know if he's there to work. Booth asserts himself, overriding Sperry and demanding a student's obedience from Willis. Impressed, Willis tells Sperry to run along and listens as Booth says he'll someday explain what happened. The rehearsal for the new play proceeds as scheduled.

Closing Narration

"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."

Preview for Next Week's Story

In this $28-a-week hotel suite live three human beings who have larceny in them from their toes to where they part their hair. Amongst the loot of one evening's caper is this camera, which they soon discover has most unique properties - it takes pictures of the future. Stick around for the development next week on The Twilight Zone.

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)

Home media release

This episode is included on the Image Entertainment Vol. 10 DVD along with "The Last Flight", "Once Upon a Time" and "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim".

Notes and References

  1. CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0320 "Mr. Denton On Doomsday/The Shelter/The Lateness of the Hour/The Trouble With Templeton" ; UPC: 003200111996, EAN: ?, ASIN: ?; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)

External Links