Monday, March 19, 2018

The Twilight Zone (1959) -- Season 1 Episode 32 (A Passage for Trumpet)

Joey Crown is not a happy man.  He plays the trumpet.  At least, he did, back before he decided to drown his sorrows in liquor.  The episode begins with him trying to get an old job back.  Before he can convince the other person, a bottle falls and shatters on the ground, just like his chances of getting the job.  All that’s left for Joey to do is sell his trumpet and step in front of a moving truck.

After being knocked out, Joey finds himself in the same area, only on one will acknowledge him.  After walking around and realizing that he might be dead, he meets a guy named Gabe.  Gabe can see Joey and explains what’s really going on.  He gives Joey the opportunity to make a choice and Joey decides to go on living.  He finds himself in front of the truck.  The driver gives Joey some money to keep quiet.  Lo and behold, it’s enough to buy the trumpet back.  We’re left with the impression that Joey will get his life back on track.

The episode doesn’t directly deal with Joey’s motives for stepping in front of a truck.  It’s not even clear that it was suicide.  (Why would Joey sell the trumpet if he was going to kill himself?)  Instead, it presents Joey as someone who maybe needs a push in the right direction.

He drinks, but it’s out of sadness.  Being sad isn’t necessarily the same thing as being depressed.  Joey strikes me as the kind of person that just needed that impetus to actually change.  Drinking is easy for him.  Seeing what it would mean to not be able to play again motivates him.

It’s an interesting episode.  Part of the problem with someone having to realize that they’re no longer living is that it does take a while.  The audience usually gets it pretty quickly.  Thus, it usually seems like the character in question may be a little slow.

Being that the first season of The Twilight Zone had 25-minute episodes, the episode didn‘t seem that prolonged.  It comes off as more of a morality play, showing us that there’s always a reason to get better, even if it’s not that obvious.  Something better might be right around the corner.

IMDb page

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