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The Twilight Zone: A Most Unusual Camera

A stolen camera produces a picture that predicts the future for the petty thieves who had taken it.

Episode Info

Episode number: 2x10
Production Number: 173-3606
Airdate: Friday December 16th, 1960

Director: John Rich (1)
Writer: Rod Serling


Guest Stars
Adam WilliamsAdam Williams
As Woodward
Fred ClarkFred Clark
As Chester Diedrich
Jean CarsonJean Carson
As Paula Diedrich

Co-Guest Stars
Marcel HillaireMarcel Hillaire
As Pierre
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


Paula Diedrich is in a hotel room with her husband, Chester, reading about the theft of an antique store. The couple are the thieves and are going over the stolen item, which includes an antique camera with an inscription in French on it. Chester tries taking a picture of Paula with it then complains about how little they got for the heist that Paula planned. They're interrupted when the picture emerges from the camera. Chester examines it and it shows Paula is wearing a fur coat. He figures it's a gag camera that only takes the faces of the subject and puts them on a pre-developed body. They start disposing of the items and open a chest. Inside is a fur coat and Paula goes to the window to try it on. Chester quickly realizes that the camera took a picture of the future, five minutes early...

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Episode Notes
Marcel Hillaire would later return in "The New Exhibit."

Adam Williams previously appeared in "The Hitch-Hiker."

Fred Clark had a role on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show as Harry Morton, [1951-1953]

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
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.

Paula Dietrich: (Reading from the newspaper) Sometime during the morning the rear door of the antique shop was jimmied open. The police surmise that the thief, obviously working with an accomplice, entered and began to remove items from the shelves. Mr. and Mrs. Jenson J. Brown, the proprietors of the shop, listed the following collector's items as among the goods stolen. Two vases of the Ming Dynasty...
Chester Dietrich: I don't know what dynasty they're from, but they ain't Mings. These are from some rummage sale. They're worth about half a shuck apiece. (Throws the vases on the ground)
Paula Dietrich: Chester!
Chester Dietrich: It's larceny! Plain, no-good larceny. He's just padding that list for his insurance. How do you like a crook like that?
Paula Dietrich: (Continues reading the paper) An antique silver service for twelve. A Louie XIV candelabra, a Queen Anne chest...
Chester Dietrich: A phony Louie XIV candelabra. A set of U.S. Navy surplus tableware. A chest worth maybe three dollars and fifty cents, tops!
Paula Dietrich: Three oil paintings by Picasso.
Chester Dietrich: Three posters in frames. The guy that painted these thinks that Picasso is a foreign sports car.
Paula Dietrich: Two teakwood hand-carved cigarette cases...
Chester Dietrich: Ah, knock it off, knock it off.
Paula Dietrich: Hey, they forgot this. An antique camera, no less.
Chester Dietrich: Big deal. Well, it fits with the rest of the haul. Everything else is for nothing. Figures, we get a camera that's for nothing.

Chester: This thing could come from witches or... sorcerers. It could be loaded with black magic.
Paula: And what are you loaded with?

Paula Dietrich: Chester, I'm scared. I'm palpitating.
Chester Dietrich: You and your phony palpitations! A little palpitating never hurt anybody. What's there to be scared about? The thing has obviously gone tilt or something. Look, now, look. Woodward isn't here. Woodward couldn't possibly be here. Woodward's not gonna be here. He's serving time. He's nine hundred miles away in a cell block. I don't care what that crazy camera says. Whoever is in this picture, it is not Woodward.
Paula Dietrich: (The bedroom door opens) Woodward!
Woodward: Hi, Paula! Hi, Chet! I didn't wanna wake you so I jimmied the door open. I broke out. Me and another guy in a laundry truck. That's nice, huh. I didn't think you'd mind if I stay with you for a few days. Well, you don't, do you? I was thinking, if I was around, you two wouldn't fight so much. You still all the time fighting? (Chester hands him the photograph) What's this, Chet? Well, you like that? There I am, standing by this very door wearing the clothes I got on. How about that? I tell you, science is wonderful! To be able to take a picture of a...wait a minute. Wait a minute! Like, uh, how come?
Chester Dietrich: Science. We got something here for humanity.
Woodward: Who?
Chester Dietrich: Humanity.
Paula Dietrich: You got a leak in your attic? What's humanity ever done for us?
Chester Dietrich: Sure, Paula, sure. That's what I meant. Just what you said. That's the way we are. Everything for us. Nothing for anybody else. Well, I've risen above all that now. I say let's give this to the world. Here, world. A gift from Chester Dietrich and his wife.
Woodward: And me too, Chet! Don't forget Woodward.
Chester Dietrich: Yeah, and you too, Woodward. Here, world. A gift for humanity. A gesture. A gesture to show the size of the heart of Chester Dietrich and wife...and Woodward.
Woodward: Yeah, that's better.

Closing Narration
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.

Episode Goofs
The escaped convict knew where his sister and her husband were located after he escaped and jimmied open their door, despite never having contact with him in prison.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorBill Mosher
CastingEthel Winant
Set DecoratorH. Web Arrowsmith  |  Henry Grace
Art DirectorPhilip Barber  |  George W. Davis
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Charles Scheid
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Assistant DirectorE. Darrell Hallenbeck
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