The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
12 user 1 critic

A Piano in the House 

Sadistic and hated theater critic Fitzgerald Fortune buys a player piano that has the power to reveal the souls of all who hear it.



(as Earl Hamner), (created by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Fitzgerald Fortune
Esther Fortune
Gregory Walker
Marge Moore
Cyril Delevanti ...
Marvin - Butler


Theater critic Fitzgerald Fortune is looking to buy a different sort of gift for his wife's birthday. In a curio shop, he buys an old player piano. It's delivered to his home and when he starts it up it has a strange effect on his manservant, a normally dour man who breaks into mirthful laughter. When he plays another song, this time for a guest, the man breaks down and admits he's in love with Fortune's wife Esther. He decides to have fun with his party guests that evening but Esther decides to turn the tables on him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

16 February 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening scene, the lively song played by the player piano is "I'm In The Mood For Love"; however, the music roll reads, "Three O'Clock In The Morning", which is a slow waltz with music written by Julián Robledo. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: Mr. Fitzgerald Fortune, theater critic and cynic at large, on his way to a birthday party. If he knew what is in store for him, he probably wouldn't go, because before this evening is over, that cranky old piano is going to play 'Those Piano Roll Blues' - with some effects that could happen only in the Twilight Zone.
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Referenced in The Pinball Arcade (2012) See more »


Clair de Lune
by Claude Debussy
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User Reviews

Six Characters in a fascinating study
6 January 2009 | by (Whiting, Indiana) – See all my reviews

This is one of two excellent TZ "inanimate objects that control us" plots (stopwatches, cameras, used cars, etc). A marvelous set of six vignettes, with each character's true personality revealed by a different tune played on a mechanical piano. Wonderfully imaginative direction by David Greene with more tight close-ups than any other TV episode in history, and remarkably subtle performances by Barry Morse (a rarity!) and the lovely, understated Joan Hackett. The three "odd-ball" characters are the true highlights of the show with Phil Coolidge, Muriel Landers and an all-star, tour-de-force knockout romp by the cadaverous Cyril Delevanti dominating the proceedings. A great "chamber-morality" play,expertly rendered. (The only tiny blemish is that lame,dufus party-goer who waves the present in his hand as he enters the room; he should have been fired).

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