Harvey Hunnicutt is the stereotypical used car salesman: a fast talker who, to put it politely, is prone to stretching the truth about the cars he sells. He buys a used car from an old gentleman paying him far less that it's worth. After the deal, the old man tells him the car is haunted. Soon, Harvey finds that he can only tell the truth. Not only to customers but even to his wife as well. When he tries to sell the man's car he finds the perfect customer. Written by
John F. Kennedy, who is referenced in the story, was inaugurated as President the day this episode first aired. See more »
Hunnicut puts a cigar on the bar rail when going to talk to a pair, but during the opening narration in the same spot, it's missing. See more »
Couldn't happen, you say? Far-fetched? Way-out? Tilt-of-center? Possible. But the next time you buy an automobile, if it happens to look as if it had just gone through the Battle of the Marne, and the seller is ready to throw into the bargain one of his arms, be particularly careful in explaining to the boss about your grandmother's funeral, when you are actually at Chavez Ravine watching the Dodgers. It'll be a fact that you are the proud possessor of an instrument of truth ...
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This tongue in cheek episode is best considered in the context of the time of its first airing; it was the very same day Jack Kennedy was inaugurated. Used car salesmen had already joined politicians as having a reputation as being less than truthful. America was embroiled in the cold war with the USSR. A story weaving all these points together is done best in the Twilight Zone.
Harvey Hunnicutt (Jack Carson) is the prototypical used car dealer / con man. He trades for a dilapidated old Ford Model A, only to discover he can no longer tell a lie.
This episode was one of 6 produced on videotape, with all it's jitters, excessive contrast, and limited sound quality. All the action appears on a used car lot at night, thus you won't mind the quality issues as much. This was one of Jack Carson's last great performances; he succumbed to cancer two years later. A young Arte Johnson (later of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In) makes a brief appearance.
The finale demonstrates Serling's wishful thinking for a worried America, as it began the Camelot of the Kennedy era.
This episodes legacy? Look no further than Jim Carrey's LiarLiar.
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