The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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A Thing About Machines 

Bartlett Finchley's paranoia about the machines around proves true.


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Episode complete credited cast:
TV Repairman
Jay Overholts ...
Margarita Cordova ...
Girl on TV


Bartlett Finchley is an odd man, a writer who contributes to food magazines and the like. He lives alone and is always it seems in need of a repairman for one piece of household equipment or another. As time has gone by, he seems to be in a constant battle with machines - his typewriter, his television - which all have the same message for him: get out of the house. He has no intention of doing so however and the battle begins. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

28 October 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The car is a 1939 Talbot-Lago coupé. See more »


The arm of the stuntman in the 'driverless car' can be seen as it reverses out of the wall of boxes. See more »


Narrator: [Closing Narration] Yes, it could just be. It could just be that Mr. Bartlett Finchley succumbed from a heart attack and a set of delusions. It could just be that he was tormented by an imagination as sharp as his wit and as pointed as his dislikes. But as perceived by those attending, this is one explanation that has left the premises with the deceased. Look for it filed under 'M' for Machines - in The Twilight Zone.
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User Reviews

Screw Tops Strike Back
24 November 2016 | by See all my reviews

Okay, I have trouble with screw top lids and when the can opener balks, I call the wife. Last time I fixed anything was replacing batteries in my TV wand. So, all in all, I sympathize with Finchley, but I do try to take my ineptitude with some humor. Not Finchley. He's an intellectual snob, certainly dislikable, thanks to an excellent performance by actor Haydn. He not only treats mechanical things with contempt, but people too. So no wonder a reckoning is at hand. But this being the TZ, it's the mechanical world that rebels. Cars, razors, clocks, TV's, even typewriters-- all find a voice and rebel against the insufferable tyrant. The special effects are mostly good, and I really like the first eruption of the electric razor looking just like a coiled cobra. From now on, you can bet I'll keep mine well cleaned. And catch that driverless car-- I was rooting for it.

All in all, it's an unusual episode with what I think is a good moral—something about being kind to our cutting-edge creations and they'll be good to us. I expect that goes for our computerized world as well. Uh oh!— now what's the problem with my keyboard. Guess I'll have to call the wife.

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