Exploring The Twilight Zone, Episode #134: "You Drive"
Not to be confused with the Ryan Gosling movie directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, this episode may actually be the grandfather of Christine and all other sentient car movies.
The Twilight Zone, Episode #134: "You Drive" (original air date Jan. 3, 1964)
The Plot: Driving home from work one day, distracted businessman Oliver Pope (Edward Andrews) accidentally hits a bicycle-riding boy. Panicked, he flees the scene.
At home, he pretends that everything is OK, though his wife Lillian (Helen Westcott) can see that he is upset. Then they hear their car, parked in the attached garage, sounding its horn, as though it had something to say ...
The Goods: What a way to welcome a new year! The first TZ episode of 1964 gets things off to a guilty start that pushes its premise to the breaking point -- and beyond.
Earl Hammer Jr., who wrote the episode that aired just before this one (the tragic and touching "Ring-a-Ding Girl"), explores the conscience of a man who is doing his best to ignore that conscience. Completely flustered, he manages to silence the alarm, but it's only a temporary fix. The next day, he's too disturbed to go to work. Later, when co-worker Pete Radcliff (Kevin Hagen) drops by, explaining that he took the initiative and cleared out Oliver's in-box, Oliver angrily accuses him of trying to steal his job. And all the while the car keeps clamoring for attention.
Andrews, who often played officious authority figures, is properly dislikeable as Oliver Pope, his body language and wavering voice communicating his inner distress. He's not sorry for what he has done, but is desperate to avoid being caught, and it's entirely satisfying when he receives his just deserts.
The Trivia: The career of the bespectacled Andrews began on stage in the 1920s, with his first TV appearance coming in 1949. He starred in the Season 1 TZ episode "Third for the Sun," and stayed busy in films and television until shortly before his death in 1985, his last roles coming in 16 Candles and Gremlins.
In Marc Scott Zicree's book THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION, Hammer says: "All mechanical things frustrate me." Regarding the Corvette he owned at the time, "I do not trust it. It seems to have a life of its own, and sometimes when it will not start I suspect it is because it has some personal grudge against me."
On the Next Episode: An astronaut is happy and excited to accept a solo mission to explore deep space, a trip that will consume 40 years while he lies in hibernation. But then the bachelor meets a beautiful woman ...
We're running through all 156 of the original Twilight Zone episodes, and we're not doing it alone! Our friends at Film School Rejects have entered the Zone as well, only on alternating weeks. So definitely tune in over at FSR and feel free to also follow along on Twitter accounts @twitchfilm and @rejectnation.