Arch Obler’s adaption of Henry Kuttner and C.L.Moore’s 1942 comic SF story. For a short movie it’s way too long. A university professor has a TV set that runs his life. It could be taken as a satire on the control TV has over people in general but the humor wears thin…real thin.
Philosophy professor Kerry West (Hans Conried) is on his own when his wife Carolyn (Janet Warren) goes to visit her sister who is going to have a baby. She give him a long list of things to do and tells him to have fun with his new TV. As soon as the cab leaves he tosses the list.
Strange things start happening. The TV, which isn’t plugged in, lights his cigarettes, cleans the kitchen and makes sure he doesn’t drink more than one cup of coffee. He tries listening to Mozart but the TV prefers marching music.
Ed the TV repairman stops by for the down payment. Kerry says he doesn’t have it and he’ll have to take the set back. Ed walks into the living room and on the floor…the hundred dollar payment. They don’t know the TV put it there.
Kerry calls football coach Trout over and he sees the set do its thing. Back at the coach’s place Trout tells him the set is a Twonky. That’s something you don’t know what it is. Back at Kerry’s house the coach tries taking a picture of the light ray that comes out of the set. No luck. He then goes to see if the set will protect Kerry. He goes to kick him and ends up with a paralyzed leg. The coach has to stay at Kerry’s.
The Twonky changes Kerry’s lecture to his class to Passion Through The Ages. That draws a lot of laughs. Kerry runs out and goes to the TV store and demands they take it back. He’s told they can’t because Carolyn is the one who bought it. They’ll give him a replacement. Meanwhile the coach has some of his football players over and tells them to destroy the set.
Kerry and Ed come back with the new set and discover the students laid out on the floor. They slowly get up and say “I have no complaints” and zombie-like walk out the door. The Twonky makes a phone call saying it’s from the Bureau of Entertainment and wants a blonde sent over. The telephone operator calls the vice squad.
Coach is a Science Fiction fan and tells Kerry the set is actually a robot from the future that took the form of a TV set. He says its function is to control the household for the government. The Twonky fixes the coach’s leg and in a trance he starts to leave. Then the vice squad shows up along with a couple treasury agents. The down payment money was counterfeit.
More incidents keep happening to Kerry as the movie has by now worn out its welcome. It would have been better as an episode of a half-hour sitcom….maybe.