The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 17

The Fever

Aired Unknown Jan 29, 1960 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
167 votes
  • 9.5
    There is something awfully disturbing about this episode, in the best kind of way. I think those that are saying it's a heavy handed morality play where nothing happens aren't really getting it. If it has a point, it would seem to be that anyone can be susceptible to addiction. As for those who say that someone so against gambling would never succumb, keep in mind that (1) those who are the most vehemently opposed to something often have something to hide and (2) THE GUY IS BEING STALKED BY A SLOT MACHINE THAT CALLS HIM BY NAME!

    To that end, this is a good episode because it blends real life issues with the surreal and fantastical, so that neither one really becomes the focus and it works on both levels. Vivi Janiss also puts in a nice performance as Franklin's sweet wife, whom he continually treats like garbage. Perhaps Franklin's fate also has something to do with his rotten behavior toward her through the entire episode.

    The best aspect of the episode, for me, is the creepy atmosphere throughout and the fact that it becomes more and more unsettling until something just snaps. The slot machine's voice--sounding like something off of Kraftwerk's "Radio-activity" album--surely won't leave your head after watching this one.
  • "Frank-lin!...Frank-lin!..."


    Wonderful to see Everett Sloane doing something for TV. And I love watching his character self-destruct without a clue of what's happening to him (and without ever really changing his point of view toward the foolish evils of gambling either). Janiss also turns in a good performance as his wife. The end, with the single coin rolling from the sardonic and malevolent machine, is Serling at his cynical and mocking best, and the music throughout suits this atmosphere perfectly.

  • Point well taken, but they overstate their case.

    Like most TZ episodes, "The Fever" seems to have a moral, this one being that compulsive gambling can destroy lives, which it can and often does. There have been cases where people have mortgaged and lost their homes playing blackjack or whatever. Even suicides. This episode tries to make the case against gambling, or at least compulsive gambling, by having a tightwad like Franklin Gibbs as the poster boy for compulsive gamblers, which is really absurd. Yes, gambling can, for some, be an obsession, but someone like Franklin is the least likely person to get "the fever". Of all the people in the casino, all of whom gamble responsibly, Franklin, who has a moral code against any form of gambling, is the one who goes nuts. Oh, Please! Getting a little carried away, maybe, but still unlikely. But to the point of jumping out a window to escape a phantom slot machine?! Someone who is as against gambling as Franklin is not going to end up that way, not even close. His poor wife, watching helplessly as he loses it. And that machine, calling out "Franklin" in that ugly voice. They could have done better.
  • Practical, pontificating Franklin turns into a raving lunatic and compulsive gambler with one tug of a slot machine.

    This episode will keep you waiting for something interesting to happen and then leave you madly disappointed, kind of like Franklin's slot machine. Boorish Franklin rains all over his wife's parade after she wins a trip to Las Vegas, scolding and upbraiding her for them having to be there in the first place. He derides her for wanting to play even one nickel, and she submits to his penny-pinching admonishing immediately. The moment she acquiesces, Franklin proves himself the hypocrite by agreeing to play a machine at the behest of a drunken stranger. Franklin plays one time, wins a few bucks, and is hooked from that moment on.
    Nothing else of consequence happens in this episode, except for when Franklin sees the slot machine coming towards him and begins backing away - conveniently, into a window that is behind him. As I saw him moving towards the window, my thought was, "Oh, no. Not again!" Sure enough, even though he merely backs into the window with no more force than required by leaning on it, the whole thing breaks and he goes flying through it. The end of Franklin, and the end of a sadly forgettable TZ episode.
  • One of the scariest episodes for many reasons.

    Maybe it's just my childhood memeory but this is one of the scariest episodes I have ever watched. In fact, it's one of the scariest things I have watched in my entire life. I was too young when I first saw it and it was well around midnight one night when I first saw the episode. Those circumstances aside, I was terrified by it once again when I finally got up the courage to watch it a second time years later. This episode teaches a very scary but valuable lesson about gambling addiction in a way that is very likely to stick with the viewer. This may very well be the reason I don't gamble!

    Franklin's addiction starts slowly, gradually. You can see the transformation throughout the episode until it is a full blown addiction. Wheather the machine was really after him or if it was just a hallucination, this episode teaches that addiction will ultimately be one's end.
  • A disappointing episode about an elderly man catching gambling fever.

    This is a mediocre episode of The Twilight Zone. The story is simple: A couple wins a trip to Las Vegas where the husband becomes a gambling addict. The biggest problem with "The Fever" is just how unlikeable and unsympathetic the characters are. The husband is a know-it-all jerk while the wife is mousy and annoying. Without a character to identify with, the viewer cannot share the husbands experience with addiction or the wife's horror at watching her family's saving being gambled away. The gimmick in this episode is that the slot machine can say the husbands name, beckoning him to the machine. Overall, a forgettable episode that I awarded only a mark of 5.7.
  • In this episode of The Twilight Zone, Franklin Gibbs and his wife go to a Casino. Gibbs does not like to gamble, but when a drunk gives him a coin and he starts playing, he gets thrust right into The Twilight Zone.

    At the beginning, you learn why the husband, Franklin Gibbs, and his wife are at a hotel and casino-because they won a contest. Immediately, the audience should see Franklin's dislike to the casino atmosphere-he absolutely hates all forms of gambling. His wife remains cheerful though, and they get ready to head back to the room. On the way, Franklin runs into a drunk. This drunk tells him to try his luck at the machine, and again the actor portrays a good facial expression that shows he does not like it. After winning of of one coin, he continues playing. Soon, it's two-o-clock AM, and his wife is worried. She comes down to meet him. After a violent encounter, Franklin finally leaves, showing his displeasement about the quarrel with his wife. Rod Serling wrote the script perfectly at this point in the story, and the actors portrayed it will-especially the extras looking on in the background. Here is when we start first hearing of "The Fever-" the slot machine is calling Franklin's name! After an encounter with the "slot machine, that Franklin is only imaging, he falls out of the window and down to his death. The end of the episode is quite fitting, as we see the slot machine return Franklin's coin-the same one that the machine stole from him earlier! After Serling's conclusion statement, the show ends. Not the BEST episode, but it is good none the less.