The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 12

The Jungle

Aired Unknown Dec 01, 1961 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
118 votes

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Episode Summary

Alan Richards plans to build a dam in Africa on a tribe's ancestral land. The tribe's witch doctor puts a curse on him.

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  • That Old Black Magic

    Part of the fun I get in watching old Twilight Zone episodes is not simply trying to guess the twist in the tale that so many of them include, but the influences upon and potential sources of the story itself.

    During the very first scene of "The Jungle", when Richards foolishly destroys the fetish that his wife has been keeping in order to protect him, I thought, "Hmm. This is a lot like Fritz Leiber's book, 'Conjure Wife'" (originally published in "Unknown Worlds", 1943). I should point out that my hypothesis is somewhat borne out by the fact that the scriptwriter, Charles Beaumont, later produced a script in collaboration with Richard Matheson and George Baxt which was an adaptation of that very same Fritz Leiber story. The film that resulted, "The Night of the Eagle (1962)", is highly recommended (at least by me).

    Further on in the episode, when Richards is fearfully trying to make his way home through the haunted city streets I couldn't help smiling at the obvious parallels with Jacques Tourneur's classic horror movie, "Cat People (1942)". There may even be a little flavour of "The Seventh Victim (1943)" thrown in there, too.

    Oh, by the way, Mr. Richards, as an ex-city dweller myself, I would've thought (voodoo curses aside) that you'd have known better than to wander through a city park in the early hours of the morning. :Pmoreless
  • A mix of voodoo, retribution , ignorance and white capitalism mix in \"The Jungle\". Mr. Richard wants to build a dam on sacred land and put the people living there homeless.moreless

    Decent episode, very predictable but the points are delivered loud and clear. Even though the episode is in part about voodoo it\'s also a commentary on Capitalism the pros and cons.

    Mr. Richards in his defending of the buliding of the dam says that the Africans will see the benefits of it. That\'s been a typical American excuse for anything capitalistic for a long time. However how many people actually benefit from it especially in a poor country is debatable. The Africans lose their homes and some will be homeless. A dam itself actually might make the their lives worse.

    Anyhow a decent episode a lot of the superstitution come to life to Richards. We anticipate he might change his mind about building the dam but in the end he\'s just happy to be home alive. The last scene with the lion in his bedroom about to tear him apart was hilarious but fitting.

    One of those the bad guy always gets what\'s coming to him in the end type of scene. Really great acting from the lead.


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Alan Richards first gets into his car, the driver's side window is rolled up. After a quick cutaway, the car is shown again and the window is down.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: The carcass of a goat, a dead finger, a few bits of broken glass and stone, and Mr. Alan Richards, a modern man of a modern age, hating with all his heart something in which he cannot believe and preparing, although he doesn't know it, to take the longest walk of his life, right down to the center of the Twilight Zone.

    • Alan: Chad, tell me something. If you wanted to get hold of a dead goat on a hour's notice, where would you go?
      Chad:: To a psychiatrist.

    • Alan:: This is a lion's tooth. I gather I'm being protected from lions.
      Chad: In... New York City?
      Alan:: Yep.
      Chad: Well, you have to admit, it's doing a fine job.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Some superstitions, kept alive by the long night of ignorance, have their own special power. You'll hear of it through a jungle grapevine in a remote corner of the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This episode is based on the short story "The Jungle" by Charles Beaumont. The story was first published in If (December, 1954).

    • A sequence where Richards takes a cab, but his cab driver silently drops dead at a red light, is absent from the syndicated version.