The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 12

The Jungle

Aired Unknown Dec 01, 1961 on CBS

Episode Recap

Engineer Alan Richards is dressing for a business meeting in his New York apartment. He mentions to his wife Doris that he's missing a cuff link, and then says that he found it in her jewelry box along with other items. He shows her the other items: feathers, a vulture's claw, and a human finger. Doris claims that they're souvenirs but when Alan goes to throw them in the fireplace, she goes into a frenzy. He says their superstitious trinkets made for weak people and they have nothing to fear from African witch doctors. He throws them into the fire where they burst into sparks. Doris says that the witch doctors warned them that the land would pay when they started a hydroelectric project in Africa. She tries to get Alan to stop the project but he refuses. However, as he walks out the door he finds a slaughter goat in the hallway outside.

Alan meets with the board of directors and lays out how the initial drilling went in Africa. He dismisses their concerns about the natives, but notes that the witch doctors put a curse on anyone involved with the project. The board is skeptical but Alan notes that belief can make such curses real. Alan then mockingly points out the superstitions the board itself has: a rabbit's foot, an interest in astrology, a habit of knocking on wood. He becomes so incensed that the head officer, Templeton, tells him to get control of himself.

Afterward, Alan goes to a bar with his friend Chad Cooper and dismisses half of New York's population as superstitious fools. When he spills his drink he wipes it up with a handkerchief and find's a lion's claw charm wrapped up in it. He identifies it as a charm against lion attacks, and Chad notes that only someone so superstitious would get angry at other people's superstitions. They leave the bar, Alan leaving the charm on the counter. Chad drives away and Alan tries to start his car without success. The bar is closed and Alan tries to call a cab. The phone is out of order but when he steps away, it rings. Picking it up, he hears growling noises at the other end. The wind picks up and the sounds of the jungle echo through the streets. Walking away, Alan is hailed by a cab driver and gets in. he orders the driver to head for his apartment but when they stop at a red light, the driver falls over, dead.

Alan runs down the street, stopping in front of a store. He draws back when he sees a witch doctor in the window, but it's only a costume store dummy. A vagrant asks him some money and Alan gives him some, and then offers to pay him more if he'll walk Alan home through the park. The engineer jerks around at the sound of drums, but when he turns back to ask the vagrant if he can hear them, the man has vanished.

Alan runs to the park entrance and is startled by two stone lions at the gate. He walks past them and enters the park, and the jungle noises begin again. The bushes begin to rustle and Alan runs desperately out of the park and down the street. He finally gets to his apartment and collapses at the locked doors, overwhelmed by the noises. He covers his ears and the noises stop.

Relieved, Alan goes up to his apartment. He pours himself a drink but then hears the sound of breaking glass in the bedroom. He opens the door and sees a lion on the bed over his dead wife Doris. The lion sees Alan and leaps for the kill...