A man, Fenton, is cleaning out his attic when a Japanese gardener, Arthur Takamori, stops by asking if he would like his grass cut. Fenton invites him up for a beer but, having served in the Pacific during World War II, isn't quite sure what to make of his visitor. He has his prejudices but wavers as Arthur says he was born in the USA and is no different than any other American. As they discuss their pasts, it's revealed that both men have lied and are haunted by what happened to them. Written by
Taro "Arthur" Takamori says he was four years old when the Pearl Harbor attack happened, just like George Takei who plays him. See more »
I'm not such a bad guy, Arthur. Why is all this happening? Why? All right. Don't answer. If that's what you're here for, then kill me. Go on, I dare ya! Come on, Taro, I'm waitin' for you! Oh, so that's it. You're just tryin' to scare me. So, all right, I'm scared, but not of dyin'. Of livin'. I can't make it, Arthur, or Taro, or whatever your name is! There's nothing left, nothing! I've got a box full of decorations over there... decorations! First you're an ape, and now all of a sudden you're...
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This is one of those Twilight Zone episodes that makes you realize just how pioneering this show was. WWII wasn't over 20 years at the time this episode was made, and bad feelings about the Japanese among many Americans were still raw. As well, racial prejudice was rampant -- it was out in the open everywhere but on television. In addition, finding a well-spoken, non-stereotypical non-white person on television was something rare indeed. That's what makes this episode so remarkable, when you consider when it was shown and the topics it dared to address. A WWII veteran who is *anything* but a war hero? That's something most would never dare to propose in any movie, TV show or book *today*, let alone 1963. This episode has the usual illogical leaps and sometimes over-the-top dialogue regular watchers of the Twilight Zone will be familiar with. And its unfortunate that the gardener character ends up with a not-very-well-thought-out back story. Even so, it's a quality episode, and builds nicely from the beginning, when nothing the WWII vet says could be definitively seen as racist, and yet, there's this feeling... Consider the time and climate in which this episode was shown and you can't help but appreciate it. Great stuff.
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