Substitutions for Changing Tastes
“The Jar”
49), based on a Ray Bradbury story and directed by Norman
Lloyd, is one of the best-known teleplays in the hour- long format. The story
opens at a carnival sideshow and introduces a gawking, not overly smart
farmer, Charlie (Pat Buttram), who stands transfixed for hours, fascinated
by a magic jar. The actor who played George/Max in “The Glass Eye”
returns in “The Jar” as the seller of the mysterious object around which ev-
eryone congregates to speculate on the nature of its content and meaning.
Charlie purchases the jar in the hopes that owning this strange item will give
him respect back home. His young wife, Thedy (Collin Wilcox), however, is
unimpressed, even hostile, although she appreciates Charlie’s gift of a hair
band with her name written in sequins. While wearing the hair band, she
looks at herself in a mirror for a long time, which we should not take lightly.
Patching up Charlie’s confidence after Thedy’s put-down, folks from all over
come to the farm every night to look entranced at the jar and guess what is
Speculations include an octopus, a dead relative who was lost in a swamp,
and magical eyes. There are questions about whether the contents are a she,
a he, or an it, and even a belief that the jar contains the heart of life and is
therefore integral to the creation of the universe. Eventually, Thedy opens
the jar and destroys what’s inside. This takes the story to a new level, as in a
graphic scene Charlie consequently strangles her, providing yet another ex-
ample of this form of Hitchcockian murder method. Afterward Charlie ap-
parently decapitates Thedy and, somehow, puts her head in the jar. Gradually,
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