"Caesar and Me" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
Jonathan West, ventriloquist, a master of voice manipulation. A man, late of Ireland, with a talent for putting words into other peoples' mouths. In this case, the other person is a dummy, aptly named Caesar, a small splinter with large ideas, a wooden tyrant with a mind and a voice of his own, who is about to talk Jonathan West into the Twilight Zone.
Jonathan West is an unsuccessful Irish ventriloquist. He is perpetually broke, selling valuable keepsakes like his grandfather's watch to pawnbrokers in exchange for petty cash. At the boarding house where he lives, he is mercilessly taunted by a little girl, Susan, for failing to find a job. But unbeknownst to everyone, Jonathan's evil ventriloquist dummy, "Little Caesar", has a mind of his own and talks to him at will. Despite Jonathan's reassurances that they are on the verge of a big break, Caesar apathetically tells him that they've hit bottom.
When Jonathan and Caesar go to a nightclub for an audition, the performance is poorly received. The following day, Jonathan is unable to find employment because of his lack of vocational experience and immigrant status; he may soon leave the boarding house because he is behind on his rent. Caesar berates Jonathan for being a hopeless "clod", but has a solution to his money woes: burglary. A reluctant Jonathan—directed by Caesar in his suitcase—breaks into a delicatessen and steals its money. Jonathan uses it to pay his rent, but Caesar, during a conversation overheard by Susan, pressures him into committing more burglaries.
Susan—now aware that Caesar can talk—sneaks into Jonathan's room in his absence to unsuccessfully speak with the dummy. Jonathan catches her coming out of the room and runs her off. Inside, Jonathan expresses a desire to flee, but Caesar cajoles him into carrying out the next burglary. The duo sneaks into the nightclub to break into the manager's office. However, they are caught by a night watchman after they steal money from the nightclub's safe. They manage to bluff their way past him by giving an impromptu routine.
When Jonathan and Caesar arrive home, Susan eavesdrops on their ensuing argument. The next morning over breakfast, Susan hears her aunt, Mrs. Cudahy, read about the nightclub theft from a newspaper. She calls the police to tip them off about Jonathan and Caesar. Two detectives arrive at the boarding house and interrogate Jonathan, who tries to make Caesar talk about his role in the crime. The dummy, however, remains silent. Mrs. Cudahy and the detectives stare at the one-sided exchange, thinking Jonathan mad. Jonathan now realizes that Caesar has abandoned him, and is willingly arrested.
After the detectives lead Jonathan out of the room, Caesar turns his head around and addresses Susan. He says that he likes her for her "hip attitude" and offers to help her run away to New York City. Caesar assures Susan that Jonathan will now be gone "for a long, long time" and that the two of them are now "a team." Finally, Caesar implies that Susan should kill Mrs. Cudahy with poison darts.
A little girl and a wooden doll. A lethal dummy in the shape of a man. But everybody knows dummies can't talk - unless, of course, they learn their vocabulary in The Twilight Zone.
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next time out, you'll share a study in depth of human terror with Martin Landau and John van Dreelen. You'll stay in a hotel room of a European city which has been booby-trapped with a plastic bomb. You'll walk around this room with violent death resting on your shoulder. It could be anywhere - a picture, a chair, a faucet, or simply the carpet you're walking on. Next time out on The Twilight Zone, "The Jeopardy Room".
Errors and Goofs
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series
Notes and References