"Hocus-Pocus and Frisby" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"The reluctant gentleman with the sizeable mouth is Mr. Frisby. He has all the drive of a broken camshaft and the aggressive vinegar of a corpse. As you've no doubt gathered, his big stock in trade is the tall tale. Now, what he doesn't know is that the visitors out front are a very special breed, destined to change his life beyond anything even his fertile imagination could manufacture. The place is Pitchville Flats, the time is the present. But Mr. Frisby's on the first leg of a rather fanciful journey into the place we call the Twilight Zone."
Somerset Frisby has a general store/gas station in a small town, and the townsfolk know him well for the tall tales he spins of his experiences, from his heroism in war to his inventions to his advice to presidents and captains of industry, all of which he fabricates. His friends gather in the store to hear him spin his stories, which they find very entertaining, and he often accompanies himself on harmonica. One evening, as he is alone at closing time, creatures from another planet lure him into their clutches while disguised as humans, then abduct him to their spaceship. They want to add Frisby to their collection of specimens from other planets. The aliens, who accept his tales at face value, have heard Frisby claim eight doctoral degrees, so they want him as the outstanding example of the human race. Ignoring his plea that he is late for supper, the aliens insist that Frisby accompany them to their planet. Frisby pleads that he is simply a shameless liar, but the aliens have no concept of lying, and ask him to just sit quietly and wait for departure. Unable to persuade the aliens to release him, Frisby decides to try to relax by playing his harmonica, and makes the unexpected discovery that the sound is extremely painful to the aliens (who call the notes death sounds). After two or three aliens are rendered senseless by the harmonica, the remaining ones permit Frisby to escape. Running back to the general store, he finds his friends waiting to throw him a surprise party (in the evening's excitement, he has forgotten that it is his birthday). When he tries to tell them what happened, they enjoy a laugh at what they of course take to be another of Frisby's tall tales.
"Mr. Somerset Frisby, who might have profited by reading an Aesop fable about a boy who cried wolf. Tonight's tall tale from the timberlands - of the Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
We have a return visit next week from a most eminent performer, Joseph Schildkraut. And his vehicle is called "The Trade-Ins". It's a story of a future society in which new bodies may be traded for old. It's my own personal feeling that of all the various story areas we've tackled in The Twilight Zone, this has the most import, and carries with it the most poignance. I hope you'll be able to be with us next week.
Response and Analysis
It is very much a modern, sci-fi retelling of the classic tale "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".
- The spaceship was used in Forbidden Planet (1956).
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series