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"What's in the Box"
Series:The Twilight Zone (original series)
Episode:Season 5, Episode 144 (S05E24)
First Aired:March 13, 1964
Guest Stars:Joan Blondell, William Demarest, Sterling Holloway
Lead Character:
Previous Episode:Queen of the Nile
Next Episode:The Masks

"What's in the Box" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.

Episode Details

Opening Narration

"Portrait of a TV fan. Name: Joe Britt. Occupation: cab driver. Tonight, Mr. Britt is going to watch 'a really big show,' something special for the cabbie who's seen everything. Joe Britt doesn't know it, but his flag is down and his meter's running and he's in high gear - on his way to the Twilight Zone."

Episode Summary

Joe and Phyllis Britt are an old married couple in New York City who do not get along. Joe gets home from his job as a cab driver late one night and Phyllis accuses him of seeing another woman. In the meantime, a television repairman is in the next room fixing their broken set. Irritated, Joe harasses the repairman about the inconvenience and cost. The repairman abruptly closes the open TV panel and announces the TV is fixed. He leaves and the TV starts getting channel 10, a station showing the past, present, and future of Joe and Phyllis's lives. However, only Joe can see it. The TV shows Joe seeing another woman, killing Phyllis in a fight, his trial and conviction for murder, and his execution in the electric chair. Phyllis is convinced that Joe has lost his mind and taunts him. Joe, angered, attacks her and kills her by accident by pushing her out a window during a fight, just as he had seen on the television screen. As Joe is arrested by the police, he comes face-to-face with the TV repairman, who asks if he will recommend him to others. The repairman smirks to the audience as Joe is taken away.

Closing Narration

"The next time your TV set is on the blink, when you're in the need of a first-rate repairman, may we suggest our own specialist? Factory-trained, prompt, honest, twenty-four hour service. You won't find him in the phone book, but his office is conveniently located in the Twilight Zone."

Preview for Next Week's Story

Next on Twilight Zone, we move into New Orleans for the Mardi Gras, and we do it with a vengeance. Robert Keith and Milton Selzer appear in a bizarre story of men, masquerades and masks. This is a small shocker to wind up a week, and if it doesn't send you to a psychiatrist, it'll send you at least to a mirror. On Twilight Zone next, "The Masks".

Critical Response

What's in the Box received mixed reviews from fans, although its offbeat, rather unlikable characters were applauded as a nice change of pace for the series and it was noted for being significantly darker than most previous episodes.


  • Rod Serling (Narrator)
  • Joan Blondell: Phyllis Britt
  • William Demarest: Joe Britt
  • Sterling Holloway: TV Repairman

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)


Memorable Quotes

Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series

External Links