Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Twonky is ostensibly based on a wickedly funny short story by Henry Kuttner, though the resemblance between the original and the adaptations is thin indeed. In one of his few starring roles, Hans Conried plays philosophy professor Kerry West, who despairs when his wife (Janet Warren) squanders his money on a new television set. Professor West is even more upset when the TV turns out to be "The Twonky," a futuristic creature that does all of West's work, censors his books and newspapers, and reads everybody's thoughts. The Twonky has been designed to help people, but the professor -- who hates TV to begin with -- doesn't want that sort of help. The film's outcome is radically different from the denouement of Kuttner's original story: given a preference, most sci-fi buffs would opt for the Kuttner version. The Twonky was written and directed by Arch Oboler, the creator of radio's Lights Out. When interviewed in 1970, Hans Conried recalled that he told the producer that The Twonky would probably bomb at the box-office (which it did), whereupon the producer genially replied "That's all right. I need a tax write-off this year anyway."