TELEPRESENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE

A study of portrayals of presence

The Twilight Zone: You Drive

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ABOUT THE WORK

MEDIUM:

TV episode 

YEAR:

1964 

WRITER(S):

Earl Hamner Jr. Rod Serling (creator) 

OWN COPY?

No 
 

ABOUT THE STORY

SUMMARY:

from imdb.com dougdoepke from Claremont,USA Businessman Edward Andrews is a hit-and-run driver, to which his car reacts in a most peculiar way. Slender premise can't fill out full half-hour, so subplot of office rival Kevin Hagen is added. Tall, ungainly Andrews specialized in slippery or sinister businessmen. Here he carries show with gamut of emotions in a bravura performance. Writer Earl Hamner was creator of 70's family show The Waltons, so I suppose its not surprising that the script stays within Andrews' household. Trouble is the gimmick has no wallop and lead-up lacks suspense. Even baroque stylist John Brahm directs without usual flair, apparently unengaged by the single-note plot. One notable feature-- how did they manage the driverless car, the episode's one real memorable oddity?  

ERA/YEAR:

Present day when produced 

CHARACTERISTICS
OF WORLD:

Present day 1964. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE-EVOKING TECHNOLOGY
NAME:
Car 
DESCRIPTION:
The car appears to be a normal car, mobile, inanimate. However, after it is used in a hit and run, it begins to act strangely. It wakes up the driver, Oliver, by blasting the radio and flashing lights. It makes Oliver fell guilly, and tries to tell other people by stopping at the scene of the crime and not moving. Eventually, it drives itself, chasing Oliver. It then takes Oliver to jail. Oliver interacts with the car as if it is a normal car, and then as if it was his conscious. 
NATURE OF TASK OR ACTIVITY:
Doing anything in the house, sleeping, driving. 
PERFORMANCE OF THE TECHNOLOGY:
It acts strangely, turning on by itself, the engine stops, light and radio come on randomly. 
 
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF THE TECHNOLOGY
DESCRIPTION:
unknown. 
MAJOR GOAL(S):
to make money. 
 
ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE PRESENCE
DESCRIPTION:
Oliver is in his 40s or 50s, white, an office manager, self centered. Married. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE EXPERIENCE
TYPE(S) OF PRESENCE:
Social presence 
DESCRIPTION:
The experience is frightening. The car makes sure that Oliver feels guilty and cannot forget what hes done. He is terrified and anxious. 
USER AWARENESS:
yes. 
VALENCE:
unpleasant. 
SPECIFIC RESPONSES:
mental sickness, anxiety, terror, distorted memory and social judgments 
 
ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF PRESENCE
LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES:
Oliver turns himself in for his crime. The innocent man arrested presumably goes free. 
 
AND FINALLY...
OTHER INFORMATION:
 
CODER NAME:
Amanda Scheiner 
CODER E-MAIL:
amandags@temple.edu 
CODER AFFILIATION:
Temple University 
DATE CODED:
4/1/2007 

 


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