Who doesn’t love the Twilight Zone and Rod Serling and in this particular case, the episode titled “What’s in the Box?” that aired in Season 5 of the series and immortalized our beloved city into the perils of the Twilight Zone.
Actress Joan Blondell gives a stirring and shivering recurrence of the name “Yonkers”, taunting her cheating husband with the geographic location of his alleged mistress; giving our city a distinct character and designating us as the official cheating side of town.
As she confronts her husband Joe about his affairs and grows increasingly suspicious about his late night cab runs up from Harlem to Yonkers, she begins to taunt him and with a maniacal laugh repeating over and over…”Gotta go up to Yonkers for a fare Joe?” “Need to take someone to Yonkers Joe?” “Why don’t you head up to Yonkers…Yonkers Yonkers Yonkers Yonkers Yonkers Yonk….”
The very next moment, Joe snaps and pushes his wife out the window of their apartment building where she falls to her death.
This whole exchange was of course witnessed by Joe a few minutes earlier when his television set takes on a paranormal quality and instead of Ed Sullivan or other programming of 1964, it begins broadcasting Joe’s life, his future life and events he can expect to experience in a matter of minutes.
This apparently has been the handy work of the creepy TV repairman played by Sterling Holloway and boy did the casting director do an excellent job for this episode!
Surprisingly, this episode was not written or directed by Serling, but by a guy named Martin Goldsmith, who had produced other Twilight Zone’s in the past and by Season 5, Serling was not writing many of his episodes, but still having major input in regard to storylines and ideas.
Many a few have travelled across the 5 boroughs and tri-state area to slip off into the night with their alleged lovers and perhaps there is some poetic imagery to be drawn from a no-good cabby named Joe who high-tails it to Yonkers in the evenings to be with his mistress.
Maybe they sought the romance and peacefulness of an evening by the Hudson as they held each other tightly.
Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure…Yonkers without a doubt, is a city of many many secrets.