"A Piano in the House" is the 22nd episode of third season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in February of 1962. It starred Barry Morse as theatre critic Jerry Fortune, and Joan Hackett as his wife Esther, as well as featuring character actor Cyril Delevanti.

The episode begins when the acerbic Jerry Fortune shows up in a junk shop to buy a birthday present for his wife: a player piano. Not only does the cantankerous shopkeeper have one, as soon as he demonstrates its use, he becomes unnaturally cheerful. As soon as the piano is installed at home, Jerry and his wife discover that it has the mysterious power to make people reveal their true emotions when the music plays. What could this mean for Esther's birthday party, planned for that night?

Like many Twilight Zone episodes, this story could have turned out quite silly, especially with the predictable premise (magic item works as a truth machine: something we've seen before in "The Whole Truth". But in context, this episode is another interesting entry in The Twilight Zone's nuanced look at individualism. We are getting further in the 1960s at the time of this episode's airing, although mostly in the literal sense: there is not much difference in fashions and mores between the series debut in 1959, and this episode, in 1962. The Twilight Zone, as its name suggests, occupies a middle ground between the earnestness and conformity of the 1950s, and the rebellion and permissiveness of the 1960s. This episode is about the power of music to destroy people's facades and reveal what is going on underneath: which is a pretty good thumbnail sketch of what the 1960s would be about. And yet this episode doesn't celebrate that power, but instead depicts it as a nefarious and manipulative thing: the episode is pretty clear that people do need to keep their secrets, and that keeping up a facade is not always a bad thing.

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