display | more...

(Back to Easter Egg Poems)

The grey beards wag, the bald heads nod,
And gather thick as bees,
To talk electrons, gases, God,
Old nebulae, new fleas.
Each specialist, each dry-as-dust
And professorial oaf,
Holds up his little crumb of crust
And cries, 'Behold the loaf!'

Eden Philpotts

CST approved

There was enough episodes of The Twilight Zone that we could cover the same ground, multiple times. If you were to watch these episodes back to back, it would seem they had ran out of ideas. But when they were originally broadcast, they were years apart. It has taken me almost seven years to get to Season 4 of The Twilight Zone, so it has been a while since I watched Time Enough At Last, Mr. Bevis and The Mind and the Matter.

All of these episodes center around the same sort of protagonist: the disaffected office worker who doesn't fit in to their job, and is harried by a boss, friends and family who try to corral them into a more conventional life. And this is the basis of Miniature, an hour long episode from the fourth season. But there is a little bit of difference in each of these stories, especially in the degree of sympathy with which their deviance is treated. Perhaps the biggest thing that this story adds to the formula was unintentional at the time. Many stories on The Twilight Zone relied on old character actors to fill this part, this one used an upcoming actor named Robert Duvall to play the role of Charley Parkes, an office worker who is fired from his job because he can't relate socially to his co-workers. The now unemployed Charley Parkes finds himself going to the local museum to look at a dollhouse, which in Twilight Zone fashion, soon turns out to be inhabited by miniature, moving people who only he can see. It is a somewhat silly premise, and the episode falls on the comedic side of The Twilight Zone spectrum.

But what sells this episode, more than half a century later, is Robert Duvall, and the fact that he seems to portray, long before it was a thing, a man with Asperger's Syndrome. In the episode, many of the psychological references are to Freudian psychology: Parkes lives at home with an overbearing mother. But Duvall seems to transcend this, changing his mannerisms and speech patterns to match what is, to modern viewers, someone who is somewhere on the spectrum. Perhaps this episode, as an idea, had a different point than the final product. The writer and director might have had something else in mind, but they happened to hire a young actor who was better than they knew, and ended up with a quite different focus to the story.

In chess, a "miniature" is a term generally used to describe a decisive (i.e. non-drawn) chess game that lasts no more than 20 moves in total (or perhaps a bit more, but never more than 25 moves). There is no official definition of the term, hence the small amount of wiggle room with the cutoff.

Another aspect of the "miniature" concept is that it has to be a pretty good game. In other words, a game where one player simply blunders an important piece for no good reason and loses quickly or simply resigns would pretty much never merit the name "miniature." These are good, exciting games where one player wins a decisive advantage with brilliant play, often involving clever traps or sacrificing large amounts of material in exchange for an unstoppable attack. Most games deemed "miniatures" also end in actual checkmates, rather than resignations, or a resignation just short of a forced checkmate, rather than one player simply being a bit worse and deciding to resign.

In sum, the word "miniature" is generally reserved for brilliant attacking games against a capable opponent that result in stunning, sudden victories.

Min"i*a*ture ,Minium.]

1.

Originally, a painting in colors such as those in mediaeval manuscripts; in modern times, any very small painting, especially a portrait.

2.

Greatly diminished size or form; reduced scale.

3.

Lettering in red; rubric distinction.

[Obs.]

4.

A particular feature or trait.

[Obs.]

Massinger.

 

© Webster 1913.


Min"i*a*ture, a.

Being on a small; much reduced from the reality; as, a miniature copy.

 

© Webster 1913.


Min"i*a*ture, v. t.

To represent or depict in a small compass, or on a small scale.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.