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That's Oliver Crangle, a dealer in petulance and poison. He's rather arbitrarily chosen four o'clock as his personal Götterdämmerung, and we are about to watch the metamorphosis of a twisted fanatic, poisoned by the gangrene of prejudice, to the status of an avenging angel, upright and omniscient, dedicated and fearsome. Whatever your clocks say, it's four o'clock, and wherever you are it happens to be the Twilight Zone.
~ Rod Serling's narration about Crangle.

Oliver Crangle is the main protagonist villain of the Twilight Zone episode "Four O'Clock". He is an insane fanatic who becomes convinced that a cabal of people who he considers to be "evil" have taken over America. He was portrayed by Theodore Bikel in the episode, and voiced by Stan Freberg in the radio adaptation.

Role in the episode

Crangle is an insane fanatic who lives alone in an apartment with his parrot Pete. Due to his madness, he become convinced that people he considers to be "evil", such as Communists, subversives and criminals, have taken over Washington DC. In an attempt to defeat them, he repeatedly makes phone calls and writes letters to the employers of the people he considers "evil", demanding they be sacked and threatening to report them to a higher authority if they do not comply (although what he would be able to achieve from this if evil people really had taken over the world is unknown). Unsatisfied with the results, he decides to shrink all evil people down to two feet tall, resulting in Pete repeatedly calling him a nut.

After throwing his landlady out of his apartment for being "evil", Crangle receives a visit from Mrs. Lucas, a woman whose husband, a doctor, failed to save a woman from dying of her injuries, causing Crangle to consider him a murderer and therefore evil. Mrs. Lucas tells Crangle that his constant letter-writing to the hospital demanding her husband's sacking has made her husband feel guilty and depressed, and implores him to stop. However, Crangle simply accuses her of being evil, and Mrs. Lucas realises that he's insane and leaves.

Crangle begins making deranged calls to government agencies, resulting in FBI agent Hall being sent to interview him. Crangle tells Hall that he plans to use sheer force of will to shrink every evil person down to two feet at four o'clock in the afternoon, and that he previously attempted to use his willpower to turn all wheels into triangles, as he believes that public transportation is a tool used by evil people. Hall responds by telling him to seek psychiatric help, and accusing him of interference. Crangle shouts at him that he's evil and will be two feet tall in just twenty minutes as Hall leaves.

At four o'clock, Crangle puts his plan into action, and wills for all evil people to be shrunk. However, to his horror, he realises that he himself has now shrunk down to two feet. As Crangle attempts to climb up to his window sill, Pete once again calls him a nut.

Trivia

  • Crangle's fate is significantly darker in the radio adaptation, in which he is devoured by Pete after the latter mistakes him for a nut.

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