The key thing for Ed is the music. Instead of rock and roll, he hears Tommy Dorsey’s “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” the song he and Vinnie called their own when they were young lovers 20 years ago. The two of them met in the boarding house, fell in love, and ultimately went their separate ways when Ed kept pushing off their marriage. The radio is a window to a world where nothing has gone wrong for Ed yet. It’s the closest he can get to a second chance with Vinnie and with his life.
Vinnie, who still lives in the boarding house with him, tries her best to get Ed to move on, and other boarders think his obsession is unhealthy. Eventually, they sell the radio to a junk dealer and Ed hunts it down, buying it back for 10 bucks. His reward is an actual second chance. When Vinnie enters his room in the episode’s final scene, she’s young again, still in love with Ed. Ed is young again too. He can do it right this time, even if the radio will still be supplanted by television in just a couple years. It’s not a twist ending like the show was known for, but an emotionally complex, bittersweet grace note.
The themes of nostalgia, regret, and feeling your time has passed you by are eternal. The episode is more dated by the fact that the instrument of nostalgia is the radio. If it was already old-fashioned in 1961, that’s even more true now. But that aspect of the episode was very personal to its writer, Charles Beaumont.