Twilight Zone -Execution

★★★★  April 1, 1960 Season 1 Episode 26

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

Albert Salmi was a wonderful character actor. He would appear in two more Twilight Zones and all of them involved time travel. You could see Albert on TV shows through the 80s. This is a looked over episode that I do enjoy but it’s not without it’s faults. The way the time travel happens is unique but it’s the delivery that gets a little clumsy. I give it 4 stars because of the plot and the way they showed an 19th century primitive dropped into the loud modern world.

My biggest fault with this episode is the foolish way Professor Manion (Russell Johnson) handles Joe Caswell (Albert Salmi) after knowing what kind of man he was after he got there. Salmi’s acting is the standout in this. He is great at playing bad guys. Caswell is a hot-tempered sociopath who has no conscious. He makes a believable time traveler from the old west.

Watch for Russell Johnson (as Professor Manion) who will be remembered as the Professor off of Gilligan’s Island.

This show was written by  Rod Serling and  George Clayton Johnson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Commonplace—if somewhat grim—unsocial event known as a necktie party, the guest of dishonor a cowboy named Joe Caswell, just a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground, and then the dark eternity of all evil men. Mr. Joe Caswell, who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart, a feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Caswell, in the last, quiet moment of a violent life.

Summary

In the late 19th century, Joe Caswell is about to be hanged for murder, when he vanishes into thin air. He’s been snatched by Prof. Manion’s time machine and brought 80 years into the future. Caswell was selected at random and Manion can see the rope marks on his neck. Caswell is eager to see his new world but Manion wants to send him back. When Caswell runs off into the night, his new world proves to be too much for him. Justice is served in the end and a murderer hangs.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

This is November 1880, the aftermath of a necktie party. The victim’s name—Paul Johnson, a minor-league criminal and the taker of another human life. No comment on his death save this: justice can span years. Retribution is not subject to a calendar. Tonight’s case in point in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Albert Salmi … Joe Caswell
Russell Johnson … Prof. Manion
Than Wyenn … Paul Johnson
George Mitchell … Old Man
Jon Lormer … Minister
Fay Roope … Judge
Richard Karlan … Bartender
Joe Haworth … TV Cowboy (uncredited)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Twilight Zone -Execution”

  1. Agree with the rating Max. I really liked the twists and wasn’t sure what the final one would be but liked the TZ sense of justice at the end. And yes right when I saw Russel Johnson I was like “It’s the Professor!) ( … and MaryAnn here on Gilligans Island) 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Paul I, know it was picky but the way the Professor handled Caswell…he knew what he was (a violent guy) and he told Caswell what he was going to do (going to send him back) and wasn’t prepared…I did like the episode alot though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes agree Professor sort of handled it clumsy. I wasn’t sure how they would resolve episode – Caswell sending the professor back. Caswell pleading to be sent back even though it meant death. So way it ended definitely good twist.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The ending was good…this was one that was hard to rate.
        When you are about to send someone back to their death you don’t tell them about it before you do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting but doesn’t sound quite as compelling as some of the other ones involving time travel. Why did the prof want to bring someone back from the Wild West 19th Century, anyway? Maybe it’s explained in the story. Would’ve been too funny if he’d had Bob Denver as his assistant….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Or bring back Bob Denver lol… well what make it interesting is he was just testing it and brought back someone hanging…right before he died…a really bad guy. His reaction to the modern world was covering his ears because it was so LOUD….and I can see that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It would be freaky. There was a rather forgettable romcom with Meg Ryan based on that…some guy from 1800-ish fell through a time wormhole & ended up in her apt. in NYC, modern day.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. last month when I re-watched this episode- the fact that Caswell seemed so out of place in the modern world- not recognizing what a car or television was…. made me think of my grandparents- 3 of 4 died between 1981-85- and I thought how they would be in a different world if all the sudden they were back today in 2021. Of course it wouldn’t be as drastic as Caswell but they would have adjusting to do..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It would be drastic to them…in just 40 years time so much has changed.

      The thing they concentrated on was how loud it is now compared to the time that he came from…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the world is a lot more polluted with things than they were before: sound, plastic, etc. Funny how a violent person’s first instinct is to shoot whatever they don’t understand…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! I remember when I moved out to the country 10 years ago after living in the city all my life, it took quite an adjustment to the quiet and also the dark. I had every outside light on for weeks!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve mostly lived in the country except when I was younger but yea…when it gets dark…it gets dark.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m confused. The closing narration mentions Paul Johnson (played by Than Wynn) as a victim? The Prof. (Russell Johnson from Gilligan) was who brought Caswell thru time, yes? Was Paul Johnson Caswell’s victim? The end narration is confusing…

    Did Caswell kill the Prof.? Maybe I just need to watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

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