Twilight Zone – A Stop at Willoughby

★★★★★ May 6, 1960 Season 1 Episode 30

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

This one is one of my favorites…it could have made my top ten. This one is very modern. James Daly plays Gart Williams who is pushed to the edge of a nervous breakdown by a boss who won’t let up and a wife who can’t get enough status symbols. Daly was great in this role… At some point all of us has felt like Gart Williams. A quote from Gart’s character while arguing with his wife: Some people aren’t built for competition, Janie, or big pretentious houses they can’t afford, or rich communities they don’t feel comfortable in, or country clubs they wear around their neck like a badge of status.

This one had a twist that I did not see coming. The transition to the last scene is brilliant. If Gart could see in the future he would see work tying employees to cell phones twenty four hours a day…”Push Push Push” would take on a whole new meaning.

This was Rod Serling’s first season favorite episode.

The train stations called out by the conductor on the 1960 train are real. At the time of the filming, stations such as “Stamford” and “Westport & Saugatuck” were stations on the New Haven Railroad. They continue to exist as of August 2015 as stations on the Metro North Railroad.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is Gart Williams, age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams’ protection fell away from him, and left him a naked target. He’s been cannonaded this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target, and blown him apart. Mr. Gart Williams, ad agency exec, who in just a moment, will move into the Twilight Zone—in a desperate search for survival.

Summary

Ad agency executive Gart Williams has had a particularly rough day – his young protégé has left to work at another agency and took a $3-million account him. He falls asleep on the train home and wakes up in another place and another time. It’s July 1888 and he’s in the village of Willoughby, a peaceful town where life is easy. He comes to back in his own time but as the pressures of works and his home life continue to mount, he decides Willoughby is exactly where he would like to spend the rest of his days.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Willoughby? Maybe it’s wishful thinking nestled in a hidden part of a man’s mind, or maybe it’s the last stop in the vast design of things—or perhaps, for a man like Mr. Gart Williams, who climbed on a world that went by too fast, it’s a place around the bend where he could jump off. Willoughby? Whatever it is, it comes with sunlight and serenity, and is a part of The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
James Daly … Gart Williams
Howard Smith … Misrell
Patricia Donahue … Janie Williams
Jason Wingreen … 1960 Conductor
Mavis Neal Palmer … Helen (as Mavis Neal)
James Maloney … 1888 Conductor
Billy Booth … Short Boy (uncredited)
James Gonzalez … Passenger (uncredited)
Herschel Graham … Executive (uncredited)
Ryan Hayes … Engineer (uncredited)
Butch Hengen … Tall Boy (uncredited)
Perk Lazelle … Executive (uncredited)
Clark Ross … Executive (uncredited)
Bernard Sell … Executive (uncredited)
Max Slaten … Man on Wagon (uncredited)
Hal Taggart … Executive (uncredited)
Billy Booth … Short Boy (uncredited)
James Gonzalez … Passenger (uncredited)
Herschel Graham … Executive (uncredited)
Ryan Hayes … Engineer (uncredited)
Butch Hengen … Tall Boy (uncredited)
Perk Lazelle … Executive (uncredited)
Clark Ross … Executive (uncredited)
Bernard Sell … Executive (uncredited)
Max Slaten … Man on Wagon (uncredited)
Hal Taggart … Executive (uncredited)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

32 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – A Stop at Willoughby”

  1. I was shocked by the ending – didn’t expect it. Thought it would end similar to the episode World of Difference where he willed himself to a different world. I liked the effective use of the swinging lamps to transition to what really happens

    Like

  2. This looks like a great episode. Coincidentally, I was about to watch it last night on Netflix, but technology wasn’t kind and it didn’t work – so I suppose, yes, sometimes the thought of going back to a simpler time where for example you wouldn’t have to worry whether your Netflix works sounds attractive.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Sounds like quite a good one, as most of them are! Wonder if annoying Woody Allen had it for the inspiration for ‘Midnight in Paris’ (one of very few movies of his I like) where the character finds he can go back to the roaring 20s Paris each night

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Murakami wrote about a little village like this, a train station of imagination, in one of his books. His was more scary than idyllic though… I’m going to watch yesterday’s episode in just a few minutes here, while it’s light out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is one of my favorite episodes as well. BTW, did you know that James Daly went on to star in the TV series “Medical Center” opposite Chad Everett, and was the father of actors Tyne Daly (“Cagney & Lacey”) and Tim Daly (“Wings”)?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And, father-in-law to composer Mark Snow (think Starsky & Hutch or The X-Files), who is married to Tyne & Tim’s sister Glynn.

      He was also in an episode of Star Trek and was in Planet of the Apes (original).

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Max, just letting you know this afternoon I watched this one and the previous 2 on netflix. All 3 of them worth the the watch. The one with the girl definitely the most spine-tingling of the 3.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh cool…yes that one didn’t need the Twilight Zone supernatural bend…. I’m glad you enjoyed them Lisa!

      Willoughby…I feel for the man so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree… I guess before the money rolled in and changed them both…his boss and wife…he couldn’t win. When I first watched it I didn’t expect the end.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes this theme seems very relevant today. For we are having a Willoughby crisis now amid those who refuse to take low paying service jobs while sacrificing their dreams of what makes them really happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been thinking about this lately, partly because of your recent takes on the TZ, but if I had to rank my top three, it would be A World of Difference, Judgement Night and this one. As good as TV gets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Walking Distance, Deaths-Head Revisited, and this one would probably be mine… at this moment!
      This was the first TV DVD set I bought and for good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

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