★★★ June 17, 1960 Season 1 Episode 35
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
I’m a huge baseball fan and this one is a fun one. It’s a light hearted episode that features Jack Warden who is a frustrated manager. This is an episode that I watch once in a while but it’s not one on my heavy rotation. The plot is somewhat forced but it’s meant to be fun. Baseball fans would like this one.
This says a lot about Rod Serling….Paul Douglas, who had drinking habits, was originally cast to play McGarry but on set began to look red and read raspingly, and it wasn’t until his coronary-related death days after the episode was completed that it was realized he had been suffering poor health rather than reaction to drink. Because the episode was supposed to be a comedy, Rod Serling was reluctant to let it be broadcast with Douglas’ impending death essentially captured on film.
When CBS refused to pay for the episode to be re-shot, Serling personally underwrote the $27,000 it cost to have Jack Warden brought in to replace Douglas and to have some scenes re-done with Warden in place of Douglas.
The only shot that survived in the broadcast version with Paul Douglas. You cannot tell it’s him but his back is to the camera. Serling had the humanity and dignity that he often wrote about.
The closing narration was referencing the Dodgers that had moved to LA a few years before this was made by team owner Walter O’Malley, but in the following season after this aired, 1961, Sandy Koufax emerged as a future Hall of Famer, winning 129 games over the next 6 seasons with an ERA of 2.19. His teammate, Don Drysdale, won 111 games with an ERA of 2.88. The Dodgers won three pennants (1963, 1965, 1966) in those six years and two World Series (1963, 1965)…so Serling’s crystal ball was working.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
What you’re looking at is a ghost, once alive but now deceased. Once upon a time, it was a baseball stadium that housed a major league ball club known as the Hoboken Zephyrs. Now it houses nothing but memories and a wind that stirs in the high grass of what was once an outfield, a wind that sometimes bears a faint, ghostly resemblance to the roar of a crowd that once sat here. We’re back in time now, when the Hoboken Zephyrs were still a part of the National League, and this mausoleum of memories was an honest-to-Pete stadium. But since this is strictly a story of make believe, it has to start this way: once upon a time, in Hoboken, New Jersey, it was tryout day. And though he’s not yet on the field, you’re about to meet a most unusual fella, a left-handed pitcher named Casey.
Mouth McGarry is the manager of the Hoboken Zephyrs professional baseball team. They are perennial losers and are already so far back in the standings that they have no chance of winning the pennant. McGarry is approached by Dr. Stillman who has a solution for him, Casey, who seems to be an ideal pitcher, the best McGarry has ever seen. The catch is that Casey is a robot. McGarry is eager to win and decides to use Casey without telling anyone. When his ruse is discovered, Dr. Stillman agrees to give Casey a heart to make him more human. The results aren’t quite what McGarry had hoped for.
If you cannot see the video below…here is a LINK to the complete episode. There were no snippets on youtube.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Once upon a time, there was a major league baseball team called the Hoboken Zephyrs, who, during the last year of their existence, wound up in last place and shortly thererafter wound up in oblivion. There’s a rumor, unsubstantiated, of course, that a manager named McGarry took them to the West Coast and wound up with several pennants and a couple of world championships. This team had a pitching staff that made history. Of course, none of them smiled very much, but it happens to be a fact that they pitched like nothing human. And if you’re interested as to where these gentlemen came from, you might check under ‘B’ for Baseball – in The Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Jack Warden … Mouth McGarry
Abraham Sofaer … Dr. Stillman
Robert Sorrells … Casey
Alan Dexter … Beasley
Don Kelly … Monk (as Don O’Kelly)
Jonathan Hole … Team Doctor
Rusty Lane … Commissioner