★★★1/2 November 24, 1961 Season 3 Episode 11
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
I’ve always liked The Devil and Daniel Webster… a deal with the devil that The Twilight Zone explored more successfully on other occasions. This one starts with lot of potential but the plot gets weak. It’s very well acted as always but an actor is as good as the writing. Gary Merrill plays Sgt. Joseph Paradine and his acting conveys the soldier’s weariness. Vaughn Taylor plays the crazy old demonic man Teague and he acts the part well.
I really liked this episode on first viewing but on repeated viewings it loses something. The best part of the episode is the moral conflict that Paradine has to decide on. Does defeating the Union in the Civil War worth what is asked of him? It’s far from the worst episode of the series and is worth a viewing.
Based on “The Valley Was Still” by Manly Wade Wellman, first published in the August 1939 issue of Weird Tales.
This show was written by Rod SerlingManly Wade Wellman
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
The time is 1863, the place the state of Virginia. The event is a mass blood-letting known as the Civil War, a tragic moment in time when a nation was split into two fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.
After some dialogue between two characters, the narration continues:
This is Joseph Paradine, Confederate cavalry, as he heads down toward a small town in the middle of a valley. But very shortly, Joseph Paradine will make contact with the enemy. He will also make contact with an outpost not found on a military map—an outpost called the Twilight Zone.
Confederate Sergeant Joseph Paradine goes into the nearby town and finds that the Union forces there seem to be frozen in time. He learns from an old man that being a male witch he cast a spell on them using his book of magic. The old man sees the Yankees as invaders and is keen that the South win the war. Anticipating that he is going to die by sunset, he gladly gives his book of witchcraft to Paradine to support the cause. When he returns to camp, Paradine’s commanding officer is far more concerned about the battle they will enter into the next morning than about the book his Sergeant has in his possession.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
On the following morning, Sergeant Paradine and the rest of these men were moved up north to a little town in Pennsylvania, an obscure little place where a battle was brewing, a town called Gettysburg, and this one was fought without the help of the Devil. Small historical note not to be found in any known books, but part of the records in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Gary Merrill…Sgt. Joseph Paradine
Jack Mann… Mallory
Ben Cooper… Dauger
Addison Myers…Sentry (uncredited)