★★★1/2 March 23, 1962 Season 3 Episode 27
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This is a feel good episode with J. Pat O’Malley as Old Ben. Ben is a good friend to the neighborhood kids but with a twist… he is from another planet. He does tricks for the kids like hit a baseball out of site and turn into a martian. Two men are looking for Ben…turns out they are from his home planet and want to take him back.
He is close to Jenny, a girl with braces on her legs, who lives with her aunt. Aunt Agnes (Nancy Kulp) is Jenny’s bitter guardian. Unlike some of the other Twilight Zone “bad” characters…Aunt Agnes shows she does indeed care about Jenny when she was sick.
It’s not a classic episode but is entertaining.
In Jenny’s room you will see a portrait of right-handed White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton. Stratton accidentally shot himself while hunting and lost his leg as a result. He battled back after his injury to pitch in the minor leagues despite having an artificial leg. Monty Stratton would have been an obvious inspiration for Jenny, who had also lost the use of one of her legs. A biopic about him starring Jimmy Stewart was released in 1949 and was titled The Stratton Story.
This show was written by Charles Beaumont, Rod Serling, and Richard P. McDonagh
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
It’s been said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things: science fiction, the improbable made possible; fantasy, the impossible made probable. What would you have if you put these two different things together? Well, you’d have an old man named Ben who knows a lot of tricks most people don’t know and a little girl named Jenny who loves him — and a journey into the heart of the Twilight Zone.
Little Jenny wears a brace on her leg. Her best friend, an old man named Old Ben, brightens her life by performing magic, including turning into anything he wants. One day, two men show up looking for Old Ben and Jenny asks if they are policemen. Not exactly. Old Ben evades them and confesses to Jenny that he’s from another planet – a fugitive but not a criminal
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Mrs. Gann will be in for a big surprise when she finds this under Jenny’s pillow, because Mrs. Gann has more temper than imagination. She’ll never dream that this is a picture of Old Ben, as he really looks, and it will never occur to her that eventually her niece will grow up to be an honest-to-goodness queen — somewhere in The Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Susan Gordon … Jenny
J. Pat O’Malley … Old Ben
Nancy Kulp … Agnes Gann
Wesley Lau … Man #1
Paul Tripp … Man #2
Russ Bender … Doctor
Stephen Talbot … Howie Gutliff
Johnny Eimen … Pitcher (as Johnny Eiman)