Twilight Zone – Changing Of The Guard

★★★★★ June 1, 1962 Season 3 Episode 37

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

An excellent episode and a great way to close out the 3rd season. Donald Pleasence plays Professor Ellis Fowler and does an excellent job as he always does. He was only 43 years old when he played this part. Pleasance’s old age make-up is subtle and completely convincing.

Preparing to leave for Christmas vacation, Professor Fowler is informed by the Headmaster that, after fifty-one years of teaching, he is to be forcibly retired. Fowler is devastated by this news and begins to brood. He now believes his life was utterly without worth and thinks about suicide. The episode is poignant and makes you wonder how many lives we have touched without realizing it. This one made it into my earlier top 10 episodes of the Twilight Zone.

This is an episode that I think teachers will like.

Buck Houghton Producer: Pleasance was an idea of the casting directors, Id never heard of him,  Boy, damn the expense; we brought him from England. He was just wonderful in it. Hes a very nice man. I have a feeling it was his first time in this country professionally, and while he was a thorough going professional with a huge experience in stage and everything else, he was a little apprehensive of this whole experience because he arrived on a given day and five days later it was all going to be over. So he had a lot to absorb. But Bob Miller is very together and gave him confidence and we were off and running.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Professor Ellis Fowler, a gentle, bookish guide to the young, who is about to discover that life still has certain surprises, and that the campus of the Rock Spring School for Boys lies on a direct path to another institution, commonly referred to as the Twilight Zone.


Professor Ellis Fowler has been teaching at the Rock Spring School for Boys for a great many years. In fact, he taught the grandfather of one of his current students. Just before Christmas however, he’s told by the headmaster that his contract will not be renewed for the new year. Despondent, he returns home convinced that his life has been wasted and decides to end it all. Before he can do so however, his is visited by some very special students from the past who give him cause to reconsider.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Professor Ellis Fowler, teacher, who discovered rather belatedly something of his own value. A very small scholastic lesson, from the campus of the Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Donald Pleasence … Professor Ellis Fowler
Liam Sullivan … Headmaster
Philippa Bevans … Mrs. Landers
Tom Lowell … Artie Beechcroft
Russell Horton … Bartlett
Buddy Hart … Boy
Darryl Richard … Thompson


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

18 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Changing Of The Guard”

    1. Yes I did…I included it in my top 10 of Twilight Zone episodes back in April… but to make it uniformed…I just made it in this series. Of course I changed it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. So I’m guessing no laugh track on this one! Sounds like a very good one, the theme is well-used (actually the last book I read, the Midnight Library is similar overall , as I picture it, half ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and half ‘Walter Mitty’) but bears being told in different ways… and Serling rarely goes wrong with a tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL no laugh track! This one is exceptional to me…. a little of It’s A Wonderful Life thrown in but it’s touching. I can’t believe he was only 43 years old! The make up was great.


      1. I’ve started watching 4th season and see the episodes are longer and there are half as many? I like the ones I’ve seen of it but you’re right, they are different from the previous 3 seasons…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Saturday I’m posting a review of the 3rd season and a preview on why they are different. Serling doesn’t have as much time in the 4th season.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t either until the first time I wrote this one up. I couldn’t believe it was him because I just watched him in Halloween not too long before I wrote it up. They did an excellent job with makeup

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree this one very poignant – I like what you said. We don’t really know the effect we have in other peoples lives. Esp true for teachers. I can remember a number of special ones that had a huge influence on me and my future career choices.

    Liked by 1 person

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