Twilight Zone – Jess-Belle

★★★★ Febraury 14, 1963 Season 4 Episode 7

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

I like this episode….it has a backwoods eerie feel to it. The show reminded me of the 1940s and 1950s horror movies like the Wolfman but set in a rural enviroment. There is some padding but that doesn’t stop this from being a good episode. Each character portrays superstitious beliefs and they play off of that for the story. A story of how love can sometimes blind people to the consequences of their actions. This was written by Waltons creator Earl Hamner Jr. 

If you noticed the date…This haunting love story originally aired on Valentine’s Day in 1963.

The stand out in this episode was Jeanette Nolan as the creepy Granny Hart. A woman not to be messed with. She has an authentic backwoods dialect that she used in a previous episode…The Hunt. She was a marvelous character actress. James Best plays Billy Ben Turner in this one. Before he was in The Dukes of Hazzard he guest starred in the Andy Griffith Show among many shows. The two leading ladies Anne Francis and Laura Devon were on the mark. Anne Francis was in another Twilight Zone….the classic “After Hours” where she played a mannequin. 

From IMDB: Jeanette Nolan played Granny Hart, from whom Jess-Belle Stone obtains a love potion to win over Billy-Ben Turner. In The Twilight Zone: The Chaser (1960), Nolan’s husband John McIntire played Professor A. Daemon, from whom Roger Shackleforth obtains a love potion to win over Leila.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Earl Hamner, Jr.

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The Twilight Zone has existed in many lands in many times. It has its roots in history, in something that happened long, long ago and got told about and handed down from one generation of folk to the other. In the telling the story gets added to and embroidered on, so that what might have happened in the time of the Druids is told as if it took place yesterday in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Such stories are best told by an elderly grandfather on a cold winter’s night by the fireside in the southern hills of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

After the love of her life, Billy Ben Turner, gets engaged to Ellwyn, the daughter of a rich farmer, a jealous Jess-Belle turns to a local witch to help her get him back. Granny Hart is known in the area as the person to go to for any potion you might want. Jess-Belle has no money, however, and all Granny Hart can give her is a potion that carries a high price. Jess-Belle is prepared to pay any price, and the potion she takes seems to work: as soon as Billy Ben sets eyes on her, he falls madly in love with her. When the clock strikes midnight, however, Jess-Belle is transformed and later realizes that she, too, is now a witch.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The episode did not feature a closing narration from Rod Serling. Instead, it ends with the folk song heard at the beginning:

Fair was Elly Glover,
Dark was Jess-Belle.
Both they loved the same man
And both they loved him well.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Anne Francis … Jess-Belle Stone
James Best … Billy Ben Turner
Laura Devon … Ellwyn Glover
Jeanette Nolan … Granny Hart
Virginia Gregg … Ossie Stone
George Mitchell … Luther Glover
Helen Kleeb … Mattie Glover
Jim Boles … Obed Miller
Jon Lormer … Minister

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

12 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Jess-Belle”

      1. Max, it definitely has that Walton setting to it. It’s been awhile since I watched a Waltons Christmas. If I could live with any TV family it would probably be theirs. Do you think they’d build an add-on to the house for me?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Grandpa and John could whip that right up! It’s so cool watching that show. It was written so well and has not dated whatsoever. They did more with less and were happy.

        Liked by 1 person

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