Twilight Zone – In Praise of Pip

★★★★★ September 27, 1963 Season 5 Episode 1

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

This one is not known as a classic, but it should be. Jack Klugman plays a bookie with a drinking problem named Max Phillips. Klugman’s transformation will resonate with viewers. Max gets a telegram that his son is dying in Vietnam. He realizes he wasted a great deal of his life dreaming instead of doing and working instead of spending more time with his son. He makes a deal with God for one more hour with his son. Afterward, he makes one more deal. 

Klugman’s performances in his last scenes were some of the best of the series. How much time do we spend doing other things (even work) other than to be with our love ones? In Praise of Pip is a thought-provoking and touching drama about a man’s love for his son and a reminder to pay attention to what is really important in life. 

This is Anne Serling’s (Rod Serling’s daughter) favorite episode of the Twilight Zone. She noticed a lot of the dialog in this episode that happened between her and her father.

The script originally had Pip stationed in Laos, but the network had Rod Serling change it to Vietnam.

I was surprised about the early mention of Vietnam in this one. There were officially no combat or special forces in Laos. The implication that the U.S. had troops fighting in Laos (even in The Twilight Zone) could be an embarrassment and might cause repercussions. U.S. Special Forces were fighting (in an advisory capacity) in South Vietnam. Suggest South Vietnam. This episode was produced about two years before the massive intervention of American forces in South Vietnam.

From IMDB: Bill Mumy’s father rarely joined his son on sets, but joined him on this occasion because the two often visited the pier they filmed on. His father recalled being impressed with Jack Klugman who introduced himself to the family and explained that father and son would be extremely affectionate. Mumy joined his own son Seth Mumy on set of Dear God (1996) with Klugman 30 years later.

This show was written by Rod Serling 

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Submitted for your approval: one Max Phillips. A slightly-the-worse-for-wear maker of book, whose life has been as drab and undistinguished as a bundle of dirty clothes. And t fhough it’s very late in his day, he has an errant wish that the rest of his life might be sent out to a laundry, to come back shiny and clean. This to be a gift of love to a son named Pip. Mr. Max Phillips, homo sapiens, who is soon to discover that man is not as wise as he thinks. Said lesson to be learned in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

In the early 1960s, small-time bookie Max Phillips (Jack Klugman) hates his life. His only pride is his son, Pip, who is serving the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam. When a young man uses company funds to place a bet with Max, the man loses the wager. Max then returns his money, which angers Max’s bosses.

 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Very little comment here, save for this small aside: that the ties of flesh are deep and strong; that the capacity to love is a vital, rich, and all-consuming function of the human animal. And that you can find nobility and sacrifice and love wherever you may seek it out: down the block, in the heart or in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Jack Klugman…Max Phillips
Connie Gilchrist…Mrs. Feeny
Robert Diamond…Pvt. Pip
Billy Mumy: Young Pip
Ross Elliott: doctor in Vietnam
Gerald Gordon: lieutenant in Vietnam
Russell Horton: George Reynold
S. John Launer: Mr. Moran
Kreg Martin: Mr. Moran’s enforcer
Stuart Nisbet…surgeon in Vietnam

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

21 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – In Praise of Pip”

      1. That’s true, Max. Admittedly, my wife has told me more than once I should spend more time with my son Ian.

        He’s into computer games big time. Not only do I completely suck at playing these games, but I also find it really hard to get excited about them.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I know what you mean. Bailey went through a phase of playing those games when he was 15-17 and I was at a loss. I don’t like them either…although…we bridged it when we got Beatles Rock Game…that helped.
        He started to get into music around that time…and I lucked out because he likes The Beatles and other classic music…or newer music that sounds like older music.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Oh yea! Sometimes it’s hard finding those things that both can latch on to. When you do it’s great. I took Bailey to see a new artist a few years ago…Jake Bugg…both of us liked him.
        I also took Bailey to see McCartney in 2010 and one more time…that did help his Beatles fandom.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I watched 1-3 last night. This one tore me apart! Billy Mumy is such an adorable little kid. Jack Klugman gave his all in the role. He was channeling a real father with an injured son in a bed far from home in this one. I like seeing God portrayed as a benevolent wish granter here also.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: