Twilight Zone – Ninety Years Without Slumbering

★★★★ December 20, 1963 Season 5 Episode 12

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

Ed Wynn plays Sam Forstmann, a sweet older gentleman who is attached to a grandfather clock. Although he is sent to a psychiatrist, Sam remains unshakable in his conviction that when the grandfather clock he has owned all his life comes to a stop, he will die. In the fifth season I’ve stated on more than one review that some episodes remind you of earlier ones. Ninety Years Without Slumbering reminds me of Nothing In The Dark with Robert Redford about the older lady who is afraid to die. The Twilight Zone is started to repeat itself a little during this season. I will say though with different results and the best episodes are still up there with the best of the series.

I like this episode. Ed Wynn carries this show. Carolyn Kearney and James T. Callahan play Marnie and Doug Kirk fine but they are a back drop to the legend Ed Wynn. Wynn also appears in an earlier episode called One For The Angels. 

When George Clayton Johnson handed the story in called Tick of Time…William Froug had assumed the producer’s role. He was not pleased by Tick of Time. He paid Johnson, then hired another writer, Richard deRoy, to entirely revamp the script. The original story had a darker ending, and some say it would have fit the story more. Johnson never worked with Froug again and never submitted another Twilight Zone. 

Clocks are made by men, God creates time. No man can prolong his allotted hours, he can only live them to the fullest—in this world or in the Twilight Zone. That is one of my favorite narrations Rod Serling presented. 

This show was written by Rod Serling, Richard De Roy, and George Clayton Johnson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Each man measures his time; some with hope, some with joy, some with fear. But Sam Forstmann measures his allotted time with a grandfather’s clock, a unique mechanism whose pendulum swings between life and death, a very special clock that keeps a special kind of time—in the Twilight Zone.


Sam Forstman is an old man who lives with his granddaughter Marnie Kirk and her husband Doug. Sam lives a simple life and doesn’t sleep much anymore. He’s usually up at all hours tinkering on his grandfather clock, something that worries Marnie as his attention to the timepiece verges on the obsessive. The reason for that however is quite simple: he is convinced that should the clock ever stop, he will die.

Someone again had fun with this preview…beeping out words to make it sound like Ed Wynn was swearing. 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Clocks are made by men, God creates time. No man can prolong his allotted hours, he can only live them to the fullest—in this world or in the Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Ed Wynn … Sam Forstmann
Carolyn Kearney … Marnie Kirk
James T. Callahan … Doug Kirk
William Sargent … Dr. Mel Avery
Carol Byron … Carol Chase
Dick Wilson … Mover #1
Chuck Hicks … Mover #2
John Pickard … Police Officer



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 – Ninety Years Without Slumbering”

  1. I was so afraid he would roll down those stairs at the end. I wonder what the alternative ending was? I *just* finished the series and the bonus documentary on Rod Serling this morning. It’s one of the few times a DVD is getting back to the library late (a day late, it was due yesterday.) I really liked the old man in this and I loved how sincerely and lovingly concerned his granddaughter was in this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ending was….he was trying to move the clock somewhere on a wagon….When the old man tries to lift the clock out of the wagon, it falls on top of him. It stops ticking and he dies. Some bystanders set the clock upright. At the same moment that it begins to tick again, the mans granddaughter gives birth to her baby. The cycle starts all over again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow! That is quite a bit different. I am glad they chose the ending they did. Question on the Rod Serling doc (assuming you have seen it?) do you know if those original live theater things he did before TZ are available? Those look really good also.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yipes, short term memory got me on this one. I do remember a body on the operating table but not sure where in it. It shows him starting out with those live tv dramas and then he goes into the service, moves out to L.A. at some point but in which order I don’t remember. Pitiful, huh?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. This comment is for the Aerosmith post. It is refusing to let me comment on it, after multiple tries, closing browser down, etc. I wish I could say I remembered it, I think I was too high. I got high a lot in those days lol. On the trip today, I did, thank you 🙂 Will be posting pics soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I can tell you what happened… the post vanished from reader…it was hours later after you commented…I went into reader and it wasn’t there anymore…I had to delete the original post and do it again.,.sorry Lisa….it just vanished.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes it has happened to me before. Has it happened to you?
        It’s happened to me at least 5-6 times since I”ve been blogging… It will publish…I’ll go looking in reader and it’s not there…I’ll notice no one will view it for hours…with Aerosmith I knew something was up. Sure enough I saw my TZ but not not that one. It might be because I edited it right before it published.

        I LOVE tomorrow’s TZ…I still have a crush on the leading lady….she is so bubbly.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Max, I don’t remember that ever happening to me before but I could be wrong. Ooh just now signing on to WP (was working on an upcoming dVerse prompt) and will be seeing your TZ post soon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. sounds quite good , and eerie. What you said makes sense about the repetition… after 100+, mostly written bythe same person, it’s inevitable some ideas and themes would start to repeat especially when confined to the area of mystery/super-natural type things.
    BTW, I’ll reply to your e-mail some time today, but the idea of yours is good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea…they did start repeating a little but with different results. Tomorrow is one of my favorites and it IS different from the others.

      Cool Dave! I thought some change would do us good.


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