★★★★ June 19, 1964 Season 5 Episode 36
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This is the last Twilight Zone episode. I will have a Twilight Zone 5th Season review Wednesday and a Twilight Zone precursor…a show that led to making the Twilight Zone on Saturday…also in our TV Draft…yea I’ll be covering this one in some round.
This is the last aired Twilight Zone episode. I love this episode but it’s not one of the more popular ones. It’s in my top twenty of Twilight Zones. This one I disagree with the majority of Twilight Zone fans. Being a child of divorce I can totally relate to the two main children in this episode. It always reminded me of Narnia a little bit. Instead of a wardrobe closet, it was a pool.
The biggest complaint of this episode happened when there was noise interference on the MGM back-lot during the pool sequences, and everyone had to be called back for post-dubbing. Actress Mary Badham who played Sport Sharewood had already flown back to Alabama and it was deemed too expensive to fly her back to Los Angeles. June Foray was brought in to dub her lines. It wasn’t the best dubbing job (not Foray’s fault) but it doesn’t interfere with the story.
Kids would love a place to hide from fighting parents. The kids, Sport and Jeb found such a place at a bottom of a pool. As their parents would not stop fighting they escaped to a tranquil place with other kids who were all looked after by Aunt “T.” Sometimes parents don’t understand what lengths kids will go to get away…real or imagined.
Both children speak with Southern accents while their urbane parents have generic American accents. The writer Earl Hamner Jr. (who later created The Waltons (1972)) hearkened back to the children in the film To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). In the film, the children were named Scout and Jem. In this episode, the children are Sport and Jeb. Mary Badham played both Scout and Sport.
This was essentially the series finale as the show was canceled a short time later in June 1964.
The swimming pool used in this is the same pool seen in the earlier “Queen of the Nile,” and season two’s, “The Trouble with Templeton”.
Earl Hamner, who wrote the script for this episode, said that he disliked the characterization of “Aunt T.” as played by actress Georgia Simmons. He stated that there were women whom he characterized as “earth mothers,” citing actress Patricia Neal as an example of the kind of portrayal he had envisioned for the role, and said that instead he found “Aunt T.” as depicted in the episode “too cute.” Patricia Neal would go on to create the role of Olivia Walton in the pilot, “The Homecoming,” of Hamner’s long-running series, “The Waltons.”
This show was written by Rod Serling and Earl Hamner Jr.
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
Right before the end of the introduction, as in a typical episode, Rod Serling appears on-screen and says:
A swimming pool not unlike any other pool, a structure built of tile and cement and money, a backyard toy for the affluent, wet entertainment for the well-to-do. But to Jeb and Sport Sharewood, this pool holds mysteries not dreamed of by the building contractor, not guaranteed in any sales brochure. For this pool has a secret exit that leads to a never-neverland, a place designed for junior citizens who need a long voyage away from reality, into the bottomless regions of the Twilight Zone.
After the opening credits are finished rolling, Serling, in voice-over, says:
Introduction to a perfect setting: Colonial mansion, spacious grounds, heated swimming pool. All the luxuries money can buy. Introduction to two children: brother and sister, names Jeb and Sport. Healthy, happy, normal youngsters. Introduction to a mother: Gloria Sharewood by name, glamorous by nature. Introduction to a father: Gil Sharewood, handsome, prosperous, the picture of success. A man who has achieved every man’s ambition. Beautiful children, beautiful home, beautiful wife. Idyllic? Obviously. But don’t look too carefully, don’t peek behind the façade. The idyll may have feet of clay.
Told by their parents that they are getting a divorce, Sport and Jeb Sharewood now have to decide who they are going to live with. They decide they would rather live with Aunt T, the woman they’ve met by traveling through a portal at the bottom of their swimming pool. At the other end is an idyllic world where children play and there are few adults. Aunt T is a kindly old woman but Sport is far more reluctant than Jeb to accept her invitation to stay with them.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
A brief epilogue for concerned parents. Of course, there isn’t any such place as the gingerbread house of Aunt T, and we grownups know there’s no door at the bottom of a swimming pool that leads to a secret place. But who can say how real the fantasy world of lonely children can become? For Jeb and Sport Sharewood, the need for love turned fantasy into reality; they found a secret place—in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Host / Narrator – Himself
Mary Badham … Sport Sharewood
June Foray … Sport Sharewood (voice, outdoor scenes)
Kim Hector … Witt
Dee Hartford … Gloria Sharewood
Jeffrey Byron … Jeb Sharewood
Georgia Simmons … Aunt T
Tod Andrews … Gil Sharewood