Twilight Zone – A Penny for Your Thoughts

★★★★1/2  February 3, 1961 Season 2 Episode 16

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

This one is a comedic episode where everything goes right. It’s well written and acted. The 2000 movie What Women Want is related to this episode. Dick York is fantastic in this episode. One of two consecutive Twilight Zone episodes to star a future Bewitched regular, the previous episode The Invaders starred Agnes Moorehead.

This was the first of George Clayton Johnsons four Twilight Zone scripts and was his lightest story, but the easy tone doesn’t detract from it. The episode is charming and funny, and it does have a point…that people do things without thinking about them and think things without having the slightest intention of doing them.

The title comes from the old English expression “A penny of your thoughts” which dates back to John Heywood’s compilation of proverbs “A Dialogue Containing the Number in Effect of all the Proverbs in the English Tongue.”

George Clayton Johnson: Rod came through with a couple of people, visitors that he had brought on, and he saw me and Lola (wife) and he stopped to introduce us to these people. And his attitude toward me was one of great respect. It wasn’t like, Tm Rod Serling and this is one of the flunkies on the set, it was more like, Look, here’s the man who wrote this absolutely wizard thing that were making right now. It really built my ego and made me feel worthwhile.

This show was written by Rod Serling and George Clayton Johnson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Mr. Hector B. Poole, resident of the Twilight Zone. Flip a coin and keep flipping it. What are the odds? Half the time it will come up heads, half the time tails. But in one freakish chance in a million, it’ll land on its edge. Mr. Hector B. Poole, a bright human coin – on his way to the bank.

Summary

Bank clerk Hector Poole develops telepathic powers after tossing a coin to a newspaper vendor that miraculously stands on its edge. He discovers the positive and negative effects of listening in on other peoples thoughts, plans and fantasies

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

One time in a million, a coin will land on its edge, but all it takes to knock it over is a vagrant breeze, a vibration, or a slight blow. Hector B. Poole, a human coin, on edge for a brief time – in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Dick York … Hector B. Poole
June Dayton … Helen Turner
Dan Tobin … E.M. Bagby
Cyril Delevanti … L.J. Smithers
Hayden Rorke … Sykes
James Nolan … Jim
Frank London … Driver
Anthony Ray … Newsboy
Patrick Waltz … Brand
Aileen Arnold … Pedestrian (uncredited)
Sig Frohlich … Pedestrian (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The Invaders

★★★★★  January 27, 1961 Season 2 Episode 15

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

It’s so strange because of my age I remember Agnes Moorehead primarily as the Bewitched mother in law Endora. She was a great actress and was in Orson Welle’s stock company long before she was a sitcom star. She stars in this Twilight Zone and does a one woman show with a little help from special effects. I can’t say enough about her acting in this. She plays an old lonely woman and creates all of the suspense and drama to this episode. It’s worth it just to see her work at her craft.

This one is a Twilight Zone classic. The only complaint I’ve heard about this episode is that the special effects could have been a little better. The effects get the point across with no problem…so I see no problem and the episode is great.

When Agnes Moorehead learned she had no dialogue in this episode, she initially refused to do it. Rod Serling and director Douglas Heyes convinced her. Moorhead’s solo performance drew on the mime skills she had developed when, as a young actress, she studied with legendary pantomime artist Marcel Marceau in Paris.

As in other episodes, this one uses the United Planets Cruiser C57D spacecraft from Forbidden Planet , both of which were produced by MGM.

This show was written by Richard Matheson and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is one of the out-of-the-way places, the unvisited places, bleak, wasted, dying. This is a farmhouse, handmade, crude, a house without electricity or gas, a house untouched by progress. This is the woman who lives in the house, a woman who’s been alone for many years, a strong, simple woman whose only problem up until this moment has been that of acquiring enough food to eat, a woman about to face terror, which is even now coming at her from – the Twilight Zone.

Summary

An old woman who lives alone in a ramshackle farm house comes face to face with alien invaders. She hears something on her roof and then finds a flying saucer, perhaps six or seven feet across from which emerges two small robots. She fights them as best she can and eventually succeeds in destroying their ship. The nature of the invaders however is not immediately obvious however.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

These are the invaders, the tiny beings from the tiny place called Earth, who would take the giant step across the sky to the question marks that sparkle and beckon from the vastness of the universe only to be imagined. The invaders…who found out that a one-way ticket to the stars beyond has the ultimate price tag…and we have just seen it entered in a ledger that covers all the transactions in the universe…a bill stamped “Paid in Full” and to be found unfiled in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Agnes Moorehead … Woman

Twilight Zone – The Whole Truth

★★★  January 20, 1961 Season 2 Episode 14

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

This is one of the comedy episodes. Imagine if you will…a car salesman that has to tell the truth. What a great world that would be. The movie Liar, Liar was probably influenced or based on this episode. It was shot on videotape and it unfortunately is very obvious. The outside doesn’t look like outside and it resembles the look of a soap opera. This is the one videotape episode that showed all of the limitations of that format. The only thing it does do is accent the terrible cars that he has to sell.

The casting again is good. Jack Carson plays Harvey Hunnicut the prototypical cheap used car salesman. He buys an old car and the car is haunted…who ever owns it must tell the truth. The acting like always is good but the presentation and some of the plot seems forced.

John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States at the Inaugural ceremonies held in Washington the afternoon of the very day this episode originally aired.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This, as the banner already has proclaimed, is Mr. Harvey Hunnicut, an expert on commerce and con jobs, a brash, bright, and larceny-loaded wheeler and dealer who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, must have gone for a beer and missed out. And these are a couple of other characters in our story: a little old man and a Model A car – but not just any old man and not just any Model A. There’s something very special about the both of them. As a matter of fact, in just a few moments, they’ll give Harvey Hunnicut something that he’s never experienced before. Through the good offices of a little magic, they will unload on Mr. Hunnicut the absolute necessity to tell the truth. Exactly where they come from is conjecture, but as to where they’re heading for, this we know, because all of them – and you – are on the threshold of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Harvey Hunnicut is the stereotypical used car salesman: a fast talker who, to put it politely, is prone to stretching the truth about the cars he sells. He buys a used car from an old gentleman paying him far less that it’s worth. After the deal, the old man tells him the car is haunted. Soon, Harvey finds that he can only tell the truth. Not only to customers but even to his wife as well. When he tries to sell the man’s car he finds the perfect customer.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Couldn’t happen, you say? Far-fetched? Way-out? Tilt-off-center? Possible. But the next time you buy an automobile, if it happens to look as if it had just gone through the Battle of the Marne, and the seller is ready to throw into the bargain one of his arms, be particularly careful in explaining to the boss about your grandmother’s funeral, when you are actually at Chavez Ravine watching the Dodgers. It’ll be a fact that you are the proud possessor of an instrument of truth – manufactured and distributed by an exclusive dealer – in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Jack Carson … Harvey Hunnicut
Loring Smith … Honest Luther Grimbley
George Chandler … Old Man
Jack Ging … Young Man
Arte Johnson … Irv
Patrick Westwood … The Premier’s Aide
Lee Sabinson … Nikita Khrushchev
Nan Peterson … Young Woman

Twilight Zone – Back There

★★★★  January 13, 1961 Season 2 Episode 13

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

In this episode Russell Johnson makes his second appearance on The Twilight Zone. If you went back in time could you changed fixed events? We will find out in this episode. I like the time travel episodes and this one is no exception. I like the idea they built it around. This episode takes place on April 14, 1961 and April 14, 1865.

It’s not a perfect episode but a fun time travel adventure. This episode is a hard one to rate.  It just doesn’t gel like some of the others do.

The character Pete Corrigan mentions HG Wells in relation to his story The Time Machine, which had also just been made into a movie the year before this episode.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Witness a theoretical argument, Washington, D.C., the present. Four intelligent men talking about an improbable thing like going back in time. A friendly debate revolving around a simple issue: could a human being change what has happened before? Interesting and theoretical, because who ever heard of a man going back in time? Before tonight, that is, because this is—The Twilight Zone.

Summary

After debating with a member of his Washington club whether you could go back in time and change major events, Pete Corrigan seems to go back to April 15, 1865 the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He tries his best to warn the authorities of what will happen in a few hours time but it all falls on deaf ears. One person seems interested in what he has to say, but that person may have his own reasons for his behavior.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Peter Corrigan, lately returned from a place ‘back there’, a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly, and the skein of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand, there are small fragments of tapestry that can be altered. Tonight’s thesis to be taken, as you will—in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Russell Johnson … Pete Corrigan
Paul Hartman … Police Sergeant
Bartlett Robinson … William
John Lasell … Jonathan Wellington
Jimmy Lydon … Patrolman (as James Lydon)
Raymond Bailey … Millard
Raymond Greenleaf … Jackson
John Eldredge … Whittaker
James Gavin … Policeman
Jean Inness … Mrs. Landers
Lew Brown … Lieutenant
Carol Eve Rossen … Lieutenant’s Girl (as Carol Rossen)
Nora Marlowe … Chambermaid
Pat O’Malley … Attendant
Fred Kruger … 1865 Attendant (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – Dust

★★★★  January 6, 1961 Season 2 Episode 12

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

The characters do a good job of showing the listlessness of the town. It’s set in a miserable ghost town that doesn’t know it’s one. The townspeople have no future and they know it. Sun and dust are the only two things these people have and will ever know.

This is a powerful episode all about context. To break it down…a drunk young man (Gallegos) driving a horse and wagon accidently kills a child. Normally under Rod Serling he would be an automatic villain but in this episode the context is different. There is a gray area in this forsaken town. The twist comes suddenly and the episode is over and leaves you thinking.

The acting was superb in this… Thomas Gomez plays Peter Sykes…a despicable man. The worse kind of opportunist you can imagine.  John Larch plays the sheriff who sees things for what they are and is one of the few sympathetic characters in this episode.  He is depressed by the thought of Gallegos being hanged and believes that he does not deserve to be hanged but knows he has to do his job.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

There was a village. Built of crumbling clay and rotting wood. And it squatted ugly under a broiling sun like a sick and mangy animal wanting to die. This village had a virus, shared by its people. It was the germ of squalor, of hopelessness, of a loss of faith. With the faithless, the hopeless, the misery-laden, there is time, ample time, to engage in one of the other pursuits of men. They began to destroy themselves.

Summary

In a dusty old-western town, a man’s scheduled to be hanged, after having been found guilty of accidentally killing a child while drunk. His father begs for mercy, but the marshal, has no choice but to proceed with the sentence. Sykes, an odious salesman takes advantage of the situation by selling the desperate father ‘magic dust’, which he says will make the townsfolk take pity upon his son. Soon, the events provide for an unexpected conclusion.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

It was a very small, misery-laden village. On the day of a hanging. And of little historical consequence. And if there’s any moral to it at all, let’s say that in any quest for magic, and any search for sorcery, witchery, legerdemain, first check the human heart. For inside this deep place is a wizardry that costs far more than a few pieces of gold. Tonight’s case in point – in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Thomas Gomez … Peter Sykes
John Larch … Sheriff Koch
Vladimir Sokoloff … Gallegos
John A. Alonzo … Luís Gallegos (as John Alonso)
Paul Genge … John Canfield
Dorothy Adams … Mrs. Canfield
Duane Grey … Rogers
Jon Lormer … Man (as John Lormer)
Andrea Darvi … Estrelita Gallegos (as Andrea Margolis)
Doug Heyes Jr. … Farmer Boy (as Douglas Heyes)
Nick Borgani … Townsman (uncredited)
Alphonso DuBois … Townsman (uncredited)
Richard LaMarr … Townsman (uncredited)
Frances Lara … Townswoman (uncredited)
Robert McCord … Lawman (uncredited)
Daniel Nunez … Townsman (uncredited)
Paul Ravel … Townsman (uncredited)
Armando Rodriguez … Townsman (uncredited)
Theresa Testa … Townswoman (uncredited)
Dan White … Man #2 (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The Night of the Meek

★★★★★  December 23, 1960 Season 2 Episode 11

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

This one is a sentimental, touching, and timeless, episode of the Twilight Zone. I watch this every year around Christmas. One of the reasons Rod Serling wrote this episode is to see Art Carney play Santa Claus. This is a genuinely funny episode, with the humor feeling natural and enhancing the characters. There are no big laughs but rather many great moments.

John Fiedler plays Mr. Dundee does a great job and has good comedic moments with Robert P. Lieb who plays Flaherty. Fielder would appear on the Bob Newhart Show later on in the seventies. It was taped just three weeks before Christmas, it had a special effect on the cast and crew, and especially on the many children on the set. Production assistant Lillian Gallo later said there were more children performing on that show as extras than on the other tape shows, and she remembers their excitement and their joy. Sometimes, it was difficult for them to contain themselves during the times that you have to be quiet during the show.

One sour viewer was so enraged at the blasphemy of presenting a drunk as Santa Claus that he sent outraged letters to Serling, the network, and several newspapers.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is Mr. Henry Corwin, normally unemployed, who once a year takes the lead role in the uniquely popular American institution, that of the department-store Santa Claus in a road-company version of ‘The Night Before Christmas’. But in just a moment Mr. Henry Corwin, ersatz Santa Claus, will enter a strange kind of North Pole which is one part the wondrous spirit of Christmas and one part the magic that can only be found… in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Henry Corwin is a down and outer who is normally unemployed and who definitely drinks too much. Every year he works as a department store Santa Claus. This year however, he’s spent just a little too much time in the bar and is quite drunk by the time he shows up for work. He’s fired of course and deeply regrets what he’s done. In fact, Henry has a big heart and worries not only about the children he’s disappointed at the store but about all of those children who will not get what they’ve asked for Christmas. When he comes across a large bag of gifts, everything changes for the kids and for himself as well.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas and there’s a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek. And a Merry Christmas to each and all.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Art Carney … Henry Corwin
John Fiedler … Mr. Dundee
Robert P. Lieb … Flaherty
Val Avery … The Bartender
Meg Wyllie … Sister Florence
Kay Cousins Johnson … Irate Mother (as Kay Cousins)
Burt Mustin … Old Man
Steve Carruthers … Bar Patron (uncredited)
Andrea Darvi … Kid with Santa (uncredited)
Jimmy Garrett … Street Child (uncredited)
Larrian Gillespie … Elf (uncredited)
Jack Kenny … Man in Mission (uncredited)
Caryl Lincoln … Store Customer (uncredited)
Mathew McCue … Man in Mission (uncredited)
Frank Mills … Man in Mission (uncredited)
Mike Morelli … Man in Mission (uncredited)
Nan Peterson … Blonde in Bar (uncredited)
Ray Spiker … Man in Mission (uncredited)
Glen Walters … Store Customer (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – A Most Unusual Camera

★★★1/2  December 10, 1961 Season 2 Episode 10

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

This is a somewhat humorous episode and then it slides toward darkness. Jean Carson plays Paula Diedrich. Jean was probably best known as the gravelly voiced “fun girl” from The Andy Griffith Show. You have some small time crooks who steal what they thought was a useless camera. This camera can show 5 minutes into the future. They are none too bright but they don’t seem mean until…until there is money involved.

Personally I thought the ending was a little forced and hurried… but I did like the idea about the camera. This is one of the very few episodes that could have benefitted from a one hour format.

The inscribed plate on the front of the camera reads “Dix å la propriétaire”, which translates in English as “Ten per owner”, i.e. ten photographs per owner.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

A hotel suite that, in this instance, serves as a den of crime, the aftermath of a rather minor event to be noted on a police blotter, an insurance claim, perhaps a three-inch box on page twelve of the evening paper. Small addenda to be added to the list of the loot: a camera, a most unimposing addition to the flotsam and jetsam that it came with, hardly worth mentioning really, because cameras are cameras, some expensive, some purchasable at five-and-dime stores. But this camera, this one’s unusual because in just a moment we’ll watch it inject itself into the destinies of three people. It happens to be a fact that the pictures that it takes can only be developed in The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Married couple Chester and Paula have broken into and robbed a curio shop, hoping to sell the loot for a handsome sum of money. Unfortunately, all of it turns out to be junk or fakes. All, that is, save for a mysterious camera. When they try taking a picture, it turns out to be from five minutes into the future. Soon Paula’s brother Woodward joins them and the three decide to use the camera at a horse track to win big.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Object known as a camera, vintage uncertain, origin unknown. But for the greedy, the avaricious, the fleet of foot, who can run a four-minute mile so long as they’re chasing a fast buck, it makes believe that it’s an ally, but it isn’t at all. It’s a beckoning come-on for a quick walk around the block—in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Fred Clark … Chester Dietrich
Jean Carson … Paula Diedrich
Adam Williams … Woodward
Marcel Hillaire … Pierre – Waiter
Franklyn Farnum … Man at Racetrack (uncredited)
Art Lewis … Racetrack Tout (uncredited)
Tony Regan … Man at Racetrack (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The Trouble with Templeton

★★★★★  December 9, 1960 Season 2 Episode 16

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

A favorite of mine. This one is a hidden gem of an episode. Once again casting was superb in this episode. Brian Aherne as Booth Templeton was an excellent choice as a Broadway Star. The “you can’t go home again” theme is explored in the Twilight Zone more than once…to different results.

The Trouble With Templeton has in it one of the most visually beautiful scenes of the entire series. This occurs in the crowded, smoke-filled speakeasy in which Templeton leaves Laura. Without giving anything away… the camera pans across the room back to Laura. She steps forward. The expression on her face is one we have not seen before in the episode. It’s stunning and eerie at the same time. It’s one of my favorite scenes ever in a Twilight Zone. That one scene makes the episode worth it but it’s much more than that.

The Director Buzz Kulik said Brian Aherne who played Booth Templeton was a charming, wonderful, delightful, a terribly professional man, and one of the nicest people that he had ever worked with. He was very touched by what he had to do. It was very, very real to him. As for himself, Kulik admits that he too was moved by the material.

This was E. Jack Neuman’s only writing credit on the Twilight Zone.

This show was written by E. Jack Neuman and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Pleased to present for your consideration, Mr. Booth Templeton; serious and successful star of over thirty Broadway plays, who is not quite all right today. Yesterday and its memories is what he wants, and yesterday is what he’ll get. Soon his years and his troubles will descend on him in an avalanche. In order not to be crushed Mr. Booth Templeton will escape from his theater and his world, and make his debut on another stage, in another world, that we call the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Booth Templeton is a renowned stage actor who has reached a stage in his personal life where he has idealized his past. In particular he has fond memories of his first wife, Laura. After a stressful encounter at the theater, he walks out of the stage door and finds himself in 1927 where he joins his wife and best friend, Barney Fluegler, for dinner. It all reminds him that his past was not as rosy as he may have remembered it

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Booth Templeton, who shared with most human beings the hunger to recapture the past moments, the ones that soften with the years. But in his case, the characters of his past blocked him out and sent him back to his own time, which is where we find him now. Mr. Booth Templeton, who had a round-trip ticket – into The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Brian Aherne … Booth Templeton
Pippa Scott … Laura Templeton
Sydney Pollack … Arthur Willis
Dave Willock … Marty
King Calder … Sid Sperry
Larry J. Blake … Freddie (as Larry Blake)
David Thursby … Eddie
Charles Carlson … Barney Flueger

Twilight Zone – The Lateness of the Hour

★★★★  December 2, 1960 Season 2 Episode 8

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

Inger Stevens plays Jana…the same actress who starred in the Hitchhiker. This Twilight Zone has a different look than the previous ones…soon we will find out why. This episode is about comfort and the length man will go to get it. This plot would be later visited in the Stepford wives.

John Hoyt plays Dr. Loren who is a brilliant inventor and has perfected a robot house staff. Every need of his wife and daughter Jana is taken care of every day. His daughter Jana wants a normal life and not have everything so predictable and perfect. You can see the ending coming in this one quite easy but you do have sympathy for Jana.

The first of six The Twilight Zone episodes to be shot on video tape. The network pushed it on Serling because of the cost. This method had its limitations, though. At the time, tape was still at an extremely early stage of its development. Except for the integration of stock footage, none of the taped shows could have any exterior locations; everything had to be shot on a soundstage. Also, since tape couldn’t be edited as cleanly as film, there could be fewer different camera setups and fewer complex camera movements. Obviously, this limited the range of story possibilities. Serling wasn’t happy about this but, the network being the network, he agreed to give it a try.

The six shows were taped at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. They had no director of photography as such. Instead, a technical director sat up in a booth with the director. On the set were the actors, a lighting man, sound men, and four cameramen. The four cameras were hooked up to monitors in the booth. As taping progressed, the technical director, at the command of the director, would switch from one camera to another. Today this is standard procedure for nearly all sitcoms, but in 1960 tape was something quite innovative.

The short-lived experiment resulted in editing and quality issues, and it was ultimately scrapped. Serling did pick the episodes well that he videotaped. Some with special effects would not have worked.

The video taped shows were:

Twenty-Two
Static
The Whole Truth
The Night Of The Meek
The Lateness of the Hour
The Long Distance Call

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The residence of Dr. William Loren, which is in reality a menagerie for machines. We’re about to discover that sometimes the product of man’s talent and genius can walk amongst us untouched by the normal ravages of time. These are Dr. Loren’s robots, built to functional as well as artistic perfection. But in a moment Dr. William Loren, wife and daughter will discover that perfection is relative, that even robots have to be paid for, and very shortly will be shown exactly what is the bill.

Summary

Jana Loren is an attractive young woman who lives at home with her parents. She feels suffocated living there however, surrounded by their many servants – that are in fact human-looking robots created by her inventor father. Her parents are quite happy with the life they lead but realize that they’re going to have to do something about the rebellious Jana.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Let this be the postscript — Should you be worn out by the rigors of competing in a very competitive world, if you’re distraught from having to share your existence with the noises and neuroses of the twentieth century, if you crave serenity but want it full time and with no strings attached, get yourself a workroom in the basement, and then drop a note to Dr. and Mrs. William Loren. They’re a childless couple who made comfort a life’s work, and maybe there are a few do-it-yourself pamphlets still available… in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Inger Stevens … Jana
John Hoyt … Dr. Loren
Irene Tedrow … Mrs. Loren
Tom Palmer … Robert
Mary Gregory … Nelda
Valley Keene … Suzanne
Doris Karnes … Gretchen
Jason Johnson … Jensen

Twilight Zone – Nick Of Time

★★★★★ November 18, 1960 Season 2 Episode 7

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes. (I have cleaned the page up)

This is one of the two Twilight Zones that William Shatner appeared in. In this one we never know if any thing supernatural is happening or not. It plays on people’s superstitions and beliefs. William Shatner’s character Don Carter is superstitious and comes with a four leaf clover and rabbits foot. That quietly sets up the episode.  Although the answers are extremely general, he soon becomes convinced that the machine has correctly predicted two events: his promotion to office manager and a close call he and Pat have while crossing the street.

The couple has to make a decision, will they let the machine decide their destiny or will they try to make it on their own? Both Shatner and Patricia Breslin play this well…although especially Shatner. I never think of him as a great actor but he hits this one out of the park.  It’s not just Don that has trouble getting past this possible mystical machine…more believing customers are on their way.

It took me a few viewings to appreciate this episode as much as I do. It works on a Twilight Zone level and beyond that. This one could have easily been on Hitchcock. The suspense builds through out the episode because Shatner and Breslin’s chemistry.

In fact Richard Matheson, said that he wished that Pat Breslin (who played Pat Carter) had been available again to play the wife of Shatner’s character in the season five episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” That would have been great as the couple would have continued their story.

The Magic 8 Ball comes to mind that were popular in the seventies and even now.

The Twilight Zone" Nick of Time (TV Episode 1960) - IMDb

This show was written by Richard Matheson and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The hand belongs to Mr. Don S. Carter, male member of a honeymoon team on route across the Ohio countryside to New York City. In one moment, they will be subjected to a gift most humans never receive in a lifetime. For one penny, they will be able to look into the future. The time is now, the place is a little diner in Ridgeview, Ohio, and what this young couple doesn’t realize is that this town happens to lie on the outskirts of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Don and Pat Carter are on their honeymoon when their car breaks down in the small town of Ridgeview, Ohio. They have a few hours to spare while their car is being repaired and spend time in the diner. There they find a fortune-telling machine, a game where you can ask a question and for a penny will spit out an innocuous answer. When the machine apparently begins to predict events – Don’s promotion at work, a near accident on the street outside – a superstitious Don becomes infatuated with the device threatening his marriage and his future with Pat.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstition, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence — having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
William Shatner … Don Carter
Patricia Breslin… Pat Carter
Guy Wilkerson … Counterman
Stafford Repp … Mechanic
Walter Reed … Man
Dee Carroll … Woman
Robert McCord … Diner Patron (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The Eye of the Beholder

★★★★★  November 11, 1960 Season 2 Episode 6

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

One of the true classic Twilight Zones. The episode is set in a dystopian society. Rod Serling was great at creating them. To be different…  means being ostracized with the rest of your kind. It could be set on earth, a far away planet, or in a different time…it doesn’t matter. Undesirables get exiled for the crime of being different.

The ending has an incredible twist. It still holds up through on repeat viewings. What is normal? What is beauty? Who decides that?

Two actresses play the same character in this episode. Maxine Stuart and Donna Douglas.  The first was Maxine Stuart, as Janet Tyler in bandages. The director cast her because of her voice, her voice did not suggest a beautiful girl it suggested a strong, harsh, realistic woman, and therefore the unveiling would be a surprise. She was going to dub her voice over the top of Donna Douglas’s part but Donna’s voice was so similar to  they just kept her voice.

A young Donna Douglas plays Janet Tyler. Although not well known at the time, she soon would be, as Jed Clampett’s daughter Ellie on The Beverly Hillbillies. She was not yet known to anybody, but she was absolutely stunning.

I’ve seen this epidsode listed by two names…now I know why. Originally a “The” preceded the title, until television producer Stuart Reynolds threatened to sue Rod Serling for the use of the name because at the time he was selling an educational film of the same name to public schools. Reruns following the initial broadcast featured the title screen “The Private World of Darkness.”

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler, who lives in a very private world of darkness. A universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of the swath of bandages that cover her face. In a moment we will go back into this room, and also in a moment we will look under those bandages. Keeping in mind of course that we are not to be surprised by what we see, because this isn’t just a hospital, and this patient 307 is not just a woman. This happens to be the Twilight Zone, and Miss Janet Tyler, with you, is about to enter it.

Summary

Janet Tyler is in hospital having undergone treatment to make her look normal. It’s her 11th trip to the hospital for treatment and she is desperate to look like everyone else. Some of her earliest childhood memories are of people looking away, horrified by her appearance. Her bandages will soon come off and she can only hope that this, her last treatment, will have done the trick. If not, her doctor has told she will be segregated with a colony of similar looking people. All that to say that truth is truly in the eye of the beholder.

VIDEO SPOILERS

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Now the questions that come to mind: “Where is this place and when is it?” “What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm?” You want an answer? The answer is it doesn’t make any difference, because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet or wherever there is human life – perhaps out amongst the stars – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling – Narrator
Maxine Stuart – Janet Tyler (under bandages)
Donna Douglas – Janet Tyler (unmasked)
William D. Gordon – Doctor Bernardi
Jennifer Howard – Nurse
Edson Stroll – Walter Smith

Otis Gibbs

I came across Otis’s youtube channel and I think some of you would be interested. He is a singer songwriter but on his channel he has conversations musicians who have played or worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Waylon Jennings, just to name a few, and  his own stories about different musicians. For you music fans it’s worth your time. The guy doesn’t interview people…he lets people talk and tell their stories.  He is also a good story teller. I’m hooked on his channel.

He has stories about Jerry Reed, The Replacements, Dan Baird, Merle Haggard, Ry Cooder, Towns Van Zant, Bill Monroe, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, John Prine, Mike Campbell and more.

He lives in Indiana but interviews many Nashville connected musicians. Check this guy out…His music is VERY good as well. I’m just checking that out more as I go… his music is classified as alt-country.

I just picked a few random youtube videos from his page below.

This is his youtube page:

https://www.youtube.com/user/otisgibbs

Chuck Mead – 90s Alternative Country band BR5-49…talking about when he toured with Bob Dylan

Kenny Vaughn – Lucinda Williams  guitar player at the time talks about touring with Tom Petty

Chuck Mead again with Keith Richards

Dan Baird on the Replacements

Otis Gibbs Wiki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis_Gibbs

Twilight Zone – The Howling Man

★★★★★  November 4, 1960 Season 2 Episode 5

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

This one was included in my top 10…but it’s been months now so I thought I would post this with some changes. This weekend will be the best for Twilight Zones so far…two classic episodes. Warning…it’s almost impossible writing this review without spoilers for this particular episode. 

This one is not one of the comedic episodes…it is deadly serious, haunting and chilling. The Howling Man doesn’t have a lot of action but you feel sorry for David Ellington…he realized too late that he has set the devil loose in the world. The special effects of the ragged looking man turning into the devil was spot on. It would look good now in todays time. One well known actor was in this one, John Carradine played Brother Jerome.

This is very much a classic Twilight Zone episode. The set reminds me of those Universal Monster movie sets of the 40s and 50s. The episode tells us that evil can come in many forms and appeal to human weaknesses. As far as David Ellington… the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Charles Beaumont had originally envisioned the monks would keep the Howling Man imprisoned by putting a cross in front of his cell door. Fearful of a backlash in the religious community, the producers substituted the “staff of truth,” over Beaumont’s objections.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The prostrate form of Mr. David Ellington, scholar, seeker of truth and, regrettably, finder of truth. A man who will shortly arise from his exhaustion to confront a problem that has tormented mankind since the beginning of time. A man who knocked on a door seeking sanctuary and found, instead, the outer edges of The Twilight Zone.

Summary

David Ellington recounts a story, one that began just after the end of World War I. He was hiking in Europe when he sought refuge during a violent rain storm. The residence is isolated and its head, Brother Jerome, tells him he cannot stay. Ellington is ill however and during his short stay meets someone who is being kept prisoner and howls constantly through the night. Ellington believes the Howling Man is being kept there for no good reason but Brother Jerome tells him of the man’s true nature. The decision Ellington makes will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Ancient folk saying: “You can catch the Devil, but you can’t hold him long.” Ask Brother Jerome. Ask David Ellington. They know, and they’ll go on knowing to the end of their days and beyond — in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
H.M. Wynant … David Ellington
John Carradine … Brother Jerome
Robin Hughes … The Howling Man
Frederic Ledebur … Brother Christophorus
Ezelle Poule … Housekeeper

Monkees – Listen To The Band

Buddy Miles and the Monkees! Below in one of the clips of this song.

This was the last song they released that I liked…it was at the time Peter Tork quit. The band I was in…this was the lone Monkee song we would do and it always got a good response.

This song was released as a single in 1969. It was the first time Michael Nesmith would sing on a Monkee’s A side…and he was long overdue. He also wrote it and produced it. He started to write it while in Nashville at RCA studios. The song features a brass section that plays during the instrumental section as if the brass were the band.

The Monkees went into MGM studios in November of 1968 to tape their NBC television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, they were just two years away from their commercial peak… selling records by the millions, a hit TV show and battling with the other bands for chart supremacy. But their show went off the air that March, and their psychedelic movie Head flopped in theaters just a couple weeks earlier. They were on the way down.

Their most recent LP, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album charts and generated the single “Daydream Believer.” It was enough to get NBC to green light a TV special, though wheels were in motion before critics got a look at Head. The Monkees could have created a television in the same zany, carefree style of their old show in an attempt to win back some old fans, but they decided to double down on psychedelic.

The show was a psychedelic mess that did not restart their career. At this time Peter Tork had grown tired of it all and it was his last appearance with the band. The one clip that was worth it was the clip of this song. Buddy Miles comes in on drums in the middle and really rocks it out.

Listen To The Band

Hey, hey, mercy woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Play the drum a little louder,
Tell me I can live without her
If I only listen to the band.

Listen to the band!

Weren’t they good, they made me happy.
I think I can make it alone.

Oh, mercy woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Play the drum a little bit louder,
Tell them they can live without her
If they only listen to the band.

Listen to the band!

Now weren’t they good, they made me happy.
I think I can make it alone.

Oh, woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

C’mon, play the drums just a little bit louder,
Tell us we can live without her
Now that we have listened to the band.

Listen to the band!

Twilight Zone – A Thing About Machines

★★★ October 28, 1960 Season 2 Episode 4

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

There is one question about this episode. Are the machines really against him or is he having delusions? Richard Haydn plays Bartlett Finchley  a writer who is an insulting snob and one of the most unlikable characters you could meet.  There are not many redeemable qualities in Finchley…change “not many” to none. He has trouble with machines and it seems that machines have trouble with him…but is it in his mind?

Richard Haydn is great in this part of playing this character. You meet his secretary and TV repairman and it seems the abuse from Finchley has been going on for a while…so this is nothing new. Machines can be bothersome…your computer freezing, car stalling, or your phone dying when you really need it. On that note you can relate but it’s still hard to dig up sympathy for Mr. Finchley.

You have to wonder if this episode influenced future works like Christine and The Car.

This weekend we will have two excellent episodes…two of the best. 

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is Mr. Bartlett Finchley, age forty-eight, a practicing sophisticate who writes very special and very precious things for gourmet magazines and the like. He’s a bachelor and a recluse with few friends, only devotees and adherents to the cause of tart sophistry. He has no interests save whatever current annoyances he can put his mind to. He has no purpose to his life except the formulation of day-to-day opportunities to vent his wrath on mechanical contrivances of an age he abhors. In short, Mr. Bartlett Finchley is a malcontent, born either too late or too early in the century, and who, in just a moment, will enter a realm where muscles and the will to fight back are not limited to human beings. Next stop for Mr. Bartlett Finchley – The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Bartlett Finchley is an odd man, a writer who contributes to food magazines and the like. He lives alone and is always it seems in need of a repairman for one piece of household equipment or another. As time has gone by, he seems to be in a constant battle with machines – his typewriter, his television – which all have the same message for him: get out of the house. He has no intention of doing so however and the battle begins

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Yes, it could just be. It could just be that Mr. Bartlett Finchley succumbed from a heart attack and a set of delusions. It could just be that he was tormented by an imagination as sharp as his wit and as pointed as his dislikes. But as perceived by those attending, this is one explanation that has left the premises with the deceased. Look for it filed under ‘M’ for Machines – in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Richard Haydn … Bartlett Finchley
Barbara Stuart … Ms. Rogers
Barney Phillips … TV Repairman
Henry Beckman … Cop
Jay Overholts … Intern
Margarita Cordova … Girl on TV
Lew Brown … Telephone Repairman (uncredited)