Twilight Zone – Kick The Can

★★★★ 1/2  February 9, 1962 Season 3 Episode 21

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

This one is a borderline classic. What I get out of it is the idea that old age is just a state of mind. Being young is more about the willingness to take risks and having a sense of adventure rather than just playing it safe. Ernest Truex plays Charles Whitley who finds the secret of staying young. The pure joy that Truex shows is infectious. He appeared in the earlier Twilight Zone…What You Need.

I find it interesting in the contrasting dynamic between playful Charles Whitley and the stereotypical grouchy old man Ben Conroy played by Russell Collins. Charles moves around care free while Ben worries about everything and is determined to be a “get off my lawn” old man. This one is a little slower to develop but a great episode.

One character actor I do want to mention that appears in this episode is Burt Mustin. He doesn’t have a big part but Mustin seemed to be everywhere on 50s- 70s tv shows. Burt Mustin

Kick the Can was remade in the Twilight Zone movie with Scatman Crothers and it was one of the best stories they had in the movie.

This show was written by George Clayton Johnson, Rod Serling, and Richard P. McDonagh

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Sunnyvale Rest, a home for the aged – a dying place and a common children’s game called kick-the-can, that will shortly become a refuge for a man who knows he will die in this world, if he doesn’t escape into – The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Charles Whitley is an elderly resident of Sunnyvale Rest, a home for the aged. It’s not a happy place and Charles’ hopes of moving in with his son David are dashed when he’s told they can’t take him in. He wistfully recalls his youth where they played kick the can and didn’t have a worry in the world. His close friend Ben Conroy begins to worry him when Charles suggests all you have to do is wish it, and you can be young again. Ben is worried his friend will end up in the loony bin but it’s Ben who is in for a surprise.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Sunnyvale Rest, a dying place for ancient people, who have forgotten the fragile magic of youth. A dying place for those who have forgotten that childhood, maturity, and old age are curiously intertwined and not separate. A dying place for those who have grown too stiff in their thinking – to visit – The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Ernest Truex…Charles Whitley
Barry Truex…Charles’ son
Russell Collins…Ben Conroy
John Marley…Mr. Cox
Burt Mustin…Carlson
Earle Hodgins…Agee
Hank Patterson…Freitag
Marjorie Bennett…Mrs. Summers
Lenore Shanewise…Mrs. Densley
Eve McVeagh…Night nurse
Anne O’Neal…Mrs. Wister

Twilight Zone – Showdown With Rance McGrew

★★★ February 2, 1962 Season 3 Episode 20

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

Showdown With Rance McGrew is a lighthearted episode about a temperamental actor playing a cowboy hero. He is doing impossible stunts that would insult real legendary outlaws if they could see it. That part might just come into play in this one.  This episode was made during the golden age of westerns on television. You couldn’t turn a channel on without seeing a western. Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, and that is just naming a few.

Larry Blyden as Rance McGrew is a whiny, pampered, and coward actor who tries the patience of all the actors and crew. The wonderful character actor Bob Kline plays Jesse James who might have something to say to Rance with him always winning against James and all of his outlaw friends in TV Shows…dead outlaws have their pride also. The episode is fun but far from a classic.

Rod Sering: Fred Fox had an interesting notion, which was quite serious, about a modern-day cowpoke, not a television star, who found himself living in the past. It had no sense of humor in it. It was a straightforward piece. But it struck me that it would be a terribly interesting concept to have a guy who plays the role of a Hollywood cowboy suddenly thrust into the maelstrom of reality in which he has to do all these acts of prowess against real people… . And it just occurred to me, My God, what would happen if the Ranee McGrews of our time had to face this? I used to think this about John Wayne all the time, who had fought most of our major wars. In truth, of course, they were fought on the backlot of Warner Brothers, in which the most deadly jeopardy would be to get hit by a flying starlet. And I always wondered what Waynes reaction would be if he ever had to lift up an M-l and go through a bloody foxhole on attack sometime. But this is the element of humor that I was striving to get.

This show was written by Rod Serling, Frederick Louis Fox, and Richard P. McDonagh

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Some one-hundred-odd years ago, a motley collection of tough mustaches galloped across the West and left behind a raft of legends and legerdemains, and it seems a reasonable conjecture that if there are any television sets up in cowboy heaven and any of these rough-and-wooly nail-eaters could see with what careless abandon their names and exploits are being bandied about, they’re very likely turning over in their graves—or worse, getting out of them. Which gives you a clue as to the proceedings that will begin in just a moment, when one Mr. Rance McGrew, a 3,000-buck-a-week phoney-baloney discovers that this week’s current edition of make-believe is being shot on location—and that location is the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Rance McGrew is the star of a weekly TV western where he plays the town Marshal. He is, to say the least, difficult to deal with. He is frequently late on the set, arrives unprepared and often requests script changes just as they are about to shoot a scene. To top it off, he’s quite inept at handling his gun which he inadvertently tosses into the saloon mirror on more than one occasion. He’s given a dose of reality however when he inexplicably finds himself back in time, coming face to face with the real Jesse James

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The evolution of the so-called ‘adult’ western, and the metamorphosis of one Rance McGrew, formerly phony-baloney, now upright citizen with a preoccupation with all things involving tradition, truth and cowpoke predecessors. It’s the way the cookie crumbles and the six-gun shoots in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Larry Blyden as Rance McGrew
Arch Johnson as Jesse James
Robert Cornthwaite as Director
Robert J. Stevenson as Bartender
William McLean as Property Man
Troy Melton as Cowboy #1
Jay Overholts as Cowboy #2

Twilight Zone – The Hunt

★★★★1/2  January 26, 1962 Season 3 Episode 19

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

Some may question my rating and that is fine but this one to me is great. This is a lighter episode and a very pleasant one. Earl Hamner Jr. who wrote and created The Waltons wrote this episode. It’s among my favorites. It resolves it self and if you are a dog fan…you should like this one.

Hyder Simpson, played wonderfully by Arthur Hunnicutt, takes off with his dog Rip…hunting at night. After treeing a racoon they fall into the water and find themselves on the bank the next morning. They soon run into neighbors burying what Hyder thought was their dog didn’t notice him or Rip. There is a good reason for this…Hyder and Rip had passed on the night before and didn’t know it. That is when the story really begins.

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

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

An old man and a hound-dog named Rip, off for an evening’s pleasure in quest of raccoon. Usually, these evenings end with one tired old man, one battle-scarred hound dog, and one or more extremely dead raccoons, but as you may suspect, that will not be the case tonight. These hunters won’t be coming home from the hill. They’re headed for the backwoods—of The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Hyder Simpson and his wife Rachel have been married for 50 years. They are simple country folk who live in a small cabin in the mountains. One evening after dinner, Hyder and his dog go off raccoon hunting. When the dog jumps into a fast moving stream Hyder jumps him to rescue him. He wakes up the next morning having apparently spent the night in the woods. When he gets home however, he and his dog are invisible to everyone around them, Rachel is dressed in black and it’s apparent that he’s died. Thus begins Hyder’s journey, one that presents him with choices.

Cannot find a video clip that doesn’t give the ending away. 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Travelers to unknown regions would be well advised to take along the family dog. He could just save you from entering the wrong gate. At least, it happened that way once—in a mountainous area of the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Arthur Hunnicutt…Hyder Simpson
Jeanette Nolan…Rachel Simpson
Titus Moede…Wesley Miller
Orville Sherman…Tillman Miller
Charles Seel…Reverend Wood
Robert Foulk…Gatekeeper
Dexter Dupont…Angel

Twilight Zone – Dead Man’s Shoes

★★★★ January 19, 1962 Season 3 Episode 18

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

This reminds me of a supernatural 1940’s noir gangster movie and I like it because of that. Warren Stevens plays a bum…a real bum named Nate Bledsoe and he takes the shoes off of a murdered gangster named Dane. When he puts them on he magically becomes Dane. Warren Stevens does a nice job in this part. He is meek and mild when he is Nate Bledsoe but becomes assertive after he slips the shoes on and into the Dane character. He goes and sees Wilma, Dane’s girlfriend, and it tells you all you need to know about Dane.

Dane was killed by his partner Dagget so Bledsoe as Dane… goes and visits him to even the score. I like the hint that Bledsoe gave in the bar to tip Dagget off to who he was now.

Dagget looked like he saw a ghost and in a way…he did.  This episode is not one of the classic episodes. Still, it is very enjoyable.

This one was remade in the 1985 and the 2002 version of the Twilight Zone.

***SPOILER***

The one thing that was sad about this episode was the character Nate Bledsoe His only crime was taking the shoes but he dies because of Dane.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont, Rod Serling, and Oceo Ritch

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Nathan Edward Bledsoe, of the Bowery Bledsoes, a man once, a specter now. One of those myriad modern-day ghosts that haunt the reeking nights of the city in search of a flop, a handout, a glass of forgetfulness. Nate doesn’t know it but his search is about to end, because those shiny new shoes are going to carry him right into the capital of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

When a hobo finds a dead man lying in a city alley, he decides to take his shoes, a pair of rather spiffy-looking loafers. In putting them on however, he becomes the dead man. He returns to his apartment, to his girlfriend’s shock and more importantly, he knows who killed him. The dead man is also out for revenge and it seems nothing will be able to stop him

Sorry…again there was no preview I could find to show you.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

There’s an old saying that goes, ‘If the shoe fits, wear it.’ But be careful. If you happen to find a pair of size nine black and gray loafers, made to order in the old country, be very careful. You might walk right into the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Warren Stevens…Nate Bledsoe
Richard Devon…Dagget
Joan Marshall…Wilma
Ben Wright…Chips
Harry Swoger…Sam
Ron Hagerthy…Ben
Florence Marly…Dagget’s girlfriend

Twilight Zone – One More Pallbearer

★★★★  January 12, 1962 Season 3 Episode 17

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

A school teacher, Reverend, and a Colonel get invited to a bomb shelter. No it’s not a joke…but it was an attempt at one by a man named Paul Radin played by Joseph Wiseman. Paul Radin was a very bitter narcissistic millionaire and he wanted to extract an apology for past deeds that he thought he was punished for unfairly by three different people.

Mr. Radin was not a good man and he was just as bad when he was young. He cheated on a test and then planted the crib notes on another student, he was court-martialed during World War II for failure to follow orders to attack the enemy, and because of his callous attitude he caused a young lady to commit suicide. Radin will stop at nothing  trying to extract that elusive apology from these people from his past…including ending the world.

I knew Joseph Wiseman was familiar…He played Dr. No in the first James Bond film.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

What you have just looked at takes place three hundred feet underground, beneath the basement of a New York City skyscraper. It’s owned and lived in by one Paul Radin. Mr. Radin is rich, eccentric and single-minded. How rich we can already perceive; how eccentric and single-minded we shall see in a moment, because all of you have just entered the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Successful businessman Paul Radin invites three people from his past to join him in the underground bunker he’s built under his commercial office building. All three have had major influence on him though not the kind that made him what he is today. His former military commander had him court-martialed; his former teacher ridiculed and humiliated him in class after she caught him cheating; and his church Minister who ruined his reputation after he drove a girl to suicide. All he wants from them is one thing: a brief apology. The impact of what they’ve done is far greater than it appears.

There were NO videos that didn’t give the end away to be found. 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Paul Radin, a dealer in fantasy, who sits in the rubble of his own making and imagines that he’s the last man on Earth, doomed to a perdition of unutterable loneliness because a practical joke has turned into a nightmare. Mr. Paul Radin, pallbearer at a funeral that he manufactured himself in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Joseph Wiseman…Paul Radin
Katherine Squire…Mrs. Langsford
Trevor Bardette…Col. Hawthorne
Gage Clarke…Rev. Hughes

Twilight Zone -Nothing In The Dark

★★★★★  January 5, 1962 Season 3 Episode 16

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

A song, a person, flower, or a drawing is beautiful…I don’t think a TV episode would fit into that category but this one does. Future mega star Robert Redford is in this great episode about an elderly lady who would not let anyone inside her soon to be torn down home. She fears “Mr Death” who will come take her. Gladys Cooper plays Wanda Dunn the elderly woman. She was appearing in silent movies in the early part of the century. She would appear in three Twilight Zone episodes…a wonderful actress.

R. G. Armstrong, a great character actor, is also in this classic episode. Everything about this episode works. The acting down to the set is perfect.

This show was written by George Clayton Johnson and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

An old woman living in a nightmare, an old woman who has fought a thousand battles with death and always won. Now she’s faced with a grim decision—whether or not to open a door. And in some strange and frightening way she knows that this seemingly ordinary door leads to the Twilight Zone.

Summary

The old Ms. Wanda Dunn is afraid of Mr. Death, and does not open the door of her room for anyone who knocks the door. When the police officer Harold Beldon is shot at her front door, the reluctant woman opens it and lets him in.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

There was an old woman who lived in a room. And, like all of us, was frightened of the dark. But who discovered in a minute last fragment of her life that there was nothing in the dark that wasn’t there when the lights were on. Object lesson for the more frightened amongst us in, or out of, the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Gladys Cooper…Wanda Dunn
Robert Redford…Harold Beldon
R. G. Armstrong…Contractor

Twilight Zone – A Quality Of Mercy

★★★★  December 29, 1961 Season 3 Episode 15

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

A very powerful episode that places the shoe on the other foot. A young Dean Stockwell plays Lt. Katell who is young and blood thirsty for war. He quickly is warned and then learns about humanity on the battlefield. This episode is full of good actors. Leonard Nimoy plays radio operator Hansen but the real treat for me was Albert Salmi who plays the tough but worn out Sgt. Causarano. Salmi usually plays bad guys but in this one his common sense and honesty is refreshing.

A Quality of Mercy was filmed on an already-standing jungle set on a soundstage at the Hal Roach Studios. The episode covers some of the territory already covered by The Purple Testament…which coincidentally, Dean Stockwell was originally cast as the lead but was unable to appear.

We are brought face to face with the grimness of war, the fatigue and the futility. Serling, after serving in WWII, was close to this issue. It seems that Serling expressed his opinions through Sgt. Causarano played by Albert Salmi.

From IMDB: The title refers to a quote from William Shakespeare’s play ‘The Merchant of Venice’: “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”

Albert Salmi (Sgt. Causarano) previously appeared in The Twilight Zone: Execution (1960) and would later appear in The Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963), all of which involve time travel. “A Quality of Mercy” is the only one in which his character is not portrayed as despicable.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Sam Rolfe

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

It’s August, 1945, the last grimy pages of a dirty, torn book of war. The place is the Philippine Islands. The men are what’s left of a platoon of American Infantry, whose dulled and tired eyes set deep in dulled and tired faces can now look toward a miracle, that moment when the nightmare appears to be coming to an end. But they’ve got one more battle to fight, and in a moment we’ll observe that battle. August, 1945, Philippine Islands. But in reality, it’s high noon in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

On August 6, 1945 – the last day of World War II – a forward platoon acting as artillery spotters get an eager and aggressive Lieutenant Katell. The artillery has been unable to dislodge a Japanese unit from a cave and Katell decides that the unit is going to attack. He suddenly finds himself in 1942 leading a Japanese unit that is about to attack Americans who are holed up in a cave.

The Complete Episode on Dailymotion

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

‘The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.’ Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, but applicable to any moment in time, to any group of soldiery, to any nation on the face of the Earth—or, as in this case, to the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Dean Stockwell… Lt. Katell / Lt. Yamuri
Albert Salmi… Sgt. Causarano
Rayford Barnes… Andrew Watkins
Ralph Votrian… Hanachek
Leonard Nimoy… Hansen
Dale Ishimoto… Sgt. Yamazaki
Jerry Fujikawa… Japanese Captain (as J.H. Fujikawa)
Michael Pataki… Jeep Driver (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – Five Characters In Search Of An Exit

★★★★★  December 22, 1961 Season 3 Episode 14

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

A fantastic episode of the Twilight Zone. The twist at the end is one of the best twists the Twilight Zone ever had. For most of the show, the five actors are all that can be seen, with the exception of the blank, curving wall of the cylinder. Rarely can the plot of an episode be summed up so completely in its title.

I feel like a broken record but again the acting is superb. The characters displaying their hopelessness in this episode is comes through well. The Major played by William Windom frequently throws emotional tantrums and is the latest to be added to this crew of a clown, Ballerina, tramp, and bagpiper looking for a way of this cylinder which they are trapped. The Major has a hard time with the defeatist attitude of the others

This show was written by Rod Serling and Marvin Petal

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Clown, hobo, ballet dancer, bagpiper, and an army major—a collection of question marks. Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness. No logic, no reason, no explanation; just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. In a moment, we’ll start collecting clues as to the whys, the whats, and the wheres. We will not end the nightmare, we’ll only explain it—because this is the Twilight Zone.

Summary

It all starts when an Army major wakes up in a small cylindrical room with no way out. The walls are too high to climb and they’re too hard to puncture. Trapped inside with him is a clown, a bagpiper, a ballerina, and a hobo. They have all woken up inside there and have no idea where they are, what they’re doing there, how long they’ve been there or even who they are or how long they’ll be there. They apparently are unable to feel anything, and every now and then a loud clanging sound makes them all fall down. All of them have tried various ways of finding an exit, unsuccessfully. The Army major especially is determined to escape. He tries all sorts of ways to find an exit, but he cannot find one. Even when he hits the walls with his sword, it shatters. The major suggests that they are in Hell, so there IS no way out. Eventually the five characters decide that the only way out is to make a human tower.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Just a barrel, a dark depository where are kept the counterfeit, make-believe pieces of plaster and cloth, wrought in a distorted image of human life. But this added hopeful note: perhaps they are unloved only for the moment. In the arms of children, there can be nothing but love. A clown, a tramp, a bagpipe player, a ballet dancer, and a Major. Tonight’s cast of players on the odd stage—known as—The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Susan Harrison… The Ballerina
William Windom… The Major (as Bill Windom)
Murray Matheson… The Clown
Kelton Garwood Kelton Garwood … The Tramp
Clark Allen… The Bagpiper
Carol Hill… Woman
Mona Houghton… Little Girl

Twilight Zone – Once Upon A Time

★★★1/2  December 15, 1961 Season 3 Episode 13

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

This episode stars my favorite silent movie film maker and comedian Buster Keaton. It doesn’t rank as one of the best episodes but it has its moments. It’s a comedy time travel episode and when they are in 1892 it is a silent movie with subtitles…when they travel to 1962 it goes back to normal dialog. This episode will not be for everyone but a 66 year old Buster Keaton is worth it to me. The man was in great shape to do the things he did in this one. 

Buster Keaton’s popularity had been rising again since James Agee did an article in Life magazine in 1948 about the silent movie comedians Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Harry Langdon.

For me this one is a 5 star episode because of Buster Keaton alone. Him and Chaplin made the best silent comedy films of the twenties. 

It’s really interesting how Serling portrays the past and future. When someone from the past comes into the future…the noise is always noted…how noisy we are today comparted to the past. He did this in an earlier episode called Execution. 

According to Rod Serling’s promo in the previous episode, Richard Matheson wrote this script especially for Buster Keaton.

The old-fashioned clothes wringer that Buster Keaton is using to wash his pants in the beginning is the same kind of wringer that crushed his right forefinger when he was 3 years old. A curious little boy, he got his finger caught in the rollers and a doctor had to amputate it at the first knuckle. In this short, he gets the same finger caught in the wringer for laughs.

This marks the 78th episode overall…that means with this post/episode we are half the way through to 156…again I appreciate everyone who has been along for the ride. 

This show was written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Mr. Mulligan, a rather dour critic of his times, is shortly to discover the import of that old phrase, ‘Out of the frying pan, into the fire’—said fire burning brightly at all times—in The Twilight Zone.

Summary

In 1890, janitor Woodrow Mulligan uses his employers’ invention to transport himself to the future. He imagines an Eden but finds a polluted, busy world that he doesn’t find at all attractive. He meets Rollo who is also disgusted with the world he lives imagining life in the 1890s as idyllic. When Woodrow goes back to his own time Rollo goes with him but he is soon bored without any of the conveniences of modern life.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

‘To each his own’—so goes another old phrase to which Mr. Woodrow Mulligan would heartily subscribe, for he has learned—definitely the hard way—that there’s much wisdom in a third old phrase, which goes as follows: ‘Stay in your own backyard.’ To which it might be added, ‘and, if possible, assist others to stay in theirs’—via, of course, The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Buster Keaton… Woodrow Mulligan
Stanley Adams… Rollo
James Flavin… 1962 Policeman
Gil Lamb… Officer Flannagan
Jesse White… Repair Man
Harry Fleer… 1962 Policeman #2 (uncredited)
Norman Papson… Trumpeter (uncredited)
Warren Parker… Clothes Store Manager (uncredited)
Milton Parsons… Prof. Gilbert (uncredited)
George E. Stone… Fenwick (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey… Sidewalk Onlooker (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The Jungle

★★★★  December 01, 1961 Season 3 Episode 12

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

This episode is very eerie and suspenseful. It combines  environmentalism and a voodoo curse that reaches around the world from Africa to New York City. The character actor John Dehner plays Alan Richards who has come back from Africa, where he’s helped organize the construction of a dam. The dam will destroy homes and the land of the local tribes.

The local witch doctors put a curse on everyone connected with the dam project. Richard’s wife knew about the curse and collected items from Africa to protect them but Richards throws them away…calling her superstitious. This is not among the best episodes by any stretch of the imagination but is entertaining.

John Dehner was in about everything in the 60’s-90’s…he had 288 acting credits to his name.

From IMDB: Rod Serling personally shared Alan Richards’ disbelief in superstition and the supernatural. According to Reverend Ernest Pipes of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, “Theologically speaking, Rod was what we call a naturalistic humanist, and that was the underlying philosophy of my pulpit.”

The original story by Charles Beaumont was first published in the December 1954 issue of the pulp magazine If: Worlds of Science Fiction.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The carcass of a goat, a dead finger, a few bits of broken glass and stone, and Mr. Alan Richards, a modern man of a modern age, hating with all his heart something in which he cannot believe and preparing – although he doesn’t know it – to take the longest walk of his life, right down to the center – of The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Alan Richards and his wife are back in New York after living in Africa where he was in charge of a major construction project. His wife was deeply affected after a local witch doctor placed a curse on them and has taken to keeping charms to ward off evil spirits. While Richards doesn’t discount the power of the witch doctor entirely, he dismisses her fears as unfounded. Having a drink in a bar one evening he finds that his wife left a protective amulet in his coat pocket. He leaves it on the bar when he leaves – and as a result has a dangerous and frightening walk home, only to find something there waiting for him.

The Full Version of the episode on Dailymotion

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Some superstitions, kept alive by the long night of ignorance, have their own special power. You’ll hear of it through a jungle grapevine in a remote corner of the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
John Dehner…Alan Richards
Walter Brooke…Chad Cooper
Jay Adler…Tramp
Emily McLaughlin…Doris Richards
Hugh Sanders…Templeton
Howard Wright…Hardy
Donald Foster…Sinclair
Jay Overholts…Taxi Driver
Zamba…Lion (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – Still Valley

★★★1/2  November 24, 1961 Season 3 Episode 11

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

I’ve always liked The Devil and Daniel Webster… a deal with the devil that The Twilight Zone explored more successfully on other occasions. This one starts with lot of potential but the plot gets weak. It’s very well acted as always but an actor is as good as the writing. Gary Merrill plays Sgt. Joseph Paradine and his acting conveys the soldier’s weariness. Vaughn Taylor plays the crazy old demonic man Teague and he acts the part well.

I really liked this episode on first viewing but on repeated viewings it loses something. The best part of the episode is the moral conflict that Paradine has to decide on. Does defeating the Union in the Civil War worth what is asked of him? It’s far from the worst episode of the series and is worth a viewing.

Based on “The Valley Was Still” by Manly Wade Wellman, first published in the August 1939 issue of Weird Tales.

This show was written by Rod SerlingManly Wade Wellman

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The time is 1863, the place the state of Virginia. The event is a mass blood-letting known as the Civil War, a tragic moment in time when a nation was split into two fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.

After some dialogue between two characters, the narration continues:

This is Joseph Paradine, Confederate cavalry, as he heads down toward a small town in the middle of a valley. But very shortly, Joseph Paradine will make contact with the enemy. He will also make contact with an outpost not found on a military map—an outpost called the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Confederate Sergeant Joseph Paradine goes into the nearby town and finds that the Union forces there seem to be frozen in time. He learns from an old man that being a male witch he cast a spell on them using his book of magic. The old man sees the Yankees as invaders and is keen that the South win the war. Anticipating that he is going to die by sunset, he gladly gives his book of witchcraft to Paradine to support the cause. When he returns to camp, Paradine’s commanding officer is far more concerned about the battle they will enter into the next morning than about the book his Sergeant has in his possession.

FULL EPISODE AT DAILYMOTION

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

On the following morning, Sergeant Paradine and the rest of these men were moved up north to a little town in Pennsylvania, an obscure little place where a battle was brewing, a town called Gettysburg, and this one was fought without the help of the Devil. Small historical note not to be found in any known books, but part of the records in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Gary Merrill…Sgt. Joseph Paradine
Vaughn Taylor…Teague
Mark Tapscott…Lieutenant
Jack Mann… Mallory
Ben Cooper… Dauger
Addison Myers…Sentry (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The Midnight Sun

★★★★★  November 03, 1961 Season 3 Episode 10

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

This is a great episode with a wonderful twist. The third season was uneven but it did have some remembered episodes. During the first season, Serling had explored the end of the world in Time Enough at Last. In The Midnight Sun he returned to that theme, but with mother nature as the culprit. Lois Nettleton plays Norma who is a painter living in an apartment and looking after her neighbor Mrs. Bronson as the earth is hurdling toward the sun.

The Twilight Zone can make you feel the discomfort of the characters more than most shows. In this one… extreme heat. The episode plays on our fears of the stability of our natural environment. Something we cannot control takes over and we are left for it… to decide our fate.

Tony Leader Director: In those days, they had no air conditioning on the set and we shot in summer, so it was hot enough to give you the initial feeling. I remember that there were a couple of scenes in which I asked the electrical grip to add heat, not so much heat that it would show on the film, but heat that we would feel on the set. It made us distinctly uncomfortable, but I think it helped us develop the feeling that we had of heat. I didn’t do that throughout, because its effect would have been lost eventually. We would have just been plain simply miserable and angry with each other for being involved in this thing.

To create the melting painting effect, the painting was reproduced in wax and mounted to a hotplate.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is ‘doomed,’ because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries—they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival. The time is five minutes to twelve, midnight. There is no more darkness. The place is New York City and this is the eve of the end, because even at midnight it’s high noon, the hottest day in history, and you’re about to spend it in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

In a world that is getting ever nearer to the sun, people are trying to find ways to deal with the extreme heat. Most people have gone north with Norma and Mrs. Bronson the only two people left in their apartment building. There is little or no infrastructure remaining and water is one commodity that is very much in demand. They panic when an intruder breaks into Norma’s apartment and holds them, at least for a few moments, at gunpoint. All is not as it seems however.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The poles of fear, the extremes of how the Earth might conceivably be doomed. Minor exercise in the care and feeding of a nightmare, respectfully submitted by all the thermometer-watchers in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Lois Nettleton…Norma
Betty Garde…Mrs. Bronson
Tom Reese…Intruder
Jason Wingreen…Mr. Shuster
Juney Ellis…Mrs. Shuster (as June Ellis)
William Keene…Doctor
Ned Glass…Fridge Repairman (uncredited)
John McLiam…Cop (uncredited)
Robert Stevenson…Radio Announcer (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – Deaths-Head Revisited

★★★★★  November 10, 1961 Season 3 Episode 9

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

In the previous episode we met a young monster named Anthony. In this episode we meet a realistic monster named Gunther Lutze…in the past… known as SS Captain Gunther Lutze who wants to relive his glory days. This is a powerful episode made less than twenty years after WWII. Oscar Beregi Jr plays the Captain in all of his infamous glory. Joseph Schildkraut plays Afred Becker, a figure from Luntz’s past, a figure he knows all too well.

We last saw Oscar Beregi Jr in the The Rip Van Winkle Caper but in this one he takes it up a level. He is so convincing as Lutze that you hate this character and everything he represents. The set is very impressive and realistic. CBS had made a pilot for a western, and they had built a four-sided frontier fort. This set cost around $200,000 and it was standing out on Lot 3 at MGM. The crew downgraded it for this episode and it works well.

This episode is chilling for what it represents. Serling did an excellent job with  this story. It was satisfying to see the tables turned, and the sadist finds himself on trial with  Alfred Becker in charge.

From IMDB

The title refers to the “Totenkopf” or Death’s Head symbol used by the SS during World War II depicting a skull and crossbones. It is distinguished from similar traditions of the skull and crossbones and the Jolly Roger by the positioning of the bones directly behind the skull.

Beregi and Schildkraut both hailed from distinguished Yiddish stage families, and had lost most of their European relatives in the Holocaust.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Mr. Schmidt, recently arrived in a small Bavarian village which lies eight miles northwest of Munich… a picturesque, delightful little spot one-time known for its scenery, but more recently related to other events having to do with some of the less positive pursuits of man: human slaughter, torture, misery and anguish. Mr. Schmidt, as we will soon perceive, has a vested interest in the ruins of a concentration camp—for once, some seventeen years ago, his name was Gunther Lutze. He held the rank of a captain in the SS. He was a black-uniformed strutting animal whose function in life was to give pain, and like his colleagues of the time, he shared the one affliction most common amongst that breed known as Nazis… he walked the Earth without a heart. And now former SS Captain Lutze will revisit his old haunts, satisfied perhaps that all that is awaiting him in the ruins on the hill is an element of nostalgia. What he does not know, of course, is that a place like Dachau cannot exist only in Bavaria. By its nature, by its very nature, it must be one of the populated areas… of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Gunther Lutze, a former captain in Hitler’s SS, decides to return to the area that contains the remnants of Dachau concentration camp. As he revels in the memories of the days when he had tortured prisoners, prisoner Alfred Becker appears before his eyes. What he does not realize is Becker is an ghostly apparition, and plans to put Lutze on “trial” for crimes against humanity for the torture and killing of the prisoners that were held in the camp. It is one trial Lutze may regret.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

There is an answer to the doctor’s question. All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes – all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God’s Earth.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Joseph Schildkraut…Alfred Becker
Oscar Beregi Jr…SS Capt. Gunther Lutze (as Oscar Beregi)
Kaaren Verne… Innkeeper (as Karen Verne)
Robert Boon… Taxi Driver
Ben Wright… Doctor
Gene Coogan… Victim (uncredited)
Chuck Fox… Victim (uncredited)
Jimmie Horan… Victim (uncredited)
David O. McCall…Victim (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey…Victim (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – It’s A Good Life

★★★★★  November 03, 1961 Season 3 Episode 8

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

Meet the monster…it won’t look like a real monster but yes it is real…just ask relatives, friends, and neighbors stuck in the cornfield.  This is one of the best known episodes of The Twilight Zone and a 5 star classic. It also is the start of a 5 star classic 3 episode run. The brightest part of the 3rd season.

Keep happy thoughts and whatever you do…be nice to Anthony.

Lets look at the cast. Cloris Leachman plays Agnes Freemont and would appear in many movies and play the role of Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Bill Mumy would portray Anthony and would later be best known for the role of Will Robinson in Lost In Space. Most of the others are faces that you have have seen in movies and tv shows as character actors during that time.

This episode was remade in the 80s as part of The Twilight Zone movie but it doesn’t match this. Bill Mumy does make a brief appearance in the movie.

The episode caught on with the stagehands and the crew. Around the set, when somebody would goof, people would say, Well, that’s a good thing you did, which they would always say to Billy Mumy when he killed a cow or what not That’s a good thing you did.

The first Serling script to be produced this season was an adaptation of Jerome Bixbys classic short story, Its a Good Life, which originally appeared in 1953 and was reprinted in Science Fiction Hall of Fame (Doubleday, 1971). Telling the story of a monstrous, conscienceless child with enormous powers and no restraints, it is truly a horrifying story.

I remember I showed this to my dad…he downright hated Anthony…”I would sneak up behind the little ****** and  crack his head.”

Bill Mumy: I’ve always liked Anthony, and I’ve kept Anthony with me. Ill send people to the cornfield when I’m really pissed at them. I mean, Ill do it. Not that it works, but its a release for me.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Jerome Bixby

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Tonight’s story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there’s a little town there called Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines—because they displeased him—and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages—just by using his mind. Now I’d like to introduce you to some of the people in Peaksville, Ohio. This is Mr. Fremont. It’s in his farmhouse that the monster resides. This is Mrs. Fremont. And this is Aunt Amy, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day she forgot. She began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn’t like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you’re looking at now. She sings no more. And you’ll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because, once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion. Oh yes, I did forget something, didn’t I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He’s six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you’d better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone.

Summary

In a small farming community in Ohio, a young boy by the name of Anthony Fremont terrorizes those around him. Anthony has the ability to command anything he wants simply by thought. The community is cut off from the outside world and the boy insists that those around him think only pleasant thoughts, and if they don’t, he eliminates them. Everyone walks in fear of the lad who ably demonstrates what he’s prepared to do at a small party in his home.

This is the best I could find…someone tried to colorize the Twilight Zone…NO NO NO…it doesn’t work as well in color.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age six, who lives in a village called Peaksville, in a place that used to be Ohio. And, if by some strange chance, you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Bill Mumy…Anthony Freemont
Cloris Leachman…Agnes Freemont
Liliana Mumy…Audrey Freemont
Chilton Crane…Lorna
Robert Moloney…Joe
Kerry Sandomirsky…Cynthia
Samuel Patrick…Timmy
Paul McGillion…Chu George
Kirsten Kilburn…Timmy’s mother

Twilight Zone – The Grave

★★★★1/2  October 27, 1961 Season 3 Episode 7

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

This one is chock full of good actors. Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef, and my personal favorite Strother (what we have here is failure to communicate) Martin. It also features recognizable actor James Best and with the risk of sounding like a broken record…great casting! It’s set in the old West in a dried up dusty little town with bored towns people.

Lee Marvin…as always,  is great as the tough guy. He plays Conny Miller who was paid to hunt down a man named Pinto Sykes. The towns people  ambushed Sykes and killed him. Sykes with his last breath…claimed that Miller was a coward and avoided him. Miller comes into town and the action starts there. This is a creepy Twilight Zone and I’ve always enjoyed it…an incredible cast.

Lee Marvin, Strother Martin and Lee Van Cleef all appeared in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which was released six months after this episode was broadcast.

This show was written by Montgomery Pittman and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Normally, the old man would be correct: this would be the end of the story. We’ve had the traditional shoot-out on the street and the badman will soon be dead. But some men of legend and folk tale have been known to continue having their way even after death. The outlaw and killer Pinto Sykes was such a person, and shortly we’ll see how he introduces the town, and a man named Conny Miller in particular, to the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Lawman Conny Miller rides into a small dusty town not long after the townsfolk have gunned down the man he’s been tracking for four months. He feels like he’s wasted that four months and someone bets him $20 he hasn’t the nerve to visit the dead man’s grave. He takes that bet and has little difficulty going to the grave. Leaving it however proves to be another matter.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Final comment: you take this with a grain of salt or a shovelful of earth, as shadow or substance, we leave it up to you. And for any further research, check under ‘G’ for ‘ghost’ in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Lee Marvin…Conny Miller
James Best…Johnny Rob
Lee Van Cleef…Steinhart
Strother Martin…Mothershed
Stafford Repp…Ira Broadly
Elen Willard…Ione Sykes
Dick Geary…Pinto Sykes
William Challee…Jason
Larry Johns…Townsman