★★★★★ January 24, 1963 Season 4 Episode 4
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This episode is not subtle…there is no reading between the lines in this one. Serling lays it out on the table for everyone to see. Dennis Hopper plays Peter Vollmer who is a disenfranchised young man and a xenophobic would be Nazi trying to gain a following. The episode was not the best of the Twilight Zone but it packs a punch and as Serling said…it probably was the most important episode of the Twilight Zone.
Peter Vollmer is struggling to gain followers for his hate causes. He then starts getting advice from a shadowy figure who we cannot see…until later on. The advice he gets is all too familiar unfortnately…it reeks of hatred, bigotry, and ignornace. How to manipulate the situations around him to gain followers for his movement.The mystery man leads Peter along and when he is uncovered it is shocking. In 1963 WWII was still fresh in people’s minds
From IMDB….Rod Serling considered this episode, which he wrote and which examines the subject of Nazism (National Socialism), to be the most important of the series.
The episode’s director Stuart Rosenberg would later direct Dennis Hopper in the classic film Cool Hand Luke
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
Portrait of a bush-league Führer named Peter Vollmer, a sparse little man who feeds off his self-delusions and finds himself perpetually hungry for want of greatness in his diet. And like some goose-stepping predecessors he searches for something to explain his hunger, and to rationalize why a world passes him by without saluting. That something he looks for and finds is in a sewer. In his own twisted and distorted lexicon he calls it faith, strength, truth. But in just a moment Peter Vollmer will ply his trade on another kind of corner, a strange intersection in a shadowland called the Twilight Zone.
Peter Vollmer is the leader of a small neo-Nazi movement in a large American city. He’s having trouble getting his message across and seems to alienate people every time he opens his mouth. After a particularly bad rally, he hears a voice and sees a man standing in the shadows. He begins to advise Peter on what to say and how he can structure his message to make it more appealing to his particular audience. Peter has success but his mentor begins pushing him to extremes. There is a limit however and there is a voice of reason in the mob that seemed so willing to follow him
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Where will he go next, this phantom from another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare – Chicago? Los Angeles? Miami, Florida? Vincennes, Indiana? Syracuse, New York? Anyplace, everyplace, where there’s hate, where there’s prejudice, where there’s bigotry. He’s alive. He’s alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that when he comes to your town. Remember it when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being. He’s alive because through these things we keep him alive.
Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Dennis Hopper … Peter Vollmer
Ludwig Donath … Ernst Ganz
Paul Mazursky … Frank
Howard Caine … Nick
Barnaby Hale … Stanley
Jay Adler … Gibbons
Wolfe Barzell … Proprietor
Bernard Fein … Heckler
Curt Conway … Adolf Hitler
Edward Astran … Audience Member (uncredited)
Sam Bagley … Audience Member (uncredited)
Chet Brandenburg … Audience Member (uncredited)
Paul Bryar … Cop (uncredited)
Bud Cokes … Audience Member (uncredited)
Joe Evans … Audience Member (uncredited)
Bobby Gilbert … Man With Cat (uncredited)
Buck Harrington … Audience Member (uncredited)
Ed Haskett … Audience Member (uncredited)
Robert McCord … Cop (uncredited)
William Meader … Brawling Townsman (uncredited)
Jim Michael … Guard (uncredited)
Sol Murgi … Audience Member (uncredited)
William H. O’Brien … Audience Member (uncredited)
Jose Portugal … Ice Cream Man (uncredited)
Paul Ravel … Audience Member (uncredited)
Bill Zuckert … Detective (uncredited)