Twilight Zone – The Masks… #3

I’m going to write about my top 10 favorite TZ episodes in the next few weeks…Most of the Twilight Zones are like songs to me…to be enjoyed over and over. The Twilight Zone is not really an ordinary TV show. It’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE. This is my personal choice for #3 on my list.

Jason Foster is a wealthy person that is going to die…his daughter and her family are there to “visit” and they are truly awful people. This is one where justice gets served. Robert Keith is wonderful as Jason Foster and he has a surprise for his money hungry family waiting for him to die.

Rod Serling’s opening narration: Mr. Jason Foster, a tired ancient who on this particular Mardi Gras evening will leave the Earth. But before departing, he has some things to do, some services to perform, some debts to pay—and some justice to mete out. This is New Orleans, Mardi Gras time. It is also the Twilight Zone.

When Jason Foster’s doctor tells him that he could die at any moment, the wealthy Jason Foster gathers his heirs including his daughter Emily Harper, her husband Wilfred and their children Paula and Wilfred Jr. Jason doesn’t think much of any of them and it’s clear they can’t wait to get their hands on his fortune. It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans and he has one last request – for each of them to wear a carnival mask. Each of the masks is meant to reflect some aspect of their personality – and leave a lasting impression on them.

“The Masks” was the first and only episode of The Twilight Zone that was directed by a woman. Ida Lupino was known for making movies that commentated on the state of society and those who live under a specific social status.

Rod Serling wrote this great episode.

Jason Foster:  You’re cruel and miserable people! Because none of you respond to love! Emily responds only to what her petty hungers dictate! Wilfred responds only to things that have weight and bulk and value! He feels books, he doesn’t read them! He appraises paintings, he doesn’t seek out their truth or their beauty! And Paula there lives in a mirror. The world is nothing more to her than a reflection of herself. And her brother… Humanity, to him, is a small animal, caught in a trap, to be tormented! His pleasure is the giving of pain. And from this, he receives the same sense of fulfillment most human beings get from a kiss or an embrace! You’re caricatures! All of you! Without your masks, you’re caricatures!

Rod Serling Closing Narration: Mardi Gras incident, the dramatis personae being four people who came to celebrate and in a sense let themselves go. This they did with a vengeance. They now wear the faces of all that was inside them—and they’ll wear them for the rest of their lives, said lives now to be spent in the shadow. Tonight’s tale of men, the macabre and masks, on the Twilight Zone.

CAST

  • Robert Keith as Jason Foster
  • Milton Selzer as Wilfred Harper
  • Virginia Gregg as Emily Harper
  • Brooke Hayward as Paula Harper
  • Alan Sues as Wilfred Harper Jr.
  • Willis Bouchey as Dr. Samuel Thorne
  • Bill Walker as Jeffrey The Butler
  • Maidie Norman as Maid
  • Rod Serling as Host / Narrator – Himself