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