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

Twilight Zone – The Mirror

★★★1/2  October 20, 1961 Season 3 Episode 6

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

Peter Falk, later of Columbo, is in this episode of the Twilight Zone. He plays a  caricature of Fidel Castro. The episode plays heavily on paranoia…especially in the situation of one Ramos Clemente (Peter Falk)…where he questions who to trust. He overtakes a small Latin nation and the former General De Cruz (Will Kuluva) tells him of a certain mirror that will show Clemente his future assassins.

One of the highlights to me was the dialog between De Cruz and Clemente. De Cruz has seen this all before. He knows what’s going to happen and what is going through Clemente’s mind because he has been there. Once Clemente gets power he starts turning into what he was fighting against. All of his loyal comrades are seeing it and try warn him.

The Bay of Pigs happened around 6 months before this episode aired.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

“This is the face of Ramos Clemente, a year ago a beardless, nameless worker of the dirt, who plodded behind a mule furrowing someone else’s land. And he looked up at a hot Central American sun, and he pledged the impossible. He made a vow that he would lead an avenging army against the tyranny that put the ache in his back and the anguish in his eyes. And now one year later, the dream of the impossible has become a fact. In just a moment, we will look deep into this mirror and see the aftermath of a rebellion – in The Twilight Zone.”

Summary

When the peasant Ramos Clemente leads a successful revolution in his undefined country, the former dictator General De Cruz advises that his mirror is magic and can anticipate who will murder him. Clement becomes paranoid and kills each one of his revolutionary comrades believing that they want to murder him.

Review of 2 Twilight Zone Episodes - The Obsolete Man and The Mirror -  YouTube

Sorry I could find no video preview of this episode. 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

“Ramos Clemente, a would-be god in dungarees, strangled by an illusion, that will-o’-the-wisp mirage that dangles from the sky in front of the eyes of all ambitious men, all tyrants – and any resemblance to tyrants living or dead is hardly coincidental, whether it be here or in the Twilight Zone.”

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Peter Falk…Ramos Clemente
Will Kuluva…De Cruz
Richard Karlan…D’Alessandro
Vladimir Sokoloff…Father Tomas
Antony Carbone…Cristo
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr….Garcia
Arthur Batanides…Tabal

Twilight Zone – A Game Of Pool

★★★★★  October 13, 1961 Season 3 Episode 5

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

A classic episode. A Game of Pool has the great comedian Jonathon Winters and character actor Jack Klugman. This was Winters first dramatic role. The director Buzz Kulik thought his inexperience at a serious role would bring a freshness to his role…and it did. This was Klugman’s second Twilight Zone (his favorite) and he would end up in four of them.

The two characters share one thing. They both are great at pool… but Klugman’s character is obsessed with the game but doesn’t stop to enjoy life. Fats Brown lived life fully and pool was just part of it. Being the best carries a weight of where you are always looking over your shoulder to see who is gaining.

Jackie Gleason was approached about playing Fats Brown but turned it down.

SPOILERS

George Clayton Johnson’s script originally featured an alternate ending in which Jesse loses the game. Seeing that Jesse is bedazzled that he has lost a life-or-death game and is still alive, Fats explains that he will die “as all second-raters die: you’ll be buried and forgotten without me touching you. If you’d beaten me you’d have lived forever.” This ending was eventually filmed for The Twilight Zone: A Game of Pool in the 1989 reboot version.

This show was written by George Clayton Johnson and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Jesse Cardiff, pool shark, the best on Randolph Street, who will soon learn that trying to be the best at anything carries its own special risks. In or out of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Jesse Cardiff is a frustrated pool player. He’s very good at his game but his frustration comes from the fact that no matter how well he plays or how often he wins, onlookers always conclude that he’s not as good as the late, great James Howard “Fats” Brown. He says he would give anything to have had the chance to play Fats and his wish comes true when the man himself suddenly appears. They agree to a game but Fats warns his eager opponent that winning has its consequences as well

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Jesse Cardiff, who became a legend by beating one, but who has found out after his funeral that being the best of anything carries with it a special obligation to keep on proving it. Mr. Fats Brown, on the other hand, having relinquished the champion’s mantle, has gone fishing. These are the ground rules in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Jack Klugman…Jesse Cardiff
Jonathan Winters…Fats Brown

Twilight Zone – Two

★★★★  Sept 15, 1961 Season 3 Episode 1

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

On this one I do give spoilers away…this one is hard not to…

Like the closing narration says…it is a love story of two on different sides of a war…in the Twilight Zone. The cast was small but brilliant. Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson. They were known, but not stars…Bewitched and Death Wish was still in the future for both at this time.

This episode is an optimistic story set in an extremely bleak world. The time is presumably after World War III, the setting a devastated town inhabited only by the dead, with the exception of two enemy soldiers. Bronson seems to represent an American soldier and Montgomery a Russian.

Her single line (Prekrasny) is Russian for pretty. This is a gritty and realistic story, told without much dialogue with the emphasis always on characters. In this Bronson is more of a pacifist and Montgomery is suspicious and quick to violence.

Before season 3 was starting…Rod Serling had this to say. I’ve never felt quite so drained of ideas as I do at this moment. Stories used to bubble out of me so fast I couldn’t set them down on paper quick enough but in the last two years I’ve written forty-seven of the sixty-eight Twilight Zone scripts, and I’ve done thirteen of the first twenty-six for next season. I’ve written so much I’m woozy.

This show was written by Montgomery Pittman and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is a jungle, a monument built by nature honoring disuse, commemorating a few years of nature being left to its own devices. But it’s another kind of jungle, the kind that comes in the aftermath of man’s battles against himself. Hardly an important battle, not a Gettysburg, or a Marne, or an Iwo Jima; more like one insignificant corner patch in the crazy quilt of combat. But it was enough to end the existence of this little city. It’s been five years since a human being walked these streets. This is the first day of the sixth year, as man used to measure time. The time: perhaps 100 years from now, or sooner—or perhaps it already happened 2 million years ago. The place: the signposts are in English so that we may read them more easily, but the place is the Twilight Zone.

Summary

In a futuristic world a man and a woman, from opposing sides in a devastating war, meet in a deserted city. They don’t share a common language and she is quite wary of her opponent, though he doesn’t appear aggressive in any way. When she attempts to kill him, he goes off on his own. It’s obvious that society and civilization has been destroyed and she begins to reconsider.

The Entire Episode… Click Here on Daily Motion

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

This has been … a love story, about two lonely people who found each other … in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Elizabeth Montgomery…The Woman
Charles Bronson…The Man

Twilight Zone Season 2 Review

I can’t believe we are ready to start Season 3 already! Today I’ll just have this review and we will start on season 3 on Wednesday. Thank you all again for following me on this long journey. The second season was very strong with many great episodes. In the third season Serling started to burn out. He had writing credits on almost every show and was the Twilight Zones showrunner.

Of 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone, Serling wrote roughly 70 percent of them. He would write a script in less than 40 hours and then on to the next one. Serling also spent a great deal of time defending scripts against narrowminded network executives alarmed that some of the content would upset sponsors. And, with the hundreds of functions as a television producer, the workload caught up to him. By the time the series was canceled in 1964, Serling was physically and mentally exhausted.

While running the show he also fought battles with the CBS executives who complained about the darkness of the scripts among many other things. Serling wanted integrity and would even fight against some of the commercials. However moving and however probing and incisive the drama, it cannot retain any thread of legitimacy when after 12 or 13 minutes, out comes 12 dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.

James Aubrey, who became CBS president after the show launched,  hated the show, believing programs with regular stars were more likely to grab audiences.

Aubrey canceled Twilight Zone twice, once after its third season, but it was revived when a replacement program tanked in the ratings. Later, he reduced the show’s budget to compromise its quality and axed the series in 1964. Ironically, Aubrey was fired a year later…not soon enough…and that was a good thing.

Do any of you have any different thoughts on the rankings below? What was your favorite and least favorite episode of season two?

I would like to link to two other bloggers doing tv shows. They are going through a TV series show by show like I’m doing here. I’ll continue to have the Twilight Zone every Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.

Hanspostcard is going through the episodes of The Andy Griffith Show

Best 'The Andy Griffith Show' episodes, ranked - GoldDerby

John Holton is going through each episode of Hogan’s Heroes 

Hogan's Heroes Intro - YouTube

Season 2      
Episode Date Episode Stars
1 Sept 30, 1960 King Nine Will Not Return  3.5
2 Oct 7, 1960 The Man in the Bottle    4
3 Oct 14, 1960 Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room  4
4 Oct 28, 1960 A Thing About Machines  3
5 Nov 4, 1960 The Howling Man 5
6 Nov 11, 1960 The Eye of the Beholder 5
7 Nov 18, 1960 Nick of Time 5
8 Dec 2, 1960 The Lateness of the Hour 4
9 Dec 9, 1960 The Trouble with Templeton 5
10 Dec 16, 1960  A Most Unusual Camera 3.5
11 Dec 23, 1960 The Night of the Meek 5
12 Jan 6, 1961  Dust 4
13 Jan 13, 1961 Back There  4
14 Jan 20, 1961 The Whole Truth 3
15 Jan 27, 1961 The Invaders 5
16 Feb 3, 1961 A Penny for Your Thoughts 4.5
17 Feb 10, 1961 Twenty-Two 4
18 Feb 24, 1961 The Odyssey of Flight 33 5
19 Mar 3, 1961 Mr. Dingle, the Strong 3.5
20 Mar 10, 1961 Static 3.5
21 Mar 24, 1961 The Prime Mover 4
22 Mar 31, 1961 Long Distance Call 5
23 April 7, 1961 A Hundred Yards Over the Rim 5
24 April 21, 1961 The Rip Van Winkle Caper 4
25 April 28, 1961 The Silence 5
26 May 5, 1961 Shadow Play 5
27 May 12, 1961 The Mind and the Matter 2.5
28 May 26, 1961 Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up 5
29 June 2, 1961 The Obsolete Man 5

10 Key Twilight Zone Episodes To Watch If You're New To The Series -  CINEMABLEND

Twilight Zone – The Mind and the Matter

★★1/2 May 12, 1961 Season 2 Episode 27

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

Spoilers… this episode is hard to write about without giving some away. I like the concept of the episode but I found the plot lacking.

This is a relatively forgettable Twilight Zone episode. Shelley Berman plays Archibald Beechcroft who is fed up with humanity. He is given a book which tells him that with the proper mental state he can eliminate the stresses of the day…namely every one else on earth but him. He is not a likeable person so we feel very little sympathy for him.

Beechcroft detests people, but he feels he has no alternative but to suffer the crowds and the noise until an office boy, trying to make up for spilling coffee on his suit, gives him a book on mind power. After reading this, Beechcroft is convinced that concentration can do anything, and he proves it by making his landlady disappear, followed by everybody else in the world.

The good thing about this episode is the special effects.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

A brief if frenetic introduction to Mr. Archibald Beechcroft. A child of the 20th century, a product of the population explosion, and one of the inheritors of the legacy of progress. Mr. Beechcroft again, this time Act Two of his daily battle for survival, and in just a moment our hero will begin his personal one-man rebellion against the mechanics of his age, and to do so he will enlist certain aides available only in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

The intolerant Archibald Beechcroft is a clerk of the Central Park Insurance Co. that hates everybody. When a colleague gives him a book about the power of the mind, Archibald reads the magic book and decides to wipe out the human race. However, he feels lonely and uses his ability to make the entire population of his city his perfect clone, discovering how hateful the world would be.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Archibald Beechcroft, a child of the twentieth century, who has found out through trial and error – and mostly error – that with all its faults, it may well be that this is the best of all possible worlds. People notwithstanding, it has much to offer. Tonight’s case in point – in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Shelley Berman…Archibald Beechcroft
Jack Grinnage…Henry
Chet Stratton…Mr. Rogers
Robert McCord…Elevator Operator
Jeane Wood…Landlady

Twilight Zone – Shadow Play

★★★★★  May 5, 1961  Season 2 Episode 26

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

This one is a Twilight Zone classic. Dennis Weaver stars in this episode as Adam Grant. Weaver has always been a favorite of mine. He starred in the movie Duel, as McCloud, and in the first 9 seasons of Gunsmoke as Chester. Again and again The Twilight Zone cast these episodes perfectly.

This one is about a nightmare that Adam Grant finds himself trapped in. Grant has created this world with many of the same faces but different characters. It starts with him in a court room being convicted of first degree murder. We don’t see the crime…just Adam being thrown in jail and on death row…but something is off and he knows it. This episode is one of the must see Twilight Zones.

The writer Charles Beaumont once again explores a nightmare in Shadow Play as he did in Perchance for a Dream.

From IMDB: The title refers to the ancient art of shadow play or shadow puppetry using opaque figures that cast shadows on clear curtains. Such entertainment is known in countries throughout the world and is presented in theaters and by traveling troupes.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Adam Grant, a nondescript kind of man, found guilty of murder and sentenced to the electric chair. Like every other criminal caught in the wheels of justice, he’s scared, right down to the marrow of his bones. But it isn’t prison that scares him, the long, silent nights of waiting, the slow walk to the little room, or even death itself. It’s something else that holds Adam Grant in the hot, sweaty grip of fear, something worse than any punishment this world has to offer, something found only in – The Twilight Zone.

Summary

When Adam Grant is found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced he lashes out telling everyone that he will not be murdered again. Grant claims to be having a recurring nightmare where he is found guilty and executed. The characters around him change and so he argues that all of them will vanish if he dies. It leads newspaperman Paul Carson to question what is real and what might just be a figment of someone else’s imagination. DA Henry Ritchie visits Grant in jail and decides to try and do something about his claims, no matter how far-fetched his claims might be.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

We know that a dream can be real, but who ever thought that reality could be a dream? We exist, of course, but how, in what way? As we believe, as flesh-and-blood human beings, or are we simply parts of someone’s feverish, complicated nightmare? Think about it, and then ask yourself, do you live here, in this country, in this world, or do you live, instead, – in The Twilight Zone?

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Dennis Weaver…Adam Grant
Harry Townes…District Attorney Henry Ritchie
Wright King…Paul Carson
Bernie Hamilton…Coley
William Edmonson…Jiggs
Anne Barton…Carol Ritchie
Tommy Nello…Phillips
Mack Williams…Father Beaman
Gene Roth…Judge

Twilight Zone – The Silence

★★★★★  April 28, 1961 Season 2 Episode 25

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

This one is a very good episode with some fine acting by Franchot Tone and Liam Sullivan. There is not just one twist at the end of the episode but two of them. This episode has no supernatural events and it is not a typical episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s pure story and what a story. It was set in a prestigious Gentlemen’s Club with a talkative younger man named Jamie Tennyson (Liam Sullivan) and the grumpy older fellow named Colonel Archie Taylor (Franchot Tone).

Tennyson annoyed Taylor to no end with his non stop chatter. We didn’t get to see a lot of this but Taylor does hate the man. After handing him a note and then announcing to every one…he bet Tennyson $500,000 that he could not be completely quiet for a year. The story goes from there.

Below is a very interesting real life story on the set about the wonderful character actor Franchot Tone.

Franchot Tone                                    Liam Sullivan

April 28 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1961 premiere of 'The  Silence' April 28 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1961 premiere  of 'The Silence'Liam Sullivan — The Movie Database (TMDb)

The episode present a lot of challenges. The first headache went to George Clemens (Cinematographer). The set where the character Sullivan was to be imprisoned was made up entirely of panes of glass. When I saw the set, I pretty near lost my lunch, Clemens recalls. How in the world am I going to get a light in there, and show light, without getting reflections? But Buck Houghton had hired the right man, and Clemens persevered. Once I started on the thing, he says, I think I only had to take two panes of glass out in the whole picture.

The first days shooting went just fine. The opening and closing scenes of the episode, both of which take place in the main room of the mens club, were completed. The company broke for the weekend. But the biggest problem was yet to come.

On the second day of shooting, Franchot Tone didn’t show up, Serling recalled years later. And we waited and we waited. The call is six in the morning. When it got to be ten a.m. and everybody had been sitting there in their own smoke waiting and no Franchot Tone, we get his agent who tracks him down. He is in a clinic.

Stories differ. According to Liam Sullivan, Tone told him that he’d been at a party and, in attempting to pick a flower for his date off a bush on the terrace, had fallen down a hillside and landed on the driveway of the house next door. According to Serling, Tone had approached a girl in the parking lot of a restaurant and her boyfriend had taken offense and beaten him up. Whatever the truth, the result was still the same: half of Tones face was scraped raw.

With one days shooting in the can, recasting was out of the question. Serling: I said, So be it. Come on in, Franch, and well shoot the other side of your face, which we did.

The result was indeed odd. During the opening scene of the episode, we see Tone full face. When the scene changes to the glass cage in which Sullivan is imprisoned, we only see Tones face in profile or with half of it obscured. Then in the final scene, we see Tone full-face again.

Surprisingly, the effect works to the episodes advantage. The scenes in the middle are those in which Tone tries to convince Sullivan to break his silence, using every dirty trick he can think of, including relaying ugly rumors about Sullivans wife. Speaking out of the corner of his mouth, only half-turned toward Sullivan, Tone seems predatory and sly, what he says takes on an added suggestiveness. The impact was not lost. In fact, director Boris Sagal once recalled that at the time a number of critics complimented him on the effect!

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The note that this man is carrying across a club room is in the form of a proposed wager, but it’s the kind of wager that comes without precedent. It stands alone in the annals of bet-making as the strangest game of chance ever offered by one man to another. In just a moment, we’ll see the terms of the wager and what young Mr. Tennyson does about it. And in the process, we’ll witness all parties spin a wheel of chance in a very bizarre casino called the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Jamie Tennyson is an overly talkative member of a private men’s club. He is challenged by fellow member Col. Archie Taylor to keep his mouth shut for one year. Should he do so, he would win $500,000. Taylor dislikes Tennyson and if nothing else, finds this a way to get a bit of peace and quiet at the club. Tennyson will live in a room in the club, under observation and will communicate in writing only. As the months go by, Taylor begins to worry that Tennyson may just succeed. He can’t believe Tennyson’s will but neither party proves to be completely honorable.

SPOILER VIDEO…DON’T WATCH 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Jamie Tennyson, who almost won a bet, but who discovered somewhat belatedly that gambling can be a most unproductive pursuit, even with loaded dice, marked cards, or, as in his case, some severed vocal cords. For somewhere beyond him, a wheel was turned, and his number came up black thirteen. If you don’t believe it, ask the croupier, the very special one who handles roulette – in The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Franchot Tone…Archie Taylor
Liam Sullivan…Jamie Tennyson
Jonathan Harris…George Alfred
Cyril Delevanti…Franklin
Everett Glass…Club Member
Felix Locher…Club Member

Twilight Zone – A Hundred Yards Over the Rim

★★★★★  April 07, 1961 Season 2 Episode 23

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

This one is an excellent quality episode. A time travel episode that uses a place over the rim instead of a time machine.  Future Walton’s sheriff John Crawford plays the café owner Joe. This episode resolves it self and has a satisfying end…and really plays on some of the time elements.

The episode has many good performances, but  Cliff Robertson holds the show together. As Chris Horn, he plays his role with intelligence and conviction, seeming in movement, expression, and even his accent is on the mark. He really got into this role as you will read below and it shows. His performance is worth the price of admission by itself.

In order to save money, whenever possible Buck Houghton liked to schedule two shows utilizing similar locations back to back, so that the crew would only have to make one trip outside the studio. Both A Hundred Yards Over the Rim and The Rip Van Winkle Caper were shot in the desert near Lone Pine, California. First to be filmed was A Hundred Yards Over the Rim.

Some trivia from IMDB:  Cliff Robertson did extensive research on the 1840s time period in which the episode is set. Robertson concluded that an easterner like Horn would have worn a stovepipe hat, whereas the director, fearing that such a hat would make Horn look comical, wanted him to wear an ahistorical Stetson. The dispute was finally taken to producer Rod Serling who, after hearing both sides, decided to let Robertson wear the stovepipe hat, as seen in the filmed version.

John Astin appears in this and I will watch anything Astin is in. This was before he became known as Gomez Addams.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The year is 1847, the place is the territory of New Mexico, the people are a tiny handful of men and women with a dream. Eleven months ago, they started out from Ohio and headed west. Someone told them about a place called California, about a warm sun and a blue sky, about rich land and fresh air, and at this moment, almost a year later, they’ve seen nothing but cold, heat, exhaustion, hunger, and sickness. This man’s name is Christian Horn. He has a dying eight-year-old son and a heartsick wife, and he’s the only one remaining who has even a fragment of the dream left. Mr. Chris Horn, who’s going over the top of a rim to look for water and sustenance and in a moment will move into the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Christian Horn is member of an 1847 wagon train headed west. They are 1500 miles from St. Louis and are now in the New Mexico desert. Many in the wagon train are ready to turn back but Chris wants everyone to persevere. His son has had a fever for 11 days now and Chris goes off looking for water, only 100 yards or so from the others and suddenly finds himself in the present day. He can’t quite bring himself to believe what he sees or where he is but those he meets believe he’s a man from the past. The trip in time does have one positive outcome.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Christian Horn, one of the hearty breed of men who headed west during a time when there were no concrete highways or the solace of civilization. Mr. Christian Horn, and family and party, heading west, after a brief detour to The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Cliff Robertson…Chris Horn
John Crawford…Joe
Miranda Jones…Martha Horn
Evans Evans…Mary Lou
John Astin…Charlie
Edward Platt…Doctor
Ken Drake…Man
Robert L. McCord III…Sheriff

Twilight Zone – Long Distance Call

★★★★★  March 31, 1961 Season 2 Episode 22

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

This one is one of my favorites. It’s dark and it still works today.  It’s a great episode and features Bill Mumy as little Billy Bayles who just lost his grandmother or did he? The grandmother played by Lili Darvas tried to live through Billy vicariously in many ways and ignored what the mother of the child said or thought.  You can feel the tension between the grandmother and her daughter in law.

This can happen in a family and cause trouble so it made the episode much more relatable. The darkness of the episode is shocking considering the time it was made.

**SPOILERS** below

This show was really heavy.  It addressed the loss of a grandparent and two attempted suicides of a five year old boy. Not your average show in the 60s or now for that matter. Who knew a toy telephone could be so damn frightening? That was one determined grandmother…she wasn’t letting go of Billy even in the afterlife.

This episode is videotaped and it benefits from it…adding to eerie feeling.

Bill Mumy would appear in three Twilight Zones. He would later become known in the TV show Lost In Space.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont, Bill Idelson, and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

As must be obvious, this is a house hovered over by Mr. Death, an omnipresent player to the third and final act of every life. And it’s been said, and probably rightfully so, that what follows this life is one of the unfathomable mysteries, an area of darkness which we, the living, reserve for the dead—or so it is said. For in a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge which separates light and shadow, and, of course, he must take the only known route, that indistinct highway through the region we call The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Billy Bayles loves his Grandma Bayles and likes the present she’s given him, a toy telephone which she says will allow them to communicate forever. Grandma Bayles is ill however and soon dies but Billy claims he can speak to her on their special telephone. When he tells his parents that she wants him to join her, wherever she’s gone to, they pay no mind. When he throws himself in front of their neighbor’s car however, it all gets deadly serious.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

A toy telephone, an act of faith, a set of improbable circumstances, all combine to probe a mystery, to fathom a depth, to send a facet of light into a dark after-region, to be believed or disbelieved, depending on your frame of reference. A fact or a fantasy, a substance or a shadow—but all of it very much a part of The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Philip Abbott…Chris Bayles
Lili Darvas…Grandma Bayles
Patricia Smith…Sylvia Bayles
Bill Mumy…Billy Bayles
Jenny Maxwell…Shirley
Reid Hammond…Mr. Peterson
Henry Hunter…Dr. Unger
Lew Brown…Fireman
Arch Johnson…Fireman

Twilight Zone – Where is Everybody?

★★★☆☆   October 2, 1959 Season 1 Episode 1

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

A good episode to start the series. They would explore this topic of being alone in more episodes to greater affect but a good debut. How new this must have been on the tv landscape at the time. On the DVD set Rod Serling is shown in a short clip trying to sell the series to the network with previews of coming episodes. My guess is the first episode they didn’t want to air a really strange one.

This one has the Twilight Zone twist ending and the moral. Rod Serling wrote this episode. The episode originally featured Westbrook Van Voorhis as narrator. When Voorhis was unavailable for later episodes, Serling re-recorded the narration himself for consistency.

Opening narration:

“The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we’re about to watch could be our journey.”

Summary

A man finds himself walking down a country road, not knowing where nor who he is. He comes across a diner with a jukebox blaring and hot coffee on the stove – only there’s no one there. A little further down the road, he comes to the picturesque town of Oakwood, and finds, it too, seems deserted. The only sounds he hears are a clock tower, and a pay phone ringing. At the local movie theater, an ad for Battle Hymn (1957) leads him to believe he’s in the Air Force. In spite of no people to be found, he can’t shake off the feeling, he’s being watched.

Closing narration:

“Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting…in the Twilight Zone.”

Earl Holliman Earl Holliman … Mike Ferris
James Gregory James Gregory … Air Force General
Paul Langton Paul Langton … Doctor
James McCallion James McCallion … Reporter #1
John Conwell John Conwell … Air Force Colonel
Jay Overholts Jay Overholts … Reporter #2 (as Jay Overholt)
Carter Mullally Jr. Carter Mullally Jr. … Air Force Captain (as Carter Mullaly)
Garry Walberg Garry Walberg … Reporter #3 (as Gary Walberg)
Jim Johnson Jim Johnson … Air Force Staff Sergeant

Golden Earring – Twilight Zone

To kick off reviewing the Twilight Zone episodes… I thought this was appropriate.

This song was a great example of MTV’s clout. It was in heavy rotation and it paid off for the band. It peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 and #13 in Canada in 1983.

I have to wonder how the landscape of music would have changed without MTV in the 80s. Some bands hated videos because it could change the songs perception. Many wanted people to make up their own mind about songs and not think of “guitarists in leather pants.”

The Twilight Zone was written by Golden Earring’s lead guitarist George Kooymans. He was inspired not by the famous TV series of the same name, but by the Robert Ludlum novel The Bourne Identity, which would later be turned into a popular movie.

The song’s intro will stick in your head for days…kind of like the intro to the Twilight Zone TV series a repeating riff. I was happy to hear this song at the time. I knew them for Radar Love and any seventies rock group in the 80s was nice to hear.

Golden Earring was a Dutch band and they were formed in Hauge in 1961. They were a long lasting band. George Kooymans sadly announced this year that he is suffering from ALS and the band officially dissolved.

From Songfacts

Right out front, note that this song has nothing to do with Manhattan Transfer’s “Twilight Zone.” One is not a cover of the other.  

The song and especially the video tell the story of an espionage agent, on the run from enemy spies before being cornered. The cover of the album Cut (from which this was the only single) shows a scene repeated in the video, of a bullet slicing through the Jack of Diamonds playing card. The card is supposed to represent the rogue agent.

Interestingly, there was at least one episode of the original Twilight Zone TV series which was also a spy drama. Namely, episode #149 from season five, “The Jeopardy Room,” is about a Soviet KGB agent who wants to defect, but he ends up pinned in a hotel room under surveillance from a hit man and his accomplice, who sadistically make him play a game for his life. And it’s one of the few episodes where a gun is fired – “When the bullet hits the bone,” indeed!

Get ready for a nostalgia blast: This song was also used as the theme to the Twilight Zone pinball machine. This was part of Bally Midway’s series of “Superpin” arcade pinball games that were based on TV shows – other pinball games in the series were based on Star Trek and The Addams Family.

Fittingly, this song is also sometimes used as bumper music for the radio show Coast to Coast AM, the all-night paranormal talk show which also more frequently uses “A Hazy Shade of Winter.”

The video is yet another whose early airplay on MTV paid off. In MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video, Rick Springfield talks about the MTV Effect: “The difference that I saw was, before MTV, you’d have to be on like your third successful album before people started recognizing you at the airport. But once MTV hit, you had that one hit single, and you were as recognizable as if you were around for three or four years. It was so instant. That was the power of television.

Twilight Zone

Somewhere in a lonely hotel room there’s a guy
Starting to realize that eternal fate has turned its back on him
It’s two A.M.

It’s two A.M. (It’s two A.M.)
Fear is gone (fear is gone)
I’m sitting here waiting
The Gun still warm (the gun still warm)
Maybe my connection is tired of taking chances

Yeah, there’s a storm on the loose
Sirens in my head
Wrapped up in silence, all circuits are dead
Cannot decode, my whole life spins into a frenzy

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far? (Oh oh oh)

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being alone
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far?

So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone

I’m fallin’ down a spiral, destination unknown
Double crossed messenger, all alone
Can’t get no connection, can’t get through
Where are you?

Well the night weighs heavy on his guilty mind
This far from the borderline
When the hitman comes
He knows damn well he has been cheated

And he says
Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far? (Oh oh oh)

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being alone
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far?

So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far? (Oh oh oh)

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being alone
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far?

So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone

Twilight Zone – Walking Distance… #1

Before we get to my number 1 episode…This has been so much fun I’m going to start a huge project. I want to review every Twilight Zone…all 156 episodes…so that will be next…my top 10 is not enough. I’ll start with S01E01 and work myself through and skip the 10 I’ve covered in this section. I’ve never rated shows or movies before but I will try that as well. 

This one gets a 5 out of 5 ★★★★★

Since ratings are subjective to who ever is going it…this is my system

★★★★★ This would be an exceptional episode…to me anyway
★★★★☆ This would be above the already high standards of the show
★★★☆☆ This would be a good to very good episode
★★☆☆☆ This would be just a little below average, the 4th season might see this
★☆☆☆☆ This would be a don’t watch…I don’t think this will ever be seen but I’m watching them all over to be sure

Now for my number 1 Twilight Zone episode! This one has my favorite element…Time Travel. How cool would it be to go back and meet your 11 year old self? Episodes 2-156 could change in my rankings but this one remains my favorite.

They really did this episode right. They followed through with everything. You were not wanting for answers at the end. It wasn’t just Martin who figured out he was back in time. It resolves it self nicely…with a valuable lesson. There are spoilers past this.

If you are new to the Twilight Zone this is a great one to start with…

Rod Serling’s opening narration: 

Martin Sloan, age thirty-six. Occupation: vice-president, ad agency, in charge of media. This is not just a Sunday drive for Martin Sloan. He perhaps doesn’t know it at the time, but it’s an exodus. Somewhere up the road he’s looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he’ll find something else.

Gig Young plays Martin Sloan who does a great job in this episode. Many people try to go back home but it’s never the same because of progress and change…Martin Sloan DOES go home and everything is the same…he even sees himself as a boy…and meets his parents…again. Also…watch out for a 4 year old Ron Howard…soon to be forever known as Opie on the Andy Griffith Show.

13 TV shows Ron Howard was on besides Happy Days and Andy Griffith

Rod Serling wrote this episode.

Martin Sloan (Gig Young), a 36-year-old executive, stops in a fuel station off an isolated country road. Not far away, 1.5 miles, is the sight of his hometown, Homewood, he’s very curious about all the kinds of things that shaped his childhood. Martin ventures to take a closer look, first he goes to an old shop where he used to get ice cream sodas. Martin is surprised to see the prices haven’t changed still a dime for a three scoop ice cream soda. Walking around Martin meets a kid, who is his old neighbor. It is then that he realizes he’s in 1934, when he was only 11-years-old. Things get complicated when he bumps into the young Martin, follows him to his house and meets with his parents. They won’t believe him when Martin says he’s in fact their grown up son. Later, Martin insists in talking with young Martin. He finds him on a carousel, where the child gets hurt falling. Martin will learn, after talking to his father, that every man has his own time and is perhaps better off not looking to the past.

Enough of my favorite episode…what is your favorite?

Rod Serling’s closing narration:

Martin Sloan, age thirty-six, vice-president in charge of media. Successful in most things but not in the one effort that all men try at some time in their lives—trying to go home again. And also like all men, perhaps there’ll be an occasion, maybe a summer night sometime, when he’ll look up from what he’s doing and listen to the distant music of a calliope, and hear the voices and the laughter of the people and the places of his past. And perhaps across his mind there’ll flit a little errant wish, that a man might not have to become old, never outgrow the parks and the merry-go-rounds of his youth. And he’ll smile then too, because he’ll know it is just an errant wish, some wisp of memory not too important really, some laughing ghosts that cross a man’s mind, that are a part of the Twilight Zone.

  • Gig Young as Martin Sloan
  • Frank Overton as Robert Sloan
  • Irene Tedrow as Mrs. Sloan
  • Michael Montgomery as Tweenage Martin
  • Ron Howard as Wilcox Boy
  • Byron Foulger as Charlie
  • Sheridan Comerate as Gas Station Attendant
  • Joseph Corey as Soda Jerk
  • Buzz Martin as Boy with Car
  • Nan Peterson as Woman in Park
  • Pat O’Malley as Mr. Wilson

Twilight Zone – The Howling Man… #2

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 #2 on my list…Next week my number one.

I wish now I would have just reviewed every Twilight Zone episode…this is a fun gig!

If you haven’t seen this episode…it will have spoilers…just so you know.

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.

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.

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

  • H.M. Wynant as David Ellington
  • John Carradine as Brother Jerome
  • Robin Hughes as The Howling Man
  • Frederic Ledebur as Brother Christophorus
  • Ezelle Poule as Housekeeper

Twilight Zone (Bonus) 1985 – Dealers Choice

I’m not counting the Twilight Zone reboots in my top 10 but this is a fun 1985 Twilight Zone. It has a younger Morgan Freeman along  with original SNL alumni Garret Morris…along with Dan Hedaya, Barney Martin,  and M. Emmet Walsh.  This version of the Twilight Zone is hit and miss. There are a few that are really good. I would not compare anything to the original though.

Some very good character actors and the episode is a fun one. I found the complete episode online…if you have 20 or so minutes give it a try.

Five men playing poker…not unusual right?  However, one of the men is the devil himself, masquerading as an acquaintance of one of them.  He’s there to collect the soul of one of the men, but which one?  As the personalities of the men gradually come out, it’s clear that Pete is the one the Devil is there to collect. Pete tries to bet his way out of going with Nick, hoping to beat the Devil at his own game.

CAST

Morgan Freeman – Tony
Dan Hedaya – Nick
M. Emmet Walsh – Pete
Garret Morris – Jake
Barney Martin – Marty