Twilight Zone – On Thursday We Leave For Home

★★★★★ May 2, 1963 Season 4 Episode 16

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

This is a not just a great episode…it’s a classic one. The episode takes place in 2021.  James Whitmore plays Captain William Benteen and his acting in this is top notch. The writing also is one of Rod Serling’s best scripts. Captain Benteen reminded me of a cult leader…he doesn’t make the Jim Jones jump but he is similiar. Loving, caring, power hungry, narcissistic, and dictatorial. You see all phases and you also see regret but only when it’s too late. 

The people in this episode are a remnant society who left the Earth looking for an Eden, a place without war, without jeopardy, without fear. What they found was quite different. They have been here 30 years. The planet is a nightmare place of two suns, unending day and terrible meteor storms. Despair prevails among the 187 survivors of the original colony and suicide is not uncommon. Their thirty-year survival is attributable to one source: the iron leadership of Benteen, their self-appointed Captain. 

If you only watch one hour long episode of the Twilight Zone…make it this one. Human nature is on full display in this episode…both the best and the worse. This is a science-fictional examination of the positive and negative uses of power.

From IMDB: The cave that the colonists use as their meeting hall was originally the underground lair of the Morlocks in The Time Machine (1960).

When the rescue ship from Earth arrives, several colonists ask about various places on Earth during a meeting between the ship’s crew and the colonists. One of the questions is about the Finger Lake District of New York. This area had a special significance to script writer Rod Serling. It is located close to his home town of Binghamton, he and his family vacationed there frequently, and Serling named his company that produced “The Twilight Zone,” Cayuga Productions, after one of the lakes. He later taught at Ithaca College for the last five years before his death.

The striking diorama backgrounds of the planet, the model and the large-scale prop of the rescue ship sent to bring the colonists home, and the uniforms of the rescue crew were all originally created for Forbidden Planet (1956). This was a recurring feature on “The Twilight Zone” which was frequently filmed at MGM Studios, and often prominently featured recycled props and set pieces from “Forbidden Planet”. The previous episode, “The Incredible World of Horace Ford” featured copies of the original blueprints of designs for Robby the Robot, created by MGM production designer Robert Kinoshita.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is William Benteen, who officiates on a disintegrating outpost in space. The people are a remnant society who left the Earth looking for a millennium, a place without war, without jeopardy, without fear, and what they found was a lonely, barren place whose only industry was survival. And this is what they’ve done for three decades: survive; until the memory of the Earth they came from has become an indistinct and shadowed recollection of another time and another place. One month ago a signal from Earth announced that a ship would be coming to pick them up and take them home. In just a moment we’ll hear more of that ship, more of that home, and what it takes out of mind and body to reach it. This is the Twilight Zone.

Summary

The colonists of Pilgrim I, Earth’s first space colony, have spent 30 years on their new home. It’s a lonely, barren place more akin to hell then Eden. Now, they’re awaiting the arrival of a ship to take them to Earth. Some colonists are at their wits’ end; another – the 9th in 6 months – commits suicide. Their leader, William Benteen, a tough drill sergeant-type, who they call Captain, does his best to keep them together. When the ship arrives, they’re given 3 days to prepare to leave. As the day of departure approaches, Benteen’s assumption that the community will stay together on Earth, is wrong; most will go their own way once on earth. Hearing this, Benteen decides they should stay. When the group decides otherwise, Benteen’s left with only one option.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god, now a population of one.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
James Whitmore … Captain William Benteen
Tim O’Connor … Colonel Sloane
James Broderick … Al
Paul Langton … George
Jo Helton … Julie
Mercedes Shirley … Joan
Russ Bender … Hank
Danny Kulick … Jo-Jo (as Daniel Kulick)
Madge Kennedy … Colonist
John Ward … Colonist
Shirley O’Hara … Colonist
Tony Benson … Colonist (as Anthony Benson)
Lew Gallo … Lt. Engle

Twilight Zone – The Incredible World Of Horace Ford

★★★1/2 April 18, 1963 Season 4 Episode 15

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

Pat Hingle who plays Horace Ford is emotionally little more than an oversized child, lives with his wife Laura and his mother. He spends most of his time reminiscing about what he recalls as an idyllic childhood that was all play and no responsibility. This one is similar to “Walking Distance” but just not as effective…Horace isn’t as mature as the Martin Sloan characer in that episode. He fails to get the viewer’s compassion because of his imaturity. 

When looking back on childhood with rose colored glasses… Horace may get a chance to peel back the nostalgia and find out what really happened in his youth. It does have a good story but some will be put off by the exaggerated aspect of Pat Hingle’s performance. I liked it and the more times I’ve watched this episode the more I appreciated it. 

I have to ask this before I end. Pat Hingle who plays Horace Maxwell Ford…does he not look like Nick Nolte? It’s too bad when Hingle got older he didn’t play Nolte’s dad in a movie. 

The writer to this one is Reginald Rose who wrote the great 12 Angry Men. 

Reginald Rose: What I meant to do with The Incredible World of Horace Ford, was to tell a simple horror story about an everyday man with a somewhat exaggerated but everyday kind of problem and, in so doing, point out that the funny, tender childhood memories we cling to are often distorted and unreal. What happened to Horace when he finally made it back to his childhood was typical of what actually happened to so many of us again and again when we were children. He was ridiculed, rejected, beaten up. These are all familiar experiences to us, yet somehow we tend only to remember, as Horace did, the joys of swiping pomegranates from Ippolitos.

From IMDB:

This was not an original screenplay for The Twilight Zone (1959). It’s a remake of Studio One: The Incredible World of Horace Ford (1955), which was a live TV version starring Art Carney and Jason Robards.

This episode revisits themes used in The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959) and The Twilight Zone: The Trouble with Templeton (1960) – namely, a person’s propensity to romanticize and try to relive a past that may not have been at all as good as they like to remember it.

The blueprints of Harold’s new robot toy are copies of the actual blueprints Bob Kinoshita made for the design of Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Reginald Rose

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Mr. Horace Ford, who has a preoccupation with another time, a time of childhood, a time of growing up, a time of street games, stickball and hide-‘n-go-seek. He has a reluctance to check out a mirror and see the nature of his image: proof positive that the time he dwells in has already passed him by. But in a moment or two he’ll discover that mechanical toys and memories and daydreaming and wishful thinking and all manner of odd and special events can lead one into a special province, uncharted and unmapped, a country of both shadow and substance known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Toy designer, Horace Ford’s very enthusiastic about what he does, and his memories of childhood are beginning to become an obsession. But, those childhood moments which brought him great joy aren’t remembered by anytime else – even his mother. She doesn’t recall their time living on Randolph Street as such a great time. Horace goes to visit the old neighborhood, but when he gets there, he seems to have stepped back in time, and the past starts to spill over into the present. He returns to the street several times, and the scene repeats itself. He begins to realise -his childhood wasn’t the wonderful one he remembered

The COMPLETE episode

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Exit Mr. and Mrs. Horace Ford, who have lived through a bizarre moment not to be calibrated on normal clocks or watches. Time has passed, to be sure, but it’s the special time in the special place known as the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Pat Hingle…Horace Maxwell Ford
Nan Martin…Laura Ford
Ruth White…Mrs. Ford
Phillip Pine…Leonard O’Brien
Vaughn Taylor…Mr. Judson
Jerry Davis…Hermie Brandt
Billy Hughes…Kid
Mary Carver…Betty O’Brien
Jim E. Titus…Horace…a boy

Twilight Zone – Of Late I Think Of Cliffordville

★★★★ April 11, 1963 Season 4 Episode 14

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

This is a good episode. It has two plot lines that I love…time travel and deals with the Devil. If the devil looked like  Julie Newmar…there would be a lot of deals signed. Albert Salmi as the greedy Feathersmith is fantastic. He is one of my favorite chacter actors of that time. You may recognize John Anderson as Deidrich…he was a character actor until his death in 1992. He had 246 acting credits on various tv shows. 

If you could go back knowing what you know now. Would it be something small or  large you would miss because you were so excited? Chances are yes…and that little something could start a chain reaction…and you might just regret it. 

The special effects in the Twilight Zone are usually great. The only bad thing I can say about them in this one is Salmi’s “old” makeup. I believe though it’s a product of our times. With high definition tv now…you can see it clear but back then on 60’s tv…it was probably fine. This one is marked low in IMDB which I totally disagree with. It does have it’s faults but is an enjoyable episode. 

From IMDB: Ms. Devlin’s Travel Offices are on the 13th floor. This is unusual in the US (and suitable to her nature) as most buildings before the 1980’s skip the 13th floor when numbering floors in their buildings. The number 13 has long been considered unlucky.

Albert Salmi previously appeared in The Twilight Zone: Execution (1960) and The Twilight Zone: A Quality of Mercy (1961), all of which involve time travel. In “Execution” and “Cliffordville” his characters are very unlikable, although that is not the case in “Quality.”

This show was written by Rod Serling and Malcolm Jameson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Witness a murder. The killer is Mr. William Feathersmith, a robber baron whose body composition is made up of a refrigeration plant covered by thick skin. In a moment, Mr. Feathersmith will proceed on his daily course of conquest and calumny with yet another business dealing. But this one will be one of those bizarre transactions that take place in an odd marketplace known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. William J. Feathersmith, tycoon, who tried the track one more time and found it muddier than he remembered, proving with at least a degree of conclusiveness that nice guys don’t always finish last, and some people should quit when they’re ahead. Tonight’s tale of iron men and irony, delivered F.O.B. from the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Albert Salmi … Feathersmith
John Anderson … Deidrich
Wright King … Hecate
Guy Raymond … Gibbons
Christine Burke … Joanna
John Harmon … Clark
Hugh Sanders … Cronk
Julie Newmar … Miss Devlin
Mary Jackson … Miss Pepper (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – The New Exhibit

★★★★★ April 4, 1963 Season 4 Episode 13

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

This episode of the Twilight Zone is really good. It has everything…some horror, mystery, and a great twist at the end. It could have been a 50’s type horror movie. You expect Vincent Price to come on at any time. Martin Balsam plays Martin Lombard Senescu and he is fantastic. He is a sympathetic character that loves his job at the wax museum…maybe a little too much. Will Kuluva as Ernest Ferguson plays the owner of the museum who sees the writing on the wall, the museum is not as popular as it was and will have to close. He is a kindly older gentlemen who cares… and gently lets Martin go…but not without granting Martin a favor. 

The pacing in this one is good. They use the hour to breathe life to the characters.  The story builds nicely and there is a good payoff in the end.  

There was a sad story behind the scenes. Charles Beaumont (his real name was Charles Leroy Nutt) was credited as writing this but Jerry Sohl had started ghostwriting for him by this time. Beaumont was only 35 and had been the top writer for Playboy and he wrote some of the very best Twilight Zones. He was probably the best writer the Twilight Zone had besides Rod Serling.

He was starting to forget things and could not concentrate. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease or Picks Disease…they could not know which one until he passed. He passed away at 38 years old in 1967 and his son said he had the body and mind of a 95 year old. 

Jerry Sohl helped him out and split everything 50/50 and did all the writing in his name. He wrote for Hitchcock, Route 66 and Playboy under Beamont’s name. Sohl would write more Twilight Zones but not be credited. They had to keep this a secret because it was against Writers Guild rules.

Sohl’s script went before the cameras virtually unchanged, with no rewrites at all. This was the case with most of the scripts he ghosted. They went right in, and the reason is that Chuck Beaumont scripts were always so great that they didnt have to do anything.

Jerry Sohl on visiting the set:

Here I am standing with Chuck Beaumont, he recalls, and John Brahm, the director, comes up, puts his arm around him with the script that / did and says, Chuck, youve done it again! And here I am, standing right next to Chuck, unable to say a word!

This show was written by Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Jerry Sohl (uncredited)

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Martin Lombard Senescu, a gentle man, the dedicated curator of murderers’ row in Ferguson’s Wax Museum. He ponders the reasons why ordinary men are driven to commit mass murder. What Mr. Senescu does not know is that the groundwork has already been laid for his own special kind of madness and torment found only in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Martin Lombard Senescu is a gentle man and the curator of Murderer’s Row in Ferguson’s wax museum. He loves his work and is fascinated by what drives men to commit the crimes that they do. He’s informed by his boss Mr. Ferguson that the property is being sold to developers who will raze the building and erect a supermarket. Martin brings 5 of of wax figures home but after a year his wife is at her wits end. Martin spends all of his time in the basement with his beloved friends and the cost of keeping them is eating into their already limited income. When Martin finds Emma dead in the basement he buries her there. When her brother Dave shows up, he too is apparently killed. After Mr. Ferguson finally finds a buyer for the wax figures, Martin reluctantly agrees to let them go. There is a new addition to the exhibit however.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The new exhibit became very popular at Marchand’s, but of all the figures none was ever regarded with more dread than that of Martin Lombard Senescu. It was something about the eyes, people said. It’s the look that one often gets after taking a quick walk through the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Martin Balsam …Martin Lombard Senescu
Will Kuluva…Ernest Ferguson
Margaret Field…Emma Senescu (as Maggie Mahoney)
William Mims…Dave
Phil Chambers…Gas Man
Leonard Bremen…Van Man (as Lennie Bremen)
Eddie Barth…Sailor (as Ed Barth)
Craig Curtis…Sailor
Milton Parsons…Henri Desire Landru
David Bond…Jack the Ripper
Bob Mitchell…Albert W. Hicks
Robert McCord…Burke (as Robert L. McCord)
Billy Beck…Hare
Marcel Hillaire…The Guide

Twilight Zone –  I Dream Of Genie

★★1/2 March 21, 1963 Season 4 Episode 12

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

This episode is one of the light ones. You will notice the star of this episode right off the bat if you are a fan of the Andy Griffith Show. It’s Howard Morris…who is better known as Earnest T Bass. He does what he can do with the script. It’s slow paced and dull in spots. It does have a good moral to the story and a good twist at the very end…getting there is the challenge in this one. I feel like a broken record in a few of these longer episodes…but the hour works against itself in this one. One thing I will say…Howard Morris and Jack Albertson as the Genie are good in their parts. 

The best moments in I Dream of Genie is when Howard Morris is in the fantasy roles imagining how a wish would turn out if he made it. There are some funny moments but the journey is too long to get there. A thirty minute version of this still wouldn’t save much. 

 

This show was written by Rod Serling and John Furia

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Meet Mr. George P. Hanley, a man life treats without deference, honor or success. Waiters serve his soup cold. Elevator operators close doors in his face. Mothers never bother to wait up for the daughters he dates. George is a creature of humble habits and tame dreams. He’s an ordinary man, Mr. Hanley, but at this moment the accidental possessor of a very special gift, the kind of gift that measures men against their dreams, the kind of gift most of us might ask for first and possibly regret to the last, if we, like Mr. George P. Hanley, were about to plunge head-first and unaware into our own personal Twilight Zone.

Summary

A smart aleck genie appears from a lamp to a meek man, George P. Hanley. Hanley is so used to bad luck, he imagines how each of three possible wishes could go very wrong – but the genie will grant him only one wish.

 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. George P. Hanley, former vocation; jerk. Present vocation; genie. George P. Hanley, a most ordinary man whom life treated without deference, honor, or success, but a man wise enough to decide on a most extraordinary wish, that makes him the contented, permanent master of his own altruistic Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
George P. Hanley…Howard Morris
Ann…Patricia Barry
Watson…Loring Smith
Starlet…Joyce Jameson
Genie…Jack Albertson
Roger…Mark Miller[1]
May…Molly Dodd
The P.R. Man/Scientist were played Milton Parsons
Masters…James Millhollin
Sam…Bob Hastings

Twilight Zone – The Parallel

★★★★1/2 March  14, 1963, Season 4 Episode 11

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

I kept saying that the 4th season was not a great season of the Twilight Zone. As someone (Paul) pointed out…there are some really good to great episodes. He was right…there are some great episodes in the season. This is one of them. After watching this season over…it’s much better than I gave it credit for. Is it as good as 1, 2, 3, or 5? No, it’s just different with the hour format. Not apples to oranges, just different.

This could be a 5 star…I went back and forth with the rating. The small details in this episode keep it interesting. 

This one is about a Parallel world. Steve Forrest who plays Major Robert Gaines is an astronaut that returns home from a troubled mission. He notices things wrong when he gets back…a different president, a gate around his yard that wasn’t there before, and small things that are wrong. His family also starts noticing little things…little things that only a loved one can see. 

From IMDB: Steve Forrest played the protagonist, Major Robert Gaines, in this episode while his elder brother Dana Andrews played the protagonist, Paul Driscoll, in the preceding episode The Twilight Zone: No Time Like the Past 

There is a moment after Maj. Gaines has spent the night with Mrs. Gaines where they attempt to embrace and she gives him a hard, questioning stare. According to producer Bert Granet, the intent of this interchange was to imply that sexual relations on the parallel world were slightly different from those of Maj. Gaines’ world, and that this had told Mrs. Gaines that he was no longer her husband. Unfortunately, in 1963 no direct mention of sexual behavior, even between spouses, was permissible, so that the scene is really too subtle to communicate this implication.

In the parallel universe, no one has ever heard of John F. Kennedy. The identity of the President of the United States in that universe is not revealed.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

In the vernacular of space, this is T minus one hour. Sixty minutes before a human being named Major Robert Gaines is lifted off from the Mother Earth and rocketed into the sky, farther and longer than any man ahead of him. Call this one of the first faltering steps of man to sever the umbilical cord of gravity and stretch out a fingertip toward an unknown. Shortly, we’ll join this astronaut named Gaines and embark on an adventure, because the environs overhead—the stars, the sky, the infinite space—are all part of a vast question mark known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Astronaut Major Robert Gaines is the latest to orbit the Earth but something happens while there. Ground control loses all contact with him and although he returns safely, he apparently blacked out and has no recollection of what may have happened. Nor can he explain how the craft landed on land – completely undamaged – when it was meant to splash down in the ocean. When Gaines returns home he finds that little things are different: he’s now a full colonel and has been for some time; his house now has a picket fence; he no longer seems to take sugar in his coffee; and even his wife senses he is different after she kisses him. It is soon apparent that Gaines has returned to an Earth in an alternate universe

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Major Robert Gaines, a latter-day voyager just returned from an adventure. Submitted to you without any recommendations as to belief or disbelief. You can accept or reject; you pay your money and you take your choice. But credulous or incredulous, don’t bother to ask anyone for proof that it could happen. The obligation is a reverse challenge: prove that it couldn’t. This happens to be the Twilight Zone.

 

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Steve Forrest … Major Robert Gaines
Jacqueline Scott … Helen Gaines
Frank Aletter … Colonel William Connacher
Paul Comi … Psychiatrist
Shari Lee Bernat … Maggie Gaines
Morgan Jones … Captain
William Sargent … The Project Manager
Philip Abbott … General Stanley Eaton
Fred Crane … News Anchorman (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – No Time Like The Past

★★★1/2 March 7, 1963 Season 4 Episode 10

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

I love time travel episodes. I wanted so much to love this one. No Time Like The Past has it’s charms but the hour long format works against it. It’s 4 time travel stories in this one. It could have been split up into two 30 minute episodes with the first three time jumps and the second episode the final jump. I think it would have been better for the hour long format to flesh out the first three time jumps. 

It was an interesting concept…to go back to the atom bomb dropping in Japan, the Lusitania sinking, and to try to kill Hitler. One of the flaws in this episode is he only gives himself a small amount of time to accomplish his tasks. In this case too much wasn’t a good thing. To sum it up…I wish they would have focused either on Hitler, Japan, and The Lusitania or the 1881 small town of Homeville, Indiana. The most interesting part of the episode is the 1881 Indiana story. 

Dana Andrews who played Paul Driscoll was a star in the 1940s in movies with Henry Fonda, Tyrone Powers, and more. 

From IMDB: Dana Andrews played the protagonist, Paul Driscoll, in this episode while his younger brother Steve Forrest played the protagonist, Major Robert Gaines, in the succeeding episode The Twilight Zone: The Parallel .

This episode takes place in 1963, in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, in Berlin, Germany in August 1939, aboard the RMS Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland on May 7, 1915 and in Homeville, Indiana from July 1 to July 3, 1881.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Exit one Paul Driscoll, a creature of the twentieth century. He puts to a test a complicated theorem of space-time continuum, but he goes a step further, or tries to. Shortly, he will seek out three moments of the past in a desperate attempt to alter the present, one of the odd and fanciful functions in a shadowland known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Paul Driscoll does not much like the way the 20th century has developed thus far and decides to go back in time to change mankind’s future. He first travels to Hiroshima and tries to warn an English-speaking policeman of what is to come, but to no avail. He then travels to Nazi Germany and attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler but is thwarted when his rifle misfires. He then finds himself aboard the Lusitania but again is unable to convince the ship’s captain to alter course before it is torpedoed. When he returns to the present, he agrees with his colleague Harvey that the past cannot be changed. He still does not like the present, so decides to go back to July 1881 to live his life in the small town of Homeville, Indiana. Unfortunately he learns yet again that past events cannot be changed

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Incident on a July afternoon, 1881. A man named Driscoll who came and went and, in the process, learned a simple lesson, perhaps best said by a poet named Lathbury, who wrote, ‘Children of yesterday, heirs of tomorrow, what are you weaving? Labor and sorrow? Look to your looms again, faster and faster fly the great shuttles prepared by the master. Life’s in the loom, room for it. Room.’[1] Tonight’s tale of clocks and calendars in the Twilight Zone.

 

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Dana Andrews … Paul Driscoll
Patricia Breslin … Abigail Sloan
Malcolm Atterbury … Prof. Eliot
Robert Cornthwaite … Hanford
John Zaremba … Horn Player
C. Lindsay Workman … Bartender (as Lindsay Workman)
Marjorie Bennett … Mrs. Chamberlain
Tudor Owen … Captain of Lusitania
James Yagi … Japanese Police Captain
Robert F. Simon … Harvey
Adolf Hitler … Self (archive footage)
Gene Coogan … Fire Spectator Restraining Driscoll (uncredited)
Peter Humphreys … Steward on Lusitania (uncredited)
Robert McCord … Man Hearing About Garfield (uncredited)
Bobs Watson … Man at Dining Room Table (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – Printer’s Devil

★★★★★ Febraury 28, 1963 Season 4 Episode 9

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

I’ve always liked sell your soul to the devil stories. This one has Burgess Meredith and that means chances are it’s a great one. Three out of four Twilight Zones he is in are classics. Time Enough At Last, The Obsolete Man, and this one are remembered episodes of the Twilight Zone. His eyebrows were pointing slightly upward, a twisted cigar in his mouth, he certainly looks the part. He is a grinning, leering Devil, full of subtleties. His interpretation goes well beyond the lines. Meredith is also listed as one of the writers. 

Robert Sterling plays Douglas Winter, a down on his luck newspaper owner who is about to get pushed out by a larger paper. Pat Crowley plays Jackie Benson who is Douglas’s much more acute girlfriend. The hour format doesn’t hurt this one at all…in fact it helps a bit. The fourth season is not full of classic episodes but I have always considered this one…one of the best. 

Ralph Senensky directed this episode. I want to use this opportunity to tell everyone who is interested that he has a blog and talks about all the shows he directed. The Waltons, Night Gallery, Twilight Zone, and much more. His memories are insightful about those old shows. He still posts and he is around 98 years old. 

Ralph Senensky: Actors like Burgess Meredith fascinated me with the preparation they brought to their roles. They didn’t just memorize their lines. As Beulah Bondi once said to me, “After the lines are learned, that’s when the work begins.”  I’m sure Burgess took his cue for how to work at the linotype machine from one of Jackie’s lines: “If he doesn’t play Chopin’s Polonaise, I’m going to be disappointed.”

This show was written by Robert Sterling, Pat Crowley, and Burgess Meredith

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Take away a man’s dream, fill him with whiskey and despair, send him to a lonely bridge, let him stand there all by himself looking down at the black water, and try to imagine the thoughts that are in his mind. You can’t, I can’t. But there’s someone who can—and that someone is seated next to Douglas Winter right now. The car is headed back toward town, but its real destination is the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Douglas Winter, the editor of The Courier, a failing newspaper, feels there is nothing to live for after a number of employees quit, including the Linotype operator. On a bridge while drunk, he looks down into the inviting water below. When he is going to commit suicide, he is approached by one “Mr. Smith”, who comments that it’s a short fall and probably wouldn’t do a very good job. He then asks Doug for a light, and, if he wasn’t quite ready, a ride into town. Amused and forgetting about suicide, Winter gives him a lift to a café, where Mr. Smith agrees to provide the editor with money to pay off debts and continue the operation of the newspaper. Mr. Smith also signs up to replace the linotype operator and be the sole reporter. With nothing to lose, Doug agrees to the proposition.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Exit the infernal machine, and with it his satanic majesty, Lucifer, prince of darkness—otherwise known as Mr. Smith. He’s gone, but not for good; that wouldn’t be like him—he’s gone for bad. And he might be back, with another ticket….to The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Burgess Meredith…Mr. Smith
Robert Sterling…Douglas Winter
Pat Crowley…Jackie Benson
Ray Teal…Mr. Franklin
Charles P. Thompson…Andy Praskins
Doris Kemper…Landlady
Camille Franklin…Molly

Twilight Zone – Miniature

★★★★1/2 Febraury 21, 1963 Season 4 Episode 8

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

***Since we have two Holiday Weekends coming up,This will be the last Twilight Zone until  January 5, 2022…thank you***

The first thing you notice is a young Robert Duvall that stars in this episode. He gives a sensitive portrayal of Charley Parkes who suffers from some sort of social anxiety. Parkes has a hard time interacting with humans but finds a doll house with a doll that he feels comfortable with. He seems to be  retreating into a world of fantasy… but is he?  Duvall plays it brilliantly with sensitivity. 

Barbara Barrie plays Myra Russell and she would later play Barney Miller’s wife in the 1970s. Charles Beaumont’s script is thoughtful and sensitive and flows well for the most part…Duvall is a big reason.

Of all the hour-long Twilight Zone episodes, Miniature is the only one never put into syndication. The reason is that when the series was originally syndicated, Miniature was involved in a lawsuit. A script entitled The Thirteenth Mannequin had been submitted to Cayuga Productions prior to Miniature. The script concerned an old man who preferred the company of store mannequinsmannequins who ultimately come to life. The suit claimed that since both works dealt with main characters becoming involved inanimate human figures who come to life, Miniature had stolen the idea.

Ultimately, the case was dismissed, both by the initial judge and on appeal. The Thirteenth Mannequin was no ancestor of Miniature. The curious thing about this whole affair is that if any Twilight Zone episode was similar to The Thirteenth Mannequin, it was Serlings The After Hoursand that was written long before anyone at Cayuga ever heard of The Thirteenth Mannequin. Even when it was submitted, The Thirteenth Mannequin was not unique; The Twilight Zone had already explored its central idea.

Still, the damage was done. Because of the suit, Miniature was aired only once until… It was re-aired in 1984 as part of The Twilight Zone Silver Anniversary Special. For this showing, the dollhouse scenes were colorized in an early public demonstration of the then-innovative colorization process.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Charles Beaumont

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

To the average person, a museum is a place of knowledge, a place of beauty and truth and wonder. Some people come to study, others to contemplate, others to look for the sheer joy of looking. Charley Parkes has his own reasons. He comes to the museum to get away from the world. It isn’t really the sixty-cent cafeteria meal that has drawn him here every day, it’s the fact that here in these strange, cool halls he can be alone for a little while, really and truly alone. Anyway, that’s how it was before he got lost and wandered into the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Mousey misfit Charley Parkes finds the world unfolding before him in a museum doll house to be more real than his boring job and overbearing mother.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

They never found Charley Parkes because the guard didn’t tell them what he saw in the glass case. He knew what they’d say and he knew they’d be right too because seeing is not always believing, especially if what you see happens to be an odd corner of the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Robert Duvall … Charley Parkes
Pert Kelton … Mrs. Parkes
Barbara Barrie … Myra Russell
William Windom … Dr. Wallman
Lennie Weinrib … Buddy Russell
John McLiam … Guard
Barney Phillips … Diemel
Joan Chambers … Harriet
Chet Stratton … Guide
Richard Angarola Richard Angarola … The Suitor
Nina Roman … The Maid
Claire Griswold … The Doll
Norman Burton … Office Worker (uncredited)
Sally Kellerman … Office Worker (uncredited)
Joseph V. Perry … Office Worker (uncredited)

Twilight Zone – Jess-Belle

★★★★ Febraury 14, 1963 Season 4 Episode 7

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

I like this episode….it has a backwoods eerie feel to it. The show reminded me of the 1940s and 1950s horror movies like the Wolfman but set in a rural enviroment. There is some padding but that doesn’t stop this from being a good episode. Each character portrays superstitious beliefs and they play off of that for the story. A story of how love can sometimes blind people to the consequences of their actions. This was written by Waltons creator Earl Hamner Jr. 

If you noticed the date…This haunting love story originally aired on Valentine’s Day in 1963.

The stand out in this episode was Jeanette Nolan as the creepy Granny Hart. A woman not to be messed with. She has an authentic backwoods dialect that she used in a previous episode…The Hunt. She was a marvelous character actress. James Best plays Billy Ben Turner in this one. Before he was in The Dukes of Hazzard he guest starred in the Andy Griffith Show among many shows. The two leading ladies Anne Francis and Laura Devon were on the mark. Anne Francis was in another Twilight Zone….the classic “After Hours” where she played a mannequin. 

From IMDB: Jeanette Nolan played Granny Hart, from whom Jess-Belle Stone obtains a love potion to win over Billy-Ben Turner. In The Twilight Zone: The Chaser (1960), Nolan’s husband John McIntire played Professor A. Daemon, from whom Roger Shackleforth obtains a love potion to win over Leila.

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

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The Twilight Zone has existed in many lands in many times. It has its roots in history, in something that happened long, long ago and got told about and handed down from one generation of folk to the other. In the telling the story gets added to and embroidered on, so that what might have happened in the time of the Druids is told as if it took place yesterday in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Such stories are best told by an elderly grandfather on a cold winter’s night by the fireside in the southern hills of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

After the love of her life, Billy Ben Turner, gets engaged to Ellwyn, the daughter of a rich farmer, a jealous Jess-Belle turns to a local witch to help her get him back. Granny Hart is known in the area as the person to go to for any potion you might want. Jess-Belle has no money, however, and all Granny Hart can give her is a potion that carries a high price. Jess-Belle is prepared to pay any price, and the potion she takes seems to work: as soon as Billy Ben sets eyes on her, he falls madly in love with her. When the clock strikes midnight, however, Jess-Belle is transformed and later realizes that she, too, is now a witch.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The episode did not feature a closing narration from Rod Serling. Instead, it ends with the folk song heard at the beginning:

Fair was Elly Glover,
Dark was Jess-Belle.
Both they loved the same man
And both they loved him well.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Anne Francis … Jess-Belle Stone
James Best … Billy Ben Turner
Laura Devon … Ellwyn Glover
Jeanette Nolan … Granny Hart
Virginia Gregg … Ossie Stone
George Mitchell … Luther Glover
Helen Kleeb … Mattie Glover
Jim Boles … Obed Miller
Jon Lormer … Minister

Twilight Zone – Death Ship

★★★★★ Febraury 7, 1963 Season 4 Episode 6

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

This is one of my favorite episodes of the 4th season. All three main actors bring something to the table. This one shows denial from the three main characters and the will to go on. They see a spaceship (their spaceship) has crashed and they see themselves dead. How is this possible? Are they really dead or is it just an hallucination? They spend the episode investigating different reasons as Captain Ross pushes the other two to the brink. 

Jack Klugman plays Captain Ross and he is great as always and he would appear in 4 Twilight Zones. Ross Martin appears as Lt. Ted Mason and Martin would have 130 tv credits in the 60s and 70s. He was turned down in starring roles  because of a heart condition and studios were afraid to take a chance on him in starring roles. He had mostly had guest appearances and was a great character actor. Fred Beir as Lt. Mike Carter had over 100 screen credits to his name.

This episode is quite creepy and the twist at the end is good…even if you guess it before hand. The hour long format works well in this episode. You get background information on each character. 

The special effects were really good for this one. Included in Death Ship are a number of futuristic props, including the spaceship itself (a leftover from the movie Forbidden Planet) and an on-bridge device that scans the planets surface. Realistic paintings show the wrecked spaceship and the exterior of a house back on Earth. Also worth noting are the day and night shots of the spaceship landing and taking off.

Russ Martin who was separted from his wife and daughter: I had found that certain personal things with regard to my own daughter motivate me or drive me or move me. Years ago, I was in a class taught by Marty Ritt, who is now a brilliant director, and one of the exercises we had was to move a distance of something like eighteen feet in three steps and sit in a chair. I mean, just move, three steps and youre sitting in the chair. And I said, Tt just cant be done. He said, You give yourself something thatll make you do that.

So I pictured my daughter under certain circumstances. Now, its horrible to me even now, as I mention it but the truth is that I pictured her at a window, inside a burning building, calling to me in near panic, Daddy! Daddy! And I took those steps! It was effortless to stride the length of a mans body. It was almost as though I had been shot out of a cannon, but that was because that was meaningful to me. And I used similar circumstances involving my own daughter, in my mind, in preparation for that scene, so that when I turned and saw her my heart just broke. The joy, the joy at seeing her!

Special effects supervisor Herbert Hirschman :  I supervised the construction and told them what I wanted. We built a miniature to show the ship landing and taking off. It was on a table with sand and little plants. The ship was suspended from invisible wires. And as the ship was slowing in the descent, I wanted to see the sand billowing up. It was very expensive, but I felt that it was essential to the credibility of the show. The attention to detail was well worth the effort; its a beautiful effect. It was an awful lot of fun, says Hirschman, I kept asking for more and they kept doing it.

IMDB: The story proposes that 1997 is the year that spaceships are being sent from an overpopulated Earth to find planets suitable for colonization. A similar notion was later used as one of the main premises of Lost in Space (1965), a series which starred many Twilight Zone alumni.

Of the three main actors, Jack Klugman (Captain Ross) was the only one who lived to see the actual 1997.

The spaceship E-89, is the same miniature prop that was originally created as the saucer-shaped United Planets Cruiser C-57D for the 1956 MGM science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956). The external set of the ship and its staircase, and the crew uniforms, are also from the same film. “The Twilight Zone” was able to make extensive use of props and costumes created for “Forbidden Planet” (including Robby The Robot) thanks to the fact that it was regularly filmed at MGM Studios, which kept all these items in storage in its prop department for many years.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Picture of the spaceship E-89, cruising above the 13th planet of star system 51, the year 1997. In a little while, supposedly, the ship will be landed and specimens taken: vegetable, mineral, and if any, animal. These will be brought back to overpopulated Earth, where technicians will evaluate them, and if everything is satisfactory, stamp their findings with the word ‘inhabitable’ and open up yet another planet for colonization. These are the things that are supposed to happen.

Picture of the crew of the spaceship E-89: Captain Ross, Lieutenant Mason, Lieutenant Carter. Three men who have just reached a place which is as far from home as they will ever be. Three men who in a matter of minutes will be plunged into the darkest nightmare reaches of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

In 1997, the spaceship E-89 arrives at the 13th planet in star system 51. Their mission is to collect plant samples to take back to an overpopulated Earth so it can be determined if the planet could be colonized. What they find however is a crashed spaceship of Earth design. Inside the ship they discover three dead crew members – but the dead are their duplicates and the crashed vessel is the E-89. The captain refuses to accept that they might be dead and explores several possibilities to explain what has happened including the theory that they may have time-traveled. The two crewmen hallucinate and come to believe they are already dead but the captain refuses to accept that and intends to prove that they are very much alive.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Picture of a man who will not see anything he does not choose to see, including his own death. A man of such indomitable will that even the two men beneath his command are not allowed to see the truth; which truth is, that they are no longer among the living, that the movements they make and the words they speak have all been made and spoken countless times before, and will be made and spoken countless times again, perhaps even unto eternity. Picture of a latter-day Flying Dutchman, sailing into the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Jack Klugman…Capt. Paul Ross
Ross Martin…Lt. Ted Mason
Fred Beir (as Fredrick Beir)…Lt. Mike Carter
Mary Webster…Ruth Mason
Ross Elliott…Kramer
Sara Taft…Mrs. Nolan
Tammy Marihugh…Jeannie Mason

Twilight Zone – Mute

★★★★ January 31, 1963 Season 4 Episode 5

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

I really like this one. It’s not among the best but again a really good sci-fi episode. The show has some very good character actors like Frank Overton and Barbara Baxley.  A girl who  loses her parents in a fire manages to escape their burning house. A couple named Harry and Cora take her in but cannot uderstand why Ilse doesn’t talk. It turns out that Ilse used telepathy with her parents…her parents were molding her to use that skill. When Harry and Cora took her to school for the first time Ilse was horrified and could not commuicate like other kids.

This episode has depth and there are a lot of moving parts. What I saw in this episode is parents who treat their children as objects to be molded rather than people with needs and rights. Its a good episode and moves quite well. It does give a back story on why Ilse’s parents were teaching her telepathic abilities.

The biggest surprise to me was who played Ilse…it was an 80s sitcom actress…Ann Jillian.

Ann Jillian/"Mute" - Sitcoms Online Photo GalleriesAnn Jillian: Movies, TV, and Bio

From IMDB: The main street that Ilsa runs across is the same one used in The Twilight Zone: I Sing the Body Electric (1962). Located on the MGM backlot in Culver City, it was known as the “New England Street”, and is same set that was featured in the Andy Hardy movies, starring Mickey Rooney., Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock”, Frank Sinatra’s “Some Came Running” and the 1970s musical fantasy “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band”, starring The Bee Gees, which was the last major film shot there. Much of the MGM backlot had been demolished in 1974, and the remainder, including the New England Street, was pulled down in 1978, soon after filming wrapped on “Sgt Pepper’s”.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

What you’re witnessing is the curtain-raiser to a most extraordinary play; to wit, the signing of a pact, the commencement of a project. The play itself will be performed almost entirely offstage. The final scenes are to be enacted a decade hence and with a different cast. The main character of these final scenes is Ilse, the daughter of Professor and Mrs. Nielsen, age two. At the moment she lies sleeping in her crib, unaware of the singular drama in which she is to be involved. Ten years from this moment, Ilse Nielsen is to know the desolating terror of living simultaneously in the world and in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Sometime after World War II, a small group of people make a pact to develop their telepathic abilities as a means of communicating, foregoing any type of oral communication. One couple, the Nielsens, announce that they are migrating to a small town in the USA, German Corners, Pa. After a tragic fire at their house 10 years later, Sheriff Harry Wheeler and his wife Cora take in the only survivor, the now orphaned Ilsa Nielsen. The young girl has never learned to speak, always using telepathy to communicate with her parents. They don’t quite understand why Ilsa won’t speak to them and Cora sees her as a replacement for the daughter she lost in an accident some years ago. When they enroll Ilsa in school, her teacher is determined to make her act like all the other children.

THE ENTIRE EPISODE ON DAILY MOTION

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

It has been noted in a book of proven wisdom that perfect love casteth out fear. While it’s unlikely that this observation was meant to include that specific fear that follows the loss of extrasensory perception, the principle remains, as always, beautifully intact. Case in point, that of Ilse Nielsen, former resident of the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Barbara Baxley … Cora Wheeler
Frank Overton … Harry Wheeler
Irene Dailey … Miss Frank
Ann Jillian … Ilse (as Ann Jilliann)
Éva Szörényi … Frau Werner (as Eva Soreny)
Robert Boon … Holger Nielsen
Claudia Bryar … Frau Nielsen
Percy Helton … Tom Poulter
Oscar Beregi Jr. … Karl Werner (as Oscar Beregi)
Fred Aldrich … Pedestrian (uncredited)
William Challee … Rude man on porch (uncredited)
Bill Erwin Bill Erwin … Man in Flashback (uncredited)
Charles Morton … Bartender (uncredited)
Norbert Schiller … Committee member in prologue (uncredited)
Glen Walters … Pedestrian (uncredited

Twilight Zone – He’s Alive

★★★★★ 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.

Summary

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.

CAST

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)

Twilight Zone – Valley Of The Shadow

★★★★★ January 17, 1963 Season 4 Episode 3

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

One of the thought-provoking episodes of the 4th season. I like the story and the pace for the hour long format is brisk. They cover a lot of ground in this episode. Ed Nelson as Philip Redfield plays this role with passion. He is traveling through back roads and runs through a small nothing little town called Peaceful Valley.

He notices something different and the townspeople can do things that are impossible…make a dog disappear, bring that same dog back from the dead, and invisible force fields. He finds out the history of the town from the leaders and wants them to share this with the world.

If you had the technology to end poverty, sickness, and even death in cases…do you use it? If you do, you risk someone getting the technology and using it for evil things. Are humans outside of this peaceful town ready for that much power? Dorn doesn’t think so…and I don’t either.

. Al the actors do a great job. David Opatoshu as the “town” leader Dorn plays it with compassion and common sense. You will know James Doohan in a minor role…still a few years away from Scotty in Star Trek.

Watch this one…it could have been a great sci-fi movie.

The title comes from the King James Version of the 23rd Psalm in the Hebrew Bible. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

This show was written by Rod Serling and Charles Beaumont

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

You’ve seen them. Little towns, tucked away far from the main roads. You’ve seen them, but have you thought about them? What do the people in these places do? Why do they stay? Philip Redfield never thought about them. If his dog hadn’t gone after that cat, he would have driven through Peaceful Valley and put it out of his mind forever. But he can’t do that now, because whether he knows it or not his friend’s shortcut has led him right into the capital of the Twilight Zone.

Summary

On the back roads, trying to find his way back home, reporter Philip Redfield and his dog, Rollie, stop in the small town of Peaceful Valley, for gas and food, and directions. When Rollie runs off in pursuit of a cat, a young girl points a device at the dog, and he disappears. Though her father brings Rollie back, Philip finds it all very strange. When Phillip tries to leave town, his car crashes into an invisible barrier, preventing his departure. Shaken up, the town’s mayor, Dorn, reveals their secret, and gives Philip the choice; join them or die

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

You’ve seen them. Little towns, tucked away far from the main roads. You’ve seen them, but have you thought about them? Have you wondered what the people do in such places, why they stay? Philip Redfield thinks about them now and he wonders, but only very late at night, when he’s between wakefulness and sleep in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
David Opatoshu … Dorn
Ed Nelson … Philip Redfield
Natalie Trundy … Ellen Marshall
Jacques Aubuchon … Connolly
Dabbs Greer … Evans
James Doohan … Father
Morgan Brittany … Girl (as Suzanne Cupito)
Henry Beckman … Townsman
Bart Burns Bart Burns … Townsman
King Calder … Townsman
Pat O’Hara Pat O’Hara … Townsman
Sandy Kenyon … The Attendant

Twilight Zone – The Thirty-Five Fathom Grave

★★★1/2 January 10, 1963 Season 4 Episode 2

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

This is the second episode in the new hour long format. This story has some added padding…a direct consequence of the hour-long format of this episode.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t good. The story is creepy but they visited this theme before in the second season opener King Nine Will Not Return.

The cast is excellent. Mike Kellin plays Chief Bell  who is having survivors guilt that brings to mind PTSD. You find out later that it’s more than that. Simon Oakland is Captain Beecham and gives a very realistic performance as Oakland does in whatever he is in. The most famous actor in this one…at least to my generation is Bill Bixby. He only plays a supporting role and it’s interesting to see him as a younger actor.

Basically it’s a great story but too much padding but…very watchable.

This is from IMDB…it’s a piece of trivia that is very eerie: Mike Kellin portraying the main character, Chief Bell, died 26 August 1983, the ship used for exterior shots in the episode was decommissioned 11 August 1983. Simon Oakland, who portrayed the captain, died three days later on 29 August 1983.

Also this explains why this episode drags a bit: Season four of Twilight Zone is the only one of the five seasons that ran its episodes in hour long time slots rather then the conventional half-hour format. The Thirty-Fathom Grave was written by Rod Serling before the network and producers decided to try out the series in the new lengthier format. Since the episode had already been optioned for season four it was necessary for Rod Serling to re-write and expand the episode to fit the new hour slot. Therefore several new scenes had to be added or padded to fill up time. As a result, this episode received mostly negative feedback based on its slow pace and unnecessary dialogue.

This episode would have been so much better at the original 30 minutes.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Incident one hundred miles off the coast of Guadalcanal. Time: the present. The United States naval destroyer on what has been a most uneventful cruise. In a moment, they’re going to send a man down thirty fathoms and check on a noise maker – someone or something tapping on metal. You may or may not read the results in a naval report, because Captain Beecham and his crew have just set a course that will lead this ship and everyone on it into the Twilight Zone.

Summary

As a U.S. Navy destroyer cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted but constant hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the ocean floor, apparently there since World War II. The ship’s chief boatswain’s mate becomes very nervous, having served aboard that sub – and he was its sole survivor.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Small naval engagement, the month of April, 1963. Not to be found in any historical annals. Look for this one filed under ‘H’ for haunting in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Mike Kellin…Chief Bell
Simon Oakland…Captain Beecham
David Sheiner…Doc
John Considine…McClure
Bill Bixby…OOD
Conlan Carter…Ensign
Forrest Compton…ASW Officer
Henry Scott…Jr. OOD
Anthony D. Call…Lee Helmsman
Charles Kuenstle…Sonar Operator
Derrik Lewis…Helmsman
Vincent Baggetta…Crewman
Louie Elias…Crewman