jakeem

"The Twilight Zone": Where is everybody?

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Sometimes I forget that Carol Burnett made many guest star appearances on television before she headlined her own variety show on CBS in 1967. She appeared in the 1962 episode of "The Twilight Zone" titled "Cavender Is Coming." She played a hard-luck woman who gets a chance for a better life thanks to a guardian angel (Jesse White).

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Actress Joanne Linville turns 90 in a couple of weeks. She played the first female Romulan commander in an episode of "Star Trek" (see "The Enterprise Incident"). But she was memorable in the 1961 episode of "The Twilight Zone" titled "The Passersby," which was set at the end of the Civil War. She played the widow of a Confederate officer who watched former combatants as they walked down the road past her house. James Gregory co-starred as an injured Confederate soldier who stopped by for water and rest.

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54 minutes ago, jakeem said:

Sometimes I forget that Carol Burnett made many guest star appearances on television before she headlined her own variety show on CBS in 1967. She appeared in the 1962 episode of "The Twilight Zone" titled "Cavender Is Coming." She played a hard-luck woman who gets a chance for an improved life thanks to a guardian angel (Jesse White).

Dang, forgot about Carol Burnett too--Probably because we sort of subconsciously try to ignore the "funny" TZ episodes, and that was Rod's third attempt to spin off his "Guardian angel" wacky-60's-sitcom.

(The first was the "Mr. Bevis" episode with Orson Bean, and "The Whole Truth", with the cursed truth-car, would have been the second sitcom episode.  Mr. Bean still seems to be with us, though, and hitting 90:

230px-Orson_Bean_The_Twilight_Zone.jpg

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26 minutes ago, EricJ said:

Dang, forgot about Carol Burnett too--Probably because we sort of subconsciously try to ignore the "funny" TZ episodes, and that was Rod's third attempt to spin off his "Guardian angel" wacky-60's-sitcom.

And as Dargo mentioned earlier, there really were a lot of time travel episodes, too. But most of them are among my favorites. One of the best was "Back There" from 1961 -- another Civil War-related episode. A pre-"Gilligan's Island" Russell Johnson plays a time traveler who tries to prevent Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865. His problem is that no one believes his story -- except a dashing guy named Jonathan Wellington (not his real name). "Wellington" was played by John Lasell, who turns 90 in November. Also in the episode: James Lydon, the movies' Henry Aldrich, who appeared as a police officer. He is 94.

Image result for john wilkes booth twilight zone

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On 1/1/2018 at 1:09 PM, jakeem said:

It's getting tougher and tougher to watch the Syfy Channel's traditional New Year's holiday marathon of "The Twilight Zone."

The reason: Mortality. Every year, we lose more and more of the actors who guest starred on Rod Serling's classic series, which originally aired on CBS from 1959 to 1964. Among those who died in 2017: Martin Landau, Don Gordon and Don Rickles.

So here's a thread about "Twilight Zone" guest stars who are still with us. How many can you think of? Here are a few that immediately come to mind:

William Shatner ("Nick of Time"; "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," pictured below) -- This one is a no-brainer. Shatner, who will turn 87 in March, is very active with projects and appearances -- and is a frequent Twitter user.

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Robert Redford ("Nothing in the Dark") -- At the age of 81, the two-time Academy Award recipient seems to be as busy as ever with film projects, although he says his acting career is nearing its end.

Image result for robert redford nothing in the dark

Earl Holliman ("Where Is Everybody?") -- The veteran actor appeared in the very first episode of "The Twilight Zone" on October 2, 1959. He will observe his 90th birthday in September.

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Robert Duvall ("Miniature") -- The prolific character actor turns 87 on Friday. His next film, "Widows," is scheduled to open in November.

Image result for robert duvall the twilight zone

Bill Mumy ("It's a Good Life," pictured below; "In Praise of Pip"; "Long Distance Call") -- The former child actor is 63 and will celebrate another birthday on February 1.

Image result for billy mumy the twilight zone

 

I own the complete boxed set but found myself of course watching numerous episodes during the 48 hours. Caught all my favorites like with Gig Young, Inger Stevens, Donna Douglas, Burgess Meredith, Billy Mumy, Shatner in "Nick of Time". Love the "Miniature" one wit Duvall which did not originally play due to legal reasons as I recall. The passing of Serling at such an early age was a real loss to the entertainment world since his self-penned episodes and earlier dramatic works always centered on humanity which seems to be in short supply now. Great post and thanks for featuring TZ as a topic!

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8 hours ago, EricJ said:

Dang, forgot about Carol Burnett too--Probably because we sort of subconsciously try to ignore the "funny" TZ episodes, and that was Rod's third attempt to spin off his "Guardian angel" wacky-60's-sitcom.

(The first was the "Mr. Bevis" episode with Orson Bean, and "The Whole Truth", with the cursed truth-car, would have been the second sitcom episode.  Mr. Bean still seems to be with us, though, and hitting 90:

230px-Orson_Bean_The_Twilight_Zone.jpg

As much of a TZ fan and addict I am, I have to say the only episodes I don't particularly enjoy are the ones with comic elements. I don't think this was a forte of the series or of Serling, but I can see why they were a part of the package, so even with people I love like Keaton, I feel a bit letdown whenever they try to do something comedic. 

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Count me in as someone who doesn't care very much for the comedic episodes of The Twilight Zone. They just did not mesh in well with the rest of the series and as you point out CaveGirl, comedy simply was not Serling's thing.

One episode that might be an exception to the rule, and maybe that's only because it ended on a dark note, is A KIND OF STOPWATCH, where this loud, obnoxious guy (who's oblivious to the fact he's obnoxious) is given a unique watch which stops time....and well I won't go into the ending, but I found myself laughing all the way up to the twist.

All the other episodes played strictly for laughs bombed big time with me, however.

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Although I've greatly admired Serling -- he and Paddy Chayefsky were giants of TV's Golden Age -- many of my favorite episodes of "The Twlight Zone" were written by the sci-fi master Richard Matheson (1926-2013).

Image result for richard matheson

Among the episodes he wrote (and we've already mentioned several of them):

  • "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" -- the one about William Shatner as a nervous airplane passenger who sees a gremlin on the wing. It was remade with John Lithgow for "Twilight Zone: The Movie" in 1983. Later, Lithgow and Shatner made references to the two versions of the story on Lithgow's sitcom "Third Rock from the Sun."
  • "The Last Flight" -- the one about the World War I British pilot who flees from an aerial dogfight and finds himself at a NATO base during the mid-20th century. 
  • "Little Girl Lost" -- the one about the child who falls through her bedroom wall and winds up in another dimension.
  • "The Invaders" -- the one in which Agnes Moorehead plays a rural woman battling tiny aliens from another planet.

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  • "Spur of the Moment" -- the one in which an heiress played by Diana Hyland goes horseback riding and is chased by a woman in black, also riding a horse.
  • "A World of His Own" -- the one about Keenan Wynn's magic dictation machine, which allows him to create people -- or erase them from real life. 
  • "Once Upon a Time" -- the silent one starring Buster Keaton as a time traveler from the late 19th century.

The young Steven Spielberg's 1971 made-for-TV movie "Duel" -- which starred Dennis Weaver as a motorist terrorized by the driver of a tanker truck -- was based on a Matheson short story. The beauty of the TV version: viewers never saw the driver, which made the truck appear to be a monster.

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18 minutes ago, jakeem said:

Although I've greatly admired Serling -- he and Paddy Chayefsky were giants of TV's Golden Age -- many of my favorite episodes of "The Twlight Zone" were written by the sci-fi master Richard Matheson (1926-2013).

He was one of the greats. His novels include I Am Legend, which has proven to be extremely influential in its depiction of a post-apocalyptic society; The Legend of Hell House, one of the better ghost stories; The Shrinking Man, made into The Incredible Shrinking ManA Stir of EchoesWhat Dreams May Come; numerous short stories and scripts for other shows, as well.

One also has to keep in mind that many of the TZ episodes credited to Charles Beaumont were actually written by Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, or others. Beaumont was a respected writer for many years, but by the time Twilight Zone began, he was secretly suffering from early-onset dementia. He kept it very quiet as he needed work to support his family. When Matheson learned of this, he and a few other writers took turns helping write the Beaumont scripts, but they turned them in to Serling with only Beaumont's name on them so that he would get full credit and pay for them. I don't think they ever revealed who actually worked on which, out of respect for Beaumont. Some sources say that Beaumont didn't show symptoms until 1963; others say it was much earlier. He died in 1967, age 38.

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5 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

One also has to keep in mind that many of the TZ episodes credited to Charles Beaumont were actually written by Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, or others. Beaumont was a respected writer for many years, but by the time Twilight Zone began, he was secretly suffering from early-onset dementia. He kept it very quiet as he needed work to support his family. When Matheson learned of this, he and a few other writers took turns helping write the Beaumont scripts, but they turned them in to Serling with only Beaumont's name on them so that he would get full credit and pay for them. I don't think they ever revealed who actually worked on which, out of respect for Beaumont. Some sources say that Beaumont didn't show symptoms until 1963; others say it was much earlier. He died in 1967, age 38.

I never knew this. What a great story! Now I wonder if Beaumont actually wrote "The Howling Man" -- another of my Top 10 favorite episodes.

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On 1/1/2018 at 9:15 PM, mr6666 said:

saw today....George Takei...

" "The Encounter" is episode 151 of the American television series The Twilight Zone. First broadcast on May 1, 1964, its racial overtones caused it to be withheld from syndication in the U.S. On January 1, 2016, the episode was finally re-aired as part of Syfy's annual Twilight Zone New's Year Eve marathon. ...

twilight_zone_the_encounter_526.jpg

One thing that added resonance to this episode for me as I watched it the other day, was that Neville Brand had actually served in WWII and was a highly decorated soldier winning a Silver Star, Purple Heart amongst many other awards. I think that added to the authenticity of his performance in this stirring drama against the equally impressive performance of Takei. Though not the most decorated soldier in said war, like Audie Murphy, I think Brand was more effective as an actor playing parts as cold as Al Capone in the original tv "The Untouchables" along with parts of a more lighthearted message. But if you want a tough guy, pick him for your role or someone like WWII tailgunner, Charles Bronson and you will get exactly what you want on film, as opposed to movie tough guys who are more like cream puffs!

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10 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

One thing that added resonance to this episode for me as I watched it the other day, was that Neville Brand had actually served in WWII and was a highly decorated soldier winning a Silver Star, Purple Heart amongst many other awards. I think that added to the authenticity of his performance in this stirring drama against the equally impressive performance of Takei. Though not the most decorated soldier in said war, like Audie Murphy, I think Brand was more effective as an actor playing parts as cold as Al Capone in the original tv "The Untouchables" along with parts of a more lighthearted message. But if you want a tough guy, pick him for your role or someone like WWII tailgunner, Charles Bronson and you will get exactly what you want on film, as opposed to movie tough guys who are more like cream puffs!

I've never seen this episode because it was withheld from syndication for so many years. I also have never seen "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," which according to a recent episode of "Jeopardy!" was a French film that won the 1963 Oscar for Best Live Action Short.

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I was just going to mention that episode. I know in the original "Twilight Zone Companion" book there is a nice bit about Serling needing one more episode and choosing that French film he had seen as the award winner thinking it would save money for their limited budget. I think it fits in admirably with the TZ canonical episodes, being of the same mien and unworldly attitude. I find it very evocative and since I think many US students have had that tale on their reading lists in college, it was fun to see it filmically told after reading the original story in high school. The ending, even if known ahead of time, takes one's breath away.

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28 minutes ago, NipkowDisc said:

"I must've been nuts to stay behind."

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Oh geez, isn't that the one with a title like "The Old Man and the Mountain" or something like that? I'm too lazy to look it up in my book. This one is a true study in psychology of someone wielding power and then wanting to keep their primary role over helping those they seem to care about. Masterfully done and a lesson to all about the true motives of our leaders no matter how caring they seem to be. James Whitmore is great in the role by the way.

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18 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

Oh geez, isn't that the one with a title like "The Old Man and the Mountain" or something like that? I'm too lazy to look it up in my book. This one is a true study in psychology of someone wielding power and then wanting to keep their primary role over helping those they seem to care about. Masterfully done and a lesson to all about the true motives of our leaders no matter how caring they seem to be. James Whitmore is great in the role by the way.

It was an episode written by Serling and titled "On Thursday We Leave for Home." 

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I know a lot of people want to live in the Twilight Zone. My requirements are antibiotics, anesthesia, and birth control. If they don't have it, I'm not going. That puts most of my beloved fictional worlds out of the question to visit or live in.
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59 minutes ago, Susan Hopkins said:
I know a lot of people want to live in the Twilight Zone. My requirements are antibiotics, anesthesia, and birth control. If they don't have it, I'm not going. That puts most of my beloved fictional worlds out of the question to visit or live in.

............

............

................What?  :blink:

(Y'know, back in the 50's, nobody else could understand Rod's "This is the area we call 'imagination', and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge" first-season opening, either.)

9 hours ago, jakeem said:

It was an episode written by Serling and titled "On Thursday We Leave for Home." 

One of exactly three bright spots of the "lost" one-hour Fourth Season episodes.  (The other two being Jack Klugman in "Death Ship", and Earl Hamner doing his down-home style in "Jess-Belle"...Although I'm a little easier on Dennis Hopper in "He's Alive" than most.)

Which usually fall off the radar of most of Fox's more familiar half-hour syndication and Netflix, but Hulu has the missing episodes, and...oh, dear gods.  If you thought any episode could be worse than "The New Exhibit", just try "I Dream of Genie" or "The Bard" as to "Why TZ should not do 'Funny' episodes". 

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The show's attempts at injecting humor occasionally never bothered me.  Some of it was actually clever. Like KEENAN WYNN destroying that "tape" of Rod Serling and having Rod disappear after saying how such a thing to be real is ridiculous and all...

We all have our favorites.  I like all of them, but do have some I like more than others.  And I always like seeing those episodes in which either now well known and "famous" actors and actresses were first(or early on) seen, and those in which many well known(at the time) actors and actresses were playing out of "type".

Sepiatone

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9 hours ago, EricJ said:

...Which usually fall off the radar of most of Fox's more familiar half-hour syndication and Netflix, but Hulu has the missing episodes, and...oh, dear gods.  If you thought any episode could be worse than "The New Exhibit", just try "I Dream of Genie" or "The Bard" as to "Why TZ should not do 'Funny' episodes". 

Actually Eric, I found "The Bard" episode fairly funny, but mainly because of the great job Burt Reynolds(another still with us at 81, btw) does satirizing Marlon Brando in it.

Although word was Brando once said he didn't share my opinion of Burt's impression of him or I guess of Burt in general...

 

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Just now, EricJ said:

One of exactly three bright spots of the "lost" one-hour Fourth Season episodes.  (The other two being Jack Klugman in "Death Ship", and Earl Hamner doing his down-home style in "Jess-Belle"...Although I'm a little easier on Dennis Hopper in "He's Alive" than most.)

Which usually fall off the radar of most of Fox's more familiar half-hour syndication and Netflix, but Hulu has the missing episodes, and...oh, dear gods.  If you thought any episode could be worse than "The New Exhibit", just try "I Dream of Genie" or "The Bard" as to "Why TZ should not do 'Funny' episodes". 

Actually, I like several of the one-hour episodes. Interestingly, two of my favorites are headlined by brothers. And the episodes aired in back-to-back weeks!

In "No Time Like the Past" (airdate: March 7, 1963) -- written by Serling -- Dana Andrews played a 1960s scientist who uses a time machine to see if he can change history. First, he fails to persuade Hiroshima authorities to evacuate the city before the atomic bomb is dropped in August 1945. Then he is interrupted in Berlin while trying to assassinate Hitler before the outbreak of World War II. And he is unable to stop a German U-boat's sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania in May 1915.

The final straw is when he attempts to prevent a tragic school fire in an Indiana town in 1881. Not only does he fail to prevent it, but he also causes it!

Image result for no time like the past dana andrews

In Serling's "The Parallel" (airdate: March 14, 1963), Steve Forrest starred as an American astronaut who returns from a space flight to find that things aren't quite right at home. His beloved daughter is suddenly aloof, his house has a white picket fence that wasn't there before -- and he is a colonel instead of a major. The U.S. president is different, too. 

As it turned out, he was in a parallel world. When he somehow gets back to his own spacecraft, the first question he asks controllers on the ground is: "Who's the president of the United States." The answer: "John F. Kennedy."

Image result for steve forrest the parallel images

By the way, Jacqueline Scott, who played the astronaut's wife in both worlds, just turned 86 on Monday.

Image result for the parallel steve forrest

 

 

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On 1/4/2018 at 2:32 AM, EricJ said:

............

............

................What?  :blink:

(Y'know, back in the 50's, nobody else could understand Rod's "This is the area we call 'imagination', and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge" first-season opening, either.)

One of exactly three bright spots of the "lost" one-hour Fourth Season episodes.  (The other two being Jack Klugman in "Death Ship", and Earl Hamner doing his down-home style in "Jess-Belle"...Although I'm a little easier on Dennis Hopper in "He's Alive" than most.)

Which usually fall off the radar of most of Fox's more familiar half-hour syndication and Netflix, but Hulu has the missing episodes, and...oh, dear gods.  If you thought any episode could be worse than "The New Exhibit", just try "I Dream of Genie" or "The Bard" as to "Why TZ should not do 'Funny' episodes". 

I so agree, Eric about TZ not having a real forte for comedy on the series and the episodes you mention are good examples. But I cannot agree with the following if you are meaning by saying "nobody else could understand Rod's...etc.] that few viewers in the 1950's got the point of Serling's messages on TZ, because it was the show to watch each week and was probably a "cult" favorite before the word became hackneyed and a cliche.

"Y'know, back in the 50's, nobody else could understand Rod's "This is the area we call 'imagination', and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge" first-season opening, either.)"

This was a highly regarded show by both adults and particularly kids. Serling had fame already for his fine tv dramas based on adult situations, and then the sci-fi and otherworldly aspects of TZ were acclaimed and the show was a hit with smart kids and parents both. Production costs and other issues may have brought it to an end, but for more about the status of its programming and ratings, I would direct anyone to the fine book "The Twilight Zone Companion".

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Just now, CaveGirl said:

But I cannot agree with the following if you are meaning by saying "nobody else could understand Rod's...etc.] that few viewers in the 1950's got the point of Serling's messages on TZ, 

No, viewers couldn't understand Serling was talking about the "gray area" of imagination:

They thought the Zone was some actual alternate place--or dimension, like the opening said--and we'd get jokes in sitcoms like "I feel like I've walked into the Twilight Zone".  Even Jack Benny was unclear on the definition, when Rod Serling guested on his TV show:

 

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

No, viewers couldn't understand Serling was talking about the "gray area" of imagination:

They thought the Zone was some actual alternate place--or dimension, like the opening said--and we'd get jokes in sitcoms like "I feel like I've walked into the Twilight Zone".  Even Jack Benny was unclear on the definition, when Rod Serling guested on his TV show:

 

I'd say it is a rather blanket statement to say that you know and have discussed this issue with all the original "viewers" of the TZ original series and none of them could "understand" what Serling was referring to. This would seem to imply that all viewers in the 1950's are daft and have the sophistication mentally of an amoeba.

C'mon. 

Do you know all the original viewers of the original "Twilight Zone"??? And do you have signed and certified copies of this belief you say they had?

Apparently you believe that Jack Benny did not have writers, and was speaking extemporaneously about his lack of understanding of Serling's themes. As if we are to believe everything Jack said on his show, was his true feelings and understandings about life, entertainment and the like. I suppose you really think Jack was cheap and would not pay Rochester well, or that Rochester really worked for him and that Jack could get angry with George Burns or that Jack really was trying to convince people he was 39 years old and he really thought he was a great violin player?

Many entertainers of the time made jokes about the Twilight Zone but it did not mean they really had no understanding of the series.

To believe otherwise is to believe all comments made on tv by hosts on shows are their real feelings with no sense of them being facetious.

Do you think all monologues by tv hosts are not written beforehand and are just ad libs too?

I rest my case...




 

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