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?The Twilight Zone? Turns 50: What?s Your Favorite Episode?

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> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:}{quote}

> I used to be a window dresser in a department store back when stores HAD window displays.

 

TikiSoo..... oh TikiSoo.... you just thought you were a ?window dresser.? Your time is up and you must come back to us now......

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/1531/underworldbeautysy2.jpg

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Oh, I just HAD to post on this thread, because I loved the Twilight Zone! What an awesome show! I had never heard of it until I moved to Toronto in the early 80s, so I was a bit late discovering it. But, as they say, better late than never.

 

I used to watch the show on CITY-TV, or any station that happened to be running it in syndication. Sad that no one seems to air it these days - but that doesn't matter to me anymore because I have the entire series on DVD now.

 

My favourite episode is A World of His Own, about a writer whose characters come to life after he reads descriptions of them into his tape recorder. And there is a great bit at the end with Rod Serling!

 

Also enjoy Nightmare at 20,000 Feet - William Shatner gives such a good performance in this one!

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> {quote:title=Deb23 wrote:}{quote}

> Also enjoy Nightmare at 20,000 Feet - William Shatner gives such a good performance in this one!

 

What about the episode with Bill Shatner when he & his wife are in the caf? and he becomes obsessed with the fortune telling napkin holder? Only Shatner could bring tension and drama to such ridiculous story lines.

Although he is so often mocked, *I* think he is an engaging dramatic actor and have always enjoyed his performances. (you should see him do Shakespere-brought tears to my eyes!)

 

And really, for the most part TZ employed really great _dramatic_ talent during the time when cool "less is more" was the popular trend in acting. This, coupled with excellent creative writing is why the series was as great as it was and still endures. It didn't hurt that they had an entire movie studio & talented staff for their production.

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*"He Lives!"*

 

Wherein Dennis Hopper is a neo-Nazi leader (Chicago, perhaps?) not getting very far with his movement, befriended by a sympathetic Jew (Ludwig Donath...who made a career playing in Third Reich reenactments).

 

Hopper murders Donath and orders the killing of a stormtrooper (to create a martyr) on orders from Adolf Hitler, who seems to never die...in Hollywood, anyway!

 

Edited by: Ascotrudgeracer on Oct 5, 2009 2:43 PM

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Anne, Amazon.com has "Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection" for $125-$150, which is about half of the cover price. The only problem, as I said earlier, is that there are no subtitles or foreign language tracks. The commentaries aren't all that revealing, but all 156 episodes are there.

 

I just love reading everyone's descriptions of their favorite episodes! This is a great topic! Keep the memories and descriptions coming, gang.

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I also like ?The Hitch-hiker?, ?A mysterious hitchhiker keeps appearing on the road as a woman (Inger Stevens) drives across the country.?

 

This one first aired on Jan. 20, 1960.

 

Well, I graduated from high school later that year, and I went off to college in the fall. Then later in the fall I drove with some college friends about 200 miles to attend one of our out-of-town football games. Along the way we saw the same hitch-hiker three times! That scared those of us who had seen the TZ show earlier in the year.

 

We first saw the guy along the narrow two-lane highway about 50 miles outside the town we were going to.

 

About half an hour later we saw the same guy again along the same highway.

 

About 15 minutes later we arrived in the little town we were going to, and we went into a little caf? to have some dinner, and he was inside the caf? having dinner.

 

This disturbed us quite a lot, but we finally decided that he had just been able to catch rides behind us that had passed us along the highway, and then those cars let him out along the road and we saw him there a few minutes later. The same with the caf? sighting.

 

But this was something that normally doesn?t happen to anyone in an entire lifetime.

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I would have to say the one where this elderly lady is getting phone calls all hours of the night and it turns out they are coming from a grave where there is a phone wire down and it happens to be where her fiance was buried EXCELLENT>>>>>

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I'm not an expert on this oft imitated, never equaled series. (I don't remember the Willoughby episode!) But there are several that moved me to profound reaction. The couple in the dollhouse, of course. "Daddy went all the way to Earth for them!" One about a lady with a fever, who dreams the earth is getting hotter and hotter. Astronauts on a planet of giants.

 

But the perfect example of the irony this show offered is Miss Douglas and the reminder that beauty is only skin deep. Especially...in The Twilight Zone!

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"MIRROR IMAGE" . . . Thanks, Edonline, for the Name of the

Twilight Zone Episode with Vera Miles & Martin Milner . . .

 

. . .and as a youngster, during the early '60's, our means of transportaion during vacations,

was on the Greyhound Bus or Trailways, from Downtown Chicago. And needless to say,

being around 7 or 8 yrs of age, I avoided looking @ any mirrors or bus windows, if possible, because of seeing that Episode w/ Vera Miles seeing her Double @ the Bus Station . . .

 

My brother Jim & I were discussing the Openning & Closing Tune of the Twilight Zone.

We were trying to Guess what instruments were used. I believe there were Bongo Drums,

for sure, violins and is that piano or cello that makes that repetitive 4 notes, in the beginning

of the 'Song' ?

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> {quote:title=ugaarte wrote:}{quote}

> "MIRROR IMAGE" . . . Thanks, Edonline, for the Name of the

> Twilight Zone Episode with Vera Miles & Martin Milner . . .

>

> . . .and as a youngster, during the early '60's, our means of transportaion during vacations,

> was on the Greyhound Bus or Trailways, from Downtown Chicago. And needless to say,

> being around 7 or 8 yrs of age, I avoided looking @ any mirrors or bus windows, if possible, because of seeing that Episode w/ Vera Miles seeing her Double @ the Bus Station . . .

 

 

I?ve always thought it was amazing how these short films had strong impacts on so many people, but most of them were only about 24 minutes long. The rest of the 30-minute show was commercials. The Sci-Fi channel has cut at least a minute out of many of the shows to get more commercials in them.

 

I can?t think of any other short films that have had such impact on so many people. And something else that?s amazing is that they were so well made, while thinking back about them, they didn?t seem like they were just 24 minutes long.

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gsimmons: the episode you are referring to is "Night Call" with the fabulous Gladys Cooper - who was so cruel as Bette Davis' mother in "Now Voyager." That happens to be my favorite "Twilight Zone" episode, too. :)

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The half-hour format was perfect for a show which often depended on a last-minute twist.

That's why the hour-long episodes usually don't work as well. It's similar to Alfred

Hitchcock's television show. The half-hour episodes were crisp, and often had a

final twist also, while the hour-long programs were, for the most part, not as good.

 

Another episode I liked was People Are Alike All Over with Roddy McDowall and Susan

Oliver. Roddy is an astronaut who lands on an inhabited planet and the folks seem so

kind and welcoming. It's too late when he learns the true reason for all their caring kindness.

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My favorite is in half-hour format...the one with Burgess Meredith playing a simple man who wants nothing more out of life than to be left alone to read. What happens in the thirty minutes allotted to this story is amazing...all about the ebb and flow of life, and how fickle fate can be.

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I love so many of them, but I LOVE "spur of the moment" because it tricked me so well, and "number 13 is just like you" (or whatever number it is) because it is so true and interesting.

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"The half-hour format was perfect for a show which often depended on a last-minute twist."

 

Some 1950's comic books were like this. Stories of horror or fantasy, people threatened or confused, that turn out to be not at all what you expect. The talent that would soon become MARVEL were good at this. Titles like TALES OF THE UNKNOWN and JOURNEY INTO WEIRD WORLDS. Not as sophisticated as Serling's scripts; the morals could be heavy-handed and a bit silly. But it's cute fun. And some of the best cover art I've ever seen.

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> {quote:title=sineast wrote:}{quote}

> The half-hour format was perfect for a show which often depended on a last-minute twist.

> That's why the hour-long episodes usually don't work as well. It's similar to Alfred

> Hitchcock's television show. The half-hour episodes were crisp, and often had a

> final twist also, while the hour-long programs were, for the most part, not as good.

 

There is an interesting story about that, that has been lost to history.

 

In the early 1960s, the three TV networks decided to switch some of their weekly shows over from half-hour to one-hour, and many of the top TV shows had to make the switch-over rather suddenly, within a few weeks.

 

Since most of next-season?s half-hour scripts had already been written, the studios had to call in extra writers to add pages to the scripts in order to stretch them out to one-hour, and the rumor was that at least two or three shows were all ready to start filming, with no additional dialogue, so the directors and actors were going to have to stretch out each show by simply adding longer scenes, such as with the cameras focused on the faces of the actors for longer times, and longer times in-between dialogue sentences (long pauses between sentences), longer walking scenes, longer camera dolly shots, longer physical fights, and other stuff to stretch out the show to one-hour.

 

This didn?t work out with several shows, because they were obviously ?padded? with extra material that basically made the shows very boring, whereas in the previous years the shows had been very tightly shot and edited and very fast-paced and interesting.

 

I think that shows up in some of the Alfred Hitchcock one-hour episodes.

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I remember reading about why The Twilight Zone expanded to an hour, but didn't

remember the details. Wiki has a good summary of the whys and wherefores:

 

 

Season 4 (1963)

? You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; you've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.[ ?

 

In November 1962 CBS contracted Twilight Zone (now sans the The) as a mid-season January replacement for Fair Exchange, the very show that replaced it in the September 1962 schedule. In order to fill Fair Exchange's time slot each episode had to be expanded to an hour, an idea which did not sit well with the production crew. ?Ours is the perfect half-hour show?, said Serling just a few years earlier. ?If we went to an hour, we?d have to fleshen our stories, soap opera style. Viewers could watch fifteen minutes without knowing whether they were in a Twilight Zone or Desilu Playhouse."

 

Herbert Hirschman was hired to replace long-time producer Buck Houghton. One of Hirschman's first decisions was to direct a new opening sequence, this one illustrating a door, eye, window and other objects suspended Magritte-like in space. His second task was to find and produce quality scripts.

 

This season of Twilight Zone once again turned to the reliable trio of Serling, Matheson and Beaumont. However, Serling?s input was limited this season; he still provided the lion?s-share of the teleplays, but as executive producer he was virtually absent and as host, his artful narrations had to be shot back-to-back against a gray background during his infrequent trips to Los Angeles. Due to complications from a developing brain disease, Beaumont?s input also began to diminish significantly. Additional scripts were commissioned from Earl Hamner, Jr. and Reginald Rose to fill in the gap.

 

With five episodes left in the season, Hirschman received an offer to work on a new NBC series called Espionage and was replaced by Bert Granet, who had previously produced "The Time Element". Among Granet?s first assignments was "On Thursday We Leave for Home", which Serling considered the season's most effective episode. There was an Emmy nomination for cinematography, and a nomination for the Hugo Award. The show returned to its half-hour format for the fall schedule.

 

 

The suits strike again. As far as I know, the hour Hitchcock episodes were written on purpose

for that allotted time. There were some hour-long episodes that were good. One of the best I

remember starred Dana Wynter as a nurse who was attending to a patient in a spooky old

house while there was a serial killer on the loose. It is reminiscent in atmosphere to +The

Spiral Staircase+ and was very well done.

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Number 12 Looks Just Like You, stars Pamela Austin as the "perfect" girl. She would later become The Dodge Rebellion Girl 66/67 and one of the original Laugh In cast members. One of my boyhood crushes.

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I find watching TZ episodes on DVD a little odd. Serling once commented how hard it was to write a half-hour drama that was interuppted every seven minutes by dancing toilet paper (or something to that effect, I don't remember the exact quote), but as a truly professional writer, he worked those "pauses" into the pacing of the story.

 

Seeing them without commercials, I sometimes feel the transisitions are a little aburpt and there are lapses of continuity in the sytle.

 

I wonder if anyone ever though of making it an option to have at least a few seconds of a "insert commercial here" card as an alert that the writer meant for the viewer to be distracted momentarily.

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I find from reading all the postings on TZ, my favorite two episodes echo almost all who answered the question. I find that interesting, that so many of us find those two their favorites also. Wonder what was different about them, that appealed to the majority????

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That's a very good point. The format dictates the style. Just as theatrical movies should be seen without commercials, shows made for TV depend on the breaks, and the structure surrounding them. An outstanding observation on your part, Capuchin!

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"Time Enough At Last", which is the episode with Burgess Meredith as the last survivor of an atomic bomb blast. Several people have mentioned it. I've seen it a dozen times, and I never get tired of it. Irony?

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I?m partial to the time travel episodes. Among my favorites are:

 

Walking Distance starring Gig Young. A man returns to his childhood hometown.

 

The Last Flight. A World War I pilot lands in the future.

 

The Odyssey of Flight 33. A commercial airliner travels back in time.

 

A Hundred Yards Over the Rim starring Cliff Robertson. A man traveling west in 1847 goes into the future to find help for his ill son.

 

The Seventh Is Made Up Of Phantoms. National Guardsmen on maneuvers near the site of the battle of Little Bighorn have a decision to make.

 

No Time Like the Past starring Dana Andrews. A man tries to change history with his time machine.

 

Another episode that I really enjoy is Miniature starring Robert Duvall. He plays a shy man who finds his true love in a dollhouse.

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