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

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

By Dave Itzkoff

 

Hard to believe, but Friday marks the 50th anniversary of ?The Twilight Zone,? the twisty-turny, highly influential science-fiction anthology series. (Or does it? No, wait, it does.)

 

Full article:

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/the-twilight-zone-turns-50-whats-your-favorite-episode/

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Actually, there are two ways to look at it. It?s more of an allegory. Some people would say that the man simply ?got off the train at Willoughby?.

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

> Actually, there are two ways to look at it. Its more of an allegory. Some people would say that the man simply got off the train at Willoughby.

 

Is that like Uncle Charlie getting off the train in Shadow of a Doubt ?

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Just last month I bought "The Collected Twilight Zone" from Amazon.com for $130 (down from $300). It has all 156 episodes plus some extra features like interviews with actors, but there are no subtitles or foreign language tracks. That's very disappointing for me. Still, this is my favorite TV show of all time, so it was worth the price for me.

 

My favorite episode? Oh, there are so many. Burgess Meredith's "Time Enough to Last" was brilliant, but it's been so parodied that it's lost a little luster. I really liked "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" about the characters in the barrel. "I Shot an Arrow" about the astronauts who crash-landed. "Midnight Sun" with Lois Nettleton..."My Son Pip" with Jack Klugman...There are just too many good episodes.

 

"The Twilight Zone" is such an incomparable series. This sounds cliche, but each episode really is like a fascinating journey into minds...

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> {quote:title=scsu1975 wrote:}{quote}

>

> Is that like Uncle Charlie getting off the train in Shadow of a Doubt ?

 

No, uncle Charlie fell. But James Daly ?got off the train at Willoughby".

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I have several favorites:

 

"A Stop at Willoughby"

A stressed out modern commuter gets off the train at Willoughby, a small town in the 19th Century.

 

"The Shelter"

During a nuclear attack warning neighbors try to break into their friend's (Larry Gates) fallout shelter.

 

"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"

The one about the ?monsters? on Maple Street. The ?monsters? turn out to be us.

 

"And When the Sky Was Opened"

Three astronauts who were the first men in space, return to earth and they disappear one by one, leaving the last one to know the terrible truth that he was about to cease to exist.

 

"A World of Difference"

A business man is alone in his office at work and hears someone yell ?Cut?. He looks up and sees that he is in an office set on a sound stage in Hollywood, in front of a film crew that he knows does not exist.

 

"The After Hours"

A pretty lady in a closed department store realizes she is not what she thinks she is.

 

"The Howling Man"

A man traveling in Europe on foot stumbles across a religious order that has trapped the Devil (Robin Hughes).

 

"The Eye of the Beholder"

A disfigured woman (Donna Douglas, voice of Maxine Tyler) undergoes plastic surgery in order to look more like everyone else.

 

"Shadow Play"

A man (Dennis Weaver) convicted of murder tries to convince those about to execute him that it?s all just a recurring nightmare of his.

 

"The Arrival"

After a plane arrives without a crew or passengers, Grant Sheckly (Harold J. Stone), an FAA inspector, tries to solve the mystery.

 

"The Midnight Sun"

A woman (Lois Nettleton) tries to survive as the earth hurtles toward the sun.

 

"To Serve Man"

An alien race arrives on earth with a promise to help solve mankind's problems.

 

"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"

A man (William Shatner) recovering from a nervous breakdown sees a creature on the wing of the airplane he's on.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Twilight_Zone_episodes#Season_1:_.281959.E2.80.931960.29

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A real unique classic TV series. One of the earliest sitcoms I remembered.

 

Whats funny is that I am now a little over 50 and I feel like at times I'm living in "The Twilight Zone". What a world.

 

"The Twilight Zone" and the "Outer Limits" were to me a match pair that went well together.

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

>

> "The Twilight Zone" is such an incomparable series. This sounds cliche, but each episode really is like a fascinating journey into minds...

 

I agree. The show was unusual because some of the ?impossible? plots seemed quite possible. Some were dream-like. Some were like nightmares that we have all had, and in that respect the ?impossible? became ?possible?. Some were strong allegories about life in general, such as the ?Maple Street? episode. Although that story was condensed into just 24 minutes, it represented some real experiences that just about everyone has had in life.

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

> A real unique classic TV series. One of the earliest sitcoms I remembered.

>

> Whats funny is that I am now a little over 50 and I feel like at times I'm living in "The Twilight Zone". What a world.

>

 

Me too. I often feel like:

 

"The Obsolete Man"

In a future totalitarian society where books have been banned, librarian Romney Wordsworth (Burgess Meredith) is put on trial for the crime of being obsolete.

 

I tell young people on the internet about things I?ve learned, and they ask me to ?provide a link? to the information. They never mention books, and they often don?t believe what I say is true if they can?t ?Google? websites about the topic.

 

And:

"The Eye of the Beholder"

A disfigured woman (Donna Douglas, voice of Maxine Tyler) undergoes plastic surgery in order to look more like everyone else.

 

The older I get, the more ?disfigured? I become, when the world-standard of ?good looks? is ?youthful?.

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Every year I say I'm going to be an "Eye of The Beholder" face for Halloween but wait too long to fabricate it. I just love those pig faces. I also quite like The Masks episode.

 

Rod Serling (NOT STerling) was from my area and I've visit his birthplace and grave regularly. He grew up close by Recreation Park in Binghamton and "Walking Distance" episode accurately depicts his hometown, even down to the Herschell carousel. There is a plaque in the bandstand commemorating this.

When I restored that carousel I looked at every horse closely for a "RS" carved in it, but he must have been too nice a kid.

 

He lived a rather short but fruitful life and left us some fabulous writing, The Twilight Zone will always be his masterpiece.

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Three of my favorites (there are so many, some which have already been mentioned) are:

 

*One for the Angels*: Lew Bookman (Ed Wynn), a small time salesman, makes "a pitch for the angels" in order to save the life a young girl.

 

*Nothing In The Dark*: An old woman holes herself away in her home, fearing Death is waiting outside. When a young policeman (Robert Redford) is wounded and dying outside her doorway, she is reluctant to help him.

 

*The Invaders*: A flying saucer lands in the attic of the home of a poor, rural woman (Agnes Moorehead). Frightened, she eventually gains enough courage to get to the attic and destroy the craft, which turns out to be from a very surprising place.

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Man, you folks are citing such EXCELLENT episodes of this show! I'm jonesing for it now! I wish someone would show a marathon soon (hint, hint, what's left of the Syfy channel (yeah, I know the spelling is weirdo)!

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Ever have the feeling that Rod Serling is standing around the corner talking about you?

 

Some of my favorites (without spoilers):

 

"The After Hours" -- Anne Francis finds a department store quite disturbing.

 

"The Grave" -- Bounty hunter Lee Marvin is not superstitious.

 

"It's a Good Life" -- Billy Mummy is an obnoxious little brat that everyone caters to.

 

"Printer's Devil" -- Burgess Meredith as a typesetter with a nose for news.

 

"I Dream of Genie" -- Howard Morris figures out the perfect wish.

 

There's an anecdote about the pilot episode ("Where is Everybody") that I love --

A guy in a military jumpsuit is alone in a small town. He can't remember who he is or how he came to be there. He goes into a cafe, police station, etc., but can't find anyone anywhere. It finally comes out that he's training to be an astronaut and being in an isolation booth for nearly a month caused an hallucination.

 

That's how it aired.

 

What Serling wanted (and used in the short story he wrote based on that script) was when the guy goes into a movie theatre, there's no one selling or taking tickets, so he takes a ticket, tears it in half, and sticks the stub in his pocket. Later, when he's being carried out of the isolation booth, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out that stub.

 

While people who read science fiction loved that little twist, Serling was trying to sell the series to CBS and knew it would be too over the top for them.

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Many of my favorites have already been listed, including Time Enough at Last. Not getting

to finish David Copperfield. I feel his pain. Two good ones not yet mentioned: Believe

the episode was titled Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up or something along those

lines. There is evidence of a spaceship crash, and a group of bus passengers are

stranded at a little diner, so the police come and everybody wonders if someone among them

is an alien. Turns out Martians are only half the problem. Then there was one with Andy Devine

as the teller of "tall tales" in the country store he owns, think the name was +Hocus Pocus and

Frisbey+. He too encounters aliens and gives them what for.

 

The only problem I have with some of the episodes is the Cold War/Nuclear Destruction

allegories. Some are a little too pat and are obviously dated. Fortunately they don't comprise

a large part of the episodes. And the hour long ones just don't have the same gotcha sting

as the half-hour ones.

 

IFC is running the old The Prisoner series with Patrick McGoohan on Friday nights. The

visuals look very good. B Seeing U.

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

>

> The only problem I have with some of the episodes is the Cold War/Nuclear Destruction

> allegories. Some are a little too pat and are obviously dated.

 

I saw them when they first aired, and they were very up-to-date at that time. For example, by 1961, people and cities had been building ?fallout shelters? for several years, and most cities had local buildings designated as fallout shelters, so when ?The Shelter? aired on Sept. 29, 1961, that was up-to-date, and it told everyone for the first time that a simple basic basement fallout shelter could be broken into by the closest neighbors. That was quite shocking.

 

Bob Dylan later wrote these words in ?Talkin? World War III Blues?, which was released in May of 1963:

 

?Well, I rung the fallout shelter bell

And I leaned my head and I gave a yell

 

"Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man."

A shotgun fired and away I ran

 

I don't blame them too much though

They didn't know me?

 

The very first episode of TZ, "Where Is Everybody?", Oct. 2, 1959, about the hallucinating astronaut test subject.... well, info about this type of scientific experimentation had already been in news magazines recently, because our first astronauts in the future would have to be in space alone in tiny capsules for several days or weeks.

 

"Time Enough at Last" (Nov. 20, ?59), where Burgess Meredith was the last living survivor in his city after an atomic attack, this had already been prophesized and discussed by the media earlier in the ?50s.

 

So when we saw this stuff on TV for the first time, it was shocking. And this was well before movies like ?Fail Safe? and ?Dr. Strangelove?.

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What is the Name of the Twilight Zone Episode, where this Lady is waiting @ a Bus Depot & she keeps seeing a Double of herself, everywhere she turned. A kind gentleman tries to help her, but instead has her committed, but not without an eerie ending . . .

 

This Episode was the Very First one I'd seen which had a lasting impression on me. My brother & I used to watch Twilight Zone, while sitting on the sofa with a blanket, which I hid under, when necessary . . . which was often, during each story.

 

Even to this day, whenever I hear that 'Eerie' Music, that's played in the beginning & end of each story, sends 'Chills' down my spine. At 56, I still find myself turning down the sound of that Music, when I'm by myself. And the earlier stories, in Black & White, gave off Deep Shadows, that added to the Mystery & Suspense of Each story !

 

Rob Serling was a Genius, to say the least, and Yes, he Certainly did Leave a Lasting Legacy !

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In the early 1960s it was only natural that the possibility of a nuclear war was a popular

plot line. That's what makes them feel a little dated, with such a concentration, under-

standable as it was at the time, on everything nuclear. Some of the better episodes,

like Maple Street and The Shelter, are also relevant today, because they show how

badly people will act when under pressure, real or imagined.

 

You can go to Wiki and the Twilight Zone article has a a list of episodes you can click

on. That was a good episode. Vera Miles played the woman and I believe Richard Basehart

played the helpful stranger, but don't remember the name of the episode off hand.

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

> What is the Name of the Twilight Zone Episode, where this Lady is waiting @ a Bus Depot & she keeps seeing a Double of herself, everywhere she turned. A kind gentleman tries to help her, but instead has her committed, but not without an eerie ending . . .

 

 

Mirror Image with Vera Miles and Martin Milner.

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Oh I almost forgot another favorite classic episode. Don't recall the title, but you'll know it when I say, "Marcia....Marcia..." That episode with the girl trapped in a department store and hearing her name spoken over & over. Turns out she's a mannequin allowed to "be alive" for 24 hours and the other mannequins are calling her back.

 

I used to be a window dresser in a department store back when stores HAD window displays. Every morning when I'd turn the lights on in the mannequin room I'd say, "Good morning Marcia....ready for another day at work?"

 

When the store went out of business, I bought a few "Marcias" to keep in the attic. I even have one peering out the window up there. Mannequins have a way of creeping people out. Rod Serling certainly had the imagination!

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

> Oh I almost forgot another favorite classic episode. Don't recall the title, but you'll know it when I say, "Marcia....Marcia..." That episode with the girl trapped in a department store and hearing her name spoken over & over. Turns out she's a mannequin allowed to "be alive" for 24 hours and the other mannequins are calling her back.

>

 

"The After Hours"

Marsha White (Anne Francis) is a woman browsing for a gift for her mother in a department store. She ends up finding out that she's not the person she thinks she is.

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