web analytics
Home | TV | TV Review: The Twilight Zone (TV Series ) (Season 1) (1959)

TV Review: The Twilight Zone (TV Series ) (Season 1) (1959)

Rate This Movie

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call…The Twilight Zone.”

#1 WHERE IS EVERYBODY – A man finds himself in a town devoid of people and with no memory of who he is. Directed by Robert Stevens from a script by Rod Serling starring Earl Holliman & James Gregory. The haunting score composed by Bernard Herrmann for this episode would be recycled for later episodes like The After Hours and The Last Flight. This was the only episode filmed at Universal studios, the rest of the series was shot at MGM. Where Is Everybody? was filmed on the now-famous Courthouse Square backlot, seen in films like It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978), Gremlins (1984), and the Back To The Future (1985) films.

#2 ONE FOR THE ANGELS – A salesman named Lou Bookman is told by the angel of Death that he is to die at midnight. Mr. Bookman argues that his life’s work as a salesman is not quite complete, and convinces Death to give him enough time to present one last great sales pitch – a pitch for the angels. Once Death agrees, Bookman announces his intention to quit sales and find another line of work. He is proud of having outsmarted Death and is now virtually assured of his immortality. What Bookman hasn’t counted on is that someone must die at midnight. Directed by Robert Parrish from a script by Rod Serling starring Ed Wynn & Murray Hamilton.

#3 MR. DENTON ON DOOMSDAY – The town drunk in the old west faces his past when Fate lends a hand. Directed by Allen Reisner from a script by Rod Serling starring Martin Landau & Dan Duryea. Serling based this episode on his own short story Death, Destry And Mr. Dingle. Although the basic premise is similar, the original was more comedic in tone, involving a meek schoolteacher named Mr. Dingle who unintentionally gains notoriety as a gunslinger. ‘Dingle’ was a name used later by Serling in Mr. Dingle The Strong.

#4 THE SIXTEEN-MILLIMETRE SHRINE – Barbara Jean Trenton is a faded film star who lives in the past by constantly re-watching her old movies instead of moving on with her life, so her associates try to lure her out of her self-imposed isolation. Directed by Mitchell Leisen from a script by Rod Serling starring Ida Lupino & Martin Balsam. There are quite a few similarities shared by this episode and the Billy Wilder classic Sunset Boulevarde (1950) including the same composer, Franz Waxman. Actress Ida Lupino would later direct the season five episode The Masks. She was the only person to have both acted in one episode and directed another, and the only woman to direct a Twilight Zone episode.

#5 WALKING DISTANCE – A man travels back in time to his childhood, when he’s just a few miles away from his native town. Directed by Robert Stevens from a script by Rod Serling starring Gig Young & Ron Howard. Serling continually returned to themes of nostalgia, its potential risks, and the relentless pressures of the business world as seen in A Stop At Willoughby, Young Man’s Fancy, The Incredible World Of Horace Ford, as well as his award-winning teleplays Patterns and the Night Gallery episode They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar.

#6 ESCAPE CLAUSE – A hypochondriac man sells his soul to the devil, exchanging it for one million years of immortality. Directed by Mitchell Leisen from a script by Rod Serling starring David Wayne & Joe Flynn. This was one of the first three episodes to be put into production, along with The Lonely and Mr. Denton On Doomsday. Wendell Holmes, from the fifties radio shows Dimension X and X Minus One, plays Walter Bedeker’s lawyer.

#7 THE LONELY – A convict, living alone on an asteroid, receives from the police a realistic woman-robot to keep him company. Directed by Jack Smight from a script by Rod Serling starring Jack Warden & John Dehner. This was the first of several episodes to be filmed on location in Death Valley, along with I Shot An Arrow Into The Air, A Hundred Yards Over The Rim and The Rip Van Winkle Caper. Unprepared for the terrible conditions, the crew suffered extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion, so much so that cinematographer George Clemens collapsed, falling from a camera crane while filming continued. Jack Warden would co-star alongside another robot later this season in The Mighty Casey, also written by Serling.

#8 TIME ENOUGH AT LAST – A henpecked book-lover named Mr. Bemis finds himself blissfully alone with his books after a nuclear war. What could go wrong? Directed by John Brahm from a script by Rod Serling based on a story by Lynn Venable starring Burgess Meredith & Vaughn Taylor. Footage of the exterior steps of the library was filmed several months after primary shooting had completed, and are left over from the George Pal film The Time Machine (1960). John Brahm won a Director’s Guild Award for his work on this episode. Oh, and for all you trainspotters out there, the book that Bemis is reading in the vault that flips open when the bomb explodes is The Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus by Washington Irving.

#9 PERCHANCE TO DREAM – A fatigued man fights to stay awake as he explains to a psychiatrist that if he falls asleep it will trigger a nightmare, which will cause his heart to fail. Directed by Robert Florey from a script by Charles Beaumont starring Richard Conte & John Larch. Beaumont was rather impressed with Universal Studios veteran director Florey: “Throughout the TV filming, Florey strove for quality. It might have been the most expensive MGM feature. He rooted out the meanings of certain lines, frequently surprising me with symbols and shadings I’d neither planned nor suspected. The set was truly impressionistic, recalling the days of Caligari and Liliom. The costumes were generally perfect and in the starring role, Richard Conte, gave a performance which displays both intensity and subtlety.”

#10 JUDGMENT NIGHT – A man finds himself on a ship in the Atlantic in 1942 not knowing who he was or how he got there. He does know, however, that the ship is due to be attacked by a German submarine. Directed by John Brahm from a script by Rod Serling starring Nehemiah Persoff & Patrick Macnee. Serling proudly insisted he only ever had to change one word due to a sponsor’s demand: “In eighteen scripts, we have had one line changed which, again, was a little ludicrous but of insufficient basic concern within the context of the story, not to put up a fight. On a bridge of a British ship, a sailor calls down to the galley and asks in my script for a pot of tea, because I believe that it’s constitutionally acceptable in the British Navy to drink tea. One of my sponsors happens to sell instant coffee and he took great umbrage, or at least minor umbrage anyway, with the idea of saying ‘tea’. Well, we had a couple of swings back and forth, nothing serious, and we decided we’d ask for a ‘tray’ to be sent up to the bridge. But in eighteen scripts, that’s the only conflict we’ve had.”

#11 AND WHEN THE SKY WAS OPENED – Three astronauts return to earth. One is hospitalised for a broken leg and is visited by the other two. The pair then go for a drink, but one vanishes without a trace and no-one remembers seeing him, except the other astronaut. Directed by Douglas Heyes from a script by Richard Matheson starring Rod Taylor & Jim Hutton. This episode is closely based on Matheson’s own short story Disappearing Act, first published in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction (March 1953). Actor Rod Taylor and director Douglas Heyes would work together again in the seventies on the action-packed period-piece Bearcats!

#12 WHAT YOU NEED – A small-time crook plans to exploit an old street peddler who has the uncanny knack of selling people exactly what they will shortly need. Directed by Alvin Ganzer from a script by Rod Serling based on a story by Henry Kuttner starring Steve Cochran & Ernest Truex. During the scene in a hotel room, Renard opens a newspaper and spreads it out. The movement is quick, but the front page happens to be the same front page seen in Time Enough At Last, with the headline “H-Bomb Capable Of Total Destruction!” Then Renard looks at the racing page listing the names of jockeys: Serling, Clemens, Houghton, Butler and Denault.

#13 THE FOUR OF US ARE DYING – A man who can change his face to look like other people uses his ability to improve his life regardless of his affect on others. Directed by John Brahm from a script by George Clayton Johnson starring Harry Townes & Ross Martin. Writer Johnson explains how he got the job: “After the first half-dozen stories had been written, part of the hustle was getting an agent. Through those years I found several who would let me use their names, though few cared to sign a contract with me. One of these men, Jay Richards agreed to read something. I showed Jay All Of Us Are Dying. After reading it, he crossed out the title with a ballpoint pen and wrote in Rubberface! He then sent it to Rod Serling who had a new series that season called The Twilight Zone.”

#14 THIRD FROM THE SUN – Will Sturka, a scientist who works at a military base run by the government, has been producing a great number of H-bombs in preparation for imminent nuclear war. Sturka realises that there is only one way to escape – steal an experimental top-secret spacecraft stored at the base. He plans to bring his co-worker Jerry Riden, along with their wives and Sturka’s daughter Jody. The two plot for months, secretly supplying the ship and making arrangements for their departure. Later that evening, the group has safely escaped their doomed planet and are on course. Riden comments that he cannot believe that there is a planet full of people like themselves. Sturka smiles as he points out on the ship’s viewer their mysterious destination eleven million miles away – the third planet from the sun, known as Earth. Directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Richard Matheson starring Fritz Weaver & Edward Andrews.

#15 I SHOT AN ARROW INTO THE AIR – Order breaks down between three surviving crewmen whose rocket ship crashes on an unknown world with limited water and supplies. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg from a script by Rod Serling based on a story by Madelon Champion starring Dewey Martin & Edward Binns. When The Twilight Zone started, Serling put out an open call for scripts: “I got 15,000 manuscripts in the first five days. Of those 15,000, I and members of my staff read about 140, and 137 of those 140 were wasted paper: hand-scrawled, laboriously written, therapeutic unholy grotesqueries from sick, troubled, deeply disturbed people. Of the three remaining scripts, all of them clearly poetic professional quality, none of them fitted the show.” Despite this, Serling did end up producing an idea from an industry outsider when he paid Madelon Champion US$500 for the idea on which this episode was based. Needless to say, he never again made an open call for scripts.

#16 THE HITCHHIKER – A young woman driving cross country becomes frantic when she keeps passing the same man on the side of the road. No matter how fast she drives the man is always up ahead, hitching her for a ride. Directed by Alvin Ganzer from a script by Rod Serling based on a radio play by Lucille Fletcher starring Inger Stevens & Adam Williams. Fletcher’s radio play was a favourite of Orson Welles, who performed it on The Orson Welles Show (1941), Suspense (1942), Philip Morris Playhouse (1942) and The Mercury Summer Theatre (1946). In the original story, the driver is a male character named Ronald Adams. Serling named his character ‘Nan’ after one of his daughters.

#17 THE FEVER – An elderly man catches gambling fever from a slot machine that he believes is calling his name. Directed by Robert Florey from a script by Rod Serling starring Everett Sloane & Vivi Janiss. Gordon F. Sander, author of Serling: The Rise And Twilight Of Television’s Last Angry Man wrote, “Serling celebrated the signing of his new show, The Twilight Zone, by spending a weekend in Las Vegas. While Carol Serling was having good luck nearby, he became enslaved by a merciless one-armed bandit, an incident he would turn into one of his first Twilight Zone episodes.” The slot machine prop can spotted again later in A Nice Place To Visit and The Prime Mover.

#18 THE LAST FLIGHT – A World War One British fighter pilot lands at an American air force base in France forty-two years in the future. Directed by William F. Clayton from a script by Richard Matheson starring Kenneth Haig & Alexander Scourby. Loosely based on the reportedly true story of Sir Victor Goddard who, in 1935, claimed to have slipped forward in time to 1939 to describe a busy Scottish airport and, more recently, Andrew MacKenzie of The Society For Psychical Research investigated several British cases, including three naval cadets who insisted they had traveled back in time to a plague-ridden village in medieval Suffolk, and a Scottish woman who had slipped back to the year 685 to witness the battle of Nechtanesmere. The phenomena has been so widely acknowledged that the concept has become an important staple in literature – John Wyndham, Richard Matheson, Stephen King – television – The Twilight Zone, Timeslip, Goodnight Sweetheart – and motion pictures – Slaughterhouse Five (1972), Somewhere In Time (1980), The Time-Traveler’s Wife (2009).

#19 THE PURPLE TESTAMENT – A US army lieutenant serving in the Philippines during WWII develops a harrowing ability to see in the faces of the men of his platoon, who will be the next ones to die. Directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling starring Dick York, William Reynolds, Paul Mazursky & Warren Oates. On the same day as the screening of the episode, director Bare and star Reynolds were in a plane crash. Reynolds claimed Serling pulled the episode from its scheduled screening date out of concern for their families but Martin Grams, author of The Twilight Zone: Unlocking The Door To A Television Classic, concludes that the episode did indeed air as originally scheduled on February 12th 1960, despite Reynolds’ claim.

#20 ELEGY – Running out of fuel, three astronauts land their spaceship on a remote asteroid. They find the place quite Earth-like with buildings, but begin to wonder where everyone is. The first place they come to is a farm and eventually find a farmer with his back turned, gazing off into the distance. They tap him on the shoulder and try talking to him, then they realise he is nothing more than a statue. They later come across a town hall in which a mayor is being elected, surrounded by people and a band playing. They can hear the music playing, but everyone is stock-still. A beauty pageant is where they find themselves next, with several beauty queens on the stage and lots of people in the audience, but everyone seems frozen in time. As they exit that room, one audience member suddenly moves. Directed by Douglas Heyes from a script by Charles Beaumont starring Cecil Kellaway & Jeff Morrow.

#21 MIRROR IMAGE – While waiting in a bus station, Millicent Barnes has the strange feeling that her doppelganger is trying to take over her life. Directed by John Brahm from a script by Rod Serling starring Vera Miles & Martin Milner. Serling claimed he got the idea for this episode after an encounter at an airport. He noticed a man on the other side of the terminal who was wearing the same clothes and carried the same suitcase as himself. He considered what would happen if the man turned around to reveal himself as a duplicate of Serling. However, the man turned out to be, “Much younger and more attractive,” but the idea stuck.

#22 THE MONSTERS ARE DUE ON MAPLE STREET – On a peaceful suburban street, strange occurrences and mysterious people stoke the residents’ paranoia to a disastrous intensity. Directed by Ron Winston from a script by Rod Serling starring Claude Akins, Barry Atwater, Burt Metcalfe & Jack Weston. The Twilight Zone borrowed heavily from MGM’s props department, and this is a prime example: The aliens’ uniforms are left over from the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956), as is the mockup set of the retractable stairway that leads into the C-57-D spacecruiser. At the end of the episode we see a stock shot of the cruiser in space – it was also used in Third From The Sun, but this time it’s shown upside-down.

#23 A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE – A businessman sitting in his office inexplicably finds that he is on a production set and in a world where he is a movie star. Uninterested in the newfound fame, he fights to get back to his home and family. Directed by Ted Post from a script by Richard Matheson starring Howard Duff & David White. The idea of a character in a television series who finds themselves in the ‘real world’ and trying to convince people he’s actually the character, has since become a stock situation in television and film: The Gerry Anderson series UFO (Mindbender), the American sitcom Growing Pains (Meet The Seavers), the Joe Dante-produced Eerie Indiana (Reality Takes A Holiday), and the British comedy Red Dwarf (Back To Earth) have all played with the idea, not to mention the Jim Carrey box-office hit The Truman Show (1998).

#24 LONG LIVE WALTER JAMESON – A father forbids a history professor from marrying his daughter when he discovers that the captivating lecturer is actually an immortal who has lived for thousands of years. Directed by Anton Leader from a script by Charles Beaumont starring Kevin McCarthy & Estelle Winwood. The scenes of Jameson’s aging was performed by using an old cinema illusion. Age-lines were drawn on McCarthy’s face in red makeup then bathed in red light. As the red light was turned down, a green light was brought up, which made the red age-lines prominent. The lighting change goes unseen, of course, due to being filmed in black-and-white, resulting in a complete makeup change in one seamless shot.

#25 PEOPLE ARE ALIKE ALL OVER – A crash landing on Mars leaves fretful scientist Sam Conrad as the lone survivor of an expedition. After something starts banging on the outside of the spaceship, he opens the door to discover a race of human-like Martians, who comfort him, temporarily, in homey settings. Directed by Mitchell Leisen from a script by Rod Serling based on a story by Paul W. Fairman starring Roddy McDowall & Susan Oliver. Fairman’s story, Brothers Beyond The Void, was first published in Fantastic Adventures in 1952. In the original story, Sam Conrad remains on Earth and it’s the lone pilot Marcusson who has the close encounter with smaller, more alien-looking Martians. Serling made changes that would deepen the irony and heighten the impact, by making the apprehensive defeatist Conrad the protagonist, easing his fears only to have them ultimately confirmed. He also presented the Martians as a human-like superior race whose apparent benevolence would make their treachery seem even more surprising – not to mention saving money on costumes and makeup.

#26 EXECUTION – In 1880 a man named Joe Caswell is about to be hanged for murder but, as the noose tightens around his neck, he suddenly disappears – and finds himself in 1959, in the laboratory of Professor Manion, who explains that he used a time machine to pluck Caswell from the past but, when he sees rope burns around the cowboy’s neck and hears his admission to murdering more than twenty men, Manion tries to send him back. Caswell kills Manion and flees from the laboratory into the busy street, but becomes so overwhelmed by the lights and the noise that he returns to the lab. Distraught and desperate, the cowboy breaks down and pleads to the dead scientist to help him. Suddenly a common thief enters the lab, gets into a fight with Caswell and eventually strangles him to death. While looking for Manion’s safe, the thief accidentally activates the time machine and is sent back to 1880 to find himself hanging from the noose intended for Caswell. Directed by David Orrick McDearmon from a script by George Clayton Johnson starring Albert Salmi & Russell Johnson.

#27 THE BIG TALL WISH – An aging boxer loses a televised match, until he comes home and talks with his neighbour’s son, whose wish turns the boxer into the winner. Directed by Ron Winston from a script by Rod Serling starring Ivan Dixon & Stephen Perry. An all-black cast was rare for sixties television. Serling stated, “Television, like its big sister the motion picture, has been guilty of the sin of omission. Hungry for talent, desperate for the so-called ‘new face’ and constantly searching for a transfusion of new blood, it has overlooked a source of wondrous talent that resides under its nose. This is the Negro actor.” A few other Twilight Zones had blacks cast in significant roles, including I Am The Night – Colour Me Black and The Brain Centre At Whipple’s. This may not seem like much by today’s standards, but it was so revolutionary at the time that The Twilight Zone was awarded the Unity Award for Outstanding Contributions To Better Race Relations in 1961.

#28 A NICE PLACE TO VISIT – When bad guy Henry Francis Valentine dies in a shootout with police, he wakes up in the next world where his every wish is granted forever. Directed by John Brahm from a script by Charles Beaumont starring Larry Blyden & Sebastian Cabot. Guest star Cabot had to bleach his hair white for the role and it took three months for the actor’s hair to return to its original dark color. One version of this episode has Valentine throwing an apple at a table which changes into a pool table – although another version has this scene cut out. This episode was also singled out for its brazen sexual innuendo: Program Practices insisted that Valentine not refer to a girl as, “A broad, really stacked,” even though the crudity was essential to establishing the character. Nor could the protagonist refer to a party as ‘ball’ since that word has more than one meaning. In another sequence, a voluptuous young lady asks Valentine, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Word came down from CBS: “Please be certain that the girl’s speech be delivered in a sweet manner as described.”

#29 NIGHTMARE AS A CHILD – Schoolteacher Helen Foley finds a strange and very serious little girl named Markie on the stairs outside her apartment, humming the tune to a nursery rhyme. The little girl seems to know her and tries to jog her memory about a man she saw earlier that day. Eventually the man arrives at Helen’s door as Markie runs out the back way. The man is Peter Selden, who claims that he worked for Helen’s mother when Helen was a child and was the first to find her murdered mother’s body. Helen had witnessed the crime but blocked it out. When she mentions Markie, Selden tells her that her nickname was Markie as a child and shows her an old photo of herself. The girl in the photo is identical to the Markie she met. Directed by Alvin Gazner from a script by Rod Serling starring Janice Rule & Sheppard Strudwick. Helen Foley was the name of Serling’s favourite schoolteacher, and is used again in Twilight Zone The Movie (1984).

#30 A STOP AT WILLOUGHBY – Gart Williams is an overstressed media buyer who has grown exasperated with his career. His overbearing boss Oliver Misrell, angered by the loss of a major account, lectures him about this “Push! Push! Push!” business. Unable to sleep properly at home, he drifts off for a short nap on the train during his daily commute through the snow. He wakes to find the train stopped and changed into an 1880s railway carriage, deserted except for himself. The sun is bright outside and, as he looks out the window, he discovers that the train is in Willoughby and that it’s 1888. He learns that this is a peaceful, restful place, where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure. Waking up in the real world, he asks the conductor if he has ever heard of a town called Willoughby, but the conductor replies, “Not on this run, no Willoughby on the line.” Directed by Robert Parrish from a script by Rod Serling starring James Daly & Howard Smith.

#31 THE CHASER – A young man obsessed with winning over an uninterested beauty gets more than he bargained for when he buys a love potion to gain her affection. Directed by Douglas Heyes from a script by Robert Presnell Junior based on a story by John Collier starring John McIntire & Patricia Barry. Heyes enjoyed his job: “That was one of the great things about The Twilight Zone. I had total freedom. Sometimes I would think of an idea that make the episode more Twilight Zone-y but that would require some expense. I remember one episode, The Chaser, in which I devised a huge bookcase that must have doubled the budget, but they (Serling and Houghton) never blinked an eye. They just said, ‘Okay, great!’ I didn’t have to argue with anybody over the money, they’d argue about the money and let me have it! I knew that they were having problems with Jim Aubrey (head of CBS), but they kept him away from me. My responsibility was to get the job done.”

#32 A PASSAGE FOR TRUMPET – Joey Crown is a down-and-out alcoholic trumpet player in New York, looking for a chance to work again. After being turned down by the manager at his old club and forced to sell his beloved trumpet for cash, Joey decides that his life is worthless, and steps into the path of a speeding truck. When Joey comes to he discovers people can no longer see or hear him, and assumes that he’s dead. Returning to his old night club, he meets another trumpet player and is startled to discover that the man recognises him. The other man explains that Joey is in a kind of limbo – he can still return to the living if he so chooses. With the player’s encouragement, Joey remembers that even at its worst, life still has enough good in it to be worth living, and chooses to go back. As he leaves, Joey asks his name: “Call me Gabe – short for Gabriel.” Directed by Don Medford from a script by Rod Serling starring Jack Klugman & John Anderson.

#33 MR. BEVIS – Mr. Bevis loses his job, gets a parking ticket and is evicted from his apartment, all in one day. He then meets his guardian angel, one J. Hardy Hempstead. Bevis gets to start the day over again, except now he’s a success at work, his rent is paid and his personal transportation is now a new sportscar instead of a rickety old 1924 Rickenbacker. But there’s a catch. In order to continue in his new life, Bevis must make some changes: no strange clothes, no loud zither music, no more neighbourhood shenanigans. Realising these are the things that make him happy, Bevis asks for things the way they were. Hempstead obliges, warning him that he’ll still have no job or apartment but, moved by his kindness, arranges for Bevis to have his old Rickenbacker back. Directed by William Asher from a script by Rod Serling starring Orson Bean, William Schallert & Henry Jones.

#34 THE AFTER HOURS – Marsha White is browsing for a gift in a department store and decides on a gold thimble. She is taken by the elevator man to the 9th floor. She enters the 9th floor and turns to complain to the elevator operator that there is nothing there, but the door closes abruptly, leaving her alone. She is soon approached by a saleslady who guides her to the only item on the floor – the exact gold thimble that Marsha wants. During the transaction, she grows increasingly puzzled by the comments and actions of both the elevator operator and the salesclerk. As Marsha rides the elevator down, she notices that the thimble is scratched and dented. She goes to the Complaints Department, but is unable to convince the sales supervisor or the store manager that she bought the item on the 9th floor – there is no 9th floor. Marsha spots the salesclerk who sold her the thimble and is shocked to discover that the woman is actually a display mannequin. While resting in the supervisor’s office, Marsha nods off and wakes to find herself locked inside the darkened now-closed store. When she tries to find a way out Marsha starts to hear voices calling her name and begins to notice the lifeless mannequins moving. She bumps into a mannequin dressed as a sailor, whom she recognises as the elevator operator. Becoming hysterical, she flees backward to the now-open elevator which transports her to the unoccupied 9th floor. She eventually understands that the mannequins are actually alive, and that she too is a mannequin. Directed by Douglas Heyes from a script by Rod Serling starring Anne Francis & Elizabeth Allen.

#35 THE MIGHTY CASEY – A down-and-out baseball team’s fortunes are lifted by a mysterious but seemingly unbeatable young player. Directed by Robert Parrish & Alvin Ganzer from a script by Rod Serling starring Jack Warden & Abraham Sofaer. The entire episode was originally filmed with Paul Douglas playing the manager but, on the day after the episode finished shooting, Douglas sadly passed away. Unbeknownst to anyone Douglas had been suffering from an incipient coronary during the production, and his performance was adversely affected, appearing mottled and out-of-breath. Serling felt that the circumstances (Douglas literally dying on camera) cast a pall over what was supposed to be a light-hearted comedy and decided to re-shoot the entire episode. CBS refused to pay for it, so it was re-filmed at Serling’s expense with Jack Warden as the manager.

#36 A WORLD OF HIS OWN – A writer demonstrates he can control reality simply by dictating changes. Directed by Ralph Nelson from a script by Richard Matheson starring Keenan Wynn & Phyllis Kirk. Although Serling appeared on-screen at the end of most first season episodes to plug the following week’s show, this is the only episode of the first season in which Serling appears on-screen within the episode itself. This is also one of only two episodes of the entire series where Serling appears on camera at the conclusion of the episode. The other episode was The Obsolete Man. From season two onward, Serling began to appear on-screen at the start of each episode.

Thanks to Wikipedia for certain information, and a big thanks to Marc Scott Zicree, author of the definitive tome The Twilight Zone Companion, one of the first (and still one of the best) television episode guide books ever to be published. If you have any interest in the early formative days of American television, Mr. Zicree’s volume should definitely be at the top of your list. Anyway, please join me next week when I have the opportunity to inflict upon you the tortures of the damned from that dark, bottomless pit known as Hollywood for…Horror News! Toodles!

The Twilight Zone (season one episodes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.