• Craig Hunter

PT - TV - 032 - The Twilight Zone part 2









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The Twilight Zone, the complete original series, on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zFawoN


This episode is part 2 in the series

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Twilight_Zone_(1959_TV_series)_episodes

I brought this up in the first instalment where we looked at season 1 but it's worth restating here so let's say a few words about the cultural and political context that the season was borne into.

Cultural and Political Context

While Rod Serling injected aspects of his own life experiences into the show like boxing, military life, pilots, the unpredictability of death, there was also a political context that the show was born out of. The show began in 1959 and the cultural and political context that the show was born out of was the period after WWII. A period that included McCarthyism, the Cold War and the threat of nuclear holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race, and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Some of the recurring themes in episodes seem like they were heavily influenced by the cultural and political context of the period including 1) nuclear holocaust and the tension of pending destruction, 2) space travel and man as a space faring civilization in the future, 3) race, 4) time travel, 5) the unpredictability of death, and 6) the supernatural.

Ratings

Poor 1

Fair 2

Average 3

Good 4

Great 5

Note for Season 2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Twilight_Zone_(1959_TV_series)_episodes

Six episodes of this season were recorded on videotape (not on film as were all other episodes) at CBS Television City, as a cost-cutting measure mandated by CBS programming head James T. Aubrey. They are "The Lateness of the Hour", "The Night of the Meek", "The Whole Truth", "Twenty-Two", "Static", and "Long Distance Call". These have a visual appearance which is distinctly different from those of episodes shot on film. In addition, videotape was a relatively primitive medium in the early 1960s; the editing of tape was next to impossible. Each of the episodes was therefore "camera-cut" as in live TV—on a studio sound stage, using a total of four cameras. The requisite multi-camera setup of the videotape experiment made location shooting difficult, severely limiting the potential scope of the storylines, so the short-lived experiment was abandoned.

The Twilight Zone

Season 2

2 x 01 King Nine Will Not Return

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Nine_Will_Not_Return

Starring: Robert Cummings

Rating: 2 out of 5 shoes filled with sand

Summary

A WWII captain finds himself in the desert, next to his crashed plane. Where is his crew? And why are futuristic jet planes flying overhead?

My Thoughts

clip of captain's inner thoughts 2:05 to 3:05

Not big on the romanticization of the American military.

Decent ending.

This Robert Cummings has an interesting life according to his wikipedia page...married 5 times; changed his name; owned a number of airplanes all named 'spinach'; legal troubles including a pyramid scheme and defrauding the telephone company; drug addiction; an ex-wife claims that he made disastrous financial decisions based on information received from astrology and numerology; and most scandalous of all, he was a republican...

2 x 02 The Man in the Bottle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_in_the_Bottle

Starring: Luther Adler, Vivi Janiss, Joseph Ruskin

Rating: 1 out of 5

Summary:

A discontented curio shop owner thinks he's finally found happiness when a genie he discovers in an old bottle grants him four wishes.

My Thoughts:

Fortune; Supernatural

6:54 to 7:15

Shop owner does a kind deed and is rewarded by fate with a genie that will grant 4 wishes. Like all genie parables, the wishers make varying ambitious requests that turn out differently than they had imagined and in the end, they just want everything back the way that it was before they met the genie.

Here are my thoughts.

The genie story is propaganda to help you to accept capitalism or the status-quo. The shop owner is struggling to scrap out a living as do the majority of people in a capitalist system that is rigged to benefit the wealthy. The genie represents the lure of alternative socio-economic models which seem like a good idea but in practice are worse and leave you wishing you had capitalism back. That's not my opinion but that is my interpretation of the commentary.

Now, you could just as easily substitute "the status-quo" for "capitalism" in this metaphor. Hey, i know your life is really shitty but it's the best of all possible worlds. Here's a glimpse into some other possible realities that you could be living. See how bad they are? Just keep quiet and be content with the status-quo.

The episode is ok.

2 x 03 Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nervous_Man_in_a_Four_Dollar_Room

Starring: Joe Mantell, William D. Gordon

Rating: 3 out of 5 Evil Kirks

Summary:

Ordered to commit a murder he doesn't want to perform, a smalltime hood nervously looks in the mirror and sees the man he could have been--confident, strong...and determined to get out.

My Thoughts:

weakling switches places with his aggressive alter ego in the mirror, turns life around. May have been an influence on the Star Trek Mirror Universe idea. The mirror is more like a portal because the alter-egos switch places at the end and seem to be trapped in their side of the portal.

11:10 to 12:21

2 x 04 A Thing About Machines

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Thing_About_Machines

Starring: Richard Haydn, Barney Phillips, Barbara Stuart, Jay Overholts, Henry Beckman, Lew Brown, Margarita Cordova

Rating: 2 out of 5 Elitist Pricks

Summary

A writer feels that the machines in his house are conspiring against him.

My Thoughts

Pan in from the sky

Al elitist prick gets drunk, then the machines in his home chase him around and finally his car forces him into the pool and he dies. Not sure if it really happened or if he was just drunk.

Consumerism is killing you

2 x 05 The Howling Man

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Howling_Man

Starring: H.M. Wynant, John Carradine, Robin Hughes, Frederic von Ledebur, Ezelle Poule

Rating: 4 out of 5 Character Actors

Summary:

A man, on a walking trip of Europe, gets caught in a storm. He finds remote monastery that contains a prisoner.

My Thoughts:

15:00 to 15:59

Some weird camera work in this one. The shots are crooked at times.

Prisoner is the devil and he convinces the man to let him out and let evlil back into the world. John Carradine plays the co-lead head monk. He is the father of David Carradine and was a great character and a part of Cecile B. DeMille's stock company and later John Ford's stock company. I know him best as the priest from the Grapes of Wrath, one of my favorite films.

2 x 06 The Eye of the Beholder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_the_Beholder_(The_Twilight_Zone,_1959)

Starring: Maxine Stuart, Donna Douglas, William D. Gordon, Edson Stroll, Jennifer Howard, George Keymas, Joanna Heyes

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

A young woman undergoes "experimental treatments" in an attempt to make her appear "normal".

My Thoughts

Good episode.

8:40 to 10:21

you don't see anyone's face until the patient's face is revealed from behind the bandages. and when the faces are revealed, she is beautiful and the "normal" ones are hideous.

Conformity to the norm, to the status quo. I guess this is about racism or bigotry and to an extent McCarthyism (doctor mentions treason in the clip). 12:20 to 13:44

2 x 07 Nick of Time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_of_Time_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: William Shatner, Patricia Breslin, Guy Wilkerson, Stafford Repp, Walter Reed, Dee Carroll

Rating: 3 out of 5 hammy actors

Summary:

A superstitious newlywed becomes obsessed by a penny fortune-telling machine when he and his new wife are stranded with car trouble.

2:35 to 3:02

My Thoughts:

Pan in from the sky.

Good episode

Superstition...don't get caught up in it.

20:45 to 21:20

2 x 08 The Lateness of the Hour

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lateness_of_the_Hour

Starring: Inger Stevens, John Hoyt, Irene Tedrow, Mary Gregory, Tom Palmer, Valley Keene, Doris Karnes, Jason Johnson

Rating: 1 out of 5

Summary:

Dr. Loren enjoys the faultless robot servants he has invented. His daughter, however, feels imprisoned by them--and soon learns how right she is.

My Thoughts:

That Ingar Stevens...they don't make a lot of women who look like that.

Crap episode though.

Poor video quality

2 x 09 The Trouble With Templeton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trouble_with_Templeton

Starring: Brian Aherne, Pippa Scott, Sydney Pollack, Dave Willock, King Calder, Larry J. Blake, David Thursby, Charles S. Carlson

Rating: 2 out of 5 thespians

Summary:

Booth Templeton is an aging actor who longs for the old days when his wife was alive. Miraculously, he is given a sobering glimpse of the past he holds so dear.

My Thoughts:

Time Travel

11:15 to 12:05

currently married to a younger woman who is indiscreet with her infidelities. Remembers fondly when he was married to his wife who died (married her when she was 18 and she died at 25). He goes back in time and his wife is young but not how he remembers her and she tells him to get lost when he acts like a jerk and the scene plays out like its on a stage because the background fades to dark and the extras stop and then Booth is back in his own time and has regained his confidence...here's what Rod said, 23:40 to 24:00

2 x 10 A Most Unusual Camera

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Most_Unusual_Camera

Starring: Fred Clark, Jean Carson, Adam Williams, Marcel Hillaire

Rating: 4 out of 5 ponies

Summary:

Chester Diedrich and his wife Paula, after burglarizing a curio shop, end up with a camera that takes pictures of events five minutes into the future.

My Thoughts:

Really good episode.

12:21 to 13:34

The characters are really good stereotypes of small time crooks from the era. They fall into good fortune but manage to eff it up in the end.

Theme: some people would screw up a free lunch

2 x 11 The Night of the Meek

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_of_the_Meek

Starring: Art Carney, John Fiedler, Burt Mustin, Robert P. Lieb, Meg Wyllie, Val Avery, Kay Cousins, Larrian Gillespie, Andrea Darvi

Rating: 1 out of 5 drunken santas

Summary:

A down-on-his-luck department store Santa Claus discovers a bottomless sack of toys.

My Thoughts:

Poor video quality. Unwatchable.

2 x 12 Dust

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: Thomas Gomez, John Larch, Vladimir Sokoloff, Douglas Heyes Jr., John Alonso, Paul Genge, Dorothy Adams, Duane Grey, John Lormer, Andrea Darvi, Daniel White

Rating: 2 out of 5 tumbleweeds

Summary:

After selling the rope for a hanging, a conscienceless peddler tries to sell the condemned man's father a bag of "magic dust".

My Thoughts:

A young man is awaiting his hangin' for the crime of accidentally killing a child with his horse and buggy when he was drunk. Otherwise, the man seems harmless and like a good person. The sheriff doesn't seem like he wants the young man to die. The young man's father certainly doesn't want his son to die and spends the episode desperately trying to save his son. The deceased girl's parents seem like they just want to mourn and don't show any animosity towards the young man.

The peddler is gleeful. He sells the rope to the sheriff for the hangin' and sells a bag of magic dust to the young man's desperate father and throughout he seems to be encouraging the process by verbally harassing the young man in his cell and expressing condolences to the mourners. The peddler is constantly marketing and selling to everyone.

Two things happened at the end, the peddler's products failed: 1) the rope broke, and 2) the magic dust (that was fake) worked, and as a result of these failures, the young man was set free.

see, i wonder if this is a comment on the rise of consumerism and corporate influence in daily life with firms marketing to you out of both sides of their mouth and selling low quality products.

2 x 13 Back There

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_There

Starring: Russell Johnson, Bartlett Robinson, Paul Hartman, John Lasell, Nora Marlowe, James Lydon, Raymond Bailey, Raymond Greenleaf, John Eldredge, James Gavin, Jean Inness, Lew Brown, Carol Rossen, J. Pat O'Malley

Rating: 2 out of 5 boys clubs

Summary:

It's April 14, 1961. Peter Corrigan and friends are discussing time travel at their men's club, Corrigan suddenly becomes dizzy. When his head clears, he has somehow traveled back to April 14, 1865 - the date of Lincoln's assassination. Knowing what is about to happen, he tries to warn everyone at Ford's Theater before it's too late.

My Thoughts:

Bunch of elitist pricks are sitting around a men's club discussing time travel, or rather, whether certain events were destined to happen or whether they could have happened differently. I'm not sure why this is even a discussion. This is effectively debating whether the universe is causal or not. if you admit that the universe is causal, then you must concede that if preceding events changed than the outcome would change. Unless there is some higher power intervening to orchestrate a specific outcome.

Regardless, the younger of the elitist pricks leaves and goes back in time and attempts to change the past but is unable to affect the outcome of Lincoln's assassination. However, when he returns, he discovers that his actions did change the present in that one of the elitist pricks at his table was an attendant (like a waiter) at the club prior to him going back in time.

Now, it's a little under the surface but this suggests to me that this is a commentary on wealth and status and that you are where you are in life mostly due to things that happened in the past and/or were not in your control. The now wealthy man even scoffs at the notion that he was an attendant prior to the past being changed.

2 x 14 The Whole Truth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Whole_Truth_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: Jack Carson, Loring Smith, Arte Johnson, Nan Peterson, George Chandler, Jack King, Patrick Westwood, Lee Sabinson, Ray Reese

Rating: 1 out of 5 tired tropes

Summary:

A peculiar Model A automobile compels a used car dealer to tell only the truth.

My Thoughts:

I was distracted by actor Jack Carson's huge hands. He looks like Wreck it Ralph.

The episode is terrible.

2 x 15 The Invaders

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Invaders_(The_Twilight_Zone

Starring: Agnes Moorehead

Rating: 5 out of 5 space forces

Summary:

An old woman in an isolated farmhouse encounters tiny, hostile aliens.

My Thoughts:

No dialogue.

The saucer reads "U.S. Air Force Space Probe No. 1"

A critique of American imperialism. A warning about what lies out there. Just a cool story.

2 x 16 A Penny For Your Thoughts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Penny_for_Your_Thoughts_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: Dick York, June Dayton

Rating: 2 out of 5 Darrens

Summary:

The lucky flip of a coin seems to give a mild-mannered bank clerk the power to read minds. But he soon learns that you can't believe everything you read.

My Thoughts:

2 x 17 Twenty Two

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty_Two_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: Barbara Nichols, Arlene Martel

Rating: 2 out of 5 unsolved mysteries plots

Summary:

Miss Powell has a recurring nightmare about room 22 in a morgue.

My Thoughts:

Bad video quality

it's a premonition

2 x 18 The Odyssey of Flight 33

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Odyssey_of_Flight_33

Starring: nobody

Rating: 2 out of 5

Summary:

A commercial aircraft mysteriously travels back through time.

My Thoughts:

2 x 19 Mr. Dingle, the Strong

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Dingle,_the_Strong

Starring: Burgess Meredith, Don Rickles

Rating: 1 out of 5

Summary:

Martians give Luther Dingle the strength of 300 men.

My Thoughts:

Two conjoined aliens from Mars that are invisible to humans are in a bar observing two slap-stick actors who are not funny and two other actors. The aliens give one of the not funny actors super strength and hilarity ensues (not really). After observing for a time the aliens conclude that they gave the subject a great power and he used it for "petty exhibition" (18 min or so) so they take away his power and he looks like a fraud.

Social Commentary

Humanity is so stupid, that given a great gift of fortune, it would be squandered away and wasted. Maybe this is how Rod viewed the contemporary generation in the late 50's early 60's

2 x 20 Static

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: Dean Jagger,

Rating: 1 out of 5

Summary:

Ed Lindsay hates television, so he gets his old radio out of the basement of the boardinghouse where he lives. He soon finds he can receive programs from the past when he's alone.

My Thoughts:

a man uses a radio to reminisce about a past that he enjoyed and his authoritarian roommates try to take it away from him.

2 x 21 The Prime Mover

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prime_Mover

Starring: Dane Clark , Christine White

Rating: 2 out of 5

Summary:

Ace Larsen discovers his business partner (Buddy Ebsen) has the ability to control objects with his mind. The pair head to Vegas to win big.

My Thoughts:

12 min "ace let's go home now..."

another episode where someone is given a gift and instead of using it wisely and with temperance the goes completely overboard and ruins it.

2 x 22 Long Distance Call

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Distance_Call

Starring: Bill Mumy, Philip Abbott,

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

A young boy find he can communicate with his dead grandmother through a toy phone.

My Thoughts:

Kid looks like Ron Howard.

it's so much more than the summary above. it's too bad the video quality is so poor because this was a great story. Dark!

Grandma has a smothering overpowering love for a little boy. She gives him a toy phone on his birthday and when she dies she talks to him on the phone. She tells the boy to kill himself so that he can be with her.

Fascinating because when the grandmother becomes sick at the boy's birthday, she lays down and the doctor visits and medicates her. Under heavy medication she says she has a son but "a woman" took him away (the wife) and now Billy is her son. After she dies, she tries to take Billy away from his mother

would be a 5 out of 5 but for the video quality

2 x 23 A Hundred Yards Over The Rim

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Hundred_Yards_Over_the_Rim

Starring:

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

In 1847 a western settler sets out to find medicine for his dying son - and stumbles into modern-day New Mexico.

My Thoughts:

time travel

2 x 24 The Rip Wan Winkle Caper

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rip_Van_Winkle_Caper

Starring: Simon Oakland, Oscar Beregi, Jr.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

Thieves put themselves into suspended animation for 100 years after hiding a million dollars worth of gold bars.

My Thoughts:

The characters were able to accomplish something impressive with the theft and then the cryogenics but their downfall was being too greedy and unable to co-operate. Similar to "a most unusual camera" and "the prime mover"

2 x 25 The Silence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silence_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Starring: Franchot Tone, Liam Sullivan, Jonathan Harris

Rating:

Summary:

An aristocratic club member bets that a talkative acquaintance cannot stay silent for an entire year.

My Thoughts:

Elitist pricks with too much money and time, organize a preposterous high stakes--but otherwise meaningless--bet that ends up ruining both of their pointless lives.

2 x 26 Shadow Play

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Play_(The_Twilight_Zone,_1959)

Starring:

Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

Trapped in a recurring nightmare, Adam Grant tries to persuade those who are sentencing him to death that the whole scenario is not real.

My Thoughts:

critique of capital punishment wrapped in a tense nightmare;

the story is about an execution that takes place over and over and the main character needs to relive the horror. This parallels the horror inflicted by the state as it executes over and over.

lead is describing what it's like to be executed by electrocution and then a cut to a sizzling steak.

The fantasy concept is brilliant. The main character tries fruitlessly to convince everyone that it's just a dream and they need to stop executing him so that the dream will stop repeating.

2 x 27 The Mind and the Matter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mind_and_the_Matter

Starring:

Rating: 2 out of 5

Summary:

A book on the power of thought enables an irritable worker (Shelley Berman) to re-create the world exactly as he wants it. But what he wants and what he gets are two different things!

My Thoughts:

Closing monologue...with all it's faults, this may be the best of all possible worlds...

2 x 28 Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_the_Real_Martian_Please_Stand_Up%3F

Starring:

Rating: 3 out of 5 tropes of people

Summary:

State troopers follow tracks from an unidentified flying object to a diner where they try to determine which of the seven bus passengers stranded inside is really a Martian.

My Thoughts:

2 x 29 The Obsolete Man

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Obsolete_Man

Starring:

Rating:

Summary:

In a future state where religion and books have been banned, a librarian (Burgess Meridith) is judged obsolete by the Chancellor (Fritz Weaver) and sentenced to death.

My Thoughts: