Exploring the Twilight Zone

With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #114): “I Dream of Genie” (airdate 3/21/63) The Plot: A man finds a lazy genie in a lamp who only grants one wish. The Goods: For a second, let’s pretend that there isn’t a massive sub-genre of “Wish Fulfillment Gone Awry” episodes of this series (and of others). That includes forgetting that genies and Satan keep popping up everywhere. Thomas Gomez, Ernest Truex, and Joseph Ruskin all played the magical wish-granters, but no matter the actor behind the role – the rules are the same. You get what you want, and more than you bargained for. That’s why we’re forgetting all of those episodes exist because, despite its trite starting gun, this episode packs the kind of bullet that can make it seem like the only one in the world. It’s the trite polished up to be shiny and new.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #113): “The Parallel” (airdate 3/14/63) The Plot: An astronaut orbiting the Earth blacks out only to awaken back on the planet’s surface. He returns home to his wife and child and discovers that something isn’t quite right. Or at least it’s a bit too right. The Goods: Astronaut Robert Gaines (Steve Forrest) is the man of the hour as his scheduled launch into space approaches. His wife and daughter watch on the television while his colleagues at ground control monitor his every move. But shortly after reaching orbit a bright light hits the capsule, and he awakens back on Earth. It seems he disappeared from radar for several hours until the capsule was eventually found intact on dry land a few miles from the launchpad. What exactly happened between his blackout and impossible landing remains a mystery, and he’s released from the hospital with no memory of those missing hours. His arrival home is quickly marred by memory conflicts though when the things he knows, or at least thinks he knows, are all wrong. First he notices a new fence in front of his house that his wife says has been there for years, then he realizes his ranking has somehow changed from a major to a colonel. And when […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #112): “No Time Like The Past” (airdate 3/7/63) The Plot: A man goes to the past to right some wrongs…but can he? The Goods: Stupid, crappy old time travel. It’s such a spectacular innovation, but we can never do anything good with it (except that one time I stole Hitler’s wallet). As it turns out, things are pretty much set in stone. But Paul Driscoll (Dana Andrews) doesn’t believe that. So, he sets out into the ether of things already seen to try to change history’s course.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #111): “Printer’s Devil” (airdate 2/28/63) The Plot: A newspaper owner facing competition from the online blogosphere a USA Today-type paper gives up on life and his career until a kindly man with a cigar offers him some help. But of course as we all know, “kindly” in The Twilight Zone means something completely different from what we’re used to. The Goods: Douglas Winter (Robert Sterling) is the editor/owner of the Dansburg Courier, a small player in the big world of newspaper journalism that’s currently facing bankruptcy in the face of competition and hard economic times. He’s been fighting the trend for a while, but the final bell toll comes with the sudden departure of his ace Linotype man, Andy, who leaves for a job at their biggest rival, the Gazette. Drunk and resigned to his status as a failure, Douglas stops his car on a bridge and contemplates suicide. Which is exactly when a little man named Mr. Smith (Burgess Meredith) appears and strikes up a conversation. Mr. Smith has led a varied life including stints as both a bank teller and a librarian, and he was even the world’s strongest man for a brief while. But now he’s interested in working at Douglas’ paper and helping to turn it […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #110): “Miniature” (airdate 2/21/63) The Plot: A man becomes obsessed with the contents of a dollhouse. The Goods: On a trip to the museum, the timid Charley Parkes (Robert Duvall) believes he sees movement inside a dollhouse. As any normal human would do, he keeps heading back to see if he can spy the same motion or find out what it is. What he finds, is a young woman with whom he falls in tiny love.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #109): “Jess-Belle” (airdate 2/14/63) The Plot: Love is magical, even if it involves a little bestiality. The Goods: Audiences on Valentine’s Day back in 1963 must have been flipping around the channels, eager to see something romantic and sweet. Something that would remind them of their own loved ones. Something where candles were lit in anticipation. Couples flipping over to CBS got a story where a woman forces a man to love her, turns into a witch, and becomes a big cat. It’s love Rod Serling style.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #108): “Death Ship” (airdate 2/7/63) The Plot: A spaceship and her crew land on a new planet and make a startling discovery when they find the crashed remains of an identical ship… and the deceased remains of an identical crew. The Goods: It’s 1997, the future, and a three-man crew has been sent to a newly discovered planet to confirm conditions and bring back samples. If the results are as promising as they hope the people of Earth will have a new place to call home and then plunder beyond recognition. As the spaceship flies over the planet’s terrain one of the men notices something reflective on the surface, and while he’s excited at the prospect of alien life his commander is far less enthused. Still, they head down and land on the planet to investigate. The object in question is an exact duplicate of their own ship, exact aside from the severe structural damage it undertook during an apparent crash. The three men head inside and discover three dead bodies. Their dead bodies. I think we all know where this occurrence at Alpha Centauri bridge is heading.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #107): “Mute” (airdate 1/31/63) The Plot: A little girl is treated like dog feces because she has a special gift. The Goods: When Ilse (Ann Jillian) was born, her parents decided to do a little experiment. Instead of talking to her like a normal child, they deprived her of language in order to exercise her natural psychic abilities. As a result, she became incredibly strong at speaking telepathically with the other children in a school where such a thing was the norm. Sadly, the school wasn’t run by a bald guy in a wheelchair, and when her parents die in a fire, she’s sent to the United States with a new set of parents. Her life is now filled with people who speak, a bunch of schoolmates who think she’s an idiot, and a teacher who also has the gift of telepathy but views it as a curse. Good times ahead!

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #106): “He’s Alive” (airdate 1/24/63) The Plot: A street-corner neo-Nazi grows disillusioned with the quality of the crowds who listen to his fascist rants before beating the sauerkraut out of him. Then he meets the ghost of man much more adept at raising a furor among the masses. The Goods: Pete the Nazi (Dennis Hopper) is getting pretty sick of seeing his message of hate ignored by people who’d rather beat him up than buy into his rhetoric. The latest incident leaves him with a busted lip and a bad case of depression, but at his lowest moment he receives a very special visitor. The man stays hidden in the shadows, but he speaks with authority about how to engage the people by identifying with their fears. Pete listens and learns, and soon he’s drawing the crowds and the respect he’s always wanted. But then the mysterious man in silhouette begins giving Pete orders. And telling him to kill the kindly old Jew who’s been like a father to Pete since he was a boy.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #105): “Valley of the Shadow” (airdate 1/17/63) The Plot: An intrepid reporter follows a sweet lead (his runaway dog) into a small, hidden town to find a wondrous place of peace and prosperity that demands he stay there forever. The Goods: Written by Charles Beaumont, this episode tills some difficult soil. At its heart is the question of whether ultimate power is safe to deliver to the masses and into the hands of our leaders. It asks whether the world is even ready for salvation. If it isn’t, what’s the price and point of trying to save it? Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson) is an outsider, an alien who wanders into a tucked-away town that has the ability to manipulate atoms to create, destroy or move anything they care to. With great power comes great responsibility, but Redfield sees it as his responsibility to take the secrets of peace to the greater world beyond the town’s borders.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #104): “The Thirty-Fathom Grave” (airdate 1/10/63) The Plot: A hammering comes from down below. The Goods: While puttering around the ocean, a Navy Destroyer discovers a strange phenomenon bleeping on its radar. The crew agrees that it sounds like a hammer, but when they reach the source of the sound, there’s no ship to be found…on the surface. With the realization that the noise is coming from deep under the water, some joke that it’s a haunted submarine. It’s a suggestion that sets one of their own on edge, and on a course heading toward tragedy.

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Editor’s note: To celebrate our 100th episode, we’ve asked Gallery 1988 co-owner and pop culture art curator Jensen Karp to write up the entry. You might want to wear protection. With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #100): “I Sing The Body Electric” (airdate 5/18/62) The Plot: Three arguably neglected, but definitely motherless, children are taken by their father to a store that builds them a robotic grandmother in an attempt to rid them of their sadness. As a result we witness mild family drama, a confusing moral and an episode that is widely proclaimed as “the worst Twilight Zone ever.” The Goods: Remember when you first heard that George Lucas was making 3 new Star Wars movies and you were like, “This is going to be awesome! CAN NOT MISS!” Or when you jumped up and down hearing that Steven Speilberg was going to take the reigns of A.I. from the recently deceased Stanley Kubrick to create a Sci-Fi Nat King Cole/Natalie Cole-ish collaboration that couldn’t miss? Or even when the casting of Bio-Dome was announced and everyone exclaimed that a Pauly Shore/Stephen Baldwin buddy comedy would be a sure-fire laugh fest? The last one may have been just me, but the point is: sometimes your “dream line-up” that looks incredible on paper, should just stay […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #99): “Young Man’s Fancy” (airdate 5/11/62) The Plot: A newly-minted husband brings his wife to his childhood home to make plans to sell it, but a powerful force is drawing him back to his late mother and the house she kept exactly as it was when he was in short pants. The Goods: This very well may be the second cruelest episode. Aside from the wicked heartlessness of Time Enough At Last, it rings out with a kind of empty meanness that doesn’t teach a lesson while it tortures an innocent bystander at her weakest point. Sometimes life can be that way, and Virginia Walker (Phyllis Thaxter) learns that the raw way. Virginia has only added Walker to her name in the last hour, marrying Alex Walker (Alex Nicol) at the courthouse and hurrying for a pit stop at his family home before heading out to a honeymoon in unnamed parts. As she tries to be brisk about getting him to pack, he continually loses his train of thought, starts fooling with an old radio and clock in a wistful attempt to reclaim what’s been lost, and finally starts playing with his old toys.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #98): “The Dummy” (airdate 5/4/62) The Plot: A ventriloquist is convinced his dummy is plotting against him, so he locks him in a trunk, but it doesn’t stop the voices. The Goods: Dummies are scary. Their cold, dead eyes staring back at you filled to the brim with the potential to move at any moment. Their perverse version of life plastered across cheap children’s clothing. The way they talk to you even when you’re not making their mouths move. Jerry (Cliff Robertson) is one of the best voice-throwers in the business, but he’s still working the second-rate clubs because he can’t get his mind straight (and probably because he’s a ventriloquist). After getting off the stage at a particularly successful night club show, he’s bitten by his dummy and continues back into his dressing room to stare shifty-eyed at the inanimate piece of wood.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #97): “The Gift” (airdate 4/27/62) The Plot:  An alien lands in Mexico with a gift, but an accidental death casts a shadow over his intentions and drives the villagers mad. The Goods: There are few adult drama stories in The Twilight Zone series as simmering as this one. It’s so slow burn that you might think they forgot to light the fuse. The plot sweats along as the visitor who calls himself Mr. Williams and looks like a poor man’s Marlon Brando (Geoffrey Horne) accidentally kills a police officer during his descent and is shot twice by another cop on the scene. He staggers into a bar where a doctor removes the bullet wounds, a young boy named Pedro (Edmund Vargas) takes an interest in him, and a bartender holds him captive until more police can arrive.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #96): “The Trade-Ins” (airdate 4/20/62) The Plot:  An elderly couple in love and in the twilight of the lives entertains the offer of a company that sells renewed youth… sign on the dotted line, pay the price, and your inner person will be transferred into a fresh, young body. But what if your bank account means only one of you can afford the procedure? The Goods: John and Marie Holt (Joseph Schildkraut and Alma Platt) are clearly and dearly in love. Married for decades, happily coasting through their final years, an interesting proposition comes to their attention. John’s been suffering an increasing amount and degree of aches and pains, and all signs point to his exit from life occurring some years before Marie follows suit. This new technology offers them both another century together, but at a whopping $5k per person the cost is about $5k too much for the couple. Joe makes a desperate bid at an eternity with Marie and an equally futile choice to leave her behind.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #90): “The Fugitive” (airdate 3/9/62) The Plot:  An old man can do the kind of magic that no one else seems to understand, except the children he hangs around with all day. That bliss is about to be crushed by two men in suits looking for whatever that old man really is. The Goods: Rob just wrote a strong review of one of the most iconic episodes – To Serve Man – but I would argue that this story deserves the same recognition in the pantheon of the champions of the series. It’s got everything that represents The Twilight Zone: heart, sci-fi, a lesson, and the wondrous magic of belief. Old Ben (J. Pat O’Malley) enjoys playing with the neighborhood kids, especially Jenny (Susan Gordon), a little girl with a brace on her leg that still manages to boss the boys around. He enjoys the games, yes, but there’s something special about Old Ben – when they play Spaceman, he can actually transform himself into a Martian and then change back. In fact, he can turn himself into anything he wants.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #89): “To Serve Man” (airdate 3/2/62) The Plot:  Aliens as big as Bond villains frighten mankind when they land on Earth but quickly win over humanity with the promise of technological advancements, cures, trips, and [yelled in Oprah’s voice] free cars! But are they really here to help us? The Goods: Michael Chambers (Lloyd Bochner) sits in a cell and listens as a disembodied voice encourages him to eat lunch. He’s understandably belligerent towards his captors but begins to tell his story, humanity’s story, about the day aliens landed on Earth and began to offer us the moon. Suspicion soon turns to gratitude, especially after finding a book casually dropped by one of the aliens (Richard Kiel) that they discover is entitled To Serve Man. How wonderfully kind and innocuous! A year later humans are lining up like cattle for a chance to take a ride to the Kanamits’ home planet, and just as Chambers himself is preparing to board he discovers mankind’s benefactors may have more than good will on their minds.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #88): “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank” (airdate 2/23/62) The Plot:  A young man wakes up in the middle of his own funeral, but instead of celebrating, his friends and neighbors believe he might be something more human than human. The Goods: For all its quaintness, this story runs a lot deeper than its gap-toothed smile pretends. It begins with Jeff Myrtlebank (James Best) being laid to rest in a country chapel, the pews filled with his family, neighbors, and bride-to-be Comfort Gatewood (Sherry Jackson). At the fever pitch of the pastor’s eulogy, Jeff sits bolt upright in his coffin and scares the potato salad out of everyone. At first, everyone is fearful, but when Doc Bolton (Edgar Buchanan) explains that this sort of thing can happen (and even has a fancy name), they calm down and fawn over the poor young man. Unfortunately, that love is crushed by suspicion, and the pitchforks and torches are soon handed out.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #87): “A Piano In The House” (airdate 2/16/62) The Plot:  A theater critic by the name of Fitzgerald Fortune buys one of those creepy player pianos and soon discovers it plays more than music. It strums the ethereal chords of the human soul! The Goods: Fitzgerald Fortune (Barry Morse) is not a nice man. He’s a theater critic known for excoriating artists’ efforts with wit and derision, but it’s not a facet of his personality he saves only for his day job. Everyone from his wife Esther (Joan Hackett) to his housekeeper Marvin (Cyril Delevanti) have felt the sting of his words. Fitz buys a player piano for his wife since she’s spoken of a desire to learn to play but “hasn’t a trace of talent.” He’s delighted to discover that certain tunes have a mysterious effect on certain listeners… the truth within them comes out uncontrollably. As his wife’s friends gather for her birthday party he sets out to have a little musical fun at their expense.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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