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...
can be few people who consider themselves as either interested
in good television drama or science fiction fans who haven't
heard of The Twilight Zone. Even today, some thirty
odd years later, the vast majority of the stories still remain
fresh and engaging. The narration and title music is usually
enough to send a shiver down the back.
anthology series was conceived, overseen and often written
by the absurdly talented Rod Serling. Apart from Serling,
the show utilised some of the best writing talent available
at the time leading to a high level of imaginative television
that few, if any, show could match, either now or then.
six disc box set represents the last season of the show and
given that it was in its fifth year (1963), when most shows
are starting to flag, it's good to see that The Twilight
Zone was able to keep the quality going right to the last
episode - and was able to throw a few classic stories in for
good measure. The general format for the show was to set up
a slightly odd scenario, pull the audience down one thread
and then turn the whole thing around with a twist at the end,
each show ran for twenty-five minutes.
are way too many stories to give an in-depth look at each,
so we will skirt through the titles with a heads up on some
of the interesting points and I'll look at the ones I most
one starts with In Praise of Pip, which not only stars
a very young, pre Lost in Space Bill Mumy, but also
comes with a very nice commentary by him. Kudos to Bill, who
has never had a problem in supporting the genre that paid
his bills. The show starred Jack Klugman (Quincy) and
Mumy as the young Pip.
stars Lee Marvin as a washed up boxing manager who is trying
to make a living with his beat up and decrepit robot.
Next up should be every Trekkies favourite as Nightmare
at 20,000 Feet stars William Shatner as a man, recovering
from a breakdown who thinks he sees gremlins tearing up the
plane he's on. To be honest, Shatner's pretty good in this.
As his anxiety and paranoia increases he drags the audience
along with him, screaming at the flight crew that something
is really really wrong. The show comes with an audio lecture
by the great man (Serling) himself, though one by Shatner
would also have been interesting.
Last up on the first disc is A Kind of Stopwatch, which
could be seen as a progenitor of films such as Click.
If, for some reason, you could get your hands on an instrument
that could truly stop time what would you do with it? Well,
the answer to that is pretty much anything you like. We'll
skip over the problem of suffocating, as there is no air movement,
for dramas sake.
on to disc two we find Probe 7, Over and Out which
stars Richard Basehart, better known as Admiral Nelson from
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Although written by
Serling the episode is a little lacklustre. Adam Cook crashes
on a planet whose only other inhabitant is Eve Norda. And
given those names I don't think that I have to spell out the
7th is Made up of Phantoms picks the pace up with a modern
day military unit finding themselves in the middle of the
Battle of the Little Bighorn. Film fans should look out for
a young Warren Oates playing Richard Langsford before his
inclusion in one of the most violent films ever made, The
Wild Bunch (1969).
A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain and once again
we discover that there is no such thing as a new idea as we
pose the question, just what would you do to recover your
Last up on this disc is Ninety Years without Slumbering,
starring Ed Wynn, who played the rather dotty old man in Mary
Poppins who sang about his love of laughing. In this story
an old man is convinced that if his grandfather clock stops
he will die.
heads down and we plough into disc three with The Self
Improvement of Salvadore Ross, which is a slice of surreal
madness in which a low life attempts to win the hand of a
fair maiden, but you know some things are just not meant to
12 Looks Just Like You has a commentary by Marc Scott
Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion - and
very knowledgeable he is. The show examines the concept of
Leather Jackets and ok I'll hold my hand up and say that
this story is a real duffer. The idea of aliens taking over
a motorcycle gang is just too absurd to be taken seriously,
but to be fair; the anthology produced way more great shows
up, if you have recovered from Black Leather Jacket,
is Nightcall and this sucker will scare the hell out
of you as an old woman keeps receiving late night creepy calls,
but where are they coming from?
the fourth disc we discover that nicking ideas continues unabated
with Queen of the Nile - just watch this then watch
Death Becomes Her. A young reporter wants to know what
actress could play Cleopatra in both silent films and talkies,
but this is The Twilight Zone so you just know that he's not
going to like the answer.
in the Box proves that you should never annoy the TV repair
man, as you just might see all your dirty secrets on the screen.
Masks comes with a commentary by Alan Sues who plays Wilfred
Harper, Jr, in the show. The story examines the idea of masks
which show what the user is really like inside.
up is I am the Night Color me Black which shows just
how much evil, people will allow to fuel their own personal
desires and ambitions.
five and, for any that haven't given in to Twilight Zone
OD, we have a rather odd story called Stopover in a
Quite Town where a young couple, a little worse for wear
after a party, find themselves waking up in a deserted town.
Encounter and its another one for the Trekkies as George
Takei (Sulu) plays a Japanese gardener stuck in a loft with
an American veteran of the war. After the usual accusations
and recriminations they come to an understanding that the
war had effected them both equally.
Garrity and the Graves sees The Twilight Zone moving
into comedy with the dubious premise that the dead returning
from the grave isn't always what you might have wanted.
Closing this disc is The Brain Centre at Whipples which
is directed by Richard Donner (Superman and Lethal
Weapon) and looks at the age old question of just how
far are computers going to replace us?
last disc is essentially an extras disc as it contains interviews
with Bill Mumy, Richard Matheson, June Foray, Carolyn Kearney
and George Clayton Johnson. As you can imagine they, in their
various ways, sing the praises of the show and why not? It
was, without a doubt, the best science fiction anthology show
the age of the show the print is very clear though the show
remains in its original mono. Still, who needs a showy soundscapes
when you have good solid story telling?