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The Twilight Zone - Season 5 (DVD)

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Genre: Television / Actor: Rod Serling / DVD Release Date: 2012

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      08.07.2012 19:34
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      Spooky

      "You unlock this door with the key of imagination; beyond it is another dimension; a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind; you're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; you've just crossed over into the TWILIGHT ZONE!" The fifth and final season of The Twilight Zone - first broadcast in 1963/1964. This is by some distance the weakest year of the legendary series with the innovation of the first three seasons mostly gone. About a third of the 36 episodes here are a near waste of time but there are still around a dozen great ones and the rest are certainly watchable. The Twilight Zone is clearly in decline now but there are enough reminders of past glories to make it worth your while if you are a fan. "Submitted for your approval, one Max Phillips, a slightly the worse for wear maker of book, whose life has been as drab and undistinguished as a bundle of dirty clothes. And though it's very late in his day, he has an errant wish that the rest of his life might be sent out to a laundry to come back shiny and clean, this to be a gift of love to a son named Pip. Mr Max Phillips, Homo sapiens, who is soon to discover that man is not as wise as he thinks, said lesson to be learned in the Twilight Zone..." In Praise of Pip was written by Rod Serling and directed by Joseph M Newman. This is a touching opening episode and features a fantastic performance by Jack Klugman. Klugman is Max Phillips, an alcoholic bookie who has made something of a mess of his life. When he learns that his son Pip (played by Billy Mumy and Bobby Diamond respectively at different ages) has been critically wounded fighting in Vietnam, Max feels an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse for not having been a better father. Determined to be a better person from now on, he returns $300 to a hopeless gambler and receives a bullet from one of the goons of his ruthless boss in return. Max stumbles into the night, dying from the bullet in his stomach, and staggers into a deserted amusement park that he used to take Pip to many years ago. Delirious and losing blood, he is amazed to see Pip appear before him as a small boy again. He tries desperately to catch up with the apparition and beg for a second chance.

      This is a poignant and dreamlike episode that becomes very moving towards the end and the presence of Klugman stops it from ever sliding into bathos. It's a very moving story about a man's love for his son and yearning to turn back the clock and be a better person. It was shot at Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica and the deserted theme park makes a suitably solemn and strange location for the story with the hall of mirrors in particular nicely used by the director when Max catches glimpses of the young Pip as he unsteadily and woozily makes his way around the funfair. This was actually the first American television episode of just about anything to ever mention the Vietnam conflict in relation to the human cost and casualties. "Pip is dying. My kid is dying. In a place called South Vietnam. There isn't even supposed to be a war going on there, but my son is dying. It's to laugh. I swear it's to laugh." Twilight Zone regular Jack Klugman was superb at playing blue collar losers and gives an unbeatable performance as Max Phillips.

      "Sports item, circa 1974: Battling Maxo, B2, heavyweight, accompanied by his manager and handler, arrives in Maynard, Kansas, for a scheduled six-round bout. Battling Maxo is a robot, or, to be exact, an android, definition: 'an automaton resembling a human being.' Only these automatons have been permitted in the ring since prizefighting was legally abolished in 1968. This is the story of that scheduled six-round bout, more specifically the story of two men shortly to face that remorseless truth: that no law can be passed which will abolish cruelty or desperate need - nor, for that matter, blind animal courage. Location for the facing of said truth a small, smoke-filled arena just this side of the Twilight Zone." Steel was written by Richard Matheson and directed by Don Weis. Another solid episode that gets a big boost from the presence of Lee Marvin. The year is 1974 and boxing has been outlawed but it still continues with robots instead of humans so people have something to bet on and still perhaps sate their inherent bloodlust. Steel Kelly (Marvin) - a grizzled manager who got his name because he was never knocked down during his own boxing career - is in trouble because the robot boxer he owns named Battling Maxo (Tipp McClure) has broken down and will not be able to fight another robot named Maynard Flash (Chuck Hicks) on an upcoming bill. Desperate for the $500 purse, Steel Kelly decides that he will pretend to be Battling Maxo and fight the robot himself. His partner Pole (Joe Mantell) is understandably against this move because Kelly is liable to take a severe pounding against his robot opponent. This is a strange but very watchable episode adapted from a 1956 short story Matheson wrote for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It was recently reworked into a film vehicle for Hugh Jackman. The boxing match here is very well staged and the robots (played by human actors of course) are nicely done. Basically very stoic and mask like faces with deliberate movements. It probably doesn't make an awful lot of sense for Steel Kelly to insist on going through with the fight when there must surely be other ways for them to get some money but maybe that's the whole point of the story. Steel is an uncomplicated character with an obstinate streak of stubbornness. The more he's pleaded with to not go through with the boxing deception the more he insists on doing it. An interesting episode anyway.

      "Portrait of a frightened man: Mr Robert Wilson, thirty-seven, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave. Mr Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown, the onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one, on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr Wilson is about to be flown home - the difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr Wilson's flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he's travelling all the way to his appointed destination, which, contrary to Mr Wilson's plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone..." Nightmare at 20,000 Feet was written by Richard Matheson and directed by Richard Donner. This is one of the most famous of all Twilight Zone episodes and was originally a short story called Alone in the Night. William Shatner is Bob Wilson - a salesman who suffered a nervous breakdown on an airline journey and was sent to an institution as a result. After six months though he was deemed fit enough to leave and is flying home. However, whatever happened on the previous flight to send him completely doolally is a sun drenched picnic compared to this journey.

      As he settles into his seat, a storm begins to rattle the plane and buffet the passengers - hardly helping Wilson's mild apprehension about being in the air again. He peers out of the window through the arcs of rain and sparks of lightning and sees what appears to be the outline of a man on the wing. Closer inspection reveals the figure to be not a man but some type of strange furry gremlin creature intentionally damaging the plane! Is it real or a figment of Wilson's imagination? The core of Matheson's story - just an inventive horror yarn with an unusual setting - is faithfully captured here. I think the appeal of this story is putting yourself in Wilson's position and wondering what you would do if you were in his shoes. You picture yourself in Wilson's seat looking out through rain lashed windows into the night and seeing this strange and ominous silhouette on the wing. It's just a really clever idea. The sound effects are suitably atmospheric here too and enjoyably, er, airplane themed. They work very well. The murmurs of the passengers, the wild storm raging outside the windows, the beeps and static. Wilson begins the journey relatively calm and cured but soon becomes more and more frazzled - especially after he spots the spooky gremlin rascal on the wing. The general gist here is that Wilson keeps seeing the creature but when he alerts someone and they have a look it's peskily flown away. It naturally makes them all think he's gone completely bonkers and he starts to wonder himself. There is a good deal of tension when he starts to feel he has to do something to save the plane even though no one believes him. He hatches a scheme to steal a policeman's gun (this is a Shatner acting masterclass!). The creature is a bit risible now (just a man in a suit) but Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is classic Twilight Zone.

      A Kind of Stopwatch was written by Rod Serling from a story by Michael D Rosenthal and directed by John Rich. This is a so so episode that comes up with a central idea that is very Twilight Zone and then never really does anything with it aside from the decent twist ending. It's also one of those episodes that thinks it's funny when it isn't really. Patrick McNulty (Richard Erdman) is one of the most boring men on the planet and never stops talking. After being fired from his job, he goes to a bar where he irritates everyone intensely with his propensity to jabber away and be very familiar whether they want to talk to him or not. However, when he buys a sozzled man named Potts (Leon Belasco) a drink, Potts gives him a watch as a gift. But this is no ordinary watch. If you click the button on the top it freezes time! McNulty decides he will use this incredible device to rob a bank but this being The Twilight Zone will inevitably get more than he bargained for meddling with frozen time shenanigans. The premise here is sort of fun (frozen time capers were rather less hackneyed in the early sixties than they are these days I suppose) and I liked the twist even if I did see it coming but there is a definite slap dash aura to this episode that loses marks. Erdman is a bit too frantic and eager in the lead role and there is never any explanation for who Potts is or why he gives a complete stranger the incredible stopwatch in a bar. I know he's supposed to be drunk but it still feels like lazy convenient writing. There is nice irony to the McGuffin though. The watch is the ultimate conversation piece but as it freezes time and all those around McNulty it stops conversation stone dead too!

      Last Night of a Jockey was written by Rod Serling and directed by Joeseph M Newman. Grady (Mickey Rooney) is a jockey who was banned from the track for horse doping. He now sits alone in his ramshackle room contemplating the apparent end of his career and the mess he's made of his life. He engages in an overwrought dialogue with his conscience or a sort of Twilight Zone higher power and asks to be granted a wish. As ever he should be careful what he wishes for. This is very similar to a first season episode called Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room but nowhere near as good. It's a showcase for Rooney as the whole story takes place with him alone in a room and although he's good - running the full range of emotions from self-loathing to bitterness to grief - I find this episode fairly tedious for some reason and struggle to ever really get into it. There is a twist but you'll see it coming a mile off. "Talky Tina, a doll that does everything, a lifelike creation of plastic and springs and painted smile. To Erich Streator, she is a most unwelcome addition to his household, but without her he'd never enter the Twilight Zone."

      Living Doll was written by Charles Beaumont and Jerry Sohl and and directed by Richard C Sarafian. This is a great episode and an enjoyable foray into horror. Annabelle Streator (Mary LaRoche) buys an expensive talking doll for her daughter Christie (Tracy Stratford) named "Talky Tina". But Christie's miserable stepfather Erich Streator (Telly Savalas) isn't too pleased and claims the last thing she needs is more dolls. This attitude becomes even more pronounced when the doll starts making threats to him when they are alone! "My name is Talky Tina and I'm beginning to hate you!" Talky Tina soon makes it clear she is going to get rid of Erich but he can't tell anyone or they'll think he's gone mad. He decides he will secretly destroy the doll but this proves to be much easier said than done. This is a great little chiller with spooky music by Bernard Herrman. The doll (voiced by June Foray) is very creepy and the premise is rather like one of the segments in those old Amicus horror anthologies and great fun. Inanimate objects who seem to have a secret life of their own was nothing new at the time even to The Twilight Zone but this is certainly one of the most enjoyable examples. I quite like the way we can read the story in more than one way. Talky Tina could be alive and protecting Christie from her wicked stepfather or Erich could simply be mad and hallucinating the whole thing. The child actress Tracy Stratford is very good too and had already made her mark in The Twilight Zone with the Richard Matheson episode Little Girl Lost.

      "What you're looking at is a legacy that man left to himself. A decade previous he pushed his buttons and, a nightmarish moment later, woke up to find that he had set the clock back a thousand years. His engines, his medicines, his science were buried in a mass tomb, covered over by the biggest gravedigger of them all: a bomb. And this is the Earth ten years later, a fragment of what was once a whole, a remnant of what was once a race. The year is 1974, and this is the Twilight Zone." The Old Man in the Cave was written by Rod Serling from a short story by Henry Slesar and directed by Alan Crosland Jr. This is not an episode with a huge reputation but I like it myself and think it's underrated. It's the far off future year of 1974 (it always seems to be 1974 when they have the future here!) and a post-apocalyptic community somewhere in the United States has survived for ten years by following the instructions given to them by the "Old Man in the Cave". No one has ever seen the Old Man in the Cave except for their leader Mr Goldsmith (John Anderson) who relays the instructions and warns them that they must always obey them. However, things are about to change in this dustball nowheresville town. A small group of soldiers led by Major French (James Coburn) arrive and soon begin to undermine the authority of Goldsmith. Major French asumes control and against the protests of Goldsmith begins handing out food and drink which the Old Man in the Cave claims is contaminated. French and his men believe that the people are idiots for listening to a mysterious old man who they have never even seen and soon decide they should all go to the cave and take a look for themselves. This episode has a good end of the world atmosphere and two fine performances by John Anderson (who appeared in four Twilight Zones in all) and a young James Coburn. The revelation at the end raises some questions that the episode never completely answers but this is a good solid Twilight Zone story about faith and technology that gains a boost from the cast.

      Uncle Simon was written by Rod Serling and directed by Don Siegel. This is pretty much a waste of time and a fairly terrible episode. Barbara (Constance Ford) has looked after her ancient Uncle Simon (Cedric Hardwicke) for 25 years despite the fact that they can't stand the sight of each other. She's only done this because he's incredibly rich and she is the heir to the money. After another argument between them on the stairs to his basement, Barbara grabs the cane he was about to aim at her and Uncle Simon falls down the stone steps to his death. Barbara thinks she is free at last but there is a twist. Uncle Simon has invented a robot and under the terms of his will Barbara will only inherit the estate if she looks after the robot in the same way that she did with him. Uncle Simon is one of those later Twilight Zone episodes that leaves you scratching your head somewhat and wondering why it was made. The acid dripped insults the two characters hurl at each other are fun at first but quickly become grating (surely no one says what is on their mind like this in such a literal sense?) and the two characters are so completely unpleasant anyway you never really care what happens to them or if Barbara gets the money or not. By the time Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet is wheeled out you've just about given up with this one and are ready to move on. What good lines the cattiness throws up are wasted on the actors and I really don't understand why Barbara is waiting on a robot and giving it hot chocolate. What is a robot going to do with hot chocolate? The best thing about this is Serling's line at the start. "Dramatis personae: Mr. Simon Polk, a gentleman who has lived out his life in a gleeful rage; and the young lady who's just beat the hasty retreat is Mr. Polk's niece, Barbara. She's lived her life as if during each ensuing hour she had a dentist appointment." Sadly, it's all downhill afterwards.

      Probe 7 - Over and Out was written by Rod Serling and directed by Ted Post. This is decent but unmemorable episode that begins well but eventually fizzles out and becomes rather dull before the somewhat cliched ending. Colonel Cook (Richard Baseheart) crash-lands on a remote planet several million miles away from his point of departure. When he receives a transmission from home telling him the that nuclear war is imminent he realises that there is no hope of a rescue mission and that he is now stranded. Exploring his new home, he soon realises he is not alone. Also stranded is Norda (Antoinette Bower), a space traveller and sole survivor from her home world. They must now try to understand each other and work out what to do on this new world. There was potential here for an enjoyable Robinson Crusoe on Mars fashion caper but Probe 7 - Over and Out never really lurches into life and the ending is rather predictable and unsatisfying. This has all the hallmarks of a Rod Serling who is under the gun and not very inspired. It goes as far as it does thanks to the actors (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea star Richard Baseheart is a stalwart hero) and the mildly intriguing initial premise of Cook stranded millions of miles away from home with the knowledge that the world he knows is about to be destroyed.

      "June 25th, 1964, or, if you prefer, June 25th, 1876. The cast of characters in order of their appearance: a patrol of General Custer's cavalry and a patrol of National Guardsmen on a maneuver. Past and present are about to collide head-on, as they are wont to do in a very special bivouac area known as the Twilight Zone." The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms was written by Rod Serling and directed by Alan Crosland Jr. This is a decent episode. Not great but enjoyable enough. During National Guard training near Little Big Horn, a three man crew of a tank - William Connors (Ron Foster), Michael McCluskey (Randy Boone), Richard Langsford (Warren Oates) - hear what sounds like gunfire and then find a teepee and a canteen with the engraving "7th Cavalry". 7th Cavalry was the outfit led to their doom by General Custer in 1876. This is only the start of the strange occurrences for the men. They hear Indian war cries and see smoke signals. Somehow they seem to be in pursuit of the past and being dragged into this historical massacre. Should they intervene? The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms has a decent enough ghostly time travel premise with a lot of historical fact (although it's not always convincing of course that the characters seem to know everything about this historical battle) and an enjoyably strange atmosphere. Their encounter with the past is done offscreen with just their reactions to abandoned wigwams or a battle that we don't actually see etc. The three actors are rather dull to be honest and I would struggle to distinguish them even after watching the episode but this not bad at all. One slight problem of course is the fact that the men presume Custer to have been on the side of good and have no qualms about throwing a tank into the battle to help him. A very romantic and one sided approach to this period of American history.

      A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain was written by Rod Serling and directed by Bernard Girard. Harmon Gordon (Patrick O'Neal) is struggling to keep up with his forty years younger gold-digging wife Flora (Ruta Lee). "He pines for the lost morning of his life when he should be enjoying the evening," says Serling in his opening narration. Desperate to recapture his youth and please his wife (who thinks he is boring) he persuades his doctor brother Raymond (Walter Brooke) to inject him with an experimental youth serum. Will it work? This is a fairly slight but watchable episode that is a bit too wordy and predictable for its own good in the end but certainly not bad. Patrick O'Neal is fine as the put upon Gordon and I quite enjoyed Walter Brooke as his more sensible brother. Ruta Lee is ok as his glamerous and demanding (not to mention nasty) wife although you do wonder why Harmon would put up with her even if she is attractive! The make-up effects are good here. O'Neal was only five years older than Ruta Lee in real life but made to look much older than her.

      "Each man measures his time; some with hope, some with joy, some with fear. But Sam Forstmann measures his allotted time by a grandfather's clock, a unique mechanism whose pendulum swings between life and death, a very special clock that keeps a special kind of time in the Twilight Zone." Ninety Years Without Slumbering was written by Richard DeRoy from a story by George Clayton Johnson and directed Roger Kay. This is a pleasant episode but hardly a great one. Sam Forstmann (Ed Wynn) is knocking on for eighty years old and has an unshakable and irrational belief that when the grandfather clock he has owned all of his life stops ticking he will die too. This obsession makes him a rather difficult person to live with as he is always paranoid about the clock and constantly checking on it. However, in order to placate his granddaughter Marnie (Carolyn Kearney) he agrees to sell the clock to a neighbour so long as he can visit and check on its maintenance on a regular basis. But when the neighbours go on holiday Sam soon becomes hysterical and fearful of the unattended clock winding down and attempts to break into their house. This is a very average episode that goes as far as it does because of the warm and likeable of presence of Ed Wynn (in his second Twilight Zone story) and is a so so meditation on mortality and the passing of time. Serling's narrations are probably the best thing here ("Clocks are made by men. God creates time. No man can prolong his allotted hours, he can only live them to the fullest - in this world or the Twilight Zone...") and the episode has a twist which sadly undercuts all that has gone before. George Clayton Johnson was so unhappy with the changes made to his story that he asked to have his name removed from the credits.

      Ring-a-Ding Girl was written by Earl Hamner Jr and directed by Alan Crosland Jr. This is one of the most underrated episodes of The Twilight Zone and very moving I think. Bunny Blake (Maggie McNamara) is a big film star on her way Rome by plane who receives a present from the Bunny Blake fan club in her home town of Howardville. Bunny looks into the ring and sees all the faces of the people she knew in Howardville and gets an overwhelming feeling that she is needed there. She drops her plans and returns home, dropping in on her surprised sister Hilday (Mary Munday) and nephew Bud (David Macklin). They are delighted to see their famous relative (for Bunny doesn't visit often). Bunny soon makes her presence felt around the town and when she learns that the Founder's Day picnic is on that day she organises a one-woman show at another part of town and tries to get everyone to attend that instead of the picnic. For what purpose? Ring-a-Ding Girl seems a bit pat and dull at first but you gradually get into the episode and then all becomes clear at the end and you realise how it all fits together. The final shot of Maggie McNamara here is one of the single most moving and touching moments of any Twilight Zone episode and absolutely perfect. Seling's final narration (which I won't repeat in this case for fear of spoliers) is superb too.

      You Drive was written by Earl Hamner Jr and directed by John Brahm. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but a fun litle episode that is well directed. Oliver Pope (Edward Andrews) is a cold hearted office manager struggling at work. His mind is not on his driving and he hits and kills a paper boy in his car but instead of stopping to offer help he drives off. Determined to keep his guilt a secret, Pope even keeps stum when a co-worker Pete (Kevin Hagen) is mistakenly identitified as the hit and run driver who killed the paperboy. However, his car has other ideas. It honks its horn, flashes its lights and turns the radio on late at night. It takes on a life of its own and even tries to run Pope down! This spooky car with a conscience is determined to make its owner confess his guilt. This plays like a rehash of the first season episode A Thing About Machines but is more agreeable on the whole because the direction is better. The sequence where the car follows Edward Andrews around a surburban street is wonderfully staged and very effective. Andrews himself is excellent as the nervous Pope, always looking shifty and paranoid even in his house. This story was inspired by Hamner Jr's own admitted ineptness with all mechanical devices and suspicion that they held a grudge against him!

      "It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears. Case in point: the scene you're watching. This is not a hospital, not a morgue, not a mausoleum, not an undertaker's parlor of the future. What it is is the belly of a spaceship. It is en route to another planetary system an incredible distance from the Earth. This is the crux of our story, a flight into space. It is also the story of the things that might happen to human beings who take a step beyond, unable to anticipate everything that might await them out there. Commander Douglas Stansfield, astronaut, a man about to embark on one of history's longest journeys - forty years out into endless space and hopefully back again. This is the beginning, the first step toward man's longest leap into the unknown. Science has solved the mechanical details, and now it's up to one human being to breathe life into blueprints and computers, to prove once and for all that man can live half a lifetime in the total void of outer space, forty years alone in the unknown. This is Earth. Ahead lies a planetary system. The vast region in between is the Twilight Zone." The Long Morrow was written by Rod Serling and directed by Robert Florey. It's an episode that should be great but comes off as curiously dull and run of the mill instead for some reason. Astronaut Commander Douglas Stansfield (Robert Lansing) is on a forty year space mission he wil undertake in suspended animation so that he will not age during his time in space. However, just before he departs he meets and falls in love with Sandra Horn (Mariette Hartley) and while he will return from space having not aged a bit, Sandra will be in her seventies when he gets back. How can they resolve this dilemma? The Long Morrow starts off great with Lansing in a suspended animation ice cube bath thing but despite good work by him and Mariette Hartley it soon becomes a trifle blands and far too talky (Serling's later scripts are often far too talky for their own good) and while the twist is not bad you'll be struggling to retain interest by the time it finally arrives.

      The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross was written by Jerry McNeely from a story by Henry Slesar and directed by Don Seigel. This is not a bad episode but it doesn't really make any sense when you think about it afterwards. Salvadore Ross (Don Gordon) is a bad tempered man with no patience. He is furious when his former social worker Leah Maitland (Gail Kobe) rejects his romantic advances and punches a wall in frustration. Now, suffering from a broken hand, he visits the hospital and jokingly remarks to an old man in the bed next to him with a chest cold that he'd love to swap conditions. Later that night, as if by magic, he finds his wish has come true. He has a chest cold while the old man now has his broken hand. He decides to take advantage of this strange new talent. With the ability to do "swaps" he exchanges his youth for an old man's fortune and then gets his youth back by getting bellhops to each sell him a year of their life. And so on. Can this bizarre ability win Salvadore happiness and the heart of Leah? The McGuffin here is pretty good and supplies a decent twist but the story never really all comes together and plugs the gaps in logic. It never feels very realistic for Leah to sway in her feelings for Ross after he was so horrible at the start and the make-up when he is briefly transformed into an elderly man is not terribly convincing. This is not a bad episode but just not a tremendously great one either. Don Gordon is excellent though in his second Twilight Zone appearance.

      "Given the chance, what young girl wouldn't happily exchange a plain face for a lovely one? What girl could refuse the opportunity to be beautiful? For want of a better estimate, let's call it the year 2000. At any rate, imagine a time in the future when science has developed a means of giving everyone the face and body he dreams of. It may not happen tomorrow, but it happens now in the Twilight Zone." Number Twelve Looks Just Like You was written by John Tomerlin from a story by Charles Beaumont and directed by Abner Biberman. This is one of the most memorable and famous episodes in this fifth season and an excellent one. In the future, people undergo a procedure at the age of nineteen which makes them beautiful and also identical to everyone else. But eighteen year old Marilyn Cuberle (Collin Wilcox) decides that that she wants to avoid the operation and stay the way she is. She is influenced by the memory of her radical father who believed the operation was a way of enforcing conformity and committed suicide after it was finally done to him. "When everyone is beautiful no one will be," Marilyn remembers him saying. "Because without ugliness there can be no beauty. They don't care whether you are beautiful or not. They just want everybody to be the same!" Her mother Lana (Suzy Parker) and the staff at the Transformation centre all think Marilyn is mad and worrying herself about nothing. It's all for her own good. But is the Transformation all that it seems? This is a great episode made all the more spooky by the fact that because everyone in this future society looks the same several parts are played the same actors. Richard Long is excellent in his various roles, including that of Marilyn's doctor. The future here is a sterile weird place where people drink Instant Smile when they feel depressed and are encouraged not to think about anything too deeply. Most of all though they are encouraged to all be the same. Literally in this case. Wilcox is excellent in the central part, pleading her case to remain an individual and receiving no sympathy or understanding from anyone. The end is rather chilling and the story is rather Stepford Wives too. This episode is absolutely bang on the money when it comes to predicting the future we live in now. Take this portion of Serling's narration - "Portrait of a young lady in love - with herself. Improbable? Perhaps. But in an age of plastic surgery, body building and an infinity of cosmetics, let us hesitate to say impossible. These and other strange blessings may be waiting in the future - which, after all, is the Twilight Zone..."

      Black Leather Jackets was written by Earl Hamner Jr and directed by Joseph M Newman. This is pretty hopeless and often cited as one of the worst ever Twilight Zone episode. Three bikers (played by Le Kinsolving, Michael Forest, and Tom Gilleran) arrive in a small town with leather jackets and sunglasses. They are in fact aliens and part of a first invasion wave with a mission to poison water supplies and kill all humans and animals. They also receive orders from a giant eye that speaks to them through their television set! Anyway, one of the aliens (who lest we forget are disguised as James Dean type bikers) falls in love with a human neighbour named Ellen (Shelley Fabares) when he gives her a lift after she misses the bus. Now, feeling guilty and torn about their mission to wipe out humanity, he has a rethink and is considered a traitor by the others. And so on. You feel like there might have been a decent idea in here somewhere but it becomes lost somewhere and this episode is rather stupid and dull. You'd think that if the aliens are trying to be incognito they wouldn't go blustering into town as counter culture bikers and so INEVITABLY attract the attention of the locals! This one never really takes off and is full of irritating things that seem stupid. The alien falling in love with a human and then never bothering to prove he is an alien despite having mystical powers. Ellen thinks he might be a candidate for the funny farm when he claims to be an extraterrestrial and I don't blame her for coming to that conclusion.

      "Miss Elva Keene lives alone on the outskirts of London Flats, a tiny rural community in Maine. Up until now, the pattern of Miss Keene's existence has been that of lying in her bed or sitting in her wheelchair reading books, listening to a radio, eating, napping, taking medication, and waiting for something different to happen. Miss Keene doesn't know it yet, but her period of waiting has just ended, for something different is about to happen to her, has in fact already begun to happen, via two most unaccountable telephone calls in the middle of a stormy night, telephone calls routed directly through the Twilight Zone." Night Call was written by Richard Matheson and directed by Jacques Tourneur. This is much better and one of the creepiest and most effective of The Twilight Zone's excursions into horror. Veteran British stage actress Gladys Cooper is Elva Keen, an elderly woman who lives alone and is plagued by frightening telephone calls in the middle of the night when she is in bed. "Where are you? I want to talk to you!" Where are these spooky calls originating from? This is a superbly atmospheric and enjoyable ghost story wonderfully directed by Jacques (Cat People) Tourneur. It was an inspired move to get Tourneur involved and he does a great job with the material, slowly amping up the tension and providing nice little flourishes like the shadows of tree branches falling over Elva's face as she lies in bed. Some great detail too during a scene in a cemetery. Gladys Cooper, in her third Twilight Zone appearance, is once again perfectly cast. Sadly, the next episode is a complete dud by comparison and another example in this collection of a series that is starting to run out of steam. It's not surprising really watching some of the episodes here that this was the last season of The Twilight Zone.

      From Agnes - With Love was written by Bernard C Schoenfeld and directed by Richard Donner. James Elwood (Wally Cox) is a programmer in charge of Mark 502-741 - the most advanced computer in the world and known as "Agnes". Elwood took over the job when the previous programmer was driven insane by Agnes and he soon realises why. The computer gives him romantic suggestions on how to woo fellow office worker Millie (Sue Randall) but none of them go terribly well and Elwood's life is soon in ruin. This is an awful really. It tries to be funny but isn't and Wally Cox is far too broad and annoying in the central role. When he goes on a date with Millie he reads Einstein and complains when she turns the light off so he can hardly complain that the computer's suggestions are wrecking his romantic plans. He seems perfectly capable of doing it himself. There is no twist or any real direction to this episode and it bears the hallmarks of a writer who simply didn't get The Twilight Zone at all.

      "This is the face of terror: Anne Marie Henderson, eighteen years of age, her young existence suddenly marred by a savage and wholly unanticipated pursuit by a strange, nightmarish figure of a woman in black, who has appeared as if from nowhere and now at driving gallop chases the terrified girl across the countryside, as if she means to ride her down and kill her - and then suddenly and inexplicably stops, to watch in malignant silence as her prey takes flight. Miss Henderson has no idea whatever as to the motive for this pursuit; worse, not the vaguest notion regarding the identity of her pursuer. Soon enough, she will be given the solution to this twofold mystery, but in a manner far beyond her present capacity to understand, a manner enigmatically bizarre in terms of time and space, which is to say, an answer from the Twilight Zone." Spur of the Moment was written by Richard Matheson and directed by Elliot Silverstein. There is a nice twist here but Matheson's intention of supplying another scary Twilight Zone story is rather bungled by the conception. Anne Marie Henderson (Diana Hyland) goes out on her horse and is terrified when she is chased by a mad old woman in a cape thundering along on a stallion. Anne rushes home where her parents (played by Phillip Ober and Marsha Hunt) are waiting with her sensible stockbroker finance Robert (Robert Hogan). Suddenly, her former fiancee David (Roger Davis) barges in and asks for a second chance and begs Anne not to be forced into marriage by her parents. Her parents disapprove of Robert and tell him to get on his bike. But will Anne give him a second chance? And who was the woman on the stallion chasing her that morning? Spur of the Moment is a nice idea and spooky at times but the episode never really grips as it should and the twist is unfortunately all but given away at the start. Diana Hyland is certainly good though.

      "Tonight a presentation so special and unique that, for the first time in the five years we've been presenting the Twilight Zone, we're offering a film shot in France by others. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival of 1962, as well as other international awards, here is a haunting study of the incredible, from the past master of the incredible, Ambrose Bierce. Here is the French production of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (an adaptation of Ambrose Bierce's short story) was directed by Robert Enrico and is a French short film that Cayuga Productions purchased from Europe to show as part of The Twilight Zone. As the film is practically silent they merely added opening and closing narrations by Serling and it fitted into the Twilight Zone universe remarkably well. It's a superb little film with a real earthy and vivid atmosphere and music and snare drums by Henri LaNoe. It's the American Civil War and over a railway bridge Union Soldiers prepare to hang a Confederate spy (Roger Jacquet). As he is about to die, the rope snaps and he is plunged into the water for what is merely the beginning of what seems like a most extraordinary escape. His only thoughts are to somehow get home to his wife. With its haunting twist ending and ethereal atmosphere, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a memorable short film and a nice unusual addition to this collection. The film won awards in the short picture category at both the Academy awards and the Cannes Film Festival.

      Queen of the Nile was written by Jerty Sohl and Charles Beaumont and directed by John Brahm. This episode is not bad but like so much here hardly classic Twilight Zone. Jordan Herrick (Lee Phillips) is a syndicated columnist for hundreds of newspapers. His latest assignment is to interview the famous film star Pamela Morris (Ann Blyth) at her mansion. When he arrives he is surprised to find that Pamela looks exactly the same as she did in her famous 1940s picture Queen of the Nile. She doesn't seem to have aged a day. On the way out he is secretly confronted by a woman in her seventies named Viola (Cecila Lousky) who he takes to be Pamela's mother. But the woman tells him she is actually Pamela's daughter! Jordan decides that it's about time he investigated the mystery of Pamela Morris. Queen of the Nile is certainly watchable and the premise is decent enough although the central theme had already been done much better in Long Live Walter Jameson in the first season. This is the last ever Twilight Zone with a credit for the great Charles Beaumont but he was in poor health by now and most of the work here was really done by Jerry Sohl.

      What's in the Box was written by Martin Goldsmith and directed by John Brahm. This is a fairly mediocre episode that revolves around bickering blue collar New Yorkers Joe (William Demarest) and Phyllis (Joan Blondell) and is set in their apartment. When Joe insults a television repairman (Sterling Holloway) he soon finds that something very strange has happened to his television. He can now see the future on it! He sees himself with a mistress (which of course he has to shield from his wife) and later sees himself arguing with Phyllis and throwing her out of the window! How can he prevent this alarming future from happening and who was the strange television repairman? A decent McGuffin here. Television shows images of a person's future. Sadly though, the performances by the two lead actors are very grating and far too broad. This might have worked as a tighter and spookier episode but the cast are playing it like a situation comedy and it never really comes together and transforms itself into a very good episode. One also has a sense here too of two characters being put through the Twilight Zone moral agony booth when they don't really seem to deserve it.

      "Mr Jason Foster, a tired ancient who on this particular Mardi Gras evening will leave the Earth. But before departing he has some things to do, some services to perform, some debts to pay, and some justice to mete out. This is New Orleans, Mardi Gras time. It is also the Twilight Zone." The Masks was written by Rod Serling and directed by Ida Lupino. This is much more like it and one of the smattering of bona fide classic episodes in this fifth series. Jason Foster (Robert Keith) is about to die and summons his family heirs - Wilfred Harper (Milton Selzer), Emily Harper (Virginia Gregg), Paula Harper (Brooke Hayward), Wilfred Harper Jr (Alan Sues) - over for what will be a strange Mardi Gras ritual. The family are all shallow selfish and loathsome and can't wait for the old man to die so they can get their hands on the money. They don't care about him at all, only the inheritance. Foster says that in order to claim the inheritance they must carry out his final request. They must wear grotesque masks fashioned by a Cajun that reflect their inner selves until midnight. Self-pity, vanity, greed, cruelty, avariciousness. The heirs are agahst at this idea and protest at having to wear the horrible masks but finally agree for the sake of the money. Meanwhile, Foster will wear the mask of death. The Masks was the only Twilight Zone episode to be directed by a woman - in this case the British born Ida Lupino who had already been an actress on the show in the first season. Lupino delivers a stylish and wonderfully atmospheric episode but perhaps the real stars of the show are the masks themselves. They are much in the vein of the masks from The Eye of the Beholder and have a strange grotesque beauty. Serling, who has really not been himself in this final season, finally delivers the goods again and comes up with a great Twilight Zone story and a fantastic twist that you'll probably see coming but is wonderful nonetheless. Robert Keith is excellent as the old man that these vultures all want to die and has some great lines as he lets them know exactly what he thinks of them. "If someone were to cut you open, all they'd find is a cash register."

      "Sheriff Charlie Koch on the morning of an execution. As a matter of fact, it's 7:30 in the morning. Logic and natural laws dictate that at this hour there should be daylight. It is a simple rule of physical science that the sun should rise at a certain moment and supercede the darkness. But at this given moment, Sheriff Charlie Koch, a deputy named Pierce, a condemned man named Jagger and a small, inconsequential village will shortly find out that there are causes and effects that have no precedent. Such is usually the case in the Twilight Zone." I Am the Night--Color Me Black was written by Rod Serling and directed by Abner Biberman. This is a tedious and pompous episode despite its good intentions and was written by Serling in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. Jagger (Terry Becker) is about to be hanged for killing a "bigot" in what he says what an act of self defence. The town was biased towards the idealistic Jagger and his side of the story was not discussed in the local paper. The Sheriff (Michael Constance) knew the case was questionable at best but decided not to do anything about it and leave Jagger to his fate. Although it is now 7-30 in the morning, night has not lifted from the small town and they seem to be trapped in darkness as if punished for their collective sins. This is a very pretentious episode that finds Serling on his high horse to no great effect. The conceit of darkness falling where hate exists feels clunky and the obvious messages of the story are hammered home far too much by the screenplay. Don't feel as if you have to follow the crowd, hate and prejudice is a terrible thing etc. It's a shame really because the actors are very good here.

      Sounds and Silences was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard Donner. This is a strange and forgettable episode that finds Serling on very poor form indeed. He was actually accused here of pilfering from a rejected Twilight Zone script that had been submitted two years before so was clearly almost completely out of fresh ideas by now. Roswell G Flemington (John McGiver) is the owner of a model-ship company and obsessed with naval jargon and generally a complete loudmouth. His idea of relaxation is playing recordings of naval battles and he is the loudest and most bombastic person you could wish to meet. When his wife (Penny Singleton) leaves him he is ecstatically happy because he can now be as loud as he wants. But that night something strange happens and the tiniest noise is suddenly deafening to him. There are a few twists in this episode but you'll be past caring by the time they arrive. John McGiver is fun at first as the blunt and pompous Flemington but his performance quicky becomes ridiculous.

      "Jonathan West, ventriloquist, a master of voice manipulation. A man late of Ireland, with a talent for putting words into other people's mouths. In this case, the other person is a dummy, aptly named Caesar, a small splinter with large ideas, a wooden tyrant with a mind and a voice of his own, who is about to talk Jonathan West into the Twilight Zone." Caesar and Me was written by Adele T Strassfield and directed by Robert Butler. This is actually not bad although it does seem like an imitation of a previous episode called The Dummy. Jonathan West (Jackie Cooper) is a terrible ventriloquist who is completely broke because his act is so awful. Struggling to pay his rent and with a slender grasp on reality, his creepy dummy Caesar badgers him into committing a series of robberies. But his secret soon comes into the possession of his landlady's niece Susan (Morgan Brittany), a vicious little brat who thinks Jonathan is an idiot and enjoys any power she has over him. It's all been done before but Caesar and Me is modest fun and at least generates a bit of tension. Jackie Cooper (Christopher Reeve's boss at The Daily Planet in the Superman films) is a good actor although his Irish accent is terrible. This is notable for being the only Twilight Zone episode written by a woman - in this case the secretary of the producer! They had no scripts lined up so she asked for a bash at writing one and got her wish.

      "The cast of characters: a cat and a mouse. This is the latter, the intended victim who may or may not know that he is to die, be it by butchery or ballet. His name is Major Ivan Kuchenko. He has, if events go according to certain plans, perhaps three of four more hours of living. But an ignorance shared by both himself and his executioner is of the fact that both of them have taken a first step into the Twilight Zone." The Jeopardy Room was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard Donner. This is a great little episode and presents an intricate puzzle and battle of wits between two men that becomes very gripping. Major Ivan Kuchenko (Martin Landau) is defecting to the West and waits in his hotel room for passage to a safe country. Commissar Vassiloff (John van Dreelenis) is assigned to kill him and intends to do it with the artistry and cunning he is associated with. He intends to make the killing an ingenious work of art. He visits Kuchenko and knocks him out with drugged wine. When Kuchenko comes to a tape recording tells him there is a bomb in the room that he has three hours to find. If he stops looking, turns out the light or tries to leave the room a sniper will shoot him. Can he solve the puzzle? This is an absorbing episode with a nice satisfying twist in the tale and great performances by the two lead actors. There is no fantasy at all in The Jeopardy Room but it works really well and always feel very Twilight Zone.

      Stopover in a Quiet Town was written by Earl Hamner Jr and directed by Ron Winston. It's one of my favourites and the last great episode in this collection. Although Hamner was one of the more whimsical writers on the show, Stopover in a Quiet Town is probably one of the creepiest of all the Twilight Zone episodes and might even make my top ten list. The story has a well heeled New York couple - Bob (Barry Nelson) and Millie (Nancy Malone) Frazier - groggily waking up in a strange house after a night of heavy drinking. They have no idea where they are or what exactly happened the previous evening, only that they remember a huge shadow appearing over their car at one point but their memories are fogged. They find the house they've woken up in is completely empty. Even stranger is the discovery that the house is filled with fake props like a television studio set. The cupboards are just glued on and the fridge is full of plastic replica food. The bewildered couple wander outside and find themselves in a small town that seems to be completely deserted. Where is everybody? Why does the grass seem to be made of papier-mâché? And why do they keep hearing a little girl laughing in the distance? What the story does very nicely here is set up a strange and intriguing mystery that slowly unravels as the characters get closer and closer to the shocking secret of the town. The twist here is enjoyably far out and daft (but very Twilight Zone) and it was actually pilfered in fairly shameless fashion for a great episode of Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense many years later. The couple in the story are fairly streetwise New Yorkers who have just had far too much to drink during a raucous night out and are most concerned now with the fact that they going to be late for work. Problems soon arise though because they've got no idea where they are and they can't find a single solitary soul anywhere. Knocks on doors are met with silence and even when they presume everyone must in the town church for some sort of service they find that completely empty too. 'Give me the big city any day!' says Bob. 'At least then you know you're being stared at!'

      This is one of those Twilight Zones stories that uses isolation and a gradual sense of panic to create a wonderfully atmospheric and strange story. The fact that the couple are quite ordinary and are gently bickering with throbbing hangovers makes them easy to relate to and imagine what it might be like to be their predicament. There are some elements of that David Fincher film The Game here when they find out that the house they are in is full of fake props and the story really becomes gripping when they find that their attempts to leave the town always appear to be doomed. The cars in the street don't have any engines and when they - with great initial relief - find a train station and hop on a waiting train, it only takes them around in a complete circle back to where they started. The sense of atmosphere in Stopover in a Quiet Town comes from the fact that the town is eerily empty and abandoned with only a sense of stillness and quiet apparent. The spooky thing is that the town seems normal on the surface with no sign or panic or flight, it's just empty. This all works well with the somewhat disconcerting sound of the little girl laughing, which the Fraziers keep hearing but can never actually pinpoint despite their best efforts. Isolation was often used to good effect in the series (Where is Everybody?, The Lonely) and Stopover in a Quiet Town is another good example of this recurring theme.

      "Two men alone in an attic: a young Japanese-American and a seasoned veteran of yesterday's war. It's twenty-odd years since Pearl Harbor, but two ancient opponents are moving into position for a battle in an attic crammed with skeletons: souvenirs, mementos, old uniforms and rusted medals. Ghosts from the dim reaches of the past that will lead us into the Twilight Zone." Next up is The Encounter, written by Martin Goldsmith and directed by Robert Butler. This is a bizarre episode that I could never really get into at all. Fenton (Neville Brand) is a World War 2 veteran tidying up his attic. He's visited by a young gardener named Arthur Takamuri (George Takei) who is looking for a bit of work. They have some beer and Fenton says he'll throw him some cash to help clean the attic. All is well. However, Fenton begins to needle Arthur about his Japanese heritage and when they find a samurai sword in the attic it seems to bring out the worst in both of them, triggering flashbacks and old enmities. The pair are soon fighting like Peter Sellers and Burt Kwouk in the Pink Panther films. I have absolutely no idea what The Encounter is supposed to be to be honest but it wastes two good actors with what seems like a pointless and rather silly story. The implication that Takei's character was a spy at Pearl Harbour or something seemed rather tasteless too and offensive to Japanese-Americans.

      "Introducing Mr Jared Garrity, a gentleman of commerce, who in the latter half of the nineteenth century plied his trade in the wild and wooly hinterlands of the American West. And Mr Garrity, if one can believe him, is a resurrector of the dead - which, on the face of it, certainly sounds like the bull is off the nickel. But to the scoffers amongst you, and you ladies and gentlemen from Missouri, don't laugh this one off entirely, at least until you've seen a sample of Mr Garrity's wares, and an example of his services. The place is Happiness, Arizona, the time about 1890. And you and I have just entered a saloon where the bar whiskey is brewed, bottled and delivered from the Twilight Zone." Mr Garrity and the Graves was written by Rod Serling and directed by Ted Post. This is an excellent Western episode with a wonderful final frame and an enjoyably dry performance by John Dehner. He plays Jared Garrity, a sharp conman who arrives in the town of Happiness, Arizona, and says he will resurrect all of the inhabitants dead relatives at the stroke of midnight. As long as they pay him $500 each of course. Some don't want their relatives back though (!) and have to pay him $500 to keep them dead. Anyway, can Garrity really resurrect the dead or is just fleecing a load of gullible idiots for all they are worth? Mr Garrity and the Graves is a lot of fun with Dehner bamboozling the inhabitants of the town with his patter and tricks and then offering them a most extraordinary service. I love the final scene here and it is quite spooky at times too. Great supporting cast too with all the townsfolk amusing and authentic. A really good episode in what has been a patchy last season.

      The Brain Center at Whipple's was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard Donner. This is another clunker and pretty hopeless. Wallace V Whipple (Richard Deacon) is the owner of a huge manufacturing plant and puts hundreds of men out of work by automating it. His foreman Dickerson (Ted de Corsia) is mortified by this and lets Whipple know that he's a cold hearted crook. Machines can never replace men in his opinion and it's a tragedy that automation and cold hearted bosses are throwing human beings on the scrap heap as if they don't count for anything. You get the general idea. Anyway, Whipple - in the vein of You Drive and A Thing About Machines - will soon discover that mechanical contraptions can be very creepy sometimes and have a life of their own. An obvious and timeless message here is lost in the conception. The Brain Center at Whipple's feels thrown together and aimless and the twist is stupid. You know it's a rubbish Twilight Zone episode when Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet is wheeled out yet again. The script consists mostly of two men making speeches to one another - a weakness of Serling when he's less than inspired.

      Come Wander With Me was written by Anthony Wilson and directed by Richard Donner. This is regarded to be one of the weakest Twilight Zone episodes and doesn't make an awful lot of sense but I have a strange soft spot for it myself. It's like a sort of backswoods ghost story I suppose. Floyd Burney (Gary Crosby) is a famous singer known as "the Rockabilly Boy". He journeys deep into the country to look for an authentic folk song to buy or steal. After he questions an old man in a shop he hears a haunting and beautiful tune being hummed outside by a striking woman named Mary Rachael (Bonnie Beecher). Floyd strikes up a friendship and romance with the woman so he can get the song but a man named Billy (John Bolt) arrives looking rather angry and says that he and his brothers know exactly what to do to Floyd. Floyd hits him with a guitar and kills him and - meanwhile - Mary Racheal continues to sing her song but now changing the words so there is a lyric about Floyd's murder of Billy! Oh, and her clothes keep changing too. Even to the point of wearing funeral garb. Even Richard Donner said he had no idea what this episode was supposed to be about and said it was pointless but the mist shrouded woods make a great backdrop and Beecher's rendition of the catchy and mournful song Come Wander With Me also adds greatly to the atmosphere. Gary Crosby (son of Bing) isn't much of an actor in the lead. A strange episode but one that is worth a look.

      "The major ingredient of any recipe for fear is the unknown. And here are two characters about to partake of the meal: Miss Charlotte Scott, a fashion editor, and Mr. Robert Franklin, a state trooper. And the third member of the party: the unknown, that has just landed a few hundred yards away. This person or thing is soon to be met. This is a mountain cabin, but it is also a clearing in the shadows known as the Twilight Zone." The Fear was written by Rod Serling and directed by Ted Post. This is fairly ludicrous towards the end but an episode I quite like. Trooper Franklin (Peter Mark Richman) is called out to visit the remote cabin of Miss Scott (Hazel Court), a scared woman who is recovering from a nervous breakdown and has reported strange lights in the sky. Turns out that something weird is indeed going on. Franklin's car is rolled over, there is blinding light outside, the telephone line goes down, the radio doesn't work. Could the gigantic footprints they find outside have anything to do with it? This episode is marked down by many for the ending (which is I admit rather silly) and the windy speeches that the two actors throw at one another as the characters size each other up. Serling's verbose confrontational dialogue seems out of place here and too windy. Would a country State Trooper really be as talkative and articulate as Peter Mark Richman is here? I'd imagine he'd want to get to the root of the problem and report back rather than banter bons mots in a cabin somewhere. Anyway, the episode becomes quite enjoyable and gripping when the strange events occur and Franklin ventures out to see what is going on. The Fear is far from a classic Twilight Zone episode but it's sort of fun, evoking The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street and The Invaders even if it falls far below the standard set by those two earlier stories.

      Finally, we have the last ever episode of The Twilight Zone - The Bewitchin' Pool. This was written by Earl Hamner Jr and directed by Joseph M Newman. Sadly, the series doesn't end on a very memorable note here. The episode tries to be whimsical and poetic but never quite works. Sport (Mary Badham) and Jeb (Tim Stafford) are two children fed up with their bickering parents. They like to hang out in the back garden where is a huge swimming pool. One afternoon a boy with an anachronistic Huckelberry Finn appearance appears in the pool and beckons them to follow. They dive in after him and surface in some backswoods creek where there are loads of children playing happily with no adults to annoy them. They seem to have been transported to some child's paradise presided over by a warm loving Earth Mother granny named Aunt T (Georgia Simmons). Will the children want to go back to their parents or stay here? This feels more like a pilot for a children's television show than a Twilight Zone story and suffers from a number of problems. Mary Badham (of To Kill A Mockingbird) is dubbed, the children have silly names and different accents from their parents!, Rod Serling does not two but THREE narrations to plug the fact they didn't have enough material to spin the episode out. What happens to the children in this mystical backswoods paradise? Do they grow up or remain children forever like Peter Pan? I've no idea. The Bewitchin' Pool is watchable but not an episode I can see myself returning to much if ever.

      There are a smattering of enjoyable extras with the collection. Interviews and audio commentaries by Michael Constantine, Bill Mumy, Carolyn Kearney, Mariette Hartley, Earl Hammer Jnr, Mickey Rooney, and Martin Landau and - best of all - a 90 minute documentary about the life of Rod Serling called Submitted For Your Approval. At the time of writing you can buy The Twilight Zone season five for £25.

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