Monthly Archives: July 2013

Spotlight on Season 4: “On Thursday We Leave For Home”

“The ideal Twilight Zone started with a really smashing idea that hit you in the first few seconds, then you played that out, and had a little flip at the end. That was the structure.” — Richard Matheson (writer of “Nick of Time”, “The Invaders”, and a dozen other TZs)

That structure worked like a charm for four of Twilight Zone’s five seasons. During Season 4, however, it went to an hour, making it virtually impossible to follow the established formula for an “ideal Twilight Zone”. Small wonder that CBS pared it back to a half-hour for the final season.

Are you sure you want less of me?

Are you sure you want less of me?

But although the move to an hour did result in some stories that were obviously padded and dramatically flat, some excellent episodes aired that season. Indeed, it showcased some of the finest writing in the entire series.

I highlighted one example last year in a post on Charles Beaumont’s “Miniature”. Now I’d like to do the same for a key scene in Rod Serling’s “On Thursday We Leave For Home”. Read the rest of this entry

How Hot Is It?

Think the current heatwave is confined to this dimension? Oh, no.

midnight sun

Over in the Twilight Zone, it’s so hot that …

  • The “What You Need” guy is handing out nothing but ice cream cones and battery-powered fans.
  • Corry installed an A/C unit on Alicia.
  • Al Denton keeps singing “How Hot I Am.”
  • Little Anthony demands that everyone start thinking cool thoughts.
  • Henry Bemis is using his books strictly to fan himself. Read the rest of this entry

A Self-Imposed “Silence”

Rod Serling, as fans of The Twilight Zone well know, was a master of dialogue. Veteran actors such as Jack Klugman (“A Game of Pool”) often spoke of what a treat it was to act out one of his scripts, which were filled with pithy observations and stinging critiques.

Interesting, then, that he also wrote an episode titled “The Silence.” It concerned a memorable wager: Stay silent for a year, and win $500,000.

The Silence2

Of course, in real life, the silent treatment isn’t quite as hard to coax from some people. They’ll do it for any number of reasons.

So when the hashtag #ReasonsWeStoppedTalking popped up on Twitter recently, I thought of several TZ-related conditions that might prompt the cold shoulder. I huddled with my intrepid “Gal Friday,” Wendy, and here’s what we came up with: Read the rest of this entry