After the Zone-a-thon II

Henry Bemis and his all-too-breakable eyeglasses? Check. Talky Tina? She was there. Agnes Moorehead, battling two tiny aliens who crash-land on her roof? Front and center. A gremlin on an airplane wing? He flew in just for the occasion.

Yes, the roster of fifth-dimension All-Stars was long at the Syfy channel’s annual two-day Twilight Zone marathon this New Year’s. From the tension-filled houses on Maple Street to the lush cornfields of Peaksville, Ohio, hardly anyone missed the festivities.

But although the schedule was packed with fan favorites, a few gems were conspicuously absent. We all would have been better served if replacements for clunkers such as “What’s in the Box” and “Caesar and Me” had been pulled from the following list:


Season 1, Episode 21 – February 26, 1960

Mirror Image8

Parallel planes. Disappearing doppelgängers. It’s a metaphysical mind-trip of the first order, one that definitely deserved a spot on Syfy’s schedule. I’m blaming Vera Miles’s wily twin for making this classic vanish from the marathon.



Season 2, Episode 12 – January 6, 1961


No one was better than Rod Serling at bringing us face to face with the worst in mankind, only to remind us that it’s nothing that can’t be conquered by the best in mankind. A hanging in the Old West is transformed from an exercise in eye-for-an-eye justice to a touching reminder of the healing power of forgiveness.



Season 2, Episode 26 – May 5, 1961

Shadow Play2

Imagine being convicted of murder, sentenced to death by electrocution, then strapped into the electric chair. Sounds like a bad dream. And for Adam Grant, that’s just what it is. The question is, will he wake up in time? A fascinating look at the serpentine world of nightmares from the incomparable Charles Beaumont.



Season 3, Episode 16 – January 5, 1962

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Yes, the episode with a young Robert Redford as Mr. Death. But if that’s all you remember about this bittersweet episode, take another look. Writer George Clayton Johnson explores the paralyzing nature of our fears, and the importance of facing them bravely.



Season 3, Episode 37 – June 1, 1962

9 (5)

No matter what we do with our lives, nearly everyone ponders the great question: Am I making a difference? Is the world a better place because of me? For aging Professor Ellis Fowler, the answer is no. Despondent, he prepares to kill himself. Fortunately, his past students beg to differ. A beautiful take on “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Serling.

Sure, we could wait for the next marathon to see these episodes. But thanks to Netflix, Hulu, iTunes — as well as DVDs and Blu-rays — we can visit that land of “shadow and substance” any time.

How about you? Were any of your favorites missing from the marathon? Feel free to sound off below.

Related: After the Zone-a-thon


Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 01/31/2014, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Excellent post, Boss. It is a shame that such wonderful episodes got neglected this year. Sure, the marathon is only 48 hours long, so there’s only room for so many episodes. But as you mention here, there were quite a few episodes (like yes, “Caesar and Me”) that felt like a waste of precious marathon time slots.

    A few others I would like to have seen included are “Spur of the Moment”, “The Mind and the Matter”, and “The Fear”. Somewhat underrated episodes, but I think that’s because we rarely get to see them. Both “Spur” and “The Fear” have a wonderful creep factor, which we don’t see in the Zone as often as people might think. And “The Mind and the Matter” is just a darn good story (not surprising that Serling penned it), brought beautifully to life by actor Shelley Berman.

    Honestly, I think that Syfy needs to let US schedule next year’s New Year’s Eve marathon, don’t you, Boss? ;)

    • Thanks, GF! Yes, I’d vote to include any of the episodes you mentioned. This was just a sampling, of course. And you and me, program the marathon? Absolutely! Think of the color commentary we could provide. It would be a party to remember! ;)

  2. I always enjoy watching “The Changing of the Guard” but I’m ok with having some skipped, more reason to watch next year or, in the bonus round if they do the marathon on the 4th of July. I have some episodes on DVR and I have the DVDs but (as I think you once mentioned) there are ample reasons for watching the marathon. I missed a bunch of episodes this year due to the holiday falling on Wednesday. We worked until 12:00 on Tuesday and I I had to be up at 5:00 AM on Thursday. Good to see a new post, I was getting worried.

    • Ha, didn’t mean to worry you, Dan! I’ll have more posts in February, I think. January was just a rough month. And you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with holding back a few good ones for the next marathon. Sorry you were so busy at work this time. Hope can relax more the next time!

  3. “Shadow Play” is one of the best. It gets even better with repeated viewing. It’s so frustrating to watch. Each time you find yourself trying to figure out a way to stop the cycle!

    Is he guilty or innocent? Maybe he is guilty and this recurring dream is his punishment.

    I would have to believe that this was a difficult concept for people to comprehend in those days.

    I also love “The Changing of the Guard”. Its simple message is so memorable. I always let my professors know how much I appreciated their classes.

    • Interesting theories! But that’s part of what makes TZ fun. And that’s wonderful that you make a point of thanking your professors. Gratitude is so important, yet so easy to forget. Thanks for commenting, Jo Ann!

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