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
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
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
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
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 Twitter, Facebook 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!
Posted on 01/31/2014, in Twilight Zone and tagged Charles Beaumont, Dust, George Clayton Johnson, Mirror Image, Nothing in the Dark, Rod Serling, Shadow Play, The Changing of the Guard, TV marathons, Twilight Zone. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.