“I Just Poured on the Coal”
“What’s going on here?! Where are we?! WHAT are we?!”
If you’re a Twilight Zone fan, you “heard” those sentences in your head. And they were spoken — or should I say bellowed? — by one of the most well-known actors to appear on TV in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s: William Windom.
His first and most memorable role on TZ came in Season 3’s “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”. Murray Matheson gives a scene-stealing performance as the unflappable clown, but Windom’s hot-headed, impatient army major is the real focal point of the story.
His determination to find a way out of their odd, cylindrical prison brings him the answers to the questions quoted above. But being The Twilight Zone, he probably wasn’t happy with what he found out.
“I just poured on the coal,” Windom later said. “You try to make it as undoll-like as long as you can, which isn’t hard to do, because they’re all sort of strange people.”
When I read that quote recently, the reference to being “undoll-like” made me think of Windom’s second role on TZ. In “Miniature,” he plays Dr. Wallman, the psychiatrist who treats a man convinced that the female figurine he sees in a museum dollhouse is alive.
What an interesting coincidence, I thought, that both roles should center around dolls.
Then again, we ARE talking about The Twilight Zone, so … IS it a coincidence?
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!