Monthly Archives: October 2020
Seeing Twilight Zone’s “Time Enough at Last” Through New Lenses
Some episodes of The Twilight Zone seem to be above reproach. Like my personal favorite, “Eye of the Beholder“. Or the bittersweet, poetic “Walking Distance“. Or the one with what is surely the biggest gut-punch ending of all, “Time Enough at Last.” Who can criticize that one?
Okay, there was the post I did about how the twist feels unjust to me. But beyond that, who could say a negative word about the episode that many fans say is their all-time favorite?
Whoops. Me again.
Actually, it’s not a negative word. I can’t help loving this episode either. The writing, the acting, the directing, the set design … it’s all world-class. Truly.
But I do have a technical quibble with it.
Mind you, I’m not normally one to nitpick the Zone on such details. As I mentioned in my review of The Twilight Zone Companion, I give the show wide latitude in this area. I don’t roll my eyes if, for example, a TZ says Mars is X number of miles away, and that estimate isn’t even close. So what? TZ isn’t really a sci-fi show at heart, anyway — it’s a fantasy drama with sci-fi trappings.
But there’s a technical detail in “Time Enough at Last” that’s hard to overlook, especially because — unlike most of the show’s other gaffes — it’s crucial to the plot.
I’m talking about Henry Bemis’s glasses.Read the rest of this entry
Serling Edit: Cutting a Scene of Larceny in Twilight Zone’s “Where is Everybody?”
October means Halloween to a lot of people — myself included — but it also makes me think of The Twilight Zone. I know, I know. I hardly need any encouragement, do I? And yet October is special because it’s the month that TZ premiered in 1959.
It was on October 2 of that year — at 10:00pm EST, if you want to be precise — that anyone turning to CBS saw the first episode, “Where is Everybody?” The story of an Air Force pilot who hallucinates himself into an empty town during isolation training was Stop #1 for those curious enough to explore Rod Serling’s “middle ground between light and shadow”.
So I thought I would share something fun today. It’s something Serling included in an early draft of the episode, but which was apparently never filmed: a scene in which pilot Mike Ferris steals from the town bank.
That’s right. Our fine, upstanding astronaut-to-be — a common thief!
According to the draft in volume one of “As Timeless as Infinity: The Twilight Zone Scripts of Rod Serling”, this scene occurs after the one in the movie theater. So, at least in the final episode, it’s close to the moment when Ferris is pulled from the isolation booth.
Not in this early version of the script, though.Read the rest of this entry