The Seven Times Serling Didn’t Say “In The Twilight Zone” at an Episode’s End

One of the joys of watching The Twilight Zone is hearing Rod Serling’s voice come on as the story wraps up, giving us a wry comment, a stern rebuke, or some other fitting remark. And you can count on him saying “the Twilight Zone,” often after a perfect little pause.

At least most of the time you can count on that. In fact, there are seven episodes that don’t use the phrase at all. That leaves 149 where he does say it, so these seven are clearly the exception to the rule.

That begs a logical question for uber-fans such as myself: Which ones are they?

Many fans know one off the top of their heads: Season 4’s “He’s Alive,” in which Dennis Hopper plays a neo-Nazi. But they can seldom name another. And although I was able to name some others myself without going down the list of episodes, I wasn’t sure I was getting all of them.

So I decided to check it out and make it official. (Spoilers ahead!) Here, in chronological order, are the episodes with no mention of “the Twilight Zone” at the end, along with the ending narration:

The Four of Us are Dying (Season 1, Episode 13)

He was Arch Hammer, a cheap little man who just checked in. He was Johnny Foster, who played a trumpet and was loved beyond words. He was Virgil Sterig, with money in his pocket. He was Andy Marshak, who got some of his agony back on a sidewalk in front of a cheap hotel. Hammer, Foster, Sterig, Marshak — and all four of them were dying.

Long Live Walter Jameson (Season 1, Episode 24)

Last stop on a long journey, as yet another human being returns to the vast nothingness that is the beginning and into the dust that is always the end.

Night of the Meek (Season 2, Episode 11)

A word to the wise to all the children of the 20th century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers, or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas, and there’s a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek. And a merry Christmas to all.

I Sing the Body Electric (Season 3, Episode 35)

A fable? Most assuredly. But who’s to say at some distant moment there might be an assembly line producing a gentle product in the form of a grandmother whose stock in trade is love? Fable, sure, but who’s to say?

He’s Alive (Season 4, Episode 4)

Where will he go next, this phantom from another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare — Chicago; Los Angeles; Miami, Florida; Vincennes, Indiana; Syracuse, New York? Anyplace, everyplace, where there’s hate, where there’s prejudice, where there’s bigotry. He’s alive. He’s alive so long as these evils exist. Remember that when he comes to your town. Remember it when you hear his voice speaking out through others. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being. He’s alive because through these things we keep him alive.

Jess-Belle (Season 4, Episode 7)

Fair was Elly Glover,
Dark was Jess-Belle.
Both they loved the same man,
And both they loved him well.

On Thursday We Leave for Home (Season 4, Episode 16)

William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god, now a population of one.

Have a favorite Twilight Zone “outro”? You can read mine in “Fifth-Dimensional Finishes.”

***

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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 01/08/2021, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Howard Manheimer

    I never realized there were any episodes such as these, with no mention of The Twilight Zone at the end, this was fascinating, thank you, Paul!

  2. simmonsvicki75

    Hi Paul!
    I am thankful for your knowledge of the Twilight Zone! I hope you can help me solve a mystery.
    When I was a little girl (1950s/1960s), I watched a science fiction program – not sure if it was TZ or Night Gallery or Hitchcock or other. I hope you can identify the program for me. The lesson I learned has affected me every night of my life. I’ve only seen the program once, but here’s what I remember: the story was set in the jungle. There was a love triangle – 2 men, 1 woman. One of the men wanted to get rid of the other man, so he hired a native to place an “earwig” (an insect that devours whatever is in front of it) in the ear of his rival at night while he slept, causing death as the earwig ate through his brain. The night of the assault was very dark, and the native went into the wrong window, and placed the earwig in the ear of the wrong man. The next morning, the man who initiated the plan woke up with a debilitating headache. He was checked out by medical personnel, who removed the earwig, to the relief of the man with a headache. Just when you think everything is OK, the medical person examines the earwig, & says, “I regret to inform you that this earwig is a female, and she has just laid millions of eggs in your head.” The man is horrified, knowing his fate. Paul, to this day, sixty years later, I intentionally cover my ears when I go to bed. Are you familiar with this episode? Thanks, Paul! – Vicki

    • Ha, yes, Vicki — that was a Night Gallery episode called “The Caterpillar”. Very disturbing thought, yes. From Season 2. Powerful tale!

  3. simmonsvicki75

    Thanks for solving my lifelong mystery, Paul! -Vicki

  4. bibliomike2020

    Fun post, Paul! And a good illustration that great writing is never strictly beholden to a formula, not even one as winning as the TZ’s usual outros.

    It’s interesting the majority of these come from Season 4. I suppose it’s just coincidence?

    I was initially surprised you didn’t mention “Deathshead Revisited.” It’s true the closing narration includes the phrase “the Twilight Zone,” but not at the very end: “…Something to dwell on and to remember, not only in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God’s Earth.” So while that episode doesn’t fit your criterion – of the Twilight Zone not being mentioned at all – in some ways it strikes me as most powerful of all these exceptions to the rule.

    • Thanks, Mike! I agree—Serling had a nice formula there, but part of being a good writer is knowing when to break your own rules.

      I think it’s mostly a coincidence that most are from Season 4. I say mostly because it wasn’t deliberate, but I do think it’s a result of Serling’s lack of engagement that season. (He was busy teaching college.)

      And yes, the way he works the TZ mention into Deaths-Head is masterful. Very powerful indeed.

  5. Kenneth Brian Sall

    Really good bit of TZ trivia, Paul! Thanks for doing the research. Boy, “Night of the Meek” would have sounded weird if it had ended: “In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek …. in the Twilight Zone.” Similarly, with “He’s Alive”, the whole point is this insane hatred is here with us now, not (just) in the Twilight Zone.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Ken! It was fun to do. :) And yes, a TZ mention in those instances would have sounded funny. Serling definitely made the right call here, as he so often did.

  6. I tip my hat to your research skills, Paul. I can honestly say, I never noticed this. It’s interesting. I tried to think if these have anything in common. I guess it’s just that Serling thought it was better without the plug for the show.

    • Thanks, Dan. I had noticed it, but as I say in the post, I had always meant to figure out exactly how often it occurred. Someone asked me on Twitter recently if “He’s Alive” was the only one to lack the TZ mention, so I just rolled up my sleeves and figured it was time to make it official.

  7. This is really great Trivia. I don’t remember “He’s Alive.” What a powerful closing statement that was. Now there’s something new to watch!

  8. I had Serling’s voice in my head reading those ending quotes. They’re all really good and don’t really need the TZ mention.

    • Agreed! Someone on Twitter asked why they didn’t mention TZ, and I said I’m sure it’s because Serling was too good a writer to feeling bound by a formula when what’s been written does the job. It’s great to have the mention, sure, but it shouldn’t be artificially shoehorned it.

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