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!