The Imaginative World of Charles Beaumont: Vote for His Best Twilight Zone Story
The most famous writer of The Twilight Zone? Rod Serling, obviously. Besides creating, producing, and hosting the series, he penned no fewer than 92 scripts for it. But after him?
Most fans, I think, would pick Richard Matheson. And who could blame them? The legendary author’s contributions to the Zone include some truly iconic episodes, such as “Little Girl Lost,” “The Invaders,” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”
Few fans would name Charles Beaumont. And that’s a shame. Not only was he the most prolific Zone writer after Serling — logging 22 scripts to Matheson’s 14 — but his fertile imagination created some of the most mind-bending tales in the fifth dimension.
So I thought it might be fun to give fans a chance to select their favorite Beaumont episode, the same way I did with Matheson back in 2013. In fact, I was thinking about doing a new Matheson poll post when it occurred to me to finally do one for Beaumont. I’ll circle back to Matheson soon enough, but let’s give Beaumont some much-deserved attention.
Two things first, though:
- I left “The Howling Man” off the list. “But, Paul,” you may be thinking, “That’s his most famous episode! I love it! It’s a classic!” I get it, believe me. I love it too. And that’s the point, really. Including it would make this poll pointless. It would be like asking people to pick their favorite Serling project. No matter how much fans may love, say, “Requiem for a Heavyweight” or Night Gallery, you know the Zone will top 99% of the lists out there. So to make this a real contest, I’m omitting the one entry we know would win before the first vote is cast.
- I’m not going to get into the technicalities of authorship when it comes to Beaumont’s later scripts. As some fans know, the poor man was stricken with a rare form of dementia that killed him when he was only 38. Some of his later scripts, despite being attributed solely to him, were actually ghost-written by other writers who collaborated with him in devising the story. But because Beaumont was struggling with a horrible disease, and because he did help create these stories, I think it would be wrong to exclude them. They’re still products of his unique imagination.
So without any further ado, here are the candidates, with a pic and thumb-nail synopsis for each. The poll itself is at the end. And if you want to mention your other favorites in the comment section below, please do. Happy voting!
Perchance to Dream (Season 1, Episode 9)
It’s hard to blame Edward Hall for desperately trying to stay awake — he’s sure Maya the Cat Girl will kill him in his dreams.
Elegy (Season 1, Episode 20)
Three astronauts find an Earth-like planet with one “caretaker” and people everywhere frozen like statues.
Long Live Walter Jameson (Season 1, Episode 24)
A history professor knows his subject so well that one of his colleagues begins to suspect he actually lived it.
A Nice Place to Visit (Season 1, Episode 28)
A small-time crook dies and discovers that eternity is one big party. After a while, though, even “heaven” can get on your nerves.
Static (Season 2, Episode 20)
A grumpy old man discovers an antique radio that plays programs from his youth — but only for him.
The Prime Mover (Season 2, Episode 21)
When a gambler finds that his friend has telekinetic powers, he tries to use them to win big at the gambling table.
Long Distance Call (Season 2, Episode 22)
Grandma dotes on little Billy so much, she keeps talking with him on his toy phone—even after she’s dead.
Shadow Play (Season 2, Episode 26)
A man convicted of murder sits on death row, but insists that it’s all just a recurring nightmare.
The Jungle (Season 3, Episode 12)
A businessman who plans to build on an African tribe’s ancestral land finds himself cursed.
Dead Man’s Shoes (Season 3, Episode 18)
A drifter steals a dead gangster’s shoes — and finds himself taken over by his identity every time he puts them on.
The Fugitive (Season 3, Episode 25)
All the neighborhood kids love kindly old Ben—especially Jenny, who lives with a grouchy aunt. So why is he on the run from two men who turn out to be aliens?
Person or Persons Unknown (Season 3, Episode 27)
Dave Gurney knows who he is. Too bad no one else does — his wife and co-workers included.
In His Image (Season 4, Episode 1)
A man is shocked to discover his “twin” — a human inventor who created him as a robot doppelgänger.
Valley of the Shadow (Season 4, Episode 3)
A man stumbles across a small town with a mysterious technology — and people who won’t let him leave.
Miniature (Season 4, Episode 8)
A man obsessed with a doll-house display in a museum ends up falling in love with the beautiful woman inside.
Printer’s Devil (Season 4, Episode 9)
A struggling newspaper editor enjoys great success, thanks to a new hire with diabolical talents.
The New Exhibit (Season 4, Episode 13)
The curator of a wax museum’s Murders’ Row will do anything for the famous killers on display. Even hide their victims.
Passage on the Lady Anne (Season 4, Episode 17)
A troubled couple books passage on an ocean liner, only to find everyone insisting they leave the ship.
Living Doll (Season 5, Episode 6)
A man’s life is turned upside down when his stepdaughter’s new doll takes a fierce dislike of him.
Number 12 Looks Just Like You (Season 5, Episode 17)
A young woman in a future society rebels against a law mandating that everyone be “beautiful.”
Queen of the Nile (Season 5, Episode 23)
A reporter interviews a movie star who seems ageless — and discovers her horrifying secret for staying young.
Posted on 06/29/2022, in Twilight Zone and tagged A Nice Place to Visit, Charles Beaumont, Dead Man's Shoes, Elegy, In His Image, Living Doll, Long Distance Call, Long Live Walter Jameson, Miniature, Number 12 Looks Just Like You, Passage on the Lady Anne, Perchance to Dream, Person or Persons Unknown, Printer's Devil, Queen of the Nile, Richard Matheson, Rod Serling, Shadow Play, Static, The Fugitive, The Jungle, The New Exhibit, The Prime Mover, Twilight Zone, Valley of the Shadow. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.