Blog Archives

Making a “Grave” Mistake

“I dare you.”

Even after we become adults, the old school-yard taunt never quite loses its power.

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Oh, we find more sophisticated ways of expressing it, if only to reassure ourselves that we’ve grown up. We’re not kids anymore. But the sting of being thought a coward is still so abhorrent that shaking off a dare isn’t easy at any age.

Just ask Conny Miller. I wouldn’t expect a quick answer, though, now that he’s buried in the old cemetery near Pinto Sykes. Dead … because of a dare. Read the rest of this entry

Fallout at a Funeral

We’ve all heard about weddings that didn’t go off as planned. Funerals, however, tend to be far more predictable.

Unless, of course, they happen in the Twilight Zone.

Put Up Your Dukes - Jeff Myrtlebank3

Fifty-one years ago today, Rod Serling brought us the tale of a man who decided to cheat the undertaker in the most dramatic way possible. He opened the lid of his coffin even as the preacher was eulogizing him. The astonished congregation couldn’t have fled the premises more quickly if Satan himself had turned up to demand equal time.

So begins “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank,” an entertainingly offbeat story set in the midwest of the 1920s. It was written and directed by Montgomery Pittman, who had already — appropriately enough — given us the TZ classic “The Grave.”

You might expect a story that centers on someone coming back from the dead to be serious or macabre. But this is the Twilight Zone, of course, so the usual rules don’t apply. Pittman surprises us with a lightly comic tone that deals not with the mechanics of an unscheduled resurrection, but how people react to it. Read the rest of this entry

Put Up Your “Dukes”: James Best’s Three Twilight Zones

James Best is best known for playing Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. But he’d much rather be remembered for the three episodes he did for The Twilight Zone — “The Grave,” “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank” and “Jess-Belle.”

James Best

Says Best:

The Twilight Zone was probably one of the best showcases for future stars. It was terribly enjoyable to me because generally they had good sets, which they used from major feature pictures. I was a big fan of the show. I think I enjoy The Twilight Zone as much if not more than anyone.

“I did The Dukes of Hazzard series for seven years and we had a chain of writers over there — there was so much nepotism they wouldn’t have allowed any good writers to come in other than their own, which is unfortunate. So consequently, I worked seven years for writers who had the imagination of a banana. The material was so hackneyed we did the same show for seven years.

“Now on Twilight Zone, it was really a pleasure working on something that had the quality and the marvelous writers. I was very fortunate that I got to work on The Twilight Zone three times.

“I am going to go to my grave with ‘Rosco P. Coltrane’ on the headstone. I’d much rather go to my demise with ‘He’s in The Twilight Zone‘!”

Put Up Your Dukes

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