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After the Zone-a-thon II

Henry Bemis and his all-too-breakable eyeglasses? Check. Talky Tina? She was there. Agnes Moorehead, battling two tiny aliens who crash-land on her roof? Front and center. A gremlin on an airplane wing? He flew in just for the occasion.

Yes, the roster of fifth-dimension All-Stars was long at the Syfy channel’s annual two-day Twilight Zone marathon this New Year’s. From the tension-filled houses on Maple Street to the lush cornfields of Peaksville, Ohio, hardly anyone missed the festivities.

But although the schedule was packed with fan favorites, a few gems were conspicuously absent. We all would have been better served if replacements for clunkers such as “What’s in the Box” and “Caesar and Me” had been pulled from the following list:

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Season 1, Episode 21 – February 26, 1960

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Parallel planes. Disappearing doppelgängers. It’s a metaphysical mind-trip of the first order, one that definitely deserved a spot on Syfy’s schedule. I’m blaming Vera Miles’s wily twin for making this classic vanish from the marathon. Read the rest of this entry

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The Value of One Life

What motivates people to pick a certain profession? Money, power, fame?

Those exert a powerful pull, to be sure. But once your salary is spent, your influence has waned, and you’ve been dethroned, what remains?

Knowing that you’ve left the world a better place. Sometimes people express it simply as “making a difference.” But how can you know you have?

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Some people are fortunate enough to know they have, no questions asked. A policeman, a fireman, a doctor: they can see the difference, here and now. They can measure it in lives saved. Other people (those of means, anyway) use philanthropy to ensure their bid for immortality. They endow schools, libraries and scientific laboratories.

But what about ordinary people? How can they know?

They often can’t. And even when they do, it’s not easy. Just ask Professor Ellis Fowler. It took a trip to the Twilight Zone for him to find the truth. Read the rest of this entry