The Twilight Zone Hall of Fame

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What, only one rep for my review of It's a Good Life, does anybody read my reviews?

I read your reviews, but I got here late. Sorry about that, but now I've read it and repped it.
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Season 1 Episode 22: The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

SPOILERS!

This episode is terrifying because it feels like something that could actually happen. It's scary how it starts out with such a peaceful neighborhood, and they gradually change into an angry mob. Maybe listening to the kid who reads comic books wasn't the best idea.

I liked how Steve remained the "voice of reason", even when he became the one who was being accused of being the alien. But unfortunately, sometimes there's just no way to reason with people when they stop trusting their friends and neighbors.

The ending is perfect, explaining how the aliens don't have to do much to destroy us because with a little bit of help, we can do it ourselves. That's what makes this one of the scariest stories.

My only question is, why did it take so long for Pete van Horn to go one street over to check if they had power? When he left, it was daylight, but clearly it's hours later when he returns. What took him so long to walk such a short distance?



Season 1 Episode 28: A Nice Place to Visit

SPOILERS!

What good is a million dollars if you don't need money to buy anything? Rocky learns that lesson after he gets everything that he ever wanted. As much money as he wants, constantly winning at the casino, beautiful girls, etc. You would think that would make anyone happy, but as the saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for".

I loved that the bags with his winnings were clearly labeled "THE CASINO". If he were still alive, someone else would rob him for those bags.

My favorite part of the episode is Pip's satanical laugh after he tells Rocky that "this IS the other place".



Season 1 Episode 30: A Stop At Willoughby

SPOILERS!

There was such a sharp contrast between his real life and his dreams of Willoughby that between his boss and his wife, it's easy to see why Mr. Williams dreamed of going to a fantasy land. If it were you, wouldn't you get off the train?

But the first hint that it wasn't real was when he was told that Willoughby was in 1888. Plus the fact that the first time that he tried to get off at Willoughby, the train was still moving, so he missed his chance to get off at that stop.

The story finally comes full circle when he eventually gets off at Willoughby, and we see the actual outcome of his decision, which includes a funeral home with the name "Willoughby & Sons". That was a nice touch.

This is a good story, but it's just a bit too predictable for a Twilight Zone episode. But like the segment "Dreams for Sale" from the revival series, if you're going to end up in a Twilight Zone episode, this is one of the better places to spend eternity.



Season 1 Episode 32: A Passage for Trumpet

SPOILERS!

This is a good story with an interesting twist. It's done so well that I didn't notice the clues until I rewatched the episode.

The hint should have been that when he was walking around and nobody could hear him, he knew that all of the people weren't the regular people for those jobs. The cop was a different cop, the girl at the ticket booth wasn't the regular girl, the bartender, etc. That's because the regular people are still alive, and he's in a place where all of the people are dead. If he was the one who was dead, they would all be the people that he knows.

Wouldn't it be great to get a second chance at life like that? He finally remembers all the good things about his life, and he gets a new start with his trumpet, and he even meets a girl who seems to like him. Nice performance by Jack Klugman.



Season 1 Episode 34: The After Hours

SPOILERS!

There were so many hints in this episode that it should have been easy to figure out the twist, but somehow you can see all these things on the first watch, and still not put all the clues together.

Some of the hints that made sense in hindsight were the fact that there were a bunch of people waiting for the elevator, but when the other elevator opens, it was just for her, and it's an express to the 9th floor. Plus, the arrow showing the floors above the elevator doesn't even show a 9th floor. It only went up to the 8th floor, and then an "R", which is probably for the roof. And the whole 9th floor was empty, except for the one item that she wanted to buy. And the salesgirl knew Marsha's name, and when Marsha told her that whether or not Marsha was happy is "none of her business", the salesgirl implied that it was her business.

But why didn't Marsha get a receipt for the thimble? Anyone who watches Judge Marilyn Milian on "The People's Court" knows that "cash doesn't leave one hand until a receipt goes in the other hand." And did anyone else notice how high the tax rate was, especially for a show that aired in 1960? The thimble was $22.80 + tax, which was "$25.00 even". That's over 9.5% tax. Sounds like a very high tax rate for back then.

As much as Marsha may have enjoyed her 30 days as a human, she was terrified on her last day, when she was confronted by the other mannequins, but at least she seemed peaceful once she remembered where she actually belongs.

My favorite part was the look on Mr. Armbruster's face at the end when he sees Marsha as the mannequin the next day.



Season 2 Episode 15: The Invaders

SPOILERS!

Amazing performance by Agnes Moorehead. Her silence is terrifying in this episode. This episode is kind of a contrast to the episode "Nothing in the Dark", with an old woman alone in the house, when someone invades her home and she's just trying to survive. This story is the terrifying version, while the other story is the peaceful version.

The only issues I have with this episode is that the astronauts are the aggressive ones, attacking her first. They kind of deserved what they got. And they don't look like astronauts in spacesuits. They look like robots. They don't look like they have a head on top of their body, and they even walk like wind-up robots.



Season 3 Episode 16: Nothing in the Dark

SPOILERS!

How could anyone be afraid of Death when he looks like Robert Redford? Wanda has been living alone for months, even while everyone around her has moved out, because she's afraid of dying. She has seen Mr. Death, and knows that he can look like anyone, so it would take someone who seems harmless to get to her. That someone comes in the form of a young injured police officer, who will die without her help. He tricks his way into her house, and eventually she learns that not only has she let death into her house, but he's nothing to be afraid of.

This episode is the flip side of "The Invaders". Both episodes center around an old lady who lives alone, and someone gets into their house who frightens them. "The Invaders" is the terrifying nightmare version, while this is the friendly dreamlike version.



I know! you're the only one who repped me
I'm reading all the reviews, I'm just horribly inconsistent when it comes to the thumbs up.

Season 2 Episode 15: The Invaders

SPOILERS!

The only issues I have with this episode is that the astronauts are the aggressive ones, attacking her first. They kind of deserved what they got. And they don't look like astronauts in spacesuits. They look like robots. They don't look like they have a head on top of their body, and they even walk like wind-up robots.
I think that the astronauts being aggressive is actually not that surprising. I think that they were prepared for hostile life, and even if it just starts with one of them acting impulsively, once you're in it, you're in it.

I just figured that the suits were to compensate for a different kind of atmosphere or something. The suits could even be robotic, controlled by the astronaut inside.



I'm reading all the reviews, I'm just horribly inconsistent when it comes to the thumbs up.
That's cool Tak and I don't really care about reps per say, I was just using them as a guide if anyone had read my reviews or not. But what I really want in these HoFs is more convo...I wish people would ask me questions or my thoughts on what I just watched...or whatever that leads to some discussion.



...I think that the astronauts being aggressive is actually not that surprising. I think that they were prepared for hostile life, and even if it just starts with one of them acting impulsively, once you're in it, you're in it.

I just figured that the suits were to compensate for a different kind of atmosphere or something. The suits could even be robotic, controlled by the astronaut inside.
I liked the spacesuits. Yeah they did look robotic, but they also looked high tech and I assume they'd be that bulky for the life support systems.



Season 2 Episode 15: The Invaders

SPOILERS!

The only issues I have with this episode is that the astronauts are the aggressive ones, attacking her first. They kind of deserved what they got. And they don't look like astronauts in spacesuits. They look like robots. They don't look like they have a head on top of their body, and they even walk like wind-up robots.
I think that the astronauts being aggressive is actually not that surprising. I think that they were prepared for hostile life, and even if it just starts with one of them acting impulsively, once you're in it, you're in it.

I just figured that the suits were to compensate for a different kind of atmosphere or something. The suits could even be robotic, controlled by the astronaut inside.
I didn't say the astronauts being aggressive was surprising. I said that I had an issue with it.

If the astronauts were supposed to be from Earth, why would they be the aggressors? I'd like to think that if and when we ever learn how to travel beyond our own solar system, that we do so peacefully as explorers, not as murderous villains who want to blindly wipe out other life forms.


I liked the spacesuits. Yeah they did look robotic, but they also looked high tech and I assume they'd be that bulky for the life support systems.
The robotic look of the spacesuits didn't bother me as much as the way they walked like robots and the spacesuits didn't have heads. When they walked, they looked like the old tin toy wind-up robots you find at antique stores.



That's cool Tak and I don't really care about reps per say, I was just using them as a guide if anyone had read my reviews or not. But what I really want in these HoFs is more convo...I wish people would ask me questions or my thoughts on what I just watched...or whatever that leads to some discussion.

I asked you to expand your thoughts on one of your reviews earlier in this HoF, but you replied "Nope."



A Game of Pool Season 3 Episode 5

I'll kick this HoF off with one of my own noms. From my time spent at MoFo I've learned people enjoy a good film story. It makes sense too, I mean who wants to invest time watching a film that has a mediocre or poorly done story. But I'm a bit different, in that what often interest me most in a film is the acting. Actors who have the ability to transcend the moment with a performance thats invibed with the character's very soul...that impresses me. The original The Twilight Zone was chalked full of amazing performances by up and coming talented actors who would later go on to become acting legends.

People often refer to TV in the 1960s as the beginning of the 'boob tub era' with dumbed down shows that were designed to appeal the masses. What's not so well know today, is that the 1950s, the golden age of TV, saw weekly anthology series that featured writing by some of the most talented writers of the time. These 'TV plays' were performed by actors who had cut their acting teeth on the stage. Shows like Playhouse 90, The Philco Television Playhouse and Four Star Playhouse and a plethora of others, were often performed live on TV and featured some of the best work ever seen on TV or movies...Out of that tradition of stellar writing with acting to match came an amazing little show called The Twilight Zone. I love that show!
I agree with everything you said here, but it seems to be a lot of generic thoughts about TV and "The Twilight Zone" series as a whole, but not the specific episode you watched. Would you like to expand your thoughts on this and how it relates to this episode?
Nope

Oh, I do have one observation: comedians often make excellent dramatic actors. I'm thinking of John Candy in JFK and Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, Robin Williams in One Hour Photo and here we have Johnathan Winters who was a mentor to Robin Williams doing a fine job in a serious role as Fats Brown.



I asked you to expand your thoughts on one of your reviews earlier in this HoF, but you replied "Nope."
Ha, but that was a special review (for me anyway) so to expand on that one would've undermined my non linear review



Ha, but that was a special review (for me anyway) so to expand on that one would've undermined my non linear review

Maybe so, but your review barely mentioned the episode at all. It could have been a review for any episode in this HoF. It didn't even say if you liked the episode or not. (But we knew that you liked it because it was your nom. )



Maybe so, but your review barely mentioned the episode at all. It could have been a review for any episode in this HoF. It didn't even say if you liked the episode or not. (But we knew that you liked it because it was your nom. )
Exactly my reasoning!



Watch out for spoilers.

Series 1 - Episode 32 : A Passage For Trumpet - This episode was nice and simple. Jack Klugman (who absolutely was Quincy when I was a kid) appears as Joey Crown, a pretty fantabulus trumpet player who also happens to be an alcoholic. He struggles to find work - pretending to be on the wagon as bottles slip out from everywhere and smash on the ground at inopportune moments. Joey's pretty much had enough, what with being rejected and people giving him condescending speeches, so he sells his trumpet for eight measly bucks and gets hit by a truck before he can even spend it on cheap wine. He walks around for a while, but nobody notices him, even when he talks to them and we're all smug knowing that he's really dead. Soon enough, even Joey figures he's a ghost. He wanders down to a local jazz place and bumps into some guy playing the trumpet really well - Joey can't help but say something even though the trumpet guy can't hear him - but trumpet guy turns and answers. He can! He then goes on to tell Joey that he's not a ghost - he's just walking among ghosts, and must now decide whether to give life one more try. Joey decides it's not all bad. Earlier on he'd been at a bar and reminisced about his friends and what they'd do for him. He has a much more positive outlook now - and as the trumpet guy walks away Joey wants to know his name. "Call me Gabe," the trumpet guy says. As in Gabriel - the biblical figure with the trumpet.



Later on, while Joey is playing his trumpet that he bought again after coming into some money fortuitously, he meets a nice lady. Things are looking good.

This episode didn't really stir much inside of me. I'm no fan at all of the trumpet - my least favourite musical instrument. I'm not big on anything out of the bible, or people claiming to be Gabriel. Also, Joey's conversion from feeling hopeless to having hope and a positive outlook again just seemed to come out of nowhere with no real revelation like in A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life. Joey just kind of ponders for a moment and that's it. For me personally, this episode had nearly everything going against me liking it, except for the performance of Jack Klugman which was a pleasure to watch.

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Next stop : spoilerville

Series 1 - Episode 30 : A Stop at Willoughby - Gart Williams (popular TV actor James Daly) works as an advertising executive, but he's no Don Draper. Instead he's the put upon whipping boy who has a boss screaming at him to "Push! Push! Push!" all the time. Things are going wrong, but at the end of the day, on the train ride home, he has a dream where the train stops at a station called "Willoughby" - a nice quiet sunny place where everyone is relaxed and it seems to be approximately 1910. He's curious, but soon awakened. He inquires about the place to the conductor, but is told no such place exists. At home his wife berates him for not being committed to his work and for being a dreamer. The next day he finds himself on the train again, and stopped at Willoughby again. He decides to get off, but just before he can step off the train it starts travelling again, and he wakes. So close. Later on, at work, he's beset once again with problems, and the face of his boss appears in the mirror when he tries to take a moment...."Push! Push! Push!"


Arrgh!!! Gart smashes his hand against the mirror shattering it into a million pieces! Enough. That evening, when the train stops at Willoughby and the kindly dream conductor invites him to join the laid back lifestyle, Gart smiles, throws away his briefcase and gets off the train. Some kids have caught some fish, and Gart reckons tomorrow he'll join them. We're then shown reality. Gart has in all actuality jumped off the train and killed himself. The car that takes his body to the morgue has a sign on the rear door. "Willoughby & Son Funeral Home".

Creepy ending to a very good episode of Twilight Zone - one of the best. Howard Smith as the pushy employer and Patricia Donahue as Gart's wife are excellent, but James Daly really is something. In a short amount of time, the script really does well to ram home how much pressure Gart is under, and how unsatisfying his life is. The lack of support he gets from his spouse truly is sad, and I'm guessing there were a lot of people watching that episode and relating to Gart's thankless, stressful life. His escape looks so enticing that we're nearly yelling at the screen for him to get off that train - without realising what getting off the train really means. Even for a Twilight Zone veteran, the ending can come as some surprise.




and behold, Spoilers

Series 1 - Episode 11 : And When the Sky Was Opened - When this episode of The Twilight Zone aired Yuri Gagarin was yet to become the first human being to travel into space, and there was still a small amount of trepidation over what effects being in space would have on a person. In this we have the ultra-handsome and cool Rod Taylor as a hotshot pilot (Forbes), home again after a mission in an experimental aircraft that had travelled beyond the atmosphere. He's visiting his copilot in hospital, and is in an agitated and disturbed state, because even though the papers and his copilot (Jim Hutton playing Gart, what is it with The Twilight Zone and the name Gart?) remember only the two of them going, Forbes remembers a third member of the crew, Ed Harrington. The night before Harrington had felt a bit funny, like he wasn't meant to exist, and then he disappeared. Now nobody remembers him. One minute he'd been having a celebratory beer with Forbes, and then Harrington calls his parents, who claim they don't have a son, then the beer, Harrington and everyone's memory of him is gone. Forbes starts to panic, and then before you know it only Gart remains in the room. The paper now mentions only Gart, who is in dismay himself now. Then, a doctor and nurse walk down the corridor of the hospital and inspect an empty room. A paper rests nearby, the front page story being about the unmanned space jet that had recently returned to Earth.


"Erased from existence" - the quote from Back to the Future comes to mind over and over again as I watch And When the Sky Opened. I think the title is a Biblical reference, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Anyway, something interesting to ponder is that this could be happening all the time - how would any of us ever know? We're so sure we would know, because we can trace time so well with our memories, but if it's all changed including our memories then of course we'd feel that way. Yeah, nah. I don't buy it either. But it's an interesting enough concept to ponder. Here some malignant extraterrestrial entity has decided not only to steal away pilots Forbes, Harrington and Gart - but erase their very existence. If you're being wiped out, you have some consolation that the memory of you will endure, at least for a while. How would it feel if you were to die, and be wiped away as if you had never even lived? It would be the ultimate kind of death. No wonder Forbes was so upset.




"Time Enough At Last" CONTAINS SPOILERS

I was happy to watch this episode again because it's one of the scant few I've seen before joining this Hall of Fame. There's plenty to praise about it whether it's Burgess Meredith's performance, the convincing post-apocalyptic sets, etc., but what makes the episode stand out the most is the many ways there are to interpret it and that there is validity in each one. Case in point: there are probably more user reviews on IMDB for this episode than any other episode and it's not just because it's the most popular one and they're like snowflakes in that each one has something different to say. Is it an anti-intellectualism cautionary tale? Is it saying that there are limits to our dependence on technology despite its seemingly infinite potential? Is it a lesson that there is a time for work and a time for play? Is it simply a "be careful what you wish for" story? Yes, to all of the above. The one that resonates the most with me, though, is the obvious one that there is never enough time for anything, even and especially when we think there is. Case in point: I had to finish re-watching the episode in two parts since I had to help my wife put my son to bed. Where to begin? There's never enough time to watch all the movies and TV shows on my watch lists, there's never enough time to spend playing with my son or my dog, etc. Even on weekends or on days off, I may have more time for all of the above, but I still say, "that's it?" when it's over. On the other hand, it seems like there's too much time for work. Am I right, folks? Regardless of which interpretation is the most valid one, this episode is bound to continue to stand the test of time - no pun intended - and I have a way to go, but it's the one to beat in my final rankings.
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