Next Stop

Anyone else catch any of the July 4th Twilight Zone marathon? Great stuff. I just saw Of Late I Think of Cliffordville which is particularly cruel, and stars Albert Salmi, who also played Smerdjakov in The Brothers Karamazov in 1958.

I also caught the only Jack Klugman TZ I’d never seen – Death Ship. & I love Jack Klugman, yes, because of The Odd Couple, but mostly because of Quincy, which, imho, gave birth to all of the forensic shows on TV now (most of which I watch).  But I have to go to sleep, despite the next one up being Printer’s Devil with Burgess Meredith. (It’s a good one.) I used to tape these when the marathons were on WPIX here in New York, but now they’re all on DVD, which makes it a bit easier. (& It took me borrowing the DVD collection to finally see the Buster Keaton TZ, which they never, ever show during these marathons.)

I really do love this series, and love Rod Serling – not just for The Twilight Zone, but because he fought and fought and fought the censorship that came with advertisers’ sponsorship of television, and during an era when they almost didn’t win. As he put it:

“It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”

Now there was a fine tilt at an inexorable windmill, but at least he got a few stunning seasons of work done, which we’ll have forever.

7 Replies to “Next Stop”

  1. I LOVE the TZ – I grew up watching it, and it scared the pee outta me. I also enjoyed Night Gallery – you know you can watch some episodes online at ABC or CBS I can’t remember which. I think the marathon is a great idea. My kids love scary movies, and I bet they would LOVE this stuff. Scary as hell and no gore.

  2. I’m a big fan of Jack Klugman, too. Loved, loved his voice and mannerisms.

    “The Howling Man” and “Five Characters…” are my favorite TZ’s, though I love a bunch of them–including Death Ship. I’ve never seen the “In Praise of Pip” Klugman episode, though.

  3. I love the writing on TZ – Serling was great! My favorites are “To Serve Man” (I got to meet Damon Knight once, the author who wrote the story the episode is based on), and “Hocus Pocus and Frisby” about a teller of tall tales who is kidnapped by aliens – it’s hysterical.

    And the Buster Keaton episode is great, too.

    (And as for Night Gallery – my favorite episode was “The Little Black Bag”, based on a short story by Cyril Kornbluth, who was one of the best SF authors who ever lifted a pen – his writing is a master’s class in how to describe a character in as few words as possible and have you feel like you know everything about that character – amazing.)

  4. Rod Serling was ahead of his time, writing episodes about bigotry and racism when that wasn’t a popular thing to do. Did anyone happen to see PBS’s “American Masters” special on him?

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