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The Twilight Zone (1959 — 1964)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

After reading Andrew Bogdan's review above, I watched this episode and discovered that he underrated it severely. Shocked

To be fair, he was right when he said that no explanation was offered for how or why Russel Johnson's character managed to zip back in time and then return. But the episode is quite clear on other elements that Andrew seemed to have misunderstood.

For example.


Bogmeister wrote:
. . . a young professor (Russell Johnson) suddenly finds himself back in 1865, on the day of Lincoln's assassination. Now he can put theory to the test — about whether the past can be changed.

He has several hours to effect a change, which he attempts to do with warnings, but he is placed in jail for his erratic behavior. Just as suddenly, he has a mysterious benefactor who gets him released, which suggests that he has a chance to succeed.

But he is drugged and awakens too late. It turns out that the mysterious benefactor was none other than John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin.

Andrew missed the obvious story elements that prompted him to write the section below.

Bogmeister wrote:
. . . why does Booth go through the trouble of getting the professor released from confinement? Curiosity? It's never explained. It just happens to provide some lopsided tension. And besides that, why would the police release the professor into Booth's custody?

The episode makes it clear that Russel Johnson's character went around trying to warn people that Lincoln would be assassinated. There's even a scene of him pounding on the theater's stage door, shouting his warning.

Obviously, John Wilkes Booth heard him at some point and knew he'd have to stop him from arousing people's suspicions!

So, Booth comes to the police station and offers to take responsibility for the poor man the police think is either drunk or insane. They let him take Johnson home, where Booth gives him drugged wine and then goes off to commit the crime of the century.

Later a young police officer who heard Russel's dire warnings (and is worried that Johnson might know something important) shows up at Booth's boarding house room just as Johnson revives and begs the policemen to stop the assassination.

But shouts from the street outside alert the men that it's too late. Lincoln is dead.

The twist ending which Andrew mentioned was the fact that an elderly attendant we see briefly at the men's club earlier in the episode is the now the rich descendant of the young policemen, who went on to enjoy fame and fortune (somehow caused by his experience with Johnson), and he's now a member of the men's club.

The point of all this, according to Rod Serling's closing remarks, is that some events in history cannot be changed, while other can.

I don't subscribe to that basic theory, however. The story provides a perfectly good reason for why Russel Johnson failed; he shot off his mouth too much and allowed Booth to hear him, thus allowing the assassin to thwart his efforts by drugging Russel to prevent his warnings from being heard.

This would actually have been a good sci-fi episode if it had provided a logical way for Russel to travel back and forth in time.

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud wrote:
This would actually have been a good sci-fi episode if it had provided a logical way for Russel to travel back and forth in time.

This kind of reminded me of the way Chris Reeve's character time traveled in SOMEWHERE IN TIME. It is as if time travel depends on somehow utilizing a part of the human mind.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gord Green wrote:
This kind of reminded me of the way Chris Reeve's character time traveled in SOMEWHERE IN TIME. It is as if time travel depends on somehow utilizing a part of the human mind.

Very true. Somewhere in Time is a good movie, but "time travel by thinking about it real hard" is not exactly the strongest element of the plot.

You're right, though, in both cases the person just "travel through time" and then came back.

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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

____________
Episode #108 - Death Ship Empty Episode #108 - Death Ship

Air Date: 2/7/63 written by Richard Matheson Directed by Don Medford.

_

This was based on Matheson's short story of the same name, published in 1953 in Fantastic Story Magazine.

__

It's the story of a 3-man crew (Jack Klugman as the captain, Ross Martin as Lt. Mason and Fredrick Beir) in their flying saucer ship, the E-89, in the year 1997.

Their job is to conduct surveys of planets and take specimens back to Earth for analysis. While over such a planet, Lt. Mason notes a blip and the captain orders that they land to investigate. They land near another ship which appears to have crash landed. It soon becomes evident that this wrecked ship is a duplicate of their own and that they may be seeing their near future.

Or are they already in that gloomy future?

__

This is a ghost story transposed into a science fiction setting — the future of space exploration ('97 seemed far in the future at the time this episode was made and is now over a decade in our past; the mind whirls). When I first saw this many years ago, I didn't think Klugman was the captain during the first minute and was surprised to learn this as the episode progressed.

He was an atypical representation of the usual ship's captain, not the expected tallest and most manly member of the crew; I was used to seeing Klugman in supporting roles or playing weak, weaselly characters. He also plays this captain as wound a bit too tight.


_______ Twilight Zone - Death Ship - Philip Glass


___________




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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

It occurs to me that in a way, this is the worst Twilight Zone episode of the entire series for the folks like me who yearn for great science fiction like On Thursday We Leave for Home.

Here's why.

The Wikipedia plot summary starts out this way.
________________________________

The Space Cruiser E-89, crewed by Captain Paul Ross, Lt. Ted Mason, and Lt. Mike Carter, is on a mission to analyze new worlds and discover if they are suitable for colonization.

While orbiting a planet, Mason sees a metallic glint in the landscape. He conjectures that this might be a sign of alien life, but the pragmatic Captain Ross disagrees. Nevertheless, the cruiser prepares to land next to the mysterious object.

________________________________

Any member of All Sci-Fi could take that opening and make a great story. But the Wikipedia plot summary goes on to describe all the wacky "afterlife" reunions the crewmen have with dead loved ones, all of which are interrupted by the crazy Jack Klugman character. It ends with this.
________________________________

Mason and Carter [realize] that they [have] already crashed and are dead. Their afterlife visits were real, and it is their current situation which is the illusion. Ross refuses to accept this. He rejects his crew's pleas to be allowed to embrace their deaths and be reunited with their loved ones, and says that they will "go over it again and again" until he figures out an alternative explanation.

In compliance with Ross's order, the men are returned to the moment where Mason first spotted the E-89's wreckage, doomed to relive the past several hours of investigation over and over.

________________________________

In other words, Klugman plays a kind of Captain Ahab who dooms his crew to share his mad obsession, and they're both dumb enough and weak enough to follow his order!

I object to the lack of logic in this story's weak premise!

I also object to Klugman's insane behavior, and I REALLY object to the idea that two starship crewmen don't have the balls to stand up to a lunatic who dooms them such a horrible fate! Sad

Finally, there's this.

In the 1960s when I first saw this episode, I cringed at the scene when the C-57-D took off from the planet . . . with a flame spurting out from its underside!






Whose insanely stupid idea was it to give the C-57-D a booster rocket in its ass? Shocked
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filmdetective
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 3:02 am    Post subject: I Tend To Agree Reply with quote

I tend to agree with Bud that "On Thursday We Leave For Home," is one of TZ's best episodes.

One thing I really appreciated was the Poetry of the Night Time, as Benteen lectures the children of the planet with two suns, who have grown up never knowing the beauty of the night time.

This is very similar to the Outer Limits episode, "The Mutant," on another planet where there is no Night Time.

And, here, we get into some semantics.

What is the difference between Night and Darkness?

In "He's Alive," a TZ episode which I don't think has been discussed on this thread, but I do feel is worthy of consideration, Dennis Hopper plays a young neo-Nazi, who comes under the influence of the ghost of Adolph Hitler, who tells him, "I invented Darkness."

Darkness is often used as a metaphor for evil, and sometimes even the night time is viewed in negative terms.

But, is Darkness itself, the absence of light, necessarily evil?

Benteen's lecture on the beauty of the night time in "On Thursday We Leave For Home" is quite memorable, as is the character in the OL episode "Mutant," who, says, of the planet of eternal daytime that he lives on: "I get so lonely for the night . . . " and goes to his death from the radioactive touch of the Mutant comforting himself with the thought, "It's going to be like a long night, to dream in."

Well, these three SFantasy TV episodes have given me a lot to think about, and I wonder if they had the same effect on any of you other ALL SCI-FI board posters?
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Krel
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: I Tend To Agree Reply with quote

filmdetective wrote:


But, is Darkness itself, the absence of light, necessarily evil?



No, it is what lurks in the darkness, that preys on the unwary that is evil.

David.
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkness has long been used as a metaphor for "evil" and danger.

I think it's a throwback to when darkness before the invention of "domesticating" fire was a time of terror to the pre-human and protohuman psyche. Daytime could be dangerous but night time was terrifying!

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Eadie
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rare color tests of the make-up for Eye of the Beholder:


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