Yes, indeed, and it signifies a feverish recent Twilight Zone jones that as yet to be quenched. I was thinking about the concept of the "top 10", especially as it relates to something so impressively consistent as The Twilight Zone. It seemed to me that, with such a huge catalogue of good programmes, that the penultimate 10 should be just as good, and, if anything, more compelling for it's subtlety. I was totally right. These selections are just as beloved as my previous list, and they beg the question, "why not do a 'top 20' list in the first place?". A fair point, but this is about the distillation of feeling, and one can't get too picky about the details, hahaha...
This is a childhood fave of mine. As a 50 year old, I laugh at myself back then; I pitied old people for being old, or being spent, and really for the endless, dull waiting around for the inevitable. In my way I was being magnanimous, feeling sorry for those people who had lost what I had in abundance, This episode really focused those feelings.
At this time of my life, this idea of elderly people playing kick the can to regain their lost youth is in no way possessing; I'm fine where I am. But, and its a mighty big but, how will I feel in twenty more years?
One of the creepiest episodes in it's own way; a fast-living couple recover from an alcoholic bender, waking up in a town with no residents in sight. It's no fun for them, or the viewer, the entire way.
I had a day like this once, in Bellingham, Washington. I got up, the roommates were gone, the neighbors were silent, and no matter where I went, there were not even cars on the street. It was fifteen minutes before I saw even a single sign of life...it was a nasty wee chunk of time,
The first time I saw this, at maybe eight or nine years old, I had no idea who Buster Keaton was; it took a decade or more to reverse-engineer his identity, only to realise that the humourous elderly buffoon in this classic episode was actually a nostalgia figure at the time of this production. I think of seeing the elderly Don Rickles on the Jimmy Kimmel show late nights. It brought back my memories of him on television during my childhood in the 70's, and I believe this Twilight Zone must have brought similar feelings of Keaton's silent films to people my age in 1961. Great fun.
This is a fun episode, with a favourite theme of the show...that man who talks too much, and thus, must be punished. There's also the setting of the gentlemen's club, which shows up periodically.
The crux of this story, to me, is the inherent humanity that exists even in those that society shuns; that isolation that leads other members of the same society to believe that they can mistreat them with impunity. Add to that the lengths that people will go in desperate situations, and you have a really dramatic setting.
A little corner fave of mine since childhood, this story of a dead gangster's return for vengeance is a tidy and compelling ghost story with an almost M. R. Jamesian flair.
The only issue with the show is the casting of Warren Stevens as the hobo-turned-mafioso's avatar; while he makes a wonderful 60's gangster, he is far too 'put together' to be a convincing bum. He does, however, rock this episode quite hard...he's amazing.
A time travel show featuring a lost WWI fighter pilot??? Deal me in! This story of time, cowardice, and redemption is a lesson in friendship for the ages. Being a WWI buff, this really appeals; though the "future" to which the pilot travels is very much in the past (both occurred before I was born), it really shows how much of a different world that pilot came from than my own.
Watching a time traveler travel to a time that is in my history is a twist that adds to the fun.
Another in the "plane slips through time genre", which, to me at least, never gets old. Having traveled quite a bit by plane, I'll admit to hoping for such a trip many times on long flights! The only issue, for me, with time travel in this manner, is that there is no control over the destination. Dinosaurs are fine, the 1930's are also fine, but if I'm going to be stuck with a bunch of strangers, I want to at least be in the gilded age when I do it!
A great script and a great cast makes this one to fully enjoy.
This one is close to my heart. I grew up on a farm, in the country, I play banjo, I had a faithful hound....the whole thing. I'm also a fan of the Appalachian horror stories of the southern historian Manly Wade Wellman (a contributor to the show, even), so this story of an old man, his dog and the Devil really hit home with me.
I remember roaming through the forest with my dog Smokey as a young teen; I very much saw goblins and devils behind every tree! Good thing Smokey was around...a faithful dog is a treasure.
Another couplet in this little top ten poem of mine. Another Appalachian ghost-type tale. James Best is brilliant here as a son/neighbor/sweetheart returned from the dead...but is he the same? It's actually very creepy in it's way.
The framework of the pacing is very sophisticated for such a simple story; there is very much a strong push and pull tension between scenes. I really like this feel, too. The Appalachians are ripe for stories of this sort.
Well, here it is, the episode that kicked off this second list!
The setting, initially a gentleman's club (another couplet in the poem), after a debate about the possibilities of changing the past, our chap is given the opportunity to do just that.
So well done.
Our man here ended up in the same situation as most time travelers who try to save Abraham Lincoln from death...complete failure. There's something about time that simply does not want to give up this particular ghost!
Ok, that's it, I promise. Any more than this, and I might as well write about the entire series!