How May 11 became “Twilight Zone Day” is as much a mystery as any supernatural occurrence or bizarre twist of fate from Rod Serling’s landmark series itself. But any day’s a good day to celebrate this TV classic.
Today’s also the perfect opportunity to follow up on our o “Trick-or-Treat in The Twilight Zone” quiz from last October. It proved to be a big hit with Entertainment Earth audience. So, thank you for playing our game and for sharing it with your friends!
We asked you, after you took the quiz and got your score, to tell us about your favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone. You did, and we thank you for that, too!
Here’s a sample of what you had to say:
Season 3, Episode 24 “To Serve Man”
“To Serve Man” garnered the most mentions in the comments. “Don’t get on that ship!” said Alicia V. quoting the setup for the episode’s most delicious line (so to speak) – as exemplary a Twilight Zone twist as you could want.
This episode has extra staying power thanks to Richard Kiel. The physically intimidating actor, famous as “Jaws” in two James Bond films, is even more imposing and unnerving when made up as a Kanamit. Serling changed the intergalactic gourmands’ appearance; in Damon Knight’s original short story, they were described as pig-like people.
You can declare your love for these cosmic connoisseurs with either or both of these Kanamit action figures – one in white robes, the other in black, and both with a copy of the galaxy’s most notorious cookbook – from Bif Bang Pow! Or try to stay in the chefs’ good graces with this “Kanamit’s Diner” polo shirt from Trevco.
Season 2, Episode 29 “The Obsolete Man”
Another episode several commenters singled out for praise was “The Obsolete Man.” “Burgess at his best,” declared Sophia H., referring to Burgess Meredith, who not only starred in four episodes of The Twilight Zone but also narrated Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).
In this second-season episode, Meredith plays a bibliophile, just as he did in the first season’s “Time Enough at Last.” But librarian Romney Wordsworth faces a far more serious threat to his passion for reading than Henry Bemis did. Wordsworth lives in a grim, authoritarian state where, Serling’s narration tells us, “logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.”
“The Obsolete Man” showcases first-rate performances from not only Meredith but also Fritz Weaver, another alum from the first season (“Third from the Sun”) who returned to The Twilight Zone in the 1980s (“The Star,” a segment of the 1985 revived series).
With its fine acting, starkly dramatic staging and cinematography, and Serling’s hallmark social commentary on issues still relevant today, it’s not hard to understand why commenter Cindy S. calls this episode “the best, the very best Zone of all.”
Season 5, Episode 25 “The Masks”
Serling’s fable about what really makes people grotesque – greed, vanity, pride, cruelty – drew as many comments as did “The Obsolete Man.” Anita C. sums up the episode: “a family puts on masks and, after the patriarch dies, they take them off only to reveal their ugly faces, showing who they really are.”
Those masks, designed by makeup master William Tuttle, do sear themselves into viewers’ memories. Marc Scott Zicree writes in The Twilight Zone Companion: “As in ‘The Eye of the Beholder,’ there is a compelling beauty in the ugliness, an alluring repulsiveness.”
When Barbara M. named this episode her favorite, I replied that it would be a great basis for Halloween masks. I had no idea Trick or Treat Studios would be releasing three Twilight Zone masks! Unfortunately, the masks from “The Masks” aren’t among them; they chose frightening faces from “The Eye of the Beholder,” “Nick of Time,” and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” instead. But maybe next year?
Here’s some Twilight Zone trivia: The fifth season’s “The Masks” is the only episode directed by a woman, Ida Lupino, who starred in the first season’s “The 16-Millimeter Shrine.” She is the only person to have starred in one episode and directed another.
Season 5, Episode 6 “Living Doll”
If you’re reading this blog, it’s a good bet you like toys. So it’s not surprising one of The Twilight Zone‘s toy-themed classics, “Living Doll,” got some commenters’ nods. Terri M., for instance, says the series is “five stars,” but singled out the tale of Talky Tina, the murderous plaything: “I love how it’s left up to the viewer’s imagination how Talking Tina ends up on the stair, which causes Telly to fall to his death.” Telly is, of course, episode star Telly Savalas, who found fame as Kojak in the 1970s, sucking lollipops while solving crimes and asking, “Who loves ya, baby?” Not Talky Tina, that’s for sure!
But if you love Tina (and you’d better!), you’ll want to pick up this convention exclusive The Twilight Zone Pin Mate Wooden Figure Set from Entertainment Earth. Tina’s there, along with the Kanamit, as well as the fortune-telling Mystic Seer from “Nick of Time,” Uncle Simon in his robot form (“Uncle Simon”), the airplane-riding Gremlin from William Shatner’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” and one of “The Invaders” who so scared Agnes Moorhead.
Other episodes commenters named as their favorites were: “The Hunt,” “22,” “The Hitch-Hiker,” “Miniature,” “Night Call,” “The Midnight Sun,” and “A Game of Pool.”
Additionally, Cindy mentioned that she also likes the “Kick the Can” segment, directed by Steven Spielberg, from the 1983 movie more than the TV episode; and Paul B., who is bingeing the original series on Netflix, remarked that “the ’80s Twilight Zones are underrated, though not as innovative as the first.” Maybe enough time has passed that collectible companies should be mining the 1980s Zone for new merchandise?
Thank you again to everyone who took our quiz and left comments. We love hearing from you, and hope you love reading our blog!
Until next time, see you in the land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas!
From what other episodes of The Twilight Zone would you love to see toys and collectibles? Sound off in the comments section below!