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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Fantasy > Horror > Science Fiction > Anthology > TV > Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – Season Three (1961 – 1962/Image Entertainment Blu-ray)

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – Season Three (1961 – 1962/Image Entertainment Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B-     Extras: A     Episodes: B+



The Season One and Season Two Blu-ray sets of the original The Twilight Zone have easily become the best TV on Blu-ray set of any U.S. television series to date, from the amazing picture quality to the packaging to the extras content.  That the show is an enduring classic does not hurt, but it sets the standard for how great TV on Blu-ray can be and how all the great series should be handled.


For those who missed our coverage of the first sets, here are the links to our coverage, which includes our opening discussion of this all-time classic in the Season One set:



Season Two




Though it was not easy to maintain a high quality standard due to the weekly grind of TV, Serling and his other writers, filmmakers, actors and collaborators managed to keep the show as top rate as possible and this season also produced its share of classics.  Their experiment/cost cutting trail with videotaping on six shows the previous season was seen as an idea that was best shelved, so the remaining shows were all shot in 35mm black and white film.


The following list of these next 37 shows (episodes 66 – 102) includes the writer and director listed, plus all include audio commentary tracks and (usually) isolated music tracks in every case and some radio drama versions and sponsor ads in many cases:


1) Two (Montgomery Pittman) – A new World War has caused the annihilation of the population of the planet, but the planet is somehow in tact and the casualties include almost all of the armies who fought.  The exceptions are two opponents (Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson) from opposite sides.  Will they follow to the death?


2) The Arrival (Rod Serling/Boris Sagal) – An airplane keeps its flight schedule exactly, but there is one problem; the passengers, pilot and crew are missing!


3) The Shelter (Rod Serling/Lamont Johnson) – A local doctor (Larry Gates) is the only one in his area taking seriously the idea of building and maintaining a bomb shelter, until he is having a birthday party with neighbors and the radio announces a nuclear alert.  Suddenly everyone wants in, but he only has room for his family and a more personal conflict begins!


4) The Passerby (Rod Serling/Elliot Silverstein) – A widowed woman (Joanna Linville) is waiting for her late husband’s remains to arrive and starts talking to other soldiers who happen to show up, then more and more of them also show up and something is definitely wrong.  James Gregory also stars.


5) A Game Of Pool (George Clayton Johnson/A.E. Houghton) – Jessie Cardiff (Jack Klugman) is a pool player who seems unbeatable and is getting tired of winning all the time and is sick of comparisons to the late “Fats” Brown (Jonathan Winters), so he wishes aloud that he could play him… and “Fats” shows up!  A great classic that remains one of the most discussed and analyzed shows of all.


6) The Mirror (Rod Serling/Don Medford) – Peter Falk is a Fidel Castro-like dictator who has taken power of his country, but his coup may be unstable as the large mirror in his office keeps showing his people conspiring to kill him.  He starts killing them off slowly, which leads down to a road he will never forget.


7) The Grave (Montgomery Pittman) – Lee Marvin, James Best, Strother Martin and Lee Van Cleef star in this creepy twist on the Western in which a gunman named Miller (Marvin) goes looking for an enemy (Richard Geary) in a town where the townspeople have killed said enemy.  They also tell him he made a promise that if Miller visited his grave, he would reach out of it and get him.  Martin just may dare and test him!


8) It’s A Good Life (Rod Serling/Jim Sheldon) – In this classic, a small town that is very, very peaceful has a dark secret to hide: be nice or something bad will happen to you and its resident monster will get you, so don’t make him unhappy.  This menace turns out to be a young boy (Bill Mumy) with ultra-telekinetic powers.  Cloris Leachman, John Larch and Jeanne Bates also star.


9) Deaths-Head Revisited (Rod Serling/Don Medford) – Oscar Bergeri Jr. is a former Nazi, still free, who decides to visit one of the death camps and is surprised to find out it is populated… by those he helped to exterminate.


10) The Midnight Sun (Rod Serling/Anton Leader) – Lois Nettleton and Betty Garde play neighbors who have to deal with a crisis as the earth slowly spins out of its orbit and towards the sun in this masterpiece show that continues to influence many, including Spike Lee on Do The Right Thing and remains one of the most talked-about shows ever.  Ned Glass and Jason Wingreen also star.


11) Still Valley (Rod Serling/Jim Sheldon) – It is the time of The Civil War and a Confederate Soldier (Gary Merrill) shows up in a town and is shocked to find Yankee soldiers frozen into place.  A mysterious man (Vaughn Taylor) explains to him that he has the power to help the South win.  All they have to do is sign a special contract with Satan!


12) The Jungle (Charles Beaumont/William Claxton) – A man (John Dehner) involved with a hydroelectric project in Africa returns from his latest hunt to rest after a good time, only to find out a voodoo curse placed on him by a witch doctor might be more potent than he expected.


13) Once Upon A Time (Richard Matheson/Norman Z. McLeod) – A clever episode with Buster Keaton about time travel rendered in part in the silent movie style as Keaton is a janitor in the late 19th Century who thinks the future will be a utopia.  When he finds out his boss has a time travel helmet, he uses it and finds himself in the year 1962, but he is not happy with the results.  A 1962 professor (Stanley Adams) wants to “help” him when they meet and he realizes what is going on, but he has plans of his own.  Jesse White (ironically playing a repairman, a role he did for a washing machine in a famous series of TV ads) also stars.


14) Five Characters On Search Of An Exit (Rod Serling/Lamont Johnson) – Five different people (dressed as generic characters) are trapped in a room and cannot figure out how they got there, remember much or how to get out.  Murray Matheson and William Windom star.


15) A Quality Of Mercy (Rod Serling/Buzz Kulik) – This WWII tale has an American solider (Dean Stockwell) determined to kill Japanese Imperialist troops with extreme prejudice, an idea held by a Japanese solider as a big battle in the Philippines rages on.  Leonard Nimoy and Albert Salami also star.


16) Nothing In The Dark (George Clayton Johnson/Lamont Johnson) – This terrific tale stars Gladys Cooper as a lonely woman who will not leave her apartment home, despite the fact that is it about to go under the wrecking ball, but here real fear is that Mr. Death is waiting for her.  A young police officer (Robert Redford) tries to help, but she may be correct.


17) One More Pallbearer (Rod Serling/Lamont Johnson) – An angry man (Joseph Russman) wants revenge on three people form his past and gets them to a bomb shelter 300-feet below a skyscraper to humiliate them.  He fakes a nuclear attack and tries to make them beg him to let them in, but they could care less, then...


18) Dead Man’s Shoes (Charles Beaumont/Montgomery Pittman) – Gangsters kill one of their well-dressed own and dump him in an alley like trash.  A bum grabs his shoes and tries them on.  When they fit, he figures it is his lucky day, but the shoes have the spirit of the betrayed gangster, who quickly takes over his body and seeks revenge for the killing.


19) The Hunt (Earl Hamner/Harold Schuster) – An old man (Arthur Hunnicut) who is also a widow goes hunting with his dog and after trying to save his dog, both land up dead.  As he wonders down a path, he is offered a place to stay, but when he is told his dog is not welcome, he starts to wonder why and has to make a vital moral decision.  Hamner later created The Waltons and this classic may be his single best work.


20) Showdown With Rance McGrew (Rod Serling/Christian Nyby II) – Larry Blyden is the title character, a fake TV show gunman who pretends to vanquish bad guys with his six-shooter with total ease, but this awakens the spirits of dangerous gunfighters who are not happy with him at all.  Suddenly, he finds himself in a real version of one of his episodes challenged by the real life and very furious Jesse James.


21) Kick The Can (George Clayton Johnson/Lamont Johnson) – Remade by Steven Spielberg in Twilight Zone – The Movie, this more realistic, stark, superior original version has one of the actual residents (Ernest Truex) suggest that playing the game of the title will return them to their youth, but in much richer terms.  John Marley also stars.


22) A Piano In The House (Earl Hamner/David Greene) – A stuffy theater critic (Barry Morse of The Fugitive, The Adventurer and Space: 1999) is so crass, he even criticizes his wife (Joan Hackett) when his birthday gift to his wife is a player piano, because she has no 88-key talent.  Then the piano itself turns out to have its own special ability, to play the player by making them confess their feelings about everything.


23) The Last Rites Of Jeff Myrtlebank (Montgomery Pittman) – James Best plays the title character, who suddenly comes to life after being considered dead and laid out for burial.  The townspeople think Satan has something to do with it.  Does he?


24) To Serve Man (Rod Serling/Richard L. Bare) – This all-time classic episode plays with the dichotomy of whether aliens visiting will have good or bad intentions as nine-foot Kanamit (Richard Kiel) and company come in peace to help out earthlings and even offer tours of outer space to bring the two species together.  But the book Kanamit bares has a secret all its own.  Lloyd Bochner and Susan Cummings also star.


25) The Fugitive (Charles Beaumont/Richard L. Bare) – J. Pat O’Malley is an old man with special secret powers who is friendly to the neighborhood and its children, protecting them, but when a physically impaired girl is in danger, he may have to reveal his secret powers to save a little girl’s life.  Nancy Kulp (Beverly Hillbillies) also stars.


26) Little Girl Lost (Richard Matheson/Paul Stewart) – A six-year-old female disappears, except for her voice, so it is up to her dog to find and save her.  However, the dog follows and they apparently have found a gateway to another dimension.


27) Person Or Persons Unknown (Charles Beaumont/John Brahm) – When a man (Richard Long) wakes up and finds no one he knows recognizes him including his wife, he is put away for mental illness, but escapes to prove that he is who he says and to find out what has happened.


28) The Little People (Rod Serling/William Claxton) – Astronauts find a planet inhabited by very tiny people the size of action figures, leading one of them to go mad with power and decides to stay behind to rule the planet.  Of course, playing God will come with a catch.  Claude Akins also stars.


29) Four O’Clock (Rod Serling/Lamont Johnson) – Oliver Crangle (Theodore Bikel) is a conspiracy theorist and is out to prove it, driving everyone nuts and hating everyone in the process.  Then he gets the chance to shrink everyone evil to only two-feet tall, but when the clock hits that time…


30) Hocus-Pocus & Frisby (Rod Serling/ Lamont Johnson) – Andy Devine is the tall-tale telling Frisby, a man who exaggerates everything, so when aliens show up and he tells them how great he is, they kidnap him as the epitome of the human species.  Boy, are they in for a surprise!


31) The Trade-Ins (Rod Serling/Elliot Silverstein) – An older couple in the future decide to go to a corporation to get two youthful new bodies, but they have to decide what to do when they only have enough money for one of them to get the treatment.


32) The Gift (Rod Serling/Allan Parker) – An alien in human form visits earth with a good gift for humans, but is killed by a policeman after accidentally killing another policeman upon arrival.  So, about that gift…


33) The Dummy (Rod Serling/Abner Bibberman) – Cliff Robertson is a ventriloquist that has a bizarre relationship with his marionette, one that makes him want to get rid of his wooden partner… who will not go away!


34) Young Man’s Fancy (Richard Matheson/John Brahm) – A newlywed couple visits his late mother’s home to get his belongings, but he suddenly starts to act regressive and the results are oddly, suddenly inescapable.  Alex Nicol and Phyllis Thaxter star.


35) I Sing The Body Electric (Ray Bradbury/James Shelton) – This superior version of the great Bradbury story has a widowed man order an electric nanny/grandmother (Josephine Hutchinson) to take care of his children who all love her save Ann (Veronica Cartwright) who resents her.  The result is another classic.


36) Cavender Is Coming (Rod Serling/Christian Nyby II) – Jesse White is the title character, an inept guardian angel out to help the unusual Miss Agnes Grep (Carol Burnett) in what turns out to be an unsold TV pilot, but a Serling script that fits right into the series.  John Fiedler and Donna Douglas also star.


37) The Changing Of The Guard (Rod Serling/Robert Ellis Miller) – The great Donald Pleasance plays an old teacher being pushed into retirement from the boy’s school he worked at for decades.  Bringing a gun back to end his life at the school, all those he taught return at the age he taught them at to remind him who he really is and what he really achieved.



It is a very strong season with some new talent added to the strong talent already working on the show for a while and the result is a very distinct season, but some risks might not pay off as much as was hoped for and other parts of some of the shows have dated a bit.  Still, so much here is striking and memorable that it is nothing short of remarkable and with playback quality like this, will remain so for decades and longer to come.


The 1080p black and white 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image is once again absolutely amazing throughout on each print of every single episode considering the age of shows.  There is some grain, but I noticed by this season that it was a little more refined and so, the image is becoming a little clearer relatively.  I can add that it definitely can compete with most of the 1.33 X 1 black and white HD images we have seen on most such feature film releases on Blu-ray.


The PCM 2.0 sound once again comes in original Mono and an “enhanced” version that is essentially more stereophonic.  The playback in both cases continue to be very good, all coming from the original magnetic sound masters also preserved and in good shape, but I preferred the “enhanced” versions because they sound cleaner, clearer and allow the exceptional music scores, Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant & creepy first theme song for the series, sound effects and dialogue come through.  The result remains as good as any non-multi-channel film production of the 1950s and will even impress audiophiles.  Additional scores by the likes Herrmann, Van Cleave, Fred Steiner and more are also in solid PCM sound.


New extras debuting on this Blu-ray set include 19 New Audio Commentaries once again and often (to the benefit of all fans) featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree, author/film historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), authors/historians Scott Skelton and Jim Benson (Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After Hours Tour), Twilight Zone writers Earl Hamner, George Clayton Johnson and John Tomerlin, writer William F. Nolan (Logan's Run), author/historian Martin Grams, Jr. (The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic), writer Marv Wolfman (creator of Blade and New Teen Titans), writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline), writer/producer Jeff Vlaming (NCIS, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica), writer Mark Fergus (Children of Men, Iron Man) and writer Len Wein (creator of Swamp Thing, Wolverine, New X-Men), an interview with actor Edson Stroll, the Original Laugh Track for Cavender Is Coming, a Vintage Audio Interview with director of photography George T. Clemens who gave the show its look, 19 Radio Dramas made years later featuring Don Johnson, Blair Underwood, Ernie Hudson, Morgan Brittany, Adam West, Ed Begley, Jr., Jason Alexander, Shelley Berman, Michael York, Bruno Kirby & others.


Extras imported from the upgraded DVD set includes a paper foldout inside the Blu-ray case with technical information and very brief episode guide, more audio commentaries previous issued on DVD by actors including Bill Mumy, Lois Nettleton, William Windom, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Cornthwaite and Cliff Robertson, Audio Commentary by Jonathan Winters for A Game of Pool, plus Winters reads the Alternate Ending from the original script (!), a clip from the 1989 remake of A Game of Pool, featuring George Clayton Johnson’s original ending, a clip from the 1985 remake of Dead Man’s Shoes, featuring Helen Mirren in Dead Woman’s Shoes,

Vintage Audio Recollections with Buzz Kulik, Buck Houghton, Richard L. Bare, Lamont Johnson and Earl Hamner, Rare Rod Serling appearances as a guest on The Garry Moore Show and Tell It to Groucho and as host of the popular game show Liar’s Club (also hosted by Allen Ludden (Betty White’s late husband) of Password), stills, Production Slate and Rod Serling promos for ‘Next Week's’ Show.


The rest of the series after this one has also been issued on Blu-ray and you can read more as follows:


Season Four



Season Five




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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