Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – Season Five (1963 – 1964/Image Entertainment Blu-ray)
B+ Sound: B Extras: B+ Episodes: B
with an hour-long format, Rod Serling’s The
Twilight Zone returned to its winning half-hour approach and though more
classics were made, the show had just about achieved everything it could and Season Five would be its last, though
several revival attempts would be attempted starting in the 1980s, all would
fall through. The fact is that this
series remains the most imitated, referenced and spoofed anthology series of
all time, a show that proved its durability even in the face of TV’s change
from black & white to color. A
series with such heart and soul that it remains the gold standard for all
series of its kind, back in its original form for its final season here. The makers went out on top.
With Season Five now on Blu-ray, that means
the whole series is now available in High Definition and it is the first black
and white TV series to ever make it to the format that way. That is no surprise as the show continues to
be an all-time classic groundbreaker and one of the few whose legend is equaled
by its innovation and quality.
who missed our coverage of the four previous season sets, here are the links to
our coverage, which includes our opening discussion of this all-time classic in
the Season One set:
following list of these final 36 shows (episodes 121 – 156) includes the writer
and director listed, plus all offer audio commentary tracks and (usually) isolated
music tracks in every case, plus some radio drama versions and sponsor ads in
Praise Of Pip (Rod Serling/Joseph M. Newman) – Jack Klugman plays a man
who has lost his son in Vietnam, a son he never he did not do enough for, but
through a series of odd events, is reunited with him. The twist is, he is now a child (Bill Mumy)
(Richard Matheson/Don Weis) – Boxing turned out to be so dangerous (mixed
martial arts and extreme fighting were not even considered when this one was
penned) that robots now do the fighting, but a few veteran human fighters are
left and one (Lee Marvin) even owns a broken down early robot model. He wants to run him, but he is too old and
needs too many repairs, so he decides to fight a new model robot himself! Interesting, amusing show that has aged in
At 20,000 Feet (Richard Matheson/Richard Donner) – All time classic
masterpiece episode has a truly great performance by the often derided William
Shatner in one of his finest hours as a as a man who is just recovering from
emotion and mental illness troubles when he takes a plane to overcome his
issues with flying. It is a nice
airplane with a nice crew, but he takes a window seat and just when everything
seems fine, sees a strange creature show up on the wing of the airplane… one
that is trying to rip the engine apart!
Kind Of Stopwatch (Rod Serling/John Rich) – A down-on-his-lick man
(Richard Erdman) has character issues, yet still buys a desperate man a drink
at a bar. That man surprises him by
giving him a watch, one that can stop time and space! Now he has to figure out if he can change his
luck with it… this time. Ray Kellogg
also stars in this interesting show.
5) The Last
Night Of The Jockey (Rod Serling/Joseph M. Newman) – Mickey Rooney
takes a smart turn as a mad, irritated horse jockey who is banned from the
sport for cheating and feels everyone is against him because of his size, until
he gets the chance to change the situation.
However, his wish just might backfire.
Living Doll (Charles Beaumont/Richard Sarafian) – Telly Savalas is a
none-too-nice guy who marries a nicer woman who happens to have a daughter he
does not like. Her mother buys her a
talking doll to keep her happy and to have fun with, but it turns out the new
companion has more to say that anyone could have expected and starts defending
the little girl against the stepfather in this classic episode rarely equaled.
Old Man In The Cave (Rod Serling/Alan Crosland, Jr.) – James Coburn
starts in this interesting show about a post-nuclear war where the unseen title
character somehow knows how to help the survivors and successfully instructs
them on how to survive. They listen
until soldiers arrive to take over and then all hell breaks loose.
Simon (Rod Serling/Don Siegel) – Sir Cedric Hardwicke is a rich man
whose niece (Constance Ford) has taken care of him for decades because he has
money, not because she likes him. As a
matter of fact, they hate each other, so when he dies of natural causes, she
thinks it is the end, until she reads the will.
Now she has to take care of a robot whose qualities seem all too
7 – Over & Out (Rod Serling/Ted Post) – Richard Basehart and Harold
Gould star in this episode about a spacecraft crash-landing on another planet,
then we hear nuclear war has broken out at home, yet there may be a new hope.
10) The 7th
Is Made Up Of Phantoms (Rod Serling/Alan Crosland, Jr.) – Ron Foster,
Warren Oates and Greg Morris are among the cast in this tale of war games
fought on a sacred land where Custer had his last stand. All is well until more than one of the
soldiers start seeing… and encountering Native Americans, other people and
artifacts of the past as if they were in the present.
Drink From A Certain Fountain (Rod Serling/Bernard Girald) – Patrick
O’Neal (the original Stepford Wives)
and Ruta Lee play an aging couple who intend to commit mutual suicide until his
brother claims to have a youth serum, which they take… and it works! However, the intended effects and results are
not what anyone expects.
12) Ninety Years Without Slumbering (George C. Johnson/Roger Kay) – Ed
Wynn plays an old man obsessed and heavily attached to his grandfather clock,
even thinking he will die without it. He
moves in with his family who tries to get rid of it, but it all backfires in a
way no one expects. A very good,
interesting show with Wynn in great form.
Girl (Earl Hamner Jr./Alan Crosland, Jr.) – A movie star (Maggie
McNamara) is heading for beautiful Rome, Italy when a hometown fan club ring
she receives turns out to be more than a novelty and tells her to come back
home in a most unexpected way.
Drive (Earl Hamner Jr./John Brahm) – A man (Edward Andrews) is involved
in a hit & run which he flees from as much as possible, even avoiding
taking responsibility when his friend is accused of hitting what turns out to
be a young boy. However, there is one
other witness to the crime who will not let him forget what he has done… the
Long Morrow (Rod Serling/Robert Flevry) – Robert Lansing is an
astronaut who falls for a woman (Mariette Hartley) who works for the same space
agency, but that love is about to be spoiled when he is to be put in suspended
animation for a flight that takes four decades, leaving her elderly when he
returns… unless they can think of something else.
Self-Improvement Of Salvatore Ross (Henry Selsar & Jerry McNeeley/Don
Siegel) – Don Gordon is great as the title character, a man who can buy and
sell his age and life, including the power to have this effects on those who
could not do this on their own. After
cutting a deal with a millionaire, he starts to buy what he sold in bits and
pieces from others until things start to backfire. J. Pat O’Malley and Seymour Cassel also star.
Twelve Looks Just Like You (Charles Beaumont/Abner Biberman) – A future
of nightmare conformity that does not allow for individualism is subtly
challenged when a young lady (Collin Wilcox) wants to keep the body and looks
she has, which is incomprehensible to those around her, so she needs to think
of something quick before she is lost to the mechanisms of her society
forever. Richard Long and Suzy Parker
Leather Jackets (Earl Hamner Jr./Joseph Newman) – A rough bike gang
turns out to be a group of aliens from outer space in disguise, there to invade
the planet, but one of the gang falls for a earth girl and changes his mind
unbeknownst to his colleagues. Shelly Fabares,
Denver Pyle, Michael Conrad and Michael
Call (Richard Matheson/Jacques Tourneur) – Gladys Cooper is an old
woman with a dark secret when she starts to get noisy, strange phone calls
during a very stormy night. She cannot
make out the voice, but suddenly realizes that somehow, it is her dead husband…
whom she killed years ago!
Agnes With Love (Barney Scofield/Richard Donner) – Wally Cox (Underdog, Mr. Peepers, The Night
Strangler) plays a man who operates the most advanced computer in the
world, which happens to be named Agnes… which starts to fall in love with
him! Sue Randall and Nan Peterson also
Of The Moment (Richard Matheson/Elliott Silverstein) – Diana Hyland is
riding on a horse when an older woman suddenly starts popping up everywhere she
goes and starts to chase her, but there is something odd about the woman, yet
she is not ready to take the risk to let the elderly woman catch up with her or
worse. Marsha hunt also stars.
Occurrence At Owl Creek (Robert Enrico) – The hanging of a Confederate
Spy during the American Civil War does not go as planned when the rope breaks,
but it may not be the break the agent had hoped for.
Of The Nile (Charles Beaumont/John
Brahm) – Ann Blythe plays a movie star who looks young, but may be older, much
older than she appears and will do anything to keep her secret, especially when
a journalist shows up and starts to do the math.
In The Box (Martin Goldsmith/Dick Baer) – This great episode is a dark
send-up of sitcoms on some level as William Demerest and Joan Blondell play an
old married couple who are as unhappy as they are dysfunctional when he gets
mad at the TV repairman (Sterling Holloway) when she starts to accuse him of
infidelity. The repairman decides to not
charge for fixing the set, but will make him pay in a way he would never
suspect. Sandra Gould has a hilarious
turn in this underrated show.
25) The Masks
(Rod Serling/Abner Biberman) – A classic of the show (despite aging oddly) has Jason
Foster (Robert Keith) bringing all of his greedy relatives to his mansion to
bid them farewell in New Orleans on the very day of Mardi Gras, but to get his
money, they’ll have to wear special masks and his revenge against them begins!
26) I Am
The Night – Color Me Black (Rod Serling/Abner Biberman) – Michael
Constantine (Room 222) and Ivan
Dixon are among the cast in this solid show about the hanging of an innocent
man and how the town intends to go through with it no matter what, yet it gets
darker and darker in the skies as the time of death approaches!
& Silences (Rod Serling/Richard Donner) – John McGiver is great as
a man who loves loud sounds, which drives his wife to leave him, but he later
finds new loud sounds from items that should not have any… and he cannot stop
them or the noise! Great sound design
& Me (A.T. Struassfield/Robert Butler) – Jackie Cooper is a ventriloquist
whose dummy communicates with him and when they cannot find work, convinces the
unemployed ventriloquist to rob a bank.
Then things get more twisted!
Stafford Repp (Batman) also stars.
Jeopardy Room (Rod Serling/Richard Donner) – Martin Landau is in this
mixed Cold War episode about a Russian agent killing a defector and the bomb in
a closed room that can only be diffused in a few hours if it can be found in
time. Well acted, it has aged oddly and
has some issues, but is worth a look.
In A Quiet Town (Earl Hamner Jr./Ron
Winston) – Barry Nelson (The 1954 Casino
Royale, Kubrick’s The Shining)
and Nancy Malone play a married couple who have partied so hard, they wake up
in a town they have never seen before and try to leave, but cannot. Then the town turns out to be like no other
they have ever seen before and all they can hear is a little girl
laughing. This is another very
Encounter (Martin M. Goldsmith/Robert Butler) – Neville Brand is a WWII
solider who hires a young man (George Takei) to clean his attic, but the vet is
a racist who cannot stand the hired help, has killed another Japanese man and
even stole his samurai sword. When the
young man gets it, he is suddenly possessed to kill! This has aged well and in unexpected ways,
likely more of a curio than ever before.
& The Graves (Rod Serling/Ted Post) – John Dehner plays a conman
who arrives in a town and says he can raise the dead, which the townspeople
believe and he intends to profit from before moving on. That is until his con actually brings people
back from the dead! Stanley Adams and J. Pat O’Malley also star.
Brain Center At Whipples (Rod Serling/Richard Donner) – Richard Deacon
(The Dick Van Dyke Show) shines as a
technologized efficiency expert who sees automation as the ultimate way to make
the most money and make a company strong, no matter how cold, callous and
immoral his ways may be. However, his
plans may take on more of a life of their own than anyone could have ever
Wander With Me (Tony Wilson/Richard Donner) – Gary Crosby is a singer
who rips off others to make money on music he never created until he hears a
new song too hard to resist swiping, but the tune has more to do with him than
he could have ever imagined.
35) The Fear
(Rod Serling/Ted Post) – Hazel Court is a woman who is recovering from a
nervous breakdown and thinks moving to a house in the country is a good idea to
further recuperate, but something strange is going on and when a state trooper
(Mark Richman) visits her, something evil may be upon them!
36) The Bewitchin’
Pool (Earl Hamner Jr./Joseph Newman) – Two children with parents who
constantly fight find a way out when they find the passage to another world in
a nearby swimming pool, including one Aunt T. who tells them they can leave the
real world forever and never have to deal with their parents again!
an amazing final season, though it is so good, you have to wonder if the makers
knew it would be the last. There are
still plenty of great shows and great moments throughout and especially not
having seen some of these in a while, was like never having seen them
before. So many brilliant talents were
here at one time in a way that is so rare, few series can compare. Great to hear and see them all like never
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 (Nightmare
At 20,000 Feet has a little more than most), but it is even a little
less than the first three sets and is on par with the Season Four set. You can again
see that as the image becomes clearer still.
I can add that it too can definitely compete with most of the 1.33 X 1
black and white HD images we have seen on most such feature film releases on
2.0 sound once again comes in original Mono and an “enhanced” version that is
essentially more stereophonic, but this time, it sounds so great it could
convince you these were originally in stereo!
The playback in both cases still continues 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, sound effects and dialogue come
through. The result again remains as
good as any non-multi-channel film production of the 1950s and will even
impress audiophiles. Whether it is
because these episodes were made later or not syndicated as much, the magnetic
sound sources are in stunning shape, rivaling the best film and music
recordings of the time in overall fidelity, raising the bar for how good
anything coming from this era should sound.
When watching these, you forget these were made of television because
they are in such great shape looking and sounding amazing here.
again, the extras are tremendous and plentiful.
New extras debuting on this Blu-ray set include 20 new audio
commentaries, featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree,
author/film historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), Twilight Zone
directors Ted Post, Richard Donner and Robert Butler, writer Earl Hamner,
actors George Takei and Peter Mark Richman, author/historian Martin Grams, Jr.
Twilight Zone: Unlocking The Door To A Television Classic),
authors/historians Jim Benson & Scott Skelton (Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An
After Hours Tour), author Bill Warren (Keep Watching The Skies! American
Science Fiction Movies Of The Fifties), writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline), writer/director Michael Nankin (Battlestar Galactica, CSI)
and radio host George Noory (Coast to
Coast AM), plus another Vintage Audio Interview with director of
photography George T. Clemens who gave the show its look and more Conversations
With Rod Serling.
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 Bill Mumy (In Praise Of Pip), Mickey Rooney (The Last Night Of A Jockey), June Foray (Living Doll), Mariette Hartley (The Long Morrow), Marc Scott Zicree (Number 12 Looks Just Like You), Alan Sues (The Masks) and Martin Landau (The
Jeopardy Room), plus video interviews with Richard Matheson, George Clayton
Johnson, Earl Hamner, Bill Mumy, June Foray, Carolyn Kearney, Michael Forest,
Nancy Malone and Terry Becker, isolated music scores featuring the legendary
Bernard Herrmann, Van Cleave and Rene Garriguenc among others, a famous Mike
Wallace interview from September 1959, a Netherlands sales pitch by Serling for
that market, excerpt from Rod Serling's Sherwood Oaks Experimental College
lecture, Alfred Hitchcock promo for the CBS line-up that season (he appears on
camera personally!) including this show and his, rare George Clayton Johnson
home movies, Rod Serling promos for "Next Week's" show and Twilight Zone Season 5 billboards.
classic TV shows deserve and should get this kind of treatment and the filmed
series can take advantage of Blu-ray and be seen with extensive extras for the
greatness they offer.
- Nicholas Sheffo