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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Fantasy > Horror > Science Fiction > Anthology > TV > Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – Season Five (1963 – 1964/Image Entertainment Blu-ray)

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone – Season Five (1963 – 1964/Image Entertainment Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B+     Episodes: B



After experimenting 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.


For those 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:



Season Two



Season Three



Season Four




The 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 many cases:


1) 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) again!


2) Steel (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 interesting ways.


3) Nightmare 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!


4) A 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.


6) The 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.


7) The 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.


8) Uncle 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 familiar.


9) Probe 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.


11) A 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.


13) Ring-A-Ding 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.


14) You 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 car!


15) 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.


16) The 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.


17) Number 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 also star.


18) Black 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 Forest star.


19) Night 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!


20) From 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 star.


21) Spur 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.


22) An 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.


23) Queen 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.


24) What’s 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!


27) Sounds & 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 too.


28) Caesar & 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.


29) The 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.


30) Stopover 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 underrated episode.


31) The 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.


32) Garrity & 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.


33) The 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 imagined!


34) Come 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!



This is 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 before.



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 (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 Blu-ray.


The PCM 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.


And once 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. (The 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.


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 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.


All great 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


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