Sooooo, since Halloween is coming up, and all of October is booked solid for Marvel Month, I thought I’d treat all of you to an early Halloween treat. I don’t know if I ever said this here before, but I’m not as big a fan of Halloween, as I used to, but as I got older it started to feel like a kids holiday. But despite that I still like some Halloween related stuff (specials, (certain) movies, books), none more so than, the classic TV series The Twilight Zone. Now I’m only going to talk about the original series, I might talk about the 1985 series and the 2003 series in the future, but until that day (ever) comes, lets take a look at my Top 10 Favorite Twilight Zone Episodes.
10. To Serve Man (Season 3)- One of the many famous episodes the classic series has to offer, even if you haven’t seen the show. An alien race land on Earth offering to help humanity with their most biggest problems (at least at that time), some of the humans volunteer to visit the alien homeworld, and a woman that works with the US Government cryptographers recover and translates a book one of aliens leaves behind, and learns a terrible secret about the aliens. This is one of the episodes that everyone knows even if you never saw The Twilight Zone, the episode was parodied countless times in the past, even The Simpsons couldn’t resist making a parody in their Treehouse Of Horror episodes. What else can you say except: It’s a cookbook!
9. Steel (Season 5)- In this episode, (that later inspires Real Steel), a retired boxer, Steel Kelly and manages to an outdated android boxer, unfortunately the android “Battling Maxo”, breaks one of it’s arm springs, and Steel and his co-manager Pole, can’t afford to repair the android. Needing the money for repairs Steel decides to pose as Maxo for an upcoming match against a more advanced android boxer. This is an interesting story. Lee Marvin was good in his role as Steel, and the actors playing Maxo and Flash (the other android) were great in their roles and the make up used for said androids was an nice touch. It’s theatrical remake was OK.
8. Living Doll (Season 5)- When a little girl gets a talking doll from her mother, due to her step-father (played by Telly Sevalas) being very hostile to her, and the doll Talking doll named Talky Tina gives the girl’s father what’s coming to him. June Foray gave a pretty chilling performance as the talking doll.
7. The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street (Season 1)- In a peaceful neighborhood, a mysterious blackout causes the residents to accuse one another of being aliens planning an invasion. The episode is interesting because it’s made to show how everyone is a friendly neighbor, washing cars, mowing lawns, doing that day to day stuff. All of a sudden, the power goes out. Not the usual transformer malfunction, but power to everything, even gas engines. It makes no sense to them. The episode was later remade in the 2003 series, this time dealing with the fear of terrorism rather alien invasions. It was a decent remake, but not as good as the original.
6. Brain Center At Whipple’s (Season 5)- When a factory manager decides to replace most of it’s human employees with a machine, one of the employees tries to stop the machine, but that ends up putting him in the hospital. The episode was an interesting modernization on a classic tale and amazingly holds up. Also, keep a look out for a cameo from a familiar robot for a certain 50s sci-fi movie.
5. Night Of The Meek (Season 2)- In this holiday classic, after seeing two children begging for a toys, dinner and a job for one of their father, an alcoholic store Santa breaks into tears on his way to work, gets fired from said job and comes across a mysterious sack. This is one of my favorite Christmas specials, Art Carney gives an outstanding performance as Henry Corwin, and the 1985 remake with Richard Mulligan and William Atherton was a good watch too.
4. Time Enough At Last (Season 1)- Henry Bemis loves to read, but everyone, not even his own wife around him doesn’t share his passion for the written word, often picking on him everyday. While to reading peacefully in the vault of a bank Henry learns he’s the last man on Earth. Which is horrifying at first, but he’s very happy about since he can read books in peace. This is a classic thanks to it’s performance by Burgess Meredith, and of course it’s one of the most parodied of all the Twilight Zone stories, the most popular coming from an episode of Futurama’s S.W.A.S. (Show-Within-A-Show) The Scary Door.
3. Kick The Can (Season 3)- In a elderly home, a retiree believes that if he acts young he become young again, of course everyone (or at least one of the residents), thinks he’s crazy. He convinces everyone to come outside one night to play kick the can , they do, and they end up changing back into kids. This is truly one of those rare occasions when story, acting, photography, music and sound design combine in making real “magic” the very theme of this wonderful episode. Steven Speilberg did an admirable job with the story in the third part of the Twilight Zone Movie.
2. Nightmare At 20,000 Feet (Season 5)- In William Shatner’s second outing in the Zone, Shatner plays Bob Wilson a man who continues to see a gremlin on the wing of a plane, he tries to tell his wife, the stewardess, even the flight engineer, but it does go in his favor. So it’s up to him to solve the mystery. This episode put Shatner’s unique talent squarely on the map with US audiences and of course he’d go on to bigger things a year after the episode’s airing. Of course, Richard Donner went on to much bigger and better things with the “Superman” film franchise and a host of other Hollywood blockbusters. George Miller directed the remake for the Twilight Zone Movie, this time starring John Lithgow as John Valentine. Speaking of, there was an episode of 3rd Rock From The Sun, where Shatner guest stars as the aliens’ leader, and he and Dick Solomon had a hilarious exchange about their time in the Zone…
1. It’s A Good Life (Season 3)- In a small town in Ohio, everyone lives in fear of a monster, the monster being a six year old boy. Anytime anyone wrongs him, he would use his mental powers to send them to an untraceable cornfield. This was the creepiest Twilight Zone episode ever. Bill Mumy, much June Foray, gave a frightening performance in the episode as Anthony, and trust me the ending will shock you. The episode stills stands the test of time, as does the Joe Dante-directed remake as the fourth portion of the Zone Movie. The episode later gained a sequel in the 2003 series, with Bill Mumy and Cloris Leachman returning, and Bill’s real-life daughter Lilliana playing Anthony’s daughter.
Eye Of The Beholder
Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up
This Wednesday is Marvel Month II, I’ll try to have the recap on Girl Meets 1961 up before then. See you Wednesday, and in advance: Happy Halloween!