National Twilight Zone Day

My Facebook friend, Bill, shared that today is National Twilight Zone Day!

He says,

Twilight Zone Day is mysterious, weird, surreal and perhaps a little scary. I can think of many other adjectives, but I think you get the picture. Every once in a while, you have a day like this. And, May 11th is designed to be that day.

The television show The Twilight Zone, was created, written and narrated by the late Rod Serling. It premiered on October 1, 1959. The episodes were wildly popular, stretched the imagination, and captivated viewers. The show aired from 1959-1964 and is available on DVD.

My friend Max has been reviewing each episode of the series weekly. While I wish I had time to do that, I thought for today, I would give a run down of my 20 favorites (I’m sure there are more than 20, but I jotted down the ones I like from memory and there are 20).

What I have always loved about this show is the “twist” endings. It reminds me of so many of the great old radio shows of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s!

Time Enough At Last

By far, my favorite episode of the series. Burgess Meredith is fantastic in this episode! I wrote about it in detail in another blog, which you can read here:

Some Favorite TV Episodes…

This is the eighth episode of the first season.

Quick Synopsis: A henpecked book lover finds himself blissfully alone with his books after a nuclear war.

Escape Clause

Outside of his over the top portrayal of The Mad Hatter on Batman, this is a great performance by David Wayne.

This is the sixth episode of the first season.

Quick Synopsis: A hypochondriac man sells his soul to the devil, exchanging it for several thousand years of immortality.

A Game of Pool

This episode features two amazing performances by Jonathan Winters and Jack Klugman. Like many of the Twilight Zone episodes, it has the “Be careful what you wish for” lesson …

This is the fifth episode of the third season.

Quick Synopsis: A frustrated pool champ has beaten everyone. Everyone except one man; the legend, Fats Brown. Brown is dead, and the champ can only curse his name. But guess who just walked in.

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

A classic episode with William Shatner. This was redone in the Twilight Zone movie years later. Shatner’s performance is just frantic! His overacting only makes the character more insane!

This is the third episode from the fifth, and final season.

Quick Synopsis: A man, newly recovered from a nervous breakdown, becomes convinced that a monster only he sees is damaging the plane he’s flying in.

The Masks

Little known fact: This episode was directed by actress, Ida Lupino (who starred in a season 1 episode I will mention next).

Greed and vengeance are the central theme in this episode. The ending remains one of my favorite twists.

This is the 25th episode of the fifth and final season.

Quick Synopsis: Wealthy Jason Foster is dying and he invites his greedy heirs to a Mardi Gras party where they must wear the masks he specially had made for them or else be cut off from their inheritance.

The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

Ida Lupino and Martin Balsam star in this episode. While I wouldn’t call this a time travel episode, it does focus on living in your past.

This is the fourth episode of the first season.

Quick Synopsis: Barbara Jean Trenton is a faded film star who lives in the past by constantly re-watching her old movies instead of moving on with her life, so her associates try to lure her out of her self-imposed isolation.

Back There

Since I mentioned time travel, this is one of my favorite time travel episodes. Russell Johnson (the Professor on Gilligan’s Island) is the time traveler in this episode.

This is the thirteenth episode of the second season.

Quick Synopsis: At a prominent club in Washington, D.C., a socialite argues about whether it would be possible to change history by traveling back in time. When he leaves the club he finds himself in 1865, on the night that President Lincoln will be shot.

The Odyssey of Flight 33

Ok, sort of another time travel story. The captain is played by John Anderson. Always thought he had a great voice!

This is the eighteenth episode of the second season.

Quick Synopsis: Passing through the sound barrier, a commercial airliner inadvertently travels back in time.

Living Doll

Great performance by Telly Savalas. I’m not going to lie, this episode is one that creeped me out!

This is the sixth episode of the fifth and final season.

Quick Synopsis: A frustrated father does battle with his stepdaughter’s talking doll, whose vocabulary includes such phrases as “I hate you” and “I’m going to kill you”.

Eye of the Beholder

The beautiful Donna Douglas appears from under the bandages in this awesome story. I guess I just gave away the ending …..

This is the sixth episode of the second season.

Quick Synopsis: A young woman lying in a hospital bed, her head wrapped in bandages, awaits the outcome of a surgical procedure performed by the State in a last-ditch attempt to make her look “normal.”

The Fever

I always loved Everett Sloane as an actor. He is great as the angry gambler in this episode. How can you not freak out at the fact that the slot machine has followed him to his room?

This is the seventeenth episode of the first season.

Quick Synopsis: A middle-aged man catches gambling fever from a slot machine that he believes is calling his name.

To Serve Man

The great Richard Kiel is featured as Kanamit in this episode with the great twist ending.

This is the twenty-fourth episode of the third season.

Quick Synopsis: An alien race comes to Earth, promising peace and sharing technology. A linguist and his team set out to translate the aliens’ language, using a book whose title they deduce is “To Serve Man.”

Quality of Mercy

A MUST watch! How things would be different if we looked at it from the other side. Dean Stockwell is great in this episode.

This is the fifteenth episode of the third season.

Quick Synopsis: Hot-shot new Lieutenant Katell tries to make his mark on the last day of World War II in the Pacific and gets a unique perspective on his actions.

Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

Great cast in this one! Jack Elam, John Hoyt, Bill Erwin, Jean Willes, and John Archer all star in this episode which cashes in on the Martian craze.

This is the twenty-eighth episode of the second season.

Quick Synopsis: Following a frantic phone call about a crashed spaceship, two policeman try and determine who among the passengers of a bus at a snowed-in roadside diner is from another world.

A Nice Place to Visit

Another classic twist ending. Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French of Family Affair) is Mr. Pip. Little known fact: Cabot was reluctant to dye his brunette hair and beard blonde, since the peroxide used for it ensured that the color would remain for about six months.

Great story and again, a be careful what you wish for…

This is the twenty-eighth episode of the first season.

Quick Synopsis: When bad guy Henry Francis Valentine dies in a shootout with police, he wakes up in the next world where his every wish is granted forever, and ever.

Nothing in the Dark

This episode stars a young Robert Redford. I saw the ending coming a mile away, but it is still a good one to watch.

This is the sixteenth episode of the third season.

Quick Synopsis: An old woman has fought with death a thousand times and has always won. But now she finds herself afraid to let a wounded policeman in her door for fear he is Mr. Death. Is he?

Nick of Time

Another over the top performance by a frazzled William Shatner! Good stuff. Watch for Batman’s Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp) as the mechanic in this episode.

This is the seventh episode of the second season.

Quick Synopsis: A pair of newlyweds stopping in a small town are trapped by their own superstition when playing a fortune telling machine in a local diner.

Deaths-Head Revisited

Powerful episode here. Great performances by Oscar Beregi Jr. and Joseph Schildkraut!

This is the ninth episode of the third season.

Quick Synopsis: A former German SS captain returns to Dachau concentration camp and begins reminiscing on the power he enjoyed there, until he finds himself on trial by those who died at his hands.

One For the Angels

Ed Wynn was known as a comedian, but he gives a marvelous dramatic performance here! Murray Hamilton is great as Mr. Death.

This is the second episode of the first season.

Quick Synopsis: A pitchman is visited by Mr. Death and is forced to get his priorities in order.

Night of the Meek

A wonderful, feel-good episode to wrap up my twenty favorites. Art Carney is just brilliant in this episode. The episode looks weird because it was one of only a few episodes that were shot on video tape in hopes of cutting production costs. Don’t let the quality take away from a wonderful episode!

This is the eleventh episode of the second season.

Quick Synopsis: After a derelict Santa Claus is fired on Christmas Eve, he finds a mysterious bag that gives out presents. With this bag he sets out to fulfill his one wish – to see the less fortunate inherit the bounties of Christmas.

Did I miss your favorite?

Tell me your favorite episodes in the comments! Happy International Twilight Zone Day!!

Home Sweet Home – Sanford and Son

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This blog is part of the 6th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon, hosted by A Shroud of Thoughts.  This is my second year taking part in it.  The rest of the entries can be found here:

http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-6th-annual-favourite-tv-show.html

Home Sweet Home – Sanford and Son

I could have picked a few episodes from Sanford and Son.  It remains one of those classic shows that makes me laugh out loud.  Home Sweet Home is from the fourth season of the show.  It is the 7th episode of that season.  It originally aired on October 25, 1974.  The episode is full of some great lines and physical comedy from Redd Foxx.

Greed is a powerful thing.  It is also a great premise for comedy (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a classic example).  Fred and Lamont return from a miserable camping trip when their neighbor, Julio comes knocking on the door with news.  He informs them that a Japanese company wants to buy up all the houses on their block to build a brewery.  All they need to close the deal is Fred and Lamont to accept their offer and the deal is done.

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Greed begins to take hold.  Fred knows that he is in a position to take advantage of the fact that they need him to sign in order to make it happen.  He is going to hold out for the most money.  Julio and Lamont beg him not to mess up the deal.  All of his neighbors are counting on him.   As he leaves, he reminds Fred that the Japanese representative will be by “first thing in the morning.”  Fred responds, “I know.  They always attack at dawn.”

The following morning, Julio returns wondering if the Japanese realtors have been by.  They have not.  Fred is stuffing fortunes he wrote in fortune cookies (“You’ll meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger.  Give him what he wants!”). Again, Julio begs Fred not to blow it for everyone.  He reminds him that as soon as he signs, they all get their money.  “Mr. Sanford, we are all in the boat!”  Fred’s reply cracks me up – “This is your captain speaking.  Get your poop off my deck!”

The realtor is not at all what Fred expected, in that she is a young and pretty Japanese lady who introduces herself as Miss Funai.  She explains that they have appraised the house and factored in extra money for “sentimental value” and offer them $20,000.  Upon hearing the price, Lamont becomes frantically excited and rushes to get a pen (a very funny moment, as he continues to try to keep a calm voice).  Fred, of course, plays up the whole “sentimental value” aspect and fakes some tears.  She explains that she will leave, discuss this with her partners and return later.  As she leaves, she says “Sayonara” to which Fred replies, “Frank Sinatra to you, too!”

Lamont is upset, but Fred explains that since they are t he last to sign, he knows they will be back with an offer for  more money. When she returns, the offer has indeed increased – by $2500.  Fred refuses and she asks if she can use their phone to call her partners.  While in the kitchen on the phone, Lamont rips into Fred saying he is going to blow the deal.  When Miss Funai returns, she explains that she cannot discuss any further, however, if they would come to dinner at her house, they can discuss with the other business partners.  Lamont says that they will be there.

Upon arriving at the home of the Funai’s, they are asked to remove their shoes and jackets, which makes Fred a bit uneasy.  In the next scene, the two emerge in Japanese robes.  Lamont notices a Samurai sword on the wall and asks about it.  Miss Funai says that he uncle used it to kill himself.  Fred says to Lamont, “What’s the big deal about killing yourself.  My Uncle Alfonzo killed himself in St. Louis and you don’t see me hanging wine bottles around the house!”

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Miss Funai’s father and grandfather enter the room and they are asked to sit at the table.  The table is on the floor and there are no chairs, allowing some very funny physical comedy from Redd Foxx as he tries to (and eventually does) sit on the floor.  On the table is traditional Japanese food.  Miss Funai tells them what each dish is, and Fred passes.  He instead says he’ll eat “some of these grapes” which he describes as “a little slippery.”  Miss Funai applauds him for trying them and informs him that he is eating fish eyes! This brings about another magical moment of visual comedy as Fred spits out the fish eyes.  His face is priceless.

Fred is told by the father that the grandfather is impressed by their sentimental attachment to their home.  Because of that they are offered a “top price” of $27,000.  He immediately asks for $30,000 as a “tip top” price, to which Lamont tells him he is going to take this deal and sign the paperwork.  Fred is handed a pen, which he cannot hold onto because of “his arthritis” which he says may have happened as he tried to sit on the floor.  The father asks if he has a bad back.  Fred says he does, and the father instructs a family member to get acupuncture needles to help him.

Upon seeing the needles, Fred jumps to his feet and claims they are going to torture him.  This is my favorite scene in the show.  He yells, “Stand back!  I know kung fu!  I never miss a show!”  Fred begins to move his arms and body around doing some hilarious kung fu like moves before running out of the house.

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The Sanfords return home and Lamont is sure that the deal is off.  Fred has obviously offended their Japanese hosts.  Fred insists that they need their house, so they will be back.  He has his eyes set on much more money.  Sure enough, there is a knock on the door and it is Miss Funai and her grandfather.

The grandfather speaks Japanese to him and Miss Funai translates.  She says, “Never is his life had he met a man as great as you.  He respects your great love for your home.  He wouldn’t dare ask you to leave it.”  Lamont reacts and rolls his eyes.  Now Fred starts to insist that they buy his house.  “Ask me!” he says.  She says that her grandfather wouldn’t think of uprooting them.  “Uproot me!” Fred yells.

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Before leaving, Miss Funai hands Fred a gift.  She says, “As a gesture of respect and friendship we offer you this sea shell” and they walk out the door.  Fred continues to try to get them to reconsider as they leave.  As the door shuts, Fred stands next to Lamont and looks down at the sea shell.  Fred asks, “What am I gonna do with this?” Lamont’s reply is priceless.  In a calm voice he says, “It’s a sea shell, Pop.  Hold it up to your right ear (which Fred does), and (angrily) push it through to your left!”

In the final scene, Lamont comes in and asks if the neighbors have called to yell at Fred yet.  He says they haven’t.  Lamont says he thought they’d have been all over him for messing up the entire real estate deal.  He goes upstairs and we find out why the neighbors haven’t gotten angry – Fred is calling them, disguising his voice saying they aren’t going to buy the properties.  His call to Julio ends the show in standard Sanford fashion.

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In Closing

Sanford and Son has so many great episodes.  My dad, my grandparents, and I would often spout out quotes from our favorite episodes.  Thanks to Terence from A Shroud of Thoughts for allowing me to participate again this year!  I am already looking forward to next year.  There are so many great shows to chose from, but then again, there are still plenty of Sanford and Son episodes to chose from …

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