- Extra goodies: commentaries, featurettes and much more!
Although CBS' decision to rescue Rod Serling's classic fantasy anthology The Twilight Zone from cancelation and bring the series back for a fourth season in January of 1963 enabled the property to be renewed in the fall of that year, everybody realized that expanding the half-hour series to a weekly sixty minutes was a mistake. Thus, Twilight Zone showed up for its fifth and final season in its familiar 30-minute format, much to the relief of its fans. Rod Serling of course is back for season five as both host/narrator and frequent scriptwriter; also making return appearances this season are such past Twilight Zone guest stars as Jack Klugman, Lee Marvin, Ed Wynn, Bill Mumy, Martin Landau, and William Shatner, the latter starring in what is regarded as the fifth season's best and most terrifying episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (more popularly known as "The Thing on the Wing"). Not all of the series' episodes during its terminal season are on the same leval as "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet;" in fact, there are arguably more misses than hits in the series' final 36 installments. That said, one cannot deny the excellence of such fifth-season efforts as "The Last Night of a Jockey," a solo tour de force for star Mickey Rooney; "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You," featuring both Richard Long and Suzy Parker in multiple roles; "From Agnes-With Love," a comic episode in which Wally Cox is tormented by an amorous computer; and "The Masks," directed by former Twilight Zone leading lady Ida Lupino, wherein four greedy relatives get their just desserts from their disillusioned wealthy benefactors. Until very recently, four of Twilight Zone's fifth-season episodes were withheld from the series' syndication package. Both "A Short Drink from a Certain Founain" and "Sounds and Silences" were removed for legal reasons, while "The Encounter" was withdrawn because of its (unintended) overtones of racism. The fourth "missing" Twilight Zone episode was "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," which was not actually filmed for the series but instead was adapted from an award-winning French short subject directed by Robert Enrico. (Both the edited Zone version and the original uncut short subject are currently available on the public-domain market.)
Cast & Crew