The Twilight Zone-Volume 23 (1959)
Notes-Season By Season
Notes-History Of The Twilight Zone
Notes-Reviews & Credits
Scene Selection Animation
|Year Of Production||1959|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As we get closer to the release of at least one episode of Star Wars on global DVD, as we get closer to the rumoured release of at least one incarnation of a Star Trek series on Region 4 DVD, as we get closer to the release of at least something from Babylon 5 on Region 4 DVD, there is a constant reminder of where a lot of these science fiction series draw their very existence from. It is of course The Twilight Zone, for had the Zone not been a success, it is not hard to imagine that television science fiction in particular might well have taken a vastly different route to that which it has taken. There seems little doubt to me that had The Twilight Zone bombed in the early 1960s, prime time television would have been a far harder road to travel for subsequent shows, not the least being Star Trek: The Original Series (as it is now known). The Twilight Zone gave episodic science fiction a basis that has gone from strength to strength, with a veritable smorgasbord of science fiction shows: four Star Trek incarnations with a fifth coming, Space 1999, Space: Above And Beyond, Babylon 5, Farscape, U.F.O., Stargate SG-1 and plenty more.
The poignancy of this was brought home by the inclusion of one rather famous space episode in this collection of The Twilight Zone, being Volume 23 of the ongoing series (and I have lost track of how many I have reviewed now - 18?). The Long Morrow is one of those episodes that I distinctly remember watching as a kid, for it had quite an effect on me for some reason (mind you, it does star the beautiful Mariette Hartley, which would automatically make it memorable anyway).
The episodes on offer on Volume 23, in the running order on the DVD, are:
Long Live Walter Jameson (Episode 24, Mar 18 1960, 25:12 minutes) - Professor Walter Jameson (Kevin McCarthy) is a rarity - a history teacher who people actually enjoy going to lectures to listen to. In fact he might be just too much of a perfect history teacher, for his ability to make history seem so real draws the interest of a fellow academic. He is especially curious about the diary that Walter quotes from with respect to the American Civil War, although there is a deal of morbid curiosity since Walter is going out with his daughter Susannah (Dody Heath). But then things start to become clear, if unbelievable, about this supposedly normal history teacher in ordinary town USA. Another of the classic episodes from the first series of The Twilight Zone that is highlighted by a good story line, with a commensurately decent performance from Kevin McCarthy. Directed by (Anton) Tony Leader.
Dead Man's Shoes (Episode 83, Jan 19 1962, 24:49 minutes) - Nathan Bledsoe (Warren Stevens) lives the rough life of a street vagrant. Eking out an existence off the street is no easy task, and fortune is taken from wherever it can be found. In this case, it is the striking pair of shoes worn by a dead gangster, dumped in the alley where Nate is asleep. The shoes soon replace Nate's well abused boots but Nate soon finds himself anything but the master of his own destiny. Indeed, for some reason he seems to be able to walk only in the direction that the shoes want him to go, which turns out to be the apartment of the murdered gangster, to the bemusement of his girlfriend Wilma (Jean Marshall). She of course has never seen Nate before but he acts like he owns the place and exudes a self-confidence that Nate has never known. But taking off the shoes is not a good idea... Still, confident Nate knows what he has to do and he is intent on doing it. Apart from some over-the-top acting from Jean Marshall, another decent episode with a slight deja vu feel to it. Directed by Montgomery Pittman.
You Drive (Episode 134, Jan 3 1964, 25:11 minutes) - Oliver Pope (Edward Andrews) is a man with some problems at the office, and so his concentration was not the best as he drove home that damp afternoon. The lack of concentration has dire consequences in his hitting, and mortally wounding, the local paper boy on his bicycle. Believing there to be no witnesses, Oliver leaves the scene and attempts to hide the accident. Still, it is very difficult to do so when your car seems to have a conscience and is determined that you should take responsibility for your actions. Whatever he does, Oliver finds himself being harassed by his car, but things start to look rosier when his work-mate is mistakenly accused by the witness of the heinous crime. But the car knows different doesn't it, and do you think the car is going to let Oliver get away with things that easily? This episode stands out for two reasons: Edward Andrews in a dramatic role (I always associate him more with comedy for some reason) and a rather ludicrous story in just about anyone's language. This is the sort of story that shows up the fact that by the fifth season, the creative juices were pretty much drying up all round. Directed by John Brahm.
The Long Morrow (Episode 135, Jan 10 1964, 25:10 minutes) - Commander Douglas Stansfield (Robert Lansing) is an astronaut who after months of close observation has been selected for the most dangerous mission yet flown: a forty year journey to another solar system and back. His main qualification for such a mission is the fact that he does not have any other family attachments that would create problems during a forty year absence. He will leave Earth a young man and thanks to the new technique of suspended animation will return a young man. Of course, over that time, family will have aged forty years and much of who and what he knows will have long gone or changed by the time he returns. However, nobody figured upon the appearance of Sandra Horn (Mariette Hartley) during the last few months before the mission and how things would change. But change they would and as a consequence of the mission, they both make a choice that will have mutually exclusive results than those intended. A memorable episode not so much for the acting (solid but not spectacular) but rather the story. Nicely executed and posing the sorts of questions that are still being asked about manned deep space missions (just how do we do it), as well as pointing out that technology can soon overtake what seemed like a good idea at the time. Directed by Robert Florey.
The transfer is presented in the usual aspect ratio of television shows of the era, namely 1.33:1.
There are another four generally quite decent quality episodes as far as the transfers go on offer here, even though there is a little drop off in quality when compared to say the last four DVDs in the series. Detail remains good, even though some of the sparse sets don't really provide a lot to worry about anyway, and the episodes remain decently sharp. Shadow detail is good all things considered, and apart from Long Live Walter Jameson there is not much of a problem with grain. Otherwise clarity remains good for a television series of this age. There does not appear to be any problem with low level noise in the transfers. There did appear to be some obvious edge enhancement issues in You Drive (2:03 in particular) but nothing to really worry about.
Overall, the quality of the black and white here is again good, with decent depth to the tones. There is a general decency in the depth of the blacks, with nothing really approaching murky grey. In general the grey scales are good.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There is something of a return of the shimmer problems that affected earlier releases in the series, with some rather noticeable problems in Long Live Walter Jameson. There also seemed to be some moiré artefacting problems in Dead Man's Shoes. Still, these issues are only minor inconveniences in the overall transfer. Film artefacts are as usual just a little prevalent in the transfer, but as usual these are not overly bothersome and certainly well within the sort of expectations for material of this vintage.
The usual standard of two soundtracks are on offer on the DVD, being Dolby Digital 1.0 mono efforts in English or French.
The dialogue for all episodes was clear and easy to understand, and there did not appear to be any audio sync problems in the transfer.
Unusually so far in the series, we have all four episodes on a DVD that use the ever handy stock musical contributions.
Long Live Walter Jameson seemed to be a little more hissy than normally is the case in these episode transfers, but this was soon adjusted to. Apart from that, there is nothing really that different from what we have heard in the previous twenty three releases in the series. The soundtracks are generally free from any significant distortion or congestion and this is generally very decent sounding mono.
|Surround Channel Use|
Once again we continue along in the same vein, with the Reviews and Credits still missing the credits bit.
The same as the Region 1 version in broad terms, the Region 4 version would be the version of choice owing to PAL formatting.
The Twilight Zone - Volume 23 is overall perhaps a slightly stronger collection of episodes, despite the presence of You Drive. Devotees of the series will continue to lap up another release, but this may also hold more interest for the occasional dabblers. The overall quality of the package is good, even with the aliasing issue.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|