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|Category||Sci-Fi / Television||Featurette - The Pitch (7:51)
Featurette - Rod Serling Interview by Mike Wallace (21:43)
Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
Reviews and Credits
|Year Released||1959, 1964|
(not 75 minutes as per packaging)
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono,
French (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, 96 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, in credits of The Encounter|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, minor in credits|
Where Is Everybody? (Oct 2 1959, 22:06 minutes) - The date of first airing should give away why this is so special, for this is indeed the very first episode of the series. And as such a lot was riding on how it performed. Mike Ferris (Earl Holliman) finds himself suddenly walking down a deserted road, past a deserted gas station and into the deserted town of Oakwood. He does not know who he is, he cannot remember what he does and he does not understand why any form of life is sadly missing from the scene - but he does think he is being watched. Paranoia? Maybe, but then again this is The Twilight Zone, and even in the first episode things may not be quite what they seem. Basically, not the greatest story ever in the series but a nicely solid effort that whilst not stretching the envelope too much does enough to set the tone for the series. Whilst basically a one man show as Earl Holliman performs solo for much of the show, the small performance of Robert Gregory is up to his usual standards. Directed by Robert Stevens, the overall show set a firm tone for the series that became one of the most unique to ever grace television.
The Encounter (Episode 151, May 1 1964, 25:06 minutes) - And what is quite so special about this late episode from the final series of the show? Well, quite simply this episode is a very rare one - for it is one of the few episodes that was not included in the syndication package. So what does that mean? Basically, after its initial air date, this episode was stuck in the archives and not seen for over twenty-five years. It is just a tad unclear exactly when the next airing was, but suffice it to say that it is extremely unlikely that you have ever seen this episode before. The reason for that, it would seem, is the subject matter of the episode. Fenton (Neville Brand) is a World War II veteran of the Pacific campaign, recently sacked from his job driving a big earth mover for an over-indulgence in the amber brew. So with his wife having walked out the previous day, he finds himself up in the attic clearing up some of the accumulated junk - including a samurai sword liberated from a Japanese officer. Enter Japanese-American gardener Arthur Takamuri (George Takei), in search of some lawn mowing work. Also known as Taro, he looks at the sword and immediately knows that he has no choice but to kill Fenton. What follows is some metaphorical blood-letting as they recall the circumstances of the war. Directed by Robert Butler.
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (Episode 142, Feb 28 1964, 24:59 minutes) - And we get a very, very special episode. How special? Well for a start off, it is not a Twilight Zone episode! Err, what? Yes indeed, this is not a Twilight Zone episode but rather a French short film that was turned into an episode of the series. This short film won the award for Best Short Film at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. As the final season was running a bit over-budget, buying the episode, sticking Twilight Zone credits and intro onto it and airing it as a Twilight Zone episode saved a lot of money, and it ended up winning another award in 1963: an Oscar for Best Short Film, this making The Twilight Zone possibly unique in earning both an Oscar and an Emmy. The story? A confederate spy has been captured and is to be executed at the bridge, but is spared when the rope breaks when the beam is pulled from underneath him. Plummeted into the water, the spy desperately escapes his bindings and swims off to freedom, as the Union soldiers pepper the river with a fusillade of gunfire. His flight brings him back to his wife - or does it? Directed by Robert Enrico.
And so there you have it: the first episode, the rare episode and the not-a-Twilight-Zone French episode. Anyone want to argue on these being the Treasures Of The Twilight Zone?
This special collection is very different than the "ordinary" volumes in the series, and overall this is one of the best - if not the best - of The Twilight Zone DVDs I have seen thus far. Sharpness is generally a bit better than usual, and with a bit more detail on offer than generally is the case. Shadow detail is generally good throughout and this collection suffers less of a problem with grain than is usually in case. There did not appear to be any significant problems with low level noise in the transfer. The difference between the episodes is quite noticeable reflecting the fact that the rare episode is much better preserved and the French originated effort is in a slightly different style. Only the first episode has a typical The Twilight Zone DVD feel to it. The rare episode is by far the best single looking episode thus far in the series.
The black and white presentation of these episodes is somewhat more inconsistent than general owing to the distinct differences in the episodes. The first episode has quite typical mid range greys as the predominant colour, whilst the rare episode has a much more distinctly black and white look to it with a rather decent depth to the tones. The French episode has more of a black and white feel to it but not as deep as the rare episode, but distinctly better than the first episode. Confused? Well, let us just say that overall this is a better looking effort in general than other DVDs in the series and there really is little to complain about as far as the colours go, even if you are not a collector of these series in general.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts
in the transfer. There is a significant reduction in the aliasing problems
in this collection, with only the first episode being really affected by
the problem. Other than that, there are no real problems with film-to-video
artefacts in the transfer. It should be noted that the French episode is
somewhat affected by a lightness on the left hand side of the picture as
if light has gotten into the film process somewhere. Whilst there are a
few film artefacts here and there, with the first episode being by far
the worst here, this is in general a very clean collection.
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 at all.
Okay, you have the first episode of this quite radically different television series. You want to make a good impression with the viewing audience and sponsors. So you go the whole hog and bring in a "name" to do the music. And around that era, amongst the very best was Bernard Herrmann, he of Vertigo fame. Not a bad way to kick-start the series musically! A good effort for a television show of the era. By the time of the rare episode, things had reached the stage where those ever-reliable stock sources were the norm, and so they take an uninspiring bow here. Naturally, the French short film has credited music, this from the pen of Henri Lanoe. Since the production values for this film were obviously slightly different to that of a television series, it is a noticeably better effort.
Another virtually identical audio transfer to the
earlier volumes in the series. Nothing much to say really, other than the
first episode has just a slightly hissy soundtrack, noticeable during the
opening credits. The soundtracks are generally free from any significant
distortion or congestion and this is generally very decent sounding mono.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
5th March, 2001.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|