|Category||Sci-Fi / Television||Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
|Year Released||1960 - 1962|
|Running Time||100:19 minutes|
|Region||2,4||Directors||Richard L. Bare
|Starring||J. Pat O'Malley
|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||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, minor in credits|
The episodes on offer on Volume 8, in the running order on the DVD, are:
The Fugitive (Episode 90, Mar 9 1962, 25:09 minutes) - Old Ben is a fugitive from outer space with a heart of gold. He risks it all to help a crippled little girl - without fear that alien pursuers from his home planet will find him! Admittedly this is one of the weaker episodes, at least in my mind, as this really does not push the feeling of The Twilight Zone much at all. Still, anytime you get to see J. Pat O'Malley is worthwhile - for many this will be a rare opportunity to put a face to a name that is well-known in connection with Disney animated classics. It is also a great chance to see Nancy Kulp in a decidedly different role before she became really famous in another television show. Directed by Richard L. Bare.
To Serve Man (Episode 89, Mar 2 1962, 25:01 minutes) - The Kanamits, 9 foot tall aliens, arrive on earth with one lofty goal: To Serve Man. They end war. They end famine. They make the military wonder: what's the catch? To Serve Man - never judge a book by its cover. I have always found this to be a deliciously different episode of the series, as it highlights the fact in no uncertain terms that you should never judge a book by its cover - and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! The big bloke went onto fame (and immortality almost) in a James Bond film many years later, as one of the greatest Bond villains. His name? Richard Keil. And he does not talk here, either! The spaceship effects are deliciously appalling, too. This too is directed by Richard L. Bare.
Third From The Sun (Episode 14, Jan 8 1960, 25:10 minutes) - With all-out nuclear war about to ignite, William Sturka and a friend steal an experimental spaceship, load their families, and set out for an unknown planet. This is another of those early episodes that had a really nice little twist that set up the entire ethos of The Twilight Zone. Also with some quite hokey spaceship effects, it does get perhaps a little too preachy about space, the universe and everything being the same no matter where you wander. And it is directed by? You guessed it, Richard L. Bare.
The Shelter (Episode 68, Sep 29 1961, 24:59 minutes) - When a UFO invasion appears imminent, several suburban friends and neighbours are reduced to selfish, conniving animals in a fight over one family's bomb shelter. Very much a product of the Cold War and American anti-communist sentiment, this is perhaps the least Twilight Zonish episode of all. This is really just a plain old direct assault of the values of Cold War America, where the fear of nuclear assault by the Communists could gain a real hold on the population through the mere suggestion of something unusual. Just for a bit of a change this episode is directed by Lamont Johnson.
The transfer quality on offer is once again very good when consideration is given both to the age of the series and to the medium for which it was produced. All episodes have generally the same video characteristics. The definition in all episodes is generally quite decent, and is actually a lot better than I was expecting for television episodes bordering on forty years old. It is extremely similar in quality to that of Volume 7. Detail is quite good too, but is not quite as good as the earlier Volume 6. Clarity is reasonably good throughout, although grain is a little bit more noticeable here. There is no low-level noise in the image, and the shadow detail is quite acceptable.
These episodes are all in black and white, but are again not quite as good-looking as the earlier Volume 6. Still, the overall quality of the depth of tone to the black and white is quite reasonable, although not especially vibrant.
There generally were not any significant MPEG artefacts
in these transfers. There is again a rather consistent problem with film-to-video
artefacts, most noticeably aliasing. Indeed, Episode 14 is plagued with
some rather atrocious moiré artefacting between 12:30
and 16:30 that is simply too bad to
ignore. Naturally there are plenty of film artefacts, but in general they
are no worse than we would expect in source material of this vintage. Episode
90 does have some rather noticeable damage and is arguably the worst of
the twelve episodes I have seen thus far in this respect.
The dialogue for all episodes was clear and easy to understand, and audio sync did not appear to be any sort of problem here at all.
The music for the episodes is not credited, reflecting the stock nature of a lot of the music used.
There really is not an awful lot to say about the
soundtrack, as it is obviously a reflection of the limitations of the period
in which it was recorded and the medium for which it was recorded. You
certainly would not be digging this sort of effort out to demonstrate how
great DVD can sound. Still, the soundtracks are generally free from any
distortion or congestion and this is actually very decent sounding mono
soundtrack. Naturally, you can forget about every speaker apart from the
centre speaker here!
|Surround Channel Use|
A decent transfer for material of this age and source.
An acceptable audio transfer.
A good extras package all things considered.
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
23rd September 2000
|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|