The Twilight Zone

Volume 11

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Sci-Fi / Television Biography - Rod Serling
Production Notes - Season By Season
Production Notes - History of The Twilight Zone
Reviews and Credits
Year Released 1960-1963
Running Time 100:35 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Directors Abner Biberman
Robert Florey
Richard C. Sarafian
Douglas Heyes

Warner Vision
Starring Cliff Robertson 
Frank Sutton 
Everett Sloane 
Vivi Janiss
Telly Savalas
Mary LaRoche
Tracey Stratford
Anne Francis
Elizabeth Allen
Case ?Transparent Amaray
RPI $34.95 Music Bernard Herrmann

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles Dutch 
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, minor in credits

Plot Synopsis

   Whilst sitting down to ponder this collection of episodes in the ongoing series of The Twilight Zone, I was trying to work out a different approach to this sixth review I have done of the series, so as to spice things up a little. But the more I thought about it, the less I seemed to be able to think of something that would serve the purpose. In some respects I suppose that is part of the reason why The Twilight Zone is such an enduring series - its sheer consistency in presentation. The sad fact is that, at least by today's standards, there is not an awful lot scary about the series and much of the subject matter covered has been done often since, and often in better ways. But that is not really the point about The Twilight Zone. The whole point of the series was to explore something different, something just a little beyond the fringe and as a result, a whole new phrase came into popular culture. If you try and look at the series from the point of view of the early 1960s television viewer, it is doubtful that there was anything as just beyond the fringe as The Twilight Zone. Long before Star Trek boldly went where no television series went, The Twilight Zone had probably started the voyage previously.

   I guess this bout of contemplation was triggered by the fact that I can remember way back in the mid 1960s sitting down and watching one episode off this DVD, and can recall the effect that it had on me. Sitting down to watch the same episode over thirty years later, it just struck me that whilst the effect it had is diminished, the quality of the program is still there to see. It has to be said that of the DVDs I have so far reviewed from the series, this particular collection contains what to my mind is one of the better collections of episodes, as well as containing not one but two of the greatest episodes of this esteemed television show. Perhaps my nostalgia has gotten a little the better of me, but I would think that if you were looking for a single collection of episodes that really displayed the true worth of The Twilight Zone, it would be this one amongst the DVDs so far released.

    The episodes on offer on Volume 11, in the running order on the DVD, are:

    The Dummy (Episode 98, May 5 1962, 25:11 minutes) - A ventriloquist is convinced that his dummy, Willie, is alive and evil. He makes plans for a new act with a new dummy - plans that Willie does not support. A deceptively simple tale of paranoia run amok as Cliff Robertson stars as the poor suffering ventriloquist who succumbs to his worst nightmare. Also starring Frank Sutton who went onto star as the poor suffering drill sergeant in Gomer Pyle. A good episode that even overcomes the lack of effects work to make Willie really chilling - although the ending is chilling enough. Directed by Abner Biberman.

   The Fever (Episode 17, Jan 29 1960, 24:55 minutes) - Tight fist Franklin Gibbs is not pleased when his wife wins a trip for two to Las Vegas, but things change when he falls under the spell of a slot machine that calls his name! On a disc blessed with some truly great episodes, this one has to be classed as a bit of a disappointment. The story itself is acceptable but the execution was perhaps not the best, although Everett Sloane provides a suitably feverish performance. The most interesting thing about the episode is the way the rather chilling call of Franklin was created. Directed by Robert Florey.

    Living Doll (Episode 126, Nov 1 1963, 25:16 minutes) - Erich is displeased when his wife buys an expensive doll for his step-daughter. He becomes even more displeased when the doll tells him it doesn't like him! This is an absolute classic episode that I would personally rank amongst the top ten that ever graced The Twilight Zone. As an impressionable young kid, way back in the sixties, this really spooked me no end! It did not help that I first saw the episode when dolls that talked seemed to be the rage, with the result that I avoided them like the plague. This powerful episode was blessed with a great performance from Telly Savalas and an even better one from Talking Tina. This is one of those episodes that did not just use stock music but had a specially composed soundtrack - from one of the true greats in Bernard Herrmann, better known for the chilling soundtrack to Vertigo. It is rare that a television episode gets blessed with a music score as good as this, especially one in the early 1960s. Directed with aplomb by Richard C. Sarafian.

    The After Hours (Episode 34, Jun 10 1960, 25:13 minutes) - A woman discovers that the floor of a department store, on which she bought a gold thimble, doesn't exist - and that her "saleslady" is really a mannequin. Another superb and classic episode, showcasing a great performance by Anne Francis bringing to life a really interesting and well-written story. The slightly comic characterization of the floor manager effectively counterpoints the ending that has a real twist to it. Directed by Douglas Heyes.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in the native aspect ratio of television shows of the era, namely 1.33:1.

    The transfer quality on offer is just a little bit better than Volume 9 and is generally holding up very well for a television show of its age. There is a general consistency to the video transfer of all four episodes, which seems to be just a tad sharper here in general. The definition in all episodes is generally good, although again it has to be pointed out that the opening titles of the earlier episodes are decidedly murkier than the actual episodes themselves. Detail is generally quite good, which is especially important in The After Hours. Clarity is reasonably good throughout, and grain does not appear to be a significant problem here at all. There is no low-level noise in the image, and the shadow detail is quite acceptable.

    The typical black and white presentation of these episodes is well up to the standards of the earlier volumes in the series. The overall effect though is not especially vibrant. There was only a slight issue with murkiness here and there, but nothing really major.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts however were generally improved here, with The Dummy, The Fever and The After Hours barely demonstrating any aliasing at all. Unfortunately The Living Doll did have some rather pronounced aliasing, but overall one of the better DVDs in the series with respect to this problem. This is another slightly cleaner collection of episodes than usual and whilst film artefacts are obviously present here, they are in general a bit better than we would expect in source material of this vintage and are certainly not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The usual standard of two soundtracks are on offer on the DVD, being Dolby Digital 1.0 efforts in English or French. Since it would be something truly out of The Twilight Zone for me to understand the French soundtrack in toto, I naturally stuck with the English soundtrack.

    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.

    The music for all episodes barring The Living Doll is derived from stock sources. Nothing overly memorable here at all in those episodes. However, that for The Living Doll is far, far better as indicated above, since it comes from one of the greats amongst film composers.

    If you have read the earlier reviews from the series, then you have a pretty good feel for what sort of soundtrack we have here. This is virtually identical to the earlier volumes in the series and therefore there really is not an awful lot to add 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 is was recorded. The soundtracks are generally free from any distortion or congestion and this is actually very decent sounding mono. Naturally, you can forget about every speaker apart from the centre speaker here!

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The usual consistent presentation in common with the earlier releases in the series.


Biography - Rod Serling

Production Notes - History Of The Twilight Zone

Production Notes - Season By Season

Reviews and Credits

R4 vs R1

    The same as the Region 1 version in broad terms, the Region 4 version would be the version of choice owing to PAL formatting.


    A continuing improvement in the technical quality seems evident, but no less than this generally excellent collection of episodes deserves. Certainly containing two genuine classics of the entire series in The Living Doll and The After Hours, with the very good The Dummy added in for good measure. One of the best places to start investigating this series if you are not familiar with it, and for fans an absolutely essential purchase. I just wish that the aliasing issue could be controlled just a little more though, even though this is one of the better transfers in this regard.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
5th November 2000

Review Equipment
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