The Twilight Zone

Volume 16

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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 1959, 1963
Running Time 100:59 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Directors Douglas Heyes
Perry Lafferty
Joseph M Newman

Warner Vision
Starring Charles Aidman
Rod Taylor 
James Hutton 
George Grizzard
Gail Kobe
Mickey Rooney
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $34.95 Music Leonard Rosenman

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, 96 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono, 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 Yes, in credits of The Last Night Of A Jockey
Action In or After Credits Yes, minor in credits

Plot Synopsis

   And so we get to the final DVD in this little batch of voyages through The Twilight Zone. And horror upon horror, there are only three episodes here. Okay, no need for apoplexy quite yet - this is the first of the DVDs to feature an episode from the fourth season. Just in case you have forgotten, the fourth season was unique amongst the five seasons of The Twilight Zone in having one hour episodes rather than half hour episodes. I suppose the merits of this one season experiment forced by CBS Television will be debated for many a year as far as the series is concerned, but for me I always found the hour long episodes less enthralling than the half hour episodes. They always seemed to me to be just a little too long for the story and needed a little too much padding to fill out the time. Perhaps this is also a reflection of the fact that the series had started to suffer the same problem many series suffer after a couple of years - inspiration starts to wane and themes start to get rehashed just a little more. Still, it remains true that even in these later seasons, there were still some gems to be discovered. Whilst there are no real gems on this DVD, there are three very solid efforts that highlight a couple of great performances.

    The episodes on offer on Volume 16, in the running order on the DVD, are:

    And When The Sky Was Opened (Episode 11, Dec 11 1959, 25:04 minutes) - Astronauts Colonel Clegg Forbes, Colonel Ed Harrington and Major William Grat have gone to space in their X-20 and returned to Earth with a thud. However, since their return funny things have started to happen - like people seemed to have forgotten them. First Ed Harrington seems to just vanish through indifference, causing severe consternation in Clegg Forbes -especially when William Grat denies ever knowing him and denies that the X-20 can even hold three people. Is everyone going mad? Highlighted by a great performance by none other than Rod Taylor (just don't query his lousy accent), this is a nicely constructed episode even if it does tend to rush towards the end a little too much, whilst having just a tad too much exposition in the earlier part of the show. Directed by Douglas Heyes, in what might have been his first effort for the show - he became a staple director on the show and directed many episodes, quite a number of which have already been released on DVD..

   In His Image (Episode 103, Jan 3 1963, 50:48 minutes) - And so we begin our voyage through the season four episodes with the very first of the hour long episodes (remember that the timing allowed for adverts). Alan Talbot seems like any normal guy. He has just met a lady that he loves and who loves him and is determined to settle down in married bliss with her. And so he takes his betrothed on a journey to meet his Aunt Mildred in Couerville, his home town. Only when they get there, it is nothing like he remembers it. His aunt's house, where he also lives, is not his aunt's house anymore, the university where he works is just an empty expanse of land and his parents graves are not in the cemetery. So what exactly is going on, since he has only been away from town for a week? And why does he start hearing these strange noises that induce him to kill? Naturally enough, all is revealed in the fullness of time when he meets his double - in The Twilight Zone. The first of the hour-long episodes rests pretty much upon the performance of George Grizzard in a dual role, and he does quite a decent job of the slightly padded story line, aided by Gail Kobe as his bewildered girlfriend. Directed by Perry Lafferty.

    The Last Night Of A Jockey (Episode 125, Oct 25 1963, 25:07 minutes) - Michael Grady is a jockey with a problem - he seems to be a cheat and has done enough to warrant a lifetime ban from the racetrack. So what is a former jockey of small stature to do in the world? Well, a meeting with his alter ego (at least figuratively) that is less than pleasant ends up with Grady answering the greatest question of all: what would you wish for if you had one wish? Grady being somewhat down on his luck decides that all his problems stem from his small stature - and so the answer is plain. So what exactly does an eight foot plus jockey do? A definite rarity in The Twilight Zone canon - a single role for the whole show. So naturally the big guns are pulled out for it and the choice fell to Mickey Rooney for his only appearance in The Twilight Zone. And equally naturally, the entire episode either succeeds or fails on the shoulders of that one person. Suffice it to say that Mickey Rooney is more than up to the challenge. Directed by Joseph M Newman.

Transfer Quality


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

    This volume is very much in the mold of its companion volume in the release sheets, Volume 15. Sharpness is generally quite adequate with adequate detail on offer throughout. There remain the few odd lapses in focus but these seem to be an inherent quirk of the series. Shadow detail is quite good. Clarity was also good, with grain being virtually a non-existent problem here in any real sense. There did not appear to be any significant problems with low level noise in the transfer.

    The black and white presentation of these episodes is again more consistent than some of the earlier volumes in the series. We do not get to see much in the way of solid blacks and whites but the mid range grey scales that bless most of the transfer are quite decent. The overall effect is very much in keeping with the general standard of the series.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. The only noticeable exception here was in In His Image between 42:20 and 42:30 where there was a distinctly jerky feel to the transfer, as if odd frames had been missed in the mastering process. Film-to-video artefacts were again fairly prevalent in the form of the ever-present aliasing which seems to afflict the series. The obligatory display of film artefacts is again presented here and one or two are rather hard to ignore.

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 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 at all.

    This slightly abbreviated selection of episodes sees a return to the predomination of music from those ever-reliable, but hardly Emmy-winning sources known as stock. The only exception comes in And When The Sky Was Opened, the music for which comes from the pen of Leonard Rosenman. Quite a decent effort although as usual for a television show, lacking somewhat in individuality.

    This is another virtually identical audio transfer to the earlier volumes in the series. Not an awful lot to say really, although And When The Sky Was Opened suffers from a slightly hissy soundtrack, especially noticeable during the opening credits. Indeed, the hiss here seemed just a little more than we have generally faced in the earlier volumes in the series. The soundtracks are generally free from any significant distortion or congestion and this is generally very decent sounding mono.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Well after the shock of the slight change in Volume 15 we continue along in the same vein, which would indicate that this will be the ongoing standard for the DVDs for a little while.


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.


    The Twilight Zone - Volume 16 sees the advent of the season four episodes on DVD, and whilst there could have been perhaps a stronger episode to introduce the concept with, in broad terms this is a better than average collection of episodes to enjoy. Slight gains in certain aspects of the video transfer are offset by slight reversals in the audio transfer, so overall there is nothing from a technical point of view to elevate this into anything special as far as the DVD transfers for the show are concerned. A worthwhile investigation for fans and non-fans alike.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
28th February, 2001.

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