The Twilight Zone

Volume 20

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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 1960 - 1963
Running Time 101:02 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Directors Douglas Heyes
Perry Lafferty
Bernard Girard

Warner Vision
Starring Jeff Morrow
Cecil Kellaway 
Mike Kellin
Simon Oakland
Bill Bixby
Ruta Lee
Patrick O'Neal
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $34.95 Music Van Cleave

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 Yes, minor in credits
Action In or After Credits Yes, minor in credits

Plot Synopsis

   These are the continuing adventures of the starship... oops, wrong television series. Although there is little doubt that future television series like the various Star Trek incarnations would not have happened without The Twilight Zone, at the present point of time I remain firmly entrenched in The Twilight Zone. And so another volume makes it through my DVD player for a review session.

   The episodes on offer on Volume 20, in the running order on the DVD, are:

    Elegy (Episode 20, Feb 19 1960, 24:59 minutes) - The year is 2185 and the people, having suffered a nuclear holocaust in 1985, have slowly rebuilt their world and have gone to the stars to further expand the human experience. And so it is that three astronauts find themselves over 600 million miles from home - and lost. Short of fuel, they have no option but to land on an asteroid that seems to have remarkable properties similar to Earth. However, this is no Earth as all the inhabitants are suspended in some sort of suspended animation. All except one that is - the caretaker Jeremy Wickwire (Cedric Kellaway) - who eventually reveals the true nature of this world to the three bewildered astronauts who have no option but to make this place their home for eternity. One of the earlier episodes of the series, it is highlighted by some rather poor spacecraft effects along with a decently handled story and some decent performances. Directed by Douglas Heyes.

   The Thirty-Fathom Grave (Episode 104, Jan 10 1963, 50:58 minutes) - The location is the South Pacific Ocean and the time is 1963. The USS Edson is on a routine patrol when a metallic object is discovered by sonar, but then mysterious sounds are heard as well. With little option but to investigate, Captain Beecham (Simon Oakland) diverts the ship to the location of the object. Meantime Chief Bell (Mike Kellin) is suffering from some form of delusion and is slowly unravelling the closer the ship gets to the object. Further investigation reveals that the object is indeed a submarine that sunk during 1942 with the loss of all hands but one. Hopes are raised that the mysterious sound is a survivor in the boat - but then again how does a person survive twenty years in a sunken submarine? The investigations are not going well and the diver sent down is not doing too well, but makes an interesting discovery - a set of dog tags. Guess who they belong to? Turns out that Chief Bell has a secret - and a huge guilt complex. Another of the hour long episodes from the fourth season and one that I remember as being one of the better ones from that season. Good solid performances from the leads and a decent enough story that does just about sustain the length of the episode. Directed by Perry Lafferty.

    A Short Drink From A Certain Fountain (Episode 131, Dec 13 1963, 25:05 minutes) - Harmon Gordon (Patrick O'Neal) is an ageing businessman deeply in love with and married to a woman many years his junior, Flora Gordon (the beautiful Ruta Lee). Keeping up with his younger wife is killing him, and literally so. Accordingly, he turns to his brother Raymond - begging him to be injected with an experimental drug that reverses the effects of ageing. The result of the use of the drug initially delights his young wife as it returns him to the vigorous appearance of a thirty year old. Unfortunately, the effects of the drug are not really controllable and the dosage has more of an effect than Flora would like. So much so that the tables are turned and Flora can no longer be a user but has to be a giver. One of the episodes that was not included in the original syndication package, this is indeed a rare episode - one I certainly have no recollection of ever seeing. Ruta Lee is great as the conniving former chorus girl leeching off a wealthy older man, played well by Patrick O'Neal. Directed by Bernard Girard.

Transfer Quality


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

    These are three generally quite consistent quality episodes in terms of the transfers. Quite sharp and well detailed, these are quite watchable episodes from a transfer point of view. Definition is quite good, although some of the effects work comes up rather poorly under the digital spotlight. Shadow detail is good throughout, with little in the way of noticeable problems anywhere. Clarity is generally good throughout with just the odd evidence of grain. There does not appear to be any real issues with low level noise in the transfers.

    Overall the quality of the black and white here is good, with decent depth to the tones. There is a general decency in the depth of the blacks. They are not the ultimate in deepest blacks, but they are nice and evenly solid. The grey scales across all three episodes is very good and there is little in the way of murky greys to be seen here other than in the credits (which normally exhibit these issues).

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There is still evidence of aliasing in the transfers, but again this is on the better end of the scale and is not really distracting at all. There is unfortunately quite noticeable wobble at the end of the The Thirty-Fathom Grave, a rare problem indeed in the twenty volumes released thus far in the series. Film artefacts are a little more noticeable in this collection of episodes, but they are still towards the comparatively clean end of the scale.

    The minor presentation changes noted in by review of Volume 19 are withdrawn in this volume.

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.

    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.

    Only Elegy has a music credit, with the music coming from Van Cleave. The remaining episodes get the usual stock contributions. Once again there is not a whole lot memorable in any of the music.

    Apart from Elegy which has a slightly hissy soundtrack at times, these are generally identical audio transfers to those of earlier volumes in the series. The remaining two episodes are free of noticeable hiss, and the overall presentation of the sound here is quite good. 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


    Once again we continue along in the same vein, with the Reviews and Credits still missing the credits bit.


Biography - Rod Serling

Production Notes - History Of The Twilight Zone

Production Notes - Season By Season

Reviews and Credits


    As far as we have been able to ascertain, there are no censorship issues with this title.

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 20 is a slightly stronger collection of episodes on a continuingly decent DVD. The presence of the slightly rarer A Short Drink From A Certain Fountain certainly helps the overall package. Nothing here to deny a recommendation for fan and non-fan alike.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
20th May, 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