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|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||100:16 minutes|
David Orrick McDearmon
Alan Crosland Jr
|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|
|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 22, in the running order on the DVD, are:
A World Of Difference (Episode 23, Mar 11 1960, 24:56 minutes) - Heard of method acting? Well this is method acting in The Twilight Zone. Arthur Curtis (Howard Duff) seems to have a perfect type of life - a good job, a nice wife, a beautiful young daughter, and he is shortly to be enjoying a holiday. Unfortunately, Arthur Curtis is the figment of someone's imagination - or is he? And when it turns out that the life Arthur Curtis is leading is being played out on a movie set, reality gets just a little blurred - especially when he disappears into The Twilight Zone. Talk about getting inside your character - just how far inside a character should you get? Travis Bickle was just the end - the beginning was Arthur Curtis. A not especially great episode to lead off the DVD and probably a story that required a better lead actor than Howard Duff to bring it off. Directed by Ted Post.
Back There (Episode 49, Jan 13 1961, 25:12 minutes) - A gentleman's club in Washington DC is the location for a card game during which the participants consider the question of the effect of time travel. Peter Corrigan (Russell Johnson) is a sceptic and sees history written in stone, and thus unalterable. Since history is written by the victors, obviously he is somewhat delusional in believing that history is written in stone. But he soon changes his mind when he walks out the door of the club to go home and finds himself back in 1865, on April 14 to be precise. Now a particularly important event in American history occurred that day: Forde Theatre, John Wilkes Booth - do these names remind you of anything? Well they did to Peter Corrigan who attempts to reverse one of the most devastating events in American history - the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. So can a traveller from the future return to the past and change the course of history? Well if you watch Star Trek you know all about alternate timelines, right? Russell Johnson is of course well-known to devotees of that certain programme called Gilligan's Island that still makes the rounds on television. He does a decent enough job in the lead role here, but really this is an episode highlighted by a rather deftly-handled story that effectively provides an answer to the question posed. Directed by David Orrick McDearmon.
One More Pallbearer (Episode 82, Jan 12 1962, 24:57 minutes) - Paul Radin (Joseph Wiseman) is a multi-millionaire with a slight case of eccentricity. And so it is that he now finds himself in a position to right some wrongs that he has been carrying around like a boulder on his shoulder. So three seemingly unconnected people find themselves summonsed to the bomb shelter that Paul Radin has built underneath the building that bears his name. They don't know why they have been summonsed, this retired army officer, a priest and a schoolteacher. But the thread that connects them is Paul Radin, and he wants revenge for the humiliation that they heaped upon him in his earlier days. And so they find out that the world is about to end in nuclear holocaust, and all they have to do to stay in the shelter and thus survive this event is...to apologize. Given that Mr Paul Radin is not the nicest person to ever walk the face of the earth, the price they need to pay for safety may be just a little on the steep side. And when his carefully conceived and executed plan seems to be falling into disarray, what will the effect of all those neuroses be upon the hapless Mr Radin? Joseph Wiseman of course went onto better things and became the first of the Bond villains. It is not hard to see why he won the part of Dr No in the film of the same name - this is a performance that is laced with just the right balance of high respectability and base insanity. A nicely-handled story too, if not exactly a classic, although the title is suitably enigmatic. Directed by Lamont Johnson.
Ring-A-Ding Girl (Episode 133, Dec 27 1963, 25:11 minutes) - Bunny Blake (Maggie McNamara) is a typical example of the American dream. Beautiful young woman from Small Town, USA heads to Hollywood and becomes a star. However, when she gets an unusual gift from her hometown fan club, she resolves to duck off from the flight to Rome for her latest film and head back home to see her sister and friends instead. And so she unexpectedly turns up on her sister's doorstep and sets out to do something for her hometown friends - namely put on her one woman show at the local school auditorium. She even appears on local television to let everyone know she is back in town for a day and to invite them to her show, rather than attending the town's Founders Day picnic. There is absolutely no doubt in the minds of the people who saw her that she actually was in town that day, and many turned up for the show that she was going to put on. So many in fact, that very few townsfolk died in the plane crash that obliterated the Founder's Day picnic. This is another nicely-crafted story that whilst not a true classic of the series, certainly lives up to the tenor of the series. Maggie McNamara does a good job as the Hollywood star deigning to return to her hometown, even if slightly lacking the ultimate in conviction for the role. Directed by Alan Crosland Jr.
Four generally quite decent quality episodes as far as the transfers go, although A World Of Difference does suffer a little from being slightly too dark in places. This is perhaps a slight drop-off in the generally excellent quality seen over the past four DVDs or so, but still remain quite sharp and well-detailed. Apart from the slightly off-standard of the shadow detail in A World Of Difference, there is not much of a problem with the shadow detail on the DVD and the overall definition is quite good indeed. Clarity is generally good throughout with just the odd evidence of grain. There does not appear to be problems with low level noise in the transfers.
Overall, the quality of the black and white here is again good, with decent depth to the tones. There is a general decency in the depth of the blacks, which whilst not being the ultimate in depth, certainly are nothing approaching murky grey. In general the grey scales are good, although Back There seemed to be a little flattish looking at times. There is nothing much approaching murkiness in the palette (other than during the at-times quite haggard-looking opening credits), and the overall transfer is eminently watchable.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts
in the transfer. There is somewhat of a return of aliasing in the transfers
here, with some rather noticeable problems around (such as at 19:30
in A World Of Difference). After the improvements seen recently,
this is a little disappointing even though I would hardy call the usual
standard of aliasing distracting. It is only the odd extreme like the example
noted that is distracting. Film artefacts are a certainly prevalent in
the transfer, with some noticeable dirt marks. The result is nothing overly
bothersome and certainly well within the sort of expectations I have for
material of this vintage.
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.
Both A World Of Difference and Back There have a music credit. The music for the former comes from Van Cleave, who did quite a few of The Twilight Zone episodes it seems. The music for the latter comes from an infinitely better source - Jerry Goldsmith. Van Cleave's score is not too shabby but hardly rates in the utterly memorable category. The Jerry Goldsmith score is a much better effort and somewhat more distinctive, even though it would hardly rate at the level of his later television and movie work. The remaining episodes get the usual stock contributions.
There seemed to be a little more hiss than normal
in the soundtrack here, with A World Of Difference being
quite noticeably hissy. In general the hiss is just minor background stuff
and the ear rapidly adjusts to the presence of the extraneous noise and
largely filters it out. There is nothing at all radically different from
the soundtracks heard on the earlier twenty one DVDs in the series so far.
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 June, 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|