Special effects titan and pioneer in stop-motion photography Ray Harryhausen died yesterday (May 7, 2013) in London at the age of 92. Harryhausen was an inspiration to an entire generation of imaginative filmmakers including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Peter Jackson. We here in the Vortex are huge fans of his films and his work and he will be greatly missed. The internet is aglow with love and appreciation of this great artist's work. Below are a few links to articles covering Harryhausen's life, work, and legacy.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
|John Hoyt as Dr. Loren and Inger Stevens as his daughter Jana|
"The Lateness of the Hour"
Season Two, Episode 44
Original Air Date: December 2, 1960
Jana: Inger Stevens
Dr. Loren: John Hoyt
Mrs. Loren: Irene Tedrow
Nelda: Mary Gregory
Robert: Tom Palmer
Gretchen: Doris Karnes
Suzanne: Valley Keane
Jensen: Jason Johnson
Writer: Rod Serling (original teleplay)
Director: Jack Smight
Producer: Buck Houghton
Rod Serling's Opening Narration:
"The residence of Dr. William Loren, which is in reality a menagerie for machines. We're about to discover that sometimes the product of a man's talent and genius can walk amongst us untouched by the normal ravages of time. These are Dr. Loren's robots, built to functional as well as artistic perfection. But in a moment Dr. Loren, wife, and daughter will discover that perfection is relative, that even robots have to be paid for, and very shortly will be shown exactly what is the bill."
Dr. Loren, a genius inventor, and his wife live in comfort and complete solitude in a large, secluded manor along with their thirty-something daughter, Jana, and a household of programmed servants in the form of intelligent robots, all designed and imbued with artificial intelligence by Dr. Loren. While Dr. Loren and his wife enjoy the peace that comes with having all their needs tended to by the skilled automatons that comprise the household staff, Jana feels trapped in the house and unnerved by her parents’ reliance upon the robots. Jana longs for the world outside and refuses to be shut off in the large house any longer. She threatens to leave and go out into the world if her father does not destroy all of his robots. After pleading with Jana not to make him destroy his life's work, Dr. Loren reluctantly relents and agrees to destroy the robots if Jana will stay with them. Delighted, Jana begins speaking of her dream to live a normal life, to meet a man and settle down and have children. At the mention of children, the look on her parents’ faces tells Jana all she needs to know about her own existence. There are no pictures of Jana as a little girl in the family album because she is, in fact, one of her father's creations. The Lorens could not have children naturally and so Dr. Loren built a daughter for them. Horrified by the idea that she was manufactured by the man she thought was her natural father, Jana lashes out and tells the Lorens that she cannot be their daughter anymore. Despite their pleading with Jana, the Lorens realize that Jana is forever changed by this revelation. The shocking solution to the problem of keeping Jana at home is that Dr. Loren reprograms her as the maid, Nelda.
Rod Serling's Closing Narration:
"Let this be the postscript: should you be worn out by the rigors of competing in a very competitive world, if you're distraught from having to share you existence with the noises and neuroses of the twentieth century, if you crave serenity but want it full time and with no strings attached, get yourself a workroom in a basement and then drop a note to Dr. and Mrs. William Loren. They're a childless couple who made comfort a life's work, and maybe there are a few do-it-yourself pamphlets still available. . . in the Twilight Zone."
"The Lateness of the Hour" has the dubious distinction of being the first broadcast of the six Twilight Zone episodes videotaped, instead of filmed, as the network's (CBS) attempt to implement cost cutting measures on the production of the show. The cost for filming an episode crept up toward $65,000 apiece and the network hit the panic button. Videotape was less expensive than film and required virtually no editing since the editing process could be performed on the spot. The limitations of videotape, however, were many. No exterior locations could be used because of the primitive nature of the videotaping process at the time. With all work needing to be done on a soundstage, it greatly limited the type of story Rod Serling and company could tell on the videotaped episodes. "The Lateness of the Hour" is a good example of how Serling, never a fan of the use of videotape on Twilight Zone, compromised with the new process, setting his story in a very enclosed environment and requiring virtually no more movement of scene than would a stage play. It is no coincidence that producer Buck Houghton sought out directors with experience in the live television format since videotape was commonly used in that area. Director Jack Smight knew well the limitations of videotape and concentrated instead on developing atmosphere in the episode and achieved this to fine effect. What is sorely missed in the episode is the Emmy Award winning work of photographer George T. Clemens. No director of photography was needed on the videotaped episodes since a technical director operated the switches from a standard four camera setup at the behest of the episode's director.
"The Lateness of the Hour" is ultimately a fable-like episode already limited by a threadbare plot and further limited by the videotape method. Serling's script comes off as overly melodramatic and the actors, especially Inger Stevens as Jana, have no choice but to play to the material as presented and play it over the top. Director Smight does a fine job of establishing the atmosphere of dread beneath the serene surface leading up to the confrontational climax and the shocking final revelation. The ending is the classic "old switcheroo" and Serling would use the method time and again, most memorably in the classic season three episode, "The Dummy." It is Inger Stevens’s performance that ultimately comes across as too over-dramatic, especially when placed against the muted performances of the other two leads. It is surprising that Stevens would be the weak link in the acting chain for "The Lateness of the Hour" as she certainly gives a strong performance as the lead in the classic first season episode, "The Hitch-Hiker." Also see our post on that earlier episode for more information about the actress's career and tragically brief life.
Veteran character actors John Hoyt and Irene Tedrow brought a veteran assuredness to their roles and would both worked for The Twilight Zone on more than one occasion. Hoyt turned in a coldly menacing performance as the Martian invader in the classic second season episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" broadcasts the following May after the initial broadcast of "The Lateness of the Hour." Irene Tedrow starred previously in the equally esteemed first season episode "Walking Distance" as the main character's, Martin Sloan's, mother.
"The Lateness of the Hour" lands right in the middle of one of the most often tread themes of the show, that of the robot and its relation to and with its human counterpart. The show treated the theme very well ("The Lonely," "In His Image") and terribly ("Uncle Simon") but the episode with which "The Lateness of the Hour" shares the most thematic ground is Ray Bradbury's single contribution to the show, ""I Sing the Body Electric" broadcast during the third season. The two episodes, when taken together, nicely display the light and dark sides of the theme of the automated domestic servant affecting the household.
In all, "The Lateness of the Hour" is an episode hampered by a too-thin script, over-acting, and a videotape method which hindered the entire production on a basic level. That said, the nice atmosphere, quick pace, presence of veteran character actors, and chilling twist in the tale mark the episode par for the course as the second season kept rolling on, but coming off the likes of "The Howling Man," "Eye of the Beholder," and "Nick of Time," "The Lateness of the Hour," unfortunately, pales in comparison.
--Inger Stevens also appears in the first season episode "The Hitch-Hiker"
--John Hoyt also appears in the second season episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"
--Irene Tedrow also appears in the first season episode "Walking Distance"
--Director Jack Smight also helmed the first season episode "The Lonely," also about a robot, and two additional videotaped episodes from the second season, "Night of the Meek" and "Twenty Two."
--"The Lateness of the Hour" was produced as a Twilight Zone Radio Drama starring Jane Seymour and James Keach.
Up Next: We take a trip back to the past with Booth Templeton (Brian Aherne), an aging actor who gets an unnerving second look at the old days for which he longs. That’s next time with “The Trouble with Templeton” on The Twilight Zone Vortex.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
|Patricia Breslin and William Shatner test their fate with|
the Mystic Seer.
Season Two, Episode 43
November 18, 1960
Cast:Don Carter: William Shatner
Pat Carter: Patricia Breslin
Counterman: Guy Wilkerson
Mechanic: Stafford Repp
Desperate Man: Walter Reed
Desperate Woman: Lee Carroll
Writer: Richard Matheson (original teleplay)
Director: Richard L. Bare
Producer: Buck Houghton
Director of Photography: George T. Clemens
Associate Producer: Del Reisman
And now, Mr. Serling:“You’ve probably run across these penny machines that tell your fortune. You put a penny in and out comes a card. Only this particular machine, which you’ll see next week, is a little bit unique in that the fortunes that it tells happen to come true. A most intriguing tale called ‘The Nick of Time’ by Mr. Richard Matheson. And you’re invited to partake of it. Thank you and good night.”
Rod Serlin’s Opening Narration:
“The hand belongs to Mr. Don S. Carter, male member of a honeymoon team en route across the Ohio countryside to New York City. In one moment they will be subjected to a gift most humans never receive in a lifetime. For one penny they’ll be able to look into the future. The time is now, the place is a little diner in Ridgeview, Ohio. And what this young couple doesn’t realize is that this town happens to lie on the outskirts of the Twilight Zone.”
Searching for a question, Don drops a penny into the coin slot, pulls the lever and says, “Does anything exciting ever happen around here?”
“It is quite possible,” the Seer replies.
They forget about the machine for a few moments while they order their food but then Don decides he wants to ask it another question. This time he asks it about a big job promotion he is line for.
“It has been decided in your favor,” says the Seer.
Don decides that this is enough reason to phone his office again to ask for an update on the status of his promotion. Pat protests, explaining to him that his constant calling may be an annoyance to his bosses. Don shrugs her off and decides to call anyway. After he hangs up the phone he cheerfully announces to his wife that he got the job.
Feeling as though the machine foretold his future in a way, Don decides to ask it another question. “Will it really be four hours before we get out of here?” he says.
“You may never know,” the Seer replies.
Finding the answer curious, Don then asks it if something will happen to prevent them from leaving. “If you move soon,” the Seer says.
Finding this to be more than just a curious answer but a somewhat disturbing one, Don begins to ask questions at an increasingly faster pace as his wife watches nervously. Finally, he asks “Should we stay in here until three o’clock?”
“There’s no question about it,” the Seer responds.
“If we don’t stay in here until three o’clock, something bad will happen to us?”
“Do you dare risk finding out?"
Finding the ordeal quite unsettling, Pat suggests that they leave the café and explore the town. Don protests, saying that he has not finished his food, but really he is afraid to leave the café before three o’clock. But Pat is persistent and eventually he decides that he cannot stay in there any longer without admitting to her that he is afraid to leave. They pay their check and walk outside.Pat inquires to Don as to why he wanted to stay in the café so badly. He claims that the Mystic Seer was specific about every answer it gave and that it was right about his promotion. That every answer seemed to fit the question asked. Then he admits that he is prone to superstition and carries rabbits’ feet and four leaf clovers wherever he goes. Pat kisses him gently on the cheek and beckons him forward. But she notices Don nervously looking all around them for some sign of malice. Moments later, while crossing the street, they are almost run over by a speeding car. The camera pans up to a clock which reads three o’clock.
After consoling his new wife, Don suggests that they go back to the café to relax. Reluctantly, she agrees. When they enter the café they notice that two elderly women are sitting their table. Even though there are Mystic Seers located on every table Don doesn’t drop a penny into any of them. Pat tells him that he could get the same kind of answers from any one of these machines. That the machine did not say not to leave until three, he did. But Don waits until the two elderly women leave and then makes his way back to their original table. He begins to ask questions at a rapid fire pace.
“Did you know about the car almost hitting us?” “Will we reach New York alright now?” “Will it still take four hours before the car is ready?”
Out of nowhere the mechanic walks into the café to tell them that their car is ready to go.
Don asks his wife if she still thinks that it is a coincidence. He suggests that she ask some questions. She does but quickly gets frustrated and stands up to leave. Don continues to ask questions. Pat begs him to stop but he cannot. “This machine is predicting our future,” he says. “Do you think I can just walk away from it?” She convinces him that if he doesn’t let the machine go then it will end up running his life. She tells him that she doesn’t want to know what is going to happen in their lives, she wants to make it happen. Don realizes the ridiculousness of his behavior and he stands and puts his arms around her. He tells her that they should leave. They can go anywhere they want and do anything they want. They walk out of the café arms in arm with a new outlook on life.
Immediately after they leave another couple walks in. They appear ragged, tired, beaten, worn, desperate. They walk over to the same table that was, until moments ago, occupied by Don and Pat Carter. They sit down and drop a penny into the Mystic Seer. “May we ask some more questions now?” the man says. “Can we leave Ridgeview today? Is there any way out? Any way at all?”
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
“Counter balance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear of and superstition, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence, having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.”
Commentary:Rounding out the unprecedented three episode run on The Twilight Zone is the subtle Richard Matheson-penned masterpiece “Nick of Time.” The focus on the past three episodes, “The Howling Man,” “Eye of the Beholder” and “Nick of Time,” as being such an extraordinary creative arc is because each of these episodes are considered by both fans and critics to be among the best efforts that the show has to offer and among the best offerings from each of their respective writers (the three primary writers on the show), Charles Beaumont, Rod Serling and Richard Matheson
Unlike the visually aesthetic episodes of Beaumont and Serling, “Nick of Time,” in true Matheson form, is meticulously subtle. Even the twist at the end of the episode is left up to the audience’s interpretation. But the ending is more important than just artistic trickery. It actually helps to drive Matheson’s point home; that people control their own destiny. After leading the audience to believe that the Mystic Seer is only a hallucinated manifestation of Don’s fear and paranoia Matheson then tells us that maybe it is real. But it doesn’t matter either way because its purpose hasn’t changed. It is still a representation of paranoia and apprehension and all of the trappings of modern psychology. One has to face his fears if he wants to free himself from them, the message here being that Don has finally learned that he is the only one that controls his destiny. True, Matheson could have said all of this without the twist ending but, as suggested by the title of the episode, the ending basically implies that if a person doesn’t learn to face his fears then he will be consumed by them forever. Don learns this lesson, but his less fortunate counterpart does not.
The idea for “Nick of Time” came to Matheson while having dinner with his wife at a café where he saw a fortune telling machine much like the one that ends up in the episode. Characteristic of many of his stories the title here holds a double meaning. According to Matheson “Nick of Time” refers not only to the fact that Don and Pat escape in the nick of time but also to how a person can become a slave to time, how it cuts into our lives. The devil’s head was not in the original script and was added later by the art department. Though it seems like only a prop this episode would not work as well without it because it gives the Seer a face and thus a personality, which is what the story revolves around.
|William Shatner in Roger Corman's The Intruder|
Although Shatner is often accused of overacting, his dramatic enthusiasm is what makes his characters so memorable. There are many other things working for Star Trek but put simply I don’t think the show would still be around today if it were not for William Shatner. It’s interesting to compare his two performances on The Twilight Zone because they are so much alike. He is almost playing the same character at two different stages of life. When the audience first meets Don Carter he is a newly married, intelligent young man with nothing but potential in front of him. But his tragic flaw is that his paranoia and insecurity are beginning to blind him from the rest of the world. If we were to fast forward ten years from this point we would most likely see a different Don Carter, one more like Bob Wilson.
But it is the relationship between Shatner and Patricia Breslin that really holds this episode together. The dominant theme in much of Matheson’s work is American domesticity. Whereas Serling’s work focused on personal compassion and social issues and Beaumont’s stories often focused on ideas and atmosphere, Matheson’s episodes were often about the common interactions between husband and wife. The way Shatner and Breslin react to one another on the screen is both convincing and totally accessible to the audience. They appear to be like any young married couple. So their arguments come off as genuine and are easily relatable to the viewer.
Breslin was a popular television performer in the 1950’s, appearing in many of the live dramas and daytime soap operas, but she appears to have abandoned her acting career in the mid-60’s. Her credits include AHP & AHH, Thriller, Perry Mason, and Bonanza.
“Nick of Time” was directed by Twilight Zone regular Richard L Bare whose other episodes include “Third from the Sun” and “To Serve Man.” Everything about this episode depends on subtlety and Bare chose to keep his camerawork minimal and let the actors and Matheson’s script work on their own, and the result was an undeniable landmark of the series.
--Patricia Breslin also appears in the Season Four Episode, “No Time Like the Past.”
--“Nick of Time” was adapted into a Twilight Zone Radio Drama starring Marshall Allman (2002, Falcon Picture Group).
Up Next: Come back next time for a story about family and robots when we review Rod Serling's "The Lateness of the Hour" right here on The Twilight Zone Vortex.
Monday, February 25, 2013
|The face of Miss Janet Tyler, patient in room 307|
Season 2, Episode 42
Original Air Date: November 11, 1960
Janet Tyler (under bandages): Maxine Stuart
Janet Tyler (revealed): Donna Douglas
Doctor: William D. Gordon
Janet’s Nurse: Jennifer Howard
Walter Smith: Edson Stroll
Nurse #2: Joanna Heyes
Leader: George Keymas
Writer: Rod Serling (original teleplay)
Director: Douglas Heyes
Producer: Buck Houghton
Director of Photography: George T. Clemens
Music: Bernard Hermann
Makeup: William Tuttle
And now, Mr. Serling:
“Next week you’ll see these bandages unwrapped. And you’ll get a good, close look at the face beneath them. It’s an excursion into the odd and into the very, very different. Our play is called “The Eyes of the Beholder” and it comes recommended. I hope we’ll see you next week on The Twilight Zone. Thank you, and goodnight.
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
“Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler, who lives in a very private world of darkness, a universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of a swath of bandages that cover her face. In a moment we’ll go back into this room and also in a moment we’ll look under those bandages, keeping in mind, of course, that we’re not to be surprised by what we see, because this isn’t just a hospital, and this patient, 307, is not just a woman. This happens to be the Twilight Zone, and Miss Janet Tyler, with you, is about to enter it.
Miss Janet Tyler sits alone in a shadow-draped hospital room staring off into the black nothingness that has become her existence. Miss Tyler has not left her hospital room in what seems like a lifetime. She hasn’t seen a blade of grass, felt the afternoon sun upon her skin, or stared up into a night sky filled with stars in so long that she has practically forgotten that all of these things are possible. Layer upon layer of thick bandages are stretched across her face, keeping her isolated in her own private world of darkness.
In a moment the secret of her torment is revealed: Miss Tyler was born with a severely disfigured face and has been place in the state-run hospital by a totalitarian government in hopes of having massive reconstructive surgery. As a result of the procedure Miss Tyler’s face will remain under the bandages until the end of the story and as for the hospital staff, their likenesses will also remain a mystery. Their faces will remain cloaked in shadows or hidden behind various objects and will be revealed at the same time as Miss Tyler’s.
Miss Tyler desperately desires a solution to her problem. This is her eleventh treatment, the maximum number allowed by the state. If it is a failure then she will be sent to a state-mandated segregation camp for people with her particular disfigurement. She pleads with her doctor to take the bandages off for she is utterly delirious with anticipation. She tells him that if the treatment has failed yet again then she wants simply to be exterminated. She refuses to live with the shame of being sentenced to a segregation camp. The doctor informs her that while this practice is not totally unheard of he doubts highly that her request will be granted.
Miss Tyler’s doctor is not unsympathetic to her dilemma. A compassionate man, he finds himself torn between a law-abiding citizen of the state and a humanitarian of science. While talking with Miss Tyler’s nurse he says that he simply doesn’t understand why a person who looks different must live in isolation and alienation. The nurse warns him that his words sound dangerously like treason.
Back in Miss. Tyler’s room, the poor woman pleads desperately for the bandages to be removed. Not wanting to prolong the inevitable, the doctor agrees to remove them. Layer by layer the suffocating bandages are lifted. As the final layer is removed screams are heard inside the hospital room. The doctor and nurses react with horror. There before them is a beautiful young woman with a full head of blonde hair and a soft face. It is now that we get the first glimpse of the hospital staff: they all have grotesque pig-like faces with snarling snouts and deep, sunken eyes that look dead. Miss Tyler needs no mirror to understand her situation. The operation has failed. She panics. She jumps out of her chair and runs screaming down the hall. On large television monitors placed throughout the hospital a fiery political figure referred to as “The Leader” speaks of a superior race that can only function properly if everyone is made of the same formula.
Miss Tyler runs into a room and finds a man waiting there. He lacks the snout and the sunken, dead eyes that the rest of the hospital staff possesses. He’s different. She recoils in horror and with nowhere left to go, sinks down into a corner and covers her eyes. The doctor enters the room. He informs Miss Tyler that the man’s name is Walter and he is a representative of the segregation camp where she is going to live. Walter tells her that she no longer needs to be ashamed of her appearance, no longer needs to hide her face from the rest of the world. Where she is going there will be people who look just as she does. She looks up into his eyes. His voice is soft and genuine. He takes her hands and gently leads her out of the room. She begins to relax and the two of them stroll, hand in hand, slowly down the hallway, past the crowd of onlookers, towards a new beginning.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
“Now the questions that come to mind. Where is this place and when is it? What kind of a world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? The answer is: it doesn’t make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this year or a hundred years hence, on this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out among the stars, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned…in the Twilight Zone.
Following on the heels of the Charles Beaumont penned “The Howling Man,” The Twilight Zone continued its incredible creative streak with Rod Serling’s “Eye of the Beholder.” One of the most widely recognizable episodes in the series, “Eye of the Beholder” is probably the signature episode of both director Douglas Heyes and makeup artist William Tuttle. There is not a missed note in the entire episode and every aspect of it is of the highest possible quality that the show had to offer.
When Buck Houghton first received this script he was reportedly terrified at trying to pull off a twenty-four minutes episode where the audience doesn’t get to see any of the character’s faces until the very end. His immediate choice to direct such an arduously technical episode was Douglas Heyes. In order to keep the viewers from immediately suspecting that something was wrong (i.e. “Hey, why aren’t they showing anyone’s face?”) Heyes keeps the action constantly moving, not in a frenetic way but there is always a subtle motion of either the actors or the camera. For instance in a scene where the doctor walks from the shadows into the light and begins to look directly at the camera his face is briefly hidden behind a nurse, who is standing right in front of him at precisely the right moment, before he turns his back to the audience. The dark and shadowy atmosphere of the set played a large role in aiding to hide the character’s faces. In other episodes this may seem like an intrusion that the audience would pick up on immediately but as this story exists in a dystopian world not of our own the dark, grim set doesn’t seem entirely out of place. But for the most part the audience doesn’t notice the character’s images being withheld from them because for a large chunk of the episode the camera is centered on Janet Tyler so the audience doesn’t have a chance to notice that they aren’t being shown the faces of the rest of the characters because they are too busy sympathizing with her agony. The sequence of the unveiling is particularly impressive as it is shot from Tyler’s point of view so the audience gets to experience the bandages being lifted, layer by layer, from her face. To accomplish this Heyes had director of photography George T. Clemens place the camera inside a fish tank and had the bandages draped tightly around the outside of the tank. It’s an unusual technique and an effective one.
As much as "Eye of the Beholder" depended upon effective portrayal of character by the actors and the filming ingenuity of director Douglas Heyes and photographer George Clemens, so too did the makeup play a crucial role in the believability and effectiveness of the episode. Makeup artist William Tuttle, then head of the MGM makeup department and the show's go-to technician, rose to the challenge and delivered arguably the show's most recognizable makeup effect.
For The Twilight Zone, Tuttle was typically asked to create a single makeup ("Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, “ "Hocus Pocus and Frisby") or only a handful of effects ("The After Hours," "The Masks") but for "Eye of the Beholder" Tuttle was faced with having to apply his grotesque makeup design on an even dozen actors or actresses. Though time was not a problem, production manager Ralph W. Nelson was able to secure a longer preparation time for "Eye of the Beholder," expense would become an issue during the initial stages of developing the makeup. Director Douglas Heyes immediately recognized this problem and approached Tuttle about developing a more streamlined, and thus more cost efficient, method of achieving the makeup effects. Tuttle's typical method of developing his makeup was to take a plaster cast of the all the actors’ faces upon which the makeup would need to be applied. This is a highly efficient way to develop a makeup which perfectly fits the features of the actors’ faces and is most often used to create a highly individualized makeup that can be molded to the needs and capabilities of the show and the actors. Tuttle would use this method to great effect four years later, working with George Pal, for The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, for which he would win a special Academy Award (an annual Academy Award for special effects makeup, under the umbrella of "Best Makeup and Hairstyling" would not come into existence until 1981). Fortunately, such an individualized method for the makeup design would not be needed for "Eye of the Beholder" since the purpose of the method, and the theme of the entire episode, was uniformity. Still, Heyes wanted the actors’ natural features to somewhat show through the makeup and also for the actors to be able to perform comfortably through the makeup once their appearances are revealed onscreen and spoken dialogue is required.
The solution was found in the formation of foam rubber latex appliances which could be applied to the actors’ faces in a uniform manner. Forming a cast of each of the twelve actors’ faces was out of the question and Tuttle only formed three casts upon which to mold the appliances. Upon careful observation these three designs can be seen in the final cut of the episode to be two "male" models and a "female" model, though at one point in the show an actress is seen to be wearing a "male" model of the makeup, undoubtedly to distort the perception of the viewer, something director Heyes and photographer George Clemens were constantly trying to do on "Eye of the Beholder."
Heyes had previous experience with art direction and animation prior in his career and worked hands on in developing the makeup effects alongside Tuttle, on both a design and crafting level. Tuttle had recently created the terrifying Morlocks for George Pal's The Time Machine and a lot of that makeup design made it into "Eye of the Beholder." It was Heyes that suggested that Tuttle use the leftover appliances from The Time Machine to develop something similar for the grotesque effects needed for "Eye of the Beholder." The differences in the two "male" models of the makeup are two-fold. The first is the brow piece. The first model, the one worn by William Gordon as the Doctor, included a much accentuated brow piece, applied thinly at the hairline and gaining thickness above the eyes, that effected jutting bone structure above the eyebrows. The second design, most commonly worn by the male nurses, did not feature as pronounced a brow. One nostril on each of the pig-shaped noses applied to the actors flared chiefly in one direction. This varied between the two "male" designs. The "female" design was more streamlined with a more upturned nose that did not extended out from the face as much as the counterpart designs and featured virtually no brow piece though a layer of makeup, for consistency, can be discerned on the foreheads of the actresses.
Tuttle had previous experience in creating a makeup intended to unify a design while working as protégé to former MGM head of makeup Jack Dawn. Dawn's most memorable makeup was featured in MGM's 1939 Technicolor musical The Wizard of Oz. The film featured several grotesque makeups, some with a unifying theme. Dawn was also an innovator in crafting appliance makeup pieces, no doubt from his experience on The Wizard of Oz, a film plagued by problems in cost and time.
The final interesting aspect of the makeup was that actress Maxine Stuart, Janet Tyler under the bandages, recalls having a plaster cast made of her face. This was used to create a gauze bandage appliance that could be slipped over Stuart's face like a mask instead of wrapping the actress anew every day of shooting. Not only would the latter method be time consuming and very uncomfortable for the actress but would also lend itself to an aesthetic inconsistency. Tuttle crafted a foam rubber mask from the mold of Stuart's face which would then be wrapped in gauze for ease of application. The actresses’ chin and neck were wrapped in gauze each day of shooting since they were not covered by the appliance. When watching the episode, the viewer can easily see where the appliance ends above Stuart's chin.
In all, the makeup for "Eye of the Beholder" was one of the most challenging yet rewarding and successful in the entire run of the show. The makeup has been re-imagined by artists and sculptors for posters, prints, magazines, toys, and figures in a seemingly endless stream since the original airing of the episode and has undoubtedly become one those indelible images which has lived on as an identifying factor in The Twilight Zone's cultural heritage.
In addition to the technical challenges that this episode offered Douglas Heyes also knew that the story would be carried largely by the voices of the actors because it is all the audience has to associate themselves with. As he told researcher Marc Scott Zicree, to cast this episode he had the actors audition with his back to them so that he would hear what the audience would hear. The result was a stellar cast with a leading lady that basically carries most of the episode by herself. A former radio actress, Maxine Stuart’s performance here is particularly exceptional considering that she must make the audience sympathize with Janet Tyler without using any facial expressions. This was an enormous responsibility because the story hinges on how much the audience cares for Tyler, how much they want to see the treatment turn out a successful one. If they do not sympathize with her then the entire episode falls apart. Stuart accomplishes this brilliantly with simple voice intonations and hand gestures, remaining melancholy but hopeful for most of her performance but exploding into a helpless rage when the script calls for it. Equally as important to Stuart’s performance as Janet Tyler is that of the Doctor played William D Gordon. Since the Doctor is emotionally torn between his humanitarianism and his obligational duty as a state employee this has to be reflected in the actor’s voice. Gordon accomplishes this convincingly and the scene in which he discusses his thoughts with the head nurse is one of the most poignant in the episode.
The final major cast member of the episode that deserves a mention here is Donna Douglas who portrays Janet Tyler after the bandages have been removed. While Maxine Stuart was an ideal choice to voice the faceless Tyler, the producers felt that Janet Tyler should be breathtakingly beautiful in comparison to the grotesquery of the pig people. Stuart plays Tyler up until the removal of the bandages but once they are taken off Douglas takes over as Tyler for the remainder of the episode. Douglas has only a few lines after the bandages have been removed. There are contradictory accounts as to whose voice is heard when Douglas speaks. Stuart recorded a voiceover to sync her voice to Douglas’s facial movements so that the audience would not suspect that two different actresses were playing the same role. According to Stuart it is her voice that is used in the final cut of the episode. Heyes and Douglas, however, both contest that Douglas was on the set during the entire production and learned Stuart’s intonations well enough to recite her few lines believably and that it is her voice that is heard in the last scene of the episode. Either way both performances are convincing and important to the story.
For those who have seen this episode running in syndication you might have seen the version entitled “The Private World of Darkness.” Serling’s original title was “Eye of the Beholder” and its meaning was the basic moral lesson to be taken away from the story by the viewer. When it first aired on CBS on November 11, 1960 it ran under this same title. Shortly after, however, Serling and the producers received a letter from Stuart Reynolds, a television producer who had been responsible for producing General Electric True Theater which ran on CBS from 1953 to 1962 (with Ronald Reagan as host) stating that in October of 1953 G.E. True Theatre aired an episode written by Hannah Grad Goodman under the name “The Eye of the Beholder.” Reynolds was now trying to market this production as an educational film to be used in schools and in a roundabout way he threatened to sue Serling if he did not change the name of his Twilight Zone episode. Not wanting to pick an unneeded fight Serling and the producers decided to change to the name. When the episode was next broadcast in 1962 it bore the name “The Private World of Darkness.” Since then it has been released commercially under both names but usually the syndicated version runs under the title “The Private World of Darkness” simply because when it first aired in syndication it bore this name. Regardless, most people know it under the name that Serling originally intended.
As mentioned this is one of the signature episodes of the series. Whenever there is a reference to The Twilight Zone in any medium of popular culture this is one of a handful of episodes that is mentioned. As for the filmmakers, both Rod Serling and Douglas Heyes both consider this one of their best efforts on the program. Serling would later recycle this same theme on his series Night Gallery in the episode “The Different Ones” where a deformed teenage boy is sent by a totalitarian society concerned with conformity to live on another planet. When he arrives he discovers that it is to be an exchange as a creature from this new planet, a seemingly attractive human man, is being sent to Earth. To the teenager’s surprise the people from his new home look much like he does and all is well. It was also remade almost verbatim for the UPN revival series in 2003. The producers of this series choose not to change anything and both the concept and script and many of the camera shots are duplicated as well as they can be. The end product is simply a diluted version of the original. This episode has also been spoofed on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons and many other programs. So for many people this episode is the face of The Twilight Zone. Serling hit upon a theme here that is often spoken of but rarely put into images as clearly as this episode. And thanks to remarkable casting, Douglas Heyes’s painstakingly choreographed camera work and William Tuttle’s uniquely grotesque artistry this episode is still a very recognizable stamp on the face of American popular culture.
--William D. Gordon also appeared in an earlier Season Two episode “Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room” which was also written by Serling and directed by Douglas Heyes.
--While this episode looks remarkable in high definition in many ways the high resolution may not do it justice as there are several scenes in which the actors faces can be seen quite clearly wearing no makeup.
Up Next: Another masterpiece from the best television program of all time, this one written by Richard Matheson. Join us next time when we review “Nick of Time,” starring William Shatner.
--Brian Durant and Jordan Prejean