Monday, February 10, 2020

"Of Late I Think of Cliffordville"

Albert Salmi as William Feathersmith

“Of Late I Think of Cliffordville”
Season Four, Episode 116
Original Air Date: April 11, 1963

William Feathersmith: Albert Salmi
Miss Devlin: Julie Newmar
Sebastian Deidrich: John Anderson
Hecate: Wright King
Mr. Gibbons: Guy Raymond
Joanna Gibbons: Christine Burke
Clark: John Harmon
Cronk: Hugh Sanders

Writer: Rod Serling (from the story “Blind Alley” by Malcolm Jameson)
Director: David Lowell Rich
Producer: Bert Granet
Director of Photography: Robert Pittack
Production Manager: Ralph W. Nelson
Assistant to the Producer: John Conwell
Art Direction: George W. Davis and Paul Groesse
Film Editor: Richard W. Farrell
Set Decoration: Henry Grace and Frank R. McKelvy
Assistant Director: Ray De Camp
Sound: Franklin Milton and Joe Edmondson
Music: stock
Mr. Serling’s Wardrobe by Eagle Clothes
Filmed at MGM Studios

And Now, Mr. Serling:
“Next on Twilight Zone a trip back into time, with Albert Salmi, John Anderson, and guest star Julie Newmar. But this trip is an off-beat, very adventuresome, and totally unexpected itinerary. It’s called ‘Of Late I Think of Cliffordville.’”
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
“Witness a murder. The killer is Mr. William Feathersmith, a robber baron whose body composition is made up of a refrigeration plant covered by thick skin. In a moment, Mr. Feathersmith will proceed on his daily course of conquest calumny with yet another business dealing. But this one will be one of those bizarre transactions that take place in an odd marketplace known as the Twilight Zone.”


“Take me down, young man. Take me all the way down. If there’s any place lower than this floor.”
            -Sebastian Deitrich

            William Feathersmith calls Sebastian Deitrich into his office. The two old men go way back as many years before Dietrich gave Feathersmith a start in a career which has blossomed into a business empire. Deitrich does not like Feathersmith and tells the other man: “I have found you to be, from the moment you came into my office, a predatory, grasping, conniving, acquisitive animal of a man. Without heart, without conscience, without compassion, and without even a subtle hint of the common decencies.”
            Feathersmith smiles because he has called Deitrich into his office to financially ruin the other man. Deitrich has taken out a loan for three million dollars. Feathersmith has purchased the loan and now calls for payment in full. Of course, Deitrich cannot pay and so the Deitrich Tool and Die Company becomes the property of William Feathersmith. Deitrich is left bankrupt.

            Feathersmith is not altogether happy with the other man’s destruction, however. He stays late at his office and gets drunk. He is interrupted by old man Hecate, the night custodian. The two men discover that they grew up in the same town, Cliffordville, Illinois. Feathersmith tells Hecate: “I wish I could go back to Cliffordville and begin again, I mean start all over. You see, getting it, that was the kick. Getting it, not having it.”
            Feathersmith leaves for the night and gets into the elevator. He is not deposited in the lobby, however, but upon the thirteenth floor, in front of the office of Devlin’s Travel Service. Feathersmith, who owns the building and does not recall such a company, storms into the office and finds an attractive young woman behind the desk. She introduces herself as Devlin and informs Feathersmith that the office has been opened expressly for his convenience.  Miss Devlin removes her hat and reveals a pair of devilish horns. Feathersmith understands now who he is dealing with.
            Feathersmith expresses his desire to go back in time to the Cliffordville of his youth. He longs to begin again in his career of business conquest and to see Joanna, the beautiful daughter of the local banker. Miss Devlin agrees that this can be so. Feathersmith has a few stipulations. He wants to look exactly as he did then. He wants to have complete memory of the last fifty years. Cliffordville is to be exactly as it was back then. And it is to happen right away. Miss Devlin agrees on all points and presents Feathersmith with a power of attorney to sign away his monetary assets to pay for the deal. She leaves him some money to take with him on his journey back. Feathersmith cannot pay with his soul since it has been in Miss Devlin’s possession for many years already.

            After his transaction with Miss Devlin, the office of Devlin’s Travel Service disappears. Feathersmith gets into the elevator and is transported onto an airplane heading toward Illinois. He checks his pocket watch and is transported again onto a train heading for Cliffordville in the year 1910.
            Feathersmith finds the conditions of the past intolerable. Feathersmith briefly meets the younger versions of old man Hecate and Sebastian Deitrich. Feathersmith’s first order of business is to purchase land outside of town which he knows to be rich in oil. Feathersmith purchases the land from the local banker, Mr. Gibbons, who owns the land equally with Sebastian Deitrich. Feathersmith spends nearly all of the money he returned with on the deal.
            Feathersmith is eager to reacquaint himself with Gibbons’ daughter, Joanna, but Joanna is not how Feathersmith remembers. She is not as pretty as in his memory. She is loud and overly talkative, gluttonous and boorish. She sings in a high, warbling voice which grades on Feathersmith’s ears. Later, Feathersmith meets with Gibbons and Deitrich to finalize the deal which will give Feathersmith the oil-rich land outside of town. He laughs in the faces of the other men once the deal is made and gloats at their ignorance. The men are unmoved, however. They tell Feathersmith that they are well aware of the oil beneath the ground, but that the oil is five thousand feet below and might as well be on the moon for all that could be done to extract it. In horror, Feathersmith suddenly remembers that the oil was not drilled until 1937, more than a quarter of a century in the future.
            Feathersmith, now broke and desperate, tries to spark business dealings with local manufacturers and tool makers. The inventions which Feathersmith describes (radio, television, self-starters, plastics) sound like the rantings of a crazy person to these men of 1910. Feathersmith is full of ideas but does not have the practical means with which to realize these innovations.
            Feathersmith is at his lowest point when he is visited by Miss Devlin. He feels physically weak and understands now that though he may look like a younger man he is still seventy-five years old inside. Miss Devlin points out that Feathersmith merely asked to look younger and said nothing about his insides. Also, Feathersmith is the victim of his own faulty memory. Feathersmith begs to return to 1963. Miss Devlin agrees but warns that it will be a 1963 predicated on the here and now. Feathersmith agrees anyway. It will cost him $40, meaning Feathersmith must immediately liquidate his only remaining possession, the deed to the oil-rich land. Feathersmith strikes the deal with young Hecate who happens to be passing by.
            The return to 1963 finds Feathersmith now the long-suffering custodian of the building owned by old man Hecate, their roles from before reversed.  

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
“Mr. William J. Feathersmith, tycoon, who tried the track one more time and found it muddier than he remembered, proving with at least a degree of conclusiveness that nice guys don’t always finish last, and some people should quit when they’re ahead. Tonight’s tale of iron men and irony, delivered F.O.B. from the Twilight Zone.”


“He was rich and old, and he longed for the good old days, and the good old ways of his youth. So he made a bargain by which he got back to those days, and those ways, and –”
-tagline for “Blind Alley” by Malcolm Jameson (Unknown Worlds, June, 1943)

            “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” is Rod Serling’s adaptation of Malcolm Jameson’s story “Blind Alley,” a deal with the Devil time travel mash-up which appeared twenty years earlier in the June, 1943 issue of Unknown Worlds, the short-lived but fondly remembered fantasy pulp magazine edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. The story was reprinted a month after its broadcast on The Twilight Zone in the paperback anthology Rod Serling’s Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves (Bantam, May, 1963). That volume is believed to have been ghost-edited by science fiction writer Gordon R. Dickson,* who may have brought the tale to Serling’s attention and induced him to buy it for The Twilight Zone. Serling may also have encountered the tale in the earlier hardback anthology, Great Stories of Science Fiction, edited by Murray Leinster, published by Random House in 1951. The story’s inclusion in the latter volume is curious since it is not a science fiction story despite the element of time travel, an effect which is achieved through magic. The story’s adaptation on The Twilight Zone ensured that it remains one of Jameson’s best-known and oft-reprinted tales, subsequently appearing in such anthologies as The Twilight Zone: The Original Stories (1985) and Unknown Worlds: Tales from Beyond (1988), the latter a tribute volume to the pulp magazine. 
            Despite having produced a time travel episode (“No Time Like the Past”) and a deal with the Devil episode (“Printer’s Devil”) earlier in the fourth season, Serling and producer Bert Granet felt confident enough in the material to offer what is largely a rehash of the earlier episodes. “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” is salvaged by its excellent cast, a stand-out guest star, quality direction from a one-off director on the series, and a very good adaptation from Rod Serling, which remained faithful to the source material while also allowing Serling to showcase his talent for memorable dialogue, including such choice bits as Miss Devlin’s condemnation of Feathersmith when the latter is at his lowest point: “. .  . you are a wheeler and a dealer. A financier and a pusher. A brain, a manipulator, a raider. Because you are a taker instead of a builder. A conniver instead of a designer. An exploiter instead of an inventor. A user instead of a bringer.” Dialogue like this is unmistakably the work of Serling and one of the principal charms of his writing.
The episode also revisits favorite themes and symbols from episodes past, including the dehumanizing and cutthroat nature of American industry, a train journey to the past, the false allure of the past, and the sort of cosmic justice which visits the truly irredeemable characters on the series. Serling took moments to call back to earlier episodes such as “The After Hours” with Feathersmith’s trip to the thirteenth floor** and the vanishing office of Devlin’s Travel Service, and with Feathersmith’s incredulous cry of “the devil, you say!” when transported back to 1910, which may have been Serling’s wink to series writer Charles Beaumont, who’s story, “The Devil, You Say?” was adapted for the fourth season as “Printer’s Devil.”

David Lowell Rich (1920-2001) directed only this one episode for the series but did an admirable job on material which straddled the line between light and grim. The original story is largely humorous and Serling wisely toned down the humor for a more serious, or at least grimly humorous, adaptation. Lowell Rich was not content to simply let the camera stand around and statically photograph the proceedings but took the opportunity to craft a number of startling and effective shots, including the disappearing office of Devlin’s Travel Service in a seamless transition, echoed later by the transitions between airplane and train, between the older Featherstone and his younger self, and the use of a tilting and spinning camera along with a double exposure to signify Featherstone’s deterioration. 
Lowell Rich was a prolific television director with credits on such series as Playhouse 90, Route 66, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Kraft Suspense Theatre, and many, many more. He is perhaps best remembered for directing a series of disaster films for television in the 1970s. Television films kept Rich busy during the seventies and eighties, with his final credit as director for the TV film Infidelity (1987), starring Kirstie Alley.
            “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville,” also showcased William Tuttle’s aging makeup, which unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly, has borne the brunt of criticism among the effects for the episode. Tuttle was often called upon to age actors on the series, most memorably in Charles Beaumont’s “Long Live Walter Jameson” and Rod Serling’s “The Trade-Ins.” The least convincing aspect of the makeup for “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” is the bald cap on Albert Salmi, the line of which can clearly be seen on the actor’s forehead. Still, the transition from old Feathersmith to young Feathersmith is jarring and the bald cap accentuated the change. Remastered episodes and high definition televisions have not done the makeup effects on the series any favors, either. The other notable makeup choice was to fashion horns on the head of Miss Devlin, which seems a redundant choice and one which harkens back to the broad humor of the source material.

Albert Salmi (1928-1990) offered an idiosyncratic, and somewhat cartoonish, characterization of the vicious tycoon William Feathersmith which allowed the actor to exhibit a range beyond the typically rough characters he was known to bring to life. He previously appeared on The Twilight Zone as the murderous cowboy Joe Caswell in “Execution” and the weary Sgt. Causarano in “A Quality of Mercy.” One aspect of the performance which Salmi was unable to nail down was Feathersmith’s maniacal laughter which chased the defeated Sebastian Deitrich (John Anderson) from Feathersmith’s office. Anderson told interviewer Mark Phillips: “Al’s character had to give this maniacal laugh every time he pulled something over on somebody. But poor Al could only muster up this terribly unconvincing, ‘Ha, ha.’ Director David Lowell Rich went bananas. He said, ‘John, what am I gonna do with Al’s laugh?’ I said, “Greez, David, I dunno. It sure ain’t working, is it?’ I suggested that he dub in somebody else’s laugh. They probably did, because you sure as hell couldn’t use what Al was giving them.” (Starlog 216, July, 1995).
            A comparison of Feathersmith’s laugh from this initial scene and the later scene in which Feathersmith laughs over his purchase of land from Deitrich and Gibbons (Guy Raymond) certainly suggests that a dub was used at least for the first scene, though the identity of the dubbing voice is likely lost to time. Albert Salmi later appeared in Rod Serling’s moody western ensemble segment of Night Gallery, “The Waiting Room,” which also featured a memorable take on hell and damnation. Salmi appeared in the segment alongside Twilight Zone performers Steve Forrest (“The Parallel”) and Buddy Ebsen (“The Prime Mover”).

Wright King under aging makeup
Also under aging makeups were actors Wright King and John Anderson. King (1923-2018), who previously appeared in Charles Beaumont’s second season episode “Shadow Play,” was no stranger to wearing makeup as he later underwent the transformation into humanoid chimpanzee by donning John Chambers’ makeup for Planet of the Apes (1968), co-scripted by Rod Serling. King portrayed Dr. Galen, a chimpanzee who despised humans but became the first to speak to time-jolted astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston) and later helped save Taylor’s life. A regular of western and detective programs, King previously appeared in Rod Serling’s Playhouse 90 episode, “The Rank and File” (1959), and later in such science fiction and fantasy fare as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, and the Logan’s Run television series.

John Anderson (1922-1992) was certainly a familiar face on the series from two prior appearances, in the first season episode “A Passage for Trumpet” and the second season episode “The Odyssey of Flight 33,” as well as a fourth appearance during the fifth season in “The Old Man in the Cave.” Anderson’s graven-faced performance style is taken to the extreme as the old man Sebastian Deitrich. Beneath Tuttle’s makeup, Anderson, an actor who appeared old before his time, performs as a man north of one hundred years old. Anderson was known for playing characters under heavy makeup, and also had a run-in with makeup artist John Chambers when Anderson portrayed the Ebonite Interrogator in the first season episode of The Outer Limits, “Nightmare.” Anderson is likely remembered by mystery and horror fans for his role as California Charlie, the car salesman who deals with a very nervous Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Anderson also appeared in episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (including Richard Matheson’s “Ride the Nightmare”), and Boris Karloff’s Thriller, among many others. Shortly before his death Anderson stated: “I’ve played everything from dignified old grandfathers to child molesters to Army generals. My career has been an actor’s dream.” (Starlog 216).

            The most refreshing aspect of Malcolm Jameson’s “Blind Alley,” and one wisely carried over for its adaptation on The Twilight Zone, is the idea that the past is never as wonderful as we remember it to be. The Twilight Zone is occasionally guilty of overly romanticizing the past, in episodes such as “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine” and “A Stop at Willoughby,” but was just as likely to show the past as the place where one can never return, exemplified by such episodes as Rod Serling’s “Walking Distance” and E. Jack Neuman’s “The Trouble with Templeton.”
            In “Blind Alley,” Mr. J. Feathersmith, a ruthless business tycoon, finds himself faced with the grim specter of death when he suffers a stroke and, later, a heart attack, and is suddenly confronted with his own mortality. He was “pink and lumpy now where he had once been firm and tanned. His spindly shanks seemed hardly adequate for the excess load he now carried about his middle . . . for the first time in his life, he found himself hankering after youth again.” Feathersmith longs to go back to Cliffordsville, the town of his youth, which is highly romanticized in his memory:

“He dreamed of old Cliffordsville, with its tree-lined streets and sturdy houses sitting way back, each in its own yard and behind its own picket fence. He remembered the soft clay streets and how good the dust felt between the toes when he ran barefoot in the summertime. Memories of good things to eat came to him – the old spring house and watermelons hung in bags in the well, chickens running the yard, and eggs an hour old. There was Sarah, the cow, and old Aunt Anna, the cook. And then there were the wide-open business opportunities of those days. A man could start a bank or float a stock company and there were no snooping inspectors to tell him what he could and couldn’t do. There were no blaring radios, or rumbling, stinking trucks or raucous auto horns. People stayed healthy because they led the good life.”

            Feathersmith disdains everything about modern society except the ability to make a great deal of money. He is a misogynist who hates modern women. He hates modern music and the noises of the modern city. In his mind, his upbringing in Cliffordsville has become a sacred time in his life, and now that he faces imminent death he longs to return to that simpler, more peaceful place. Feathersmith contacts a character named Forfin, who can “dig up information known only to the dead, or produce prophecies that could actually be relied upon,” to strike an infernal deal which can return Feathersmith to the Cliffordsville of his youth. The witch Madame Hecate, changed from “a vivacious, tiny brunette with sparkling eyes and a gay, carefree manner” in the story to the custodian old man Hecate played by Wright King in the episode, is the broker who can connect Feathersmith with the Devil, Mr. Nibs. Hecate gives Feathersmith a tour of their infernal facilities, an opportunity for Jameson to pile on the occult-themed jokes, before presenting Feathersmith before Mr. Nibs, who is described as a “chubby little man wearing a gray pinstriped business suit and smoking a cigar. He had large blue eyes, several chins, and a jovial, back-slapping expression.” Mr. Nibs was replaced with Devlin in the episode, which nearly remained a male role before a script revision changed the gender to Miss Devlin. Julie Newmar’s calmly sadistic manner is a far cry from the “jovial, back-slapping expression” of Mr. Nibs.
            The deal is struck to send Feathersmith back but he cannot pay with his soul since it is already in Mr. Nib’s possession, so he must pay with all of his earthly possessions. Feathersmith cannot quite read the contract but excitedly signs it anyway. Of course, Feathersmith learns the hard way that the past can be just as difficult, if not more so, than the present. He comes find that he longs for modern conveniences such as hot water, modern medicine, reliable transportation, and the like. To make matters worse, Mr. Nibs did not make Feathersmith young again, as Feathersmith forgot to specifically stipulate it. Before old man Feathersmith dies in the Cliffordsville of his youth, he receives a letter from Madame Hecate: “You said you wanted to be where you are, and there you are. You wanted your memory unimpaired. Can we help it if your memory is lousy? And not once, old dear, did you cheep about also having your youth restored. So that lets us out. Be seeing you in Hell, old thing.”
            Rod Serling’s adaptation of the story is largely faithful, with the aforementioned changes in characters and some tweaking, updating of the plot being the major differences. Serling maintained the twist in the tale of Feathersmith being sent back still an old man but had Feathersmith be tricked by not having specified that he should not only look young but be young. Serling was also not content to leave Feathersmith to die in the past but brought Feathersmith back to 1963 in order to bring him low by having him switch roles with the long-suffering custodian Hecate. Serling enjoyed the “butterfly effect” aspect of time travel, returning to the present to display some small but fundamental change to the characters and situation. He previously wrote a similar ending for the second season episode “Back There.” Some viewers have expressed dislike that Hecate, the gentle character from earlier in the episode, is now the jaded, sadistic businessman. This is likely Serling’s reflection upon The Lord Acton’s remark that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Malcolm Jameson
            Malcom Jameson’s (1891-1945) writing career began when throat cancer forced him to retire from the U.S. Navy at the age of 35. He was, for a brief time, a strong presence in the science fiction and fantasy pulp magazines edited by John W. Campbell, Jr., Astounding Science Fiction and Unknown (later Unknown Worlds). Jameson’s first story was “Eviction by Isotherm” in the August, 1938 issue of Astounding. Jameson is credited with having written one of the earliest time-loop stories, “Doubled and Redoubled,” for the February, 1941 issue of Unknown. Jameson’s most notable work may be his series of stories for Astounding chronicling the adventures of Commander John Bullard, a space opera saga inspired by Jameson’s naval service which comprised the posthumously published fix-up novel Bullard of the Space Patrol, edited by Andre Norton (World Junior Library, 1951), and which Anthony Boucher referred to as “the most successfully drawn series character in modern science fiction” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April, 1952). Other posthumously published books include Atomic Bomb (Bond-Charteris, 1945), a tale of an atomic explosion revised from “The Giant Atom,” which appeared in the Winter, 1943 issue of Startling Stories, and Tarnished Utopia (Galaxy Publishing (Galaxy Novel No. 27), 1956), a futuristic tale of suspended animation and totalitarianism which first appeared in the March, 1942 issue of Startling Stories.

Jameson’s brief but prolific writing career was cut short by his death from cancer in April, 1945. Jameson placed some seventy-five stories in the pulps during his short career. His work was greatly admired at the time and for some time after his death. A recent resurgence of interest in Jameson has rekindled publications of his works. “Blind Alley” remains one of Jameson’s most well-known and oft-reprinted stories, largely due to its adaptation on The Twilight Zone. Jameson was known to have associated with many writers for Astounding while living in New York, including husband and wife Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, authors of the story “What You Need,” adapted by Rod Serling for The Twilight Zone, and C.M. Kornbluth, whose story “The Little Black Bag” was adapted by Rod Serling for Night Gallery.   
Equally adept at science fiction and fantasy, Jameson’s stories also appeared in Weird Tales (several of which were cover-featured), Astonishing Stories, Amazing Stories, Startling Stories, and related pulps. His work was collected in 2012 in two volumes comprising The Best of Malcolm Jameson: Chariots of San Fernando and Other Stories and The Alien Envoy and Other Stories, from Ramble House Publishing. A number of e-book titles of Jameson’s works have recently been made available from Thunderchild Publishing. A complete listing of Jameson’s works can be found at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (
More information about Jameson can be found in the “Meet the Author” features of the August, 1940 issue of Amazing Stories and the Winter, 1943 issue of Startling Stories, as well as in John W. Campbell’s obituary for Jameson in the July, 1945 issue of Astounding (see bottom of post). Jameson’s great-granddaughter wrote a short but detailed biography of Jameson on her tribute site to the author.

The stand-out performance in “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” belongs to guest star Julie Newmar (b. 1933) as the devilish Miss Devlin. Newmar clearly relishes the chance to play the big baddie (even while wearing cartoonish horns) and approaches the role with a calm and cool sadism which contrasts many of the other Devil performers on the series. She easily holds her own against the best in this regard, including a turn by Burgess Meredith in the earlier fourth season episode “Printer’s Devil.”
            Newmar was born Julia Newmeyer in Los Angeles in 1933. She began dancing from an early age and was prima ballerina with the Los Angeles Opera at age 15. It was through dancing that Newmar broke into acting. She was a choreographer for Universal Studios at age 19 and her talent as a dancer, as well as her beauty and statuesque figure, landed her uncredited work in films beginning in 1952, followed by larger roles as Julie Newmeyer in such films as Serpent of the Nile (1953), Slaves of Babylon (1953), and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Newmar began a prolific career as a television guest star with an appearance on The Phil Silvers Show in 1957, while also embarking on a string of appearances on numerous talk and variety shows. Acting work on Omnibus, Route 66, The Twilight Zone, and The Greatest Show on Earth followed before Newmar scored a regular series role opposite Robert Cummings (star of Twilight Zone’s “King Nine Will Not Return”) on the short-lived science fiction sitcom My Living Doll. Newmar played Rhoda Miller, a beautiful robot (AF 709) built as a prototype by an Air Force scientist whose secret becomes known to Bob McDonald (Cummings), an Air Force psychiatrist who attempts to teach Rhoda how to be the “perfect woman” as well as keep her secret hidden from others.
            After guest appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies and F Troop, Newmar embarked on the role for which she is best-known, that of Catwoman on the ABC series Batman, appearing alongside Adam West and Burt Ward. Newmar played the role during the first and second seasons. Eartha Kitt took over the role for the third and final season. Lee Meriwether played the role in the 1966 feature film based on the series. Newmar reprised the role as guest on an episode of the short-lived Lifetime series Maggie (1998), and as the voice of Catwoman for the animated films, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) and Batman vs. Two-Face (2017).
            Appearances on television followed in guest spots on Star Trek (“Friday’s Child”), Get Smart, McCloud, Bewitched, Columbo, The Love Boat, CHiPS, Fantasy Island, and many more. In later years, Newmar invested in Los Angeles real estate and was responsible for improving many Los Angeles neighborhoods. She was the subject and co-writer of a limited comic book series from Bluewater Comics, The Secret Lives of Julie Newmar (2012), a spin-off of the series The Mis-Adventures of Adam West.

“Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” contains some memorable Rod Serling dialogue, solid performances from Twilight Zone regulars, and a stand-out appearance from Julie Newmar. The episode suffers a bit from the overly-familiar nature of its story but remains the epitome of the average offering on the series: a solid, entertaining, and generally successful hour-long episode.

Grade: C

Grateful acknowledgement is made to:
The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (
The Internet Movie Database (
The Internet Archive (

*Gordon R. Dickson ghost-edited an additional volume, Rod Serling’s Devils and Demons, for Bantam in 1967. The contents of both this volume and Rod Serling’s Triple W are largely culled from the pages of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. “Blind Alley” was the only story in either volume to see adaptation on either The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery.

**“The After Hours” featured a strange journey to the ninth floor of a building and a hidden department. Soon after broadcast, the episode was charged with plagiarism by pulp writer Frank Gruber who’d written a similar script titled “The Thirteenth Floor,” though the charges never amounted to anything. See my post on “The After Hours” for more.

Illustrations by Frank Kramer for Malcolm Jameson’s “Blind Alley” (Unknown Worlds, June, 1943):

Meet the Author, from the August, 1940 issue of Amazing Stories:

Meet the Author, from the Winter, 1943 issue of Startling Stories:

John W. Campbell’s obituary for Malcolm Jameson from the July, 1945 issue of Astounding Science Fiction:

-“Blind Alley” by Malcolm Jameson originally appeared in the June, 1943 issue of Unknown Worlds, an issue which also featured Manly Wade Wellman’s “The Devil Is Not Mocked,” later adapted for the second season Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. “Blind Alley” was reprinted in Rod Serling’s Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves (1963) and included in The Twilight Zone: The Original Stories (1985).
-The town was named Cliffordsville in the original story. “The Blind Alley” of the title refers to Feathersmith’s inability to adjust to the past with any sort of practicality.
-Albert Salmi also appeared in the first season episode “Execution,” the third season episode “A Quality of Mercy,” and the second season Night Gallery segment, “The Waiting Room.” He also appeared in The United States Steel Hour production of Rod Serling’s “Noon on Doomsday.”
-John Anderson also appeared in the first season episode “A Passage for Trumpet,” the second season episode “The Odyssey of Flight 33,” and the fifth season episode “The Old Man in the Cave.”
-Wright King also appeared in the second season episode “Shadow Play,” as well as in Rod Serling’s Playhouse 90 episode, “The Rank and File” (1959).
-John Harmon also appeared in the third season episode “The Dummy.”
-Hugh Sanders also appeared in the first season episode “Judgment Night” and the third season episode “The Jungle.”
-“Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” was adapted as a Twilight Zone Radio Drama starring H.M. Wynant, who starred in the second season Twilight Zone episode “The Howling Man.”

For our next post we will be looking in detail at the October, 1982 issue of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine. Hope to see you back then!


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