Monday, June 24, 2019

"No Time Like the Past"

Paul Driscoll (Dana Andrews) prepares to journey into the shadowy realm of the past.

“No Time Like the Past”
Season Four, Episode 112
Original Air Date: March 7, 1963

Paul Driscoll: Dana Andrews
Abigail Sloan: Patricia Breslin
Professor Eliot: Malcolm Atterbury
Hanford: Robert Cornthwaite
Horn Player: John Zaremba
Bartender: Lindsay Workman
Mrs. Chamberlain: Marjorie Bennett
Captain of Lusitania: Tudor Owen
Japanese Police Captain: James Yagi
Harvey: Robert F. Simon

Writer: Rod Serling (original teleplay)
Director: Justus Addiss
Director of Photography: Robert Pittack
Production Manager: Ralph W. Nelson
Associate Producer: Murray Golden
Assistant to the Producer: John Conwell
Art Direction: George W. Davis & William Ferrari
Film Editor: Eda Warren
Set Decoration: Henry Grace & Edward M. Parker
Assistant Director: Ray de Camp
Sound: Franklin Milton & Joe Edmondson
Music: stock
Mr. Serling’s Wardrobe: Eagle Clothes
Filmed at MGM Studios

And Now, Mr. Serling: 

“For our next show Mr. Dana Andrews makes his first visit to The Twilight Zone in a show called ‘No Time Like the Past.’ You’ll see him as a discontented inhabitant of the 20th century who goes back in time, back to what we assume to be the inviolate past, and violates it. A walloping performance, a strange and oddball theme, and an ending most unexpected in the tradition of The Twilight Zone.”

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
“Exit one Paul Driscoll, a creature of the 20th century. He puts to a test a complicated theorem of space-time continuum. But he goes a step further, or tries to. Shortly, he will seek out three moments of the past in a desperate attempt to alter the present – one of the odd and fanciful functions in a shadowland known as The Twilight Zone.”


            Paul Driscoll, a physicist, has grown weary of the war and aggression which characterize life in the 20th century. His solution to these modern problems is to use a time machine to avert the catastrophes which he feels have shaped the current social and political landscapes. His first journey backwards into time is to Hiroshima, August, 1945, in a futile attempt to convince Japanese authorities to evacuate the city before the destruction of the atomic bomb. His second stop is in Berlin, August, 1939, in a failed attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler during a Nazi rally. His third stop in time is to 1915 in another failed attempt to avert disaster, this time the torpedoing of the RMS Lusitania by a German U-boat.
            Defeated, Paul returns to his own time and tells his colleague Harvey that the past has proven inviolate and Paul no longer believes he can change the past to alter the present or the future. He has instead decided to escape into the past to live out his life in Homeville, Indiana in the year 1881.
            Paul acclimates quickly in Homeville, an idyllic small town in which change arrives slowly. Unfortunately, Paul soon learns that the hate, prejudice, and aggression he suffered in his own time are also present here. The bright spot for Paul is Abigail Sloan, a pretty schoolteacher with whom he begins a romance. Abby can sense a difference in Paul, however, in the way he knows what is going to happen before it happens, and in the way he seems distracted and out of place.
            Paul does his best to live peacefully in Homeville without using his foreknowledge to avert unpleasant events. He cannot resist the impulse, however, when it comes to saving Abby’s school children from injuries sustained in a fire. Consulting his notes, Paul learns that the schoolhouse fire was caused by a lantern thrown from a runaway carriage. On the day of the fire Paul identifies the culprit: a traveling salesman. Paul attempts to unhitch the horses from the salesman’s carriage in the belief that it will prevent the tragedy. Ironically, it is Paul’s action which triggers the runaway carriage and creates the disaster.
            Paul is devastated. He tells Abby that he now realizes he cannot stay in Homeville. The past is not inviolate and his presence presents a danger to everyone in town. He knows about too many tomorrows and that knowledge prevents him from finding the peace he desires. Paul returns to his own time and resolves to change the sorrows of society through other means.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

“Incident on a July afternoon, 1881. A man named Driscoll who came and went and in the process learned a simple lesson, perhaps best said by a poet named Lathbury, who wrote: ‘Children of yesterday, heirs of tomorrow, what are you weaving, labor and sorrow? Look to your looms again, faster and faster fly the great shuttles prepared by the master. Life’s in the loom, room for it, room!’ Tonight’s tale of clocks and calendars in The Twilight Zone.” 


            Time travel is one of the most frequently recurring themes on The Twilight Zone and “No Time Like the Past” functions like a collection of greatest hits from the time travel episodes on the series. It is composed almost entirely of recycled elements, including members of the cast recreating similar roles from previous appearances and a setting, Homeville, which recalls Homewood, from an earlier time travel episode, “Walking Distance.” Yet, as a testament to the high quality of the writing, acting, and production, “No Time Like the Past” remains an intriguing and enjoyable episode.
            Rod Serling essentially created two episodes and combined them into an hour-long presentation, not altogether unsuccessfully. The episode is bolstered by Serling’s obvious talent at creating compelling dialogue and an engaging atmosphere.
The first portion of the episode finds Paul Driscoll (Dana Andrews), a physicist frustrated with the horrors of the late 20th century, travelling backwards in time in a repeated attempt to avert earlier disasters. Paul attempts to prevent the loss of lives in the bombing of Hiroshima, cut down the rise of Nazism by assassinating Hitler, and alter the course of the RMS Lusitania to prevent its torpedoing by a German U-boat. In each of these attempts he is unsuccessful. Due to his repeated failures, Paul comes to believe that the past is inviolate. He resolves to escape into the past and live as citizen of a small Midwestern town some eighty years before. With this we are shepherded into the second portion of the episode.
            The episode which springs immediately to mind when one views the initial portion of “No Time Like the Past” is “The Time Element,” Rod Serling’s early fantasy television script which aired on The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse in 1958. Considered by many to be the unofficial pilot episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Time Element” finds involuntary time traveler Peter Jenson (William Bendix) sent backwards to the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like Paul Driscoll, Jenson unsuccessfully attempts to convince authorities of the imminent danger and pays for the failure with his life. Rod Serling approached the theme again in the second season Twilight Zone episode “Back There,” in which Pete Corrigan (Russell Johnson), an intellectual who does not believe the past can be altered, is transported to the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Again, Corrigan is unable to avert the tragedy but, like Paul Driscoll, comes to believe in the mutable nature of the past when he returns to his own time and finds it delicately altered. This theme of being unable to avert disaster through means of time travel (or time slippage) appears again in Richard Matheson’s fifth season episode “Spur of the Moment.”
            “No Time Like the Past” is also marginally related to such episodes as “Nightmare as a Child,” “King Nine Will Not Return,” and “The Arrival,” which also concern a tragedy from the past but invert the theme to show the past intruding upon the present as a warning or a means of closure. Serling was still exploring this theme during his time on Night Gallery, notably in the episode “Lone Survivor,” in which a time-hopping portent of doom, played by John Colicos, brings misfortune upon the RMS Lusitania. On The Twilight Zone a character often involuntarily slips through the cracks of time and is occasionally successful in effecting change for the better, such as in Richard Matheson’s “The Last Flight” or Serling’s “In Praise of Pip,” episodes in which events are altered though an act of self-sacrifice.
            Although a semblance of a time machine does appear in some episodes, including “No Time Like the Past,” the series was generally content to simply send a character backwards into time through such simple means as falling asleep or walking out of a building. Even when a time machine is utilized it is more often an artistic than theoretical choice. In “No Time Like the Past” the production team decided upon an expressionistic construction of a raised platform bordered by rising rows of stringed globes placed in a cavernous interior. The platform is then enveloped in stage fog and filmed in a way which suggests strangeness and dislocation. Rod Serling obviously cared little about the means of the mechanism but was rather interested in using time travel to explore other themes.
The viewer is given no indication of how Driscoll controls his travels through time. How long can he stay in one place and by what means of control? How does he leave when he is ready to depart? Does he simply disappear or must he be in a specific location or position? Does Driscoll control his travel through time or is it somehow controlled in Driscoll’s own time by Harvey? These questions are left unanswered but are relatively unimportant to what Serling is attempting with the episode. Still, there are aspects of time travel in the episode which will likely irk some viewers. Why, for instance, does Driscoll cut it so close on his visits to Hiroshima and aboard the Lusitania? Why not try and stop the Lusitania from ever leaving port? Why not destroy Hitler the child or Hitler the young man rather than attempt an assassination when Hitler is at the height of his power? Although irksome, these problems do little to detract from the second portion of the episode, which is where Serling is obviously eager to arrive.

The tale of the character who attempts to escape to the nostalgic haven of the past was a familiar one on the series by the time “No Time Like the Past” aired during the fourth season. The series displayed both sides of the equation. Paul Driscoll discovers that his presence in the past is the disruptive force which erodes the fabric of events as they are intended to unfold, much like Martin Sloan in “Walking Distance” and Booth Templeton in E. Jack Neuman’s “The Trouble with Templeton.” Conversely, episodes such as “The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine,” “A Stop at Willoughby,” “Static,” and “Kick the Can” show the past as a refuge for those disenchanted with their own time and age, although there is often a price to pay for such an escape. In the case of both treatments of the theme the show’s writers clearly paint the past as a flawed place, where one’s memory is filled with gaps into which have fallen the unattractive and less desirable aspects of the time. In “No Time Like the Past,” Paul Driscoll is presented with an entirely new, yet frustratingly familiar, set of challenges when he arrives in Homeville, Indiana in 1881. There may be no atomic bombs but there is still unbridled hatred, prejudice, oppression, ignorance, and the misguided attempts to equate violence with courage and war with patriotism.
Paul Driscoll’s repeated references to bombs also groups “No Time Like the Past” with other episodes of the series which play out under the shadow of the threat of atomic annihilation. The thought of instant and total obliteration was certainly on the minds of Americans during the tense years of the Cold War in which The Twilight Zone first aired. The show repeatedly returned to the theme of manmade devastation in episodes such as “Time Enough at Last,” “Third from the Sun,” “The Shelter,” “Two,” “One More Pallbearer,” and “The Old Man in the Cave.”
Dana Andrews
A particular trend amongst fourth season episodes is the anchoring effort of a single dynamic performance. Think of George Grizzard in “In His Image,” Dennis Hopper in “He’s Alive,” Anne Francis in “Jess-Belle,” Robert Duvall in “Miniature,” or Martin Balsam in “The New Exhibit.” “No Time Like the Past” is graced with such a performance from Dana Andrews as Paul Driscoll. Although Andrews is capably assisted by supporting performers, particularly the presence of Patricia Breslin, he largely carries an episode which could have come off completely flat with a less talented performer in the lead role.
Andrews (1909-1992) was a prolific film and television performer who found his greatest success in the 1940s and 1950s as a leading man in the classic American mold. Born near Collins, Mississippi, Andrews left a bookkeeping job in the oil business and hitchhiked to Los Angeles in 1931 with dreams of being an actor. After years of toiling in regular jobs and performing in smaller roles under studio contract, Andrews appeared in two films which solidified his bankable, leading role status. The first was the 1944 suspense melodrama Laura, based on Vera Caspary’s 1942 novel, in which Andrews appeared alongside Gene Tierney, Vincent Price, and Clifton Webb. Andrews also featured in the all-star drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), a film which took home seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. The 1940s and 1950s were largely filled out with roles in melodramas, film noirs, and psychological suspense films, working with such directors as Elia Kazan, Otto Preminger, and Fritz Lang. A notable genre effort during this time was a leading role in the 1957 film Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon), a moody chiller directed by Jacques Tourneur (Twilight Zone’s “Night Call”) and adapted from M.R. James’ 1911 story “Casting the Runes.”
Andrews’ sturdy presence transitioned onto television screens in the late 1950s where he found work among the many dramatic anthology programs of the time, including turns on Playhouse 90, Alcoa Premier, and Kraft Mystery Theater. Andrews returned to regular film work in the 1960s and appeared in a number of doomsday genre films of varying quality such as The Satan Bug (1965), Crack in the World (1965), and The Frozen Dead (1966). A recurring role on the dramatic television series Bright Promise (1969-1970) led to more television work in the 1970s, including appearances on Ellery Queen and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, where he appeared in Serling’s “The Different Ones.”
By the early 1980s Andrews quietly retired from acting when he began suffering the early effects of Alzheimer’s. Andrews suffered a well-documented problem with alcohol during his prime years which some speculate contributed to the diminishing returns of his career. He later became a sober and outspoken advocate for the acknowledgment and treatment of alcoholism in America. He passed away on December 17, 1992 at age 83.

Patricia Breslin
The standout supporting performance in the episode is Patricia Breslin as Abigail Sloan. Breslin (1931-2011), much like her role in Richard Matheson’s second season episode “Nick of Time,” provides a sympathetic female influence to an obsessive male protagonist. On a series which too often portrayed wives and love interests as either villainous or indifferent, Breslin is a breath of fresh air in “No Time Like the Past.” Breslin portrays Abby Sloan as sensitive, intelligent, and independent while performing in a realistic style which makes Rod Serling’s rich dialogue sound naturalistic. A prolific television performer, Breslin appeared in such genre programs as Suspense, The Web, Boris Karloff’s Thriller, and five appearances on Alfred Hitchcock’s programs, three for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and two more on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Breslin also appeared in two of producer/director William Castle’s suspense films: Homicidal (1961) and I Saw What You Did (1964). Breslin retired from acting when she married the American entrepreneur Art Modell in 1969, after which she became a well-known philanthropist. She passed away on October 12, 2011 at age 80.
Malcolm Atterbury

The cast is rounded out with several repeat Twilight Zone performers, notable among which is Malcolm Atterbury as the traveling salesman Professor Eliot. If Atterbury’s character strikes you as familiar it is due to the fact that Atterbury portrayed a very similar character named Henry J. Fate in Rod Serling’s first season episode “Mr. Denton on Doomsday.”

“No Time Like the Past” is unlikely to be anywhere near the top of anyone's favorite episode list nor perhaps one which will remain in the viewer’s mind long after watching. This is perhaps due to its familiar, recycled elements and the general disdain among viewers for the hour-long offerings of the fourth season. To my mind it remains the epitome of the average episode, neither excellent nor poor, but one which features a wistfully melancholy atmosphere along with solid performances from Dana Andrews and Patricia Breslin.                            

Grade: C

Grateful acknowledgement to:
The Internet Movie Database (
The Chautauqua Life blog ( for information on Mary Artemisia Lathbury.


--Justus Addiss also directed “The Odyssey of Flight 33” and “The Rip Van Winkle Caper.”
--Dana Andrews also appeared in the Night Gallery episode “The Different Ones.”
--Patricia Breslin also appeared in “Nick of Time.”
--Malcolm Atterbury also appeared in “Mr. Denton on Doomsday.”
--Robert Cornthwaite also appeared in “Showdown with Rance McGrew.”
--Lindsay Workman also appeared in the Night Gallery episode “The Little Black Bag.”
--Marjorie Bennett also appeared in “The Chaser” and “Kick the Can,” as well as the Night Gallery episode “Deliveries in the Rear.”
--Dana Andrews' younger brother, Steve Forrest (born William Forrest Andrews), appears in the lead role of the following broadcast episode, "The Parallel." 
--“No Time Like the Past” was adapted as a Twilight Zone Radio Drama starring Jason Alexander.
--The poet whom Rod Serling quotes in his closing narration is the American hymnist Mary Artemisia Lathbury (1841-1913). Serling quotes the first stanza of Lathbury’s hymn “A Song of Hope.”
--There is no credit for producer on the episode as the series was undergoing a soft transition from producer Herbert Hirschman to producer Bert Granet, who would see the series through the remainder of the fourth episode and into the fifth, eventually giving way to the final producer on the series, William Froug.  


Monday, June 3, 2019

Summertime in The Twilight Zone

The first day of summer may be over two weeks away but the needle has already crept north of ninety where I’m writing from, which got me thinking about episodes of The Twilight Zone best suited for the hottest time of the year. The show may be remembered for its shadowy, expressionistic camerawork and moody atmosphere but many of the best episodes play out in bright sunlight and on warm summer nights. The show didn’t always need a creepy hospital, smoky nightclub, or isolated monastery to turn reality upside down. It could happen to a young woman traveling across country by car, a stressed-out businessman revisiting his hometown, a couple on a detoured honeymoon, players of a nostalgic children’s game, witnesses of something strange passing overhead on an idyllic summer day, or those suffering the hottest day ever recorded.  

So, crank up the air conditioning, grab your favorite iced beverage, and take a trip through that dimension where the summers are always strange and the sunlight provides no protection from the unexpected. Here are some essential summertime Twilight Zone episodes to help you beat the heat.


“Where Is Everybody?” S1, E1 (October 2, 1959)

Starring: Earl Holliman
Writer: Rod Serling
Director: Robert Stevens

Rod Serling's pitch-perfect pilot episode plays out on a bright, sunny day in a typical American small town. The trouble for the amnesiac Mike Ferris (Earl Holliman) is that the town is completely empty of people. More unnerving is that Ferris finds evidence of the inhabitants (food cooking, a phone ringing, a cigar smoldering in an ashtray) but always seems to be a minute late to find anybody. In one of the more heartbreaking scenes from the series, Ferris believes he sees a young woman sitting in a pickup truck, but sunlight glinting off the windshield briefly shields Ferris from the truth. The woman is a store mannequin. As Ferris descends further into panic, we follow him into the night (a narrative device we will see used again) where he discovers the full, devastating truth of his predicament.

 Rod Serling displayed from the outset that the sunny side of an American town can elicit as much terror and disorientation as the gloomier sets from the series. Holliman's performance is one of the finest the series has to offer (he virtually carries the episode) and the camerawork of Joseph LaShelle (his only work on the series) set a high standard for television cinematography which was carried forward on the series by George T. Clemens and rarely matched outside The Twilight Zone.

Looking for more like "Where Is Everybody?" It pairs nicely with Earl Hamner's fifth season episode "Stopover in a Quiet Town," another sunny nightmare with one of the more memorable twist endings on the series.  

Read our full review of "Where Is Everybody?"

“Walking Distance” S1, E5 (Oct 30, 1959) 

Starring: Gig Young, Frank Overton
Writer: Rod Serling
Director: Robert Stevens

This is Rod Serling's masterpiece on the series, a heartbreaking (and heartwarming) meditation on the past, on regret, and on how we sometimes find what we need by looking ahead instead of behind. Using the backdrop of a memorable boyhood summer, Serling tells of burned out advertising executive Martin Sloan (Gig Young) who yearns for the idyllic days of his boyhood but finds out that long ago summer no longer belongs to him.

Graced with moving performances from Gig Young and Frank Overton (as Martin Sloan's sympathetic father), "Walking Distance" also features a beautiful musical score from Bernard Herrmann, wonderful direction from Robert Stevens, and some of Rod Serling finest and most memorable writing.

The series returned time and again to the theme of the immutable nature of the past in such episodes as "Back There," "The Trouble with Templeton," and "No Time Like the Past."

Read our full review of "Walking Distance."  

“The Hitch-Hiker” S1, E16 (Jan 22, 1960) 

Starring: Inger Stevens
Writer: Rod Serling (adapting Lucille Fletcher)
Director: Alvin Ganzer

A beautiful young woman experiences clear, sunny weather on her drive across the country toward Los Angeles, California. But along the way her car gets a flat tire and sends her on the road to terror as she is haunted by the repeated presence of a shabby hitchhiker. Rod Serling's faithful adaptation of Lucille Fletcher's famous radio play changed only one major component, the gender of the protagonist, and that has made all the difference. Portraying the doom-haunted Nan Adams is Inger Stevens, a vibrant, sunny actress whose demeanor concealed a terrible personal darkness. Her performance is one of startling range and aching tragedy.

Like in "Where Is Everybody?" the coming of night signals the height of terror and the beginning of the end. The final sequence near a lonely roadside phone booth is one of the more masterful endings of the series, perfectly scored with stock music, intimately filmed by director Alvin Ganzer, and featuring the tragic inner thoughts of the character. The episode feels like a dramatization of the famous poem by Emily Dickinson which begins: "Because I could not stop for Death - He kindly stopped for me-."

The first season featured three Rod Serling-penned episodes exploring the supernatural persecution of lonely young women. Along with "The Hitch-Hiker," the trilogy is completed with "Mirror Image" and "The After Hours."

Read our full review of "The Hitch-Hiker."  

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” S1, E22 (March 4, 1960) 

Starring: Claude Akins, Jack Weston
Writer: Rod Serling
Director: Ronald Winston

You can practically smell the fresh-mown grass and feel the stickiness of melting ice cream in Rod Serling's classic of paranoia which infects the residents of an idyllic suburban street one sunny summer day. This tale of madness rapidly descending upon a neighborhood after strange sounds in the sky are followed by the failure of electrical and mechanical devices has repeatedly served as an allegory for our increasingly paranoid times. Serling's script still resonates today and its ability to shock and provoke has not diminished.

The episode also puts to good use the narrative device of a descent into night being a descent into madness. As the sun sets upon Maple Street the residents resort to increasingly violent and chaotic behavior which ultimately seals their collective fates. The episode boasts a talented ensemble cast but the standout performances are Claude Atkins as Steve Brand, playing against type as the voice of reason whose calls for rationality are drowned out by the roaring mob, and Jack Weston as Charlie Farnsworth, the instigator who discovers too late the consuming fire his words and actions have stoked.

Serling frequently returned to the themes of mass paranoia and prejudice in such episodes as "The Shelter," "I Am the Night - Color Me Black," and his adaptation of Henry Slesar’s "The Old Man in the Cave."

Read our full review of "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street."

“Nick of Time” S2, E43 (Nov 18, 1960) 

Starring: William Shatner, Patricia Breslin
Writer: Richard Matheson
Director: Richard L. Bare

One of the cleverest and most surprising scripts of the series is Richard Matheson's "Nick of Time," about newlyweds Don and Pat Carter (William Shatner and Patricia Breslin) whose cross country honeymoon road trip is detoured by car trouble. When a novelty fortune-telling napkin dispenser captures Don's obsessive and superstitious nature, the couple descends into the depths of fear and suspicion only deep paranoia can create.

The genius of the episode is also a hallmark of Matheson's best fiction. This ambiguously supernatural tale unfolds in the most mundane of settings and circumstances, on a bright summer day in a small town diner in Nowhere, USA (Ridgeview, OH). Matheson ultimately gives us a hopeful tale of escape from the invisible imprisonment of fear but then shocks the audience with a truly unforgettable coda to this fascinating and disturbing tale.

Matheson was a master at the domestic horror tale, as evidenced in another tense episode, "Little Girl Lost."

Read our full review of "Nick of Time" here.

“The Midnight Sun” S3, E75 (Nov 17, 1961) 

Starring: Lois Nettleton, Betty Garde  
Writer: Rod Serling
Director: Anton Leader

The Earth’s orbital pattern has altered and the planet is moving steadily toward the sun, causing surface temperatures to reach scorching levels which will ultimately make survival impossible for every person on the planet. This quintessential summer episode explores the hottest day in human history through the eyes of an artist, Norma Smith (Lois Nettleton), and her neighbor Mrs. Bronson (Betty Garde), the last remaining tenants in an apartment building who band together to try and combat the rising temperatures outside and the heat-mad humans who stalk the city streets.

Rod Serling’s masterwork of human survival gets better with each subsequent viewing. It is a taut tale of ecological disaster and the ultimate urban nightmare, strengthened by excellent acting (particularly Nettleton’s understated performance), writing, direction, and some innovative special effects, such as using a hot plate to melt paint from a canvas. The feeling of heat is palpable in the episode and when tempers rise along with the temperature it leads to some intense moments of physical and emotional violence. Topping it off is one of Serling’s more devastating twist endings.

The series produced a number of excellent stories of human struggle in the face of global devastation, including Montgomery Pittman’s “Two” and Rod Serling’s unforgettable adaptation of Jerome Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life.”

Read our full review of "The Midnight Sun.”

“Kick the Can” S3, E86 (Feb 9, 1962) 

Starring: Ernest Truex, Russell Collins
Writer: George Clayton Johnson
Director: Lamont Johnson

This bittersweet tale of nostalgia for the innocent past juxtaposes the aged residents of Sunnyvale Rest with the children who play on the lawn of the rest home. It is a tale of longing for that endless summer where you’ll never grow up and always be free to shout and play. An impulsive game of kick-the-can bridges the years of the old and the young with a special magic which leaves some residents of Sunnyvale in that endless summer and fills others with the bitter regret of no longer believing in childish magic.

George Clayton Johnson’s moving fantasy is an allegory for the idea that youth is only a thought or an action, not an age or a number. Its controversial ending is only further evidence that The Twilight Zone is not an area of easy answers and convenient solutions but a shadowy realm where magical gifts can also have unintended consequences.

The series provided several episodes about the irresistible pull of the past, including Charles Beaumont’s moving episode “Static” and Richard Matheson’s disturbing tale “Young Man’s Fancy.”  

Read our full review of "Kick the Can" here.

Note that none of these episodes originally aired in a summer month. 

Did I miss your favorite summertime Twilight Zone episode? Maybe it's the zany robot baseball of "The Mighty Casey" or the grueling trek across the desert with the crew of "The Rip Van Winkle Caper." Let me know in the comments.