Monday, February 24, 2020

Reading Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine, Part 19

In which we take a closer look at each issue. For our capsule history of the magazine, go here.

Volume 2, Number 7 (October, 1982)

Cover art: Rob Sauber (for “Summer of Monsters” by Dale Hammell)

TZ Publications, Inc.

President & Chairman: S. Edward Orenstein
Secretary/Treasurer: Sidney Z. Gellman
Executive Vice-Presidents: Leon Garry, Eric Protter
Executive Publisher: S. Edward Orenstein
Publisher: Leon Garry
Associate Publisher and Consulting Editor: Carol Serling
Editorial Director: Eric Protter
Editor: T.E.D. Klein
Managing Editor: Jane Bayer
Assistant Editor: Robert Sabat
Editorial Assistant: Judy Linden
Contributing Editors: Thomas M. Disch, Ron Goulart
Design Director: Michael Monte
Art Director: Wendy Mansfield
Art Production: Susan Lindeman, Carol Sun, Lori Hollander
Production Director: Stephen J. Fallon
Controller: Thomas Schiff
Assistant to the Publisher: Penny Layne
Public Relations Manager: Jeffrey Nickora
Accounting Mgr.: Chris Grossman
Accounting Ass’t: Annmarie Pistilli
Office Ass’t: Zuleyma Guèvara
Circulation Director: William D. Smith
Circulation Mgr.: Carole A. Harley
Circulation Ass’t: Katherine Lys
Northeastern Circ. Mgr.: Jacqueline Doyle
Eastern Circ. Mgr.: Hank Rosen
West Coast Circ. Mgr.: Gary Judy
Advertising Manager: Rachel Britapaja
Adv. Production Manager: Marina Despotakis
Advertising Representatives: Barney O’Hara & Associates, Inc.


--In the Twilight Zone: “Royalty . . .” by T.E.D. Klein
--Other Dimensions: Screen by Ron Goulart
--Other Dimensions: Books by Thomas M. Disch
--Other Dimensions: Spoken Word Records by Ronald Smith
--Other Dimensions: The ‘So Saying, He Vanished’ Quiz by Chet Williamson
--Other Dimensions: Etc.
--“Summer of Monsters” by Dale Hammell
--“Mexican Merry-Go-Round” by Avram Davidson
--“Five Minutes Early” by Robert Sheckley
--“The Silly Stuff” by Al Sarrantonio
--TZ Interview: Nicholas Meyer by Mark Denis Shepard
--Another View: Star Trek: The Great American Love Story by Richard Matturo
--Broken Walls, Shattered Dreams by Duncan McLaren & Simon Marsden
--“In a Green Shade” by Melissa Mia Hall
--“One Small Change” by Gary Brandner
--“Alive and Well in . . .” by Michael S. Smith
--“Pigs are Sensitive” by Jon Wynne-Tyson
--“Saratoga Winter” by Jeff Hecht
--Show-By-Show Guide: TV’s Twilight Zone: Part Nineteen by Marc Scott Zicree
--TZ Classic Teleplay: “In Praise of Pip” by Rod Serling
--Looking Ahead: In November’s TZ . . .

--In the Twilight Zone: “Royalty . . .”

M.P. Shiel
-T.E.D. Klein highlights the British fantasy author M.P. Shiel (1865-1947), author of the evergreen “last man” novel The Purple Cloud (1901), filmed as The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) with Inger Stevens, star of Twilight Zone’s “The Hitch-Hiker” and “The Lateness of the Hour,” as well as such anthology favorites as “The House of Sounds” (1911) and “The Place of Pain” (1914). Klein uses the editorial space to examine a unique royal lineage, which extended from Shiel to his first literary executor, the publisher John Gawsworth, to Shiel’s then-current executor Jon Wynne-Tyson, the latter of whom appears in the issue with the story, “Pigs are Sensitive.” Shiel’s eccentric father, Mathew Dowdy Shiell (M.P. Shiel later amended the spelling of his surname) bestowed upon his son a kingship when he ceremoniously crowned Matthew as Felipe I, king of the tiny volcanic island of Redonda. Klein includes a passage from Shiel’s memoirs recounting the incident and examines the ways in which Shiel bestowed “dukedoms” upon his friends, a trend taken up, to an extreme degree, by Gawsworth. Klein also briefly examines the tragic circumstances of Gawsworth’s life. Gawsworth was later profiled by Steve Eng in the Spring, 1987 issue of Night Cry. Jon Wynne-Tyson later wrote an essay on the topic of Shiel’s kingship, “Redonda: The Question of Sovereignty,” for Aklo #3 (Winter, 1991).

-It is unclear what inspired this bit on Shiel. Typically, this sort of editorial prefigured an Essential Writers feature on the author in question, though there is no such treatment of Shiel in the issue. Klein credits two books with providing information for the editorial, The Quest for Redonda and The Works of M.P. Shiel, both privately published by A. Reynolds Morse of JDS Books in Dayton, Ohio. The remainder of the editorial is given over in the usual way, with snippet biographies and thumbnail images of the issue’s contributors.

--Other Dimensions: Screen by Ron Goulart

Hanky Panky
-Goulart looks at four films in his final column before the return of regular films reviewer Gahan Wilson. The first is the Monty Python offering The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball (1981). Goulart finds that many of the recycled sketches which compose the film are tiresome the second time around and that the incorporation of contemporary rock music is an unwelcome bit of over-amplified distraction. “Unless you are a fan of both the Python crew and contemporary rock music,” Goulart writes, “there are going to be lulls in this movie for you.”

-Next, Goulart looks at Hanky Panky (1982), a comedy-thriller starring Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner. The film is notable for being where Wilder and Radner met one another. They married in 1984. Goulart is very critical of the film, particularly with the casting. He describes Wilder’s performance as “in a jittery style that makes Don Knotts look like a pillar of calm, Wilder also gets increasingly petulant and childish as the film unfolds.” He is harsher with Radner, going so far as to criticize the actress’s looks: “I don’t mean to imply that funny-looking, dopey girls aren’t entitled to as much love and affection as pretty, bright ones. But I have to admit I enjoy watching Goldie Hawn in this sort of role much more. There’s something sad in seeing Radner struggling valiantly to look attractive and chic.” Goulart wraps up his review by criticizing the writing, direction, and character motivation in the film.

-Next on the chopping block is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Goulart writes that “before the first reel of this latest Trekkie epic was over, I’d begun to feel I was marooned inside a vast and endless video-game arcade.” The ironic thread running through this issue is that The Wrath of Khan is highlighted in multiple places, including an interview with the film’s director Nicholas Meyer, and yet the position of the magazine’s writers is uniformly negative. Although the film appears to have not engineered much positive interest, at least at TZ Magazine, it is now considered the best of the early Trek movies, and is credited with renewing interest in the franchise.

-Finally, Goulart allows a little space to look at Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982). Goulart praises the production values but takes issue with the story and screenplay. Goulart highlights the performances of Sean Young and Rutger Hauer in the film. He concludes his review in a tepid way: “Despite several reservations, I think I enjoyed the movie.” Goulart concludes his column by addressing the lack of a review of Conan the Barbarian, which was promised last issue. Goulart expected the film to have an extended theatrical run, in the manner of Star Wars, but the film flopped and left theaters before Goulart could attend a showing.

--Other Dimensions: Books by Thomas M. Disch

-Disch allots the majority of space to The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell (1982), a triptych of essays on the subject of nuclear war which apparently caused a sensation when it was published. Disch is enthusiastic about the book, quoting passages and tracing its lineage in the arts to such works as Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, and such doomsday novels as On the Beach, Fail-Safe, and A Canticle for Leibowitz.

-Disch also looks at three new horror novels. Old Fears by John Wooley and Ron Wolfe is “a horror novel of almost unrelieved dullness, and there can be no fault more unforgivable in a horror novel.” Control by William Goldman is “a Jekyll and Hyde of a novel. When it is good, it’s sensationally good, and when it’s bad it’s horrid, and its goodness and horridness are inseparable, each a function of the other.” Finally, on The Selkie by Charles Sheffield and David Bischoff, Disch writes: “If The Selkie finally falls short of achieving classic status, it’s probably less the fault of the authors than of the selkies, whose only real fault seems to be an excess of philoprogenitive feeling. Even so, it’s a decidedly good read – but more for winter evenings by the fire than for taking to the beach.”

--Other Dimensions: Spoken Word Records by Ronald Smith
Illustration by Carol Sun

-Spoken word records, or audio books, seem ubiquitous today but were at one time very much a fringe industry which generally catered to libraries, schools, and the collector. As such, many interesting and desirable recordings were produced, unlike today in which a book’s entertainment value is prized over any sort of posterity in the recording itself. Ronald Smith looks at a number of recordings in the fields of horror, fantasy, and science fiction from such publishers as Caedmon Records, Spoken Arts Records, and CMS Records. At the time of this article vinyl records were still the primary medium for the distribution of spoken word albums but cassette tapes were beginning to gain prominence. Of course, compact discs soon replaced tapes and were themselves replaced in the twenty-first century by digital downloads.

-Many of the recordings mentioned in the article, too numerous to list here but Smith’s article can be read here for those interested, will be highly desirable to readers of this blog. Vincent Price reading John Collier? Burgess Meredith and Leonard Nimoy reading Ray Bradbury? David McCallum reading H.P. Lovecraft? These and many more sound highly appealing and very little like these vintage recordings is currently available. Although many of these recordings are likely difficult to obtain nowadays (although perhaps many have been uploaded online; I have not checked) I highly recommend Smith’s article for those interested in the form who wish to seek out older recordings.

-Other Dimensions: The ‘So Saying, He Vanished’ Quiz by Chet Williamson
Illustration by H.J. Ford

-A new quiz this month challenging the reader’s ability to match the final lines of notable works of fantasy literature with the work. I have included the quiz and the answers below.

--Other Dimensions: Etc.
-The miscellany feature for this issue includes The Twilight Zone making a California ballot, Twilight Zone cited in a case of mugging, a quote from The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith (Arkham House), Nancy Reagan look-alike model Jo Ann Johnson photographed reading an issue of TZ Magazine, two cartoons, and two samples of local newspapers using The Twilight Zone and references to aliens.

--“Summer of Monsters” by Dale Hammell
Illustrated by D.W. Miller
“They were young and in love – the last of a dying breed”

-With the end of the world looming, two families retreat to a beach house and discover themselves not only segregating into units (adults, teenagers, children) but also undergoing strange physical mutations.

-“Summer of Monsters,” a moody and atmospheric tale of doomsday, is given the cover and prime position in the magazine. It reminded me in places of Rod Serling’s “The Midnight Sun,” particularly in the recurring motif of the growing, burning sun as the environment is changed by the doomsday event. The influence of novels such as On the Beach and Alas, Babylon is also evident. Hammell leaves the cause of the doomsday event vague with veiled references to war and changes in the environment, preferring instead to focus on character. The story is told through the eyes of a young boy who, along with the other small children, undergoes a physical transformation into something more than human. The focus of the story shifts to two teenagers who seem to be the only ones not physically affected by the event. The story contains some truly creepy sequences, such as the image of the adults retreating into the darkness of the house like reclusive animals, whispering constantly, and the mutated children hiding along the beach to watch the two teenagers swim in the waters.

-Dale Hammell, according to T.E.D. Klein, “has done a lot of good student writing and has published an award-winning amateur fiction magazine called Copper Toadstool, but Summer of Monsters, our cover story, represents his first sale to a national magazine.” Hammell sold a few additional stories in the field of speculative fiction, as well as some poetry and interior art. “Summer of Monsters,” despite being a fine story on a popular theme, has not been reprinted since its appearance in TZ.

--“Mexican Merry-Go-Round” by Avram Davidson
Illustrated by Bill Logan
“Fate played comedian as two gringos took a ride with death on the . . .”

-Two small-time hoods pulling a job in Mexico each experience the bureaucratic nightmare of the other man dying when they turn to Mexican authorities for help instead of abandoning the body of their dead companion.

-Davidson’s tale reminds me of such stories as “The Party” by William F. Nolan or “The Jam” by Henry Slesar, in which characters are subjected to a cycle of hellish experience until the realization of their own deaths dawn on them. The story has not been reprinted since its appearance here. Davidson (1923-1993) is perhaps best known as the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from 1962-1964, for which he won a Hugo Award in 1962. He also reviewed books for the publication and compiled three volumes of their annual The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction. Davidson was also a fairly prolific writer of science fiction and fantasy. He won the Hugo Award for his 1958 story, “For All the Seas with Oysters.”

--“Five Minutes Early” by Robert Sheckley
Illustrated by Annie Alleman
“He had a few precious moments left – and they’d have to last him an eternity.”

-A man is accidentally brought to Heaven five minutes early and is given the choice to forego those minutes or to go back to earth until the proper time for his death. The man chooses to go back and uses the brief time to fill his memory with the pleasures of life on Earth.

-Sheckley returns with his fifth story for the magazine with this slight, touching fantasy. The story was reprinted in 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories (1984) and collected in Sheckley’s Is That What People Do? (1984).

--“The Silly Stuff” by Al Sarrantonio
Illustrated by Marty Blake
“Rose bushes that walked? Dead fish from the sky? Surely there was a perfectly logical explanation for it all.”

-An intrepid journalist follows a pattern of strange events and uncovers the existence of an alien, who once lived as a human named Charles Fort, who has been tasked with creating unexplainable occurrences in order to spark curiosity and intelligence in humans. The journalist is taken aboard the alien’s spacecraft and held in cryo-sleep until being released decades later into an unfamiliar future. He is taken to be a raving lunatic with no known provenance and becomes one of Fort’s strange occurrences himself.

-This was a fun story from Sarrantonio (b. 1952) who is best-known for his horror novels and stories, many of which center on Halloween, including his contribution to next month's issue, "The Spook Man." Sarrantonio is also an accomplished editor. He won the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for his anthology 999: New Tales of Horror and Suspense, and the 2001 Shirley Jackson Award (shared with Neil Gaiman) for Stories: All-New Tales. “The Silly Stuff” was collected in Halloween and Other Seasons (Cemetery Dance, 2008).

--TZ Interview: Nicholas Meyer: “. . . and here I am – making movies!”
Interview by Mark Denis Shepard
“Having written his way into bestsellerdom and Hollywood, the novelist-turned-director is looking for new worlds to conquer.”

-This is an interview spanning the then-brief career of novelist, screenwriter, and director Nicholas Meyer (b. 1945), director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Meyer remains well-known for his 1974 bestselling Sherlock Holmes novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, which he adapted as a screenplay for the 1976 film directed by Herbert Ross, starring Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, and Alan Arkin. The interview focuses chiefly on Star Trek, a series with which Meyer was largely unfamiliar before he took on the role of director for The Wrath of Khan. Meyer’s formative years as a writer and director are also discussed, including Meyer’s H.G. Wells meets Jack the Ripper film, Time After Time (1979). Other projects briefly discussed include the television film The Night That Panicked America (1975), about the Orson Welles War of the Worlds radio broadcast, and the cult film Invasion of the Bee Girls, which Meyer disowns due to meddling with his script.

-After The Wrath of Kahn, Meyer returned to the Star Trek franchise as a writer on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and writer/director of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). Meyer is credited as a writer and creative consultant on the CBS All-Access series Star Trek: Discovery. He has worked primarily in television since the mid-nineties. A color album of images from Meyer’s films, with commentary, concludes the interview.

--Another View: Star Trek: The Great American Love Story by Richard Matturro

-This is a brief essay examining the reasons why Star Trek continues to appeal to new audiences. The essay begins this way: “As everyone knows by now, the latest Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan, is something of a disappointment. The action is slow, the special effects only so-so, and the characterization, which ought to be its strong point, is weak and inconclusive.” After dismissing the recent Trek film in such a manner, Matturro proceeds to explore the reasons for Trek’s continued appeal to audiences, coming to the conclusion that the series endures because it celebrates love in the face of differences between people, or in the case of Trek, between people and aliens. It is this which touches the basic human (and perhaps particularly American) quality of welcoming diversity and celebrating differences.

--“Broken Walls, Shattered Dreams” by Duncan McLaren (words) & Simon Marsden (photographs)
Castleboro House
From the book: In Ruins: The Once Great Houses of Ireland (1980)
“Magnificent even in death, these ruined Irish mansions are now haunted by ghosts . . . and by history.”

-This is a fascinating photo-essay concerning the ruined mansions of Ireland. The essay is part memoir and part sociological history examining the times during which these great estates thrived and the reasons for their demise.

-The places photographed and described in the essay include:
Belview House (Lawrencetown, County Galway)
Castleboro House (Enniscorty, County Wexford)
Ballynatray House (Glendine, County Waterford)
Ardfry House (Ornamore, County Galway)
Dunboy Castle (Castletownberehaven, County Cork)
Connolly’s Folly (Celbridge, County Kildare)
Castle Bernard (Bandon, County Cork)
Menlough Castle (Galway, County Galway)
Waterston House (Athlone, County Westmeath)
Danganbrack Tower (Quin, County Clare)

--“In a Green Shade” by Melissa Mia Hall
Illustrated by Jill Karla Schwartz
“The love Andrew offered was not the ordinary sort – but then, he was a far-from-ordinary man.”

-A teenaged girl becomes infatuated with a beautiful older man who lives next door. He is reclusive and his home is known for its extensive garden. Slowly, a relationship forms between them but their contact fades as the girl grows up and goes off to college. Now a woman, she returns home and reconnects with the neighbor, who finally shows her the dark secret of his luscious garden when he asks her to lie down to be planted in the soil.  

-This was the best story in the issue, as it was not only an imaginative variation on the theme of fantastical plants but also a captivating narrative of youthful longing and awkwardness which subtly changed into a harrowing account of inhuman love and bodily mutation. All of this is couched in a simple, yet striking prose style which utterly convinces the reader of the experiences of the narrator. Surprisingly, “In a Green Shade” has not been reprinted since its appearance here but is a ripe rediscovery for an editor or anthologist.

-Melissa Mia Hall (1954-2011) previously appeared in the magazine with “Wishing Will Make It So,” in the November, 1981 issue, a story I also greatly enjoyed. She was a prolific short story writer in the eighties, publishing many of her tales in anthologies edited by Charles L. Grant (Shadows, After Midnight, etc.). She continued writing and publishing short fiction well into the twenty-first century but subsisted mainly as a books reviewer for a number of publications. The circumstances of Hall’s death are notable and understandably caused outrage among those who knew her and her colleagues in the publishing industry. Hall suffered a heart attack while attempting to pick up her dog, Daisy. Hall did not recognize the attack for what it was and did not go to the hospital because she did not have health insurance. As a freelance writer, Hall could not afford to pay the high premiums for health insurance. She suffered in great pain for two days before dying in her home. Her preventable death has been used as an example of the need for a universal healthcare system to cover all Americans.

--“One Small Change” by Gary Brandner
Illustrated by Mark Yankus
“As Dan Chance discovered, facing reality was no easy trick – because the damned thing kept changing.”

-A man wakes up to discover a number of terrifying changes in his life, including his appearance, the disappearance of his wife, the existence of a son he never knew, and even a change in the city where he lives. Turns out he is a character in a proposed television series undergoing last-minute changes to bring the character in line with the network’s desires.

-Brandner (1933-2013) returns to the magazine after an appearance in the Sept, 1981 issue with the story, “The Loaner.” “One Small Change” will remind readers of a couple of TZ episodes, including Charles Beaumont’s “Person or Persons Unknown,” and, especially, Richard Matheson’s “A World of Difference,” in which a man discovers his life is actually that of an actor in a film. Brandner was best-known for his novel, The Howling (1977), adapted into a 1981 film by director Joe Dante. Brandner wrote two sequels to the novel plus other horror novels such as Hellborn (1981) and The Brain Eaters (1985). He also wrote the novelization of Cat People, the 1982 film profiled in last month’s issue of TZ. “One Small Change” has not been reprinted since its appearance here.

--“Alive and Well in . . .” by Michael S. Smith
Illustrated by José Reyes
“With German in ruins, he planned the perfect escape: to the future.”

-Near the end of WWII Adolf Hitler fakes his death and utilizes the Third Reich’s most valuable top-secret project, a time machine, to catapult into the future to an unknown destination in South America. The machine disintegrates upon arrival, leaving Hitler with an odd group of people in the middle of the jungle. They call themselves the Peoples Temple and are led by the Reverend Jim Jones.

-This was a fun little shock-ending tale about Hitler getting his comeuppance in a most unusual and satisfying way. This was the first fiction sale for Smith, a technical writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Oui, New West, and The People’s Almanac. The story has not been reprinted since its appearance in TZ.

--“Pigs are Sensitive” by Jon Wynne-Tyson
Illustrated by Frances Jetter
“It was only cloth and stuffing. It couldn’t talk. It couldn’t even squeal. But it had a message for mankind.”

-A stuffed pig seems to take on a life of its own and begins to reflect the discord in a marriage, which ultimately ends when the couple are found butchered like pigs.

-This pleasingly gruesome tale was the first of three stories Wynne-Tyson (b. 1924) placed in TZ publications. Another story, “Mistral,” appeared in the July-August, 1983 issue of TZ, and the story “Monarch of the Glen” appeared in the Winter, 1985 issue of Night Cry. “Pigs are Sensitive” does not appear to have been reprinted since its appearance in TZ.

--“Saratoga Winter” by Jeff Hecht
Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan
“Hattie had received the old house as a gift – or maybe it was the other way around.”

-When the old woman she cared for dies, a caretaker is given the old woman’s house by the woman’s family. The house is home to a particularly nasty haunting or presence, one which induces the inhabitant to drink themselves to death. The caretaker descends into the depths of alcoholism until she is rescued by her family, who remove her from the house and burn the place to the ground.

-Hecht returns to the pages of TZ after placing his story, “On 202,” in the December, 1981 issue. “Saratoga Winter” is an atmospheric gem of a haunted house tale, with a particularly inventive haunting at its core. Surprisingly, it does not appear to have been reprinted since its appearance in TZ. Hecht is probably best-known for his science fact articles for such publications as Analog, Odyssey, Lightspeed, Nature, and others. He also writes the occasional short story, mostly science fiction.

--Show-By-Show Guide: TV’s Twilight Zone, Part Nineteen by Marc Scott Zicree
-Zicree rolls on in the fifth season of his guide to the original TZ series, providing cast, crew, summaries, and opening and closing narrations for “Probe 7 – Over and Out,” “The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms,” and “A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain.” An error is made in the feature when the images for “Probe 7 – Over and Out” and “The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms” are transposed.

--TZ Classic Teleplay: “In Praise of Pip” by Rod Serling

-The complete shooting script for Serling’s fifth season opener which originally aired on September 27, 1963. “In Praise of Pip” is one of Serling’s strongest teleplays, and certainly among the best episodes of the final season. It concerns a small-time bookie named Max Phillips (Jack Klugman) who gets shot during an altercation with a crime boss while trying to protect a young man who made the mistake of betting with money he, the young man, stole. Max earlier got news that his son, Pip, was injured during fighting in the emerging conflict in Vietnam. Pip is close to death. Although he loves his son dearly, Max was often absent and neglectful as a father. Max, nursing his gunshot wound, stumbles into an deserted amusement park which was home to some of his best memories with Pip. He prays to God to let him see Pip again. Pip appears, but as a ten-year-old. Father and son enjoy a magical hour together until Pip declares that his time is up and runs away. Max prays to God to be taken in place of Pip. Max dies from his wound. Pip recovers and returns to the amusement park on a crowded day and remembers the great times he had there with his father.

-“In Praise of Pip” is an emotional gut-punch of an episode featuring perhaps Jack Klugman’s strongest performance on the series. Klugman previously appeared in “A Passage for Trumpet,” “A Game of Pool,” and “Death Ship.” Billy Mumy, who previously appeared in “Long Distance Call” and, unforgettably, “It’s a Good Life,” portrayed young Pip. The cast is rounded out by Robert Diamond as older Pip, Connie Gilchrist as Mrs. Feeney, and S. John Launer as the crime boss Moran. Launer previously appeared in “The Purple Testament” and in uncredited roles in “And When the Sky Was Opened” and “Third from the Sun.”  

--Looking Ahead: In November’s TZ

Next time out we take a look at celebrated dramatist Reginald Rose’s contribution to The Twilight Zone, “The Incredible World of Horace Ford.” See you then!


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!