The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 26 – Shadow Play 

Dennis Weaver plays a man named Adam Grant.  The first scene shows Adam sitting in a courtroom where he is the defendant in a murder trial.  The jury declares him guilty and the judge sentences Adam to death by electrocution.  Adam reacts by running toward the bench and telling the judge he can’t make him die again.  He is restrained by the court officers and removed from the room.

In the next scene Adam is on death row and he is interacting with his fellow prisoners.  One of them is particularly amused that Adam believes that the whole situation is actually a recurring nightmare that Adam has every night.  Adam even points out some inconsistencies that wouldn’t actually occur in real life but were playing out here.  For instance, the execution was about to occur directly following the trial and the fact that the inmate has a wristwatch which wouldn’t be allowed in a real prison.  When questioned what electrocution is like he describes the sequence in painstaking detail.

Next, we are in a suburban home where the District Attorney and his wife are about to have a steak dinner when the newspaper reporter who is covering the trial and who also happens to be their friend shows up drunk and begins trying to convince the DA to get a stay of execution.  He goes through Adam’s story and also points out some inconsistencies.  He convinces the DA to go down to the prison to at least talk to Adam.

When the DA meets with Adam, he hears the story direct from Adam and amusingly Adam is able to not only complete the DA’s sentences but also begin them.  This unnerves the DA but he is still skeptical.  And while this is going on Adam is trying to remember where in his real life all the characters of his dream came from.  He recognizes the prison chaplain as a priest in his parish who had died years ago.  He mentions to the DA how he knew him and then remembered what other parts in the drama he had played on previous nights.  Apparently, the dreams differed subtly and allowed characters to switch roles.

When the DA returns home he is very confused but at the very last minute before midnight the reporter convinces him to call the governor for a stay.  But just as he reaches him the current goes through Adam and one of the characters disappears from the room and then everything goes black.

Next, we see Adam back in the courtroom and this time one of the inmates is the judge and reporter is the DA this time.

There is a little bit of yelling at walls and it is a very down beat episode but it’s pretty well done so I’ll go for a B-.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 25 – The Silence

The episode takes place in an upper-class gentleman’s club where old money and just plain old Archie Taylor is angrily listening as younger brasher member Jamie Tennyson babbles on and on about some investment scheme or other while all the other members attempt to duck out on Tennyson before he can put the bite on them.  Finally, Taylor has the club butler walk over to Tennyson and hand him a note from Taylor.

The note is a wager.  Taylor is betting $500,000 that Tennyson can’t keep absolutely silent for one year.  The details require that Tennyson inhabit a walled fish bowl area in the club’s basement that is wired for sound and always available for observation by the membership.  When Tennyson asks him why he is making such an odd bet, Taylor says that Tennyson’s speech is so distasteful to him that he’ll do anything to give himself peace.  In addition, Taylor tells Tennyson that he knows he won’t lose the bet because Tennyson is congenitally incapable of shutting up for that long.

Taylor knows that Tennyson is desperate for money.  He has a spend-thrift wife who buys jewelry like it was going out of style.  Because of this Taylor believes that Tennyson will accept the bet and also lose and therefore be forced to resign from the club in disgrace.

Tennyson agrees but demands that Taylor put the money in escrow pending the outcome.  Taylor declines saying that his name and credit are all that’s needed to assure the wager.  Tennyson reluctantly agrees and the year is set to begin the next night.

In the next scene it’s nine weeks later, Tennyson is residing in the clear plastic walled enclosure and Taylor is amazed that Tennyson has been able to control himself so long.  But Taylor is merrily assuring his friends and associates that Tennyson won’t last much longer.

In the following scene it’s nine months into the year and Taylor seems to be getting worried.  He tells Tennyson that he feels sorry for him and offers him a thousand dollars to call the bet off and release him from his prison.  Tennyson refuses and writes on a pad “three months to go.”

Now Taylor starts using psychological warfare on Tennyson.  He hints to Tennyson that people have begun to see Tennyson’s wife going about town with other men.  He mentions over and over that Tennyson could lose his wife if he doesn’t leave right away and get her back.  This tactic is shown several times in the following scenes.  But although obviously tortured by the by the warnings he resists the temptation to quit.

Finally, it’s the last hour of the bet and Taylor’s friend and attorney George Alfred confronts Taylor with the knowledge that not only will Tennyson win the bet but Taylor will be exposed as a fraud and bankrupt.

The year is complete and Tennyson emerges from his isolation booth.  He walks over to Taylor and extends his hand to him palm up waiting for his check.  Taylor admits to the fact that he has no money, that Tennyson is the better man and that Taylor will resign from the club in disgrace.  But instead of verbally abusing Taylor and crowing over his victory Tennyson says nothing.

The other members are astounded and ask Tennyson to speak and tell them his side of the story.  But instead he takes a pad of paper and writes something and hands it to the members.  What it says is that before the contest Tennyson realized that he could not stay silent for a year so before he entered the room, he had the nerves to his vocal cords surgically severed.  Tennyson then removes the scarf that he has been wearing throughout the contest and we see the scars from the surgery.

I remember as a kid this one creeped me out.  The horror of a man maiming himself to win money still bothers me viscerally.  But I will admit the story is rather well done.  Liam Sullivan who plays Tennyson is actually quite a sympathetic character.  Taylor is played by Franchot Tone who was a pretty big star back in the day and is convincingly venal.  And Jonathan Harris (of “Lost in Space” fame) is an able voice of conscience as George Alfred.  I’m not speechless with amazement but let’s say B+.

Michael Anton Introduces Us to John Marini

Back in 2016 when Michael Anton was Publius Decius Mus on the Journal of American Greatness, John Marini’s pseudonym was Cato the Elder.  Anton admits that Marini’s posts were the most unpopular possibly because they were the most intellectually challenging.  Marini’s field of expertise is the metastatic cancer that is the Administrative State, also known as the “Swamp.”  Anton here tells us that Marini has a book called, “Unmasking the Administrative State.”  Marini is a big brain so without a doubt this will be a heavy slog for the man on the street.  Rather than recommending reading this book, which I’m not even sure I’ll read, read Anton’s article about it.  He is always a worthwhile read and is a good way to see the bigger picture that’s behind the latest outrage that the Swamp is perpetrating on us on any particular day.

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/draining-the-swamp1/

 

 

Mafia Rubouts Aren’t Showing Proper Respect

Back when I was a kid in Brooklyn the Mafia was a much more pervasive phenomenon.  But since the FBI put John Gotti away it seems NY Mafia activity has been in a coma.  But now news arrives that the head of the moribund Gambino crime family has been rubbed out in front of his Staten Island home.  He was run over and shot six or seven times.  But, at least in the NYC papers the most important aspect of the rubout was the disrespect shown by doing it in front of his house where his family had to see it.

We have fallen on hard times indeed.  Apparently, a crime boss’s home is no longer a safe space.  Perhaps the Left can work on that.  After all hurt feelings are real.

https://nypost.com/2019/03/13/gambino-crime-boss-frank-cali-shot-dead-outside-staten-island-home/

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 24 – The Rip Van Winkle Caper

The scene opens with four men and an eighteen-wheeler out in the desert near some hills.  We are told it’s Death Valley California and they’ve just robbed a train that was carrying gold bullion from Fort Knox.  The leader is a scientist named Farwell who used gas to render the train crew unconscious.  His assistant Erbie is an engineer who helped build the equipment and Brooks and DeCruz are criminals who provide the muscle and the nerve for the crime.

The men unload the gold into a hidden cave and get rid of the big truck and stash a smaller truck in the cave.  Now we learn the reason why this is a Twilight Zone story.  Falwell has perfected a gas that renders its users asleep in a state of suspended animation.  Erbie has built four glass boxes that will retain the gas for one hundred years while the gang outlive the arrest warrants for them and makes the gold, they stole much more valuable.

DeCruz is unwilling to be treated with the gas but Brooks, who doesn’t like him at all, threatens him at knife point.  Farwell has the boxes (or as they appear coffins) wired for sound and he walks the others through the steps to accomplish the plan.  The boxes fill with gas and the scene fades out.

In the next scene they wake up and seem a little dazed.  DeCruz complains that they look exactly alike, their hair and fingernails haven’t grown at all.  So, he concludes that it must be just a few hours later.  But then they find that Erbie’s box contains a skeleton.  A rock had shattered the glass top after falling from the roof of the cave.  The condition of Erbie’s body proves that an enormous amount of time has passed.  The plan worked and it’s a hundred years in the future.

Their plan is to take the truck to the nearest town and figure out the best way to cash in their gold.  Immediately Brooks and DeCruz start arguing about who will drive and who will sit in the back with the gold.  Once again Brooks uses his knife to win the argument.  But when Brooks goes down the road a little to look at a barrel of water, they will take with them, DeCruz runs him over with the truck.  But as DeCruz attempts to brake the truck after the killing he finds that the brakes won’t work.  He jumps out of the truck just as it hurtles down a cliff.

Now the gang is down to Farwell and DeCruz and they will have to walk thirty miles to the nearest town through the searing heat of Death Valley lugging as much of the valuable but incredibly heavy gold bars as they can carry.  Farwell is old and very out of shape.  After a while they stop to rest and Farwell discovers he has dropped his canteen somewhere.  He begs DeCruz for water and laughingly DeCruz agrees.  But the deal is one drink of water for one bar of gold.  As the day progresses much of Farwell’s gold ends up with DeCruz.  Finally, DeCruz ups the ante and changes the equation to two bars per swallow.  While DeCruz is stowing his new gold, Farwell takes one of his last bars and knocks DeCruz down and kills him with the heavy weight.

Now Farwell takes as much gold as he can carry and walks on.  Eventually he collapses from heat stroke.  A futuristic car with a man and a woman inside finds Farwell and the man goes over to try and help.  Farwell is on the point of death but he tries to use the gold as a means of getting the man to give him some water and take him to a hospital.  But before anything can be done Farwell expires.

The man goes back to the car and tells his wife what happened.  He is confused how the man ended up in the desert but he wonders why the man would think gold would be a convincing incentive to get help.  She asks, “Wasn’t it used as money back a hundred years ago?“  He replies, “Yes, but then we figured out how to manufacture it.”  And he throws the bar over by Farwell.

To my way of thinking, this is a terrible episode.  None of the characters are likable, not even the couple who find them at the end.  The surprise ending is not that surprising.  And who except for a complete psychopath would be willing to give up everything he values for some money?  Meh.  D

A Victim of Transgender Insanity Admits that the Whole Thing is a Sham

This guy was molested as a child and because of his confusion convinced himself he was transgender but when he realized that he wasn’t a woman, the courts allowed him to be “non-binary.”  And eventually he realized he was just a screwed up man.  But he tells how the LGBTQ movement and the medical and court groups push this stuff along even when it means screwing up and even mutilating kids.

I Was America’s First ‘Nonbinary’ Person. It Was All a Sham.

I Might as Well Re-Name the Site the Tucker Carlson Fan Club

He just lays it right out there.  Nothing that hasn’t been said a million times on the Dissident Right but when do you ever see this stuff on the big cable networks.  Spot on.

Tucker Carlson Tears Into Media Matters, CNN, Calls Brian Stelter a ‘Eunuch’ in Fiery Monologue

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 23 – A Hundred Yards Over the Rim

Cliff Robertson plays a character named Chris Horn.  Horn is a member of a wagon train that had crossed the prairie and deserts between Ohio and the New Mexico to start a new life in California.  Now the rest of the wagon train were despairing of finding water ahead and were talking of turning back.  His wife is heartbroken because their son Christian is terribly ill with a fever and thought near death.  One of the other heads of family, Charlie (played by John Astin) tries to reason with Chris about how futile it is.  Although practically hopeless himself Chris is very reluctant to give up after coming so far.    He tells Charlie he’ll go over the sand ridge to the side of their trail to see if he can find water and what’s on the other side.

When Chris crests the top of the ridge, he is met with a scene he cannot comprehend.  There are tall metal towers connected by rope-like lines that extend to the horizon in both directions and there is a black road that also extends in both directions as far as he can see.  Walking down to the road he touches it and finds that it is very warm.  Suddenly a huge machine comes flying down the road making a loud frightening noise and he runs for his life off the road.  While scurrying away his rifle accidentally discharges and the bullet nicks his arm.  Now thoroughly disoriented he walks along the road to see where it goes.

He shows up at a small 1960s vintage general store with a dining area and a gas pump out front.  The friendly married couple who own the store try to help Chris and answer his questions.  They give him water and the wife cleans his gunshot wound and gives him some penicillin to avoid infection.  They tell him about the area where they are (New Mexico) and that there is considerable water and game in the area.  When talking about the penicillin Chris realizes it may help his sick child and so he takes the container of pills.  Finally, when they ask him where he got the antique rifle, he takes offense declaring that it is a brand new 1846 rifle.  They inform him that it’s 1961.  He disbelieves them until he sees the date on the calendar on the wall.  He looks through their books and finds an encyclopedia that has an article on someone with his son’s name that went on to be a doctor in California in the late 1800s.  Now Chris is encouraged to think that not only will he make it to California but that his son will live.  A doctor that the couple had called checks on Chris’s wound and finds it to be satisfactory but after examining him he notes that he has fillings in his teeth that could not have been used after the middle of the nineteenth century.  Because of the gunshot wound and also because he has begun doubting Chris’s sanity, the doctor called the town sheriff to come and pick Chris up.  When Chris realizes what is going on, he makes a run for it.  As he nears the ridge he first climbed to get to this strange world, the police cruiser approaches.  Running to stay ahead of the sheriff he drops his rifle and sprints over the top of the ridge.  And there he finds his own wagon.  When he cautiously looks back over the ridge the twentieth century is nowhere to be seen.  No powerlines, no asphalt road and no sheriff on his heels.

He goes back to the wagon train and tells Charlie that they will find water and game very soon and that they will certainly get to California.  Then he tells his wife to give some of the pills to their son and that the boy will live and get better soon.  Chris Horn is an awestruck man but much more confident of the future for himself and his family.

Back in 1961, the sheriff and the store owner go over the crest of the hill and see no sign of Chris.  They pick up his rifle and return to the store.  But when they return to the store, they realize the rifle is now an antique and in terrible shape from a century of exposure.

I think Cliff Robertson did a very good job with this role.  The story is entertaining and there is plenty of human interest with the various sympathetic characters.  The story is another unexplainable time travel story but it is well done.

B+

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 22 – Long Distance Call

Grandma Bayles lives with her son Chris and his family, his wife Sylvia and their six-year old son Billy.  Grandma is very old and very sick and she knows she hasn’t long to live but she says to anyone who’ll listen that having Billy around has given her the only joy she has in life.  On his birthday she gives Billy a toy telephone and tells him that wherever she goes he can always talk to her using the toy phone.  The parents take this as a harmless game between an old lady and her very young grandson.  But almost immediately after the party Grandma is at death’s door and the family is assembled at her bed.  While trying to console her she reveals that she no longer considers any of them family except Billy and that she wishes he could go with her to the other side.

After she dies Billy’s parents notice him talking into the toy phone whenever they happen upon him in his room but he always stops talking as soon as he sees them.  When they ask him who he’s talking to he says Grandma.  Finally, one day his Mother sneaks up on him and grabs the phone away from him unexpectedly and she tells her husband afterward that she could hear breathing in the receiver.  Phil tells her that she must have been imagining it.  The phone after all is just a toy.

One day when Sylvia returns from the store the baby-sitter is in a panic and a man is sitting in the living room in an agitated state.  He tells her that he was driving down their street when completely out of nowhere Billy dashed directly in front of his wheel.  He said if he hadn’t been completely alert and swerved the boy would have been killed.  But most disturbingly when he asked Billy why he had run into the street he told him that someone told him to do it.  And of course, the baby-sitter swore she would never such a crazy thing but that Billy had been talking on his phone just before the incident.

Now the parents are convinced that Billy has been influenced in a terrible way by the phone and his grandmother’s feelings about having him join her.  They tell Billy that they are taking the phone away from him to prevent the problem from recurring.  Billy runs away distraught and a few moments later we found out that he threw himself into the ornamental fish pond and wasn’t breathing.

A rescue team of firemen work feverishly with oxygen and respiration gear on Billy but one of them says to the parents that it didn’t look good.

Now Phil Bayles takes his son’s toy phone in his hands and starts making an impassioned plea to his dead mother to let Billy go and let him live to grow up.  He says it’s not fair to take away all the good things in life that growing child gets to enjoy.  As her son and Billy’s father he pleads with her with a sob in his voice.

And as he finishes, we hear from the emergency crew the news that miraculously Billy has revived and seems to have escaped the risk of permanent damage from his scrape with death.

This episode has always made me very angry.  Unless that phone was a line to Hell, what kind of Heaven would allow in a grandmother who was capable of telling six-year-old grandson to run into traffic or drown himself in a pond.  Either way I have such contempt for her that I can’t enjoy the happy conclusion.  But I do recognize that it is a story with powerful imagery and Billy Mumy is a very convincing little boy actor, as usual.

Let’s say A-.