The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 3 – Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

One of the greatest Twilight Zone episodes.  The magnificent awfulness of Bill Shatner’s acting is on full display.

 

The story is simple and short enough.  Bill Shatner is Bob Wilson, a salesman who had a nervous breakdown on an airline flight and is returning home with his wife Julia after a six-month commitment to a mental institution.  As the couple board the aircraft for their flight home, Julia tries to reassure Bob that he is cured and their lives are back on track.  Bob pretends to agree but when he sees that they are sitting in the emergency exit row his panic is there for both to see.

Julia takes a sleeping pill but Bob is too nervous to sleep.  But as he looks out the window into the rain storm he sees a furred man-like creature with a strange masklike face walking on the wing.  Bob rings the service bell and wakes up Julia and tells her what he saw but when she and the stewardess look out the window there’s nothing there.

Now Bob is afraid that he is hallucinating.  But shortly afterward he sees the creature again and he tries to get the crew to see it.  He tells them that the creature is tampering with one of the engines.  The flight engineer pretends to believe but Bob sees through his charade.  Bob says, “I won’t say another word.  I’ll see us crash first.”  When the flight crew gives him a sleeping pill, he pretends to swallow it.  When Julia falls asleep Bob leaves his seat and steals a gun out of the holster of a sleeping policeman.  When he gets back to his seat and sees the gremlin at work again, he fastens his seat belt, wakes Julia up and asks her to get him a drink of water and when she leaves, he pulls the emergency exit handle.  The window flies out and the depressurization and wind speed almost pull Bob out of his seatbelt and pin him against the outside of the fuselage.  The gremlin sees him and trundles toward him menacingly.  Bob pulls his body forward, brings up the gun and fires all six rounds into the gremlin apparently killing it.

The next scene is Bob under a blanket on a stretcher being removed from the plane and waiting on the tarmac for an ambulance to bring him to an insane asylum.  He tells Julia that it’s all over but no one believes what he’s done but that soon they will believe.  In the ending monologue by Serling he shows us the damage to the engine visible on the wing and tells us that soon other people will know and believe Bob’s story.

The story is fun because of its wild nuttiness.  The gremlin creature’s suit and facial makeup is pathetic.  It looks like something that you might buy in a cheap Halloween Costume Store.  Whenever anyone but Shatner is looking the monster jumps off the wing and it’s obvious that a wire is involved.  And when the gremlin is advancing on Shatner’s character at the end of the episode, he walks like he’s stuck on flypaper.  The whole effect is laughably bad.

But what truly makes this story so special is Shatner’s facial expressions.  Many of his grimaces at seeing the gremlin are hilarious but I have two favorite moments.

The first is when Bob first sees the gremlin pull back the engine cowling and start tampering with the wiring.  The Shatner’s masklike expression of terror is uproarious.

The second moment is when he is trying to steal the gun from the policeman’s holster, Shatner’s attempt to look guilty and sneaky at the same moment is pure Shatner gold.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, anyone who can’t laugh at these two scenes has a heart of stone.

This episode is obviously an A+.  Going beyond the scope of these Twilight Zone reviews this review will be a part of the ShatnerKhan corpus of scholarly papers.  I will use this as the basis for a more detailed examination of this very important part of the Shatner canon.

 

17JUL2019 – OCF Update

As the days of my vacation dwindle down I am reminded of the importance of prioritizing tasks.  Yesterday I returned the lenses and teleconverters to the rental company, taking a flurry of photos right before packing them up.  Just as a preliminary statement without actually having analyzed any of the files I took with the Mitakon SpeedMaster 50mm f/0.95, I will go out on a limb and guess that I won’t want to own this lens.  First off its a manual lens (which isn’t a deal breaker by itself).  Secondly the aperture is not only manual but it doesn’t register on my Sony A7 III files.  And thirdly, I’m kind of a sharp lens junky.  This lens is not that kind of lens.  At f/0.95, sharpness isn’t even a possibility.  So, I’m guessing I’ll be giving it a pass.  But that’s not to say I might find some applications where it makes sense to use it.

I will also review the Sony 100-400mm GM zoom lens.  This is a very good and useful lens that I’m very interested in.  There will be a lot of comparisons between the 400 with and without the 1.4X and 2X teleconverters attached.I’ll have a lot more to say about these combinations but one thing I will state upfront is that telephoto work is a lot more than a honking big lens.  Technique is everything.  Using monopods, tripods, teleconverters, polarizers and using the correct camera modes for ISO, exposure and focus are every bit as important as the lens.  And hand holding a very heavy lens is an art in and of itself.

The political news cycle is jam packed with important and bizarre occurrences so I actually have to show restraint and concentrate on the most entertaining items.  Otherwise I might overload on SJW outrage and lose my sunny disposition.

On the review front, today I’ll be reviewing the last episode of Twilight Zone, Season Four.  That will be the last of the hour long episodes and back to the half hour format that I think works best for this genera.  So that means we have about ten more weeks of TZ articles.

Last week the first phase of ShatnerKhan began.  And as expected it was cheesy and pathetic.  It exceeded all expectations.  I will write up this first volley soon and all will be amazed at how truly sad an acting career can be.

Stay tuned.

After you’ve read enough sexbot articles on Drudge maybe switch to something interesting

 

04JUL2019 – OCF Update – Happy Fourth of July

Just a quick update.  I’m, of course, going to a family barbecue today.  But I’m off for a couple of weeks and will use the time to test out some lenses I’ve rented the following lenses:

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS and the Sony 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters and the

Mitakon SpeedMaster 50mm f/0.95 Lens for Sony E.

I hope to have some interesting conclusions about these two products.  I’ve been looking for a telephoto and think the 100-400 might be a more useful lens that the 200-600 that is coming out next month.  And the 50mm 0.95 is probably not something I need but it might be fun to have such an extremely thin plane of focus in certain shots.

Shatner-Khan was postponed due to illness but I have plans to publish important original research on the subject in the weeks ahead.

And I plan to eat my share of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob (hand shucked!) and watermelon in the days to come.  To all of you enjoy our Independence Day and make sure that your children and grandchildren know the truth and don’t let them be misled by the Colin Kaepernicks and Nikes of the world.  We had to separate ourselves from tyranny once before and we can do it again.  In fact just by how we think of these people, we already have.

Here’s a little reminder.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

 

 

15JUN2019 – OCF Update

Apologies for the quiet today.  I was on a trip and got home later than I thought I would.  I’ll catch up tomorrow.  Shatner-Khan is in disarray.  Attendance has plummeted due to outside forces, George Takei perhaps.  I’ll have to salvage it using, in Deadpool’s words, maximum effort.  I haven’t reviewed the news today, so who knows what fresh horror awaits me.  Stay tuned

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After you’ve read enough sexbot articles on Drudge maybe switch to something interesting

26MAY2019 – OCF Update

Please excuse the sparsity of posting this weekend.  An illness in the family took precedence, of course.  I hope to put something together for tomorrow that may be interesting.  It shouldn’t be too difficult with all the fascinating chaos swirling around our maelstrom of revolt.  The Brexit Party has upended the Establishment apple-cart in the British European Parliament election.  Essentially it’s like a second Brexit vote and this has finally forced Theresa May to declare her resignation for sabotaging the Brexit and even bungling that.  Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are the men of the hour and with any luck they’ll force a hard Brexit and begin to eject the Remain Conservatives from their seats.

Trump and Barr are the focus on this side of the Atlantic and the prospect of DOJ Swamp Critters outbidding each other to be the Rat Who Stayed Out of Prison just warms my vengeful little heart.  Can you imagine Comey, Clapper and Brennan each trying to spin a tale that makes the other two the criminals and himself just an innocent bystander.  Be still my beating heart.

I’ll put up a review of the Blade Runner 2049 movie.  And I have a few things to say about the Globalists.

And finally I’d like to give a ShatnerKhan update.  Camera Girl has made destructive comments concerning the value of ShatnerKhan.  I won’t say this has threatened the marriage but it has certainly lowered my opinion of her cultural literacy.  But I haven’t allowed this assault to lessen my zest for all things Shatner.  Even now I am drafting the audio-visual list.  The Original Series, of course.  The two Twilight Zone episodes, absolutely.  Secrets of a Married Man, it’s canonical.  I have to watch some of Boston Legal to see if it’s Shatneresque enough for me.  But I don’t think I’ll go back to TJ Hooker.  Even I have limits.

Hopefully it will be a good week.

19MAY2019 – OCF Update – ShatnerCon or ShatnerKhan?

I was out of town all day Saturday (18MAY) and only got back this afternoon.  It was a family event and gave me a chance to see all the people who are so important to me but don’t live int he area.  Most of the discussions were family stuff that doesn’t belong on a blog like this but there was one piece of business that could be discussed here.

A small secret fanatical group of Shatner fans will gather in July to celebrate and mock all things Bill Shatner.  The agenda will include the viewing of prodigious doses of Shatner on the screen and scholarly papers dedicated to dissecting the genius, nay the divinity, of the greatest bad actor of his generation.

But the naming committee is deadlocked between ShatnerCon and ShatnerKhan as the official designation of this seismic event.  It seems only fitting that you, the audience of Orion’s Cold Fire step forward and cut this Gordian Knot.  Or something.

Anyway, the road trip has thrown me behind schedule so I will be scrambling to put up contnet for the next few days.

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