Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 



     W is for (A) World of His Own      

Peeking into the window of her playwright husband Gregory's (Keenan Wynn) study, Victoria West (Phyllis Kirk)sees him with a beautiful woman. When she barges into the room, however, the woman is nowhere to be found. His explanation is preposterous - he claims that when he speaks into his dictation machine, the characters for his play come to life before his eyes. Victoria's first reaction is that her husband should be committed. Even after a demonstration first with Mary and then with an elephant in the hallway, Victoria's still not convinced. Gregory tries one last method of proving to her he's telling the truth. Watch the full episode HERE.

  T.Z. Trivia:  
  • Gregory West's method of working, by using a recorder which would later be transcribed by a secretary, was how Serling produced all of his scripts, although he preferred to do his dictating while lounging beside his pool.
  • Rod Serling's first on-screen appearance on the Twilight Zone (1959). Earlier, all his narration was in voiceover only. He would make many other appearances in subsequent seasons, though this was the only one where he interacted with the characters or appeared during the closing narration; all his other appearances were for the openings.
  • The is the only time Serling interacted with the story's characters while doing one of his narrations.

  Musings:    This one of my favorite T.Z. episodes! In encompasses so many of my loves: writing, humor, and magic, all in one episode. The Twilight Zone used humor sparingly, and with good reason, they were not good at it. However, this episode was a perfect blend of humor and suspended belief capped off with a never done before (or again) twist of an ending. I'm not sure if I love this episode so much because it would a dream come true to be able to bring my characters to life with the help of a recording device, or if I was pleased to see a comedic episode of T.Z. that worked. Maybe it was both. Whatever the reason if you love writing, T.Z., or humor, check out A World of His Own. I do think the ending will surprise you.

Would you like a device that allows you to create reality just with the sound of your voice? What would you create? 


Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 


        V is for Valley of the Shadow      


Twilight Zone: 
Season 4, Episode 3
Valley of the Shadow 
(17 Jan. 1963) 

Off the beaten path, reporter Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson) stops in a small town, Peaceful Valley, to gas up and perhaps get a bite to eat. When his dog Rollie runs off after a cat, a young girl, Cissy, points a device at the animal and makes it disappear. After he witnesses the secret mechanical device which can control and rearrange atoms, making things appear and disappear, he soon finds himself forbidden to leave the small town. The town's mayor, Dorn, reveals their secret to him. The town refuses to share this and other amazing technology that had been given to them by a "great man of science" from an unknown land and planet (implying super intelligence from an alien world) until men learn the ways of peacePhilip is given the choice to join them or die - and chooses the former, though human instincts soon take hold forcing a confrontation. Watch the full episode HERE.

  T.Z. Trivia:  
  • The title comes from the King James Version of the 23rd Psalm in the Hebrew Bible. 
  • Sissy Johnson's dad is played by James Doohan, who also plays Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the engineer of Star Trek (1966)'s Starship Enterprise. 
  • The technology displayed at Peaceful Valley has its equivalent in the Federation universe: the device that breaks atomic structure and puts it together again (transporters), the one that creates objects from "statements" about atomic structure (replicators) and the invisible walls (force fields).

  Musings:  I prefer to get my T.Z. in half-hour doses, but this is one of the rare one hour episodes that's worth sixty minutes of your time. Peaceful Valley is similar to the Eagles Hotel California in that if you discover the town's secret, you can never leave. As I watched Philip Redfeild yearn for the freedom of his old life and the glory of curing all sickness, ending hunger, and essentially saving the world, I wonder what I would do in his place. Would I live my life in comfort or want the same for the world? I think this episode not only takes its title from the Hebrew Bible, but its theme from John 15:13: There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.  

How about you? Would you seek to save yourself or save the world? 

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 




     U is for Uncle Simon  


Twilight Zone: Season 5, Episode 8
Uncle Simon (15 Nov. 1963) 

Barbara Polk (Constance Ford) takes care of her elderly and mean-spirited uncle Simon.
He is a scientist who spends much of his time in his basement laboratory but when he's not there, he seems to take great pleasure in demeaning his niece. She can't wait for him to die and doesn't hesitate to tell him so. While berating Barbara, Simon raises his cane as if to strike her. Barbara catches his cane, and Simon falls down the stairs, breaking his back. Frustrated with his feebleness, nagging, and constant demands of hot chocolate, Barbara allows him to succumb to his injuries. Finally, she is free. She inherits his wealth but can only keep it if she stays in the house. She also has to care for the thing he created in his lab - a life-sized robot into which Simon Polk has programmed with his own personality. Watch the full episode HERE.

     T.Z. Trivia:   
  • The robot created by Uncle Simon is played by Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet(1956). The dome was modified by adding a crude head inside for this appearance. 
  • The next installment of Twilight Zone(1959), would not air for two weeks. The following week's episode on November 22, 1963 - which was to have been Night Call (One of my intial choices for N) - was cancelled due to the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas that day

   Musings:    Greed, in the end, fails even the greedy.― Cathryn Louis This episode, like Masks, deals with the another unique way to handle greedy relatives. Fortunately, I've never had to make a decision to be nice to a relative I hated to collect an inheritance since none of my relatives are rich. However, fortunately for me, I learned at a young age that although money can buy many things, it can't buy happiness. Even if I did have rich relatives I wouldn't have wasted my life waiting around for them to die to collect whatever they saw fit to bequeath me. Instead, I'd choose to enjoy the riches life provides even without a large bank account. 

Do you think money can buy happiness? Would you trade 25 years of your life for the hope of being rich? How do you find riches in your everyday life? 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 

      T is for Time Enough At Last      



Twilight Zone: 
Season 1, Episode 8
Time Enough at Last 
(20 Nov. 1959) 
Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredithloves to read. The only problem is that he can find neither the time nor the place to enjoy his pastime. At work, his boss imforms him he is not to read during working hours. At home, his shrewish wife won't even let him read a newspaper, let alone a book. They both complain that he wastes far too much time reading. One day while reading in the bank's vault, there is a huge explosion. He emerges to find the world destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. Finding himself totally alone, Bemis succumbs to despair. As he prepares to commit suicide he sees the ruins of the public library in the distance. Investigating, he finds that the books are still intact and readable; all the books he could ever hope for are his for the reading, and (as he gazes upon a huge fallen face of a clock) learns that he has all the time in the world to read them without interruption. Except for one small unintended event. Watch the full episode HERE.


   T.Z. Trivia:    
  • Out of the 92 episodes of Twilight Zone (1959) written by Rod Serling, this was his personal favorite. 
  • Rod Serling's closing narration for this 1959 episode begins, "The best laid plans of mice and men..." a quote from John Steinbeck's classic novel. Exactly 20 years earlier, actor Burgess "Harry Bemis" Meredith starred in the film adaptation of "Of Mice and Men."

  Musings:   I find it interesting that this episode was one of  Mr. Serling's personal favorites. I'd like to think that it has to do with him having a passion for reading similar to  Mr. Beemis, but I have a funny feeling it has more to do with the ironic ending. I also find it intersting that Mr. Beemis's boss, Mr. Carsville, berates him with this statement, "You are neither an efficient bank teller nor a proficient employee. You, Mr. Beemis are a READER." Having been in positions where I needed people to do the job they were hired to do, I can empathize with Mr. Carsville. However, I have never berated my employees for being readers and hope that words like that, uttered with such negativity, are never spoken anywhere outside the Twilight Zone. 

Are you as obsessed with reading as Mr. Beemis? Have you ever been berated for reading when you should have been doing something else? I'm obessively reading The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithWhat are you reading?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 


      S is for (To) Serve Man


Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 24
To Serve Man (2 Mar. 1962) 

Michael Chambers (Lloyd Bochner) recounts recent events on Earth after the arrival of a alien space craft. The aliens, known as Kanamit, a race of 9-foot (2.7 m)-tall aliens, seem friendly and assure everyone they have nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they offer to share wonderful technology that will provide limitless energy, cure all disease and convert deserts into lush gardens. Trust in the Kanamits seems to be justified when Patty, one of a staff of US government cryptographers led by Chambers, cracks the title of a Kanamit book the spokesman left behind at the UN. Its title, she reveals, is To Serve Man. Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits' home planet, which is portrayed as a paradise. With the Cold War ended, the code-breaking staff has no real work to do, but Patty is still trying to decrypt the meaning of the textThe book's title To Serve Man seems benign - but it's not what they think it is. Watch the full episode HERE.

    T.Z. Trivia     This is the only instance in Twilight Zone (1959) of a character (other than the host Rod Serling) breaking the "fourth wall" - when Mr. Chambers looks directly into the camera at the end and addresses the audience.


   Michael Chambers:   "You don't think about 12:00 noon on the next day or the day after that. But that's what we should have been thinking about- tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. We were preoccupied with the hands on a clock when we should have been checking off a calendar. It was an April day, and it was noon then, too. And people walked and drove and bought and sold and fretted and laughed. The world went on much as it had been going on with a tentative tiptoeing alongside a precipice of crisis. There was Berlin to worry about and Indochina, and Algeria and all the other myriad problems, major and minor that somehow had lost their incisive edge of horror because we were so familiar with them."

   Musings:   As I've said numerous times, the Twilight Zone never ceases to amaze me with its timeless uncanny ability to reveal the truths of mankind. As I watched this episode again that line of how horrible things lose their edge of horror because we were so familiar with them, echoed in my ears. Is it our familiarity with horrible things that allow us to ignore our current worldwide atrocities? How else can we explain the world's inaction against ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda? During WWII we didn't have the internet to show us what was happening, but today, we do. I am not trying to bt political or divisive, I'm just trying to understand.

Do you think we've become familiar with horror? Are we tiptoeing alongside a precipice of crisis? Do you think it's going to take the arrival of an alien race to unite the human race?


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 

      R is for Ring-A-Ding Girl   


Twilight Zone: Season 5, Episode 13
Ring-A-Ding Girl
Barbara 'Bunny' Blake (Maggie McNamarais a well-known actress whose hometown fan club sends her an invitation to come home along with an enchanted ring in which sees the faces of her friends and family. Bunny owes her career to the the residents of Howardville who paid her way to Hollywood when was just starting out. She arrives home on the same day as the town's annual picnic and feeling a sense of dread tries to have the event postponed. She doesn't get much cooperation and so takes matters into her own hands.

**Spoiler Alert**
Rod Serling's closing narration for the Ring-A-Ding Girl states: "We are all travelers. The trip starts in a place called birth - and ends in that lonely town called death. And that's the end of the journey, unless you happen to exist a few hours, like Bunny Blake, in the misty regions of the Twilight Zone." Each time I watch this episode, I find myself in the misty regions of a Twilight Zone conundrum. How does she manage to be in two places at once? Often I have to suspend my reality as I watch T.Z., but this time I find myself trying to answer this question. Was she never actually on the plane until seconds before? Was it her ghost in town? Maybe you Sci-Fi writers can figure it out for me. One thing I did figure out is Bunny made the ultimate sacrafice for her loved ones and that alone makes this an episode I always enjoy watching. 

Can you explain how Bunny was in two places at once? Would you lay your life down for your family and/or friends?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.
The letter Q often proves to be a challenge in Scrabble and in the A to Z Challenge., this time was no exception. Unlike M or N where I had to whittle down my list of choices, Queen of the Nile was the only choice there was for Q. 

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 


      Q is for Queen of the Nile    
          
   

Twilight Zone: Season 5, 
Episode 23 Queen of the Nile (6 Mar. 1964)
A syndicated columnist, Jordan Herrick, gets an interview with the famous and beautiful actress Pamela Morris (Ann Blyth). She is known for her vitality and beauty, and many want to know her secret to staying young and beautiful. Ms. Morris claims to be 38 years old but according to Jordan's information, that would have made her first film as an adult when she was only 10. He takes her word for it but her elderly mother, Viola Draper, has news for him: she's not Pamela's mother, she is her daughter. The more he looks into her background, the more convinced he becomes that Pamela hasn't aged for decades. Faced with the facts, Pamela shows the lengths she will go to in order to protect her great secret. Watch the full episode HERE.


  Musings:  The letter Q often proves to be a challenge in Scrabble and in the A to Z Challenge, this time was no exception. Unlike M or N where I had to whittle down my list of choices, Queen of the Nile was the only choice there was for Q. This T.Z. episode bears a strong resemblance to Long Live Walter Jameson, an episode shot four years earlier with the same fountain of youth premise. Although the episode has great dialogue and a couple of the usual T.Z. twists, this concept of eternal youth was not handled with as much intrigue and explanation as its predecessor. Perhaps eternal youth was on the minds of the T.Z. writers when they wrote it or perhaps they just wanted a venue that would star the lovely Ann Blyth or maybe they were fed up with the mediocre reviews they were receiving from the press and fantasized about a means of disposing of them. Whatever the reason the best thing I can say about this episode is it met my need for the letter Q

Did you find it challenging to find a post for the letter Q? Can you believe there are only nine more posts left in this challenge? Do you believe in the existence of the fountain of youth?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for...

o

'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 




People Are Alike All Over     

Twilight Zone: 
Season 1, Episode 25
People Are Alike All Over (25 Mar. 1960) 
Two astronauts, Biologist Sam Conrad (Roddy McDowall) and Marc Marcusson, are scheduled to go on a mission to Mars. Conrad, who has a more cynical view of human interplanetary nature, is genuinely concerned about what they will find there. The mission commander, Mark Marcusson, is a positive thinker who believes that people are alike all over, even on the Red Planet. He tells Conrad  there's nothing to worry about as he firmly believes that God made everyone in his image and no matter what they find, he is certain that people are alike all over. They crash-land on Mars and Marcusson dies from his injuries. Conrad is happy to find that the people of Mars are very human-like, friendly and intelligent. They provide him with a home and promise him much more. Too late however he realizes that, just as Marcusson had said, people are alike all over. Watch the full episode HERE.


   Musings:  The idea that people are alike all over is a comforting one as long as you acknowledge that people aren't perfect, just human. Over the years I've learned that in order to get along you have to filter the good from the bad. Although the ending of this T.Z episode had one of those unexpected endings that revealed the ugly side of our similarities, I still enjoy getting to know people and trying to find our commonalities. I am fortunate enough to live in a friendly multi-cultural neighborhood where we have summer potlucks and exchange holiday gifts. Living here has given me an opportunity to realize that although we may wear different masks Armenian, American, French, Hungarian,Filipino, Latino, underneath, people really are alike all over. 

How do you view human nature? Are you a skeptic like Conrad or a positive thinker like Marcusson? Do you think people are alike all over?

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 


     O is for Obsolete Man      

Twilight Zone: 
Season 2, Episode 29
The Obsolete Man (2 Jun. 1961) 
In a futuristic totalitarian world, meek and mild-mannered librarian Romney Wordsworth (Burgess Meredith) finds himself on trial for the crime of being obsolete. This future society has decided on everything people need to know. There is no God and there are no books. Society doesn't need librarians. His occupation as a librarian is a crime punishable by death as the State has eliminated books and literature. He believes in God, a crime also punishable by death. Romney makes an impassioned plea about his rights and free will but the judge in the case the Chancellor, will have nothing of it. The jury finds Romney obsolete and orders him to be executed. As he can choose the method of his death, Romney's plans include a little surprise for the Chancellor. Watch the full episode HERE.

I find many of the Twilight Zone episodes chilling, but this one sends chills up my spine for all the wrong reasons. A world where there are no books or God isn't a world I hope never comes to fruition. Edmund Burke said, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." It is pretty clear that this episode was meant to highlight the dangers of totalitarianism. I also believe this episode is meant to put emphasis on the importance of art, philosophy, literature, freedom of religion, and free speech in a society (all of which are taken away by the state in the episode). Wordsworth compares the Chancellor to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, and asks "History teaches you nothing, does it?" The chancellor's reply is "On the contrary, history teaches us a great deal." The chancellor then argues that Hitler and Stalin had the right idea, but that their mistake was that they did not push their merciless agenda far enough. Let's hope this ideology stays where it belongs, in The Twilight Zone. 

How would you feel living in a world where books and God are obsolete? Do you think not knowing our history allows us to repeat it? 




Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist. 


   N is for Nothing in the Dark   

Image result for Nothing in the Dark Twilight Zone: 
Season 3, Episode 16
Nothing in the Dark
A lonely old woman, Wanda Dunn (Gladys Cooperhas fought with death a thousand times and has always won.  She never leaves her dark basement apartment because she's afraid "Mr. Death" is waiting for her outside. When police officer Harold Beldon (Robert Redford) is shot at her front door, the reluctant woman opens it and lets him in. He talks to her about her fear, and she tells him she has seen Death before in the form of a man, and witnessed him taking away the life of a woman just by touching her. Wanda has been afraid of death ever since. When a contractor comes to demolish the building, he explains the "old gives space for the new" to her and she finds that her new journey has begun. Watch the full episode HERE.

 Musings:Nothing in the Dark is another classic Twilight Zone episode. Aside from the fact that it features a very young and handsome Robert Redford, it expresses one of man's largest fears; the unknown. For Wanda, this unknown is death. For many of us death is interpreted in a variety of ways: the after life— heaven vs. hell, an eternal sleep, cease of existence, whatever your take on death I believe we can all agree, for the most part, it is unknown. Another point we can agree upon is one day death will come for us and no matter how we try, there will be no place to hide. We can only hope that when death comes knocking at our door it is as gentle and as handsome as Robert Redford. 

What is your take on the afterlife? Do you fear the unknown? Would you open the door to Robert Redford?