Treasures of the Twilight Zone/B,B-
Panasonic/1959-64/FS 1.33
     The initial presentation of Treasures of The Twilight Zone includes three episodes from the series, a Mike Wallace interview of Rod Serling and a "pitch" tape made by hosted by Serling selling the series to potential sponsors.
     The first episode is Where is Everybody? , the premier episode of the series which began in October 1959. A man suffering from amnesia wanders through an apparently deserted town. There are signs that the daily life of the town has stopped suddenly and mysteriously. His hunt for help takes him through different buildings including a movie theater and a police station as he becomes progressively more agitated by his isolation. Earl Holliman makes the most of his moments of isolation.
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George Takei and Neville Brand in The Encounter CBS Video

     The Encounter is the second episode of the collection. Not available for syndication since its controversial debut in 1964, the claustrophobic and xenophobic story takes place in the attic of a former World War II marine. The marine, played by a puffed up and tired looking Neville Brand invites a Japanese gardener (George Takei) up to the attic to help him clean out the accumulation. Amongst the dusty artifacts of the past is a Samurai sword taken from a Japanese officer. The sword serves as a precarious rope bridge between the former marine and the young Japanese man. With short, breathless precision, a relationship between the two men in the attic is defined. Somewhere between the moments of vitriol and civility the two men face themselves in this well made explosive little drama.
     The third episode, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, was not even made for The Twilight Zone, yet was the last piece shown on the series. Made in France, the short film was the winner of the 1963 Academy Award as Best Short Film. From an Ambrose Bierce short story, this tale about the hanging of a Southern Man during the United States Civil War truly does play like it was written for the series. Poetic and starkly real at the same time, the action plays out like a nightmare. The pomp and ceremony surrounding the moments leading up to and the actual hanging are laid out in careful military fashion. As the condemned man teeters on the edge of the bridge, rope around his neck, the tale takes off in its own direction. This is an outstanding work of short film.
     The overall image quality of the DVD is quite good. The black and white material has some markings, but the contrast is strong and shadow detail fine. The Dolby Digital mono sound is serviceable. The Serling interview is fascinating, though the video source is atrocious to say the best. One might consider simply listening to it with no video. Serling confronts the issues of censorship with varying degrees of frankness. Mike Wallace never pulls his punches and Serling doesnt flinch. The "pitch" tape made by Serling and company to sell the series is a fascinating television artifact and a lot of fun to watch. Standard issue written essays about the show fills out the specials on the DVD.

 

 

 

 

 


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