Friday, November 20, 2009

TZ Promo: “Time Enough At Last” (11/20/1959)

Time Magazine recently released a Top 10 Twilight Zone Episodes list, which can be viewed here. There's really no science or actual polling behind this list; rather, it appears to simply list ten of the most iconic, best-remembered episodes. We can debate the relative merits of such an approach (incidentally, only one of my top 10 favorites, "The Hitch-hiker," appears on Time's list), but what's the point? Most fans love all ten. I certainly do. Well… almost. There's one that I have serious issues with, and that episode is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary tonight.

Generally beloved by fans both casual and hardcore, and certainly well remembered (if for no other reason than it's shocking, ridiculously tragic ending), "Time Enough at Last" stars Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis, a sad, henpecked son of a bitch who just wants to READ. Newspapers, books, poetry, ketchup bottles, whatever. Trouble is, everyone around him seems determined to stop him, relentlessly so. Then, a twist of fate (surprise, surprise) changes the game completely. And then another twist of fate…. well, surely you know how this ends. But if you don't, I'm not spoiling it. At least not until my next entry, in which I'll dissect the hell out of it and see if I hate it as much as I think I do.

Anyway --- the episode was written by Rod Serling (based on a short story by Lynn Venable), directed by John Brahm, and has spawned many media references and parodies over the years (including a very funny bit on The Drew Carey Show; it was also mentioned in Twilight Zone: The Movie, which I should probably do a spotlight on one of these days). The episode features an original musical score by Leith Stevens, who scored hundreds of radio shows, including episodes of Suspense and The Abbot and Costello Show. This was his sole contribution to The Twilight Zone.

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