For many, "Walking Distance" is the greatest Twilight Zone episode ever. For me, this wistful tale of a man whose longing for his younger days is so intense that he manages to transcend the barrier of time and actually visit said younger days... well, is really good, but somehow just falls short of greatness. I can't explain why. A recent viewing of Toy Story 3 is proof that my heart has not hardened with age: I bawled like a baby.
All the elements are here: a brilliant Serling script, fine direction by Robert Stevens, a marvelous performance by Gig Young, an achingly beautiful musical score by Bernard Herrmann... And yet, I'm not as moved as I should be (by contrast, season 5's "In Praise of Pip" chokes me up every time I see it). Maybe I'm not quite old enough yet to truly feel the power of nostalgia. Or maybe my childhood wasn't quite as idyllic as Martin Sloan's. I dunno.
Regardless, I have no beef with those who adore the episode. It's quite lovely. It's just not my favorite (it is, however, in my top 40 favorites, so there). "Walking Distance" premiered on October 30, 1959, and was repeated 50 years ago tonight. See my previous entries here and here.
Next week: One of my favorites from season 1. It's also one of my favorites, period. It's also the first Twilight Zone episode I ever saw. I'd say that more than justifies a repeat!