Thursday, November 11, 2010

TZ Promo: "Eye of the Beholder" (11/11/1960)

“Eye of the Beholder”
Season Two, Episode 6 (#42 overall)
Cayuga Production # 173-3640

The Twilight Zone is filled with iconic, unforgettable images. A myopic Burgess Meredith sitting on the steps of a demolished library, his glasses ruined. The robot Alicia, lying inert, her face destroyed by a laser blast. The Angel of Death, in the guise of a shabby hitchhiker, looking plaintively at Inger Stevens in her rearview mirror. A grinning plastic devil’s head, bobbling merrily atop a fortune-telling machine as it controls William Shatner’s every move.

Indelible images, frozen in celluloid time, imprinted on the collective memory of a generation (or three) of television viewers. Even if you’re not a fan of The Twilight Zone, you’d probably recognize some of the images it produced. Fifty years ago tonight, Rod Serling and company gave us probably the single most visually arresting, disturbing, and just plain unforgettable image ever. Not just on The Twilight Zone, but in all of television, then and now.

“Eye of the Beholder,” written by Rod Serling and directed by Douglas Heyes, is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Many consider it the single greatest episode in the entire series (it topped a poll taken by Twilight Zone Magazine in 1984). I doubt that there’s a single viewer out there --- diehard TZ fan or otherwise --- that doesn’t hold it in extremely high regard. And while it’s not my personal favorite, I have endless respect for it… as evidenced by my recent Halloween costume.

Much has been written about the episode over the years, and I imagine the shocking climax wouldn’t really shock anybody these days (plus, the various parodies and pop culture references over the years have likely spoiled it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, as with “Time Enough at Last” and “To Serve Man,” along with many other episodes). Nevertheless --- if by chance you’re reading this and you’ve never seen it, SEEK IT OUT. Rent it on DVD, watch it on YouTube, whatever…. But SEE IT. Even if you know how it ends, it’s still worth seeing for the pure artistry, the amazing performances, the moody and ethereal score by Bernard Herrmann, and the simple, powerful message…. God, it’s a thing of shadowy beauty. It’s truly something special, and has undoubtedly helped keep The Twilight Zone legacy alive these past 51 years.

The idiots at UPN actually had the temerity to remake this episode in 2002 during their short-lived Twilight Zone revival series. God damn it, when something is already perfect, what good can possibly come from attempting a remake? It’s like that pointless Psycho remake starring Vince Vaughn… why, why, WHY??? Ugh. The only decent thing that the UPN series produced was a sequel to season three’s “It’s a Good Life”… but we’ll get to that next year.

Next week: The season 2 winning streak continues with… wait, another devil story? What the hell…?


John W. Morehead said...

You might be interested in the various installments in a series on TZ by Arlen Schumer on my blog. Thanks for a great website.

Joy said...

Thanks for the great website! It is so nice to see there are others out there that have an appreciation for original and quality shows! I have been working on a 1/2 sleeve tatoo of various items from twilight zone opening credit symbols on my inner arm....have 2 but have 2 more than the light fill ins to go!
Thanks again!

Craig Beam said...

John --- yeah, I've read Arlen's piece(s). I'm the one who corrected him on the "blue-ray" vs "blu-ray" issue. :) Dude, your blog is awesome.

Joy --- Thanks for your kind comments. I would absolutely LOVE to see your tattoo when it's done... in fact, I'd be happy to do a spotlight on you right here! Stay in touch. I can be reached at .