Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cool TZ Merchandise: Spoiler Alert T-Shirt!

Now here's something surprising: a Twilight Zone-themed shirt that doesn't simply riff on the opening titles or graphics. Instead, it reveals --- in a decidedly irreverent manner --- several of the show's surprise endings. I typically try to avoid spoilers in this blog, but I find this shirt too hilarious to ignore.

The picture isn't quite big enough to read clearly, so here's the rundown:

Row 1, left to right:

"He breaks his glasses." (Time Enough at Last)
"There really is something on the wing." (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet)
"There are two aliens, and he's one of the them." (Will the Real Martin Please Stand Up?)

Row 2, left to right:

"It's a cookbook." (To Serve Man)
"Everyone else is ugly." (Eye of the Beholder)
"The pocket watch breaks." (A Kind of a Stopwatch)

Row 3, left to right:

"The masks deform their faces." (The Masks)
"She's a mannequin, too." (The After Hours)
"They're astronauts from Earth." (The Invaders)

I also love the fact that "The Twilight Zone" doesn't actually appear anywhere on the shirt. If you're cool, you'll just know.

You can get yours here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vintage TV... With a Twist.

One of the joys of the internet is the myriad ways one can bump into (in a virtual sense) fellow TZ fans. One such fan is Kyler, who I met through Facebook, where he'd posted a picture that caught my covetous eye. It seems this industrious individual has connected a PlayStation3 to a vintage Motorola TV set, and is enjoying The Twilight Zone on it! He was kind enough to write up how he did it, and provided several pictures. Take it away, Kyler!

My name is Kyler, I’m 16 years old, I’m from Washington, and this is my beautiful example of a working 100% original 1956 Motorola TV. I changed a few tubes to achieve maximum performance then hooked it up to the RF converter box and now I can use it with my PS3! Its great for watching stuff like the original “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and “the Twilight Zone”, but playing Fallout 3 on it is a kick!

It was fate that I found this TV. I was actually camping and needed some fire-starters so I rode down to the store and got a newspaper. I noticed by chance the for sale section and saw “1956 Motorola TV $20”. I called the owner and arranged a meet where I picked up the TV.

It did work at first, however the picture was incredibly fuzzy and when I finally got my tube tester a few months later I tested all the tubes and replaced a few. Now it works perfectly. I am using it sparingly however; imagine trying to replace the picture tube! I recently bought the remote, but have yet to get it to work. I am not sure if the remote is broken or the sets RF receiver is broken, but it is still very cool to have. Thanks for reading!

Very cool INDEED. I'm not gonna lie.... I'm sorely tempted to start scouring for my own vintage set. Maybe one of these days.... Hey, for those of you might be inclined to take on such a project, Kyler was kind enough to provide some pictures of his supplies:

You see that metal Coke sign in the upper right corner? I have the exact same sign in my garage!

If anyone else out there has something similar set up, drop me a line. I'm always happy to spotlight this type of stuff. Thanks again, Kyler!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Repeat Report: Summer 1961, Part 1

Ah, summer. The days are longer, the nights are warmer, and our favorite TV shows…. well, they’re still on, but we see repeats. Or at least, that’s how it always worked, up till the last few years. Nowadays, our favorite shows vanish during the summer, and other shows (mostly reality crap) temporarily replace them. The only way to see repeats now is to wait for syndication, buy ‘em on home video or stream ‘em via Hulu or Netflix.

But the old model was firmly in place in 1961, which meant you got around 36 new episodes per year, a few random pre-emptions, and 12-plus weeks of repeats during the summer. But The Twilight Zone being, well, The Twilight Zone, there had to be a little twist somewhere. The show’s second season wrapped in early June, which should have led into repeats from season two…right? Wrong. The repeats directly following season two were culled exclusively from season one.

Why? I presume it’s because, with such a plethora of new episodes each season, only a fraction of them could be aired again during the repeat season. In fact, by summer 1961, only 16 of season one’s 36 episodes had been repeated. That left a whopping 20 episodes, plus season two’s 29 offerings, as rerun fodder. Since more time had elapsed since season one, those episodes would be less familiar. Makes sense.

Fear not, we will see season two repeats… but not until next summer, after season three wraps.

The Twilight Zone's repeat schedule for summer 1961 was 14 weeks long. We'll cover the first 7 here. Make sure to click on the images to see the full-size HD beauty.

"Where Is Everybody?"
(originally broadcast 10/02/1959)

"Perchance to Dream"
(originally broadcast 10/27/1959)

"I Shot an Arrow in the Air"
(originally broadcast 01/15/1960)

"Escape Clause"
(originally broadcast 11/06/1959)

"A World of Difference"
(originally broadcast 03/11/1960)

"The Fever"
(originally broadcast 01/29/1960)

"The Purple Testament"
(originally broadcast 02/12/1960)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

News Flash: New TZ bobbleheads available NOW!

Two new Twilight Zone bobbleheads are available NOW from Bif Bang Pow!

First up, we've got the long-awaited companion piece to last year's wonderful Gremlin bobblehead (from season five's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"). It's William Shatner himself, as the beleaguered Bob Wilson. This piece is especially cool because, when paired with The Gremlin, you've got an awesome set of bookends!

I've been using my Gremlin's limited-edition color brother as a placeholder until I get my Bob Wilson. Looks like my wait is almost over (I'm placing my order this week)...

Next up we've got the ventriloquist's-dummy-gets-revenge-by-pulling-the-ultimate-switcheroo act, immortalized in bobblehead form. From season three's "The Dummy," it's Willie and Jerry!

Each bobblehead is $12.99, and are available NOW. Click on the links, if you're so inclined. I certainly am.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

SyFy's 4th of July Twilight Zone marathon....

... is on right now! It started about 2 1/2 hours ago. Guess I came back from my sabbatical just in time, eh?

Actually, I don't watch TZ on TV. Commercials, syndication cuts, scratched-up prints, etc. No thanks. I'll stick with my blu-rays, which are complete and gorgeous to behold. However, I totally dig the marathon concept and, if my fellow TZ devotees lived closer to me, I'd totally be down with watching one in a group setting. Alas, I remain isolated in my obsession. Sigh. No, wait. Double sigh.

Ahem. For those of you who perhaps don't own the series on home video, or just wanna watch the marathon for the hell of it, here's the schedule (times are eastern):

Jul 3
09:00 AM The Rip Van Winkle Caper
09:30 AM Mirror Image
10:00 AM The Lonely
10:30 AM Hocus-pocus And Frisby
11:00 AM The Last Rights Of Jeff Myrtlebank
11:30 AM Mr. Bevis
12:00 PM A Thing About Machines
12:30 PM Number Twelve Looks Just Like You
01:00 PM The Shelter
01:30 PM A Short Drink From A Certain Fountain
02:00 PM I Shot An Arrow Into The Air
02:30 PM A Kind Of Stopwatch
03:00 PM Little Girl Lost
03:30 PM The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms
04:00 PM Mr. Dingle, The Strong
04:30 PM People Are Alike All Over
05:00 PM A Game Of Pool
05:30 PM The Bewitchin' Pool
06:00 PM Death's Head Revisited
06:30 PM Long Distance Call
07:00 PM Living Doll
07:30 PM Nightmare At 20,000 Feet
08:00 PM Time Enough At Last
08:30 PM The Howling Man
09:00 PM The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street
09:30 PM The Masks
10:00 PM To Serve Man
10:30 PM Where Is Everybody
11:00 PM It's A Good Life
11:30 PM A Most Unusual Camera

Jul 4th
12:00 AM The Midnight Sun
12:30 AM A Hundred Yards Over The Rim
01:00 AM Nightmare As A Child
01:30 AM I Am The Night - Color Me Black
02:00 AM Nothing In The Dark
02:30 AM The After Hours
03:00 AM The Fear
03:30 AM A Nice Place To Visit
04:00 AM In Praise Of Pip
04:30 AM What's In The Box
05:00 AM Perchance To Dream

08:00 AM Two
08:30 AM The Changing Of The Guard
09:00 AM Dead Man's Shoes
09:30 AM Ninety Years Without Slumbering
10:00 AM The Hunt
10:30 AM The Old Man In The Cave
11:00 AM The Last Flight
11:30 AM The Fever
12:00 PM A Penny For Your Thoughts
12:30 PM Stopover In A Quiet Town
01:00 PM A World Of His Own
01:30 PM Mr. Denton On Doomsday
02:00 PM The Little People
02:30 PM Nick Of Time
03:00 PM The Dummy
03:30 PM And When The Sky Was Opened
04:00 PM Escape Clause
04:30 PM Mr. Garrity And The Graves
05:00 PM Probe 7 Over And Out
05:30 PM One For The Angels
06:00 PM The Obsolete Man
06:30 PM Third From The Sun
07:00 PM The Hitch-hiker
07:30 PM Eye Of The Beholder
08:00 PM Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up
08:30 PM Kick The Can
09:00 PM The Odyssey Of Flight 33
09:30 PM A Stop At Willoughby
10:00 PM Five Characters In Search Of An Exit
10:30 PM The Invaders
11:00 PM I Sing The Body Electric
11:30 PM Walking Distance

July 5th
12:00 AM Night Of The Meek
12:30 AM Night Call
01:00 AM The Grave
01:30 AM Queen Of The Nile
02:00 AM Ring-a-ding Girl
02:30 AM The Four Of Us Are Dying
03:00 AM A Piano In The House
03:30 AM Twenty-two

So it's around 8:30 here. I flipped on SyFy for a quick glance, and what did I see? My all-time MOST HATED EPISODE, the wretched "Mr. Bevis." The print looks blurry, scratchy, and just plain ugly. SyFy has good prints at their disposal (they aired a pristine print of "The Lonely" five or six years ago), so why aren't they airing them? Triple sigh.

Now in HD!

Okay, I'm back from my (admittedly short) sabbatical, and I've brought something back with me.

High definition. That's right, the big HD.

You scratch your heads, a bit perplexed. You scan for changes. The blog itself doesn't look any different (well, except for that spiffy new logo at the top). The text doesn't look any bolder or crisper. What exactly constitutes "HD" here?

It's all in the screen caps, baby. Up til now, they've come from Image Entertainment's Definitive Edition DVD sets from about five years back. They looked pretty decent. But now, since 4 out of the series' 5 seasons are now available on blu-ray, the time seemed right to upgrade.

Here's a pretty telling comparison from one of my favorites from season one, "The Lonely". Click on each to see 'em full size:

Alicia in standard definition.

Alicia in high definition. Look at that detail!

Some of you might be skeptical. Some of you have refused to upgrade your existing DVDs. Well, if you can look at the comparison above and still refuse, then you're just plain stubborn and frankly a bit crazy. You can play Captain Benteen and strand yourself on your standard definition asteroid, if that's your choice.

It occurred to me to go back and replace all my previous screen shots with higher resolution images. Ugh, that sounds like a ton of work. I can't see it happening. However, I might be able to post "special request" screen shots from seasons 1 and 2, if I'm asked nicely....

Oh look, we passed 25,000 hits while I was away.