Sunday, December 30, 2012

SyFy New Year’s Marathon 2012

It’s that time again. This time around SyFy is airing a whopping 45 hours’ worth of classic Twilight Zone (half an hour more than last year!). Here’s the schedule, color-coded for your convenience (all times are Eastern).

Season 1 = blue (28)

Season 2 = red (18)

Season 3 = green (21)

Season 4 = N/A

Season 5 = purple (23)

Dec. 31, 2012

08:00 am: “The Fever”
08:30 am: “Perchance to Dream”
09:00 am: “One for the Angels”

09:30 am: “The Prime Mover”
10:00 am: “Death’s-Head Revisited”
10:30 am: “What You Need”
11:00 am: “The Jeopardy Room”
11:30 am: “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine”
12:00 pm: “Long Live Walter Jameson”

12:30 pm: “A Piano in the House”
01:00 pm: “What’s in the Box”
01:30 pm: “Black Leather Jackets”

02:00 pm: “A Nice Place to Visit”
02:30 pm: “The 7th is Made up of Phantoms”
03:00 pm: “King Nine Will Not Return”
03:30 pm: “Mr. Denton on Doomsday”
04:00 pm: “The Shelter”
04:30 pm: “Night of the Meek”
05:00 pm: “It’s a Good Life”
05:30 pm: “Probe 7, Over and Out”
06:00 pm: “A Kind of Stopwatch”

06:30 pm: “Little Girl Lost”
07:00 pm: “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”
07:30 pm: “Eye of the Beholder”
08:00 pm: “The Invaders”

08:30 pm: “Where is Everybody?”
09:00 pm: “The Hitch-Hiker”
09:30 pm: “To Serve Man”
10:00 pm: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”
10:30 pm: “Living Doll”
11:00pm: “The Masks”

11:30 pm: “I Sing the Body Electric”

Jan. 1, 2013

12:00 am: “The Midnight Sun”
12:30 am: “Stopover in a Quiet Town”
01:00 am: “Long Distance Call”
01:30 am: “The Old Man in the Cave”
02:00 am: “The After Hours”
02:30 am: “Mr. Bevis”

03:00 am: “Twenty Two”
03:30 am: “The Grave”
04:00 am: “Night Call”
04:30 am: “Judgment Night”
05:00 am: “Nightmare as a Child”
05:30 am: “The Four of Us Are Dying”
06:00 am: “The Silence”
06:30 am: “I Shot an Arrow into the Air”
07:00 am: “In Praise of Pip”
07:30 am: “Uncle Simon”
08:00 am: “Queen of the Nile”

08:30 am: “A World of His Own”
09:00 am: “Mr. Garrity and the Graves”
09:30 am: “A Thing About Machines”
10:00 am: “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank”
10:30 am: “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby”

11:00 am: “A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain”
11:30 am: “The Arrival”
12:00 pm: “Escape Clause”
12:30 pm: “And When the Sky Was Opened”
01:00 pm: “The Hunt”
01:30 pm: “People Are Alike All Over”
02:00 pm: “Caesar and Me”
02:30 pm: “The Odyssey of Flight 33″
03:00 pm: “A Penny for Your Thoughts”
03:30 pm: “Third from the Sun”
04:00 pm: “The Little People”
04:30 pm: “Nick of Time”
05:00 pm: “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”
05:30 pm: “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim”
06:00 pm: “A Most Unusual Camera”
06:30 pm: “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”
07:00 pm: “A Stop at Willoughby”
07:30 pm: “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street”
08:00 pm: “The Howling Man”
08:30 pm: “Time Enough at Last”
09:00 pm: “The Bewitchin’ Pool”
09:30 pm: “Kick the Can”
10:00 pm: “The Obsolete Man”
10:30 pm: “The Dummy”
11:00 pm: “Dead Man’s Shoes”
11:30 pm: “A Game of Pool”

Jan. 2, 2013

12:00 am: “The Rip Van Winkle Caper”
12:30 am: “I Am the Night — Color Me Black”
01:00 am: “Walking Distance”
01:30 am: “Ring-a-Ding Girl”
02:00 am: “Mr. Dingle, the Strong”
02:30 am: “The Lonely”
03:00 am: “Two”
03:30 am: “The Brain Center at Whipple’s”
04:00 am: “The Last Flight”
04:30 am: “The Purple Testament”


Oh look, they’re showing “The Midnight Sun” at midnight again… cute.

Like last year, the eighteen hour-long episodes from season 4 aren’t represented at all, which is a goddamned shame, given that January 3rd marks the 50th anniversary of season 4’s premiere!  Way to go, idiots.

SyFy has actually assembled (or, more likely, thrown together blindfolded) a fairly equal sampling from the four seasons (all half-hour episodes); however, their choices are somewhat baffling.  They’ve included offensive crap like “Mr. Bevis” and “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” while leaving out classics like “Shadow Play” and “Mirror Image.”  Dumb, dumb, dumb. 

I’m sure my tone belies my true feelings: these marathons are largely bullshit.  I continue to report on them because… well… why exactly do I bother?  I never watch them, since I have the entire series on blu-ray, uncut and complete, in pristine high-definition (I also have high-def rips of all 156 episodes on my laptop; how else do you think I get my screen captures?).  I guess I feel obligated to pass on the information, and I guess it’s nice that SyFy does these marathons at all.  I guess if one person stumbles across this blog, sees the schedule and tunes in, and subsequently becomes a TZ fan for life, then it was worth it.*

*If you’re reading this and you've never seen The Twilight Zone, and your interest is sufficiently piqued to tune in and sample a few episodes, drop me a line in the comments section and let me know.  I’m still waiting for that rare opportunity to change somebody’s life….

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merch Spotlight: TZ 2013 Calendar

 I was at a local mall a few weeks ago, absently browsing the contents of a calendar kiosk, when I suddenly spied Rod Serling’s face staring out at me, iconic images swirling around his head.  A Twilight Zone calendar!  How did I not know about this? Naturally I grabbed it and immediately paid for it, since encountering anything TZ in the wild is pretty much unheard of.

It sat on my desk until today, when I finally tore off the shrinkwrap and examined it.  Here, you look it over and I’ll meet you down below.

Well….. shit.  This thing is ugly.  I hate the design, I hate the colors… I even hate that obnoxious bold font.  I even hate the phrases they attach to each picture (in all fairness, most of them are snatches of actual Serling narration from the depicted episode, but the context is sometimes nebulous to the point of nonsensicality (I’m looking at you, February; “Alone in this assurance,” really?).  There’s an aggressive, breaking-through-a-brick-wall “in your face” aesthetic that I find utterly repellant.  It just looks loud.  This doesn’t even remotely evoke The Twilight Zone, despite the copious amounts of Twilight Zone iconography herein.  This is a post-modern, over-modulated, recklessly-remixed attempt to reimagine something understated and classy for today’s ADD-addled hyperactive sensibilities.  It’s just wrong, fucking wrong.

However, the actual calendar portion of each page is imminently cool.  It simulates a newspaper (The Daily Chronicle, as read by Burgess Meredith in “Time Enough at Last,” complete with monochromatic thumbs on either side), and it looks great.  I also like how the year is spelled out to create a faux headline.  It’s elegant and classy, but it’s completely drowned out by the screaming graphics overhead.

Ugh. What a schizophrenic mess.  It’s as if two teams worked completely independently of one another, and a blind person grafted the two parts together.  It’s just frustrating, and it makes me want to create my own calendar for 2014.

Hey, that might not be a bad idea.....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Xmas 2012

Santa was pretty good to me this year.... among the usual goodies (booze, blu-rays, and tasty treats), I received not one but TWO Twilight Zone-themed items.  And, as fate would have it, both of them use the graphic elements from the show's fourth season, which turns 50 next week.  It's like Santa (okay, my wife Teresa) can read my mind!

First up is a customized Twilight Zone iPhone cover from Accessory Geeks.  Teresa uploaded the graphics (which she presumably found on Google Images or something) and placed the order and viola!  A brand new protective case for my iPhone.  Looks really snazzy.  The design matches my Twilight Zone cigarette case (detailed here), speaking of which... well, read on...



 Left side.

Right side.

Next up is something that is undeniably and unequivocally awesome.  I casually remarked to Teresa a while back that, while I smoked pretty regularly back in college, I've never owned an actual Zippo lighter.  This woman clearly listens and remembers...

Oh my God, it's a Twilight Zone Zippo lighter!  This is actually a real item (as opposed to specially-customized), available right now on (get yours here).  It's an authentic Zippo, complete with a lifetime warranty, and the CBS copyright on the front implies that it's a licensed item.  Check it out...

The matte finish is quite nice.  Most of the graphic elements from the season 4 opening sequence are accounted for (the actual TZ logo, however, is the more recognizable one from seasons 1-3), and they're sharp as a tack (presumably silk-screened, but I dunno).  This thing is just plain beautiful.  My Twilight Zone cigarette case (again, spotlighted here) finally has a worthy companion (all I need is a pack of Chesterfields and I'm set).  I, um, don't usually smoke (we're talking one or two per month, tops), but when I do... well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm in The Zone.

Hope your Christmas was merry, y'all!

Monday, December 24, 2012

R.I.P. Jack Klugman

Jack Klugman

It's Christmas Eve, and I just found out ten minutes ago.  Klugman was my favorite Twilight Zone actor, appearing in four great episodes, all of which reside in my top 40 favorites ("A Passage for Trumpet," "A Game of Pool," "Death Ship" and "In Praise of Pip").  Needless to say, I'm devastated.  I always imagined I'd somehow meet him, shake his hand and thank him for a lifetime of brilliant work. It'll never happen now.  The closest I'll ever come are the two autographed items I bought on eBay:

Rest in peace, Jack.  And a Merry Christmas to each and all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

New Merch from Bif Bang Pow!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Y’now, funny story, I was actually born on Thanksgiving (11/27/1969) and, since the holiday always falls on the fourth Thursday of November, it lands on my birthday (or, more appropriately, my birthday falls on it) every so many years (the next one is 2014). 

I know, I know… who cares, right?  It’s Thanksgiving, so I’m sure y’all have better things to do than listen to me prattle on.  I’ll get right to the point so you can go back to your turkey and football and whatnot.

Our friends at Bif Bang Pow! have announced a few new TZ-related collectibles.  It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but there are a couple of interesting items to be found….

First up we have a Twilight Zone travel mug.  Honestly, why the hell?  In fairness, Bif Bang Pow! is doing the exact same thing with every single property they license (Venture Bros., The Six Million Dollar Man, etc).  Man, nothing says “crass branding” like slapping a logo onto the ubiquitous travel mug.  Honestly, anyone out there in need of a travel mug probably already owns several.  Sorry guys, you know I love you, but damn.  Not buying it.  I should mention that it’s being advertised as an Entertainment Earth exclusive, which is strange since, as far as I know, Bif Bang Pow! sells all their merchandise exclusively through Entertainment Earth.

Okay, in fairness, it does look kinda snazzy as far as travel mugs go.  It looks like the iconic doorway repeats all the way around, which is… well, a bit lazy now that I’m thinking about it.  Why not spread several icons (clock, eyeball, spiral, etc) around?  Unless the repeating doorway is intended to convey the parallel earth/alternate reality theory, which would be… I dunno, kinda cool.  I still like my idea better.  If this is your bag, it’s available now at the above link. 

A similar (and equally questionable) item is the Twilight Zone stainless steel water bottle.  Ugh.

It features the exact same design as the travel mug.  *Sigh*  It’s also available now, if you want it, at the above link.

Hey, I seem to recall that we were supposed to be getting shot glasses and beer steins at some point (not to mention drink coasters)…. These would be much more useful for a beer-swillin’, liquor-lovin’ rapscallion like me.

Next is the second in a series of Twilight Zone dioramas.  This time it’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” and I’m frankly a bit stumped.  It’s a plane perched atop the iconic season 3 spiral design… with a tiny gremlin on the wing. 

It’s kinda neat in a goofy sorta way, but unfortunately the itty bitty Gremlin is far too small to really convey anything approximating the drama and tension of the episode.  I can’t tell from the picture, but I don’t think Shatner is even visible inside the plane.  I think a better approach would have been a smaller section of the plane, just part of the cabin and the wing, which would have permitted both a bigger (and more menacing) Gremlin (and a visible Shatner).  Of course, this was kind of already accomplished with the matching bobbleheads (both of which are still available, incidentally, here and here).   The diorama is scheduled for a February 2013 release.

The first diorama (above), based on “The Invaders,” is problematic as well.  The iconic character (in this case, The Invader) is too small to really impress (and the Invader sculpt looks a bit sloppy to these eyes);  further, the Agnes Moorehead head is too big, the trapdoor is too small, and everything is too damned close together.  Far too many liberties were taken with the scale, and consequently nothing really looks right.  Honestly, I’d have left Moorehead out entirely and just featured the saucer on the rooftop, with the stairway hatch lowered and both Invaders milling about.  The Forbidden Planet saucer sculpt is admittedly cool, however, which justifies the piece all on its own (hey, speaking of the Forbidden Planet saucer, I wouldn’t mind seeing it immortalized in bobblehead form).

I’m actually not collecting the dioramas, for a few reasons.  First and foremost… I've just gotta draw the line someplace.  I've already got boxes of TZ action figures and bobbleheads that I’m not currently displaying (space is at a pretty severe premium in my current digs), so I’m reluctant to shell out for more stuff that’s destined to reside in my storage unit for the foreseeable future.  Second, at $24.99 plus shipping, the price is a bit steep.  Third, I’m just not that impressed by them, which makes said price seem even higher.  I dunno, if future dioramas turn out way better, then I may have to rethink this, but for now…. nope, not doing it.

Three, count ‘em, three distinct license plate frames are available now.

They’re cute.  I might just spring for these… I haven’t decided yet.  At ten bucks a pop, they’re pretty reasonable.  I don’t own three cars, however, so I may need to pick just one.

Next up is the Doorway to The Twilight Zone tin tote, which is basically an old-school metal lunchbox (without a thermos, dammit). 

I can’t deny…. It looks pretty cool.  I already own the Kanamit Tin Tote (which I’ll be reviewing very soon), so I’ll probably have to get this at some point (once you’re in, you’re IN; at least for those of us with OCD collecting tendencies).  Style points for putting the iconic TZ door on the hinged side, allowing it to be an actual functioning door (of sorts).

Finally, Bif Bang Pow! has come up with something just…. freakin’…. AWESOME.  Readers of this blog will recall that I’m quite a fan of the Mystic Seer (already produced in various iterations, most notably the full-size--- and fully functional--- replica, which I still don’t have and still long for, achingly so), so imagine my delight to learn of the Mystic Seer Monitor Mate Bobble Head!

It’s basically a miniature version of the Mystic Seer bobblehead, which was the very first Twilight Zone collectible that Bif Bang Pow! released (way back in late 2009).  It bobbles and… well, that’s about it.  But it’s unrelentingly cool, and I want several (one for each computer monitor I own, plus my laptop, plus the PC I use at work, plus a few more just because).  It’s not due till February 2013, but goddammit, I want this thing like YESTERDAY.   Here’s hoping this is the first in a line of Monitor Mates… for example, I’d love a mini Invader (or a whole bunch of ‘em).  And a mini Gremlin might be fun (I’m imagining an ongoing photo blog with the li’l guy turning up in all kinds of unexpected places).

Overall, it seems the TZ merchandise is moving away from the bobbleheads and action figures and more into the random memorabilia realm…. Which I’m not entirely okay with.  C’mon, lose the travel mugs and water bottles and give us something cool.  Cufflinks, maybe?  A set of eyeballs, a set of spirals, a set of TZ logos… Hell, I’d buy all of those (and start dressing better so I could utilize them regularly).  Or what about an iPhone cover? Belt buckles?

Underwear?  Oh, wait... it's been done before.  *Shudder*

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TODAY ONLY! Twilight Zone T-shirts available from Shirt Punch!

Ever heard of Shirt Punch?  It's a company out of Canada that creates pop culture-oriented T-shirts, frequently in a humorous vein.  Their T-shirts are a measly $10.00 each, and each design is only available for 24 hours.  Crazy? Kinda.  Wacky enough to fall under the Twilight Zone umbrella?  Well, it appears that the answer is a resounding yes.

Today they're offering two different TZ shirts.  Check 'em out!

It may be a bit hard to tell, but the text on the second design is Serling's first season narration in its entirety.

Both shirts went on sale at 9:00 last night (PST), so they'll only be available for about 14 more hours.  If you're at all interested in them, I'd say get over there and order one (or both, like I did) NOW!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Doctor Bernardi Bobblehead Announced!

Well now, who's this handsome devil?

From season two's brilliant "Eye of the Beholder" comes the hideous (but compelling) Doctor Bernardi.  He's already been immortalized in plastic in last year's excellent action figure (spotlighted here), and now our friends at Bif Bang Pow! are giving him the bobblehead treatment as well.  $12.99 plus shipping is all it'll set you back to add this dark-eyed surgeon to your collection of bobbleheads (Twilight Zone or otherwise).  It's scheduled for a December release, but like all good things, you may have to wait a bit longer (these things tend to get delayed a bit; I'm just sayin').  Pre-order yours here.

Faithful readers of this blog will recall that, two short years ago, I (with the invaluable help of my wife Teresa) assembled my own homemade version of the character for Halloween.

While I may never again don the distorted visage of the good doctor, I still have the scrubs and stethoscope stashed away somewhere in my storage unit.  One must be prepared if one is to play doctor....

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Fall... Where's Season 4?

Fall is upon us, which means another Twilight Zone season should be celebrating its 50th anniversary any time now, right?


The Twilight Zone didn't return for season 4 until January 1963 and, when it finally did return, it had mutated into a different show…. but we’ll get to that in January.  For now, we've got four solid months of… well, nothing.

However shall we fill the time?  I did have one idea a few months back, which spawned the following plan:

In the beginning of this blog, my episode promos were extremely brief: we’re talking maybe a paragraph or two, with only one or two screen shots; real basic. The format expanded over time and, by midway through season one, the format had started filling out nicely (I have made adjustments over time, however, culminating in the pretty snazzy alternating-checkerboard-text-and-photo layout that debuted near the end of season three).  Trouble is, some of the series greatest episodes aired very early on and therefore never got the proper spotlighting (except for “Walking Distance” and “Time Enough at Last,” both of which I feel I've sufficiently covered).  It’s always bothered me that I've written more about dogs like “A Most Unusual Camera” and “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” than favorites like “The Lonely” and “Perchance to Dream.” Therefore, I think a nice exercise might be to revisit some of those early episodes and give them the attention they so richly deserve.  Plus, this’ll give me an excuse to reach back before season one and spotlight Serling’s “The Time Element,” which aired on Desilu Playhouse in 1958 and is The Twilight Zone’s unofficial pilot-before-the-real-pilot (I’ll explain when we get to it).

That was my grand idea. But in all honesty, I just don’t have the time or energy right now (see previous post for a glimpse at my current circumstances).  I think this is the perfect time to take a few months off.  Funny… it’s almost as if some grand design brought about this opportunity to get my head screwed on straight, right when I needed it (thank Rod!).

I definitely want to revisit season one at some point, however… it’ll probably happen in summer 2014 (after the fifth and final season wraps up).

I’ll probably still pop in once in a while between now and January: I still need to review the recent Bif Bang Pow! offerings, plus I want to spotlight the above-mentioned “The Time Element” (which I would've done before I started on season one, had Image Entertainment seen fit to make it available earlier!).  But come January, we’re back in full force, baby.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rod’s Lonely Man

I've mentioned before that my original intent was that blog would be something more than simply an episode-by-episode-analysis-slash-product-placement-catalogue; my original goal was to write more personal reflections and observations about the TV show that has meant so much to me.  So here goes.

My wife of seven years and I have separated.  For the past three months I've been holed up in a 30-foot RV deep in the wilds of Boring, Oregon (okay, it’s actually an RV park, but it’s pretty secluded for this city-dweller). It’s actually a pretty sweet setup:  I've got my 42” 3D TV, my PS3, turntable and vinyl collection, 5.1 surround sound and a healthy selection of my blu-ray/DVD collection on hand (the rest of the collection resides in my Oregon City storage unit, where it is easily accessed five days a week).  Laundry facilities are just a few steps away.  The commute to and from work sucks, but it’s manageable.

It sounds somewhat ideal for an antisocial type like me… but somehow it’s been pretty miserable.  I’m utterly and completely alone out here.  No wife, no kids, no dogs…. Just me, and the nocturnal clatter of various forest insects and critters, and the occasional spate of rain that batters the thin roof overhead like an onslaught of bullets.

This is my life in the shadow of The Twilight Zone.  I am Serling’s isolated man, crushed beneath circumstances he can’t control (but likely brought on himself), despairing for human contact, cracking under the strain of loneliness.  I am Mike Ferris, wandering through an empty town.  I am James Corey, suffering through a life sentence on an asteroid.  I am Captain James Embry, frantically searching for his lost crew in a sweltering desert.

Have I sufficiently driven my point home?  I’m fucking lonely.  After spending the first two months in a deep depression, I've started taking steps to improve my health, both physical and mental:  I've recently joined a gym, I’m watching my calories, I've dramatically reduced my alcohol intake, and I’m starting to level out emotionally thanks to the antidepressant my doctor has prescribed.  I've lost about 20 pounds so far and my outlook is gradually brightening.

So anyway, that’s where I've been (if anybody was wondering about the lack of blogging lately).  As for the wife situation ---- I dunno, man.  Depends on the day, sometimes the hour.

Quick trivia question:  the title of this blog entry is a play on dialogue from a 70’s film with a Twilight Zone connection.  Name the film and explain the connection, and you might just win a prize.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New TZ Merchandise Available Now!

After my severely depressing post the other day, I thought I’d brighten things up a bit by mentioning new TZ merchandise that’s now available and in stock at Entertainment Earth….
 The Twilight Zone Henry Bemis Bobble Head
Henry Bemis bobblehead ($12.99 plus shipping)
Icons of The Twilight Zone Bobble Head Revisited

The Twilight Zone Kanamit Cookbook Journal
Kanamit Cookbook Journal ($9.99 plus shipping)

I’m ordering all three on Friday (payday), and I’ll be spotlighting each of ‘em in a couple of weeks.  But you don’t need my opinion to make up your minds, right?  Click on the links above and place your orders!  Order ‘em before you miss out…. Like I did, on this particular item:

 The Twilight Zone Kanamit's Cookbook Set - SDCC Exclusive
Kanamit's Cookbook Set - SDCC Exclusive (sold out)

I’m kicking myself for not ordering this as soon as it became available.  Yeah, I’ve got the original Kanamit, but now I’ll never be able to reenact the shot in which the two salute one another in the airport, just moments before the true meaning of “To Serve Man” is revealed...