The Twilight Zone (1963) – Mute, and Death Ship

Paramount Pictures’ The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series continues to delight, terrify, creep out, and amaze and this week is no different as I dig into the next two episodes of the fourth season.

Up first is Mute, written by Richard Matheson. This episode first aired on 31 January, 1963. It follows the tale of a young girl, Ilsa (wonderfully played by Ann Jillian), she has been recently orphaned, and seems to be mute, but that’s only because she is telepathic, like her late parents, and has never learned to speak.

Her new parents love her, and see her as a replacement for a child they lost, but her new teacher, Miss Frank (Irene Dailey) is determined that Ilsa behave and act like the other children in her class.

Through it all young Ilsa clings to the belief that her family’s relatives, who can speak to her telepathically will come and rescue her. But as she waits, and watches she sees that her foster parents, particularly Cora (Barbara Baxley) wants to keep her.

Eventually others from the project, and her relatives, show up to pick up the child. But what will Ilsa’s ultimate fate be?

I’m not sure how I feel about this episode. I understand why Cora does what she does to keep Ilsa in her life, but all the while poor Ilsa has all these terrible things going on. Especially at school! But love conquers all I guess.

The extras include sponsor billboards and an isolated score by Fred Steiner.


Death Ship was also written by Matheson, and it’s a much stronger and more enjoyable story. It first aired on 7 February, 1963.

It’s the distant year of 1997, and Captain Ross (Jack Klugman) and the crew of spaceship E-89 arrives on a far distant planet on a mission that has taken them far from their home on Earth.

They come across a wrecked spaceship on the planet’s surface, and are shocked to discover that it appears to be spaceship E-89, with their bodies amongst the wreckage.

How did it happen? What caused it to happen? Are they dead already? Are they time travellers? Or is there something about the planet that will make their deaths a self-fulfilling prophecy?

This one was much more my style! And just from a geek point of view, I loved the model work for E-89!

The extras include a commentary by Zone historian Marc Scott Zircee, a 1978 interview with Ross Martin who played Lieutenant Mason, an isolated score, and sponsor billboards.

Keep your eyes on the signpost up ahead, because we’re still passing through the Twilight Zone! There will be more episodes next week as I continue to explore The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Pictures.

Death Ship 1


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