The Twilight Zone (1963) – Printer’s Devil, and No Time Like the Past

It’s back to The Zone with Paramount Pictures’ The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series on blu-ray. And it’s nice to be met by Burgess Meredith on his fourth trip to the Zone!

Printer’s Devil was written by Charles Beaumont and first aired on 28 February, 1963.

Meredith plays Mr. Smith, who comes to bedevil poor Douglas Winter (Robert Sterling). It seems Winter’s newspaper is failing, and on the evening that he plans to end it all, along comes Mr. Smith. The charmer convinces Winter to not kill himself, and promises him that he can make Winter’s paper a success again.

But at what cost? As Smith goes to work in the small town paper, things begin to happen in that small town (is Smith behind it?) and Winter’s paper begins to garner success. But even as success is claimed, there is more to the price than Winter realises, even as his paper becomes more tabloid like in nature.

Smith’s press is never wrong, and when it begins to predict what is about to happen, Winter risks everything including his soul…

Meredith is, as always, nothing short of brilliant. He remains one of my favourite character actors, that voice, that playful sense of humour, this man was a legend, and I am constantly delighted when he shows up on screen. This man is missed.

There is humour, mystery, and surprise throughout this episode, and Meredith plays it to the hilt with a crooked cigar angling up out of his mouth.

The extras include a commentary by film and Zone historians Bill Warren and Marc Scott Zircee ,a 1978 interview with Meredith, an isolated score, and sponsor billboards.

burgess

No Time Like the Past. Series creator Rod Serling penned this episode which first aired on 7 March, 1963.

The story follows a scientist, Paul Driscoll (Dana Andrews) who has created a time machine. He plans to fix problems both big and small in the 20th century, both in the context if world history and his own life.

But, as he slips further into the Twilight Zone, you just know those things aren’t going to go well. He tries to warn the people of Hiroshima, tries to assassinate Hitler, he tries to prevent the sinking of the Lusitania.

All of these are fixed points in history, and cannot be changed. Frustrated by everything in the 20th century and his inability to change it, he travels further to the past, intending to live out his life in a small town in Indiana in 1881. But even that may be all according to time’s plan as he is about to find out.

Who doesn’t like a good time travel story? And this one is pretty solid, especially the first half of the story!

The extras on this episode include an isolated score, billboards, and a radio version starring Jason Alexander.

We continue our trip through the dark country of The Twilight Zone next week, with The Complete Series, now on blu-ray, available from Paramount Pictures… There’s the signpost up ahead.

no time

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