The Twilight Zone (1963) – Passage on the Lady Anne, and The Bard

Season four of The Twilight Zone comes to a conclusion this week with these two episodes as I continue exploring The Complete Series on blu-ray, currently available from Paramount Pictures.

First up this week is Passage on the Lady Anne. Written by Charles Beaumont this story first found its way to television screens on 9 May, 1963.

The Ransomes, Alan (Lee Philips) and Eileen (Joyce Van Patten) are fighting to save their struggling marriage, and to do so they decide to go on a trans-Atlantic cruise aboard The Lady Anne.

Unfortunately, their fellow passengers are pushing them to disembark immediately, including the always wonderful Wilfrid Hyde-White as Toby.

The pair, especially Eileen are very eager to enjoy the cruise, and maybe find a way to save their marriage. The rest of the passengers, all elderly, try to advise them that this is a speciality cruise, a bit of a private affair, and even offer to buy the couple’s tickets if they would only leave the ship.

Then, one evening over tea, after our couple has done nothing but argue, the reveal of the ship and its passengers is unveiled, but not all of it, until the couple is put off the ship, in the middle of the ocean… as the ship and crew go to meet their final fate.

It’s a slow-moving episode that doesn’t play up the mystery as strongly as they could, or even the Ransomes reinvigorated love for one another. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like Beaumont’s best story.

The extras for this episode include sponsor billboards and an isolated score by Rene Garruguenc.

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The Bard aired on 23 May, 1963, and series creator Rod Serling penned the season closer.

Julius Moomer (Jack Weston) is a hack with dreams of making it big as a television writer. When he gets his hands on a magic book, he is able to summon the best wordsmith of all time, The Bard himself, Shakespeare (John Williams).

With the Bard’s talents at his hands, Moomer passes off the writer’s work as his own, but Old Bill discovers what is going on, as well as the terrible changes and notes from network executives wreak on his work = there’s definitely a commentary going on there.

Watch for an appearance by a young Burt Reynolds (doing his best Brando) as Rocky Rhodes!!

Simple, self-referential, and a little goofy, this may not be Serling’s strongest offering, but its definitely a hoot to watch.

The extras for this episode are billboards, an isolated score by Fred Steiner, commentary by Zone historians, Bill Warren and Marc Scott Zircee, and a radio version starring John Ratzenberger.

Next week, we begin the fifth and final season, and see the series return to its shorter, twenty-five minute format.

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