The Twilight Zone (1963/1964) – Ring-a-Ding Girl, You Drive, and The Long Morrow

This instalment of the Twilight Zone, an exploration of The Complete Series on blu-ray (now available from Paramount Pictures) finds us about a third of the way through the final season.

Earl Hamner Jr. pens the first episode up this eve, Ring-a-Ding Girl, which first aired on 27 December, 1983.

Barbara ‘Bunny’ Blake (Maggie McNamara) is a big thing in Hollywood, and she owes it all to the folks in her hometown of Howardville. Her sister, Hildey (Mary Munday) has sent her an invitation to return home to see all those who helped pave her way to Tinsel Town.

The invitation is in the form of a ring, but once she dons it, she gets some strange messages from the globe set in it, and she begins to dread the return home, as well as the celebration that awaits her there.

As a storm rolls in and warnings continue to issue from the ring, she tries to warn everyone off from the celebration picnic… but no one seems to be listening.

I love the reveal at the end of the episode, this one is a nice, gentle episode, that definitely entertains.

The extras on this episode include an interview with Hamner, billboards, and a commentary by Zone historians and fans Scott Skelton and Jim Benson.

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You Drive was also written by Hamner, and aired on 3 January, 1964.

The story follows Oliver Pope (Edward Andrews) who fleeing a hit-and-run which resulted in the fatality of a child, is now haunted by his car.

After the boy’s death, Pope races home, but soon, the car seems to have a life of its own, drawing attention to itself as if to make it known that it is a murder weapon. Does the car have a life of its own, or is Pope descending into madness brought on by his own guilt?

One could believe it was just his guilt, but the car seems to act up around his wife, Lillian (Helen Westcott) as well; it stalls, its horn honks, anything it can do to bring attention to itself.

That couples with Pope’s paranoia until everything does come apart, his whole life begins to unfurl, work and home life. And no matter how he tries to deal with the car, it seems to find a way of getting around him, until it is finally able to deliver Pope’s comeuppance.

It’s a nice moral tale that says that justice can’t be avoided. At least in the Twilight Zone.

The extras include an interview with Hamner, a commentary by Skelton and Benson and billboards.

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The Long Morrow finishes the trio of episodes this week. This one was penned by series creator Rod Serling and aired on 10 January, 1964.

Robert Lansing stars as Douglas Stansfield. He’s an astronaut, and is gearing up for the mission of a life time, a decades long exploration into deep space.

As luck would have it, before he leaves, he meets, and falls in love with Sandra Horn (Mariette Hartley).

The story is partly told through flashback, while Stansfield dreams, after a fashion, while in suspended animation.

The episode is a bit of a romantic tale, very much wearing its heart on its spacesuit, and consequently gets a something of a happy ending, but it wouldn’t be the Twilight Zone without a but of a twist.

The extras include a commentary by Hartley, yet another commentary by Skelton and Benson, billboards, and a radio version starring Kathy Garver.

Next week, it’s a whole new trio of spooky tales as the fifth and final season of the Twilight Zone: The Complete Series reveals its secrets to me on blu-ray.

Check it out!

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