The Twilight Zone (1964) – The Masks, I Am the Night – Color Me Black, and Sounds and Silences

Spookiness abounds in this week’s instalment of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series.

First up is The Masks, penned by series creator Rod Serling. First airing on 20 March, 1964, the story centres around wealthy, and dying, Jason Foster (Robert Keith).

Foster has invited all of his greedy heirs to a Mardi Gras party, and has decreed that if they want their inheritance they must all wear masks that he has specially crafted for each and every one of them.

When the family arrives, it’s easy to see how greedy and self-involved they are. They are cold, callous, and each is lost in their own world. When it is time for the masks to be passed out, Foster unveils a spooky collection, and doles them out masks that reflect their true nature, despite their claims to the contrary.

The reveal is of course completely expected, but still spooky when it happens, and shows the truth of the family’s greed, corruption, and vanity and the comeuppance they get because of it.

The extras include a commentary by Alan Sues who plays Foster’s grandson, Wilfred Harper jr., an isolated score, billboards, and a radio version starring Stan Freberg.

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I Am the Night – Color Me Black was also penned by Serling and aired on 27 March, 1964.

Jagger (Terry Becker) has been tried and found guilty of murder. He is going to be hung in the morning. What happens if the sun doesn’t come up?

A newspaper man, Colbey (Paul Fix) is convinced of Jagger’s innocence, proclaiming that the law enforcement in town perjured themselves, and were lazy in their pursuit of the case. When the sun doesn’t come up on the morning of the execution, people begin to wonder if Colbey was right.

As the townspeople gather for the execution, they are surrounded by darkness, Colbey tries to convince people of Jagger’s innocence. But things are moving quickly, and Jagger may hang yet.

The episode hints that the townspeople are blind to what really went on, blind to true justice, they are kept in the dark, and they aren’t interested in the real truth, just the satisfaction of their hate.

This episode has a lot of commentary on the world at large as the blackness spreads, as a reflection of the hate in the world.

The extras for this episode include an interview with Becker, and billboards.

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Sounds and Silences is the final episode this week, also penned by Serling, this episode aired on 3 April, 1964.

The story follows Roswell Flemington (John McGiver), the owner of a model ship company, who has this strange affectation for loud things. He talks loud, plays his vinyl loud, and enjoys things at their top volume. It drives people away from him, including his wife, (Penny Singleton) but things are about to take a strange turn when he enters The Twilight Zone.

Flemington is unlikable, in fact, he seems to have no redeeming qualities at all, and even his excuses of why he prefers things to be loud, seems strained.

Once he enters the Zone, he may learn to appreciate the silence, or perhaps it will drive him completely insane.

There’s no real twist or reveal in this one, only a bit of comeuppance for Roswell.

The extras rounding out this week’s trio include an isolated score, billboards, and a radio adaptation starring Richard Kind.

There’s more next week, as we continue to explore the spooky byways and highways of the fifth season of The Twilight Zone, now available in The Complete Series on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures.

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