The Twilight Zone (1964) – Caesar and Me, The Jeopardy Room, and Stopover in a Quiet Town

There’s the signpost up ahead, it’s time for another journey into The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series on blu-ray (from Paramount Pictures) as I continue my sojourn through the fifth and final season.

Up first is Caesar and Me, Written by Adele T. Strassfield, this episode first aired on 10 April, 1964, and brings back the old gem of creepy ventriloquist doll.

Jonathan West (the incredible Jackie Cooper!)is a ventriloquist who can’t find a job. He’s not sure what he’s going to do to get by, until his dummy, Caesar, suggests robbery.

The doll has a history, it seems that prior to this, the doll was given up by its previous owner when a woman came along, and now he is voicing his opinion, and giving orders to West.

Things are complicated by the nosy, bratty, young girl, Susan (Morgan Brittany) who is the landlady’s (Sarah Selby) niece.

If Jonathan gets ratted out, will he be the only one that takes the fall, or will Caesar go down with him or move on to his next target?

The extras for this episode include commentary by Zone fan and historian, Marc Scott Zircee who is joined by the episode’s director Robert Butler, billboards, and a radio version starring Jason Alexander.

zonecaesar

The Jeopardy Room stars Martin Landau as Major Ivan Kuchenko in this episode written by series creator Rod Serling, and directed by Richard Donner. It first aired on 17 April, 1964.

The story follows a Russian defector, Kuchenko, who is trapped in a hotel room with only three hours to find a hidden bomb.

He gets phonecalls from people who are watching him, threatening him, ready to take his life at a word, overseen by Commissar Vassiloff (John Van Dreelen), who is planning Kuchenko’s death as a work of art.

Unfortunately for both men, they don’t realise they are in The Zone.

How much of what Vassiloff tells Kuchenko is true, and how far will it push the defector over the edge as he tears the room apart?

There’s no real twist or reveal in this episode, it’s simply a spy thriller with comeuppance doled out in the end to appropriate parties.

Landau is quite at ease in a spy thriller, something that would come to be his weekly bread and butter in a couple of years when 1966 rolled around and he was recruited for Mission: Impossible!

The extras include billboards, and two fantastic commentaries, one with Donner and Marc Scott Zircee, and the other with Landau!

The Jeopardy Room

Stopover in a Quiet Town is the final episode this week. Written by Earl Hamner jr. this episode first debuted on 24 April, 1964.

Bob (Barry Nelson) and Millie Frazier (Nancy Malone) are hungover when they wake. They are in a strange house, in an empty town, and nothing is what it appears to be.

As they explore this strange little town, they are haunted by a child’s laughter. It doesn’t take much to figure out what the reveal is going to be, and it uses it as a PSA not to drink and drive.

It’s a delightful little episode, and Nelson and Malone do a nice turn of playing up their fear and paranoia – something which truly helps to sell the episode.

The extras include an isolated score, and an interview with Nelson and Malone.

The journey through the fifth and final season of The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series, available on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures, as we reach the penultimate instalment next week.

zonestopover

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s