The Twilight Zone: Season 3 [Blu-ray]
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All 37 episodes of the third season of Rod Serling’s classic, groundbreaking series, now presented in pristine high-definition for the first time ever, along with hours of new and exclusive bonus features not available anywhere else!
For Twilight Zone fans, the signpost up ahead shows that the Blu-ray presentation of the legendary fantasy-drama's third season is as well stocked with quality extras as its previous two releases. As before, the five-disc set blends new features recorded specifically for the Blu-ray release with commentary tracks and vintage audio and video clips from the Definitive Edition DVD releases. The commentary tracks are the most substantive new extras, including observations from Twilight Zone historian Marc Scott Zicree; series scribes George Clayton Johnson (who weighs in on four of his episodes, including a "A Game of Pool" and "Kick the Can"), Earl Hamner Jr. ("The Hunt"), and John Tomerlin ("The Jungle"); as well as such notable admirers as Neil Gaiman, Jeff Vlaming (Battlestar Galactica), William F. Nolan (Logan's Run), and comic book legends Marv Wolfman (Blade) and Len Wein (Swamp Thing). An additional 19 radio dramas, featuring audio remakes of classic episodes and performances by Jason Alexander, Blair Underwood, Don Johnson, and Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), are also included, as well as isolated scores by Van Cleave and legendary studio musician Tommy Morgan ("The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank") and the original laugh track for "Cavender Is Coming," a proposed series pilot starring Carol Burnett and Jesse White. Actor Edson Stroll offers his observations on "The Trade-Ins," which marked his second appearance on The Twilight Zone (the other being "Eye of the Beholder"), while the third part of Zicree's 1978 interview with director of photography George T. Clemens--the man largely responsible for the series' distinctive look--rounds out the new material.
That alone is a staggering amount of supplemental features for any viewer, but the season-three Blu-ray also offers all of the extras from the season-three Definitive Edition, including commentaries from Billy Mumy, Leonard Nimoy, Cliff Robertson, and Jonathan Winters, who reads Johnson's alternative ending from "A Game of Pool." Audio interviews with producer Buck Houghton, directors Lamont Johnson and Buzz Kulik, Rod Serling's guest appearances on The Garry Moore Show (to promote "Cavender"), and a clip of his post-Zone hosting job on The Liar's Club are among the many highlights of this exceptional set. --Paul Gaita
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Top Customer Reviews
I this season three of "The Twilight Zone" one teleplay worth pointing out is "The Midnight Sun" (1961). This stars a great but seldom seen actress Lois Nettleton as Norma.
The Earth was knocked out of orbit and is spiraling closer to the sun. As the globe warms up systems are beginning to fail and many people have already left for the few cooler climates. Left in the city are the people that decide there is no place to run and will finish their days at home. In one city apartment building Norma (Lois Nettleton) and her neighbor, Mrs. Bronson (Betty Garde), wait for the inevitable with what water is left. Wait it gets more complex as the radio announces unscrupulous people roaming the city. Yes they encounter intruder (Tom Reese). Needles to say he is not so polite.
Naturally the teleplay is all about the interaction of the characters. We must place you in the situation and speculate how it will all end.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery play the sole survivors of a nuclear holocaust.
#2 The Arrival
An airline official tests his theory that a newly arrived but totally empty plane is imaginary-with startling results.
#3 The Shelter
A neighborhood panics when they believe they are under a nuclear attack and attempt to invade the only bomb shelter on the block.
#4 The Passersby
A wounded Civil War soldier starts to believe that he and the people around him have already died.
#5 A Game of Pool
A pool master returns from the dead to play one last game with an eager young hustler.
#6 The Mirror
A dictator discovers a mirror that shows the faces of his assassins.
#7 The Grave
A hired gunman defies a Western outlaw's warning that if he ever came near his grave he'd reach up and snatch away his life. Stars Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, Lee Van Cleef.
#8 It's a Good Life
A six-year-old boy holds a town in terror with his powers to change or destroy anyone or anything at will.
#9 Deaths-Head Revisited
A former Nazi is tried by a jury of his own victims. .
#10 The Midnight Sun
The inhabitants of Earth prepare to meet their doom as their planet heads toward the Sun.
#11 Still Valley
A Confederate scout is given a magical book that could guarantee their victory.
#12 The Jungle
A former prospector is haunted in Manhattan by an African jungle beast.
#13 Once Upon a Time
A janitor puts on a helmet that takes him 72 years into the future. Stars Buster Keaton.
#14 Five Characters in Search of an Exit
Five people - a ballet dancer, a major, a clown, tramp and a bagpipe player - find themselves trapped in a featureless enclosure.
#15 A Quality of Mercy
A racist World War II soldier experiences the war in the body of a Japanese counterpart.
#16 Nothing in the Dark
Gladys Cooper plays an elderly woman locks herself in an abandoned building in order to avoid "Mr. Death." Robert Redford also stars.
#17 One More Pallbearer
A rich man devices a scheme to get revenge on those who humiliated him earlier in life.
#18 Dead Man's Shoes
A man steals who steals the shoes of a murdered gangster finds himself living in the dead man's footsteps.
#19 The Hunt
A hunter and his faithful dog arrive at the gates of Heaven.
#20 Showdown with Rance McGrew
A cowboy star is haunted by the ghost of Jesse James.
#21 Kick the Can
A group of elderly people recapture their youth.
#22 A Piano in the House
A strange piano allows the listener's hidden character to be suddenly revealed.
#23 The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank
When a young man steps out of his coffin at his own funeral the townsfolk grow to suspect that the devil has assumed the man's body.
#24 To Serve Man
Apparently benign alien emissaries show mankind how to end the misery of war, plague and famine.
#25 The Fugitive
A magical old man delights the local children with his power to change his appearance.
#26 Little Girl Lost
A couple is awakened in the middle of the night by the cries of their six-year-old daughter who has fallen through a mysterious door into another dimension.
#27 Person or Persons Unknown
A man awakens one morning to find that no one recognizes him, not even his mother.
#28 The Little People
A space traveler terrorizes the tiny inhabitants of a space station into accepting him as their God, but when another space ship arrives the tyrannical man discovers everything is relative.
#29 Four O'Clock
To combat all that he considers evil, a cranky man decides to make every evil person two feet tall at exactly 4 p.m.
#30 Hocus Pocus and Frisby
No one believes a local story-teller who claims that he was kidnapped by aliens.
#31 The Trade-Ins
An elderly man has his mind transferred to a new body.
#32 The Gift
A small village becomes fearful of a crashed space traveler.
#33 The Dummy
A ventriloquist's dummy takes on a life of its own.
#34 Young Man's Fancy
A young bride is not happy when her husband attempts to win back the days of his childhood.
#35 I Sing the Body Electric
A widowed father buys his three young children an electronic grandmother.
#36 Cavender Is Coming
Carol Burnet plays Agnes Grep who gets a visit from an apprentice angel trying to win his wings.
#37 The Changing of the Guard
A teacher feels like his life is over when he is asked to retire.
By now the Zone's quality had slipped a little. Still,eps like "Nothing in the Dark", "The Dummy", "To Serve Man" and "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" remain unforgettable and still influence tv/ movies today.
Features in this package include:
-commentaries from William Windom, Leonard Nimoy, Cliff Robertson, Lois Nettleton, and Billy Mumy.
- teasers for next week's shows
- isolated soundtracks
- audio recollections from a bunch of contributors
- Serling's Night Gallery previews for next week's eps
It's all good and dare I say it...gets better with Season 4 and the hour long episodes.
1. The famous writer's school promo
2. SciFi Channel Twilight Zone marathon promo
3. Rod Serling's Night Gallery promo spots
4. Season 3 billboards
5. Season 4 photo gallery
6. The Twilight Zone comic book in .pdf format (which seasons 1 and 2 have and presumably 4 contain also--I haven't viewed season 4 yet)
There are also commercials for Colgate, Wildroot Cream Oil, and Oasis menthol cigarets
The Night Gallery promo spots include:
5. Station IDs
In addition to the above bonus material, the DVD also contains the following 4 episodes:
1. The Dummy
2. I Sing the Body Electric
3. Cavender is Coming
4. The Changing of the Guard
This DVD has a little more bonus material than the bonus DVD for season 2, which has five episodes. Season 1 has the most bonus material, since it consists of 6 DVDs with the last one all bonus material. Seasons 1 and 2 are both five DVD sets (and probably season 4 too, I just haven't looked at it yet).
I also noted that the season 3 episode introductions differ slightly from seasons one and two. The woman's eye image has disappeared (which didn't appear in the first season), and now there is a receding spiral pattern. In the second season, Serling's voice introduction is worded differently, which seems to be preserved in the third season. Also, the Twlight Zone title explodes or shatters noiselessly at the end into little fragments before fading away now.
Also, a brief note on the filming locations, which included the 4th Street Viaduct, Los Angeles, California; the backlot, Universal Studios, Universal City, California; Golden Canyon, Death Valley National Park, California; Lone Pine, California; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, California; Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California.
I note that Death Valley was also used as a location for the episode in season 1 in which the three astronauts appear to be marooned on a desert planet (unfortunately I don't recall the name), but it turns out they are just outside Las Vegas.
As others have already commented on the individual episodes, I just wanted to make a few comments on the series as a whole and perhaps how it was influenced by the cultural milieu of the time.
It was the drab 50s and then turbulent 60s, and the Cold War, with its threat of possible nuclear annihilation, was in full swing. Perhaps that explains the pervasive film noir ambience and dark mood that often hangs like a pall over many of the episodes. Although the characters are drawn from all levels of society and from all walks of life--from two-bit criminals to the rich and famous--many are just various and sundry low-lifes, riff-raff, criminals, and grifters. And then there are the simply down and out--the bored or emotionally overwrought, middle-aged and overstressed, desperate housewives, the dyspeptic, dispossessed, or depressed, and your average guy just down on his luck.
Almost every human emotion or character flaw or neurosis is explored: loneliness, depression, euphoria, greed, obsession, gambling addiction, hypochrondria, the lust for power, the fear of death, feelings of inferiority, failure, and inadequacy, feelings of ugliness and beauty, the stress of modern life, the old and unwanted, the young and neglected, the dispirited but still hopeful, the dispirited who have abandoned all hope, the highly successful who find their success and fame empty and meaningless, the losers who find their failures just as galling and damning, the boredom of a comfortable marriage and respectable middle-class existence, the boredom of the single and lovelorn, the desire to live forever, and on and on. Modern civilization and its discontents (or more like 20th-century America and its malcontents) seem to march by in all their false and meretricious glory. If this was the dull and malaise-ridden 50s and early 60s, one can only wonder what Serling would make of our frenetic and divided and paranoid post-9/11 world.
One funny aspect of the episodes is how unflatteringly writers themselves are portrayed. The episodes starring Keenan Wynn (in the first season) as a America's most famous (but philandering) playwright and Richard Haydn in the second season as a snobbish, effete, arrogant, spiteful, and verbally abusive wine and food writer with a short temper and a sharp wit and tongue, don't exactly portray writers in a positive light. :-)
In fact, overall, the series is notable for how many unsympathetic, unprepossessing, and even despicable characaters where often in the lead roles. :-)
So all in all, a truly unique piece of Americana from a long lost era whose themes and stories have held up better than I expected.
Meanwhile, I've got a stack of 3-4 episode DVD's and 2 episode VHS copies looking mighty lonely. For everyone in this situation, I think a good home might be a local library or even better a senior living centre. That would be a good demographic to donate to.
Aired on September 15, 1961 as the show's third season opener, the episode is a Cold War fantasy appropriately called "Two" about the last two survivors on earth, a man and a woman, after an apocalyptic world war in 2109. Written and directed by TV veteran Montgomery Pittman, the simple plot revolves around the complicating fact that he is an American infantryman and she is an invading Russian soldier. Like two feral animals, they glare at each other among the debris of a deserted town destroyed by the war. He even knocks her out her after she aggressively throws pots and pans at him. The reality of their solitary existence, however, gradually dawns on them, especially after they see an evening dress in a shop window inspiring her to speak her only word of dialogue - "Prekrassnyi" - the Russian word for "lovely".
What really makes this episode memorable is the unlikely casting. Two years before she twitched her nose on "Bewitched", a brunette Elizabeth Montgomery, looking appropriately ravaged and sporting a deadly ray gun, plays the untrusting Russian soldier with surprising fierceness and vulnerability. The American is played by perennial tough-guy Charles Bronson, fresh from "The Magnificent Seven". Even though he has to spout some inane philosophical lines to describe the futility of war, he leavens his natural sullenness with a determined romanticism. They make an odd couple, but it works splendidly. I also learned that canned fried chicken will become a staple in the 22nd century. Narrated by Rod Serling in his inimitably halting manner, the show ends with my favorite line in his signature postscript: "This has been...a love story." This is classic TV.
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