I own season #1 of Rod Serling‘s The Twilight Zone on Bluray. I was just watching a few episodes. Many play like creaky timepieces (53 years old and counting) but some hold up . I’m thinking of Walking Distance,” “A Stop at Willoughby,” “Escape Clause,” “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” A few are still unsettling — “Where Is Everybody?,” “Mirror Image” and especially “The Purple Testament.” Written by Serling, it’s about a World War II Army officer (William Reynolds) who realizes he can tell who will soon die. The doomed have a weird light on their faces. Powerful concept. Gets under your skin.
Here’s the real creepy part. Each Bluray episode has a ten-second promo spot for a then-hot CBS series. Tonight I saw one for the old Danny Thomas series Make Room For Daddy (which ran from ’53 to ’57 on ABC and ’57 to ’64 on CBS). My first thought? The old rumor about Thomas having a liking for “plate jobs” or “Pittsburgh plate jobs.” Some show business people are known for having perverse tastes so it’s not the craziest rumor I’ve ever heard. I’m pretty sure I first heard it in college. I only know it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw Thomas’s face. Is that fair? Thomas busted his ass until he finally got his foot into the entertainment door, and then he starred in the first remake of The Jazz Singer and then he got lucky with a TV series and then he got rich, and what do people say about him in the 21st Century?
I think it was William Shakespeare who once wrote that “the urban legends associated with famous people live after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”