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2017-06-28 10:22 am

[June 28, 1962] A is for Armchair Theatre (Out of this World – UK's new sff anthology)


By Ashley R. Pollard

It seems that television science fiction serials on British TV are like waiting at the bus stop for a London bus to arrive. You don’t see one for ages, and when you do, three turn up at once.

Therefore I am quite excited by the announcement of a new SF anthology series called Out of this World. So excited in fact that when I heard the news, I had to sit down, and then have a nice cup of tea to calm down. While it’s always good to see SF stories on television, the announcement of a series is also a portent of more to come.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-05 04:11 pm

[June 5, 1962] Into the Sunset (the End of The Twilight Zone, Season 3)


by Lorelei Marcus

You hear that? That's the last school bell ringing, signifying the end of the school year. That means the beginning of summer break, and with it the end of another season of The Twilight Zone. However, unlike the previous seasons of The Twilight Zone, I hear this may be the last. I am both sad, and a bit relieved. I have very much enjoyed reviewing this series with my father, and I am very sad to see it go. However, I believe its also time for it to go. It had a very good first season, and progressively got worse over time as Serling strained for more ideas. It was obvious that by the end, Serling was out of inspiration. Still, rather than focus on all the many mediocre episodes, I'd like to go back and appreciate the really stand-out episodes of The Twilight Zone.



The first ones I would like to honor, of course, were the two recent five star rated episodes, Little Girl Lost and The Fugitive. Truly spectacular works that were the perfect balance of peculiar, creepy, and heartwarming. Next I would like to honor The Mirror in its complete awfulness. It was really terrible, in a "so bad it's good" kind of way. Finally, I would like to say something about Time Enough at Last and It's a Good Life, because I know people are going to be asking about them. Time Enough had an interesting setup and conflict, however I didn't like the ending at all. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for happy endings, but just having his glasses break seemed like a cheap cop-out rather than an actual twist. It's a Good Life also had an interesting setup, however from there it just went downhill for me. There wasn't really a message I got out of it other than "don't spoil your kids," which I assume was not the intended theme. At least I don't have to babysit the kid. If you'd like to see full reviews of all the episodes I just mentioned, and more, just peruse past articles of Galactic Journey with The Twilight Zone in the title.

Alright, enough talk about episodes I've already reviewed; let's talk about the last four episodes. Which just so happen to be the literal last four episodes of The Twilight Zone:

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-05-19 03:49 pm

[May 19, 1962] I Sing the Future Electric (Fashion for the Future)


by Gwyn Conaway

I have noticed trends swinging wildly these past few months. Shapes, colors, and patterns that we’ve rarely seen in the past are appearing in advertisements and our favorite magazines. We are in a transition phase, ladies and gentlemen.

Behind us, the Golden Age of the fifties is rosy and romantic, a time of economic surplus and increasing leisure. I see this past decade as the slow climb of a roller coaster. With John Glenn’s successful Mercury-Atlas 6 spaceflight just months behind us, I realize now that his success marks the top of the roller coaster’s first hill. We’re now looking down at a twisting, speeding track. It’s the sixties, and I can tell it’s going to be a wild ride.

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2017-05-07 03:12 pm

[May 7, 1962] Escape (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 30-33)


by Gideon Marcus

It's a scary world outside, between Berlin, Cuba, and Laos (not to mention prejudice and hunger right here at home). That's why we turn to fantasy – to distract ourselves. Of course, sometimes the stories we turn to are scarier than our real-world problems. The truly macabre, the horrifying, take some of the edge off our everyday woes.

Since its inception almost three years ago, anthology show The Twilight Zone has been a stunner. Filled with literary merit and some whiz-bang ideas, one could always count on CBS to deliver far out chills every Friday evening. This Third Season of the show hasn't been as good, overall, as the prior two seasons; its creator, Rod Serling, seems to be written out. Nevertheless, even at its worst, The Twilight Zone generally has something to recommend itself. Perhaps after this season is done, Serling will take a well-deserved rejuvenating sabbatical. But then, who will take us from our woes?




(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-04-07 09:04 pm

[Apr. 7, 1962] Half and Half (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 25-28)

[Apr. 7, 1962] Half and Half (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 25-28)


by Gideon Marcus

I have maligned the show that Rod built over the course of this, the third season. Serling has seemed tired, borrowing cliches from himself. Thus, I was delightedly surprised to find some of the best quality of the series appearing more than half-way through this latest stretch. Read all the way through because, in keeping with the show, there's a bit of a twist around the mid-article mark. You won't want to miss it:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey)
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2017-03-12 02:43 pm

[March 12, 1962] Must come down... (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 21-24)


by Gideon Marcus

and


by Lorelei Marcus

[I'll let the Young Traveler lead this time. She's put her finger on what we enjoy and don't about The Twilight Zone]



Guess who's back with another The Twilight Zone review! Well, I personally prefer Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I'm afraid you came here for a The Twilight Zone review, so I suppose I'll have to comply. As usual, me and my father watched four episodes of Sterling's show over these past four weeks.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-02-12 08:57 am

[February 12, 1962] Out of the Wasteland (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 17-20)


by Gideon Marcus

and


by Lorelei Marcus

Reading a recent Radio Television Daily, I see that Rod Serling is once again up for an award. I'm not surprised. While his latest achievement, The Twilight Zone has flagged a bit in quality this season, it has still been (for the most part) worthy TV. In fact, the last four episodes do a lot toward watering the "vast wasteland" that has chagrined our new FCC Chairman of late. Check these out:

ONE MORE PALLBEARER, by Rod Serling



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-01-16 08:21 am

[January 16, 1962] Accidents (un)happen (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 13-16)


by Gideon Marcus

It is common practice in statistics to average out data over time in a rolling fashion. This gives you smoother lines, free of the jagged spikes of noisy data. For the last several months, The Twilight Zone has shown a definite tendency toward the lower end of the quality scale, at least in comparison with its brilliant earlier seasons.

But, I'm happy to report that the last month (ending January 5, anyway) showed a distinct and sustained improvement. I'll let the Young Traveler do most of the talking this time around since I find I don't have much to improve upon her insights!



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-12-08 05:53 pm

[December 8, 1961] Fore! (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 9-12)


by Gideon Marcus

I feel badly, I really do. Earlier this year, I was given an award by Rod Serling's people. It's an honor I treasure tremendously. After all, Mr. Serling has given us some of the greatest television since the medium was invented.

But now the wheels are coming off The Twilight Zone, and I can't help but be candid about it. This half hour show that used to be the highlight of Fridays is now something of a chore, an event I might well skip if I hadn't committed to covering it in its entirety.



Serling himself confessed last Spring, "I've never felt quite so drained of ideas as I do at this moment. Stories used to bubble out of me so fast I couldn't set them down on paper quick enough – but in the last two years I've written forty-seven of the sixy-eight Twilight Zone scripts, and I've done thirteen of the first twenty-six for the next season. I've written so much I'm woozy. It's just more than you really should do. You can't retain quality. You start borrowing from yourself, making your own cliches. I notice that more and more."



The fact is, of this latest batch of four episodes, none of them are particularly worth watching.
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2016-11-10 02:25 pm

[November 10, 1961] EARTH ON FIRE (UK Sci-fi Report)


By Ashley R. Pollard

Last month, I wrote about the shocking explosion of the world’s largest atomic bomb. Now, I plan to entertain and delight you all with a review of the film The Day the Earth Caught Fire, which will be on general release in Great Britain from the 23rd of November. Its subject matter is serendipitous, if not unnaturally timely, cast in the light of recent events. This can’t hurt its chances of doing well at the box office, and if you'll pardon the levity, it’s surely guaranteed to become a blockbuster. This early review has been made possible by influence of the Traveller, who has gone to great lengths in assisting me with gaining the credentials to see a pre-release screening of the film.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-11-05 06:47 pm

[Nov. 5, 1961] Settling in (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 5-8)


by Gideon Marcus

and


by Lorelei Marcus

The house that Rod built was showing signs of decay, but, as happened last season, The Twilight Zone has gotten a little better a few episodes in. It's not perfect, mind you, but I'm still tuning in on Friday. In fact, Serling's show, Andy Griffith, and Route 66 are my strongest bulwark against the "vast wasteland" lying behind the screen of the one-eyed monster (sadly, Route 66 wasn't on this week, more's the pity).

Anyway, submitted for your approval are the next four episodes of the Third Season (descriptions followed by commentary by the Traveler and then the Young Traveler):



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-10-31 05:32 pm

[Oct. 31, 1961] A is for Atomic (UK TV Sci-fi... and the Tsar Bomba)


By Ashley R. Pollard

A is for atomic and apocalypse, and this month also for Andromeda. Of the three, the most entertaining is the new TV series on the BBC, called A for Andromeda, written by Frederick Hoyle and John Elliot. Hoyle is an astronomer and noted cosmologist who also wrote the science fiction novel The Black Cloud, while Elliot is novelist, screenwriter and television producer.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!!)
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2016-10-15 05:49 pm

[Oct. 15, 1961] Top of the Third (The Twilight Zone, Season 3)


by Gideon Marcus

and


by Lorelei Marcus

Two years ago, CBS aired the first episode of a new television anthology, one destined for the history books. It was called The Twilight Zone, and it featured science fiction and fantasy themed stories in a most sophisticated fashion. Twilight Zone garnered its creator, Rod Serling, a much deserved Emmy, and if Serling be remembered for nothing else, it's certain he will leave a lasting legacy.



The new season began last month, and though I had high hopes, Serling's creation is starting to feel a little tired. Word through the grapevine is he's a bit storied out, and the episodes that used to flow like water from his pen come a lot more sluggishly. That said, a half hour of Twilight Zone is still better than most hours of other television -- and two hours have already been aired this year. Let's take a look, shall we?

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-08-10 08:13 pm

[August 10, 1961] A Fair Deal for the Fairer Sex (Women, politics, and The Andy Griffith Show</i



A woman on the City Council? Say it ain't so!

It's not news that there just aren't a lot of women in politics these days. Universal suffrage is now 40 years old, but women comprise just 18 out of 437 members of the House of Representatives and 2 of 100 Senators – about 4% and 2%, respectively. For most of us, that's not an alarming statistic. That's just the way it's always been. But for some of us (including this columnist), equal representation can't come soon enough. After all, when women make up half the population but only 4% of the government, that's a crisis of almost Revolutionary proportions.

I'm not the only one taking a stand, but sometimes support for the cause comes from the unlikeliest of places.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-06-11 08:42 pm

[June 11, 1961] Until we meet again... (Twilight Zone Second Season wrap up)

When Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone debuted in October 1959, it was a fresh breeze across "the vast wasteland" of television. Superior writing, brilliant cinematography, fine scoring, and, of course, consistently good acting earned its creator a deserved Emmy last year.

The show's sophomore season had a high expectation to meet, and it didn't quite. That said, it was still head and shoulders above its competitors (Roald Dahl's Way Out, Boris Karloff's Thriller, etc.) The last two episodes of this year's batch were par for the course: decent, but not outstanding:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-05-29 03:15 pm

[May 29, 1961] Oasis in a Wasteland (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 25-27)



Nelson Minow, the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, offered the following challenge to the National Association of Broadcasters earlier this month (May 9, 1961).

"I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland...

...When television is good, nothing -- not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers -- nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse."

He is, of course, stating the obvious. If you park yourself in front of the idiot box all day, your mind will be turned to mush by the soap operas, game shows, inferior anthologies, and the endless commercials (sometimes as many as ten 30-second spots per hour!). But, for the more discriminating, there are about six hours of good TV on any given week. If you like Westerns (and you'd better!), there's Rawhide and Maverick, though the latter is much reduced in watchability since James Garner left the cast. You've got Route 66. Andy Griffith has got a fun show. Dobie Gillis is still amusing on occasion.

And then you've got Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. I'm shed much ink over the fact that this second season hasn't been as good as the first. The last three episodes, however, comprise a solid streak of goodness that I think you'll enjoy if you catch them during the summer reruns (and, as is now tradition, you'll get a one-two review punch with both me and the Young Traveler reporting our thoughts):

(see them at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-04-15 10:05 am

[April 15, 1961] London Calling (a peek at UK fandom)

Every once in a while, one comes across a supremely talented, like-minded person. Ashley R. Pollard is a gifted writer from England who is shopping around her first novel. I discovered her through her columns in a British 'zine; I was so impressed that I asked if she'd like to join the Journey as a contributor, writing on fandom in the UK. To my intense gratification, she agreed. Here is her first article...



Out of the blue I received a letter from across the pond asking me if I would have a mind to contribute to his journal and that is how I came to find myself writing this entry for the Galactic Journey. To say I was delighted to be known to an American writer would be an understatement, but to be able to write for the Journey in such exciting times as these, the Dawn of the Space Age, is quite frankly a privilege. When Sputnik took to the heavens on October the Fourth, 1957, my work colleagues could no longer pass off my taste for reading science fiction as some abnormal fancy but rather as a sign of prescience.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-04-02 01:11 pm

[April 2, 1961] Uprooting itself (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 17, 19, 20, 21)

Twenty years ago, even ten (and zero in some places), science fiction was all about the twist ending. Aliens would seed a dead planet with life only for it to turn out...that planet was EARTH! Or folks might spend a story in a struggle to stay alive, only to find out THEY WERE ALREADY DEAD! And so on. Stories would usually end with a shock sentence, often with copious slammers (!!!)

But the genre matured. Characters, writing, and fully explored concepts appeared. These days, the "gimmick" often takes the back seat. facilitating rather than dominating the story.

The Twilight Zone, the science fiction/fantasy/horror anthology created by Rod Serling, is generally a cut above anything else on TV. This includes its pale competitors like One Step Beyond and Way Out. Unfortunately, several times in the first season, and more frequently in this, the second season, the show has aped the gimmick stories of print sf. The result is a run of predictable, sub-par episodes. There is light at the end of this tunnel, however – the most recent episodes have returned the focus to interesting characters and genuine drama.

First, we have to get there:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-02-26 12:11 pm

[February 26, 1961] A Choice to Make (The Odyssey of Flight 33)

Friday night is The Twilight Zone night. It's true that the second season has not been as consistent in terms of quality as the show's first season, but it has had enough good episodes to remain regular watching.

Normally, I wait until I have a month's worth of episodes before I summarize, but this week's episode, The Odyssey of Flight 33 impacted me such that I wanted to talk about it with my readers.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2016-02-07 06:39 pm

[February 7, 1961] TV Addiction (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 13-16)



I've been watching a lot of television, lately. It's embarrassing. I should be reading more books or doing more than cursorily scanning the front page of the newspaper. Instead, after work I flip on the set and vegetate for an hour. I hope this doesn't become a habit!

It's certainly not as if TV has gotten significantly better. Mr. Ed, My Sister Eileen, the umpteenth season of the Jack Benny Show, none of these are going to win any awards. On the other hand, The Twilight Zone has already won an award (an Emmy last year), and I'm hoping that my continued watching and review of that show excuses my overindulgence in the others.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)