Wednesday, February 17, 2021

THE TWILIGHT ZONE - "Once Upon A Time" (1961)

Tonight's Weird Wednesday feature is Season 3, Episode 13 of "The Twilight Zone" from 1961, and it's a good one!
I just naturally assume that I've seen each and every episode of "The Twilight Zone" in my life at some point in time, but it might just be time to go back and watch all of them again starting at the beginning, because even if I've seen them, there are many like this one that I didn't remember until it was suggested to me by "The Perry White of Berlin."
This episode is titled "Once Upon A Time" and stars the fabulous star of the "Silent Screen Era," Mr. Buster Keaton.

This fascinating episode starts off as a silent movie that stars Buster Keaton as Woodrow Mulligan!
Disgruntled, what a great word! Yeah, he's a little grumpy, and dissatisfied with the prices he sees in store windows, and how expensive it is to live in 1890.

This is what sexy advertising looked like in 1890!

Woodrow Mulligan is a janitor in employ of these two bonehead scientists who have just finished their new invention, a "Time Helmet!"

The two scientists go off to have a champagne toast to their new project, and while they are gone, Woodrow Mulligan, who had overheard their conversation, decides to try the helmet on!

But as you can see, there's a catch, if you don't get back in 30 minutes, you're stuck wherever you land forever. Woodrow starts messing with the thing, and accidentally sets it for the 1960's.

The sparklers attached to the helmet are especially convincing!

So here he is, smack dab in the middle of the 1960's. He doesn't have any pants on because he was in the process of washing them when he put the helmet on.
Up to this point the show has been just like a silent movie, but as soon as he lands in the 60's, there's sound and dialogue.

Woodrow notices that there has been a moral decline in advertising, and what he thought were high prices before are now ten times higher! He's not too sure he likes this place in time or not!

This guy in a GMC pickup grabs the helmet off of Woodrow's head, and a chase ensues. The guy then tosses the helmet to the sidewalk, and a kid on a skateboard picks it up, and  Woodrow chases after him.

The kid runs into the portly Stanley Adams as Rollo, and Woodrow is able to retrieve the helmet, but it is now damaged! How will get back now? 
Stanley Adams was also in another episode of "The Twilight Zone," entitled "Mr. Garrity And The Graves." Stanley Adams' career included some 211 credits on everything from "The Addams Family," and "Batman," to "Star Trek," and "Lost In Space."

They take the helmet to Jack's Fix-It Shop, and Jack, who was played by the always entertaining Jesse White, tells them that sure, he can fix it, and to come back on Thursday, and he'll have it done. Woodrow explains to him that he's only got fifteen minutes, so Jack does an emergency fix on it
Jesse White was also in another episode of "The Twilight Zone," called "Cavender Is Coming." 

While he's waiting for the helmet to get fixed, Woodrow spots this TV, and thinks it's a guy looking through a window talking to him!

The helmet gets fixed, and Rollo shows that his true motivation in helping Woodrow was to steal the helmet, so he could return to the much more romantic 1800's.
Rollo runs back out into the street, and Woodrow jumps on him just in time to hitch a ride back to the past!

At first Rollo thinks 1890 is a true paradise without all the hustle and bustle!

But it only takes Rollo about a week to realize that the past is boring, and missing many essentials, and he now longs desperately to go back to the 60's.

And so Woodrow is happy to send him back to the time he came from, and as Rod Serling says in the epilogue, "To each his own."
"Once Upon A Time" is one of the few episodes of "The Twilight Zone" that is an outright comedy as far as I can remember. I guess I'll have to watch all the rest of them again to make sure!


krd said...

Stanley Adams was Cyrano Jones, the Tribble trader on Star Trek, and Tybo the carrot man on Lost in Space! What a colorful character acting career he had!

Randall Landers said...

Indeed! From the sublime to the ridiculous. :)

krd said...

Absolutely, lol! ;)

Caffeinated Joe said...

Fun episode of a fun show. For some reason, it always amazes me that Buster Keaton is in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Feel like two different eras.

krd said...

Wasn't Buster in one of the AIP beach party movies too?

EEGAH!! said...

Bingo!! "Beach Blanket Bingo" as a matter of fact!

Grant said...

He was in about four of them. Some people are embarrassed for him when they see them, but I always think he's enjoying himself (he has an especially good part in "Pajama Party").

It's funny to see Jesse White play a repairman in this story, since his most famous role is "Old Lonely the Maytag Repairman."

Jesse White's other Twilight Zone episode that you mention, "Cavender Is Coming," is also a comedy one, with Carol Burnett. It's considered one of the weakest episodes, but I think the two of them really make it likable.

krd said...

I agree, Grant. Buster was likely having a ball! And the Maytag Repairman, too!

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