Long Live Walter Jameson
The Twilight Zone

A Baudelairean epithalamion, the theme of which is bachelorhood ancient and inveterate, identified with Plato and an unwarlike disposition, finally succumbing to the old woman and thereby reduced to ash in a trice.

He acquired immortality from an alchemist mysteriously, has lived the centuries and centuries ever since, now as a Professor of History he desires to marry a Ph.D. candidate. Her father teaches chemistry and divines the essence of the secret in a photograph by Mathew Brady. That was the historian, an old campaigner with Gen. Sheridan, whose burning of Atlanta he despised.

How to share this long-sought secret with humanity? The historian doesn’t know the workings of it. The beauty of a rose, he laments, is in its perishability, says this bachelor of long standing.

A very old flame steals upon him at night, taking up the revolver he’s promised nightly to use on himself.

As a history professor, his lectures are “popular beyond words”. He dies having “come to my senses at last... nothing lasts forever, thank God!”

Serling concludes, “another human being returns to the vast nothingness that is the beginning, and into the dust that is always the end.”


The Midnight Sun
The Twilight Zone

Frost’s “Fire and Ice”, dramatically realized as the fever-dream of a young woman in a world slipping away from its orbit, or quite the opposite.

Van Cleave’s score oddly echoes Stravinsky’s Orpheus in its inner line, ornamented very differently.

The sharp surrealistic point is made at the very crisis when a thermometer blows its lid at 120 degrees and the woman collapses screaming, instantly Leader cuts to night in a snowstorm and the end of the world in that way. And the point is that one is often mistaken for the other.


Children of the Damned

The little bastards of Rilla’s film, spread throughout the world, they’re a million years ahead of you, can do what they want, the Army blows them up in the forsaken church where they dwell.

A deliberately obscure movie, tight-lipped and mainly suggestive by images such as the church in London where they gather, one each from England, India, the Soviet Union, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and Nigeria.

UNESCO discovers them, a geneticist and a psychologist discover them, state security takes an interest, that of the nations involved.

The little bastards have a killing sound-machine to defend themselves with, and use it.

The million years are only a guess. What are they here for? They don’t know at first (all share the one mind), and then, “to be destroyed.”

Critics have animadverted upon this as puerile, starting with Howard Thompson of the New York Times. No explanation is offered for this phenomenon of superintelligent children who can bend people to their will, even force them to kill each other.

A drop of their blood devours human blood.

One child dies and is revived.

A dropped screwdriver sets off the holocaust that destroys them.


Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Gilligan’s Island

The sublimity of the entire series easily affords this one small grand gesture toward its authors and technicians and actors “and the rest”. Gilligan’s hair turns white, a subsequent application of hair-dye from Mrs. Howell leaves him bald. Further investigation by the Professor reveals that a component in the detergent used by Gilligan to wash everyone’s laundry (in a washing machine powered by his legs on a stationary bicycle) caused the reaction, which is also suffered by the Skipper, his colleague in this duty.

Much sympathy and fellow-feeling is expended in the interim, but Gilligan and the Skipper are advised finally not to work so very hard.


The Guarnerius Caper
Hawaii Five-O

A priceless violin is stolen from a Russian violinist on tour. McGarrett is called by the governor “to head off WWIII”.

From a recital of Brahms on the terrace, the scene changes to a couple of purse-snatchers and car thieves who steal a Lincoln without knowing what’s in the trunk. The Soviet embassy plays up the event as “an act of aggression by American Fascists.” The thieves discover the violin, and sell it for $15.

The Soviets offer a reward, the thieves kill to get the violin back (a blind music teacher) and make the trade. A “highly-trained intelligence agent” accompanying the violinist sends him to pay the ransom, expecting even greater “propaganda value” from his murder.

Chin Ho in a helicopter locates the stripped car. McGarrett trails the agent to the rendezvous among abandoned wrecks.

The Guarnerius is at first only a crazy tennis racket or baseball bat to the thieves. One is killed by McGarrett in a shootout, the other threatens to smash the violin. The violinist, who doesn’t know what “bread” means in American slang, and who is told what and where and when to play at home, refuses to intervene. The violin is flung across the road, but lands undamaged. The thief is shot in the leg, but McGarrett has news for him, he’ll live.

The naturalism of the shooting style is matched by the professionalism of the actors to make superb dramatic compositions seem without effort, a perfect job.


Beautiful Screamer
Hawaii Five-O

Couplets from “The Giaour” are written in red ink or lipstick on the thighs of strangulation victims associated with a charity, the Hawaii Junior Blind.

Once upon a time they were deposited at finishing school, hence “The Orphans”, Byron was their poet.

In truth, the maniac is invented, a cover for a single murder. The failed construction company exists on embezzlements from the owner’s rich wife, she wants a divorce.

The verses of the great poem are mangled slightly in remembrance, “changed around a bit”, says Chin Ho Kelly.