The Twilight Zone: Season 5 (1963 - 1964)

SEASON:

Season 5
The Twilight Zone

Critics Consensus

The highlights of the final The Twilight Zone season are the fine appearances from some veteran actors, although portions of these episodes are diminished by unfortunate clichés.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 14

97%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 32

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 27, 1963

After a brief flirtation with the 60-minute form, Twilight Zone wisely returned to its original half-hour format with the first episode of the series' fifth season, "In Praise of Pip." Upon learning that his beloved son Pip is dying in a field hospital in South Vietnam, two-bit bookie Max Philips (Jack Klugman) suddenly experiences an epiphany -- which earns him a bullet in the gut from a disgruntled gangster. The wounded Max stumbles into a deserted amusement park, where he is met by the younger version of his boy Pip. Expressing his undying love for his son, Max begs the Powers Above to spare the grown-up Pip's life, as the younger version begins fading into the void. Billy Mumy and Bobby Diamond share the role of the eponymous Pip. Written by Rod Serling, "In Praise of Pip" originally aired September 27, 1963.

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Air date: Oct 4, 1963

By the year 1974, robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring. Travelling from one tank-town to another, fight manager Steel Kelly (Lee Marvin) hopes to squeeze one last bout out of his robot client Battling Maxo. Unable to pay for repairs when Maxo malfunctions, Steel grimly determines to win the prize money by taking the robot's place in the ring. Scripted by Richard Matheson from his own short story, "Steel" made its Twilight Zone network bow on October 4, 1963.

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Air date: Oct 11, 1963

Cited by many aficionados as the all-time best Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" benefits immeasurably from a bravura performance by star William Shatner. While travelling through rough weather on a passenger plane, former mental patient Bob Wilson (Shatner) peers out of his window -- and sees a hideous gremlin balanced on the plane's wing. Doubting his own sanity, Bob tries to convince himself that he is merely hallucinating. . .and then the gremlin begins to tear the wing apart. Adapted by Richard Matheson from his own short story, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" was originally telecast October 11, 1963. The basic story was later incorporated into the omnibus theatrical feature Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and has since been mercilessly lampooned in TV comedy series ranging from The Simpsons to 3rd Rock from the Sun.

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Air date: Oct 18, 1963

First telecast October 18, 1963, the pedestrian Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch" was scripted by Rod Serling from a story by Michael D. Rosenthal. Richard Erdman stars as McNulty, a nonstop talker and crashing bore. Unable to engage anyone in conversation, McNulty decides to manufacture a few "pregnant pauses" of his own with the aid of a magic stopwatch, given to him by a batty barfly named Potts (Leon Belasco). Though essentially a comedy, "A Kind of a Stopwatch" boasts an unusually unsettling denouement.

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Air date: Oct 25, 1963

In the tradition of his earlier Alcoa/Goodyear Theater episode "Eddie," Mickey Rooney delivers a tour de force solo performance in the Twilight Zone playlet "The Last Night of a Jockey." Barred from the track for life, crooked jockey Grady (Rooney) boozily expresses the wish to escape his sordid surroundings and become a truly "big man." His wish is granted by his lookalike alter ego (also Rooney), but there's a heavy price to be paid at fadeout time. The first Twilight Zone to be produced by William Froug, "The Last Night of a Jockey" was originally broadcast October 25, 1963.

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Air date: Nov 1, 1963

Though credited to Charles Beaumont, this Twilight Zone episode was actually written by Beaumont's associate Jerry Sohl. Telly Savalas heads the cast as Erich Streator, whose life becomes Hell on Earth when his stepdaughter Christie (Tracy Stratford) is presented with an expensive "Talky Tina" doll. It seems that the doll doesn't like Erich, and it has expressed this dislike by making such chirrupy pronouncements as "My name is Talky Tina. . .and I'm going to kill you." June Foray provides the voice for the doll, as she had previously supplied the voice for the once-popular doll Chatty Cathy. "Living Doll" first aired November 1, 1963.

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Air date: Nov 8, 1963

Several years after a nuclear war, a handful of survivors are compelled to follow the instructions of the mysterious "old man in the cave." Enter a band of mercenaries headed by Major French (James Coburn), who laughs at the notion of a group of people living under the thumb of an unseen entity. Despite the dire warnings of community leader Goldsmith (John Anderson), French is determined to expose the "old man" as a fraud -- but even he is not prepared for what he finds when he storms the cave. Scripted by Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling from a short story by Henry Slesar, "The Old Man in the Cave" was originally telecast November 8, 1963.

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Air date: Nov 15, 1963

Resentful over having to wait on her invalid Uncle Simon (Cedric Hardwicke) hand and foot, Barbara Polk (Constance Ford) perserveres only because she expects to inherit the old man's fortune. But Simon, a famed inventor, has a surprise in store for Barbara after he shuffles off his mortal coil. In order to claim Simon's legacy, Barbara must now service a talking robot -- who sounds and acts just like Uncle Simon. Robby the Robot of Forbidden Planet fame makes one of his several Twilight Zone "guest" appearances. Written by Rod Serling, "Uncle Simon" first aired November 15, 1963.

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Air date: Nov 29, 1963

Having embarked upon a long-range space probe, astronaut Col. Cook (Richard Basehart) discovers via radio contact that a nuclear war has broken out on his home planet. Landing on a distant and barren planet, Cook despairs over the notion that he might be the last living person in the universe. He then meets a beautiful young woman (Antoinette Bower) who has recently escaped a nuclear holocaust on her own world. Let's cut to the chase -- Cook's first name is Adam, and the girl's name is Eve. One of the more heavy-handed of the Rod Serling-scripted Twilight Zone episodes, "Probe 7-Over and Out" was originally broadcast November 29, 1963.

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Air date: Dec 6, 1963

While on maneuvers near the site of Custer's Last Stand, a modern-day Army tank crew encounters evidence that they have travelled back in time. This evidence is largely gleaned from the crew's knowledge of the events leading up to the Custer debacle. The climax is inevitable -- but fascinating nonethless. The cast of this Twilight Zone episode includes such series-TV stalwarts as Ron Foster, Randy Boone, Warren Oates, Robert Bray, and Greg Morris. Written by Rod Serling, "The 7th Is Made up of Phantoms" initially aired on December 6, 1963.

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The Twilight Zone: Season 5 Photos

Tv Season Info

A collection of sci-fi, suspense and goose-bump-inducing tales.

News & Interviews for The Twilight Zone: Season 5

Critic Reviews for The Twilight Zone Season 5

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

Technophobic and misogynistic... you're better than this, Twilight Zone.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

It sneaks in subversion by pretending to be exactly what it's subverting... Perhaps my favorite TV drama ever made.

May 1, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

If it were possible to convert nightmares into electricity, we'd have all the power we could ever need thanks to The Twilight Zone.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Serling almost single-handedly set the standard for sophisticated television during the medium's Golden Age and beyond.

Jan 29, 2020 | Full Review…

At once poignant, eerie, and instantly memorable, the ahead-of-its-time (pun intended) program could teach viewers a lesson just as easily as it freaked them the heck out.

Sep 18, 2018 | Full Review…

Even in the less successful episodes there's often something to enjoy, perhaps a mediocre script enlivened by the performance of a veteran actor or a young up-and-comer.

May 9, 2018 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Some of the absolute best episodes of The Twilight Zone explore the stigmas and fears around mental illness-namely the paranoid feeling that no one around them will believe them.

May 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Both the performances from Nelson and Malone and Earl Hamner Jr.'s script work to make them two of the most believable and well fleshed out characters in the series' history.

May 9, 2018 | Full Review…

William Shatner blessed us with his overacting in this airborne episode.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

This paranoid episode does for toys what Jaws did for the deep end of the pool.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

All over the map... Rod Serling had overworked himself into a state of total burnout from which he would never fully recover.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Fake dolls threats are all too real.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Twilight Zone: Season 5

News & Features