Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1958 - Rod Serling's THE TIME ELEMENT, the first Twilight Zone episode

Presented as an episode of Desilu Theater by the man himself,   Desi "Ricky Riccardo" Arnez, this is the pilot for The Twilight Zone series.  The story is a typical Rod Serling time travel concept, where a man from the present journeys back into time for some unexplained reason and tries to change the course of history.

The Time Element is the story of a guy who dreams himself back to the day before Pearl Harbor, he visits a psychiatrist as he attempts to understand what is going on.  He goes from disbelief to what is happening, to exploiting the situation and finally to acceptance of his fate.  Serling reworked this basic plot line in different episodes of the Twilight Zone a few times. 

William Bendix a character actor from the 1940's plays the time traveler, and Martin Balsam another character actor is the psychiatrist,  they both give good performances.


Probably my only carp with this show is that it seems a little padded out because it had to fit a 1 hour time slot.  Episodes of The Twilight Zone always seem to play better at 30 minutes.  Audiences can only take so much of this fantasy stuff and it's usually best in small amounts.  Still, this is an interesting show and Rod Serling could usually deliver the "goods" when it came to this type of story.

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