Twilight Zone S4 – The Bard (05/23/63)


Not worth the bandwidth

I am at a complete loss to explain why the otherwise excellent Twilight Zone Companion has such high regard for this episode.  I thought I had met the most obnoxious citizen of The Twilight Zone in Of Late I Think of Cliffordville.  Jack Weston matches the grating personality of William Featherstone in his portrayal of Julius Moomer.

The 5 minute prologue seemed so long, I actually did a time-check because I thought I had skipped Serling’s intro.  It, and several other scenes, are so overloaded with musical stings that they seem like parody.  At times, literally every line is followed by a quick musical cue or sound effect.

This would be insufferable enough, but the antics of Moomer are like fingernails on a blackboard.  The man-boy Moomer . . . well, it doesn’t even matter what he is doing.

The episode is a satire of television.  I have no doubt that Serling had a ball writing it, but his job is to put on a play for us, not play with himself.

Yeah, John Williams was great as Shakespeare, and it was fun to see a young Burt Reynolds doing his Brando spoof.  Beyond that lies pain.

Maybe the time is better spent wrapping up the fourth season.  I have owned the box set for years, but always skipped the hour long episodes of the fourth season.  The purpose of this blog was to force me to watch things like this and Ray Bradbury Theater which I bought but never watched.

Unlike Ray Bradbury Theater, TZ4 was actually a pleasurable viewing experience.  At least until the end of the season — Passage on the Lady Anne and The Bard were brutal. For the most part, the other episodes were solid, and a few ranked among the best of the series.  They might not have all had the traditional TZ stinger at the end, but this was a different show.  Charles Beaumont especially adapted well to the new format.

They were probably wise to return to the 30-minute format the next season.  This experiment can’t be considered a failure, though.

Next week, I’ll begin considering whether the 1980’s TZ reboot was a failure.

Gee, my refusal to admit I wasted a few bucks buying DVDs I never watched has turned into a years-long waste of time.  Sorry to have cluttered Google search results with stream of consciousness musings on these shows.  I feel like I’ve devalued the whole internet.


  • It’s hard to imagine John McGiver was in an episode where he was not the most irritating character.  He was bad in his couple of TZs, but saved his most insufferable performances for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
  • Howard McNear (Bramhoff) went on to play Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show.
  • Even more impressive, Judy Strangis (Cora) would grow up to be ridiculously cute on Room 222 and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.
  • 10/28/16 update: Just noticed that the guys are watching this in one of the last episodes of The Sopranos.  That’s an ouroboros of TV episodes right there.

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