Rod-Serling-Twilight-Zone

7 Forgotten Twilight Zone Episodes

Submitted for your approval… 7 Forgotten Twilight Zone episodes.

Entertainment Earth

Over the July 4th Syfy Twilight Zone Marathon, I did a list of the 20 Best Twilight Zone Episodes. (Click here to read Part 1, and click here to read Part Two).

But there are some obscure rarely seen episodes that won’t be on the New Year’s Syfy Marathon (click here for this year’s complete schedule).

Why? Copyright lawsuits, controversial material, or some that for unknown reasons just don’t get into regular rotation.

Here are 7 lost episodes worth rediscovering…

(Luckily for TZ fans, you can finally view them on The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series Blu-ray Box Set:)

I’ll also mention which episodes are available on Netflix Streaming. Click Here for a free trial.

1. The Time Element

"The Time Element"

“The Time Element”

The Time Element was the pilot episode of The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on Desilu Playhouse. It revolves around a man who visits a psychiatrist, as he’s plagued by nightmares of waking up in Honolulu just before the Pearl Harbor attack. It was never shown again, until its inclusion on the Season One Blu-ray Set.

It certainly feels like a pilot episode, in that the show’s familiar rhythm and macabre feel are somewhat muted, but it’s still engrossing and shows the potential of what was to come.

Click here to read why The Twilight Zone is The Best Show Ever.

 

2. Miniature

<img src="Miniature-Forgotten-Twilight-Zone-Episode.jpg" alt="Miniature Forgotten Twilight Zone Episode" />

Robert Duval in ‘Miniature’

This excellent hour-long episode wasn’t in syndication until the 80’s due to copyright issues. It’s the story of a young introvert (played by Robert Duvall), fascinated by a large dollhouse in a museum. He becomes convinced that the figurine inside the house is alive, and falls in love with her.

His family questions his sanity, but he can’t be kept away, and it ends with a perfect twist ending.

3. Sounds And Silences

<img src="Sounds-and-Silences-Forgotten-Twilight-Zone-Episode.jpg" alt="Sounds and Silences Forgotten Twilight Zone Episode" />

John McGiver in ‘Sounds and Silences’

Available on Netflix Streaming.

A man who hates loud noises becomes plagued when ordinary sounds become deafening. This was another show that missed syndication until the 80’s due to copyright issues, but it now occasionally airs on marathons.

Click here for my list of the best episodes written by the late sci-fi author Richard Matheson

 

4. An Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge

Available on Netflix Streaming.

The producers of  The Twilight Zone bought the rights to this short film as a cost saving measure during their fifth and final season. This is a wonderfully surreal French adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s short story of the same name. It wasn’t  included in syndication, but it’s now available on Blu-ray and YouTube.

 

5. Come Wander With Me

Available on Netflix Streaming.

Floyd Burney is a rockabilly musician who hears a woman singing a hypnotic melody. They fall in love, and he tries to help her escape her abusive family. But fate has other plans for the star-crossed lovers.  Why this episode is rarely shown is unknown. It’s certainly flawed, but it has a haunting title theme and moody cinematography.

Click here for my list of most prophetic Twilight Zone episodes.

 

6. Printer’s Devil


A desperate editor of a doomed newspaper agrees to a mysterious man’s (Mr Smith) offer to bail him out financially. He also begins providing outlandish tabloid headlines and the paper begins raking in huge profits. Then the editor discovers the dark genesis of these headlines… Burgess Meredith is wonderful as the mischievous Smith, and its one of the best 60 minute episodes, which don’t get as much air-play as the 30 minute episodes.

Click here to find out where Rod Serling’s Night Gallery ranks on our Most Underrated TV Shows list.

 

7. The Encounter

George Takei in "The Encounter"

George Takei in “The Encounter”

Available on Netflix Streaming.

George Takei is Takamori, a gardener looking for work. He knocks on the door of a man named Fenton, who invites him in for a beer. Takamori learns Fenton is a WWII veteran. He notices a samurai sword, which Fenton took from a Japanese soldier.

Takamori holds it and is overcome by a murderous rage. As the tension builds, we find out two dark secrets; (1) how Fenton acquired the sword, and (2) Takamori’s shameful family secret. This sets up the climactic finale.

Racial epithets and offensive revisionist history angered Japanese Americans so much that The Encounter never re-aired. For a show which railed against prejudice valiantly, it was a jarring tone-deaf exception. For the TZ completest it remains a curious, tragically flawed aberration.

But there were also two lost scripts, adapted long after the original series concluded:

Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics

Rod Serling’s widow discovered two unproduced manuscripts from The Twilight Zone creator years after his passing. In 1994, they were aired on CBS, and narrated by James Earl Jones. The first episode was The Theater, about a woman who sees premonitions of her future while watching a film at a theater.

The other episode, Where The Dead Are is about a man whose gift of reanimating the dead has dire consequences.  (Currently only available on VHS). Here’s a review from Letterboxd.com

**Honorable mention; the cult classic movie Carnival Of Souls was loosely based off the classic TZ episode The Hitch-Hiker). Read more about the Best Forgotten Horror Movie Of All Time.

If you’re a die-hard TZ fan, be sure and seek out these Forgotten Twilight Zone Episodes, and if you’ve seen them, feel free to share your thoughts below.

And be sure to read why I think the Twilight Zone is The Best TV Show Of All Time! And check out my list of best episodes written by late sci-fi author Richard Matheson.

You might also enjoy reading about a classic apocalyptic sci-fi film written by Rod Serling.

Below are some great books about the series with more factoids on these episodes, as well as some cool collectibles from Entertainment Earth.

The Twilight Zone Nightmare at 20,000 Feet DioramaThe Twilight Zone Alien and Nurse Action FiguresThe Twilight Zone Series 5 Three-Eyed Venusian 8-Inch FigureThe Twilight Zone Talky Tina Doll Replica - EE Exclusive

About SLIS

Middle Aged Gen-Exer obsessed with Alternative rock, metal, cult movies, comic books and cable TV.

Follow Us

Follow Smells Like Infinite Sadness

, , , , , , , ,

41 Responses to 7 Forgotten Twilight Zone Episodes

  1. Art Sergi June 13, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    You missed one that was also not part of the syndication package. “A Small Drink form A Certain Fountain” was never part of the syndication package due to it being weak. What I see is that this episode is very predictable hence it was left out.

    • SLIS June 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

      Yeah I almost included that one, but like you said it’s not very memorable. Of all the ones left out of the syndication package that’s the lamest.

  2. Todd Pence May 5, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

    “The Time Element” was NOT the pilot episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. It was an episode of another series, THE DESILU WESTINGHOUSE PLAYHOUSE, and was not intended – at least immediately – to spin off another series. It was merely Serling testing the waters to see how a fantasy story played on prime time.

    • SLIS May 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

      It was actually Serling’s pilot for the series, but the network shelved it and used it on Desilu instead. When it got such positive response CBS reconsidered and The Twilight Zone was born. Documented in my dog-eared copy of The Twilight Zone Companion.

  3. Amy July 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    I was lucky enough to see “Miniature” in the 80s and once or twice since then. It’s such a sweet story, I don’t know why they don’t show it more often now. Thanks for making this list! …I also own a well loved dog-earned Twight Zone Companion 🙂

    • SLIS July 6, 2015 at 12:35 am #

      Glad you liked the list! Miniature is such a charming story. They just don’t give the hour longs enough credit vs. the 1/2 hr eps. I think I need to get another TZ companion…it’s on its last legs lol.

    • Jonathan Michael Reiter March 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

      You Too? I want the complete series on Blu Ray…To go with it, of course…

    • Jonathan Reiter March 7, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

      Me, Too. I’ve had it for a long time…. How long, I don’t know. It’s been a long time, though…

  4. Paul Foor September 6, 2015 at 12:33 am #

    Just when i thought I had seen every Twilight Zone episode, I discovered two of the episodes mentioned on the list for the first time in September, 2014. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” season 5 episode 22 and “The Encounter” season 5 episode 31. The first episode mentioned also introduced me to Ambrose Bierce, which I consider an added benefit. Discovering these episodes was a total surprise.

    • SLIS September 10, 2015 at 12:34 am #

      Paul, So what did you think of both episodes? ‘The Encounter’ is definitely problematic but interesting. ‘Owl Creek’ is probably the earliest example of art cinema on network TV!

      • Paul Foor December 22, 2015 at 2:02 am #

        I definitely enjoyed watching both episodes, mainly because I had never seen either one before, at the time.The artistry of the “Owl Creek” episode of TZ is certainly hard to top. I did manage to watch another version of “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge,” released as an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour a few years earlier. That may not have had the artistry of the Twilight Zone episode but it did do a better job of sticking to the story Ambrose Bierce put into his work. That said, I preferred the version released as a TZ episode. “The Encounter,” as problematic and interesting as it was, certainly made an impression on me. The racism and revisionist history was definitely despicable, however, as bad as that was, “The Birth of a Nation” by D. W. Griffith was much worse. That said, the Japanese reaction was and is a valid one. I still found it difficult to stop watching. After all, its still The Twilight Zone.

        • Karen January 3, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

          The “Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” TZ episode is actually a French film that was edited and formatted to be this TZ episode.

          • Paul Foor January 4, 2016 at 12:44 am #

            Having seen this episode on several occasions, mostly on YouTube, I was already aware of that fact. Still a great episode.

  5. Gary December 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    “Sounds and Silences” is one of the worst Twilight Zone episodes. It ranks alongside the dire “Cavender is Coming” for sheer awfulness.

    • SLIS December 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

      It’s certainly not the best…but man “Cavender” is hard to top for worst!

  6. Sandra January 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    I have been trying to find an episode I saw years ago, a man creates people by dictating into a recorder, saves the recordings in an envelope in a safe. When he wants to destroy them he tosses the recording into the fireplace. He even has an envelope for Ros Serling!!! Which episode is it?

    • Steve January 1, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

      I believe you are referring to this one: S1 e36 “A World of His Own.”

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734553/

      • SLIS January 1, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

        Yep! Sorry meant to chime in sooner. Such a weird, but totally awesome episode.

  7. Karen January 2, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    Wasn’t there a Twilight zone episode in which a WW1 soldier was to be shot by firing squad for cowardice. His father is a general and tells him that the bullets will be fake. so he should act brave …. but the bullets are real and he really is executed? I think I saw it once, but never again.

    • SLIS January 3, 2016 at 10:49 pm #

      Karen I believe that was an episode of Tales From The Crypt?

      • Karen January 3, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

        Nope. Never watched “Tales From The Crypt.” This was shown sometime when the TZ marathon began. As I recall, another cable network ran TZ episodes either before or concurrent with SYFY years ago?

  8. Paul Foor January 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    During this year’s SYFY channel Twilight Zone Marathon, they really did show every episode from the original series in order starting from the beginning. The only exception being “The Time Element,” which Rod Serling intended to be the series premiere episode for The Twilight Zone. It took over three days for them (SYFY Channel) to do it, but they did it. My reaction to that is: good for them, its about time somebody did it.

  9. SLIS January 3, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    Paul, I saw that a good chunk of that too. Syfy outdid themselves this year by showing the full run.

    True story: my wife and I were watching it in the hospital while she was in labor. In the midst of the delivery we totally lost track it was still on and our daughter was born to the Twilight Zone opening theme (was too delirious to know which ep) just after midnight on New Year’s Day. Hopefully we have a future fan in the making.

    • Paul Foor January 4, 2016 at 1:06 am #

      Your right, they (SYFY) did exactly that. Best wishes to both of you and your new born daughter. Hopefully your daughter will have a long life and find the lighter side of “The Twilight Zone.”

  10. SLIS January 4, 2016 at 1:11 am #

    Thank you! I can’t to show her some eps when she’s old enough to enjoy them.

  11. Joe February 12, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Great post. Is just like to add one interesting and little known fact.

    It’s nearly universally claimed that the airing of the award winning short film version of “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” never aired on syndication and was only aired once during the Twilight Zone’s original run in the early 60s.

    However this actually isn’t true.

    I was born after the Twilight Zone went off the air. Reruns were however a staple of NYC metro area’s WPIX (channel 11) throughout my childhood in the 70s and 80s and I used to watch it all the time growing up.

    In my sophomore year of high school in the mid 80s, we were shown the original “Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” film in English class, without the Twilight Xone intro, and I immediately recognized it as a Twilight Zone episode. So despite the collective wisdom of the Internet it was definitely shown as a Twilight Zone rerun on WPIX in the late 70s occasionally.

    I don’t know why it’s widely thought to have never aired on syndication; it definitely did.

    • SLIS February 12, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

      I’ve yet to have heard of anyone seeing it in syndication given the producers lost the rights to rebroadcast it? I saw it (without The Twilight Zone additions) as a short film on HBO when I was a kid…so maybe it was something similar to that. Otherwise a local tv channel was throwing caution to the wind! It was included in SYFY’s latest marathon when they showed the entire series in sequence: the first time a marathon has ever done that to my knowledge. Very cool.

      • Paul C Foor February 12, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

        Hopefully, they will do it again this year. That would be equally cool.

    • Paul C Foor February 17, 2016 at 1:47 am #

      That may be true in the NY Metro area, but not in the Los Angeles area. Having lived in Long Beach, CA until I was 19, I would know. It would be more accurate to say in some cases but not all.

  12. Pam December 31, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    I’ve seen all episodes except the pilot, I JUST saw The Encounter with Sulu, that’s what brought me here lol

    • SLIS December 31, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

      What did you think about it? Very polarizing episode!

  13. Susie Squillions January 2, 2017 at 12:26 am #

    I’m watching “Miniature” right now and “Sounds and Silences” was on several hours ago.

    Another one that is often overlooked is “The Wishing Pool.”

  14. M March 6, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    Been trying to find an episode for a little while. I haven’t seen it but it’s been described to me as: a little bald man is hectically running around constantly trying to find parts for some super complicated contraption/machine in a basement which he is tasked with keeping running. It is some sort of mystery machine but it’s implied that it must never stop running (or the world will end?) and another man observes the bald man rushing around, trying to find parts. After attempting to help the bald man the observer is eventually left standing with parts and suddenly realizes that he is now the one whose task it is to keep the thing running. That’s basically all I know about it. Does this ring a bell with anyone’s memory? Also, I’m unsure if this is an actual twilight zone episode or an episode of a similar series. Help please, I’m dying to see this after having imagined it for a while. Thanks!

    • Paul C Foor March 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

      There was a Twilight Zone reboot series that aired from 1985 to 1989. What you described sounds like an episode from that series, which starred Harry Morgan in that specific episode. If I could remember the name of this episode, I would tell you. I’ll let you if I ever do remember or manage to find it on Youtube.

      • markzol March 7, 2017 at 11:02 pm #

        So it’s Season 3 episode 1 of the 85-89 series and the title is The Curious Case of Edgar Whitherspoon.
        Thanks so much for directing me to it! Awesome!

        • Paul C Foor March 8, 2017 at 11:22 am #

          The moment I read your post, I totally remembered that episode in its entirety.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Top 20 Best Twilight Zone Episodes Part 2, July 4th Syfy Marathon | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - December 26, 2012

    […] Twilight Zone fans, weigh in with your own Top 20 below! And be sure to read my list of 7 Forgotten Twilight Zone episodes, to discover some that you may never have known existed […]

  2. Why The Twilight Zone Is The Best Show Ever | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - December 30, 2012

    […] Rod Serling wasn’t just the narrator, he was the creator and head writer. Other writers of note included Charles Beaumont, and sci-fi novelist Richard Matheson.  Having dealt with TV censorship early in his career, he decided he could sneak in social commentary through sci-fi and fantasy. Racism, conformity, the folly of war, all were explored, but not in such an overt away as to reach public outcry (except in one case). […]

  3. 40 Most Underrated TV Shows Of All Time Part 2, Forgotten TV series | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - July 25, 2013

    […] 7 Forgotten Twilight Zone Episodes […]

  4. 5 Ways Richard Matheson Changed Science Fiction, author's influence | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - August 2, 2013

    […] And also check out my  Top 20 Twilight Zone Episodes, Why The Twilight Zone Is The Best Show Ever, and  7 Forgotten Twilight Zone Episodes. […]

  5. 5 Most Prophetic Twilight Zone Episodes | Smells Like Infinite Sadness - December 31, 2013

    […] Click here for my list of 7 Forgotten Twilight Zone Episodes. […]

Leave a Reply