The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 26

Execution

4
Aired Unknown Apr 01, 1960 on CBS
7.4
out of 10
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121 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Just before being hanged for shooting a man in the back, a man in 1880 is transported into the year 1959 by a professor who soon realizes that he has brought forward a savage killer.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A man sentenced to death during the 1800s finds himself transported the 1950s.

    10
    Very similar story at least initially to A Hundred Years over the Rim. A lot of similar plot devices and characters acting the same way but different twists and ending. Although I like One Hundred Yards, I love this one more. This one for me is one those episodes that I always remember. It has a darker tone than other story and has a couple of ingenious twists to illustrate its main message about justice, retribution, and the way men behave regardless of what century it is.



    This guy Caswell gets hanged and deserved so for murdering a lot of people. He gets bailed out of his predicament by a science whose built a time traveling machine. Russell Johnson plays the scientist who notices his inhabitant. He doesn't realize who he has beamed aboard till later. Russell is great here. He's a veteran actor already a recognized named before Gilligan's Island came around.



    The way the killer Caswell acts is like Horn in Over the Rim. The modernized Earth he sees scares the hell out of him. There's even a scene involving a jukebox that's hilariously similar to Over the Rim with a couple of exceptions.



    Eventually just like Horn, Caswell is overcome by the modernized terrors of the world. He handles it differently. What I found fascinating among many things about the episodes like time travel aspect is how Rod makes a commentary about men in general.



    Caswell is given the opportunity a second chance to be alive again and does what he did originally in the 1800s which is to kill a man. He could have traveled to the past and back, and the result would have been the same. I think that's why the ending at the end, despite it happening to someone else, serves as a rather moral message about why certain men should feel the long end of a rope for their deeds in life.



    The ending is very clever. Rod sums it up very well.



    This episode therefore sticks out for me for a lot of reasons. Just like Over The Rim there are a couple of psychological questions posed but a lot of themes about justice, retribution, and the way men regardless of what time period there in always act the same.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Joe hears the tape recorder play back Manion's voice after Joe has killed him, the monologue on the tape recorder is slightly different from what Manion originally recorded in the previous scene, omitting a whole sentence.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Commonplace, if somewhat grim, unsocial event known as a necktie party. The guest of dishonor, a cowboy named Joe Caswell, just a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground, and then the dark eternity of all evil men. Mr. Joe Caswell, who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart, a feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Caswell, in the last quiet moment of a violent life.

    • Old Man: Now, if that's all you got to say, I've got this to add. I'd like it to take awhile. I'd like you to feel it, Caswell. The more you kick, the more justice I figure there is in the world.
      Caswell: Well, I'll do a jig for you, pappy, just like a puppet.

    • Manion: At 8:15 the subject appeared desperately tired so I put him to bed. After two hours, I've discovered the following. His name is Joseph Caswell. He tells me he was a trail boss on a cattle ranch in the territory of Montana. His last moment of recollection was November 14, 1880. He says he was riding herd when suddenly he blacked out. He awoke to find himself on the cot of my laboratory. He felt no sensations and only in the last few moments did he seem to have any grasp of what has occurred. There's one disturbing point. There are the marks of a rope etched deeply into his neck. He has no explanation for this. And I have one other observation, hardly scientific. I don't like his looks. I don't like the eyes, the face, or the expression. I get a feeling of disquiet. I get a feeling that I've taken a 19th century primitive and placed him in a 20th century jungle. And heaven help whoever gets in his way.

    • Manion: Some things don't change. Ideals, concepts, things like right and wrong.
      Caswell: I know all about right and wrong. Once, there was a deputy sheriff in Dodge City, tried to beat the difference between them into my back with a wet rope. I know all about right and wrong.

    • Caswell: Mister, you're just talkin' words! Justice, right and wrong. They sound good in this nice, warm room and a nice, full stomach, just a few feet away from a soft bed. They sound nice and they go down easy! But you just try them on an ice-cold mesa where another man's bread or another man's jacket stands between you and staying alive. You get in this machine of yours and you go back to where I was, and you talk about your law and your order and your justice. They're gonna sound different! Mister, I know your kind. Your clean face, your Johnny-come-lately dandies. You come out in your warm trains rolling over the graves of men like me! I just hate your kind!

    • Caswell: What is that? Where's that music comin' from?!
      Bartender: That thing? That's a jukebox, just a plain old jukebox.
      Caswell: It's just that I need some sleep and those things runnin' around!!
      Bartender: Things?
      Caswell: Those carriages without horses and the lights goin' on and off and the noise! It's like thunder all the time!

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: This is November, 1880, the aftermath of a necktie party. The victim's name--Paul Johnson, a minor-league criminal and the taker of another human life. No comment on his death save this: justice can span years. Retribution is not subject to a calendar. Tonight's case in point in the Twilight Zone.

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