The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 13

Once Upon a Time

Aired Unknown Dec 15, 1961 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
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  • A janitor uses a time machine to travel to the future.

    The beginning of this episode is filmed in the fashion of a silent film. There is ragtime background music and people's words are printed to see. We are introduced to Mr. Woodrow Mulligan, a janitor who works for Professor Gilbert, a scientist. The time is 1890, so the way this episode is first shown makes us feel that we are really in that time. On the way to work, Mulligan is annoyed by many things: noise, high prices of goods, being blessed out by a policeman and knocked into a water trough. When he gets to Professor Gilbert's basement, he hangs up his pants to dry and begins his work. Meanwhile, Professor Gilbert and his assistant talk about their newest invention: a time helmet. One simply puts it on and turns the dial to the year they want to travel to. The wearer can go to another time for only thirty minutes. While the two scientist go off to celebrate, Mulligan decides to try it out. He turns the dial to 1960 and puts it on. He runs out into the street and ends up in a street in 1960. After arriving, the episode runs like a normal episode with noise and live speech. He loses the helmet and it is taken by a roller-skating boy. The boy runs into Rollo, another scientist, and the helmet falls off his head and he skates off. Mulligan finds the helmet and realizes it is broken. Mulligan explains the situation to Rollo and gets him to help fix it. They take it to a repairman who has less than twenty minutes to fix it. While waiting, Mulligan gets chased by a cop who sees that Mulligan has no pants on. With Rollo's help, he gets a new pair of pants. I find it very odd that Mulligan's new pants have a bunch of cash in them. Strangely, the repairman fixes the time helmet. However, Rollo decides to go back to 1890 in Mulligan's place. After a chase scene, both end up in 1890, silent movie status returned. After a week, Mulligan is still content to be home. Rollo, on the other hand, misses his own time and dislikes 1890. Seeing this, Mulligan activates the time helmet and sends Rollo home. I loved watching this episode. It has good music, time travel, humor and a moral lesson.