It was due to creator Rod Sterling's excessive smoking, that he was often seen with a cigarette during the introduction. Also, since one of the show's sponsors was the Liggett & Myers tobacco company, Serling served as an on-screen spokesman for their product, Chesterfield cigarettes, during his "tune in next week" spot at the end of each episode. The American Tobacco Company, a later sponsor, insisted that he always be seen with a cigarette, although Serling refused to plug their brand (Pall Mall) on-screen. See more »
[Opening narration (season 1)]
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
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This episode begins in the foyer of Mr Williams' personal and professional fatigue...This dilemma transcends the cumbersome nuisance of an encroaching mid-life crisis..It is far more fatal!!..Mr Williams is cannonaded by being under constant scrutiny at his high profile job, and this undue stress takes a toll on his physical health as well as his mental resolve...Pressure from all sides has made Williams acutely aware of his actual breaking point...This Twilight Zone episode brilliantly depicts how a man who has sophisticated Connecticut suburbia by the throat can be the well deserved recipient of self deprecating pity!!
As Williams is returning home from work one evening, he falls asleep and has a dream about a town called Wiloughby...In this dream the train stops at a town named Wiloughby, which is a quaint little town in the late 1800's...Wiloughby "Where a man can live his life full measure".. Wiloughby is a simplistic and serene utopia.. Small town America in the late 1800's?.. No flu shots, no air conditioning, no television, abhorrent racial intolerance and non-refrigerated food!!..yet for Williams, Wiloughby represents an innocence and happiness that is right out of a Currier and Ives painting!!
When Mr Williams arrives home, he tells his wife about his dream!!! Let's first meet the wife...She is a preoccupied virago who is consumed by material accoutrement as a way of flaunting accomplishment and success...Her brow beaten husband's accomplishment and success!! It is Chateaubriand every Friday at the Country Club and clothes from Peck and Peck just to brandish a badge of prestige, her avaricious nature is solely for the purpose of nurturing the shallow virtue of vanity!!
As the husband explores the conundrum of climbing the corporate ladder, the wife merely purports her husband's social isolation and emotional neglect and relegates it to indignant and precocious whining...She perceives the town he manufactured in a dream called Wiloughby, as an escapist panacea which serves as a subterfuge for averting the reality of executive level competition!!
Returning home once again, Mr Williams has a dream about Wiloughby and now he is determined to get off the train and visit Wiloughby should he have this dream ever again!!...Increased pressure from his job and a total lack of empathy from everyone around him intensify his desire to change his life!!...He gives his wife one final plea to support his mixed feelings about everything...This completely backfires and she makes it perfectly clear as she previously stated, that she wants no part of a man "who's big dream in life is to be Huckleberry Finn"...It is important to note that William's wife is not impervious to what he is saying, she understands fully of what he is saying and resolutely resists it!!
Now being pressured from all sides to the point whereby a head vice seems like a Tonka Toy...Mr Williams once again falls asleep on the train and decides to get off at Wiloughby (The manufactured town in his persistent dreams)...To Williams, he has now entered the citadel of respite and solace...To the real world Mr Williams has committed suicide...For now, Mr Williams is in the world he wants to be!!
This Twilight Zone episode illustrates how being raptured up in white collar slavery can often times lead to being trounced by recrimination!! As a result, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important to you!! Now all of a sudden, the joy of heartfelt laughter, and human compassion seem like old relics!!...A mandated life of affluence can be the insidious assassin to happiness, as well as a ruthless vitiation to a tolerable perseverance!!
The Twilight Zone episode "Stop at Wiloughby" is loosely based on Rod Serling's life in terms of the pressure he faced while doing Twilight Zone!! It is very ironic that this episode premiered on CBS the day I was born!!...Rod Serling's articulation of the social climbing America is done up to perfection in this episode!! Carrying across an idea that is prolific and socially astute in nature is difficult enough on it's own right, but when you are continually interrupted every twelve minutes by commercials about bleach detergent, chocolates that taste homemade, and Mercury Convertibles, it is seemingly far more difficult or next to impossible...Rod Serling somehow finds a way to convey his message and flawlessly...This is my second favorite Twilight Zone Episode of all time...I love it, but then again I love a lot of them!!
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