At a prominent club in Washington, D.C., a socialite argues about whether it would be possible to change history by traveling back in time. When he leaves the club he finds himself in 1865, on the night that President Lincoln will be shot.
After debating with a member of his Washington club whether you could go back in time and change major events, Pete Corrigan seems to go back to April 15, 1864 the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He tries his best to warn the authorities of what will happen in a few hours time but it all falls on deaf ears. One person seems interested in what he has to say, but that person may have his own reasons for his behavior. Written by
Second time Russell Johnson is involved with time travel on The Twilight Zone. See more »
On 14 April 1865, Clara Harris refers to Major Henry Rathbone as her husband. He was her fiancé at the time; they were married in 1867. See more »
Mr. Peter Corrigan, lately returned from a place 'back there,' a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly, and the skein of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand, there are small fragments of tapestry that can be altered. Tonight's thesis to be taken, as you will - in The Twilight Zone.
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This time travel entry could have benefited from more imaginative direction. The premise is an interesting one that we have all pondered at sometime or another-- can the course of history be altered by going back in time to change a significant event. Or is history in some sense inalterable-- at least in those major events that clearly affect its course. Here the history-shaping event is the Lincoln assassination which clearly affected the nation's future course. Setting aside the probably impossible problems that a "yes, the past is alterable" answer would entail, it's at least fun to speculate.
The episode, however, is filmed without imagination or style. Having Johnson grab his brow while the focus goes fuzzy to indicate the transition moment is much too facile, while the 1860's sets suggest little historical change at all. Too bad an atmospheric director like John Brahm wasn't in charge. What the episode does have is a terrific performance by John Lasel as the florid John Wilkes Booth, and a latter day look at 1940's teen idol Jimmy Lydon as the credulous policeman. Also, the time traveling handkerchief robs the story of an interesting ambiguity-- perhaps he only imagined his trip after a relaxing evening by the fire with friends.
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