In a small town, a man by the name of Jagger is about to be executed after being found guilty of murder. The local newspaperman, Colbey, is convinced that Jagger is innocent. He accuses Deputy Pierce of having perjured himself to get a conviction and accuses Sheriff Charlie Koch of just plain laziness in investigating the case. As the morning of his execution arrives, the townsfolk realize that the sun hasn't risen that day. They soon begin to understand the cause of the darkness that surrounds them. Written by
This episode takes place on May 25, 1964. See more »
When the clock is shown at 7:30, the clock tolls the "full hour" Westminster chime, rather than the 1/2 - hour chime. See more »
You seen the light, Reverend. You really seen the light.
[turns to crowd]
Have any of you?
In all this darkness, is there anybody who can make out the truth? He hated and he killed and now he dies. And you hated, you killed, and now there's not one of you... Not one of you who isn't doomed. Do you know why it's dark? Do you know why it is night all around us? Do you know what the blackness is? It's the hate he felt, that hate you felt, the hate all of us feel, and there's too much of ...
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Rod Serling had already written episodes that touched on assassinations of American Presidents. 'Back There' was about the night of Abraham Lincoln's murder. 'No Time Like The Past' included a meditation on whether or not to interfere with history by trying to prevent the assassination of James Garfield. Finally came the subject matter Serling did not expect to have - his response to the murder of John F Kennedy.
Without doubt this episode is preachy. At least Serling made sure 'The Twilight Zone' put it's head above the parapet on the subject of civil rights. At it's best the series was superb at revealing the dark side of human nature, though usually in a universal and timeless way. In this case the message concerns the present time and specific places. Michael Constantine holds the production together well as Sheriff Koch, while Terry Becker revels in the role of the condemned man, Jagger. Not a very good drama on the whole, the tone is of uncompromising disgust of racial hatred.
I think Rod Serling was right to pause great story telling and imaginative scenarios and urge reflection on such a great issue at such an important time.
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