"The Twilight Zone" Long Live Walter Jameson (TV Episode 1960) Poster

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Oscar Wilde Lives
Hitchcoc1 October 2008
There have been many fictional accounts of men who cannot die, who are able to transcend centuries. Dorian Gray is the most obvious one. In this portrayal, Kevin McCarthy is about to be married to a pretty young woman. It is found out during the episode that his face has been seen in a Civil War picture. We come to know that this man has been around for centuries. He has had wife after wife, grown tired of them when they aged, and then moved on. Unfortunately for him, one of those wives is still alive and fingers him, ruining his plans. This is a tightly done rework of the Oscar Wilde story without a painting. As is the archetypal result, this cannot go on forever.
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Old enough to have known Plato
bkoganbing31 May 2013
Kevin McCarthy takes us into The Twilight Zone in this episode about a popular history professor who gives some really vivid lectures. As the episode opens his colleague and potential father-in-law Edgar Stehli listens in on his lecture on the Civil War reading some original source material from the diary of someone on William T. Sherman's staff during the siege of Atlanta.

How did he get in possession of the diary. Easy enough, he was there and he wrote it. In fact as he puts it he's old enough to have known Plato personally. Stehli is stunned by the revelation, about how he got to be that age. But he knows one thing, he can't marry his daughter Dody Heath.

The question is settled when someone from out of McCarthy's past played by Estelle Winwood settles the issue.

This is a favorite Twilight Zone episode of mine with McCarthy and Stehli giving great matched performances.
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No Geritol Needed
dougdoepke6 August 2006
Excellent entry from that magical first year. Kevin Mc Carthy's history professor appears to know a lot more about history than what's in the books. His photo even turns up in a Civil War album. Prospective father-in-law Edgar Stehli gets suspicious and confronts him. Is he really just 39 or just pretending. Theme allows writer Charles Beaumont to philosophize about life's ultimates-- life, death, love, eternity. Also, allows Serling to convey his agnostic leanings in the postscript. Mc Carthy makes a persuasive professor, although Stehli seems a little too bland. The script may be talkier than most; however the action picks up with the conclusion that is both well done and quite fitting. All in all, this is one of the episodes that won the series an enthusiastic following and has helped maintain its classic standing over the years.
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Who Wants to Live Forever?
Coventry28 November 2016
If Sci-Fi cinema taught us just one thing, it's most certainly that craving for immortality is a big and sad mistake! Many movies and TV show episodes have brought forward protagonists, mainly scientists but also regular folks that somehow saw their wish granted but then spent the rest of eternity regretting it! Their motivation to live forever is usually that they think one lifetime is too short to fulfill their hopes and dreams, but they don't realize that their loved ones around them continue to age normally and die. Melancholic vampires also often struggle with this issue. The most famous and legendary tale regarding immortality is undoubtedly Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", which got turned into a couple successful and less than successful movie adaptations already. This TZ-episode, written by specialist Charles Beaumont, brings a nice variation on the same theme. Walter Jameson has allegedly lived long enough already to have known Plato and serve as a Major in the Civil War, but he always kept a low profile and now poses as a history teacher at university. He's about to marry headmaster Kittridge's ravishing daughter Susanna, but Professor Kittridge has unmasked Walter. At the same time, someone's from Walter's more recent past has discovered his whereabouts. "Long Live Walter Jameson" isn't the most memorable episode of the show, or even the wonderful first season, but benefices from an intelligent script & dialogues as well as stellar performances. The climax is intense and original, as I don't recall ever having seen an immortal person standing face-to- face with an ex-wife who's now almost twice the age he is. The special effects during the finale (the archetypal accelerated ageing process) are excellent and Kevin McCarthy (star of the 1956 milestone "Invasion of the Body Snatchers") gives a very mature and engaged performance in the titular role. McCarthy died in 2010 at age 96. Not quite immortal just yet, but a beautiful age nevertheless.
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The Curse Of Immortality
AaronCapenBanner25 October 2014
Kevin McCarthy is quite good as popular college history professor Walter Jameson, whose lectures have the distinct air and sound of authenticity to them, especially when a mysterious diary of an unknown soldier is read from the American Civil War, which arouses the suspicions of a fellow professor whose daughter he is set to marry, even though Walter's past is soon to catch up with him in a long overdue fashion... Strong and compelling(if just a bit contrived) episode takes a familiar premise and makes inspired use of it, with seldom a dull moment or misstep. Good makeup F/X too in fondly remembered entry.
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"It's death that gives this world it's point".
classicsoncall20 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Walter Jameson (Kevin McCarthy) has the kind of knowledge that can't be found in books. A couple thousand years ago, an ancient alchemist put him in a coma with a potion that gave him the secret of eternal life. What I would want to know is what happened to the alchemist? Did he himself take advantage of the occult arts, or simply pass away in his own due time. For this is at the heart of the matter of the Walter Jameson story, just as it was in Twilight Zone episode #1.6 - 'Escape Clause'. It's the unintended consequence that gets you every time, even in cases of immortality. One doesn't consider up front what living forever actually portends, outliving loved ones who grow old and die, while contriving ways to explain away one's own youthful appearance with the passage of time. There's another issue too that I haven't seen dealt with in stories like this; how does one cope with the advance of science and technology when the mind one grows up with is conditioned to an earlier era? My eighty year old mother can't quite grasp the concept of the internet and e-mail, while I in turn can't quite grasp the concept of Lady Gaga. Perhaps future discoveries that hold out the promise of prolonged life will also offer the ability to cope with it as well.
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great classic
richspenc15 March 2017
This is one of my favorites. It has a lot of dialogue and not much in special effects until the last part but the dialogue is very good and I have most of it memorized and I'm still not tired of it, so that says something there. And the special effects are very chilling and moving. I really liked the bonding between history teacher Walter Jamison and his fiance's dad Sam. The lines even when Walter first arrives about Sam verses Suzana's cooking are good. It only gets better when Suzana leaves the scene and Sam starts questioning Walter's age and then discovers Walter's photograph in a Civil War book, the photograph being one of the very memorable things of the episode. The photo being the revelation of Sam finding out Walter's big ultamate secret, Walter's cornered and is forced to let Sam in on the truth of him being old enough to have known Plato personally. He tells Sam about meeting an alchemist 2000 years ago and him granting Walter's wish about wanting eternal life. He tells Sam about how over time, living forever is not as great as it seems and you start getting tired of living (I've seen that idea used already in the not as good TZ episode "Escape clause"). Walter tells Sam about his many different guises over the centuries including Hugh Skeleton, the Civil War general that he had been telling his history class about and whos picture is in the book Sam discovered. Walter also tells Sam of him having different marriages and different families through the times and having to eventually leave each one to avoid anyone getting suspicious. One of his past wives from the beginning of the 20th century when Walter was under a previous guise , who is now old, has tracked him down, unbeknownst to Walter. I liked Walter's philosophy about death being what gives life its meaning. He says "you love a rose because you know it will soon be gone, whoever loved a stone?". I won't reveal the ending here. This whole episode is fantastic.
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'You just go on living.Thats all'.
darrenpearce11130 December 2013
Kevin McCarthy is impressive as the ancient history professor, tired of thousands of years of life. Egdar Stehli matches him as his colleague and prospective father-in-law to the pipe-smoking Methusala. McCarthy plays Jameson as blasé about life, only really excited by lecturing on long ago history in which he was an active participant. Stehli plays Professor Kitteridge as a sensitive, rapidly aging man who fears death. That he refuses to let his thirty-year-old daughter marry Jameson seems like a patriarchal order from an earlier era.

One of so many interesting stories by Charles Beaumont in TZ. Intriguingly set up from the beginning with the stalking presence of Estelle Winwood.

The real life longevity of McCarthy and Winwood has been mentioned. Also Stehli lived to 89.
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Eerily prophetic?
PrometheusTree6427 September 2010
Kevin McCarthy and Estelle Winwood became the oldest active actors in

the Screen Actors' Guild decades after appearing in "Long Live Walter Jameson" on THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

That was always uncanny, given the storyline.

But it's even eerier now that Kevin McCarthy has just died. And why? Well, one of the things in "Long Live Walter Jameson" that some people have noticed in recent years was the reference in his diary to the city being destroyed on "Tuesday, September 11th", 42 years before the 9/11 attacks.

So now McCarthy's death date of Septemeber 11th seems equally odd.
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one of Beaumont's best
HelloTexas114 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The central conceit of this first-season episode written by Charles Beaumont is simple, yet marvelously played out. Walter Jameson (Kevin McCarthy) is a college professor engaged to be married to an elder colleague's daughter. The older professor, Samuel Kittridge (Edgar Stehli), has noticed something odd though about Jameson- in the twelve years they've known each other, Kittridge has become an old man while Jameson hasn't aged at all. Then the truth is admitted by Jameson- he's over two thousand years old and the college professor he claims to be now is just the latest in an almost endless series of guises he's adopted over the centuries to keep from being found out. In one beautifully written scene in Kittridge's living room, Jameson gives us an idea what it must be like to live for so long. Without being terribly specific, the mental image he paints is not a happy one. Always outliving friends and colleagues, having to abandon wives and family before they realized he wasn't aging... the existence he describes, far from being some wondrous miracle, comes across as bleak and desperate, hollow and dishonest. The final scene has one of his previous wives, now a very old woman, finding him and killing him, before he can marry again and continue the endless cycle. McCarthy's performance and accompanying trick lighting and make-up while he is dying and aging rapidly is quite convincing, even now, and very eerie. A stellar episode of 'The Twilight Zone,' and one of Charles Beaumont's best scripts.
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The Twilight Zone-Long Live Walter Jameson
Scarecrow-881 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Kevin McCarthy stars as a history professor with a secret, he's over 2000 years old and knew Plato personally! His fiancé's elderly father figures it out when he sees a Civil War photograph with Walter Jameson in Sherman's army and questions his potential future son-in-law about it. Jameson coughs it up, saying an alchemist was responsible and so Professor Samuel Kittredge(Edgar Stehli)beckons him for answers as to how he could halt the dying process. LONG LIVE WALTER JAMESON is essentially a dialogue movie with aging make-up wizardry at the very end which might remind others of David Bowie's fate in THE HUNGER. McCarthy and Stehli have a specifically long conversation on aging and the detrimental effects which come with having immortality, watching others die as you remain the same. Estelle Winwood's role, while small, is significant in that she is one of those who suffered thanks to Jameson's non-aging, while responsible for his downfall. Dody Heath is the woman who could become Winwood's Laurette if Jameson isn't stopped from marrying her. Anchored by McCarthy's credible performance as a man who doesn't look a day over 42 and yet feels every year he has been alive, admitting he is too afraid to use the revolver in his drawer to end the misery which comes with outliving those you love.
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To be dead, to be VREALLY dead! Dat must be GLORIOUS.
Robert J. Maxwell23 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
One of the most serious, thoughtful, and neatly written episodes of the series. Recalling the Greek myth of Tithonus, Kevin McCarthy is Professor Jameson, whose history classes are most vivid. A wizened old friend of his, a professor of chemistry, discovers that the reason McCarthy's tales of history are so evocative is that McCarthy lived through them. McCarthy is thousands of years old.

When he was just a young man, palling around with Plato and the rest of the gang, he ran across an Alchemist and begged him for immortality. The Alchemist complied and McCarthy woke up after a swoon to find that he was never going to grow older. Unlike Tithonus, McCarthy retained his youthful appearance through the ages. Luckily, he managed to avoid being seriously hurt or killed through the millenia. He's had many wives and the next one in line is the chemistry professor's daughter, whose love McCarthy returns. McCarthy has more than one thousand children -- and NOT ONE OF THEM CALLS HIM. (I should cite Mel Brooks.)

The chemist objects, but what can he do? So McCarthy is a little old for his daughter. Another May/September romance; only this time one of them is a perennial September and May is going to slowly morph into December until the New Year comes.

Let's not be too quick to judge McCarthy. There is a part of him that longs for death. Who can blame him? Would you want to be a fork lift driver for five hundred years? He's seen too many loved ones come and go, while he remains blandly handsome. He has a revolver in his desk drawer but is too much of a coward to use it. And elderly ex wife shows up and solves the problem for him.

There are some weak spots. That Alchemist is kind of skipped over. But McCarthy gives a fine performance and projects a shaded mixture of satisfaction and regret. Tony Leader has directed with flair, making good use of lighting, particularly in the final scene with Estelle Winwood. The dialog between McCarthy and the ancient chemist is revealing and provocative. "We love a rose because we know it's beauty will disappear soon. Who loves a stone?" Okay, it's not a flight of Elizabethan poetry, but it's pretty good for a hastily written and quickly shot half-hour television program. I'm not sure I agree with the statement but it's an interesting way of evaluating beauty. We love a thing because it's going to disappear. By an extension of that logic, we ought to find everything beautiful because it's all going to disappear -- because WE'RE going to disappear.
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An interesting idea that was repeated.
MartinHafer1 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is an idea I can recall seeing on a later episode ("Queen of the Nile") as well as on a "Star Trek" episode ("Requiem for Methuselah"). The story is about a person that is apparently immortal--though those around them have no idea they have lived for many centuries.

The show begins with a professor (Kevin McCarthy) lecturing on the Civil War. You hear him reading from a Civil War soldier's diary--but when the camera pans behind him, you see he is NOT reading from the diary but delivering an extemporaneous speech! At the end of class, another professor (who was sitting in on the lecture) approaches McCarthy and invites him to dinner.

At dinner, you learn that McCarthy is engaged to the daughter of this elderly professor. After the lady leaves the room to do the dishes, the older man confronts McCarthy--he thinks he knows his secret. Pulling out an old album of Civil War photos, he shows McCarthy one that belonged to the man whose diary he'd read from in class. The photo was of none other than McCarthy!! Apparently he fought in the Civil War--and yet it was now 1959!!! There's more to the episode--including a subplot involving one of McCarthy's old wives coming to confront him as well--and she appears to be in at least her 80s! Weird but captivating. In addition, the acting was quite nice and the show is well worth seeing--even if I have seen other shows like it.

By the way, why was the old guy so dead set against the pending nuptials? He had no idea that McCarthy was still married, so this couldn't have been the reason. In fact, having an immortal son-in-law seems like a pretty cool thing!
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"I dreamed, as you dream, of immortality..."
John Whorfin13 May 2017
"Long Live Walter Jameson" is a wonderful episode, one of my favorites. It explores a straightforward, yet very interesting concept: what happens to an otherwise ordinary man who cannot die?

Unlike many Twilight Zone episodes that famously conclude with an ironic twist, "Walter Jameson" doesn't finish by upending all that the viewer had seen for the first twenty or so minutes. In fact, the finish isn't really surprising at all. Jameson's immortality is revealed early on, and then rather neatly gets out of the way so that a quiet, contemplative story of character, loneliness, and fear can be told. Interestingly, there's a subtler second twist that is almost easy to miss -- when Walter and his friend Sam are having the discussion that is the focus of the whole episode, it's not exactly clear which one of them really is the "older" (i.e. wiser) man.

Kevin McCarthy and Edgar Stehli do great work as the jaded immortal Walter Jameson, and his all too mortal friend, Sam Kitteridge. Watch in particular Stehli's delicate reactions as Kitteridge learns the truth about Jameson and discovers the real consequences of living forever.

This is an engrossing episode, which takes place almost entirely in a single room, and with hardly any musical backing. I rate it as one of the five best of the entire series. Enjoy. 9.5/10
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CLASSIC TZ that moves you deeply!
Bele Torso20 May 2016
Got to get this out...why do reviewers keep rehashing the episode summary? Really? There is something so narcissistic about this which obviously really bugs me. It's like making a Youtube video of baseball highlights and putting a worthless sound track over the announcers and live action. No independent thought...clones repeating only what someone else does.

The Twilight Zone did the opposite. This episode, especially when it aired and the early re-runs was bind blowing. There was nothing on TV like this and nothing has tapped the brilliance of Rod Serling. What if... Your imagination is tapped and then another thought stirred to think, ponder, and reflect about the nature of life. Serling told little sermons (parables) wrapped in a drama.
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Long Live The Twilight Zone!
telegonus31 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Long Live Walter Jameson is one of the best and best loved episode of the Twilight Zone TV series, and like so many from the first season it's different in mood and theme from the ones that came before and after it. The script is by the legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Charlies Beaumont, and it's directed by radio veteran Tony Leader.

The story is that of a perennially youthful looking history professor at a small college who, it strikes a colleague and friend of his, more than just a little too knowledgeable about the history he lectures about. This is particularly disturbing as the professor, the Walter Jameson of the episode's title, is engaged to be married to his colleague's daughter.

After a post-prandial chat, and during a game of chess with his, he hopes, father-in-law to be, Jameson admits that indeed that's him in the Matthew Brady photograph taken during the Civil War, and that indeed he's way over a hundred years old. More like two thousand, and counting.

Jameson acquired his gift of youth from a sorcerer of some kind millenia ago, and this enabled him to live an incredibly long time, and to have been married, raised children, and yet also see his family and friends die, many times over; and as he speaks the viewer learns that this gift has not granted him wisdom but is something nearer to a curse.

Even with his eternal youth Jameson yearns for death. In the end he gets his wish, and from an unusual source, as he is shot by an ancient wife he had abandoned decades earlier. The transformation of the still handsome and youthful looking Jameson to an old man, then a painfully wizened and crippled dusty old thing is probably the best special effect of the entire original Twilight Zone series.

There's wisdom in this episode, and a cruel irony as well, as author Charles Beaumont suffered from a rare medical condition that caused him to age prematurely and die before he was forty. Nor was the show's creator, host and frequent contributor, Rod Serling, destined for a long life, as he died before he turned fifty.

Yet the dark clouds that hung over these two men have silver linings for the viewer: The Twilight Zone has been in continual syndication since production closed in 1964. This may not be immortality but it's a very long time for what's become a cult TV series to remain popular, as it is to this day.
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There can be only one.
BA_Harrison6 July 2017
If you could live forever, would you really want to? To remain the same age while all those you love grow old and die? These are the questions posed by this episode of The Twilight Zone, which stars Kevin McCarthy as history professor Walter Jameson, whose future father-in-law Sam Kittridge (Edgar Stehli) comes to suspect that Jameson's in-depth knowledge of the past is down to first-hand experience.

Long Live Walter Jameson is a very talky episode, mostly consisting of scenes of dialogue between McCarthy and Stehli, but that doesn't stop it from being a very entertaining tale, thanks to the excellent script by Charles Beaumont, which keeps the viewer intrigued throughout, and fine performances from the two male leads.

Others here on IMDb have mentioned TV shows and films that might have been influenced by this episode. I'd like to add '80s fantasy classic Highlander to the list, Russell Mulcahy's film exploring very similar territory.
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Nothing lasts forever
Woodyanders25 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Walter Jameson (superbly played by Kevin McCarthy) teaches history at a local college and displays an uncannily thorough understanding of the subjects he lectures about. As he should, because Jameson is actually an immortal who has been alive for well over two thousand years.

Director Anton Leader relates the neat and engrossing story at a steady pace as well as ably crafts an appropriately sober and mysterious mood. Charles Beaumont's smart and literate script not only makes a potent and provocative central point about death being a natural part of the cycle of life, but also poignantly points out the bitter and lonely price one must pay for living forever. McCarthy anchors this episode with his strong and thoughtful work as Jameson; he receives sturdy support Edgar Stehli as suspicious professor Sam Kittridge, Estelle Winwood as aged former wife Laurette Bowen, and Dodie Heath as perky fiancé Susanna. An on the money show.
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He lived long enough
sol27 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILER** Brilliant history professor Walter Jameson, Kevin McCarthy,has been wowing his students as well as collage faculty members for some 12 years with his BS stories about historic events dating back to the ancient Greeks. How does Jameson come up with all these stories of events that happened hundreds if not thousands of years ago with such clarity and imagination? It's as if he was there at the time both observing and even taking part in them!

That's what Prof Jameson's colleague 70 year old chemistry professor Sam Kittridge, Edger Stehli, thought about him until one day looking at old photos of the Civil War Kittridge spotted a person on the Union's General Sherman's staff that's the spitting image of Walter Jameson! In fact the person a Col. Hugh Skelton is the very same person who Jameson was reading to his students excerpts from his personal diary of the burning down of Atlanta back in 1864 by Sherman's men!

As Kittridge starts to ask some deep and very probings questions about Jameson's past he finally gets him to admit the dark secret that he's been keeping from him and everyone else he knew in his life. Jameson is a lot older then he looks, a lot lot older, and no matter how hard he tries he just can't get himself to die. Being the coward that he was and still is back some 3,000 years ago Jameson, or whoever he was at that time, had himself treated by this Egyptian alchemist who made him immortal! This feeling of immortality has since worn off with Jameson outliving his friends family and, over the last 3,000 years, scores of wives!

Despite his past in knowing that he'll outlive any woman he marries Jameson has his sights set on Prof. Kittridge's 30 year old daughter Susanna, Dodie Hearth, a graduated student at the collage that he and Prof. Kittridge teaches at. Susanna had fallen madly in love with the tall graying handsome and well spoken, on historical matters, Jameson and nothing on this God's earth, including her father, is going to stop her from marrying the big hunk. That's until one of Prof. Jameson's former spouses, who he left out in the cold, 78 year old Lauretta Bowen, Estelle Winwood, has something to say about it!

***SPOILERS*** Having found out about her former husband Thomas "Tommy Boy" Bowen, now calling himself Walter Jameson, forthcoming marriage to Susanna Kitteridge in the local newspaper's society column Lauretta decided to pay him a visit. Not to talk about the good old days but to pay the two-timing heel back for everything that he did to her and also prevent him from doing the same thing to the unsuspecting Susanna Kittridge! And in that put her former estranged and long suffering husband, in being sick and tired of living, out of his misery! Something that he's been trying to do for centuries but didn't quite have the guts to do it himself!
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Faint reminders of a more modern ageless love story
kawai5425 August 2009
This story has a few tear-jerking elements in common with another more modern love story: that of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.

Edward and Bella battle with the age issue as well - she's aging and he is not. While the supporting characters in the two stories are quite different from each other, each tale has a philosophical tug of war underlying the plot.

You can tell this is an early episode of The Twilight Zone, as the story is not as tightly woven, and the dialogue is a bit under par. But its commentary on aging and death is quite provocative.

Good early role for Kevin McCarthy. And Estelle Winwood maintains a spooky aura. But the others are not yet ready for primetime.
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