"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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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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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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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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