Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 13

Once Upon a Time (15 Dec. 1961)
"The Twilight Zone" Once Upon a Time (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
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Janitor Woodrow Mulligan gets a trip from 1890 to 1962 courtesy of his employer's time helmet.



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Title: Once Upon a Time (15 Dec 1961)

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Episode complete credited cast:
James Flavin ...
1962 Policeman
Gil Lamb ...
Officer Flannagan
Jesse White ...
Repair Man


In 1890, janitor Woodrow Mulligan uses his employers' invention to transport himself to the future. He imagines an Eden but finds a polluted, busy world that he doesn't find at all attractive. He meets Rollo who is also disgusted with the world he lives imagining life in the 1890s as idyllic. When Woodrow goes back to his own time Rollo goes with him but he is soon bored without any of the conveniences of modern life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

15 December 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The old-fashioned clothes wringer that Buster Keaton is using to wash his pants in the beginning is the same kind of wringer that crushed his right forefinger when he was 3 years old. A curious little boy, he got his finger caught in the rollers and a doctor had to amputate it at the first knuckle. In this short, he gets the same finger caught in the wringer for laughs. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: Mr. Mulligan, a rather dour critic of his times, is shortly to discover the import of that old phrase, 'Out of the frying pan, into the fire' - said fire burning brightly at all times - in The Twilight Zone.
See more »


References The Garage (1920) See more »

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User Reviews

Silent Time
28 October 2014 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

Silent film star Buster Keaton stars as frustrated janitor Woodrow Mulligan, who lives in 1890 but yearns for better days. He will get his wish when he puts on a "time helmet" that an inventor made, and finds himself transported forward in time 70 years, where he is lost and confused in our modern world, but meets up with equally dissatisfied inventor Rollo(played by Stanley Adams) who plots to use the time helmet to transport himself back to 1890, with or without Mulligan... Experimental episode where the 1890 setting is told in complete silence, with captioned subtitles doesn't really work, feeling forced and pointless, but remains innocuous enough to be mildly amusing.

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