The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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Showdown with Rance McGrew 

The star of a Western TV series suddenly finds himself transported back in time to the real Wild West, and face-to-face with the real Jesse James.



, (based on an idea by) (as Frederic L. Fox) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Larry Blyden ...
Rance McGrew
TV Bartender (as Robert J. Stevenson)
Bill McLean ...
Prop Man (as William McLean)
Troy Melton ...
Cowboy #1
Jay Overholts ...
Cowboy #2
Hal K. Dawson ...
Bob Kline ...
TV Jesse James (as Robert Kline)
James Turley ...
Rance's Double (as Jim Turley)


Rance McGrew is the star of a weekly TV western where he plays the town Marshal. He is, to say the least, difficult to deal with. He is frequently late on the set, arrives unprepared and often requests script changes just as they are about to shoot a scene. To top it off, he's quite inept at handling his gun which he inadvertently tosses into the saloon mirror on more than one occasion. He's given a dose of reality however when he inexplicably finds himself back in time, coming face to face with the real Jesse James. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

2 February 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the "showdown" sequence, when Rance McGrew is backing away from Jesse James, the funeral parlor hoves into view and reveals that the Funeral Director is "C. Nyby" (a nice little in-joke, as the director of this episode is one Christian Nyby!). See more »


At different times while they are filming Rance's various takes in the saloon, his Ford T-Bird with the longhorns is clearly visible out in the street. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: Some one-hundred-odd years ago, a motley collection of tough moustaches galloped across the West and left behind a raft of legends and legerdemains, and it seems a reasonable conjecture that if there are any television sets up in cowboy heaven, and anyone of these rough-and-wooly nail-eaters could see with what careless abandon their names and exploits are bandied about, they're very likely turning over in their graves - or worse, getting out of them. Which gives you a clue ...
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User Reviews

The Funniest TZ I have ever seen
6 August 2009 | by (Lincoln University,PA USA) – See all my reviews

TZ was never known for its comedy which makes this episode stand out. A lot of the gags are played a little too broadly but are still fun. My favorite is the Marshall's repeated calls for "Stuntman!". Another good aspect of this episode is the high quality actors playing the director, the AD, the lead, and Jesse James. They all seem to be enjoying the ride, maybe a little too much, as the acting is a little more hammy than needed at times. It has the requisite twist ending but even it is played for laughs. So many TZ episodes seem stretched too far beyond the twist just fill the time. This episode is slightly too long but the comedic acting keeps your interest. Highly recommended.

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