The Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 37

The Changing of the Guard (1 Jun. 1962)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 786 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 4 critic

After being forced to retire, Professor Fowler contemplates suicide when he doesn't feel he has made a difference in the world. That night he has an experience that shows him that he is wrong.


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Episode complete credited cast:
Philippa Bevans ...
Mrs. Landers - Housekeeper
Tom Lowell ...
Russell Horton ...
Buddy Hart ...
Robert Biheller ...
Graham (as Bob Biheller)
Kevin O'Neal ...
Jimmy Baird ...
Kevin Jones ...
Darryl Richard ...
James Browning ...
Pat Close ...
Dennis Kerlee ...


Professor Ellis Fowler has been teaching at the Rock Spring School for Boys for a great many years. In fact, he taught the grandfather of one of his current students. Just before Christmas however, he's told by the headmaster that his contract will not be renewed for the new year. Despondent, he returns home convinced that his life has been wasted and decides to end it all. Before he can do so however, his is visited by some very special students from the past who give him cause to reconsider. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

1 June 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Student Dicky Vice quotes John Donne - "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee." Student Bartlett quotes Howard Arnold Walter "I would be true, for there are those who trust me; I would be pure, for there are those who care; I would be strong, for there is much to suffer; I would be brave, for there is much to dare." See more »


When Professor Fowler brushes the snow from the tombstone, you can hear a hollow sound, indicating that the tombstone is made of plastic. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: Professor Ellis Fowler, teacher, who discovered rather belatedly something of his own value. A very small scholastic lesson from the campus of - The Twilight Zone.
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It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
Lyrics by Edmund Hamilton Sears
Music by Richard Storrs Willis
Performed by Christmas carolers
See more »

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User Reviews

Mr. Chips is shown his worth
14 May 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Donald Pleasence who mostly has played some of the worst villains on screen gets to play an aging English teacher in a prep school who is told that he has to retire after about 50 years on the job. This episode is so good I would never say it was ripped off, but it certainly was a gentle homage to James Hilton's Goodbye Mr. Chips.

I can only think of one other good guy that Pleasence ever did in his career and it was one of the escapees in The Great Escape. Here he's been told by headmaster Liam Sullivan that it's time to retire, but he will be on half pay for the rest of his life. Pleasence takes it as a reflection on himself as a teacher and concludes he's not really accomplished much of anything.

But as he's about to commit suicide he gets a visit from some of his pupils in the past and realizes just what influence and for the good he's had on the young men he's taught.

This episode is Donald Pleasence's and being cast against his normal type shows what a fine actor that man was. This episode will move the lions at the 5th Avenue library to tears.

Pleasence's performance and a fine story and script make this one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever.

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