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
The Horace Mann quote Fowler reads, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity", is the motto of Rod Serling's college, Antioch, of which Mann was the first president. After writing the script for "The Changing of the Guard", Serling accepted a teaching post at Amish College. See more »
When Prof. Fowler brushes the snow from the tombstone, you can hear a hollow sound, indicating that the tombstone is made of plastic. See more »
Professor Ellis Fowler, a gentle, bookish guide to the young, who is about to discover that life still has certain surprises, and that the campus of the Rock Springs School for Boys lies on a direct path to another institution, commonly referred to as the Twilight Zone.
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What has always drawn me to the Twilight Zone ever since I was a kid was the surreal twists that screwed some poor sap's fate. Tonight's episode on MeTV was one that I had never seen before, and it was very different from TZ's usual fare, and as a young college professor myself, it inspired me the way few things do. The great Donald Pleasance does a wonderful job learning what it truly means to be a professor and why we do the things we do. Sappy, yes. Sentimental, yes. Tear-jerking, yes. But the tears are tears of beauty at a truly beautiful Twilight Zone.
The central quote of this show (and it's a quote I've bookmarked) is Horace Mann's quote "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." The bane of our profession is the hollowness of what we do, with students going through the motions, absorbing just enough to regurgitate what passes for knowledge on the test, but not really learning anything. Or at least so we think. And, in academia, if we are taught one thing in grad school, it is how to think. How to question and double-think everything, including what we do for a living. We think we have no impact, where our impact is far, far deeper, as Donald Pleasance's character learns. Well worth the watch.
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