Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 37

The Changing of the Guard (1 Jun. 1962)
"The Twilight Zone" The Changing of the Guard (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 716 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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Title: The Changing of the Guard (01 Jun 1962)

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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?


Although set at Christmas, the show was aired in June. See more »


Professor Fowler recognizes Dickie Weiss as "the first" one of his former students to die, on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Then he meets former classmate Rice (class of 1917), who had died at Chateau-Thierry in 1918, 23 years earlier. 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.
See more »


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

The Best of the Un-Twilighty TZ's
14 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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