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Reviews & Ratings for
"Twilight Zone" Walking Distance (1959)"The Twilight Zone" Walking Distance (original title)

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34 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Beautifully Understated

Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
7 August 2006

Perhaps the most richly artistic of all the TZ episodes. Gig Young's harassed advertising executive is undergoing a mid-life crisis when he finds himself next to the town he grew up in. Naturally, he's drawn back to the boyhood innocence of long ago as relief from the fast-paced pressures of an empty adult life. I suspect Serling reached deep within himself for this one.The half-hour is a near-perfect blend of script, atmosphere, and direction, with a subtly moving music score to deepen the mood of days gone by. Notice how subtly Young is transported back in time and how expertly the camera moves in for close-ups at the right emotional moment. The nighttime encounter bringing Young together with his father (Frank Conroy) is one of the most poignant in a series not known for highlighting such sensitive passages. It's also a moment of wonderfully understated high drama that I would think touches a near universal chord. There was always something deeply melancholic about Gig Young the person that comes through on the screen. Here he's perfectly cast and as a result adds greatly to the compelling mood. This may not be the creepiest, scariest, or most suspenseful entry, but it may be the most touching and artistically complete.

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28 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

One of the finest episodes of Twilight Zone

Author: sllfthom from United States
3 April 2006

This is one of my all-time favorite episodes, because it taps into the desire of all of us to return to that place (Real or imagined) where we were carefree and worry-free. The scene where Gig Young (Martin SLoan) realizes that he cannot stay in the past is masterfully directed and filmed, with all of the characters leaving the scene except young, who is left alone in the dark on the merry-go-round. Just a wonderful scene. Everything about this episode is well done. I agree that the scene with his father is very powerful as well. It is clear that Sloan will go back to his own time with a renewed sense of vigor and leave that summer to his 11 year old self. He will look for "merry-go-rounds" in his own way and his own place.

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24 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

…some wisp of memory…

Author: Jamie Ward from United Kingdom
2 February 2008

Wow, what a treat. 'Walking Distance' is just one of those Twilight Zone episodes that you finish watching and you have to sit back and wonder how exactly something so fantastic could be dreamt up. Although admittedly a little overdone at times, this is the first real shining star for the series, making testament as to how it became the success it eventually did.

'Walking Distance' is an episode that explores the idea of leaving behind a home, whether it's a collective place, person(s) or event. Much like the previous episode, our main character Martin Sloan is caught up in the memories of his younger self, but the difference with Martin is that he didn't realise how much he missed home until he got back. Stuck in a stressful and demanding job, our troubled character goes for a drive away from the business and hustle of the big city in search for peace, and subconsciously it would seem, for his care-free childhood life.

The whole story has a tragic melancholy tone running throughout that works very well with our main character's reminiscent adventure. Everything else in the script from the dialogue to the great time-bending plot work just as well, running at a great pace, always holding the attention and imagination. Furthermore the cast does a very good job of handling the script, which failing to do so was the downfall of the previous episode. There are noticeable weak spots here and there with some over-acting and dialogue that seems a little forced (how about those 'band-concerts'!) but taken as a whole, 'Walking Distance' has a real class to it, full of professional ideas and implementation.

Aesthetically the episode is just as pleasing, if not more-so. Of special notice is a particular scene where Martin is left alone beside the merry-go-round; the dramatic change to spotlight lighting and cue of Herrmann's magnificent score fit perfectly with the mesmerising monologue that Young then goes on to deliver eloquently. The sets too are elaborate, being similar to that of the pilot, giving the episode a wide-open and fresh feel that is necessary when delving into the character's memories of childhood.

Taken as a whole this is simply a wonderfully realised episode that deals with some great themes in even greater ways. With exceptional photography, music, performances and writing, 'Walking Distance' is true classic Twilight Zone in every way.

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24 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

"Mr. Sloan Is Now Home Again".

Author: Skeeter700 from British Columbia
4 February 2006

'Walking Distance' is another fine episode of "The Twilight Zone". This time a busy business executive, named Martin Sloan, decides to revisit his home town: Homewood. To his surprise, he finds that Homewood has been frozen in time for the past 25 years. He meets his father, mother, and even himself at age 11. However, Mr. Sloan discovers that even traveling through time "you can't go home again". The highlight of this episode is when the father tells Mr. Sloan that he doesn't belong in the past. This conversation feels rushed in a way. However, it still packs an emotional impact and contains the lesson of the episode. Perhaps this wonderful episode would have been better presented as a 1 hour special or 2 parter. Finally, the score for 'Walking Distance' by Bernard Herrmann would be used throughout the series and even the 1983 Twilight Zone movie. I give 'Walking Distance' a 9.6 for 10.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Going Home Again

Author: ron_tepper from United States
10 May 2007

You know the saying "You can't go home again? Martin Sloan actually does. "Walking Distance" is one of the finest episodes in the entire series.I believe this is one Serling adores and you can tell so much about Serling from his writings. He poses an interesting question here "If you go back in time and meet yourself as a child, what would you say?.I doubt everyones answer would be the same although Martin's would be a popular one. This is a story of a man trying to escape the pressures of his life by going home again. I also have had fantasies such as this. What is it about our childhood that is so sacred? I assume someone with a happy childhood would like it revisited for hedonistic reasons.People who had depressing childhoods would go back with more of a purpose,maybe to correct those things that would cause hardship in the future. Martin Sloan realized he is not that little boy anymore but all of us carry with us that "Inner Child". What a brilliant piece of work.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Probably the Best Zone Ever Written

Author: donnielee46 from Western New Jersey
6 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If I was sucked into that old conundrum, "Suppose you were trapped on a desert a locked room...etc. and could only bring one episode of the Twilight Zone with you, which one would it be???" By far, it would be "Walking Distance." I was thirteen when I first saw it as it premiered in 1959, and despite the fact that I have seen it probably dozens of times since, it never loses its magic. Those who view it for the first time now may criticize the acting, sets, dialog, etc...but putting it into the perspective of its was wonderful. After all, being transported back from 1959 to 1934 would not be as significant today (2008) as being transported back to 1983. The changes in the former are probably far less dramatic in scope to us now who have experienced it. Television was the biggest technological advancement then (with automobiles not far behind)...look at us today with computers, the internet, IPOD's, DVD's, Gameboys...and the list goes on.

So Gig Young was able to transition more easily back 25 years, and as Martin Sloan, he doesn't even realize it until he sees his old house, knocks on the door, and finds his parents still living there. "Mom, how can you be here?" he stammers, as he recalls her death. "Pop" Sloan is not stilted, as many critics may imply...he speaks simply the way a puzzled Midwesterner might, given the implausible set of circumstances into which he has just been thrust. He now has two who is eleven and one who is 36...and they are one in the same. "Mom" is merely a secondary character...the typical "weak woman" role of the times, who panics, and then steps immediately into the background to let "Pop" Sloan deal with the "Madman" who has presented himself at their front porch. When "Pop" finally comes to the realization of the truth, he confronts Martin...not is a hostile way, but in a fatherly way, with a mixture of sadness and sympathy: sadness at what his son will become, but with the sympathy to confer a father's words of wisdom, which finally enable Martin to return to the present and deal with his life in more peaceful manner.

"Walking Distance" has a message for all of us. Yes, it's true that you can't go home again, but you can apply those lessons learned at "home" to today, in order to make our lives a lot better.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

One of My Favorite Episodes

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10 January 2014

The busy and stress VP of a company Martin Sloan (Gig Young) stops his car at a gas station in a road and the attendant tells that he needs to change the oil. Martin sees a warning plate informing that Homewood is 1.5 miles away from the spot and he decides to walk to revisit his hometown. Soon he finds that he has returned to the past and he finds himself and his parents in the place.

"Walking Distance" is one of my favorite episodes of "The Twilight Zone". The idea of having a chance to travel back to your childhood or adolescence when the days were better and better is a dream of most elder people and the amazing journey of Martin Sloan is very nostalgic and makes the mature viewers think of what he or she would do if he or she would have the same opportunity. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Além da Imaginação - Walking Distance" ("Beyond Imagination - Walking Distance")

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Strolling back the years.

Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
29 April 2012

Another of the many episodes written by Rod Serling, "Walking Distance" is a finely balanced tale that looks at nostalgia and any difficulties in adult life that makes you yearn for the cherished memories of your youth.

Gig Young plays Martin Sloan, a businessman who is having a bad time of things. He pulls into a gas station to have his car looked at and decides to walk along the road to revisit the town that he grew up in. Once there, he's surprised to see just how little has changed. Are his memories clouding his vision or has something else happened, something that could only happen to people who wander into The Twilight Zone.

Directed by Robert Stevens, this is another in a long line of strong, well-written episodes putting forth a number of thoughtful ideas into a package of popular entertainment to make it all more palatable. There's definitely a bittersweet tone to "Walking Distance" and it's all pitched just perfectly with the performances around the great writing.

Gig Young is wonderful in the lead role and Frank Overton proves to be his equal with the limited screen time that he has. Fans of Ron Howard may enjoy seeing his small performance as a young lad playing with marbles in the street and Bernard Herrmann aficionados will enjoy his wonderful score.

Once again, The Twilight Zone presents a perfect piece of entertainment and makes everything look so easy.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Simply, one of the best

Author: Anthony Pittore III (Shattered_Wake) from Los Angeles, CA
20 November 2010

Martin Sloan, age thirty-six. Occupation: vice-president, ad agency, in charge of media. This is not just a Sunday drive for Martin Sloan. He perhaps doesn't know it at the time, but it's an exodus. Somewhere up the road he's looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he'll find something else.

'Walking Distance' has always been a personal favourite episode of 'The Twilight Zone' for me. While it's nothing spectacular in the way of sets or production designs or the like, the simple story and the meaning behind it have always touched a certain part of my heart that charmed me in some way. Its story is one that most can relate to: Who wouldn't want a chance to have an even brief moment to relive a special time in their life? Who wouldn't want to revisit with lost loved ones? Who wouldn't want just a moment to teach their former selves something of the future?

The episode doesn't thrive on big twists, crazy stories, or over-the-top action. It is wonderfully understated, calmly and perfectly acted by Gig Young ('Blazing Saddles'), flawlessly directed by Robert Stevens (who also directed the series's pilot 'Where Is Everybody?'), and contains more charm than pretty much any episode of television one will ever come across. Of all the many, many fantastic episodes of 'The Twilight Zone,' 'Walking Distance' is without a doubt one of the best.


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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The first Twilight Zone classic

Author: ( from Lincoln, England
21 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With 'Walking Distance', 'The Twilight Zone' had truly arrived. It is the series' first major classic and must have put audiences at ease as they finally began to get an idea of what the show was about. Yet it is also testament to the fickle nature of the Twilight Zone. Following immediately on from 'The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine', an episode in which a woman is allowed to return to her past, 'Walking Distance' is a stark warning against trying to go back and its main character ends up with a permanent limp to remind him of this.

The strange thing about 'Walking Distance' is that it is so lacking in areas that previous shows shone. Serling's script is deeply personal in its longing for the suburban past of his own youth but while this gives the script some emotional punch it also results in several nostalgic yet far from naturalistic speeches about band concerts and candy floss. Understandably, the actors struggle to make these long-winded speeches sound realistic. In the lead role of Martin Sloan, Gig Young is adequate but his performance is a little too unsubtle. The other key role is Martin's father played by Frank Overton, who is so intense that it comes across as hammy.

So what makes 'Walking Distance' so wonderful? It is the visuals of the episode that make it so captivating. In beautiful black and white courtesy of Director of Photography George T. Clemens, we are transported back to the simple village of Homewood. The sets are gorgeous slices of all American apple pie and we are allowed to take them in at a leisurely pace as Martin Sloan wanders around his old neighbourhood. The entire first half of the episode is a dreamy nostalgia trip with a high feel good factor. Then, as the episode reaches its emotional peak, the visual ingenuity of the director Robert Stevens is pushed to the fore. Homewood at night has an entirely different atmosphere. It still has an air of enchantment but there is something distinctly askew and this is reflected in the tilted images of the funfair. The scene where Sloan boards the merry-go-round and ends up causing himself a long term physical injury is one of the most visually exciting moments. We are swept along by the motion of the carousel at first, then after the accident the children file away and the set grows darker as Sloan is left standing alone to consider the full horror of what he has caused. His speech about the end of summer during these scenes is typical of the melodramatic wodges of dialogue that Serling forces into his characters mouths throughout the episode, and yet coupled with these visuals this speech gains enormous emotional effect and stands as one of the most beautiful moments of the episode.

There are other moments of visual genius that may initially pass the viewer by. Chief among these is the way in which Sloan enters and leaves Homewood. We never actually see him entering or leaving. In a clever homage to 'Alice Through the Looking Glass', we watch Sloan heading towards Homewood in the reflection of a mirror. We then cut to him entering a soda joint and the camera pulls back to reveal this too is a reflection in another mirror. At the end of the episode, Sloan leaves Homewood by leaping onto a moving carousel. As this iconic image of his past begins to rotate, the scene cuts to a record rotating on a turntable playing brash rock 'n' roll. This is an image indicative of Sloan's latter day life and, to underline the difference between the two, the record rotates in the opposite direction from the carousel. And yet, the room is full of young men and women having fun, dancing to the music. This is the modern day equivalent of those band concerts and funfairs that Sloan longs for. They do exist in his time, just as his father told him. He just needs to slow down and look around him and, just as Denton's injured hand was a blessing in 'Mr Denton on Doomsday', Martin Sloan now has a limp that will force him to slow down and take in his surroundings. The episode ends on a seemingly melancholy note as Sloan limps away but there is a happy ending tucked away if you look for it and this is highlighted by Serling's final narration.

'Walking Distance' is a magnificent feast for the eyes. The stars of this show are not the actors or Serling's script. The stars of this show are George T. Clemens, Buck Houghton and Robert Stevens; the Director of Photography, the Producer and the Director respectively.

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