Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse: Season 1, Episode 6

The Time Element (24 Nov. 1958)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Jenson
Dr. Gillespie
Ensign Janoski
Jesse White ...
Carolyn Kearney ...
Mrs. Janoski
Jesslyn Fax ...
Alan Baxter ...
Army Doctor
Bartlett Robinson ...
Mr. Gibbons
Joe DeRita ...
Man at Bar (as Joe De Rita)
Paul Bryar ...
Bartender at Andy's


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Release Date:

24 November 1958 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Though not the pilot episode of Rod Serling's series, "The Twilight Zone," it was Rod Serling's production that lead to "The Twilight Zone" TV series. Because TV viewers at the time were not used to the kind of surprise, twist endings that for which "Twilight Zone" became noted (and which this episode featured), Desi Arnaz appeared on-screen after the episode was finished and offered his "explanation" of what "really happened." See more »


On December 6, 1941, Hannify claims that Dwight D. Eisenhower was a lieutenant colonel and a member of the General Staff in Washington, D.C.. However, he was promoted to brigadier general on October 3, 1941, though he was not appointed to the General Staff until after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. See more »


Peter Jenson: [When the Japanese start to attack] I told you I told you !
See more »


Spin-off Twilight Zone (1959) See more »

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First Twilight Zone
27 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Rod Serling's Twilight Zone was effectively born in this episode of the Desilu PLayhouse. The story embodied the essences of the Twilight Zone concept and was first aired as a free standing episode in the Desilu anthology series. The story concern a man, Peter Jensen (William Bendix), who goes to a psychiatrist (Martin Balsam). He's worried about a dream he's been having which he insists is real. In a series of flashbacks, we learn that he imagines he wakes up in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1941. Since he has a 1958 perspective, he knows what will happen the next morning. When he tries to warn people, he is regarded as crazy. The next morning the planes come in strafing and he is killed. From the flashbacks, the story Returns to the psychiatrist's office where the Dr. now finds himself alone and perplexed. He goes down to a neighborhood bar and notices a photo of his patient next to the cash register. He asks who the man is, and the bar tender says he is Peter Jensen and that he was killed at Pearl Harbor in 1941. It remain perhaps the best and most startling of all the Twilight Zone stories, and contains a fascinating dilemma: If a man in 1958 goes back in time to 1941 and is killed, how can he exist in 1959? Unfortunately, this seminal TV play has never been included in any of the various Twilight Zone DVD collections that have come out.

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