The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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Back There 

At a prominent club in Washington, D.C., a socialite argues about whether it would be possible to change history by traveling back in time. When he leaves the club he finds himself in 1865, on the night that President Lincoln will be shot.


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Russell Johnson ... Pete Corrigan
Paul Hartman ... Police Sergeant
Bartlett Robinson ... William
John Lasell John Lasell ... Jonathan Wellington
Jimmy Lydon ... Patrolman (as James Lydon)
Raymond Bailey ... Millard
Raymond Greenleaf ... Jackson
John Eldredge ... Whittaker
James Gavin James Gavin ... Policeman
Jean Inness Jean Inness ... Mrs. Landers
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Lieutenant
Carol Eve Rossen ... Lieutenant's Girl (as Carol Rossen)
Nora Marlowe Nora Marlowe ... Chambermaid
Pat O'Malley ... Attendant


After debating with a member of his Washington club whether you could go back in time and change major events, Pete Corrigan seems to go back to April 15, 1865 the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He tries his best to warn the authorities of what will happen in a few hours time but it all falls on deaf ears. One person seems interested in what he has to say, but that person may have his own reasons for his behavior. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis








Release Date:

13 January 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Back There See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Pete Corrigan mentions HG Wells in relation to his story The Time Machine, which had also just been made into a movie the year before this episode (1960). See more »


When asked "Which Army were you in?" Corrigan replies "The Army of the Republic." This is a postwar reference to the US Army and State Volunteers. In 1865, it would have been correct for the replay to be "The Army of the Potomac," referencing the largest single army operating in Northern Virginia under Gen. Meade (with Grant also present), the "Army of the West" under Sherman, the "Army of the [Shenandoah] Valley" under Sheridan, etc. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: Mr. Peter Corrigan, lately returned from a place 'back there,' a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly, and the skein of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand, there are small fragments of tapestry that can be altered. Tonight's thesis to be taken, as you will - in The Twilight Zone.
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Referenced in Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Should Have Been Better
27 May 2007 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

This time travel entry could have benefited from more imaginative direction. The premise is an interesting one that we have all pondered at sometime or another-- can the course of history be altered by going back in time to change a significant event. Or is history in some sense inalterable-- at least in those major events that clearly affect its course. Here the history-shaping event is the Lincoln assassination which clearly affected the nation's future course. Setting aside the probably impossible problems that a "yes, the past is alterable" answer would entail, it's at least fun to speculate.

The episode, however, is filmed without imagination or style. Having Johnson grab his brow while the focus goes fuzzy to indicate the transition moment is much too facile, while the 1860's sets suggest little historical change at all. Too bad an atmospheric director like John Brahm wasn't in charge. What the episode does have is a terrific performance by John Lasel as the florid John Wilkes Booth, and a latter day look at 1940's teen idol Jimmy Lydon as the credulous policeman. Also, the time traveling handkerchief robs the story of an interesting ambiguity-- perhaps he only imagined his trip after a relaxing evening by the fire with friends.

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