Long Live Walter Jameson

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Kevin McCarthy: Walter Jameson
Edgar Stehli: Prof. Samuel Kittridge
Estelle Winwood: Laurette Bowen
Dody Heath: Susanna Kittridge

"Long Live Walter Jameson" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Contents

Synopsis

Walter Jameson, a professor, has the gift of eternal youth, and is engaged to a young woman named Susanna Kittridge. The woman's father, Samuel Kittridge, discovers the truth after recognizing his future son-in-law in a Civil War picture. After his request to share Walter Jameson's immortality is refused (Walter does not know how to share his gift with others), he refuses permission for his daughter's wedding. In spite of this, Walter and Susanna make plans to marry (although Jameson has no objection to seducing, marrying and abandoning women over the centuries, he confesses to Kittridge that at times he has grown tired of immortality - yet lacks the moral courage to shoot himself with a pistol he keeps on his desk). However, Walter is shot and killed in his office by an elderly woman, Laurette, apparently one of his many wives and consorts through the years (portrayed by Estelle Winwood), whom he had abandoned when she grew old and frail while he remained young; she will not allow Walter to destroy another woman's life after he refuses to come back to her. Professor Kittridge enters the room in answer to the gunshot, where he sees a rapidly aging Walter on the floor dying. Upon his death, Jameson's body turns to dust. When Susanna asked what was on the floor, the professor replied "Dust, only dust."

Production notes

The scenes of Walter Jameson's aging was performed by using an old movie-making trick. Age lines were drawn on actor Kevin McCarthy's face in red make-up. During the beginning of the scene, red lighting was used, bathing the scene in red and hiding the age lines. As the scene progressed, the red lights were turned down and green lights were brought up. Under the green lights, the red age lines were prominent. The lighting changes were unseen by the audience because it was filmed in black-and-white. The ultimate result is the appearance of a complete make-up change with no cuts to the scene.

DVD release

For the DVD release Kevin McCarthy returned to record an audio commentary for the episode, revealing that he never met Rod Serling and that aside from Invasion of the Body Snatchers his appearance in this episode generated the most fan mail he ever received.

References

  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition). ISBN 1-879505-09-6.
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

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