Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nehemiah Persoff: The Twilight Zone, Judgement Night Part 1

from Broadcast in 1959
In 1942, a German wonders why he's on the deck of a British steamship, with no memory of how he got there, and an overwhelming sense of impending doom.
Writer: Rod Serling
Director: John Brahm
Star: Rod Serling (Narrator/Host), Nehemiah Persoff (Lanser)
Guest Star: Ben Wright (Captain Wilbur), Patrick Macnee (First Officer), Deirdre Owne (Miss Stanley), Leslie Bradley (Major Devereaux), Kendrick Huxham (The Bartender), Hugh Sanders (I) (Jerry Potter), Richard Peel (First Steward), Donald Journeaux (Second Steward), Barry Bernard (Mr. McCloud), James Franciscus (Lieutenant Mueller), Debbie Joyce (Little Girl)
Nehemiah Persoff, ironically, is of Israeli descent.
This episode has British people drinking coffee (instead of their normal tea) because General Foods was the sponsor. Sets constructed for the 1959 feature film The Wreck of the Mary Deare were used for this episode.
Narrator: The S.S. Queen of Glasgow, heading for New York, and the time is 1942. For one man, it is always 1942, and this man will ride the ghost of that ship every night for eternity. This is what is meant by paying the fiddler. This is the comeuppance awaiting every man when the ledger of his life is opened and examined, the tally made, and then the reward or the penalty paid. And in the case of Carl Lanser, former Kapitan Leutnant, Navy of the Third Reich, this is the penalty. This is the justice meted out. This is judgment night in the Twilight Zone.
Narrator: Her name is the S.S. Queen of Glasgow. Her registry: British. Gross tonnage: five thousand. Age: indeterminate. At this moment she's one day out of Liverpool, her destination New York. Duly recorded on this ship's log is the sailing time, course to destination, weather conditions, temperature, longitude and latitude. But what is never recorded in a log is the fear that washes over a deck like fog and ocean spray. Fear like the throbbing strokes of engine pistons, each like a heartbeat, parceling out every hour into breathless minutes of watching, waiting and dreading. For the year is 1942, and this particular ship has lost its convoy. It travels alone like an aged blind thing groping through the unfriendly dark, stalked by unseen periscopes of steel killers. Yes, the Queen of Glasgow is a frightened ship, and she carries with her a premonition of death.

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