(The) Twighlight Zone - (US, 1959-63)

Figure 1.--Here we see Billy Mummy in a 1961 episode of the "Twilight Zone". The episode was "Long Distance Call". Click on the image to see another scene. Billy wears suspender short pants.

"The Twilight Zone" was a classic of 1960s televcision. Sort of a mild Sci-fi show, in fact one of the few such shows on American television. It was a very popular on American TV and achieved cult status. Some episodes occasionally included boys. A friend tells me that the following are of interest: "The After Hours" (1960), "The Changing of the Guard" (1962), "The Eye of the Beholder" (1960), "The Invaders" (1961), "The Lonely" (1959), "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" (1960), "One for the Angels" (1959), "Time Enough at Last" (1959), and "Long Distance Call" (1961). Billy Mummy did several episodes in which boys were involved, one of which was repeated for the movie version. I don't have details on all of these episodes yet.

(The) Changing of the Guard (1962)

"The Changing of the Guard" is set in a boys' prep school. A teacher forced into retirement thinks his whole career has been a waste until he's visited by the ghosts of former students. The spirits convince their mentor that his lessons imparted the bravery and heart they needed to face challenges. This is rather a "teacher's episode", isn't it? The tributes the boys gave Donald Pleasence would delight any teacher. One of the boys, the one who played Dickie Weiss, who died while rescuing the injured at Pearl Harbor, was Buddy Hart. He was a long time member of the cast of "Leave It to Beaver"; he was Wally's friend, Chester.

In Praise of Pip

Another episode was entitled "In Praise of Pip". Jack Klugman portrays a bookie who trades his life to save his wounded son, a soldier injured in Viet Nam. Billy Mumy, "Will Robinson" of "Lost in Space", plays the young Pip; Bobby Diamond, grown up from his days on "Fury", plays the older Pip. Rod Serling believed that this was the first TV mention of a casualty in Viet Nam (the show aired originally on Sept. 27, 1963). A poiginent episode.

Long Distance Call (February 31, 1961)

The story opens with it being Billy's birthday. Billy is played by Billy Mummy. He has a very close bond with his paternal grandmother. To the point where it is uncomfortable for the mother. Grandmother gives Billy a toy phone as a present (he is going over to a table to open it in the first picture), telling him that he can talk to her anytime over the phone. She then immediately becomes ill and is helped to bed. The second picture is when the doctor is upstairs and Billy is sad. They eventually all go up stairs together to say good bye. After her death Billy no longer wears the suspender shorts. He begins wearing jeans. He begins to have conversations with her on the toy phone! The mother overhears conversations and tries to stop the calls. With that intrusion, Billy goes out to the pond in the back of the house and attempts suicide by drowning. The emergency crew arrives and the resuscitation is not going well. The father picks up the phone and begins to plead for his son's life but it is a one way conversation. He says, "We want him to have his chance at life too, he isn't even old enough to wear long pants". All of a sudden the emergency crew reports that he is recovering.

Unknown title

Billy Mummy in this episode plays an all-powerful child who has total domination over his family, intimidating and torturing them at will. He brings an unsuspecting young woman into the house to add to his amusement.


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Created: 8:59 PM 12/10/2004
Last updated: 12:01 AM 12/11/2004