Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Twilight Zone Marathon

January 4, 2013
Every year on New Year’s Eve when the Sci-Fi Channel runs a 48 hour Twilight Zone Marathon I tell myself that I’m not going to watch. This year I watched less than previously but a few of my favorites stopped me in my tracks, rendering me powerless to change the channel. I’m not sure why since I know the dialogue of most of the 156 episodes by heart.

   

When the program premiered in October of 1959 I was not yet seven, too young to recall if my parents tuned in to the loquacious man in a dark suit with a cigarette smoldering between his fingers. When the program went off the air in ’64, CBS ran episodes after school and during the summer. I was quickly hooked by sharp stories that were challenging, humorous and often terrifying. It was later that I came to appreciate the full spectrum of Serling’s talent: Requiem for a Heavyweight, Seven Days in May and Night Gallery, work that would earn Serling awards such as six Emmys, three Hugos, a Peabody and a Golden Globe, making him arguably the most honored and prolific writer in the history of television.

    

It wasn’t until I was an adult struggling to become a writer that I appreciated Serling’s marvelous introductions to these stories, the masterful way he cobbled words together to make The Twilight Zone feel real:

    

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination—next stop, The Twilight Zone!

 

 I couldn’t get enough of this place found “… between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.” In 1974 Rod Serling was scheduled to speak at the University of Santa Clara where Mrs. C. was working on her English degree. She recalls only a few dozen students on hand to hear the renowned screenwriter, novelist, TV producer and narrator. Mrs. C. can’t recall what he said and only remembers how short he was. I wish I’d been there to hear what he had to say before he made that journey to his own piece of Twilight Zone real estate—he passed away a few months later.

    

There are so many memorable Twilight Zone episodes: Time Enough at Last, Where Is Everybody?, To Serve Man, Dead Man’s Shoes, but one episode always stops me in my tracks—The Hunt.

    

Serling often collaborated with others. The Twilight Zone made the careers of many writers, including Earl Hamner (later of The Waltons fame) who penned my favorite episode about an old man and a dog named RIP who go ‘coon hunting one night and end up on a mysterious country road fighting for his immortal soul. After Rip prevents the old man from entering the Gate to Hell, the old man then refuses to enter Heaven without asking about the fate of his “old woman,” who he’s told will be joining him shortly. I’m unapologetically sentimental over sappy endings like this. There might be better episodes, certainly more thought-provoking ones, but none that move me as deeply.

    

 

Are you a fan of The Twilight Zone? If so, what’s your favorite episode?

 



Comments

21 Comments
Ahhh- now you make me want to go out and watch a marathon of these! I've only see a few episodes because I was too young when they first aired and because they're difficult to find in reruns here, but I'm in full agreement about his talents as a writer. He was a master of language and mood. His frights are the best kind- not the in your face stuff of today.
By: Shelly on January 4, 2013
I absolutely loved watching Twilight Zone. The name of anyone episode eludes this old brain this early in the morning but my Mom and I wouldn't miss an episode. Mom always said that Mr. Serling reminded her of an old beau of hers. His voice, for me, was part of the mystique of the show. Thanks for this memory jogger. Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on January 4, 2013
I also watched "Twilight Zone" after school. My favorite was the one with William Shatner getting out of a pyschiatric facility. To go home he had to fly on a plane with a relative. He sat near the window, and proceeded to see a strange monster on the wing tearing into the engine! He could not get anyone to believe him. The ending was that they were taking him off the plane in a straight jacket , but panning to the wing of the plane, the engine tin was torn up! I loved that one! I, too,stop in my tracks if this one is playing on the marathon! Thanks for the memories!!! Happy New Year!
By: Linda Morris on January 4, 2013
the one with William Shatner on a plane and he keeps seeing gremlins outside - as parodied by The Simpsons the one where Bruce Willis is split in half and his better half takes over his life - i think its called Shatterday or something like that
By: don\'t feed the pixies on January 4, 2013
I'm a big fan, but can't remember any particular episode. I've not watched it in years. It's on Netflix though. I'll watch it at some point. Have a terrific day and weekend. :)
By: Comedy Plus on January 4, 2013
Unfortunately I've never seen it. Nice post though.
By: LL Cool Joe on January 4, 2013
I watched and loved the Twilight Zone back in the day, but too many suns have risen and set since then I can't remember any particular episodes. Good stuff, though. ;) S
By: scott park on January 4, 2013
I loved watching the Twilight Zone with my parents. I cannot recall any particular episode, but I remember always being glued to the screen and often times very frightened- as I had ( and still do ) a very vivid imagination. Perhaps we all should rent a few of these for old times sake!
By: Kathe W. on January 4, 2013
I watched it every week, but not so much in re-runs. Two stand out, 1. The old lady oin the farm house fighting off the aliens who ended up being USA Astronauts and 2. My all time favorite - "To Serve Man"
By: Cranky on January 4, 2013
Unfortunately, the first episode i ever saw scared the daylights out of me (it went off the air the year after i was born, so i was very young when i saw it), so i never did become a fan. It's something i'll have to look into.
By: mimi on January 4, 2013
Definite fan!!! I probably don't know the episodes as well as you do because I didn't have the opportunity to watch reruns and I don't have cable TV to see the marathon...but the one that stopped me in my tracks, being so nearsighted and needing stronger glasses every time I went to the eyedoctor, was the one where the little guy who loved to read was the last man on earth and he had all those books piled up and down the steps to read and read--and he accidentally stepped on his glasses and broke them. Gave me nightmares! I also loved to read. I think it hit too close to home--LOL! He deserved every accolade and award. Brilliant mind. :)
By: Rita McGregor on January 4, 2013
The show was on TV before I came to the US, so I never watched it, other than a few episodes in reruns. However, somebody sent me a link to an episode on YouTube once - Little Girl Lost, about a girl who disappears into a different dimension. The little girl has my name, which totally freaked me out!
By: Pixel Peeper on January 4, 2013
I don't remember plots of the Twilight Zones. I was pretty young when they were on. I loved the beginning and that shattering window. I DO remember a Night Gallery about a sin-eater that was downright creepy.
By: Val on January 4, 2013
I love the original Twilight Zones but haven't watched any in ages. I need to change that. Thanks for the reminder.
By: Jeff Laws on January 4, 2013
From an older post of mine: There is a âTwilight Zoneâ episode in which a harried New Yorker boards a commuter train, falls asleep & wakes up in the 1800âs as they make a stop at a town called Willoughby, where everything is peaceful. He âpasses throughâ there in dreams every evening on his way home, enjoying the idyllic scene through the window. One evening he decides to get off the train there & dies of a heart attack. His body is taken to the Willoughby Funeral Home. There is a street named Willoughby a few miles from our home. When we pass it, my husband tells me, âWilloughby, your stop.â I donât have any reason to get out there. What is he trying to tell me? a. Here we are, dear--I love you b. I only live to serve you c. Get out--the free ride is over
By: fishducky on January 4, 2013
The only episode I remember is Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. Thats the Shatner in a plane episode that some of the others mentioned. I don't know why that one stuck and the others didn't. I, like you, don't think I probably watched the early ones. There were probably other shows that 7 year olds would be interested in. Howdy Doody, Captain Kangaroo and Bozo the Clown might of been more to my liking. OR maybe I was depressed because Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1959.
By: Cheryl P. on January 5, 2013
It was a masterful series, on so many levels. Many were favorites, but two of the most "haunting" with their legacy memories are TIME ENOUGH AT LAST, with Burgess Meredith, left alone at the end of a nuclear holocaust with beloved books, but then his glasses break. And STOP IN WILLOUGHBY...Wow!!!
By: Tom Cochrun on January 5, 2013
I can't remember if it's "Time Enough At Last", but my favorite of the ones I've seen is the episode where the gent gets to be with all the books he ever wanted, then his glasses break. I guess, being a massive book addict, and having lousy eyesight, I relate. I don't have cable, a marathon of TZ is enough to make me reconsider... Cat
By: Cat on January 5, 2013
Just yesterday, I was on a road trip with my daughter and her boyfriend and we were talking about The Twilight Zone. My favorite episodes are I Shot an Arrow into the Air and Time Enough At Last.
By: Brett Minor - Transformed Nonconformist on January 5, 2013
I think my fav is To Serve Man, with the big punch line "it's a cookbook". The one that scared me the most was of a ventriloquist that thought his dummy was really talking to him, that ended up showing the bottom of the dummy's shoes all scuffed and worn. I still don't like dolls in the house, for fear of them walking around at night.
By: joeinvegas on January 9, 2013
It was a fascinating series. I've only seen it in re-runs but it must have been far ahead of its time.
By: Michael Manning on January 15, 2013

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