026 – Execution

Original air date – 4/1/60

Written by Rod Serling |  Story by George Clayton Johnson |  Directed by David Orrick McDearmon

Starring Albert SalmiRussell JohnsonThan WyennJon LormerGeorge MitchellFay Roope

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In 1880, Joe Caswell (Albert Salmi) is a remorseless career criminal who is about to hang for his crimes. Miraculously, during the execution, he disappears into thin air.

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Caswell wakes up to the bustling 1959 New York City. Turns out, he is an unwitting participant of the time-traveling experiment spearheaded solo by Professor Manion (Russell Johnson who coincidentally played another professor who we know from Gilligan’s Island).

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Soon enough, Professor Manion realizes that he has chosen the wrong person for his experiment because as soon as Caswell gets the chance, he kills the professor and embarks on a tour of the Big Apple.

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Unfortunately for Caswell, the lights, sounds and speed of the modern day city is too much for him to bear.

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Running back to seek refuge at the lab, Caswell finds the lab ironically burglarized by a modern day crook, Paul Johnson. The 1880 and the 1959 crooks face off. The result is Caswell being strangled to death by a window curtain’s cord.

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While Johnson rummages the lab for valuables, he stumbles upon the time machine and steps inside..

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Johnson is quickly transported back in time to 1880, to exactly the same moment before Caswell was about to be hung. The noose tightens and Johnson is dead before he even gets the chance to see 1880. The executioner and the priest are confounded as to who this stranger in funny suit and shiny dress shoes is

The Execution (watch it here on YouTube) was based on a short story by Logan’s Run‘s George Clayton Johnson, one of the few writers for The Twilight Zone that is still alive today. Not one of my favorite episodes, but it does give you another reason why capital punishment isn’t such a good idea. You will never know if the person you’re executing has just traveled back in time…

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