Sunday Night Journal — June 17, 2012
Out There

Vietnam and The Twilight Zone

Last July 4 when the SyFy Channel was having its Twilight Zone marathon, I recorded a number of episodes, so many that I still haven't watched them all. And now it's almost July 4 again. I don't think I'll record any this year, though I do enjoy most of them. Last night we watched one called In Praise of Pip.To my great surprise, it opened with a scene in a field hospital in Vietnam.

The surprise came from the fact that I had thought The Twilight Zone had ended no later than 1962, and I didn't think the war was prominent enough in the life of the country to be mentioned in a TV show at that time. And not only mentioned, but questioned: the war scene is only an incidental part of the story, used to establish that one of the characters is dying, but there are a couple of remarks that express some doubt about its purpose. 

Investigation reveals that I was wrong about when the show ended--it was 1963, not 1962, and this episode aired in September of '63. (Here's its Wikipedia entry.)People of a certain age will immediately note that this was just a couple of months before the assassination of JFK. 

I suppose it's just a result of the fact that I was only 14, but I wasn't aware that the war was that much in the public eye at that time. Most interesting is the fact that this was still the Kennedy administration. It's an article of faith among a lot of Democrats that Kennedy would have ended the Vietnam war, but this is a reminder that he didn't seem to be moving in that direction at the time of his death.


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Well, I just watched about a minute of a two minute YouTube from the show and I don't know if I could take the whole show. That loss of your children as children is on of the most surprising heartaches in life. And to see them again like that...

I don't remember knowing anything about the Vietnam War until I was a Junior in high school or maybe a Senior.


It ends well, as I guess you know if you read the Wikipedia entry, so it's not as bad as it might seem. It's one of the ones Rod Serling himself wrote, and as I've learned from watching so many of these he tended toward the heavy-handed message story, which made it a little easier--I mean, if it hadn't been so heavy-handed, it would have been more moving. "surprising heartache"--yes indeed.

I have this same reaction when I think about seeing my Grandmother again. There is a scene in Peggy Sue Got Married, when Peggy Sue, having woken up as her teenage self, answers the phone and hears her grandmother's voice. I can hardly bear to watch it. I would give anything to talk to my grandmother again.


I don't think I would have that reaction, but it's good that you do.

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