I have mentioned The Twilight Zone in several of my past posts. It was one of my favorite television series in the early 1960s when I was about 10 years old. Sure, the series was made for entertainment purposes. However, if you were a fairly bright kid, even something as imaginary and mundane as an episode of a black and white TV show could teach you some important things.
One night way back in 1961, I plopped my child bottom into an old rocking chair to watch the latest episode of The Twilight Zone. The settings for most such episodes were usually current times, future times, or some set of circumstances on another planet. Much to my surprise, the episode that night was very different. Although fictional, It was nonetheless an important lesson about American history, served up with just a slight tinge of archaeology in the form of one crumbling artifact at the end. It made a real impression on me as a child because it dramatized the relationship between the historical past and current times. In particular, it showed how the smallest events of the human past work through time to create the present…and in the Twilight Zone a little help from the present sometimes creates the past. Needless to say, it is one of my Top 5 episodes of the famous series.
This episode is from the second season of The Twilight Zone, and its title is “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim.” It is only 30 minutes long with a few interspersed commercial messages from current times. The main character is played by a fairly young Cliff Robertson, and one of his followers is John Astin (before The Adams Family and Patty Duke). Please take a few minutes, watch this rarely seen episode, and think about history and archaeology while you are doing it. Here is the URL: