“Nextweek an excursion into the shadowland also of the hereafter. Ms. Gladys Cooper andMr. Robert Redford incorporate sizable talents to carry a manuscript by George ClaytonJohnson entitled ‘Nopoint in the Dark.’ The dark in this case being the littlenooks, crannies, and also closets of those regions presided over by Mr. Death. I hopeyou’ll be via us following week for ‘Nopoint in the Dark.’”
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“Anold womale living in a nightmare. An old woman who has fought a thousand also battlesvia fatality and also constantly won. Now she’s challenged via a grim decision. Whether or notto open up a door. And in some starray and also frightening way she knows that thisseemingly plain door leads to the Twilight Zone.”
On a cold winter day, Wanda Dunn, an extremely old woguy, is awakened from anafternoon nap within her dilapidated apartment. She sees motion via aroom in a boarded window. A police officer is on the street outside the home window.Suddenly, he sounds a whistle and a gunshot is heard. Alarmed, Wanda moves to herfront door and also peers though a small opening, mindful to leave the chain lockfastened.

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Thepolice officer is injured and also lying feebly in the scurrently near her doormeans. Theyoung guy tells her that his name is Harold Beldon and also he demands assist lest hehave to die. The old woguy is reluctant to aid bereason she believes the injuredmale is not who he claims he is. “I know who you are,” she tells him. “I recognize what you are.”
Confusedand also in pain, the man continues to beg for help till Wanda cannot bear his pleadingany kind of much longer. She unlocks the door and also moves gradually towards the injured man. Shetouches him tentatively. “I’m still alive,” she says, clearly astoniburned. Shepulls the injured guy inside her apartment.
Theold woman situates the policemale in a comfortable space and serves him tea. Whenthe injured guy reiterates his require of a medical professional, the old woman explains that callinga physician isn’t possible. She has actually no telephone and couldn’t danger letting aphysician right into her home also if she had. When she sees the look of confusion onthe young man’s confront, she describes her plight.
Formany years she has stayed within this apartment, never before venturing out or lettinganyone in for are afraid of coming into call through Mr. Death. Years earlier, she witnessed ayoung man touch an old woman’s hand. When this old womale passed away shortly afterwards,it came to be clear that the young male that touched her was Mr. Death. Wanda has beenhiding from Mr. Death ever before since.
Again,tright here is motion from without the apartment followed by an immediate knocking atthe door. The policeguy motivates Wanda to answer the door. She reluctantly opensthe door. On the various other side is a contractor who has scheduled Wanda’s apartmentstructure to be torn dvery own and whose task it is to encertain the old womale vacatesthe premises. Wanda resists, terrified at the prospect of leaving herapartment. The guy pressures his method into the apartment and also knocks the old womanunaware upon the floor.
WhenWanda awakens, she is lying upon her bed and also the contractor is leaning over herthrough an expression of relief. He is holding her hand. Aacquire, the old woman isamazed to still be alive after being touch by this stranger. She has actually mistakenhim for Mr. Death.
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The building contractorexplains that he isn’t trying to be cruel however that the building is clearlyunfit to live in. The city has actually condemned the dwelling and also charged him withtearing it dvery own. Wanda stands and pleads through the young policeguy to help herdefine to the contractor why she can’t leave the apartment. The contractor doesn’tseem to notification the policeguy and also provides Wanda an ultimatum to gather herpossessions and also vacate the premises.
After the guy leaves itdawns on Wanda that the contractor couldn’t watch the young policeman. The policemanis Mr. Death and has tricked Wanda right into bringing him into her home. Wanda isterrified at this revelation however Mr. Death convinces her that he isn’t going toreason her pain and that death is not an finish however a beginning. He implores her totake his hand and make the journey to the afterlife. She does so reluctantly.With Each Other they walk from the apartment.
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“Therewas an old woman who lived in a room, and favor all of us was frightened of thedark. But who uncovered in a minute, last fragment of her life that tbelow wasnothing in the dark that wasn’t tright here when the lights were on. Object lessonfor the more frightened among us, in or out of the Twilight Zone.”
GeorgeClayton Johnson’s “Nopoint in the Dark” is a haunting and also evocative fantasythrough individual characters of clear delineation and a refreshingly optimisticwatch of a fundamentally bleak topic. It stands in the absolute initially rank ofthe series. The simplicity of both the concept and also its execution work-related entirely in itsfavor. The Twilight Zone oftenpresented character-based fantasies that concentrated on story and performance andtherefore compelled little in the means of establishing or architecture (at least in the means thesepoints are noticed by the average viewer), presenting the viewer withessentially a filmed stage play, harkening back to the earlier days of thetool and also the Golden Period of live television drama, a space in which many kind of ofthe major creators on the present gained their starts. “Nopoint in the Dark” couldserve as a design of this kind of production as it utilizes a solitary setting toevoke a feeling of dilapidation, claustrophobia, and also imprisonment withoutsacrificing the Emmy Award-winning cinematography for which the series isrenowned.
“Nothingin the Dark” was initially intended to be the closing episode of the secondseaboy and was filmed throughout the second seaboy production schedule, evidenced by the way in which the creditsare presented on the episode, as it adhered to the methodsupplied during the second seakid in which all credits, consisting of the title, werepresented complying with the episode. For the third seakid, the title and primarycredits were displayed at the beginning of the episode, after Rod Serling’sopening narration, via the remainder of the credits complying with at the end of the episode. “Nothingin the Dark” retains its second seaboy formatting to this day.
Thisimplies that “Nopoint in the Dark” was the deyet episode of director LamontJohnchild. As it occurred, 2 of Johnson’s various other episodes filmed for the thirdseachild (“The Shelter” and “Five Characters in Search of an Exit”) arrived infront of viewers prior to “Nopoint in the Dark,” which was pushed back to themiddle of the third season.
Afterthe exit of director Douglas Heyes from the series, Lamont Johnchild steppedin as a director who might lend a distinctive stylistic touch to his episodes andone that basically construed the flexibility natural in the advancements in television cinematography. Johnson’s directing style is smooth andaccomplished, through one liquid cam movement connecting to one more through effectivelow-angle framing shots. Of course, achieved cinematographer George T.Clemens is equally responsible for much of this excellent electronic camera occupational however Clemenswas a photographerwho tended to adapt his style to that of the director with whichhe was functioning. If the director had actually a very sthelp style, Clemens’s electronic camera was likewisecontent to ssuggest reduced from one framing shot to the next. The camerajob-related here ismarred just once by a fairly apparent jump reduced to attain the impact of Mr.Death’s lack of reflection in amirror ona wall surface.
Aeven more interesting element of Johnson’s direction and also staging is the heavy use of symbolism inthe episode. Tright here is the evident symbol of Wanda Dunn’s dilapidated dwellingas a physical representation of her own crumbling visibility. There is likewise theevident symbolism in the character of the building contractor, carried to lifeby a fine performance from veteran character actor R.G. Armstrong, whoseoccupation (the razing and also building of buildings) is a parallel to thelife/death procedure in the herbal human being. An even more subtle usage of symbolism isthat of imprisoning bars as a symbol of the nature and effects of Wanda’spsychosis. We initially view Gladys Cooper’s resting develop with the latticeworkof a chair earlier. She pushes this away as though opening a door once she isawakened by noise in the street. Later, when she awakens from the loss causedby the structure contractor, Lamont Johnboy chooses to film Gladys Cooperclutching the iron bars of a bed structure, offering the distinct impression of animprisoned person (view photo in summary area above).
Johnson’salternative of filming the departure of Wanda and also Mr. Death is also amazing. Hechooses to follow the two entirely out of the apartment, up the tenementmeasures and also alengthy the street until they disshow up from the structure. Johnson’selectronic camera never before leaves the inner the apartment and the 2 characters stopbriefly in the street for a last framing swarm, reinforcing the optimistic toneof the episode. It would certainly have been exciting to film the 2 charactersleaving the apartment and also thennot disclose them on the outside, defying theviewer’s expectation of seeing them via the partly boarded window and also arguing a passage past.
Afterfunctioning in radio as an actor andannouncer,Lamont Johnson began his directing career on the NewYork stage prior to relocating into television drama. He particularly wanted GladysCooper for the duty of Wanda Dunn based on her long and also differed career on thephase. Cooper was a beauty of the London stage and of silent movies given that beforethe begin of the First World War. She began appearing on Broadmethod by the 1930"sand moved gracetotally right into middle and late age in a selection of film andtelevision functions, amassing 3 Academy Award nomicountries along the method forperformances in Now, Voyager (1942), The Track of Bernadette (1943), and My Fair Lady (1964). Cooper would appeartwice even more on the series and also was constantly impressive in her performances. Cooperlikewise had the fortune of working through the 3 principle authors of the display notnamed Rod Serling. She worked through George Clayton Johnkid right here on “Nothing in theDark,” through Charles Beaumont on the fourth seachild episode “Passage on the LadyAnne,” and also via Richard Matheboy on the fifth seachild episode “NightCall,” outstanding episodes all.
In “Nopoint in theDark,” she elicits pathos in her performance in a manner that is perhapsunmatched by any type of other performer on the series. Tright here was, but, somereluctance as soon as Cooper, a highly sleek British actress, was actors in the function of the poverty-stricken Wanda Dunn,many kind of believing the actress would certainly battle to bring herself low enough toachieve verisimilitude in the performance. Though Cooper had actually to work-related withLamont Johnchild throughout pre-manufacturing in order to achieve the the majority of effectiveaccent and also manner, she eventually hit upon a flawless strategy of bringing WandaDunn to life as a when extremely polished and also beautiful womale lugged low by oldage and an incapacitating fear of death. The moment in which Wanda remembersthe beauty of her youth and passes her aged hand also with a band of sunlight upon thefloor remains one of the even more emotional moments from the series.
LamontJohnchild was likewise connected in the selection of Robert Redford as the youngpoliceman Harold Beldon. Redford has, of course, gone on to a extremely successfulcareer as both an actor and director but was still working his method up theacting ranks through character work-related at the moment of filming this episode. He had actually,yet, a previous connection to Rod Serling in that Redford percreated theduty of a Nazi soldier in Serling’s Playhouse90 episode “In the Presence of Mine Enemies,” which originally aired on May18, 1960. That last continuous episode of Playhouse90 was among Serling’s more reliable plays and also featured an exceptional castincluding Charles Laughton, Sam Jaffe, Arthur Kennedy, and also George Macprepared. Redford’sperformance in “Nothing in the Dark” has actually been lamented in some critical circlesas leaden and unfeeling however this seems to have actually missed the suggest of both thecharacter and also the performance. Redford is essentially perdeveloping as the humanform of an elepsychological being and have the right to hardly be expected to turn in a highlycharged or emotional performance. This would be very out of character,specifically for so melancholy a character as Death. Redford presents Death as acalm, rational, inescapable pressure, a lot favor Death’s various other 2 appearances onthe series, in the initially seakid episodes “One for the Angels” and also “TheHitch-Hiker.” Though Redford was mostly actors for his pleasing appearance, hisperformance is an efficient foil to Cooper’s extremely emotional rotate. II.
George Clayton Johnson"s original story treatment for the episode, entitled "There Is Nothing in the Dark That Wasn"t There When the Light Was On," presents a really different set of events. Although the setup of the story is fundamentally the very same, with Harry Beldon shot by a hoodlum and seeking assist at the door of Wanda Bloor, the rest of the story differs substantially. In the original story therapy, Beldon isactually a wounded police officer.Wanda takes him right into her home and also promises to shield him from Mr. Death. Three personalities come knocking at the door in succession, a worker from the gas agency, a actual estate agent, and one more police officer. To Wanda, all three males look exactly the very same, justifying her fears that it is Mr. Death trying to gain inside to get at her and also Beldon. Beldon, sensing Wanda"s madness, calls out to the police officer, that pushes his means inside, inadvertently sending Wanda reeling backwards to stop his touch. Wanda drops through a hole in the floor of her dilapidated apartment and dies. All 3 of the guys that came knocking at the door are then displayed to look totally different. The similarity in their appearances was all in Wanda"s fractured mind. The story ends via Beldon seeing the driver of the hearse who has involved take Wanda"s remains ameans. The hearse driver has the same face as viewed on the three men via Wanda"s eyes. It ends: "Beldon peers at him uncertainly. "Don"t I know you?" "No," states the driver, with a stvariety smile. "But you will."" The genesis of Johnson"s story lies in a RayBradbury story publimelted about a year prior to manufacturing started on the episode. Bradburywas a solid influence on the core writerchild TheTwilight Zone. Therefore, his work-related wasoccasionally borrowed from inorder to create a variance on a theme. It’s all the even more astounding andfrustrating that Bradbury was only able to area a single workable script withthe series, the troubled 3rd seachild episode “I Sing the Body Electric.”
George Clayton Johnson, like his TwilightZone co-writers Charles Beaumont and also Richard Matheboy, was mentored to a large degree by Bradburywhile in the at an early stage steras of his experienced career. Johnkid plainly idolizedBradbury, going so far as to tell author Matthew R. Bradley in an interwatch for Filmfax magazinethatthrough Bradbury’s work he (Johnson) was displayed that perfection in creating couldbe achieved. Johnson would point to “Nopoint in the Dark” as his own stake tothe claim of perfection, an irony considering its close association through theBradbury story titled “Death and also the Maiden.”
Thesimilarities between the stories are unmistakable andJohnboy admitted as much to writer Matthew R. Bradley.When asked around the partnership of "Nothing in the Dark" to Bradbury"s "Death and also the Maiden," Johnson stated: "It"s a perfect Bradbury forgery, as well, once you speak to think. He"sgot a story called "Death and also the Maiden," in which Death comes approximately a castle wright here there"s a beautiful maiden, sings to her about the glories of going off tohis kingdom, lastly lures her down from the castle, gets her onto his charger, cuddles her close, and races off, and also she is then happy as can be. He has not lied to her, he"s been very sincere and hasn"t provided any kind of tricky language to acquire her to carry out it. So, you can check out that the concept of Death as an innocent perkid, which is the heart of that story, has actually gained its roots in Bradbury, and also I easily admit it."
The opening of Bradbury"s story, common from my copy of The Machineries of Pleasure (1964), illustprices the cshed partnership between the stories, as it fundamentally uses the whole setup for "Nothing in the Dark." "Death and also the Maiden" begins:
"Far out in the nation beyond the woods, beyond the human being, really, lived Old Mam, and she had lived tbelow for ninety years via the door locked tight, not opening for anyone, be it wind, rain, sparrowhead tapping or bit boy via a pailful of crayfish rapping. If you scratched at her shutters, she called through:
One deserve to reasonably assume that Johnson read Bradbury’s fiction as it was publishedand also so came upon “Death and the Maiden” in theMarch, 1960 concern of The Magazine ofFantasy and Science Fiction. It is fair to note below that although Johnsonall however certainly took the germ of “Nothing in the Dark” from Bradbury’s “Deathand the Maiden,” he subsequently crafted an emotionally efficient story from that initial inspiration and also had enough of a variationof the design template to make the story his own.
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Bradbury’sstory pertains to a woguy that stays far out in the nation and is known in thenearemainder tvery own by the name Old Mam. Like Wanda Dunn in “Nopoint in the Dark,” OldMam has actually shut herself ameans for many type of years in her home for fear of Death, whichhas tried many kind of times to tempt her out and seal her fate. It is below that the twostories diverge rather. “Nopoint in the Dark” is about encountering the fear of theunwell-known and also the inevitability of death. “Death and the Maiden,” though alsoapproaching these themes, involves itself even more via the principle that one is not trulyalive if all the effort of life is spent avoiding fatality, though Johnboy doesencompass a major layout in the Bradbury story: the mournful remembrance of ayouth long gone.
In Bradbury’s story,Old Mam is challenged by a young man transporting a vial of bbest green liquid.She immediately recognizes the young man as Death and the young male soonacknowledges this too, claiming that the green liquid had in the vial is the essence of Old Mam"s life at eighteen years old. Death appeals to the vanity of her younger self,once she was a beautiful, energetic woguy using her genuine name, Clarinda. Deathsupplies her a glimpse of her shed youth. He tempts her to taste of the greenliquid and also promises her twenty-four hrs as herself at eighteen years old inexadjust for an eternity in the immortality. Like Wanda Dunn, Old Mam agrees totake the frightening journey hand-in-hand with Death. “Death and the Maiden”was first publimelted in book develop in Bradbury’s 1964 repertoire The Machineries of Pleasure.
Bradburyformerly approached comparable product in a far more ghoulish manner via hisstory “Tbelow Was an Old Woman” from the July, 1944 worry of Weird Tales. This darkly comedic andhighly entertaining story pertains to a womale who is unwilling to continue to theafterlife after dying. She is tricked by an ever-patient Death and also mustdoggedly pursue her physical remains before an autopsy is percreated. Afterhounding the mortician, the old woman interrupts her very own autopsy and is allowedto reenter her physical body. The story ends through her proudly displaying her autopsyscars. “Not poor sewing, for a man,” she intones. The story is much different intone from either of the later on tales as it was composed at the elevation of thatwonderful 1940s period in which Bradbury was firmly committed to crafting hisdistinctive style of weird tale, a style of story that would be highly influentialto William M. Gaines and Albert Feldstein, the major architects of the ECline of horror comics Tales from theCrypt, The Vault of Horror, and TheHaunt of Fear. Feldstein adjusted “Tbelow was an Old Woman” for Tales from the Crypt #34 (Feb/March,1953) and also the story was depicted by the supreme understand of horror art“Ghastly” Graham Ingels. The Feldstein/Ingels adaptation was consisted of in the1965 Ballantine paperback The AutumnPeople, which gathered the finest of the EC adaptations of Bradbury’s weirdtales. The story was initially published in book create in Bradbury’s first book, Dark Carnival, from Arkham Housepublishers in 1947, and in Bradbury’s well known repertoire of weird tales The October Country from 1955.
Charles Beaumont, an additional acolyte of Bradbury and also a very early mentor to George Clayton Johnkid, crafted a story similar to "Nopoint in the Dark" yet of a much more humorous actors. It is also possible that Johnkid took his impetus from Beaumont"s story as it was publimelted some years before. The story in question is "The Customers," initially published in 1957 in Beaumont"s collectionThe Hunger and Other Stories. Itcomes to an elderly couple who hide ameans in their house in fear of a visit from Death, whose form they view in eincredibly perchild who comes knocking upon their door. When they are visited by a young male dressed all in babsence they reauthorize themselves to let him in and also obtain it over through. The humor stems from the truth that the reader understands that the young male is marketing cemetery plots and the elderly couple think him to be fatality itself. Beaumont"s story also has a solid facet of the cold of winter. It is essential to rememberthat these writers were part of a collective team of writers, the Southern California School, who were very cshed personal friends and also frequent collaborators in which the exreadjust of principles was continuous. One telling instance of this is the story of Ray Bradbury and Charles Beaumont driving along at some point in the early 1950"s and both noticing a authorize on the side of road advertising "complimentary dirt." From this sprung one of Beaumont"s most acdeclared short stories, "Free Dirt," published in 1955 in The Magazine of Fantasy and also Science Fiction. More than forty years later on Bradbury tried his very own hand also at a story titled "Free Dirt," sparked from the same memory of that authorize on the side of the road. It appeared in his 1996 arsenal Quicker Than the Eye. All of this is a method of saying that the exreadjust of ideas among this team of young writers was frequent and also maybe not beholden to widespread views on plagiarism, although Bradbury did take exemption to "Nopoint in the Dark." Unfortunately, Rod Serling, that was just a peripheral member of the Group, was not provided as a lot leemeans once his work crossed thematic lines via the occupational of the various other writers on the series. As a result, "Nopoint in the Dark" became a focal allude for the sluggish dissolution of the relationship in between Rod Serling and Ray Bradbury. It was a relationship which began in 1958 however started to disfix as Bradbury struggresulted in acquire his work-related created on The Twilight Zone while additionally coming to believe that Serling was freely lifting his story ideas for his very own episodes. With "Nothing in the Dark," both Bradbury and Charles Beaumont warned Clayton Johnchild about the similarities between his story and also Bradbury"s "Death and also the Maiden." Bradbury did not want the manuscript created. When the episode finally aired and also was checked out to be such a moving and also memorable episode, Bradbury mainly hosted Serling accountable for knowingly creating a plagiarized job-related. Despite its debt to equivalent functions of fiction, “Nothingin the Dark” remains an episode that rises far over the novelty of itssurpincrease ending and also includes enough thematic and also symbolic material to appeasealso the most demanding viewer of the display. It also showsituations the debuts ofLamont Johnchild (in production, not broadcast), among the three or four best directors for the series, andGlayds Cooper, that have to be counted in the absolute front rank of performers onthe series. It is a justifiably famous episode that manperiods to perfectlycapture that unique blend of melancholy and optimistic that distinguimelted theseries from equivalent television product.
-LamontJohnboy directed seven added episodes for the series, including theimpressive season 3 episodes “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” and“Kick the Can.”
-GladysCooper appeared in 2 additional episodes, “Passage on the Lady Anne” fromseaboy 4 and “Night Call” from seakid 5.
-“Nothingin the Dark” was adapted as a Twilight Zone Radio Drama starring MarshallAllguy and Roz Alexander. The adaptation is by M.J. Elliott and is among the best offerings of the series. It has an interesting opening sequence in which Wanda suffers a recurring nightmare where she is shed outside in an unacquainted area. Tright here, she meets a guy that soon reveals himself to be a terrifying incarnation of Death.--Grateful acknowledgement to George Clayton Johnson"s Twilight Zone Scripts and Stories for information on the original story therapy of the episode.
-JordanPrejean

Posted byJPat5:16 PM
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Labels:"Nopoint in the Dark",George Clayton Johnchild,Lamont Johnchild,Season 3,Southern The golden state School of Writers (The Group),Top Rated Episodes

I'm old sufficient to remember this episode once it was first broadcast. As a boy though I was even more interested in sci-fi themed stories as opposed to fantasy. Still, I discovered this particular story strangely compelling also at my young age. A+ certainly.

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B McMoloNovember 16, 2016 at 7:43 AM

Fantastic overwatch. I love the depth you go right into sketching out all the conmessage. I love those EC Bradbury tales. ECs in basic, however the Bradbury/EC synthesis is my favorite.

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Jack SeabrookNovember 16, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Thanks for the plug, Jordan! I really enjoyed your piece on this episode. I think Redford is fantastic in it.

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galacticjourneyFebruary 11, 2017 at 6:40 PM

I liked this episode rather a lot, also. Interestingly, I've additionally check out and also reregarded the Bradbury story, which earned from me a "not bad" (which is pretty high praise from me -- I don't prefer Bradbury much).I'm loving that you seem to be watching the 3rd seaboy at the very same pace we are. I will certainly proceed to check out your reviews, and I hope you enjoy ours!

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galacticjourneyFebruary 11, 2017 at 8:40 PM

We're pretty basic to store up with. :) We watch one episode a week, choose everyone else. Reviews in 4 episode bunches.I'm not sure what we'll do come Seakid 4 -- there's rumor of a cancellation/format change!