At a prominent club in Washington, D.C., a socialite argues about whether it would be possible to change history by traveling back in time. When he leaves the club he finds himself in 1865, on the night that President Lincoln will be shot.
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After debating with a member of his Washington club whether you could go back in time and change major events, Pete Corrigan seems to go back to April 15, 1864 the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He tries his best to warn the authorities of what will happen in a few hours time but it all falls on deaf ears. One person seems interested in what he has to say, but that person may have his own reasons for his behavior. Written by
This episode takes place on April 14, 1961 and April 14, 1865. See more »
On 14 April 1865, Clara Harris refers to Major Henry Rathbone as her husband. He was her fiancé at the time; they were married in 1867. See more »
Mr. Peter Corrigan, lately returned from a place 'back there,' a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly, and the skein of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand, there are small fragments of tapestry that can be altered. Tonight's thesis to be taken, as you will - in The Twilight Zone.
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Like a great many twilight zone episodes, one of my favorite parts of this one was the overt social commentary that Serling is making with the story. As was the case with a recent episode "The Howling Man," I was reminded of my long standing suspicion that, for example, if Jesus were to come to earth to bring his followers to Heaven, he would be immediately judged insane and probably thrown into an asylum. Our main character in this episode meets a similar problem when trying to convince the 1860s Americans that he is from the future and the President Lincoln is about to be assassinated. The episode wrongly asserts that this means that some parts of the past can be changed while others can't, but it's a fun time travelling romp nonetheless.
Granted, we don't know for a fact whether history could be changed by time travel, because time travel has never been accomplished and, sadly, never will be. But it seems logical to me that, if you could physically place yourself in a time of the past, you could physically prevent something from happening, as long as you didn't flail around like a lunatic yelling about assassinations.
One of the consistently interesting things about time travel films and TV shows, in my opinion, is the method by which the time travel takes place. There is really no method at all here, our main character is having a conversation about time travel at a posh gentlemen's club and then walks outside and into a dissolve from the early 1960s to the mid 1860s, but no matter. The twilight zone has thus far not struck me for its complex sets or high production values.
Russell Johnson plays the part of Peter Corrigan, the time traveller, and upon discovering that he has been somehow transported back to the exact day of Lincoln's assassination, he manages to get himself thrown in prison, but luckily for him John Wilkes Booth, for some reason, just happened to be hanging out at the police station and overheard the frantic Corrigan desperately trying to describe the very assassination that Booth was planning for that night.
Booth requests custody of Corrigan for some psychiatric experimentation, and the police officer sees nothing wrong with relinquishing custody to this guy. He had a business card, after all, how bad could he be?
The show seems to suggest that you can change people's lives by slightly altering events in the past through time travel, and while I'm not willing to accept that time travel would include such limitations, it's still a fun episode that really makes you think, which is one of my favorite qualities of the good twilight zone shows...
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