Today, April 10th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1964 premiere of "Caesar and Me."
Likable Jackie Cooper stars as down-on-his-luck ventriloquist Jonathan West, who's fighting on two very different fronts. His main battle is with Caesar, his talking, living, cigar-chewing dummy who encourages Jonathan to turn to a life of a crime to keep their stumbling act going. His second battle is a daily war of words with suspicious little Susan (Susanne Cupito aka Morgan Brittany), his rooming house neighbor who believes that Jonathan is up to no good.
Unlike the Season 3 episode "The Dummy," in which we're not really sure if the dummy is alive or whether it's all a product of Jerry Etherson's (Cliff Robertson) warped mind, there is no question that Caesar is sentient and in command of this duo. Incidentally, this is the only episode of the original TZ written by a woman: Adele T. Strassfield, producer William Froug's secretary.
Jackie Cooper’s career began in childhood when he scored big time opposite Wallace Beery in The Champ (1931). He was also honored with two Emmy nominations for playing U.S. Navy Lt. Charles 'Chick' Hennesey on the Hennesey TV series (Cooper was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II).
Meanwhile, Susanne Cupito made her final appearance in the Zone with "Caesar and Me," after memorable moments in "Nightmare as a Child" and "Valley of the Shadow."
So let's direct our applause to Jonathan West, his continual war for survival on a stage where bright lights and a hostile crowd are minor obstacles in the truly bizarre show business corner we call The Twilight Zone.