Today, April 18th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1963 premiere of “The Incredible World of Horace Ford.”
Pat Hingle – another character actor working at the top of his game – portrays toy designer Horace Ford, a child man obsessed with his youth who couldn't care less about his present world: his wife, his mother, his relatives, or his job. Like so many TZ characters before him, he longs for the comfort of his youth, so he takes a walk in his old neighborhood and, suddenly, he's back in time.
Considering how many times Rod Serling wrote these kinds of episodes, it's surprising that this is not a Serling show – it was written by another giant early TV writer, Reginald Rose (who is well-remembered for his series The Defenders). Rose had previously adapted this story for Studio One in Hollywood with future TZ veteran Art Carney in the lead.
Hingle (1924-2009) was magical in this role, which allowed him to blend a child-like personality obsessed with his youth with his frustrated, angry, and uncomfortable contemporary side. I always remember him as the humorless hanging judge opposite Clint Eastwood in Hang 'em High and as Sally Field’s hard-working dad in Norma Rae.
Horace’s impatient but sympathetic boss is played by Vaughn Taylor, a veteran TZ player who also portrayed Henry Bemis' (Burgess Meredith) boss in "Time Enough at Last," Teague the sorcerer in "Still Valley," the robot sales agent in "I Sing the Body Electric," and Leah Maitland's (Gail Kobe) father in "The Self-Improvement of Salvador Ross."
So let's raise a 1930s phosphate to Horace Ford, his old neighborhood, the writing skill of Reginald Rose, and another unique window into the past – enthusiastically submitted for your approval in The Twilight Zone.