December 10 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actress Barbara Nichols ('Twenty Two') on her birthday

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Dec 10, 2017

Today, December 10th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of actress Barbara Nichols, who was born on this day in 1928.

In the Season 2 video episode "Twenty Two," Nichols (1928-1976), a striking platinum blonde, plays traumatized exotic dancer turned exhausted mental patient Liz Powell, a woman whose recurring dream takes her to a hospital morgue and a creepy nurse (Arlene Martel) with an ominous greeting: "There's room for one more, honey."

Arlene Martel was particularly sinister as the morgue nurse in "Twenty-Two."

Given that The Twilight Zone was an anthology series featuring different stories and different settings each week, it was just a matter of time before Serling brought viewers to the perfect TZ location: a hospital. And he surrounded Ms. Nichols with interesting new faces and veterans. Fredd Wayne, who played Liz's booking agent, would return as an airline P.R. exec in "The Arrival."

Rarely given a leading role, actress Barbara Nichols brought her considerable assets to the role of Liz Powell in "Twenty-Two."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Harris played Liz's sympathetic doctor and would return that same season as attorney George Alfred in "The Silence." He would shortly join fellow TZ veteran Billy Mumy in Lost in Space, immortalizing the character of Dr. Smith with equally immortal lines like "You bubble-headed booby."

So here's a champagne toast to Barbara Nichols and Liz Powell and to avoiding morgue nurses at all costs in The Twilight Zone.