December 13 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1963 premiere of 'A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain'

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Dec 13, 2017

Today, December 13, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the 1963 premiere of "A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain."

Veteran character actor Patrick O'Neal stars as Harmon Gordon, an aging man with a very saucy young wife named Flora (Ruta Lee). All Flora wants to do is party, dance, play, and just be Flora, and she's starting to see her husband as a bunch of dead weight. So what does Harmon do? Well, fortunately he's got a brother experimenting with a youth serum. How convenient is that? This is another one of those "be careful what you wish for" episodes, nicely directed by Bernard Girard.

Nice to see actor Patrick O'Neal in a sympathetic role. He usually played stuffy, snobby and obnoxious characters (In Harm's WayCastle KeepAlvarez Kelly).

Inspired by the story by Lou Holtz, Rod Serling wrote another wonderfully fanciful episode with his two main stars – O'Neal and Lee – having a ball with their quite contrasting roles. Patrick O'Neal had a tendency to play stuffy, overbearing military officers or politicians. I particularly remember him playing both in Otto Preminger's epic World War II film In Harm's Way, in which he played a snobby senator turned Navy public relations officer who gets a terrific dressing down from Kirk Douglas. Slap, slap, slap. 

Working steadily in the 1960s and 1970s, top television actress Ruta Lee played saucy to the T. 

Ruta Lee was a very popular television actress of the time – playing saucy was definitely in her wheelhouse. 

So let's hoist some of that serum to this dramatization of the centuries-long quest for the Fountain of Youth and the perfect road that takes us to it – The Twilight Zone.