February 11 in Twilight Zone History: Wishing Happy Birthday to Burt Reynolds and Paul Comi

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Feb 11, 2018

Today, February 11th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia wish Happy Birthday to two TZ actors: former Playgirl centerfold Burt Reynolds, who turns 82 today, and three-episode veteran Paul Comi (1932-2016).

It was a very youthful Reynolds who popped up in the goofy Season 4 one-hour episode "The Bard," playing Brando-esque Rocky Rhodes, a method actor searching for his motivation in a television show ghost written by William Shakespeare (John Williams).

A native of Waycross, Georgia, Reynolds was just beginning his career, having recently scored the part of the river pilot in the Riverboat series. His unique brand of southern country-boy machismo would reach its pinnacle in 1977 when he starred in the mega-hit Smokey and the Bandit.

Burt Reynolds is quietly amusing as Rocky Rhodes in "The Bard." It was the very beginning of his long career in film and television.

Paul Comi was introduced to the Zone in "People are Alike All Over," playing injured astronaut Warren Marcusson opposite Roddy McDowell's Sam Conrad. He then returned in "The Odyssey of Flight 33" as First Officer John Craig, whose transatlantic jet airliner travels deep into the past. His final appearance was the part of the space program psychiatrist trying to make sense of Major Robert Gaines' strange observations in "The Parallel."

Paul Comi played injured astronaut Warren Marcusson in "People Are Alike All Over." He's quite a contrast to Roddy McDowall's fellow astronaut, Sam Conrad. 

Comi seemed to be comfortable in military uniform. Prior to the Zone, he appeared in such war films perennials as In Love and War, The Young Lions and Pork Chop Hill.

So let's toast the newcomer and the veteran, both providing further stitching in the crazy quilt we call The Twilight Zone.

Paul Comi as the space program psychiatrist in Rod Serling's gripping episode "The Parallel."