January 17 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1963 premiere of 'Valley of the Shadow'

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Jan 17, 2018

Today, January 17th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1963 premiere of "Valley of the Shadow."

Ed Nelson stars in this very suspenseful one-hour episode from the Season 4, written by Charles Beaumont. He's Philip Redfield, a journalist on a leisurely drive to Albuquerque with his sheepdog Roley who stops off in a small town way off the beaten path. When Roley jumps out of the car as Redfield is gassing up, a little girl (Suzanne Cupito, aka Morgan Brittany) pulls out a strange device and zaps the beast into thin air – a startling event that Redfield witnesses.

Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson, left) learns quickly that the strange town of Peaceful Valley has an unusual way of dealing with dogs that are off the leash. 

However, when her father (Star Trek's James Doohan) suddenly produces Roley, Redfield doesn't know what to think. However, being the inquisitive journalist he is, he wants to know the truth – which, of course, leads him squarely into The Twilight Zone. Meanwhile, Natalie Trundy proves to be a perfect romantic interest for Redfield, and David Opatoshu, Dabbs Greer and Jacques Aubuchon make for formidable adversaries.

Those who have disparaged the one-hour episodes as being bloated and uninteresting need to watch episodes like "Valley of the Shadow": it's sinister, unsettling and about as compelling as an episode can be.

Mr Johnson (James Doohan, left) returns Roley the sheepdog to Redfield (Ed Nelson, right) in "Valley of the Shadow."

So let’s give a high cheer to an excellent episode, and one that proves that doubling your pleasure in The Twilight Zone can be good thing.