March 24 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1961 premiere of 'The Prime Mover'

Contributed by
Mar 24, 2018

Today, March 24th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1961 premiere of "The Prime Mover."

Years before terms like "telekinesis" were commonly used in discussions of supernatural powers, Buddy Ebsen co-starred as the definitely telekinetic Jimbo Cobb, a low-key diner cook who works for opportunistic Ace Larsen (Dane Clark). Well, if you're a guy named Ace, odds are good you're a gambling man and faster than lightning, so Ace heads to Las Vegas with a reluctant Jimbo in tow. The objective: use the cook’s skills to manipulate the galloping dominos in the fast-paced game of craps.

Dane Clark as Ace Larsen in "The Prime Mover," a gambler who doesn't know when to quit. 

However, Jimbo also has a vulnerability – using his power saps him, so he needs rest between telekinetic events... something the obsessive Ace fails to remember.

This was a fun episode thanks to some great performances, a solid Charles Beaumont script and tight direction by Richard L. Bare. Brooklyn-born Dane Clark was a popular 1940s and 1950s actor, particularly in a bunch of classic Warner Bros. World War II movies, including Destination Tokyo, Action in the North Atlantic and Pride of the Marines. Buddy Epsen, whose career dates back to dancing parts with Shirley Temple in the 1930s, was always working and would shortly achieve television superstardom as Jed Clampett in CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies.

So let's hoist a free crap table martini to Ace the opportunist and Jimbo the 'prime mover,' two men who place their future on the roll of the dice in an odd casino we call The Twilight Zone.