May 11 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1962 premiere of 'Young Man's Fancy'

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May 11, 2018

Today, May 11, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1962 premiere of "Young Man's Fancy."

Alex Nicol and Phyllis Thaxter star in this creepy Richard Matheson tale as newlyweds Alex and Virginia Walker, who are about to make a quick stop over at Alex's mother's house to pack and head out on their honeymoon. Phyllis can't wait to get Alex away from the house and the memory of his suffocating mother, who never liked Phyllis. Unfortunately, not only does Alex have a different feeling about his mother, but he suddenly becomes obsessed with his room, his childhood toys, and the possibility of keeping the house and his memories in the family forever.

Alex Nicol (1916-2001) perfectly captures Alex Walker's child-man – the ultimate mama's boy. Nicol had a solid career in film and television and later segued into feature directing, making his helming debut on American International's The Screaming Skull. I always liked him as a very convincing drunk in the tawdry suburban drama Look in Any Window, which was one of the few movies ever pulled from the Million Dollar Movie back in the '60s (it wasn't that bad).

Momentary wedded bliss for the Walkers (Phyllis Thaxter, Alex Nicol) in "Young Man's Fancy." 

Phyllis Thaxter (1919-2012) was Hollywood royalty, having performed opposite such screen superstars as Van Johnson in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Burt Lancaster in Jim Thorpe, All American and Gary Cooper in Springfield Rifle. She was also married for many years to Rod Serling's nemesis: CBS programming chief James Aubrey, who later as head of MGM ordered the demolition and sale of its fabled backlots.

Virginia Walker (Phyllis Thaxter, right) gives her new husband Alex (Alex Nicol, left) an ultimatum: drop the toys and grow up in "Young Man's Fancy."

So let's raise a glass of warm milk to Alex Walker, his traumatized wife, his collection of Hardy Boys books, and the ever-present ghostly specter of his mother, all presented for your approval in The Twilight Zone.