November 22 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actor Sterling Holloway ('What's in the Box')

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Nov 22, 2017

Today, November 22, as we remember JFK on the dark day of his assassination, This Day in Twilight Zone History also remembers character actor Sterling Holloway, who died at 87 on this day in 1992.  

Forever remembered as the voice of Winnie-the-Pooh (and Kaa the Python in Disney's animated The Jungle Book), Sterling was summoned to the Zone to portray the whimsical television repairman who does a number on a TV owned by the quarreling Britts (William Demarest, Joan Blondell) in the fifth season's "What’s in the Box." They now get reception – but not the kind they paid for. 

Sterling Holloway, another wonderful character actor that shined on The Twilight Zone. Those who loved the cartoons of Winnie the Pooh never knew that this was the face behind that character. 

Sterling's unique accent was pure Georgia – he was born in Cedartown – and I remember him in one of my favorite World War II films, A Walk in the Sun, in which he plays McWilliams the platoon medic. In TZ veteran Burgess Meredith's opening narration for the movie, he refers to McWilliams as "slow, Southern, dependable." 

 Dana Andrews was Sgt. Bill Tyne and Sterling Holloway was McWilliams the medic in A Walk in the Sun (1945), a film that later inspired Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. 

I don't know about the slow, but Sterling Holloway was definitely Southern, and as a top character actor and voice artist in Hollywood, he was very dependable. Come to think of it, that slowness probably helped him when it came time to voice Pooh, who wasn't known for making snappy, decisive decisions.

So let's raise a cup of honey to a honey of an actor who took the trek down to MGM and entered the eternal universe we call The Twilight Zone.