April 2 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering Buddy Ebsen on the anniversary of his birth

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Apr 2, 2018

Today, April 2nd, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the birth of Buddy Ebsen in 1908.

Ebsen starred opposite Dane Clark as short order cook Jimbo Cobb in the second season episode "The Prime Mover." In addition to making great hot cakes and French toast, Cobb has the power of telekinesis – he can move objects with his mind, which he demonstrates early in the show when he raises a car off the body of a traffic accident victim.

Nothing comes easy in The Twilight Zone, not even telekinetic activity from Jimbo Cobb (Buddy Ebsen) in "The Prime Mover."

Clark's Ace Larsen character doesn't need a slide rule to figure out that Cobb's ability could make them a fortune in Las Vegas. So faster than you can say "Little Joe from Kokomo," he and Cobb are teamed up at the crap table making a fortune. Two obstacles to overcome: Ace doesn't know when to quit, and Cobb must rest between telekinetic efforts.

Buddy Ebsen was the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939) until the silver aluminum dust forced him out with an extreme allergic reaction. 

Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003), of course, became an international television star a few years later when he took on the signature role of Jed Clampett on the celebrated CBS series The Beverly Hillbillies. ("Come and listen to my story about a man named Jed…") But Ebsen's career goes way back to the 1930s when he danced with Shirley Temple in Captain January (1936) and nearly became the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939) until he became deathly allergic to the silver aluminum dust that coated his makeup (if you listen carefully, you can still hear his voice on "We're Off to See the Wizard.").

So on this the anniversary of Buddy’s birth, let's celebrate a singing, dancing, and acting legend who fit easily into the odds-against universe we call The Twilight Zone.