Today, October 29, This Day in Twilight Zone History remembers cameraman George T. Clemens, who passed away on this day in 1992 at the age of 90.
Amazingly, Clemens photographed 117 of the 156 episodes of the series. His crisp black-and white photography is well featured in the Blu-ray format – so crisp that a freeze-frame sometimes reveals details that even the art directors didn't want you to see. For instance, in the Donald Pleasence episode "Changing of the Guard" (the final episode of the third season), the diploma on the wall of Professor Ellis Fowler's office should feature his name. It doesn’t. Thanks to George Clemens' crystal-clear photography, we see that it belongs to another man.
It's truly a shame that CBS programming head James Aubrey demanded austerity measures from the show in the second season, forcing producer Buck Houghton to shoot six episodes on videotape at the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. When compared with Clemens' work on film, those episodes look terrible.
Oddly enough, there is very little information today about George Clemens. Thankfully, author Marc Scott Zicree did interview him for his book, The Twilight Zone Companion, but I had a great deal of difficulty finding a photograph of the cameraman for my book. Fortunately, Stewart Stanyard came through (from his huge collection of set stills). But if anyone out there knows the family, please put me in touch.
We need to toast this man, this creator, this genius, who was a relative of Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens. And, to all my L.A. friends, please feel free to stop by Barnes & Noble at the Grove-Farmers Market today from 3-5, where I will be signing copies of The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia and interviewing Orson Bean ("Mr. Bevis").