Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone premiered on October 2, 1959, and over the course of its five-year run would churn out 156 episodes and cement itself as a classic of science fiction television. Its influence would be felt in any number of shows and movies that would follow -- from The Walking Dead to Stranger Things -- and beyond, becoming one of the enduring pop culture staples of its era. This Day in Twilight Zone History presents key commemorative facts about the greatest science fiction/fantasy television series of all time, presented by author Steven Jay Rubin, whose latest book is The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia (arriving this October). Whether it’s a key performer’s birth or death, the date an episode debuted, or any other related fact, This Day in Twilight Zone History presents a unique aspect of the rich history of this television series and the extraordinary team that created it.
Today, September 13th, This Day in Twilight Zone History remembers character actor Philip Ober, who died on this day in 1982 at age 80. Ober co-starred in the fifth season episode “Spur of the Moment,” playing John Henderson, the father of a young woman (Diana Hyland) who is being terrorized by a black-suited female figure on horseback. On The Twilight Zone, when it came to surrounding the leads with supporting players, the casting department always came up with the top actors in their game – many still under contract to MGM. Philip Ober was one of those top actors, here paired with another veteran, Marsha Hunt, who played his wife.
Ober is well-remembered as Mr. Townsend, the UN diplomat who takes a knife in the back at the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest – which event turns the innocent Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) into a wanted murderer.
He also played Captain Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, an irresponsible U.S. Army officer and obsessed boxing team coach whose non-commissioned officers give Pru Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) “The Treatment” in From Here to Eternity. Ober was married to I Love Lucy’s Vivian Vance for nearly 18 years. Here’s to the supporting players who while working in black and white, brought their colorful personalities and experience to the world we call The Twilight Zone.