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August 14 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering Phyllis Thaxter ('Young Man's Fancy')

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Aug 14, 2017

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. 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, August 14, we remember actress Phyllis Thaxter, who died on this day in 2012 at age 92. Thaxter co-starred in "Young Man’s Fancy" as increasingly frustrated newlywed Virginia Walker, the bride of a man (Alex Nicol) who clings desperately to the past.

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Alex Nicol and Phyllis Thaxter in "Young Man's Fancy."

Thaxter was the good girl in many iconic films, including Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, where she played the loyal wife to a traumatized Doolittle flyer played by Van Johnson. Fans of the first Christopher Reeve Superman film will remember her as Ma Kent, opposite Glenn Ford's Pa Kent.

Ironically, she was married to CBS studio programming chief James Aubrey, the man who not only disliked anthology series but later as MGM president ordered the demolition of the storied MGM backlots – home to The Twilight Zone.