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December 2 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1960 debut of 'The Lateness of the Hour'

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Dec 2, 2017

Today, December 2, This Day in Twilight Zone History toasts the 1960 premiere of "The Lateness of the Hour."

TZ darling Inger Stevens returns to the show, portraying Jana (JANE-AH), the daughter of wealthy parents (John Hoyt, Irene Tedrow) who are doted upon by a group of android servants. For some reason, Jana does not like those servants, and shows her displeasure constantly. She also wants to get out more – travel, party, live ... a natural desire that has an unsettling effect on those same parents.

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 Whether on tape or film, actress Inger Stevens was absolutely riveting on screen. No less so in "The Lateness of the Hour."

This was one of six episodes in the second season that were shot on videotape at the CBS studio center on Fairfax and Beverly. Programming chief James "The Smiling Cobra" Aubrey had come down hard on the show and wanted the budget lowered, so producer Buck Houghton was forced to go the tape route. Consequently, those episodes don't look very good today because tape, well ... tape just looks like tape.

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Veteran character actor John Hoyt (left) played Jana's father. He was also working on Spartacus at that time. 

But if you can ignore the picture quality, all the taped episodes are still terrific, and Inger looks as luminous as ever. Veteran TV and film actor John Hoyt (he was shuttling between the set of Spartacus and TZ in those days) returned in "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up," and Irene Tedrow was a first season veteran, having played Gig Young's mother in "Walking Distance."

So let's sound a robotic cheer for "The Lateness of the Hour." The tape may be deteriorating over time, but the Rod Serling story is still very much present in its original form ... in The Twilight Zone.