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February 1 in Twilight Zone History: Wishing Happy Birthday to actor/musician Bill Mumy ('Long Distance Call')

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Feb 1, 2018

Today, February 1st, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the birthday of TZ superstar Bill Mumy, who turns 64 today.

Mumy starred in two amazing episodes and co-starred in a third. In "Long Distance Call," he's Billy Bayles, a boy with a special relationship with his grandma (Lili Darvas). When she passes, Billy starts to get calls on his toy telephone. It's his grandma, contacting him from beyond the grave, and she wants some company.

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There's no denying that Billy Mumy was one of the cutest kids on television in the 1960s. However, in "It's a Good Life," he's probably the deadliest kid ever created. 

In the following season, Mumy starred in "It's a Good Life," portraying Anthony Fremont, a God-like figure with extraordinary powers who has literally changed the face of Planet Earth. Surrounded by family and friends who dare not cross him, the cute but deadly Anthony maintains complete autonomy over his world. If he doesn't like you, he can just "wish you into the cornfield."

Mumy's final appearance on The Twilight Zone was in "In Praise of Pip," in which he portrayed Max Phillips' (Jack Klugman) young son Pip. The older man is dying of combat wounds in Vietnam, but young Pip appears to his father, making a memorable appearance at L.A.'s Pacific Ocean Park. The episode later helped inspire director Adrian Lyne's 1990 feature film, Jacob's Ladder.

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Bookie Max Phillips (Jack Klugman) can't believe his eyes when he sees his little son, Pip (Billy Mumy) at the amusement park - after all, he's supposed to be dying in Vietnam. But in The Twilight Zone, all bets are off. 

After TZ, Mumy went on to co-star as Will Robinson on Lost in Space, and then he made his mark as an extraordinary musician, singer, songwriter. His daughter Liliana portrayed Anthony Fremont's daughter in a strong sequel to "It's a Good Life," entitled "It's Still a Good Life," broadcast during the 2003 revival of The Twilight Zone.

So let's hoist a tall one to one of the child stars of the 1960s who survived and became one of the music world's major talents, carving a significant career outside the borders of the place we call The Twilight Zone.