Today, January 26th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1962 premiere of "The Hunt."
The delightful character actor Arthur Hunnicutt stars as backwoods pioneer Hyder Simpson, a dutiful husband to Rachel (Jeanette Nolan) and faithful companion to his dog Rip. However, on their daily hunting trip, Rip falls into the river and Hyder goes in to save him. They both survive their fall into the icy water... or do they?
This was one of the scripts written by Earl Hamner, Jr., a wonderful writer who specialized in rural tales, bringing a folksy new rhythm and vibe to the Zone. The future creator of The Waltons was adept at bringing frontier characters to life, as he would later demonstrate in "Jess-Belle" (which would also star Jeanette Nolan).
Meanwhile, Arthur Hunnicutt was another actor who was just born to be on screen. If you like stories of the Alamo, you'll love him as Davy Crockett in director Frank Lloyd's memorable 1955 film The Last Command.
Hunnicutt was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing plainspoken frontiersman Zeb Calloway in director Howard Hawks' classic western The Big Sky.
So let's hoist a cup of genuine moonshine to the cast of "The Hunt," raise a good marrow bone to Rip, and celebrate a cool western journey into The Twilight Zone.