Today, January 30th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the birth of two terrific TZ actors: David Wayne, born on this day in 1914, and David Opatoshu, born in 1918.
Wayne portrayed Walter Bedeker, the ultimate hypochondriac, in "Escape Clause." Bedeker is so terrified of sickness, disease and death that he makes a pact with the devil, Mr. Cadwallader (a gleeful Thomas Gomez), trading his soul for trouble-free immortality. But if you're a steady TZ watcher, you know there's nothing trouble-free in the Zone.
in the late '60s, Wayne (1914-1995) appeared as the Mad Hatter in four episodes of Batman. He also won two Tonys on Broadway.
Meanwhile, David Opatoshu co-starred in "Valley of the Shadow," playing Mayor Dorn, the leader of a mysterious small town that plays host to journalist Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson), who made the mistake of stopping for gas.
Opatoshu (1918-1996), a prominent New York actor, made his debut in New York Yiddish Theatre. He was an ubiquitous presence on American television throughout the 1950s and '60s, portraying a number of ethnicities... and was rarely clean-shaven. I remember him playing Paul Newman's Uncle Akiva Ben Canaan, a prominent member of the Irgun militant group in Israel, in director Otto Preminger’s epic Exodus.
So let's raise a glass of Sherry to two men who entered from different directions - one comic, one serious - and blazed a memorable paths in The Twilight Zone.