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June 16 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actor Jack Albertson ('The Shelter,' 'I Dream of Genie')

Contributed by
Jun 16, 2018

Today, June 16th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of actor Jack Albertson, born on this day in 1907.

Albertson appeared in two episodes: in "The Shelter," he's Jerry Harlowe, the neighbor of forward-thinking bomb shelter builder Dr. Bill Stockton (Larry Gates). Harlowe suddenly realizes that he must find shelter from a possible nuclear attack and makes the assumption that Stockton will invite him in... but ends up discovering that the good neighbor policy only goes so far.

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Jerry Harlowe (Jack Albertson, left) realizes that friendship only goes so far when it comes to seeking shelter during a possible nuclear attack in "The Shelter."

Albertson (1907-1981) returned in Season 4's "I Dream of Genie," playing a genie who only grants one wish (talk about cheap!). That means love-starved George Hanley (Howard Morris) is going to have to really think about what he wants.

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The Genie (Jack Albertson, left) explains the ground rules to George Hanley (Howard Morris, right) in "I Dream of Genie."

If you're a Jack Albertson fan, how can you forget his wonderful performance as delightful Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? I remember him even further back than that as the post officer sorter who comes up with the brilliant idea of sending all New York City's Dear Santa letters to the courthouse where Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is on trial in Miracle on 34th Street.

So, on this the anniversary of his birth, let's raise an early Christmas cup of egg nog to Jack Albertson, veteran actor and card-carrying alumnus in that exclusive club of neighbors and genies that make up The Twilight Zone.