Today, March 18, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1960 premiere of a true TZ classic, "Long Live Walter Jameson."
Kevin McCarthy stars as college professor Walter Jameson, a charismatic, handsome academic with the ability to mesmerize his history students with the most detailed, realistic lectures. It's as if he's remembering his own past – which, of course, he is, because Walter Jameson is thousands of years old.
For centuries, Jameson's been surviving a series of spouses who age and die. His latest lover is the pretty blonde daughter (Dodie Heath) of his colleague Sam Kittridge (Edgar Stehli). It is Sam who discovers a Civil War-era photo that shows a Union Army officer who looks way too much like Walter. As Marvin Gaye used to sing, "What's Going On?"
McCarthy (1914-2010) shined as the melancholy Jameson, a man who has lived too long. Four years earlier, he had starred as Dr. Miles J. Bennell in director Don Siegel's classic 1956 sci-fi thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He later joined the cast of Twilight Zone: The Movie as Uncle Walt in Joe Dante's spirited remake of "It's a Good Life."
If Dodie Heath looks familiar, she should – she portrayed Miep, the Dutch woman who helped hide Anne Frank in director George Stevens' The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), and she's comical Meg Brockie opposite Van Johnson in MGM's decidedly TZ-like musical Brigadoon.
And keep an eye out for the wonderful British character actress Estelle Winwood, an ex-lover of Walter's -- she would shortly portray Sybil the witch in director Bert I. Gordon's colorful fantasy, The Magic Sword (1962).
So let's raise another glass of everlasting life to Walter Jameson, the charisma of Kevin McCarthy, the pen of Charles Beaumont, the directing skill of Anton Leader, and the show of shows: The Twilight Zone.