Today, March 7th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1963 premiere of "No Time Like the Past."
For this excellent hour-long episode from Season 4, Rod Serling combined two of his favorite sub-themes: time travel and nostalgia. Dana Andrews, one of Hollywood's most underrated actors, plays time traveler Paul Driscoll, a man with a plan to use time travel to change 20th century history for the better. However, his efforts in Hiroshima, Berlin and at sea all fail miserably (reminiscent of bartender Peter Jenson's failed efforts in "The Time Element").
Finally, Paul decides to settle in the small town of Homeville, Indiana, circa 1881, a time when life was trouble-free – or so he thinks.
One of my major quibbles with the time travel stories we see today is that too little attention is paid to anachronisms. Serling knew how much fun time travel stories could be and he packs this episode with all sorts of conflict for Driscoll to overcome (pay particular attention to his dinner table response to pompous Mr. Hanford (Robert Cornthwaite).
Patricia Breslin, who had been terrific as William Shatner's wife in "Nick of Time," returns in this episode as lovely Homewood school teacher Abigail Sloan, who becomes the ultimate challenge for Paul Driscoll.
So let's hoist a mug of five-cent beer to this whale of an episode from a dusty corner of the ever-changing universe we call The Twilight Zone.