Today, March 9th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1962 premiere of "The Fugitive."
Not to be confused with anything related to Richard Kimball or the One Armed Man, this TZ episode is about Ben, a shape-changing alien from a galaxy far, far away (kindly J. Pat O’Malley) who befriends a little girl crippled by polio (Susan Gordon).
Writer Charles Beaumont's early Zones were dark, creepy and macabre. This episode catches him in a different color – bright, gentle, optimistic. Although Nancy Kulp, who later played the comical bank assistant on The Beverly Hillbillies, does get in her licks as the stern, humorless aunt who disapproves of Old Ben.
J. Pat O’Malley, who was cast in seemingly everything in the 1960s, particularly on the Walt Disney TV series, was a TZ regular – he was helpful Homburg in "The Chaser"; the old man with a cold in "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross"; and Gooberman, the town drunk in "Mr. Garrity and the Graves." Adorable Susan Gordon was the daughter of genre director Bert I. Gordon (The Magic Sword) and had recently played opposite fellow TZ veteran Charles Herbert in her father's The Boy and the Pirates.
And keep an eye out for blond-haired Stephen Talbot, who plays a softball player in the episode's opening sequence – he was Theodore Cleaver's pal Gilbert Bates on Leave It to Beaver.
So let's hoist some Bubble-Up to the lighter side of Charles Beaumont, who opened yet another interstellar page in the wide universe we call The Twilight Zone.