Today, May 31st, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actor Jim Hutton on the anniversary of his birth in 1934.
Hutton co-starred as U.S. Air Force pilot Major William 'Bill' Gart in the first season episode "And When the Sky Was Opened." Along with Lt. Colonel Clegg Forbes (Rod Taylor) and Colonel Ed Harrington (Charles Aidman), Gart has flown the X-20, an experimental rocket interceptor that has just crashed in the desert. All three men seem to be okay (although Gart has a broken leg). But then things start to get mysterious – very TZ mysterious
This is one of Rod Serling's most underrated episodes – which, thanks to great performances, just keeps getting creepier by the minute.
Tall, lanky Hutton (1934-1979), the father of actor Timothy Hutton, left us way too early (he died from liver cancer). In films, he was often paired with tall Paula Prentiss, starting with Where the Boys Are in 1960. A few years later, western director Sam Peckinpah gave him the plum role of stiff-necked, West Point-educated artillery officer Lt. Graham in Major Dundee.
So let's toast a fine young actor, recruited to join the U.S. Air Force space astronaut corps – a particularly vulnerable group stationed in the dark universe created by Rod Serling: The Twilight Zone.