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November 20 in Twilight Zone History: Wishing Happy Birthday to actress Phyllis Thaxter ('Young Man's Fancy')

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Nov 20, 2017

Today, November 20th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of actress Phyllis Thaxter (1919-2012), who starred as Virginia Walker in "Young Man's Fancy."

In this moody third season episode, written by ghost master Richard Matheson, Virginia has just married Alex Walker (Alex Nicol) and she's about to start her honeymoon – what should be a joyous time for a new bride. But the Walkers make the mistake of stopping off at Alex's late mother’s house, where he gets lost in memories and nostalgia. Rather than pack for their trip, Alex sits down on the floor of his childhood bedroom and starts looking at his keepsakes – completely forgetting that his bride is waiting. And then, as the story goes, things begin to go bump. 

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 A picture perfect wedding day for Virginia Walker (Phyllis Thaxter) turns into an nightmare when she discovers that she's married the ultimate mama's boy (Alex Nicol) in the eerie "Young Man's Fancy."

Thaxter was a very popular actress in Hollywood in the 1940s and '50s. As she puts it, she was the brunette version of June Allison, the fiercely loyal good girl who married well and always stuck by her husband. Ironically, her real life husband was Rod Serling's nemesis at CBS: programming chief James Aubrey. But she is well remembered for many roles, including the part of Van Johnson's wife in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) and Burt Lancaster’s wife in Jim Thorpe All American (1951). And she later portrayed Ma Kent opposite Glenn Ford's Pa Kent in Superman (1978).

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Virginia (Phyllis Thaxter) begins to realize that her new husband (Alex Nicol) can't shake the spell his mother's house has over him in the moody "Young Man's Fancy."

So let's hoist a glass of wedding champagne to Phyllis' character Virginia Walker and hope that she eventually divorces Alex and meets the right guy.