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December 16 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1960 premiere of 'A Most Unusual Camera'

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Dec 16, 2017

Today, December 16, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the 1960 premiere of "A Most Unusual Camera."

Fred Clark, Jean Carson, and The Hitch-Hiker's Adam Williams star in this intriguing episode about Chester and Paula Dietrich, a couple of con artists (Clark, Carson) who steal what appears to be a bunch of garage sale junk from a curio shop but discover that one item – a certain camera – can inexplicably take photographs of the future. Together with Paula's clueless brother, Woodward (Williams), they take the camera to the one place where a future photograph comes in amazingly handy – the racetrack.

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Comic actors Fred Clark and Jean Carson are perfectly cast as inept con-artists/thieves in "A Most Unusual Camera."

Rod Serling had a love/hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, he could warn of impending automation ("The Brain Center at Whipple's") or mechanical inventions run amuck ("You Drive," "Uncle Simon"), but he always loved to take a simple mechanical device like a camera and give it amazing powers.

Meanwhile, it was nice to see Fred Clark in a leading role in this second-season episode. He played William Holden's producer connection Mr. Sheldrake in Sunset Boulevard and the long-suffering Navy PR chief in Don't Go Near the Water.

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Adam Williams (left) joins the cast of "A Most Unusual Camera" as Woodward, Paula Dietrich's (Jean Carson, right) slow-witted brother. He had previously appeared as the Navy man in "The Hitch-Hiker" episode.

So let's hoist a racetrack cocktail to the comically inept Dietrichs and their misbegotten scheme to beat the system – a system that just doesn't get beat in The Twilight Zone.

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"A Most Unusual Camera," indeed!