episode #60 - The Rip Van Winkle Caper

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episode #60 - The Rip Van Winkle Caper

Post  BoG on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:22 pm

Air Date: 4/21/61  Arrow  written by Rod Serling  Arrow  Directed by Justus Addiss

A simple but effective plot involving suspended animation as applied by criminals: 4 crooks have robbed a train of gold; one of these criminals (Oscar Beregi, Jr.) is also a scientific genius; his plan is to place the four men into suspended animation in a cave in a desolate part of the desert for about 100 years; the premise is that by the time they revive and exit into a new world, the law will no longer be after them and they can freely spend their gold. Nothing ever goes perfectly in the TZ, however; one of the special containers gets damaged by a falling rock, and the man inside is a skeleton by the time the others revive. Then, human fallacy kicks in: another of the crooks (Simon Oakland) is more greedy than the others; he disposes of a rival and now there are only two men left. They trudge over the barren landscape and the greedy one soon begins to extract bars of gold from the scientist in exchange for sips of water.
The punchline to this one is not quite as effective as the rest of the episode and certainly not earth-shattering as in the best TZ episodes - in fact, it's downright predictable - but it's a very good episode overall, filled with good scenes. When the men revive, for example, the greedy one is convinced that the procedure had not worked, since everything looks the same. But, they haven't yet checked the container with the dead crook, providing for a rather shocking moment. It also hits home the point that the process did indeed work, in ways no one could expect. The actors are excellent - Beregi, Jr. especially as a Lex Luthor-type criminal in the TZ;  the dialog is very well done and there's ample suspense as we wait to see how it all develops and concludes.  BoG's Score: 7.5 out of 10

Twilight Trivia: the futuristic vehicle at the end is a leftover prop from Forbidden Planet. Serling, who wrote this one, also used the exact same technique for cryogenic sleep in his script for Planet of the Apes (1968), including the plot turn of one container getting damaged.  Actor Simon Oakland excelled at playing rotten bastards and brutal thugs on TV;
about a decade later, he would play a similar character in the western film Chato's Land, in which his character would end up in the same way as here - his head bashed in by a partner fed up with his lousy attitude.
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