TV

The Masks' Director Made Twilight Zone History In More Ways Than One

The Masks' Director Made Twilight Zone History In More Ways Than One

It shouldn’t need repeating that “The Twilight Zone” was one of the best TV shows of all time. Serling wrote the bulk of the show’s episodes (including “The Masks”), but even the episodes written by others were striking and ironic explorations of the human condition. Serling wasn’t always cynical about humanity, but he did see a lot of vice, hubris, weakness, and sin in our hearts. He wrote morality fables, often with a supernatural or sci-fi twist. 

He also had an eye for talent, and many notable actors appeared in the anthology series, typically for one-off parts. There are too many stars to list here, needless to say, most working actors in the late ’50s and early ’60s would inevitably show up. “The Twilight Zone” also provided a wonderful venue for up-and-coming directors to ply their craft. Don Siegel, Ted Post, Richard Donner, Christian Nyby and several other notable filmmakers started on the series. Jacques Tourneur also directed an episode. 

Lupino was a talented and constantly-working actress who was already helming feature films by the time 1964 rolled around. On her directorial résumé were “Not Wanted,” “Hard, Fast and Beautiful,” “The Hitch-Hiker,” and “The Bigamist.” She also directed episodes of “The Rifleman” and “Thriller.” She would go on to direct a few episodes of “Gilligan’s Island” and “Bewitched.” It seems that she was amply prepared to take on a dark fantasy series like “The Twilight Zone.” She certainly proved she has a flair for the macabre. 

Another fun piece of trivia: Ida Lupino was also the only director of a “Twilight Zone” episode that also appeared as an actress; she also starred in “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine” (October 23, 1959) opposite Martin Balsam. 

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