Execution (The Twilight Zone)

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"Execution"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 26
Directed by David Orrick McDearmon
Written by Rod Serling (story by George Clayton Johnson)
Production code 173-3628
Original air date April 1, 1960
Guest actors

Albert Salmi: Joe Caswell
Russell Johnson: Professor Manion
Than Wyann: Paul Johnson
Jon Lormer: Reverend
George Mitchell: Elderly Man
Fay Roope: Judge
Richard Karlan: Bartender
Joe Haworth: TV Cowboy (uncredited)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"People Are Alike All Over"
Next →
"The Big Tall Wish"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Execution" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It features Albert Salmi, who also plays the lead character in the Season 4 episode "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville".

Opening narration[edit]

Commonplace - if somewhat grim - unsocial event known as a necktie party, the guest of dishonor a cowboy named Joe Caswell, just a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground, and then the dark eternity of all evil men. Mr. Joe Caswell, who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart, a feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Caswell, in the last, quiet moment of a violent life.

Plot[edit]

In 1880, an outlaw cowboy named Joe Caswell is about to be hanged for murder. But as the noose tightens around his neck, he suddenly disappears...and finds himself in 1959, in the laboratory of Professor Manion. Manion explains that he used a time machine to pluck Caswell from the past. But when Manion sees Caswell's rope burns around his neck, and hears Caswell's admission that in his life he had murdered over twenty men he knows he must try to send Caswell back.

The discussion leads to an argument. Caswell attacks the Professor, killing the Professor with a desk lamp. Caswell flees from the laboratory into a busy street, but becomes so overwhelmed by the lights and the noise that he returns to the lab. Caswell, distraught and desperate, breaks down, pleading for the dead scientist to help him.

Suddenly, a thief named Paul Johnson enters the lab. Caswell fights with Paul Johnson, but Paul Johnson gets the upper hand in the fight and strangles Caswell with the cord from the window curtains. As Paul Johnson tries to find Manion's safe, he accidentally activates the time machine and is sent back to 1880, appearing in the noose intended for Caswell, just in time to be hanged. The Old Man and the Reverend present are shocked to see that someone else's body appeared in the place of Joe Caswell's body as the Old Man orders the body of Paul Johnson to be cut down while the Reverend thinks that some unknown force was behind what just happened.

Closing narration[edit]

This is November 1880, the aftermath of a necktie party. The victim's name - Paul Johnson, a minor-league criminal and the taker of another human life. No comment on his death save this: justice can span years. Retribution is not subject to a calendar. Tonight's case in point in The Twilight Zone.

Further reading[edit]

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grabman, Sandra. (2005). Spotlights and Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media.
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0

External links[edit]