Long Live Walter Jameson
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2011)|
|"Long Live Walter Jameson"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Tony Leader|
|Written by||Charles Beaumont|
|Original air date||March 18, 1960|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
Walter Jameson, a college professor, is engaged to a young doctoral student named Susanna Kittridge. Susanna's father, Samuel Kittridge, another professor at Walter's college, becomes suspicious of Walter because he doesn't appear to have aged in the 12 years they have known each other and seems to have unrealistically detailed knowledge of some pieces of history that don't appear in texts. Jameson at one point reads from an original Civil War diary in his possession. Later, Kittridge discovers the truth after recognizing his future son-in-law in a Mathew Brady Civil War photograph. Jameson had earlier denied having an ancestor in the war. Moreover, the man in the photograph has the same facial mole, and wears the same ring, as Jameson.
Jameson ultimately reveals his real-life history, which includes the fact that agelessness (but no kind of immunity to injury) was imparted to him by an alchemist more than 2,000 years ago. Jameson indicates that he's old enough to have known Plato personally. Jameson doesn't know what was done to him by the alchemist, only that the alchemist was gone when he recovered, and he then stopped aging while everyone around him continued with normal living. Soon, he had to leave and become a constant refugee.
Kittridge asks Jameson to share this "gift" with him, but Jameson doesn't know how. Jameson tells Kittridge that even if he could share it with him, it would only make him immortal from that point forward. He asks Kittridge if he would want to be a 70-year-old man forever. Jameson tells Kittridge that he learned a terrible lesson from living for so long and reveals his desire to die. Jameson mentions that he keeps a revolver in his desk drawer but doesn't have the courage to use it.
Kittridge soon realizes that if Jameson marries his daughter, she will grow old, and Jameson will eventually abandon her in order to keep his secret. Kittridge then refuses permission for Jameson to marry his daughter. In spite of this, Jameson proposes to Susanna, and they plan to immediately elope.
Unbeknownst to Walter, he is being stalked by an elderly woman. She is Laurette Bowen (Estelle Winwood), one of his many wives and consorts through the years, whom he had abandoned when she grew old and frail while he remained young. She claims that she cannot allow Walter to destroy another woman's life. She discovers Jameson's pistol lying on his desk, and impulsively shoots him. Kittridge passes by Laurette as she is making her escape. When he enters Jameson's study, he finds Jameson bleeding but seemingly at peace. Soon, Jameson starts to rapidly age. Kittridge attempts to help but nothing can be done, and Jameson collapses on the floor. Susanna enters the house, and Kittridge tries to stop her from seeing the aged Walter, saying only that he is gone. He is unable to keep her out of the room, but once inside, she discovers only an empty suit of clothes with a white substance near the collar and sleeves. When Susanna asks what is on the floor, the professor replies, "Dust, only dust."
The scenes of Walter Jameson's aging was performed by using an old movie-making trick. Age lines were drawn on actor Kevin McCarthy's face in red make-up. During the beginning of the scene, red lighting was used, bathing the scene in red and hiding the age lines. As the scene progressed, the red lights were turned down and green lights were brought up. Under the green lights, the red age lines were prominent. The lighting changes were unseen by the audience because it was filmed in black-and-white. The ultimate result is the appearance of a complete make-up change with no cuts to the scene.
- The date of the diary entry of September 11, 1864 is said to be on a Tuesday, but in reality it was on a Sunday.
For the DVD release Kevin McCarthy returned to record an audio commentary for the episode, revealing that he never met Rod Serling and that aside from Invasion of the Body Snatchers his appearance in this episode generated the most fan mail he ever received.
- The Wandering Jew, a series of legends about a Jewish man who is made immortal in the time of Jesus, and cursed to wander the Earth until the second coming
- She: A History of Adventure, an 1886 novel by H. Rider Haggard about an ageless woman who rules a lost African kingdom, who ages rapidly and dies at the end
- All Men are Mortal, a 1946 novel by Simone de Beauvoir
- Picture of Dorian Gray, an Oscar Wilde novel with a similar plot, filmed several times.
- "Queen of the Nile", a 1964 Twilight Zone episode with similar plotline
- "Requiem for Methuselah", a Star Trek episode with similar plotline
- The Man from Earth, 2007 film of a similar tale
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition). ISBN 1-879505-09-6.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0