I Am the Night—Color Me Black

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"I Am the Night—Color Me Black"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 26
Directed by Abner Biberman
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Stock from "Where Is Everybody?" by Bernard Herrmann
Production code 2630
Original air date March 27, 1964
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Masks"
Next →
"Sounds and Silences"
List of season 5 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"I Am the Night—Color Me Black" is episode 146 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on March 27, 1964 on CBS.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Sheriff Koch (Michael Constantine) cannot sleep the night before the execution of a man, as he feels conflicted about the situation. His wife Ella (Eve McVeagh) is no comfort as she snarls, "What time do they string him up; you know what I mean...what time does he get hung?" Her attitude represents the hateful sentiment of the town that looks forward to the fate of Jagger, a man who is to be hanged after being wrongfully convicted of killing a bigot in self-defense and who is unrepentant about the killing. On the day of his execution, the sun does not rise in the morning.

There is still some dispute as to whether Jagger is guilty. However, Jagger is hanged anyway, much to the delight of the town. The town reverend, who also agrees to the execution, steps in and says that the sky is black because of all the hatred in the world, namely the hatred surrounding Jagger's execution. The sky becomes even darker after the execution.

Later, a radio broadcast reveals that the town is not the only place where this disturbance is happening. The sky has turned dark over North Vietnam, a section of the Berlin Wall, a political prison in Budapest, a section of Chicago, a street in Dallas, Birmingham, Alabama, a section of Shanghai and other places of hate around the world.

Closing narration[edit]

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Serling wrote this script primarily as his personal reaction to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Indeed, mention is made in the story of "a street in Dallas, Texas" (where Kennedy was murdered as his motorcade traveled down Elm Street in Dallas' Dealey Plaza) as being enveloped by the strange darkness.

The episode is similar to "Many, Many Monkeys", a script written for Twilight Zone by its producer, William Froug, but never shot. In that script an epidemic breaks out in which afflicted persons' eyes seal shut as folds of flesh grow over them. Though a nuclear explosion is initially blamed, one character proposes that it is a physical manifestation of hate that is blinding them. The network bought the script but then shelved it, finding its subject matter too disturbing, but it was eventually produced in 1989, during the first revival of Twilight Zone.

Years earlier, Serling had written a teleplay for Playhouse 90 called "A Town Has Turned to Dust", about the 1870 lynching of an innocent Mexican man in a Southwestern town. This story was based on the Emmett Till case, and Serling had to deal with executive interference and network censors before the episode could air.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gould, Jack. "Prejudice Dissected", New York Times; June 20, 1958; pg. 47. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851–2006)
  • 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
  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)

External links[edit]