In Praise of Pip
|"In Praise of Pip"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Jack Klugman as Max Phillips
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Joseph M. Newman|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Featured music||Rene Garriguenc, conducted by Lud Gluskin|
|Original air date||September 27, 1963|
This was the first episode of The Twilight Zone to be 30 minutes long since "The Changing of the Guard".
The episode begins in Vietnam, where medics are examining Pip Phillips, a wounded soldier. The medical officer says Pip's case is hopeless and it is a matter of time before he will die. In the United States, Pip's father, Max, a bookie receives a telegram explaining Pip's hospitalization. He is regretful that he did not spend more time with Pip when he was younger. With that in mind, he returns $300 to an unlucky customer and gets into a fight with his boss and the boss' underling. Max is shot by the goon, but manages to use his knife to kill both men. Wounded, he stumbles into an amusement park and is surprised to see Pip at age 10. After having some fun, reliving and expanding on enjoyable outings in the past, Pip runs away into a house of mirrors. When Max finds him, Pip explains that he is dying and vanishes. Max prays to God and offers to trade his own life in exchange for Pip's, then collapses and dies on the midway. Some months later, as the woman who managed the apartment where Max lived enters that same amusement park with her daughter in tow and behind them, Pip, very much alive, though walking with a cane, and still in uniform. They agree to meet later as Pip turns to the shooting gallery. Taking a gun in hand, he checks himself and smiles. “Work the gun, not your jaws,” he reminds himself, remembering his father and his admonition fondly. The camera pans away as Pip takes aim.
The episode was filmed on location at the Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California. It is often incorrectly cited as the first American television drama to mention the growing Vietnam War, or the first to show a Vietnam veteran. However, starting in March 1963, actor Glenn Corbett had become a regular on the series Route 66, playing returned Vietnam soldier Lincoln Case. The Vietnam War and its effects on Linc were crucial plot points in several Route 66 episodes, including his debut, which was broadcast six months before this episode.
"In Praise of Pip" opens in Vietnam, with a wounded Pip being brought into a front-line mobile hospital. Rod Serling originally wanted the episode's opening to take place in Laos; it was CBS who asked for the change to Vietnam.
Jack Klugman appeared in four episodes of the original series. In addition to this episode, he appeared in "Death Ship", "A Game of Pool", and "A Passage for Trumpet". In addition to this episode, Billy Mumy appeared in two other episodes of the original series: "It's a Good Life" and "Long Distance Call". Bill Mumy also appeared in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and the updated Twilight Zone TV series in 2003, in the episode "It's Still a Good Life".
This was the first episode sponsored by American Tobacco (on alternate weeks), on behalf of Pall Mall cigarettes, who suggested that Rod and some of the guest stars and supporting players "light up" during the episodes. Unlike previous sponsor Liggett & Myers, American Tobacco did not have Rod plug their products at the end of the program.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- 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