Ninety Years Without Slumbering

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"Ninety Years Without Slumbering"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 12
Directed by Roger Kay
Written by Richard de Roy
(From a teleplay by George Clayton Johnson [as "Johnson Smith"].)
Featured music Bernard Herrmann (variations on "My Grandfather's Clock")
Production code 2615
Original air date December 20, 1963
Guest appearance(s)

Ed Wynn: Sam Forstmann
Carolyn Kearney: Marnie Kirk
James T. Callahan: Doug Kirk
William Sargent: Dr. Mel Avery
Audrey Edwards: Herself
Carol Byron: Carol Chase
Dick Wilson: Mover #1
Chuck Hicks: Mover #2
John Pickard: Police Officer

Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain"
Next →
"Ring-a-Ding Girl"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Ninety Years Without Slumbering" is episode 132 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. The title comes from the lyrics of the song My Grandfather's Clock.

Opening narration[edit]


Sam Forstmann is an old man who thinks he will die if his grandfather clock stops ticking. He spends all of his time working on the clock, upsetting his family with his obsession.

He speaks with a psychiatrist and reveals his fear. The psychiatrist advises him to sell the clock, which he does, but offers to maintain it for the new owners. Two weeks after he sells the clock, the new owners go on vacation for the weekend, so Sam cannot wind the clock. The clock stops, so he is forced to confront his fear of death (and his "spirit," informing him "It's time to go"). He chooses to stop believing in the clock's "power," declaring instead that he wants to live to see his great-grandchild grow up, He, therefore, continues to live (and the "spirit" vanishes).

As he tells his expectant granddaughter, "When that clock died, I was born again."

Closing narration[edit]

Production notes[edit]

"Ninety Years Without Slumbering" was a drastic reworking of an original script by George Clayton Johnson, "Tick of Time." Most notably, in "Tick of Time" the main character did indeed die when the clock stopped. Johnson did not approve of the changes made to his story, and was credited onscreen under a pseudonym.

This episode was Bernard Herrmann's final score for the series.


  • 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]