The Changing of the Guard (The Twilight Zone)

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"The Changing of the Guard"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 37
Directed by Robert Ellis Miller
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Stock
Production code 4835
Original air date June 1, 1962
Guest appearance(s)

Donald Pleasence: Professor Ellis Fowler
Liam Sullivan: Headmaster
Philippa Bevans: Mrs. Landers
Tom Lowell: Artie Beechcroft
Russell Horton: Bartlett
Buddy Hart: Boy
Darryl Richard: Thompson

Episode chronology
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"Cavender Is Coming"
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"In His Image"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Changing of the Guard" is the 102nd episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]


Professor Ellis Fowler is an elderly English literature teacher at a boys' prep school in Vermont, who is forced into retirement after teaching for more than 50 years at the school. Looking through his old yearbooks and reminiscing about his former students, he becomes convinced that all of his lessons have been in vain and that he has accomplished nothing with his life.

Deeply depressed, he prepares to kill himself on the night of Christmas Eve next to a statue of the famous educator Horace Mann. Before he can follow through, however, he is called back to his classroom by a phantom bell, where he is visited by ghosts of several boys who were his students, all dead, some of whom died heroically. The boys each tell him that he inspired them to become better men. Deeply moved, Fowler accepts his retirement, content that his life is fuller for having enriched the lives of the boys.

Closing narration[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Donald Pleasence was heavily made up in order to appear much older than his actual age of 42. The quote Professor Fowler reads on the statue's plinth, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity", is the motto of Rod Serling's alma mater Antioch College, and was spoken by its first president, Horace Mann, at the college's first commencement. Serling accepted a teaching post there after completing this script.[1]


  1. ^ Rod Serling profile, accessed December 3, 2015.


  • 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

See also[edit]

  • Dead Poets Society (1989), an American drama film set in a boys' preparatory school
  • The Emperor's Club (2002), an American drama film set in a boys' preparatory school located in the northeast

External links[edit]