The Changing of the Guard (The Twilight Zone)
|"The Changing of the Guard"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Robert Ellis Miller|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||June 1, 1962|
|“||Professor Ellis Fowler, a gentle, bookish guide to the young, who is about to discover that life still has certain surprises, and that the campus of the Rock Spring School for Boys lies on a direct path to another institution, commonly referred to as the Twilight Zone.||”|
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.
|“||Professor Ellis Fowler, teacher, who discovered rather belatedly something of his own value. A very small scholastic lesson, from the campus of the Twilight Zone.||”|
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.
- 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
- 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