The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine
|"The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Mitchell Leisen|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Featured music||Franz Waxman|
|Cinematography by||George T. Clemens|
|Original air date||October 23, 1959|
|“||Picture of a woman looking at a picture. Movie great of another time, once-brilliant star in a firmament no longer a part of the sky, eclipsed by the movement of earth and time. Barbara Jean Trenton, whose world is a projection room, whose dreams are made out of celluloid. Barbara Jean Trenton, struck down by hit-and-run years and lying on the unhappy pavement, trying desperately to get the license number of fleeting fame.||”|
Aging film star Barbara Jean Trenton secludes herself in her private screening room, where she reminisces about her past by watching old films from the 1930s. In an attempt to bring her out into the real world, her agent Danny Weiss arranges a part for her in a new movie. The man who runs the studio, Marty Sall, however, is rather petty, small, and callous. When she returns, Barbara and Danny get into an argument when she decides to deny reality and call all of her friends (who have moved on or died).
After the argument, Barbara has, according to her maid, chosen to stay in the room day and night. Danny decides to bring a former leading man—now also older, Jerry Herndon, many years retired from acting and managing a chain of grocery stores—to visit her. She is horrified by her friend's aged appearance and orders them both to leave. After the ill-fated visit, Barbara goes back into the projector room and puts on a movie that features his younger self, denying that the present-day Jerry is the real one and voices her wish repeatedly to join the one on the screen as the screen blurs accordingly.
Barbara Jean's maid comes with a snack and coffee, only to find the screening room empty—and is horrified by what she sees on the screen. Danny comes over and is told that Barbara has vanished from the house. He runs the projector and sees, in the movie, the living room of the house, filled with movie stars and as they appeared in the old films and Barbara Jean. She welcomes them to a party and says that dinner will be by the pool. As she starts off with Jerry, Danny tries to call her back to 1959 and reality. In response, she throws her scarf toward the camera and departs just before the film ends. In the actual living room, Danny finds Barbara Jean's scarf. "To wishes, Barbie", he says wistfully. "To the ones that come true."
|“||To the wishes that come true, to the strange, mystic strength of the human animal, who can take a wishful dream and give it a dimension of its own. To Barbara Jean Trenton, movie queen of another era, who has changed the blank tomb of an empty projection screen into a private world. It can happen in the Twilight Zone.||”|
- Ida Lupino as Barbara Jean Trenton
- Martin Balsam as Danny Weiss
- Jerome Cowan as Jerry
- Ted de Corsia as Marty Sall
This episode contains several similarities to Billy Wilder's 1950 film Sunset Boulevard starring Gloria Swanson and shares the same composer and conductor of music, Franz Waxman. Mitchell Leisen directed Billy Wilder scripts at Paramount in the 1930s. It is also remiscent of the 1952 motion picture The Star with Bette Davis which was directed by Stuart Heisler and released by Twentieth-Century Fox.
Ida Lupino later directed the season five episode "The Masks". She was both the only person to have acted in one episode and directed another, and the only woman to direct a Twilight Zone episode.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media.
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing.