“There’s Something on the Wing!”
“THE TWILIGHT ZONE Slot Machine”
Episodes like “The Fever” and “The Prime Mover” were steeped in gambling lore, so it should come as no surprise that some enterprising slot machine exec decided to license the rights to THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
William Shatner. That should be all you need to know about this incredible episode.
Still not enough? John Lithgow. Mr. Trinity Killer himself. Possibly the only actor who could outdo the Shat for sheer scene-chewery.
Both men brought their considerable acting chops to work in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” The premise is simple, as many of the best TZ eps are. A man sees a horrific creature on the wing of a plane and tries to convince the rest of the passengers that he isn’t crazy. We know he’s not, but everyone else isn’t so easily convinced.
Now, all you kids in the audience, I don’t want to poison your mind by promoting how great gambling can be, so skip this entry and imagine I was talking about the TWILIGHT ZONE pinball machine, which is also awesome.
Many might indeed question my choice of important moment here, what with there being countless other licensed items I could discuss. And to that I say: have you played the TZ slot machine? It’s amazing. And it’s always packed whenever I spot it at a casino, so they’ve gotta be doing something right.
Now, I like to consider myself quite the slot machine aficionado. This doesn’t mean much other than that I’ve dropped an exorbitant amount of money on goofy machines that feature characters from my favorite movie and television shows, but I say it counts for something (Do not play the JAWS slot machine; it will eat your credits faster than JAWS ate that kid on the raft). Being an aficionado, I can unequivocally recommend the ZONE slots.
All your favorite moments are here. The Pig-looking people from “The Eye of the Beholder!” The camera from “A Most Unusual Camera!” And of course, the obligatory shots of the gonzo images from the credits. Bonus games are fun, if rare, offering the prototypical casino hijinks with a ZONE twist.
Shatner portrayed the hero in the original episode, while Lithgow took over the role for the ZONE movie.
This might just be the most parodied episode of the whole series, even more so than “Time Enough at Last.” From ACE VENTURA to THE SIMPSONS (although, let’s face it, it’s hard to find a classic episode SIMPSONS hasn’t parodied), this might just be the most well-known and easily spoofed of the bunch. My personal favorite take-off, though, would have to be a recent SNL sketch that featured Bobby Moynihan as the creature, Jude Law as the passenger, and Pearl Jam as Pearl Jam. Good stuff.
I also like to think I get bonus nerd points since the first time I played the TWILIGHT ZONE slot machine was in the STAR TREK casino. As I said, it doesn’t take much more than a science fiction overlay of a basic game to get my money.
THE GRAVEYARD EXAMINER • DEC 6 - DEC 12, 2011
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