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Recap: The Twilight Zone S 1 E 4 The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine
Rod Serling: Picture of a woman looking at a picture. Movie great of another time, once brilliant star in a firmament no longer a part in 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 (Ida Lupino) secludes herself in her private screening room, where she reminisces about her past by watching her old films. In an attempt to bring her out into the real world, her agent Danny Weiss (Martin Balsam) arranges a part for her in a new movie and brings a former leading man—now also older, many years retired from acting, and managing a chain of grocery stores—to visit her. This horrifies Barbara Jean and only drives her further into seclusion. Then one day, Barbara Jean's maid finds the screening room empty—and is horrified by what she sees on the screen. Danny comes over and sees on the screen the living room of the house, filled with movie stars and Barbara Jean as they appeared in the old films. He pleads with her to come back, but she throws her scarf toward the camera and departs just before the film ends. In the living room, Danny finds Barbara Jean's scarf. "To wishes, Barbie", he says wistfully, "to the ones that come true..."

Rod Serling: 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.

Trivia

  • Martin Balsam also appeared in the episode "The New Exhibit".
  • Ida Lupino later directed the episode "The Masks". She was the original series' only female director, and the only actor to direct an episode.

Tropes

  • Glory Days
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: In particular, Barbara really disliked her director.
  • Trapped in Movie Land: Though it's her choice.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Played with, in how Danny's reaction changes. Arguably, Barbara living in her past isn't emotionally unhealthy insofar as she can do it "for real".
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Most Twilight Zone episodes have a paranormal premise setting up the story, but this one has zero otherwordly aspects until the twist ending. As such, it's almost impossible to summarize it without giving it away, whether you're a DVD back-cover writer or Rod Serling himself giving the traditional On the Next spiel.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Barbra Jean.

The Twilight Zone S 1 E 3 Mr Denton On DoomsdayRecap/The Twilight ZoneThe Twilight Zone S 1 E 5 Walking Distance

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