“Portrait of a town drunk named Al Denton. This is a man who’s begun his dying early—a long agonizing route through a maze of bottles. Al Denton, who would probably give an arm or a leg or a part of his soul to have another chance, to be able to rise up and shake the dirt from his body and the bad dreams that infest his consciousness. In the parlance of the times, this is a peddler, a rather fanciful-looking little man in a black frock coat. And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function? Perhaps to give Mister Al Denton his second chance.”
So, last night I am watching “Mr. Denton on Doomsday” from the first season of The Twilight Zone and I am really enjoying it a lot. It’s been years since I’ve watched an episode and I thought it would be nice to start from season one (1959) and watch them all again.
In this episode, a washed-up gunslinger Al Denton is given a second chance to right his life from a mysterious man named Henry J. Fate and once again become the fastest gunslinger in the West, but only for ten seconds. Well, I don’t want to give the rest of the story away, but what happened next was, well my own little Twilight Zone.
As soon as I saw the Al Denton character, I thought to myself, “he sure looks familiar. Who is the actor?” The name was right on the tip of my tongue, you know how that is when you really think you know the actor in an old movie or TV show, but you are just not too sure? Well, that was sort of the mental drill I was going through trying to come up with a name.
I thought it was Doug McClure—the actor’s name that I thought I had on the tip of my tongue—but then it turns out that another character in the episode, another gunslinger named Pete Grant was indeed, Doug McClure!
Cue the music: Dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee…”
At the signpost up ahead, Jeffrey Miller, a.k.a. Papa Sparks has just entered The Twilight Zone.
Oh, and the actor’s name I didn’t know? Dan Duryea.