It takes a gifted actor to be able to pull off a single-actor episode. When executed well – such as Agnes Moorehead’s “The Invaders,” the episode can become legendary. Since we’ve already covered that episode, this month we look at two other single-actor episodes. First up is Robert Cummings’ season 2 premiere, “King Nine Will Not Return.” Cummings portrays a US Air Force pilot who was unable to pilot what ended up being a fateful flight that took the lives of his entire crew. Next up we look at Mickey Rooney’s season 5 episode, “The Last Night of a Jockey.” Rooney plays Grady, a jockey who wishes he were big after being suspended for fixing races and doping.
Each of these episodes was written for their respective leads by Rod Serling himself. While they haven’t risen to the top of the Zone echelon like Moorehead’s “Invaders,” they both showcase top-level performances and offer up lessons on issues that are still very relevant today: mental health. Certainly the lessons Rod penned sixty years ago are ones we need to be reminded of and learn today.
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