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The Twilight Zone: Back There

A man finds himself back in time to April 15, 1865 and tries to warn the town of President Abraham Lincoln's upcoming assassination.

Episode Info

Episode number: 2x13
Production Number: 173-3648
Airdate: Friday January 13th, 1961


Guest Stars
Russell JohnsonRussell Johnson
As Peter Corrigan

Co-Guest Stars
Bartlett RobinsonBartlett Robinson
As William
Raymond BaileyRaymond Bailey
As Balding Card Player
Lew BrownLew Brown
As Officer
Nora MarloweNora Marlowe
As Chambermaid
Pat OPat O'malley
As Attendant
Paul HartmanPaul Hartman
As Police Sergeant
John LasellJohn Lasell
As John Wilkes Booth
James LydonJames Lydon
As Patrolman
Raymond GreenleafRaymond Greenleaf
As Bespectacled Card Player
John EldredgeJohn Eldredge
As Fourth Card Player
James GavinJames Gavin
As Policeman
Jean InnessJean Inness
As Mrs. Landers
Carol Eve RossenCarol Eve Rossen
As Officer's Wife
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


At the Potomac Club in Washington D.C. in the present day, engineer Peter Corrigan is playing cards and enters into a discussion about time travel. One of the players contends that history can be changed but Corrigan insists that a time traveler could simply set off the very events he tried to change. Corrigan bows out of the game, noting there's little point in discussing the matter since no one can travel through time. As he leaves, Corrigan bumps into the club manservant, William. He notes that it's April 14, 1961 and bids William good night. Corrigan steps outside and then feels a brief wave of dizziness. He looks around... and finds himself in 1865, wearing clothing appropriate to the era. The club behind him is closed and still dizzy, Corrigan tries to go home and finds his apartment has been replaced with a boarding house. Corrigan asks for a room and the landlady Mrs. Landers allows him to stay. A couple are departing for a play as Corrigan goes upstairs, and mention that the President will be attending. They ask him which Army he was in and after saying that he was with the Union forces, determines that they are going to Ford's Theater to see Our American Cousin... on the day Lincoln was assassinated...

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Episode Notes
Bartlett Robinson reappears in "To Serve Man."

Pat O'Malley previously appeared in "Walking Distance" and "The Chaser."

Lew Brown would return in "Long Distance Call" and "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms."

Nora Marlowe returns in "Night Call."

Paul Hartman may be best known for his role in The Andy Griffith Show as Emmett Clark, [1967-68].

Raymond Bailey had previously appeared in "Escape Clause" and later returns in "From Agnes - With Love," but is best known for his role in The Beverly Hillbillies as Milburn Drysdale.

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Witness a theoretical argument, Washington D.C., the present. Four intelligent men talking about an improbable thing like going back in time. A friendly debate revolving around a simple issue: could a human being change what has happened before? Interesting and theoretical because who ever heard of a man going back in time, before tonight, that is. Because this is the Twilight Zone.

Peter Corrigan: Now what's your point? That if it were possible for a person to go back in time, there'd be nothing in the world to prevent him from altering the course of history? Is that it?
First Card Player: That's right. Let's say, Corrigan, that you go back in time. It's October 1929. The day before the stock market crash. Now, you know that on the following morning securities are going to tumble into an abyss. Now, using this prior knowledge, there's a hundred things you could do to protect yourself.
Peter Corrigan: But I'd be an anachronism. I really don't belong back there.
First Card Player: You could sell out the day before the crash.
Peter Corrigan: But what if I did and started the crash earlier? Now, history tells us that on October 24, 1929, the bottom fell out of the stock market. That's a fixed date. It exists as an event in the history of our times. It can't be altered.
First Card Player: And I say it can. Now, what's to prevent me, say, from going to a broker on the morning of October 23 or the 22...

Closing Narration
Mr. Peter Corrigan, lately returned from a place 'back there,' a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly and the skein of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand, there are small fragments of tapestry that can be altered. Tonight's thesis to be taken as you will, in the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
Associate ProducerDel Reisman
CastingEthel Winant
MusicJerry Goldsmith
Set DecoratorHenry Grace  |  H. Web Arrowsmith
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorPhilip Barber  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerSidney Van Keuren
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Charles Scheid
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Film EditorLeon Barsha
Assistant DirectorE. Darrell Hallenbeck
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