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The Twilight Zone: Showdown with Rance McGrew

Jesse James' spirit returns to challenge an insufferable cowboy star for his shabby film treatment of villain characters.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 3x20
Production Number: 4812
Airdate: Friday February 02nd, 1962

Guest Stars
Larry BlydenLarry Blyden
As Rance McGrew

Co-Guest Stars
Arch JohnsonArch Johnson
As Jesse James
Robert CornthwaiteRobert Cornthwaite
As Director
Robert J. StevensonRobert J. Stevenson
As Bartender
Jay OverholtsJay Overholts
As Cowboy # 2
James TurleyJames Turley
As Stuntman (as Jim Turley)
Bill McLeanBill McLean
As Prop Man (as William McLean)
Troy MeltonTroy Melton
As Cowboy
Hal K. DawsonHal K. Dawson
As Old Man
Bob Kline (2)Bob Kline (2)
As TV Jesse James
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


Two cowboys wait for the hero to get into their Western town. Finally their "hero" shows up: actor Rance McGrew, driving his car. Rance goes into the saloon and tells the director how to film him, then takes some antacid. They prepare for the scene and Rance manages to twirl his pistol, drop it, and throw it through a mirror. Once they replace the mirror, they proceed with filming and Rance's Marshal McGrew character comes into the bar and manages to miss the bottle slid to him by the bartender. They start filming again and Rance finally gets it right. The bad guy Jesse James comes in and a shot rings out disarming him. The crew member has made the shot while Rance is struggling with the gun in his holster... and throws it through the mirror again. One new mirror later, they proceed to filming the fist fight with Rance's stunt man filling in. They then go to the death scene where Jesse James prepares to shoot Rance in the back. The actor playing Jesse says that the real-life Jesse James never shot anyone in the back. Rance insists they do it the way he wants and they start to film the scene.....

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Episode Notes
Larry Blyden's second appearance, the first being season one's "A Nice Place to Visit."

The original story was not humorous as in the final script's result.

Jay Overholts was also in "Where is Everybody?," "One for the Angels," "A Thing About Machines," "Twenty-Two," "The Odyssey of Flight 33," "Static" and "The Jungle."

Larry Blyden is also in "A Nice Place to Visit."

Robert Cornthwaite was also in "No Time Like the Past."

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Some one-hundred-odd years ago, a motley collection of tough mustaches galloped across the West and left behind a raft of legends and legerdemains, and it seems a reasonable conjecture that if there were any television sets up in cowboy heaven and any of these rough-and-woolly nail-eaters could see with what careless abandon their names are bandied about, they're very likely turning over in their graves. Which gives you a clue as to the proceedings that will begin in just a moment, when one Mr. Rance McGrew, a three-thousand-buck-a-week-phony-baloney discovers that this week's current edition of make-believe is being shot on location-and that location is the Twilight Zone.

Rance: There's something else I know that you don't know that you don't know that I know that you know Jesse James.

Rance: Now last, last year, we had one strip in which one of the Dalton boys went free.
Jesse: He told me about it. He also told me how you captured him. You jumped 800' off a cliff and landed on the back of his horse when he wasn't looking. Now come on, Marshal, did you ever jump 800' off a cliff and land on a man's horse.
Rance: Heights... heights make me... ill.
Jesse: That figures.

Jesse: Just like I figured, this guy couldn't outdraw a crayon.

Closing Narration
The evolution of the so-called 'adult' western, and the metamorphosis of one Rance McGrew, formerly phony-baloney, now upright citizen with a preoccupation with all things involving tradition, the truth and cowpoke predecessors. It's the way the cookie crumbles and the six-gun shoots... in the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorBill Mosher
Set DecoratorH. Web Arrowsmith
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorPhilip Barber  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
SoundWilliam Edmondson
Assistant DirectorE. Darrell Hallenbeck
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