The quaint scare tactics employed by Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics (CBS, May 19, 8-10 p.m.) may strike you as endearing, but they probably won’t send a chill down your spine. Carol Serling, widow of the late TV writer, discovered the two stories told here after Serling’s death in 1975. The first, ”The Theater,” is about Melissa, played by Amy Irving, who goes to see the old Cary Grant movie His Girl Friday. But Cary and Roz Russell are interrupted by on-screen scenes from Melissa’s life with her boyfriend (Midnight Caller‘s Gary Cole). Melissa returns to the theater again and again and begins seeing her future in the movie, and it’s not a pretty sight. The script by Richard Matheson (Duel), based on an idea of Serling’s, is briskly written, but its premise is just too hokey.
A bit better is ”Where the Dead Are,” which is set in the late 1800s and tells the tale of a doctor (Sleeping With the Enemy‘s Patrick Bergin) who discovers an old man (Jack Palance) with the means to bring the dead back to life. Bergin is grim without being humorless, and the piece, written by Serling, has a nicely eerie atmosphere, as well as a few satisfyingly gross, slimy zombies.
James Earl Jones serves as host; he does a fine job of booming out Serling’s trademark ominous warning about entering the Twilight Zone. C