Twilight Zone episode The Lonely
Movies - TV
Filming This Twilight Zone Episode Was Too Hot For The Cast To Handle
"Witness, if you will, a dungeon made out of mountains, salt flats, and sand that stretch to infinity,” Rod Serling said as he presented the seventh episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
The premise was that a convicted criminal (Jack Warden) was placed in solitary confinement and dying of loneliness on an “asteroid nine million miles from the Earth.”
While Death Valley was the perfect locale for the story, the harsh natural conditions of the site — and a string of poor decisions — left the cast and crew terribly unprepared.
Episode director Jack Smight recalled that it was "unbelievably hot" as the temperature was "around 130 degrees," and the intensity of the heatstroke worsened after eating.
This caused several crew members to faint, including director of photography George T. Clemens, who collapsed from a camera crane due to exhaustion.
While an on-site nurse recommended ingesting lukewarm water for a speedy recovery, some opted for cold beverages out of desperation and experienced adverse effects soon after.
As everyone started "dropping like flies," the crew had to work double duties. Filming was delayed at the dryness evaporated the makeup used to convey profuse sweat.
After two days of suffering, everyone finally returned to the studio, MGM, to film all the interior shots, which was a breeze compared to the experience in Death Valley.