Execution (The Twilight Zone)

"Execution" is episode 26 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It features Albert Salmi, who also plays the lead character in the Season 4 episode "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville".

The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 26
Directed byDavid Orrick McDearmon
Story byGeorge Clayton Johnson
Teleplay byRod Serling
Production code173-3628
Original air dateApril 1, 1960
Guest appearance(s)

Opening narration


In 1880, an outlaw cowboy named Joe Caswell is about to be hanged for murder. But as the noose tightens around his neck, he suddenly disappears and finds himself in 1960, in the laboratory of Professor Manion. Manion explains that he used a time machine to pluck Caswell from the past. But when Manion sees Caswell's rope burns around his neck, and hears his admission that in his life he had murdered over 20 men, he knows he must try to send Caswell back.

The discussion leads to an argument. Caswell attacks Manion, killing him with a desk lamp. He then flees from the laboratory into a busy street, but is overwhelmed by the lights and the noise; he returns to the lab, distraught and desperate. He breaks down, pleading for the dead scientist to help him.

A thief named Paul Johnson enters the lab. Caswell fights with Johnson, but Johnson gets the upper hand and strangles Caswell with the cord from the window curtains. As Johnson tries to find Manion's safe, he accidentally activates the time machine and is sent back to 1880, appearing in the noose intended for Caswell, just in time to be hanged. The witnesses to the hanging are shocked to see a stranger's body, in strange clothes, in place of Caswell. They question whether this was the Devil's work or some other power's, and whether they have just executed an innocent man.

Closing narration

Further reading

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grabman, Sandra. (2005). Spotlights and Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media.
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
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