With an episode that concerns a suicide attempt of it’s main character, you could understandably be confused when I say it is not only one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes but one of the best “Christmas Themed” TV episodes.
The Changing of the Guard is a moving episode focusing on one Professor Ellis Fowler (Played expertly by Donald Pleasence!), a man who is forced into retirement by the headmasters of the school he teaches at on Christmas Eve. Brought low by the news of his dismissal he returns to his home and after looking through his many yearbooks, recalling the students he taught from years past he comes to the conclusion that his teaching have been for naught. In a fit of despair her intends to take his own life on the school grounds.
Let us not forget though…this is the Twilight Zone.
Just a bit of trivia about this episode:
1) The “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity,” quote that Pleasence mentions in the episode is credited to Horace Mann, the first President of Antioch College, which happened to be Rod Serling’s Alma Mater.
2) In fact, after completing the script for this very episode, Serling took a teaching position at Antioch College.
A huge thank you to Nally Bud over on YouTube for uploading this episode!