Buster Keaton on “The Twilight Zone”

Looking back with the benefit of a half-century’s worth of media history, the original run of The Twilight Zone seems like it was a breeding ground for soon-to-be-famous stars: it featured early-career appearances from actors like Robert Duvall, William Shatner, Martin Landau, and many more. But The Twilight Zone also provided a home for well-established film actors to do something a little different than their typical bread-and-butter movie roles. That’s certainly the case for a Season 3 episode called “Once Upon a Time,” which aired in 1961 and starred one of silent film’s greatest stars: Buster Keaton.

Strait-Jacket (1964)

Strait-Jacket is a delightfully campy ’60s thriller starring the indomitable Joan Crawford, directed by B-movie legend William Castle, and written by Robert Bloch, whom you may know as the author of Psycho. With all those pedigrees in place, it’s no wonder that Strait-Jacket is a classic of Grand Guignol horror and a thoroughly enjoyable piece of high schlock.

The Phantom of Hollywood (1974)

On the surface, The Phantom of Hollywood, a TV movie from 1974, may seem like it’d only appeal to the most devoted of B-horror aficionados. A retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, the film has plenty of inventive killings and questionable dialogue to satisfy those viewers, but it also holds value for fans of classic films—particularly those interested in MGM. That’s because The Phantom of Hollywood was actually filmed on the MGM backlot as it was being parceled off and torn down. The movie makes great use of that decaying, yet familiar, setting, and also creates a fun, rebellious, pro-film anti-hero as its villain.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

The creatures of the night claimed the New Beverly for their own yesterday, as monster fans packed the house for two Frankenstein films, and a chance to see Karloff and Lugosi in person. It wasn’t the famous actors themselves who were appearing, of course, but rather, their offspring–Sara Karloff and Bela Lugosi, Jr. Ms. Karloff sported an elegant white streak in her hair that evoked the monster’s Bride, while the younger Lugosi dressed all in black, enhancing the already uncanny likeness of his father. Both children shared stories about their fathers and their opinions on the films that were playing that night, which were Son of Frankenstein (1939), celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and House of Frankenstein (1944), celebrating its 70th.