In honor of the 60th anniversary of this iconic episode, today’s post is the third to be written by the curator of the popular Instagram account @jamesbondswardrobe. Enjoy!
William Shatner as Robert Wilson, paranoid middle-aged “husband, father and salesman on sick leave”
Aboard a Gold Star Airways flight across the United States, Fall 1963
Series: The Twilight Zone
Episode: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” (Episode 5.03)
Air Date: October 11, 1963
Director: Richard Donner
Costume Designer: Mitchell Leisen
Portrait of a frightened man: Mr. Robert Wilson—thirty-seven, husband, father and salesman on sick leave. Mr. Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown, the onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one, on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr. Wilson is about to be flown home—the difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr. Wilson’s flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he’s traveling all the way to his appointed destination, which, contrary to Mr. Wilson’s plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone.
Yep, not much more background is needed than that—thanks, Rod Serling! Our “hero”, played by the legendary William Shatner, nestles in for what should be an uneventful plane ride home. If we learned anything from the likes of Don Draper and Pete Campbell, dressing for air travel in the sixties meant wearing your regular business duds. Loafers hadn’t yet become the de facto footwear to have on when boarding a plane, and men “dressing for comfort” seemingly translated to them just wearing a more comfortable suit. Continue reading