The Private World of Darkness: The Secret Behind 'The Twilight Zone' Episode

SyfY aired a Twilight Zone marathon for July 4, including "The Private World of Darkness."

A few years ago, readers of The Twilight Zone Magazine voted it their favorite TZ episode. Notably, a woman, enacted by actress Maxine Stuart in a tour de force Emmy-caliber performance, superbly enunciates her plight as a hideously ugly female whose face is swathed in bandages after having undergone her 11th plastic surgical procedure. The twist in the tale is unveiled when the bandages are removed, and we see a gorgeous blonde surrounded by grotesque doctors, nurses and hospital staffers.

However, the actress seen is not Stuart, but rather Donna Douglas of Beverly Hillbillies fame who was considered more beautiful, and hence, more apropos for the end scene. As she races through the hospital until she encounters another "disfigured" human, she utters only a single brief line to minimize the chances that the audience would recognize a different voice. The credits at the end of the episode properly listed Stuart, first, Douglas, last.

Ruehl Fact: Many TZ fans mistakenly believe that the tile of this episode is "The Eye Of The Beholder," which would have been quite appropriate as the relative nature of beauty was discussed. Apparently, that was the original plan as creator Rod Serling referred to this episode with that title in a preview announcing it as the next week's episode, but somewhere along the line it was changed...

For the record, Maxine Staurt passed away in 2013 at age 95 while Donna Douglas, 80, is still acting.

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