"The Changing of the Guard
" is an episode of the American television
anthology series The Twilight Zone
Professor Ellis Fowler is an elderly teacher who is forced into retirement by his school. Looking through his old yearbooks and reminiscing about his former students, he becomes convinced that all of his lessons have been in vain and that he has accomplished nothing with his life. Deeply depressed, he returns to his school one last time, intending to kill himself on Christmas Eve
. Before he can commit suicide
, however, he is visited by the ghosts of former students, who tell him that he inspired them to become better people. Deeply moved, Fowler accepts his retirement, content that his life is fuller for having enriched the lives of others.
Donald Pleasence was heavily made-up in order to appear much older than his actual age of 42. This was also his first acting appearance on American television.
This is the final episode to end with an ascent to the stars and nebulas in the Twilight Zone.
The quote Professor Fowler reads on the statue's plinth, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity," is the motto of Rod Serling's alma mater Antioch College
, and was said by its first president, Horace Mann
. Serling accepted a teaching post there after completing this script.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)