The Bard (The Twilight Zone)

"The Bard"
The Twilight Zone episode

Burt Reynolds and John Williams in a scene from "The Bard".
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 18
Directed by David Butler
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Fred Steiner
Production code 4852
Original air date May 23, 1963
Guest appearance(s)

Jack Weston: Julius Moomer
John Williams: William Shakespeare
Burt Reynolds: Rocky Rhodes
Henry Lascoe: Gerald Hugo
John McGiver: Mr. Shannon
Howard McNear: Bramhoff
Judy Strangis: Cora
Marge Redmond: Secretary
Doro Merande: Sadie
William Lanteau: Dolan
Clegg Hoyt: Bus driver
Paul Dubov: Man
John Newton: TV Interviewer
Diane Sayer: TV Actress
Jason Wingreen: Director

Episode chronology

"The Bard" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It was the final episode of The Twilight Zone to be one hour long.

Opening narration

You've just witnessed opportunity, if not knocking, at least scratching plaintively on a closed door. Mr. Julius Moomer, a would-be writer who, if talent came twenty-five cents a pound, would be worth less than car fare. But, in a moment, Mr. Moomer, through the offices of some black magic, is about to embark on a brand-new career. And although he may never get a writing credit on the Twilight Zone, he's to become an integral character in it.


A bumbling screenwriter, Julius K. Moomer, is in desperate need of brilliant scripts. His agent suggests that he does some research, and he finds a book with a black magic spell that he uses to bring William Shakespeare to life. Shakespeare produces a riveting screenplay for the writer, but is so horrified at the revisions by the sponsor that he assaults the leading man and storms out for good. Moomer's next assignment, a TV special on American history, seems doomed to failure until he remembers his book on black magic—and uses it to conjure up a new writing staff, including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Pocahontas, Daniel Boone, Benjamin Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Closing narration

Mr. Julius Moomer, a streetcar conductor with delusions of authorship. And if the tale just told seems a little tall, remember a thing called poetic license, and another thing called the Twilight Zone.

Production history

The episode was likely written by Rod Serling as a reaction to the advertising executives he dealt with regularly while producing for television. In the book The Twilight Zone Companion Serling is quoted as saying that things were so bad with the overcautious executives that "one could not ford a river if Chevy was the sponsor."

The episode was also featured in the final episode of The Sopranos, in 2007, "Made in America". Tony Soprano, the protagonist of the series, is seen watching this episode while in hiding from his enemies in a safe house.


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