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"No Time Like the Past"
The Twilight Zone episode
No Time Like the Past.jpg
Scene from "No Time Like the Past"
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 112
Written by Rod Serling
Directed by Justus Addiss
Production no. 4853
Original airdate March 7, 1963
Guest stars

Dana Andrews: Paul Driscoll
Patricia Breslin: Abigail Sloan
Robert F. Simon: Harvey
Malcolm Atterbury: Professor Eliot
Marjorie Bennett: Mrs. Chamberlain
John Zaremba: Horn Player

Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Printer's Devil" "The Parallel"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"No Time Like the Past" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.


Opening narration

Exit one Paul Driscoll, a creature of the 20th century. He puts to a test a complicated theorem of space-time continuum, but he goes a step further, or tries to. Shortly, he will seek out three moments of the past in a desperate attempt to alter the present - one of the odd and fanciful functions in a shadowland known as the Twilight Zone.


Paul Driscoll uses a time machine with the noble intention to go back in time and alter past events (in such a way as to minimize the loss of human life). After failing to warn a Hiroshima police captain about the atomic bomb, failing to assassinate Adolf Hitler (in August 1939 immediately before the outbreak of World War II in September 1939), and failing to change the course of the Lusitania to avoid being torpedoed (by a World War I German U-boat), he accepts the hypothesis that the past cannot be changed. He then uses the time machine to journey to the town of Homeville, Indiana in 1881 (with the intention of escaping and living out a quiet, uncomplicated life). He then realizes that President James A. Garfield will get shot the next day. However, he allows the assassination to happen. After reading in a history book that Homeville's schoolhouse will burn down because of a kerosene lantern thrown from a runaway wagon, he spots the wagon and attempts to prevent this event from occurring. But instead he causes the fire he intended to prevent. He returns to his own time, having learned not to tamper with the past.

Closing narration

Incident on a July afternoon, 1881. A man named Driscoll who came and went, and in the process, learned a simple lesson, perhaps best said by a poet named Lathbury, who wrote: 'Children of yesterday, heirs of tomorrow/what are you weaving? Labour and sorrow?/Look to your looms again, faster and faster/Fly the great shuttles prepared by the master/Life's in the loom/Room for it, room.' Tonight's tale of clocks and calendars... in the Twilight Zone.

Preview for next week's story

Announcer: "And now, Mr. Serling."

Next on Twilight Zone, we take a page out of a book on the space age, and we project just a couple of degrees as to what conceivably might happen to an astronaut if, suddenly and inexplicably, in the middle of an orbit, he disappears. Our story tells you how, why and where. It stars Steve Forrest. It's called "The Parallel".


  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

External links



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