The actor behind this eerie Twilight Zone alien was a familiar TV face
There is something particularly unnerving about aliens without mouths. Doctor Who modeled its unnerving "Silence" after Edvard Munch's iconic painting The Scream. Faceless aliens made for a creepy two-parter called "Two Fathers"/"One Son" on The X-Files in 1999.
As with many sci-fi tropes, The Twilight Zone deserves credit for kicking off and perfecting the trend. On the surface, "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby" seems like a lighthearted tale. The title sounds like a children's television show. In fact, Andy Devine, the host of a 1950s NBC kiddie series called Andy's Gang, played the main character, Frisby. Howard McNear, better known as Mayberry's Floyd the Barber, also appears in the episode.
The fable about lying is a classic spin on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," as a fibber named Frisby finally gets his due. The episode is indeed charming — but the aliens at the end might haunt your dreams. Frisby socks one in the jaw, shattering his "human" mask, revealing the mouthless monster beneath.
Makeup artist William Tuttle, who also came up with the striking prosthetics seen in the episodes "Eye of the Beholder" and "The Masks," was responsible for the alien seen in "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby." We consider it one of the scariest creatures ever seen on The Twilight Zone.
The mouthless mask is so iconic, you might forget the human playing that character. Milton Selzer portrayed the "Alien" of the tale. You even see his face before the reveal.
Selzer himself, while certainly not as striking as his alien alter-ego, is perhaps just as familiar to classic television fans. The character actor popped up in various shows across five different decades, playing everyone from Mahatma Gandhi (You Are There, 1954) to MacGyver's toy-shop-owing buddy ("The Wall," 1990).
One of Selzer's steadiest gigs was that of Parker on Get Smart. As the head of the CONTROL lab, Professor Parker was the "Q" to Maxwell Smart on the silly spy series, coming up with gadgets like the cue stick shotgun.
Perry Mason defended Selzer in "The Case of the Decadent Dean" — and a year later he returned as a murder victim on Perry Mason in "The Case of the Bullied Bowler" (the rare episode with Mike Connors subbing in for Raymond Burr).
He was a captain on Wonder Woman, a judge on L.A. Law.
Oh, and he was also in that other aforementioned creepy Twilight Zone episode, "The Masks." Selzer passed away in 2006. Which of his many roles sticks out in your mind?