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"Jess-Belle" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
From the CBS Video Library cover:
"On the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Billy-Ben Turner proposes to Ellwyn Glover, the pretty daughter of a successful farmer. But Jess-Belle Stone...is determined the marriage never take place. In desperation, she seeks the aid of Granny Hart who is rumored to be a witch. Granny produces a love potion, which Jess-Belle drinks down.
The magic works -the moment Billy-Ben sees her, he forgets about Elly and belongs totally to Jess. Jess is overjoyed, but come midnight, she learns the terrible price she has paid for her beloved prize: she transforms into a leopard and prowls until dawn...But Jess-Belle is soon to learn that a damned creature -even one damned for love- has little to look forward save tragedy...especially in the Twilight Zone."
"The Twilight Zone has existed in many lands, in many times. It has its roots in history, in something that happened long, long ago and got told about and handed down from one generation of folk to the other. In the telling, the story gets added to and embroidered on, so that what might have happened in the time of the Druids is told as if it took place yesterday, in the Blue Ridge mountains. Such stories are best told by an elderly grandfather on a cold winter's night by the fireside - in the southern hills of the Twilight Zone."
Jess-Belle, determined that ex-boyfriend Billy-Ben Turner and his fiancee Ellwyn Glover not marry, enlists the aid of local witch Granny Hart. Granny casts a spell that makes Billy-Ben forget Ellwyn and fall madly in love with Jess-Belle. There is a price for the spell: Jess-Belle will transform into a leopard from midnight until dawn. Jess-Belle feels herself growing colder and more heartless with each transformation. The witch explains that her soul has been extinguished, and she has been transformed into a witch herself. Horrified, Jess-Belle considers running away from Billy-Ben. His devotion to her remains unwavering, and she finds herself unable to give up her selfish desire. They arrange to be married. A hunting party including Billy-Ben finds the leopard and shoots it, and it disappears in a cloud of smoke. Billy-Ben finds Jess-Belle's ring on the ground where the leopard had stood.A year later, Billy-Ben marries Ellwyn. Jess-Belle reappears in various threatening forms. Billy-Ben learns from Granny that to kill Jess-Belle he must make a figure of her using clothing she has worn, and stab it through the heart with silver. He returns home to find Ellwyn has been possessed by Jess-Belle. Jess-Belle then asks Billy-Ben to "dance in the moonlight," which means she wants to kill him. Screaming, he runs into the house and locks the door. He puts one of Jess-Belle's dresses on a mannequin and stabs it with one of Jess-Belle's own silver hairpins. Jess-Belle appears in the dress, her eyes roll back, and she disappears. After this, Ellwyn does not remember anything that happened since the wedding, but claims, upon seeing a falling star that "it means a witch has died."
This is the only episode of the original series with no closing voiceover from Rod Serling, although he does provide an introduction as usual.
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next on Twilight Zone, a most unusual program called "Miniature". The very eminent Charles Beaumont takes us into a brand new realm of science fiction and fantasy that is at the same time intriguing and strangely believable.
- This story, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, was penned by Earl Hamner, Jr., who also wrote Spencer's Mountain and was the creator and narrator of The Waltons.
- The episode also features Helen Kleeb, who played the role of Miss Mamie Baldwin in The Waltons.
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
Home media release
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series
- CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0319 "Escape Clause/Jess-Belle/The Long Morrow" ; UPC: 000319060009, EAN: ?, ASIN: ?; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)