"The Sixteenth-Millimeter Shrine" is the fourth episode of the The Twilight Zone.

From the CBS Video Library cover:

"Barbara Jean Trenton (Ida Lupino) is an actress past her prime, a once-brilliant star who sequesters herself in her private screening room where she can relive the flickering moments of a fleeting fame played out on the silver screen. Watching her old films drives her deeper into another world...a world beyond space and time...one step away from The Twilight Zone. "[1]

Opening Narration

"Picture of a woman looking at a picture. Movie great of another time, once-brilliant star in a firmament no longer a part of the sky, eclipsed by the movement of earth and time. Barbara Jean Trenton, whose world is a projection room, whose dreams are made out of celluloid. Barbara Jean Trenton, struck down by hit-and-run years and lying on the unhappy pavement, trying desperately to get the license number of fleeting fame."

Episode Summary

Aging film star Barbara Jean Trenton secludes herself in her private screening room, where she reminisces about her past by watching her old films. In an attempt to bring her out into the real world, her agent Danny Weiss arranges a part for her in a new movie and brings a former Leading Man--now also older, many years retired from acting, and managing a chain of grocery stores--to visit her. This horrifies Barbara Jean and only drives her further into seclusion. Then one day, Barbara Jean's maid finds the screening room empty — and is horrified by what she sees on the screen. Danny comes over and sees on the screen the living room of the house, filled with movie stars and Barbara Jean as they appeared in the old films. She throws her scarf toward the camera and departs just before the film ends. In the living room, Danny finds Barbara Jean's scarf.

Closing Narration

"To the wishes that come true, to the strange, mystic strength of the human animal, who can take a wishful dream and give it a dimension of its own. To Barbara Jean Trenton, movie queen of another era, who has changed the blank tomb of an empty projection screen into a private world. It can happen in the Twilight Zone."

Preview for Next Week's Story

"Next week, we invite you to take a strange journey back in time with Mr. Gig Young, who tries to make the exodus of all men in their desperate attempt to relive the past. We offer a most bizarre story called "Walking Distance," and we hope you'll be around to share it with us. Thank you...and good night."

Preview for Another CBS Show

"Kimberly-Clark invites you to watch Steve McQueen in Wanted: Dead or Alive, Saturday nights over the most of these same stations!"


This episode dealt primarily with themes of Age and Fantasy. Barbara Jean Trenton flat out rejects the reality around her, preferring to relive her youth. We get a contrast of her fantasy with her agent Danny Weiss, who provides a more grounded character that actively tries to bring her back to reality.


Age | Fame | Fantasy | Isolation | Vanity

Response and Analysis


  • This episode contains several parallels to Billy Wilder's 1950 film Sunset Boulevard and shares the same composer and conductor, Franz Waxman.[2] "Serling's storyline, however, goes that one step further, transforming a woman's wishful dreaming into reality with a dimension all of its own."[1]

Critical Response

  • Many consider this episode to be director Mitchell Liesen's best.[1]

Notes and Annotations

  • The title refers to 16mm motion picture film, a semi-professional format used in homes, schools, and institutions.
  • This is the first episode to feature a female lead character.[3]

Technical Information


  • Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
  • Ida Lupino as Barbara Jean Trenton
  • Martin Balsam as Danny Weiss
  • Jerome Cowan as Jerry Hearndan
  • Ted de Corsia as Marty Sall
  • Alice Frost as Sally


  • Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
  • Buck Houghton (producer)
  • Mitchell Leisen (director)
  • Franz Waxman (music)
  • George T. Clemens (director of photography)
  • Bill Mosher (film editor)
  • Millie Gusse (casting; credited: Mildred Gusse)
  • George W. Davis (art director)
  • William Ferrari (art director)
  • Rudy Butler (set decorator)
  • Henry Grace (set decorator)
  • Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
  • Edward O. Denault (assistant director; credited: Edward Denault)
  • Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
  • Jean G. Valentino (sound; credited: Jean Valentino)
  • Van Allen James (sound effects editor; uncredited)
  • Franz Waxman (music conductor)

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)


  • United Productions of America (UPA) animated title


Cast Connections

Memorable Quotes

Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series

Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0315 "The Dummy/Nothing in the Dark/Shadow Play/The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" ; UPC: 000315060003, EAN: 0000315060003, ASIN: B0007LHRYY; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)
  2. Staggs, Sam (2003). Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream. Macmillan. pp. 299,300. ISBN 0312302541, 9780312302542.
  3. Internet Movie Database: Twilight Zone: The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine (1959); Retrieved: 2009-04-21
  4. Internet Movie Database: Ida Lupino: Biography Retrieved: 2009-04-22

External Links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.