Yesterday’s post involved Alfred Hitchcock, so today let’s cross over into the Twilight Zone.
The Twilight Zone is now a cult classic, but was only moderately popular during its original run (1959-1964).
That said, it did win a couple of Emmys in the early ’60s. It also inspired viewers to start Twilight Zone fan clubs across the nation. Best of all, it boosted at least one baby name onto the U.S. charts.
The name? Jimbo:
- 1965: unlisted
- 1964: 6 baby boys named Jimbo
- 1963: 7 baby boys named Jimbo
- 1962: unlisted
- 1961: 10 baby boys named Jimbo [debut]
- 1960: unlisted
In March of 1961, Twilight Zone audiences were introduced to nice-guy character Jimbo Cobb in the episode “The Prime Mover.”
Jimbo Cobb was telekinetic. Ace Larsen, the owner of the diner where Jimbo worked, discovered this one day and convinced Jimbo to go to Las Vegas with him.
The story unfolds as you might expect: They win for a while with the help of Jimbo’s ability to move objects (like roulette balls) with his mind. But Jimbo is wiser than he seems, and in the end doesn’t allow Ace to keep his winnings.
Instead of losing his mind (like some gamblers are wont to do), Ace finds the humor in all of it immediately. Easy come. Easy go. Something snaps inside of him, and he appreciates the life he has more than the life he thought he wanted.
Jimbo was played by actor Buddy Ebsen, who also appeared in dozens of other early TV shows, including Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Rawhide, and Gunslinger. He’s best remembered today for playing Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies.