I am a fan of The Twilight Zone, as are most pop culture appreciating Americans. Every year around New Years you can find a Twilight Zone marathon, and as in years past we recorded this year’s. I thought I’d seem pretty much every one of the 156 episodes of the original series, but I’m amazed how many I haven’t seen. The other night I caught one and had a pop culture revelation.
Most Americans are familiar with Austin Powers, the Mike Myers movie series about the “international man of mystery.” We can find there the unforgettable character also played by Mr. Myers, Dr. Evil. If you just say the word “pinky,” many Americans would see the picture here, surely the most famous pinky in American pop culture history. But I found out watching a Twilight Zone episode that the pinky thing wasn’t Myers’ idea, much to my amazement.
In season five, episode 137 which aired on January 24, 1964 we see the true origin’s of Dr. Evil’s funky pinky. The title is “Number 12 Looks Just Like You”:
In a future society, all young adults go through a process known as “the Transformation,” in which each person’s body and face are changed to mimic a physically attractive design chosen from a small selection of numbered models. The process gives everyone a beautiful appearance, slows deterioration due to age and extends a person’s lifespan, and makes the recipient immune to any kind of disease.
The only thing modern Americans wouldn’t like about this is the lack of choices; we all want to look beautiful in our own way.
As I watched I thought I’d discovered something nobody else had ever seen; Myers must have gotten his pinky inspiration from The Twilight Zone! Alas, the link was just too obvious, and The Twilight Zone just too popular a cultural icon. I had to laugh at my momentary naiveté. I do think that the Dr. Evil pinky is the more effective useless use of a finger. The pinky use of actor Richard Long in the episode was a little creepy. Did you know the inspiration for Dr. Evil’s most famous pinky?