Trivia: Johnson's script originally featured an ending in which Jesse loses the game and yet finds himself still alive. Seeing this, Fats explains that he will die "as all second raters die: you'll be buried and forgotten without me touching you. If you'd beaten me, you'd have lived forever." This ending was eventually filmed when this episode was remade in 1989, during the first revival of The Twilight Zone.
Trivia: Producer William Froug rejected an extremely nervous young singer/actress auditioning for the part of Mary Rachel, and recalls thinking that "I'll probably kick myself. She'll probably be a big star." He turned out to be right on both counts. The aspiring young singer's name was Liza Minnelli.
Trivia: The slot machines in this episode had to be obtained from the LAPD's impound lockers, because slots were illegal in California at the time. Said producer Buck Houghton, "There was a policeman on the set at all times, to make damn sure that somebody didn't take one off and set it up in his uncle's barber shop."
Trivia: Rod Serling adapted "The Hitch-Hiker" from a 1941 Mercury Theatre on the Air radio play that had originally starred Orson Welles. Playwright Lucille Fletcher was displeased with the result, primarily because Serling changed the gender of the lead character from male to female, naming her after his daughter Nan.
Trivia: Writer Richard Matheson based this story on a true incident. His young daughter fell out of bed one night and rolled against the wall just far enough away that when he reached under the bed, he at first couldn't find her. This inspired both a short story and this TZ script, where a child falls into another dimension.
Trivia: Midway through shooting, Franchot Tone got into a brawl that left him with facial abrasions on one side so severe they couldn't be covered with make-up. So, in the "glass room" scenes, shots of him are, bizarrely, in profile only or taken from behind barriers obscuring half his face. Some profile shots were reversed to create the illusion that in various takes, we were seeing both sides of him. (00:17:00)
Trivia: Jess-Belle was supposed to turn into a tiger instead of a leopard, but director Buzz Kulik auditioned dozens of tigers and told writer Earl Hamner, "Not one of 'em can act; can we make it another animal?" The cat that got the job had problems too. After Kulik put his crew inside a cage to protect them from the "vicious" beast, the mildly-tranquilized trained leopard missed his walking and leaping cues and kept falling asleep. (00:33:30)
Trivia: Rod Serling set up a practical joke on writer Richard Matheson when the two were flying to San Francisco aboard a propeller-driven plane. Serling collaborated with the airline to tape a poster blow-up of the "Nightmare" gremlin's ugly face to the outside of the plane window. Just as Serling prompted Matheson to open the curtain, however, the plane's engines and props fired up, blowing away both the poster and Serling's intended gag.
Trivia: The role of prize fighter Bolie Jackson was initially cast with real-life boxing legend Archie Moore. But when the retired champion was unable to keep up with the rigorous filming pace, Twilight Zone's casting director was forced to replace him, and chose actor Ivan Dixon for the part instead.
Trivia: Uncle Simon's mechanical man is a thinly-disguised Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, with a different head and "face" under his glass dome. Robby guest-stars with his original head a few Twilight Zone episodes later, in "The Brain Center at Whipple's." (00:17:00)
Trivia: Writer Richard Matheson says he was pleased with most of Twilight Zone's film version of his short story - except for the gremlin. He'd conceived it as a dark, creepy and nearly-invisible humanoid figure. "But this thing," he complains, "looked more like a panda bear."
Trivia: When the script called for 6-year-old Billy Mumy's character to be found floating in a fountain full of water, the child actor's mother objected, and the scene was changed. Says Mumy, "I wanted to do it. I was a very good swimmer. But Mom was terrified I'd get some weird ideas about suicide if I did."
Trivia: The most expensive footage ever shot for Twilight Zone occurs here, with the stop-motion dinosaur. The 10-second shot cost $2500 - a fortune in 1960 - and didn't even include having to build the model. The "toy" dinosaur was a borrowed prop from the movie Dinosaurus. (00:16:00)
Trivia: In an era with no CGI, Twilight Zone used an inventive ruse to keep Joey from reflecting in the movie theater's mirrored wall. The "mirror" was clear glass, with a reverse duplicate of the set built on the other side. To "replicate" the girl in the ticket booth, they hired identical twins. (00:10:45)
Trivia: Close inspection reveals that all of the 9-foot-tall Kanamits are played by the same actor - Richard Kiel (later to become "Jaws" in several James Bond films). It's most apparent at the end, when two Kanamits stand near the spaceship in a split screen effect. (00:21:50)
Trivia: This was the only hour-long TZ episode never put into syndication. At the time the series was originally syndicated, "Miniature" was involved in a lawsuit due to an earlier script being submitted that dealt with inanimate figures coming to life. The suit claimed that "Miniature" had stolen the idea. The case was dismissed by the initial judge and on appeal, but the damage was done. The episode was aired only twice, on February 21, 1963 and again in 1984 as part of the "Twilight Zone Silver Anniversary Special"; however, the episode is available on DVD and on streaming platforms.