THE TWILIGHT ZONE

twilightzone-1

The show is now over 53-years old having started in 1959 and running thru 1964 on CBS. At the time this program was a must see due to it’s originality and science fiction twist. The series consists of paranormal, futuristic, or otherwise disturbing and unusual events. It has been in re-runs ever since and the term Twilight Zone is commonly used even today as something that can’t be explained. Each 1/2-hour show had it’s own plot, twist and moral. Created by Rod Serling, “the angry young man of Hollywood”, the anthology television series was the most imaginative series on TV and I would make that claim even to this day. Serling wrote or co-wrote 92 of the show’s 156 episodes. He was also the show’s host and narrator, delivering monologues at the beginning and end of each episode. “There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone”. Although it might look outdated being shot in black & white it is worth the time for younger viewers to watch a few episodes to see what made it so special. TV guide has rated it as the fifth greatest show of all time. The series is notable for featuring both established stars and younger actors that would become famous later on such as Robert Redford, Bill Bixby, Robert Duvall, Leonard Nimoy (Dr. Spock), William Shatner (Capt. Kirk), Dennis Hopper, and Burt Reynolds. Of the 156 episodes I have selected three that were my all time favorites. 1) A Kind of a Stopwatch-which features a character, Patrick McNulty, as a disgruntled employee and general pain in the ass outside of work. After being fired and kicked out of the local bar a drunk hands Patrick a stop watch that in fact can stop all time. When he realizes that he can make a lot of money with the stopwatch he goes to rob a bank, but drops and breaks the watch thereby freezing time permanently.He soon realizes he is the only person in the world not in a frozen state and begs mercifully to change his ways but it’s too late. 2) Time Enough to Last – This episode is about a loner, Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith), whose only desire is to be left alone so he can read. He works at a bank and during his breaks he goes in to the bank’s vault to be alone and read. While securely locked in the bank vault a nuclear attack occurs which Henry soon realizes after coming out of the vault. At first devastated he soon realizes that with everyone gone he can pursue his dream of reading every book available to him. He goes to the local library to surround himself with books and as he gets ready to crack open his first book his thick glasses fall off and as he searches in vain to find them he accidentally steps on them and smashes both lenses. Virtually blind, he is now stuck in a world with all the time and books he could ever want and no way to enjoy them. This unhappy twist would become a common feature during the show’s run. This particular episode was one of Serling’s favorites. 3) The Eye of the Beholder – As a kid this episode terrified me for weeks. A young women undergoes surgery to improve her appearance and look like everyone else. When the doctors remove all the facial wraps they declare the surgery a complete failure-but the audience sees a beautiful young lady and are left wondering how this could be. It all becomes clear when the doctors and nurses are revealed, all with hideous, monstrous faces which are the norm for this bizarre society making normal faces, as we know it, the hideous. Great Twilight Zone.

Rod Sterling was the face in front and behind the scenes of Twilight Zone. A popular screenwriter, playwright, and producer Serling often clashed with network executives over a wide range of issues including censorship, racism, and war. His scripts were constantly censored by the network for political overtones which was popular in the 50’s and 60’s due to the Cold War. Fortunately enough of his scripts were approved to provide an everlasting look into the fifth dimension.

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One thought on “THE TWILIGHT ZONE

  1. Great post. Twilight Zone pretty much taught me what it means to be a decent human being.

    “Stopwatch” and “Time Enough” are two of my favorite episodes. I always thought they were two sides of the same coin. One about a guy who desperately wants to be connected to people and the other, a guy who wants to be disconnected.

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