The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series)

Last updated

The Twilight Zone
Thetwilightzone-logo.svg
The Twilight Zone logo (1959 version)
Genre
Created by Rod Serling
Presented byRod Serling
Composers
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes156 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerRod Serling
Producers
Cinematography George T. Clemens
Running time25 min. (seasons 1–3, 5)
51 min. (season 4)[ citation needed ]
Production companies Cayuga Productions, Inc.
CBS Productions
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network CBS
Audio format Mono
Original releaseOctober 2, 1959 (1959-10-02) 
June 19, 1964 (1964-06-19)
Chronology
Followed by The Twilight Zone (1985–89)
External links
Website

The Twilight Zone (marketed as Twilight Zone for its final two seasons) is an American anthology television series created and presented by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. [1] Each episode presents a stand-alone story in which characters find themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events, an experience described as entering "the Twilight Zone," often with a surprise ending and a moral. Although predominantly science-fiction, the show's paranormal and Kafkaesque events leaned the show towards fantasy and horror. The phrase "twilight zone," inspired by the series, is used to describe surreal experiences.

Contents

The series featured both established stars and younger actors who would become much better known later. Serling served as executive producer and head writer; he 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. Serling's opening and closing narrations usually summarize the episode's events encapsulating how and why the main character(s) had entered the Twilight Zone.

In 1997, the episodes "To Serve Man" (directed by Richard L. Bare) and "It's a Good Life" (directed by James Sheldon) [2] were respectively ranked at 11 and 31 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time . [3] Serling himself stated that his favorite episodes of the series were "The Invaders" (directed by Douglas Heyes) and "Time Enough at Last" [4] (directed by John Brahm). [5]

In 2016, the series was ranked No. 7 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest shows of all time. [6] In 2002, The Twilight Zone was ranked No. 26 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. [7] In 2004, it was ranked No. 8 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever, [8] moving to #9 three years later. [9] In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked it as the third best-written TV series ever [10] and TV Guide ranked it as the fourth greatest drama, [11] the second greatest sci-fi show [12] and the fifth greatest show of all time. [13]

Development

By the late 1950s, Rod Serling was a prominent name in American television. His successful television plays included Patterns (for Kraft Television Theatre ) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (for Playhouse 90 ), but constant changes and edits made by the networks and sponsors frustrated Serling. In Requiem for a Heavyweight, the line "Got a match?" had to be struck because the sponsor sold lighters; other programs had similar striking of words that might remind viewers of competitors to the sponsor, including one case in which the sponsor, Ford Motor Company, had the Chrysler Building removed from a picture of the New York City skyline. [14]

According to comments in his 1957 anthology Patterns, Serling had been trying to delve into material more controversial than his works of the early 1950s. This led to Noon on Doomsday for the United States Steel Hour in 1956, a commentary by Serling on the defensiveness and total lack of repentance he saw in the Mississippi town where the murder of Emmett Till took place. His original script closely paralleled the Till case, then was moved out of the South and the victim changed to a Jewish pawnbroker, and eventually watered down to just a foreigner in an unnamed town. Despite bad reviews, activists sent numerous letters and wires protesting the production. [15] [16]

Serling thought that a science-fictional setting, with robots, aliens and other supernatural occurrences, would give him more freedom and less interference in expressing controversial ideas than more realistic settings. [17] [18] "The Time Element" was Serling's 1957 pilot pitch for his show, a time travel adventure about a man who travels back to Honolulu in 1941 and unsuccessfully tries to warn everyone about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. The script, however, was rejected and shelved for a year until Bert Granet discovered and produced it as an episode of Desilu Playhouse in 1958. [19] The show was a great success and enabled Serling to finally begin production on his anthology series, The Twilight Zone. Serling's editorial sense of ironic fate in the writing done for the series was identified as significant to its success by the BFI Film Classics library which stated that for Serling "the cruel indifference and implacability of fate and the irony of poetic justice" were recurrent themes in his plots. [20]

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
Concept November 24, 1958 (1958-11-24)
1 36October 2, 1959 (1959-10-02)July 1, 1960 (1960-07-01)
2 29September 30, 1960 (1960-09-30)June 2, 1961 (1961-06-02)
3 37September 15, 1961 (1961-09-15)June 1, 1962 (1962-06-01)
4 18January 3, 1963 (1963-01-03)May 23, 1963 (1963-05-23)
5 36September 27, 1963 (1963-09-27)June 19, 1964 (1964-06-19)

Season 1 (1959–60)

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. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling
Serling working on his script with a dictating machine, 1959 Rod Serling dictating script 1959.jpg
Serling working on his script with a dictating machine, 1959

The Twilight Zone premiered the night of October 2, 1959, to rave reviews. "Twilight Zone is about the only show on the air that I actually look forward to seeing. It's the one series that I will let interfere with other plans", said Terry Turner for the Chicago Daily News . Others agreed. Daily Variety ranked it with "the best that has ever been accomplished in half-hour filmed television" and the New York Herald Tribune found the show to be "certainly the best and most original anthology series of the year".

Even as the show proved popular to television's critics, it struggled to find a receptive audience of television viewers. CBS was banking on a rating of at least 21 or 22, but its initial numbers were much worse. The series' future was jeopardized when its third episode, "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" earned a 16.3 rating. Still, the show attracted a large enough audience to survive a brief hiatus in November, after which it finally surpassed its competition on ABC and NBC and convinced its sponsors (General Foods and Kimberly-Clark) to stay on until the end of the season.

With one exception ("The Chaser"), the first season featured scripts written only by Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont or Richard Matheson. These three were responsible for 127 of the 156 episodes in the series. Additionally, with one exception ("A World of His Own"), Serling never appeared on camera during any first-season episode (as he would in future seasons) and was present only as a voice-over narrator. Serling did appear on screen in Twilight Zone promotional spots plugging the following week's episode – just not in the episodes themselves. These promo spots were unseen for several decades after their initial airings; while many have been released in the DVD and Blu-ray releases of The Twilight Zone, a few are lost completely and some survive only as audio tracks. Most are available through CBS All Access when watching the full episodes. [21]

Many of the season's episodes proved to be among the series' most celebrated, including "Time Enough at Last," "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," "Walking Distance," and "The After Hours." The first season won Serling an unprecedented fourth Emmy Award for dramatic writing, a Producers Guild Award for Serling's creative partner Buck Houghton, a Directors Guild Award for John Brahm and the Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation. [22] [23]

Bernard Herrmann's original opening theme music lasted throughout the first season. For the final five episodes of the season, the show's original surrealist "pit and summit" opening montage and narration was replaced by a piece featuring an eye that closed (revealing the setting sun) and shorter narration, and a truncated version of Herrmann's theme.

Some first-season episodes were available for decades only in a version with a pasted-on second-season opening. These "re-themed" episodes were prepared for airing in the summer of 1961 as summer repeats; the producers wanted to have a consistent opening for the show every week. During the original 1959/60 run, Herrmann's theme was used in every first-season episode. The first season openings for these episodes have since been restored to recent DVD and Blu-ray reissues although incorrect openings were restored on two episodes, "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" and "A Passage for Trumpet." [24]

Season 2 (1960–61)

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling
Serling models an airplane with actress Inger Stevens, who appeared in "The Hitch-Hiker" and "The Lateness of the Hour." Rod Serling Inger Stevens Serling model airplane collection 1960.JPG
Serling models an airplane with actress Inger Stevens, who appeared in "The Hitch-Hiker" and "The Lateness of the Hour."
Pippa Scott in "The Trouble With Templeton" Pippa Scott Twilight Zone 1960.jpg
Pippa Scott in "The Trouble With Templeton"

The second season premiered on September 30, 1960, with "King Nine Will Not Return," Serling's fresh take on the pilot episode "Where Is Everybody?" The familiarity of this first story stood in stark contrast to the novelty of the show's new packaging: Bernard Herrmann's stately original theme was replaced by Marius Constant's more jarring and dissonant (and now more-familiar) new guitar-and-bongo theme. [25] The closing eye was replaced by a more surreal introduction inspired by the new images in Serling's narration (such as "That's the signpost up ahead"), and Serling himself stepped in front of the cameras to present his opening narration, rather than being only a voice-over narrator (as in the first season). The openings of the first three episodes of the season retained the eye opening's narration.

A new sponsor, Colgate-Palmolive, replaced the previous year's Kimberly-Clark (as Liggett & Myers would succeed General Foods, in April 1961), and a new network executive, James Aubrey, took over CBS. "Jim Aubrey was a very, very difficult problem for the show," said associate producer Del Reisman. "He was particularly tough on The Twilight Zone because for its time it was a particularly costly half-hour show… Aubrey was real tough on [the show's budget] even when it was a small number of dollars." In a push to keep the show's expenses down, Aubrey ordered that seven fewer episodes be produced than last season and that six of those being produced would be shot on videotape rather than film, a move Serling disliked, calling it "neither fish nor fowl." [26] Two additional episodes filmed in the second season ("The Grave" and "Nothing in the Dark") were held over to the third season.

Season two saw the production of many of the series' most acclaimed episodes, including "Eye of the Beholder," "Nick of Time," "The Invaders," "The Trouble With Templeton" and "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?." The trio of Serling, Matheson and Beaumont began to admit new writers, and this season saw the television debut of George Clayton Johnson. Emmys were won by Serling (his fifth) for dramatic writing and by director of photography George T. Clemens and, for the second year in a row, the series won the Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation. It also earned the Unity Award for "Outstanding Contributions to Better Race Relations" and an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama." The Twilight Zone was mentioned in Newton Minow's landmark 1961 speech "Television and the Public Interest" as one of the few quality television series on the air at the time in a "vast wasteland" of mass-produced junk, with Minow praising the series as "dramatic and moving." [27]

Rod Serling at home in 1959 Rod Serling relaxing at home 1959.JPG
Rod Serling at home in 1959

Five weeks into season two, the show's budget was showing a deficit. The total number of new episodes was projected at twenty-nine, more than half of which, sixteen, had already been filmed by November 1960.[ citation needed ] As a cost-cutting measure, six episodes ("The Lateness of The Hour," "The Night of The Meek," "The Whole Truth," "Twenty-Two," "Static," and "Long Distance Call") were produced in the cheaper videotape format, which also required fewer camera movements. In addition, videotape was a relatively primitive medium in the early 1960s; the editing of tape was next to impossible. Each of the episodes was, therefore "camera-cut" as in live TV—on a studio sound stage, using a total of four cameras. The requisite multi-camera setup of the videotape experiment made location shooting difficult, severely limiting the potential scope of the story-lines. Even with those artistic sacrifices, the eventual savings amounted to only $6,000 per episode, [28] far less than the cost of a single episode. The experiment was not attempted again. Kinescope versions of the videotaped episodes were rerun in syndication.

Season 3 (1961–62)

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop...the Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling

In his third year as executive producer, host, narrator and primary writer for The Twilight Zone, Serling was beginning to feel exhausted. "I've never felt quite so drained of ideas as I do at this moment," said the 37-year-old playwright at the time. [29] In the first two seasons he contributed 48 scripts, or 73% of the show's total output; he contributed 56% of this season's output. "The show now seems to be feeding off itself", said a Variety reviewer of the season's episode two. Sponsors for this season included Chesterfield, Bufferin tablets, and Pepsi-Cola.

Despite his avowed weariness, Serling again managed to produce several teleplays that are widely regarded as classics, including "It's a Good Life", "To Serve Man", "Little Girl Lost" and "Five Characters in Search of an Exit". Scripts by Montgomery Pittman and Earl Hamner, Jr. supplemented Matheson and Beaumont's output, and George Clayton Johnson submitted three teleplays that examined complex themes. The episode "I Sing the Body Electric" was contributed by sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury. By the end of the season, the series had reached over 100 episodes.

The Twilight Zone received two Emmy nominations (for cinematography and art design), but was awarded neither. It again received the Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation", making it the only three-time recipient until it was tied by Doctor Who in 2008.

In spring 1962, The Twilight Zone was late in finding a sponsor for its fourth season and was replaced on CBS's fall schedule with a new hour-long situation comedy called Fair Exchange . In the confusion that followed this apparent cancellation, producer Buck Houghton left the series for a position at Four Star Productions. Serling meanwhile accepted a teaching post at Antioch College, his alma mater. Though the series was eventually renewed, Serling's contribution as executive producer decreased in its final seasons.

Season 4 (1963)

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; you've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone. [30]

Rod Serling
Julie Newmar and Albert Salmi in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville." Julie Newmar Albert Salmi The Twilight Zone.JPG
Julie Newmar and Albert Salmi in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville."

In November 1962, CBS contracted Twilight Zone (now sans The) as a mid-season January replacement for Fair Exchange, the very show that replaced it in the September 1962 schedule. In order to fill the Fair Exchange time slot,[ citation needed ] each episode had to be expanded to an hour, an idea which did not sit well with Serling, [31] nor the production crew. "Ours is the perfect half-hour show... If we went to an hour, we'd have to fleshen our stories, soap opera style. Viewers could watch fifteen minutes without knowing whether they were in a Twilight Zone or Desilu Playhouse ," Serling responded. Herbert Hirschman was hired to replace long-time producer Buck Houghton. One of Hirschman's first decisions was to direct a new opening sequence, this one illustrating a door, eye, window and other objects suspended in space. His second task was to find and produce quality scripts. Sponsors included Johnson & Johnson.

This season of Twilight Zone once again turned to the reliable trio of Serling, Matheson and Beaumont. However, Serling’s input was limited this season; he still provided the lion’s share of the teleplays, but as executive producer, he was virtually absent and as host, his artful narrations had to be shot back-to-back against a gray background during his infrequent trips to Los Angeles. Due to complications from a developing brain disease, Beaumont’s input also began to diminish significantly. Additional scripts were commissioned from Earl Hamner, Jr. and Reginald Rose to fill in the gap.

With five episodes left in the season, Hirschman received an offer to work on a new NBC series called Espionage and was replaced by Bert Granet, who had previously produced "The Time Element". Among Granet’s first assignments was "On Thursday We Leave for Home," which Serling considered the season's most effective episode. There was an Emmy nomination for cinematography and a nomination for the Hugo Award.

Season 5 (1963–64)

Serling later claimed, "I was writing so much, I felt I had begun to lose my perspective on what was good and what was bad". By the end of this final season, he had contributed 92 scripts in five years. This season, the new alternate sponsors were American Tobacco and Procter & Gamble. The show returned to its half-hour format.

Beaumont was now out of the picture almost entirely, contributing scripts only through the ghostwriters Jerry Sohl and John Tomerlin, and after producing only 13 episodes, Bert Granet left and was replaced by William Froug—with whom Serling had worked on Playhouse 90.

William Shatner in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." PubTThou01.jpg
William Shatner in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."

Froug made a number of unpopular decisions; first by shelving several scripts purchased under Granet's term (including Matheson’s "The Doll," which was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award when finally produced in 1986 on Amazing Stories ); secondly, Froug alienated George Clayton Johnson when he hired Richard deRoy to completely rewrite Johnson’s teleplay Tick of Time, eventually produced as "Ninety Years Without Slumbering." "It makes the plot trivial," complained Johnson of the resulting script, insisting he be given screen credit for the final version of the episode as "Johnson Smith." Tick of Time became Johnson’s final submission to The Twilight Zone.

Even under these conditions, several episodes were produced that are well remembered, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," "A Kind of a Stopwatch", "The Masks" and "Living Doll." Although this season received no Emmy recognition, episode number 142, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"—a 1962 French-produced short film which was modified slightly for broadcast—received the Academy Award for best short film in 1963. [32]

In late January 1964, CBS announced the show's cancellation. "For one reason or other, Jim Aubrey decided he was sick of the show… [H]e claimed that it was too far over budget and that the ratings weren't good enough", explained Froug. But Serling countered by telling the Daily Variety that he had "decided to cancel the network". ABC showed interest in bringing Serling over to their network to write a more explicitly horror-themed series, Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves, but Serling was not impressed. "The network executives seem to prefer weekly ghouls, and we have what appears to be a considerable difference in opinion. I don't mind my show being supernatural, but I don't want to be booked into a graveyard every week." Shortly afterwards, Serling sold his 40% share in The Twilight Zone to CBS, leaving the show and all projects involving the supernatural behind him until 1969, when Night Gallery debuted.

Casting

Being an anthology series with no recurring characters, The Twilight Zone features a wide array of guest stars for each episode, some of whom appeared in multiple episodes. Many episodes feature early performances from actors who later became famous, such as Theodore Bikel, Bill Bixby, Lloyd Bochner, Morgan Brittany, Charles Bronson, Carol Burnett, Donna Douglas, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Constance Ford, Joan Hackett, Dennis Hopper, Ron Howard, Jim Hutton, Jack Klugman, Martin Landau, Cloris Leachman, Jean Marsh, Elizabeth Montgomery, Billy Mumy, Julie Newmar, Barbara Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Janice Rule, William Shatner, Dean Stockwell, George Takei, Joyce Van Patten, Jack Warden, Jonathan Winters, and Dick York. Other episodes feature performances by actors later in their careers, such as Dana Andrews, Joan Blondell, Ann Blyth, Art Carney, Jack Carson, Gladys Cooper, William Demarest, Andy Devine, Cedric Hardwicke, Josephine Hutchinson, Buster Keaton, Ida Lupino, Kevin McCarthy, Burgess Meredith, Agnes Moorehead, Alan Napier, Franchot Tone, Mickey Rooney, and Ed Wynn. Klugman and Meredith are tied the for most starring roles with a record of four episodes.

Character actors who appeared (some more than once) include John Anderson, John Dehner, Betty Garde, Sandra Gould, Nancy Kulp, Celia Lovsky, Eve McVeagh, Nehemiah Persoff, Albert Salmi, Vito Scotti, Olan Soule, Harold J. Stone, and Estelle Winwood. The actor who appears in the most episodes is Robert McCord. [33]

Music

Besides Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, other contributors to the music were Nathan Van Cleave, Leonard Rosenman, Fred Steiner, and Franz Waxman. The first season featured an orchestral title theme by Herrmann, who also wrote original scores for seven of the episodes, including the premiere, "Where Is Everybody?". The guitar theme most associated with the show was written by the French avant-garde composer Marius Constant as part of a series of short cues commissioned by CBS as "work made for hire" library music for the series. The guitar player was Howard Roberts. Used from season two onward, the theme as aired was a splicing together of two of these library cues: "Etrange 3 (Strange No. 3)" and "Milieu 2 (Middle No. 2)". Varèse Sarabande released several albums of music from the series, focusing on the episodes that received original scores.

Volume 1

  1. Main Title Theme – Marius Constant (:27)
  2. The Invaders – Jerry Goldsmith (12:57)
  3. Perchance To Dream – Nathan Van Cleave (9:52)
  4. Walking Distance – Bernard Herrmann (12:52)
  5. The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine – Franz Waxman (10:55)
  6. End Title Theme – Marius Constant (:42)

Volume 2

  1. Main Title Theme – Bernard Herrmann (1:11)
  2. Where Is Everybody? – Bernard Herrmann (11:19)
  3. 100 Yards Over The Rim – Fred Steiner (12:14)
  4. The Big Tall Wish – Jerry Goldsmith (11:52)
  5. A Stop at Willoughby – Nathan Scott (12:24)
  6. End Title Theme – Bernard Herrmann (1:05)

Volume 3

  1. Alternate Main Title Theme – Marius Constant (:38)
  2. Back There – Jerry Goldsmith (12:51)
  3. And When The Sky Was Opened – Leonard Rosenman (11:54)
  4. A World Of Difference – Nathan Van Cleave (11:48)
  5. The Lonely – Bernard Herrmann (11:09)
  6. Alternate End Title – Marius Constant (:54)

Volume 4

  1. Alternate Main Title – Bernard Herrmann (:28)
  2. Jazz Theme One – Jerry Goldsmith (9:12)
  3. Jazz Theme Two – Jerry Goldsmith (3:12)
  4. Jazz Theme Three – Rene Garriguenc (4:04)
  5. Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room – Jerry Goldsmith (8:16)
  6. Elegy – Nathan Van Cleave (8:14)
  7. King Nine Will Not Return – Fred Steiner (11:11)
  8. Two – Nathan Van Cleave (12:09)
  9. Alternate End Title – Bernard Herrmann (:43)

Volume 5

  1. Alternate Main Title #2 – Bernard Herrmann (:29)
  2. I Sing The Body Electric – Nathan Van Cleave (11:41)
  3. The Passerby – Fred Steiner (12:58)
  4. The Trouble With Templeton – Jeff Alexander (11:46)
  5. Dust – Jerry Goldsmith (11:33)
  6. Alternate End Title #2 – Bernard Herrmann (1:07)

Many of the above were included on a four-disc set released by Silva America. Varese also released a two-disc set of re-recordings of Herrmann's seven scores for the series ("Where Is Everybody?", "Walking Distance", "The Lonely", "Eye of the Beholder", "Little Girl Lost", "Living Doll", and "Ninety Years Without Slumbering"), conducted by Joel McNeely. Alongside this release, Bernard Herrmann's score for the episode "Walking Distance" received another re-recording accompanying a new recording of his score for François Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451" performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William T. Stromberg and released by Tribute Film Classics. [34]

Broadcast history

SeasonTime slot
1 (1959–1960) Friday at 10:00-10:30 pm E.T.
2 (1960–1961)
3 (1961–1962)
4 (1963) Thursday at 9:00-10:00 pm E.T.
5 (1963–1964) Friday at 9:30-10:00 pm E.T.

Awards and nominations

The Twilight Zone was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, winning two. [35]

YearAssociationCategoryNomineeResult
1960 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama Rod SerlingWon
1961 Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama [36] The Twilight ZoneNominated
Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama Rod SerlingWon
1962 Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama [37] Rod SerlingNominated
1963 Golden Globe Awards Best TV Producer/Director [38] Rod SerlingWon

In media

Syndication

Most episodes continue to be broadcast in syndication. After the cancellation of the series, Serling sold his rights to CBS, unaware of what the future would hold in syndication, and the royalties he would have gained. [39]

Episodes are broadcast nationally on the Syfy channel in the United States. They are regularly shown in late-night slots and in marathons aired typically every year on New Year's Eve and Day and the Fourth of July. Syfy broadcasts are often re-cut to feature more commercials during the time slot, in order to meet the 22 or 44-minute maximum episode runtime.

Originally, there were five episodes not included in the syndication package. Three of those ("Sounds and Silences," "Miniature," and "A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain") were involved in copyright infringement lawsuits. The other two, which have never been in syndication (both from season five), are "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (a French short film, aired twice per agreement with the filmmakers) and "The Encounter" (which was pulled after its initial showing, due to the racial overtones). [40] Though "The Encounter" has since aired on Syfy for the first time in 2016.

Home media

The Twilight Zone was released on Region 1 DVD for the first time by Image Entertainment. All of the releases feature uncut episodes. The season releases (The Definitive Collection and Blu-rays) also include the radio dramas and the "Next Week" promos (some of the promos on the season DVDs are audio only). The various releases include:

Compilations

Limited set

Blu-ray
Note: all of the Blu-ray releases are Region A

The 1958 Desilu Playhouse episode, "The Time Element," considered to be a "first" pilot for The Twilight Zone (see above) is included as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray release (with Season 1), but not on any of the earlier DVD releases.

UK release

Fremantle Media released a box set for each season of The Twilight Zone on both DVD and Blu-ray over 2011 and early 2012. These sets received high praise and won an award from The Guardian for Best Special Features of 2011. These Blu-rays and DVDs are multi-region and so can be played around the world.

Radio

In 2002, the BBC [54] engaged producer Carl Amari to license the rights from the Rod Serling Estate to turn the TV series into a weekly radio drama series for BBC Radio 4 Extra which in turn was purchased and distributed by CBS Enterprises in the US. The series features Stacy Keach in Rod Serling's role as narrator and each 40-minute audio drama includes a Hollywood celebrity in the starring role. Some of the stars include Jim Caviezel, Blair Underwood, Jason Alexander, Jane Seymour, Lou Diamond Phillips, Luke Perry, Michael York, Sean Astin, and Ernie Hudson. The episodes air nationally on hundreds of radio stations and Sirius/XM, and are available for download. [55]

Online distribution

As of April 2019, all half-hour episodes (seasons 1–3 and 5) of the series are available on Netflix Instant Streaming in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. [56]

All five seasons of the series are available on Hulu, Amazon Video, and iTunes. [57]

All seasons as aired, including promotional spots recorded by Mr. Serling, are available on Paramount+. [58]

Revivals

The series has seen three revivals:

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>The Twilight Zone</i> Media franchise based on an American television anthology series

The Twilight Zone is an American media franchise based on the anthology television series created by Rod Serling. The episodes are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, absurdism, dystopian fiction, suspense, horror, supernatural drama, black comedy, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes. The first series, shot entirely in black and white, ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964.

<i>Night Gallery</i>

Night Gallery is an American anthology television series that aired on NBC from December 16, 1970, to May 27, 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night Gallery and as a major contributor of scripts, although he did not have the same control of content and tone as he had on The Twilight Zone. Serling viewed Night Gallery as a logical extension of The Twilight Zone, but while both series shared an interest in thought-provoking dark fantasy, more of Zone's offerings were science fiction while Night Gallery focused on horrors of the supernatural.

Rod Serling American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator

Rodman Edward Serling was an American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his anthology television series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen, and helped form television industry standards. He was known as the "angry young man" of Hollywood, clashing with television executives and sponsors over a wide range of issues including censorship, racism, and war.

"Walking Distance" is episode five of the American television series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on October 30, 1959. The episode was listed as the ninth best episode in the history of The Twilight Zone by Time magazine.

Time Enough at Last 8th episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone

"Time Enough at Last" is the eighth episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. The episode was adapted from a short story written by Lynn Venable. The short story appeared in the January 1953 edition of the science fiction magazine If: Worlds of Science Fiction about seven years before the television episode first aired.

"The Purple Testament" is episode nineteen of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It is "the story of a man who can forecast death". It originally aired on February 12, 1960 on CBS.

"Eye of the Beholder" is episode 42 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on November 11, 1960 on CBS.

"The Night of the Meek" is episode 47 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on December 23, 1960, on CBS. One of six episodes shot on videotape in a short-lived experiment aimed to cut costs.

<i>CBS Radio Mystery Theater</i>

CBS Radio Mystery Theater is a radio drama series created by Himan Brown that was broadcast on CBS Radio Network affiliates from 1974 to 1982, and later in the early 2000s was repeated by the NPR satellite feed.

<i>The Twilight Zone</i> (1985 TV series) Television series (1985-1989)

The Twilight Zone is an anthology television series which was produced from 1985 to 1989. It is the first of three revivals of Rod Serling's acclaimed 1959–64 television series, and like the original it featured stories in a variety of speculative fiction, commonly featuring characters from a seemingly normal world stumbling into paranormal circumstances. Unlike the original, however, most episodes contained multiple self-contained stories instead of just one. The voice-over narrations were still present, but were not a regular feature as they were in the original series; some episodes had only an opening narration, some had only a closing narration, and some had no narration at all. The multi-segment format liberated the series from the usual time constraints of episodic television, allowing stories ranging in length from 8-minute quickies to 40-minute mini-movies. The series ran for two seasons on CBS before producing a final season for syndication.

"A Kind of a Stopwatch" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. In this episode, a man acquires a stopwatch which can stop time.

The Twilight Zone is a nationally syndicated radio drama series featuring radio play adaptations of the classic television series The Twilight Zone first produced for the British station BBC Radio 4 Extra in October 2002 with the final show released in 2012 for 176 episodes in all.

<i>The Loner</i> Television series

The Loner is an American western series that ran for one season on CBS from 1965 to 1966, under the alternate sponsorship of Philip Morris and Procter & Gamble. The series was created by Rod Serling a year after the cancellation of The Twilight Zone. It was one of the last TV series on CBS to air in black-and-white.

<i>The Twilight Zone</i> (2002 TV series) 2002 American TV series

The Twilight Zone is the second of three revivals of Rod Serling's original 1959–64 television series. It aired for one season on the UPN network, with actor Forest Whitaker assuming Serling's role as narrator and on-screen host. It premiered on September 18, 2002, and aired its final episode on May 21, 2003.

<i>The Hitch-Hiker</i> (radio play)

The Hitch-Hiker is a radio play written by Lucille Fletcher. It was first presented on the November 17, 1941, broadcast of The Orson Welles Show on CBS Radio, featuring a score written and conducted by Bernard Herrmann, Fletcher's first husband. Welles performed The Hitch-Hiker four times on radio, and the play was adapted for a notable 1960 episode of the television series The Twilight Zone.

The first season of The Twilight Zone aired Fridays at 10:00–10:30 pm (EST) on CBS from October 2, 1959, to July 1, 1960. There are 36 episodes, including the pilot, "Where Is Everybody?" The theme music for this season, written by Bernard Herrmann, is different from the music most commonly associated with the series, written by Marius Constant for the second season onwards.

The second season of The Twilight Zone aired Fridays at 10:00–10:30 pm (EST) on CBS from September 30, 1960 to June 2, 1961. There are 29 episodes.

<i>The Twilight Zone</i> (2019 TV series) 2019 American web television series

The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series developed by Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele, and Marco Ramirez, based on the original 1959 television series created by Rod Serling. Peele serves as narrator, in addition to executive producing through Monkeypaw Productions. The weekly series premiered on April 1, 2019, on CBS All Access, and was renewed for a second season halfway through its first set of 10 episodes. The second season was released in its entirety on June 25, 2020. In February 2021, the producers announced the series would not return for additional seasons.

The Velvet Alley (<i>Playhouse 90</i>) 16th episode of the third season of Playhouse 90

The Velvet Alley was an American television play broadcast on January 22, 1959 as part of the CBS television series, Playhouse 90. Rod Serling was the writer and Franklin Schaffner the director. The cast included Art Carney and Leslie Nielsen.

References

  1. Tallerico, Brian (March 29, 2019). "'The Twilight Zone': Here's Why We Still Care". The New York Times . Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  2. Thompson, David. The Twilight Zone FAQ.
  3. "Special Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28 – July 4). 1997.
  4. "Rod Serling Revels his Favorite TWILIGHT ZONE Episodes". GeekTyrant. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  5. Thompson, David. The Twilight Zone FAQ.
  6. "100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". September 21, 2016.
  7. "TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows". CBS News . CBS Interactive. April 26, 2002. Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  8. "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!". TV Guide. May 30, 2004.
  9. "TV Guide Names the Top Cult Shows Ever". TVGuide.com. June 29, 2007. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  10. "101 Best Written TV Series List". Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016. (archived)
  11. Roush, Matt (February 25, 2013). "Showstoppers: The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time". TV Guide . pp. 16–17.
  12. TV Guide Magazine. September 16–22, 2013.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Fretts, Bruce; Roush, Matt. "The Greatest Shows on Earth". TV Guide Magazine. 61 (3194–3195): 16–19.
  14. Zicree, Marc Scott (1992). The Twilight Zone Companion. Hollywood: Silman-James Press. p. 14.
  15. Kates, William (March 27, 2008). "Uncensored: 'Twilight Zone' Creator's Script on Emmett Till Case". The Washington Post . The Washington Post Company . Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  16. Presenter: Jon Miller (March 30, 2008). "50 Years Later, Rod Serling's Play is Performed". Weekend Edition Sunday . National Public Radio. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  17. Zicree, Marc Scott. op. cit. p. 15
  18. Pohl, Frederik (December 1962). "Opportunity Knocked". Editorial. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 4–8.
  19. Zicree, Marc Scott. op. cit. p. 19
  20. BFI Film Classics. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. pp. 46–47.
  21. CBS - All Access
  22. Lofficier, Jean-Marc; Lofficier, Randy (2003). Into the Twilight Zone: The Rod Serling Programme Guide. iUniverse. p. 2. ISBN   0-595-27612-1. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  23. "1960 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  24. "The Twilight Zone". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  25. Kovalchik, Kara. "Happy 50th Anniversary, Twilight Zone!". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  26. Zicree, Marc Scott. op. cit. p. 194
  27. Newton N. Minow, "Television and the Public Interest", address to the National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, D.C., May 9, 1961.
  28. Presnell, Don (July 11, 2015). A Critical History of Television's The Twilight Zone, 1959-1964. p. 18. ISBN   978-0-7864-3886-0. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  29. Presnell, Don; McGee, Marty (1998). A Critical History of Television's The Twilight Zone, 1959-1964. McFarland & Co. p. 21. ISBN   978-1-4766-1038-2.
  30. Serling used this introduction for both seasons 4 and 5
  31. Vorel, Jim (April 1, 2019). ""The Comedian" Is Vintage Twilight Zone, But Not in the Way You'd Want". Paste Magazine . Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020. In particular, “The Comedian” feels like an entry from TZ’s fourth season, when network executives pressured series creator Rod Serling into stretching the show into a 60-minute timeslot against his wishes.
  32. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". Academy Awards Database. A.M.P.A.S. 2011. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  33. "11 timeless facts about The Twilight Zone". MeTV . Weigel Broadcasting. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  34. "The Twilight Zone Revisited - 50th Anniversary Tribute (Film Music Review)". AmericanMusicPreservation.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  35. Brooks, Tim (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows. Ballantine Books. pp. 1633–1644. ISBN   978-0-345-49773-4.
  36. "Primetime Emmy". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  37. "Primetime Emmy". IMDb . Amazon. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  38. "Golden Globe". IMDb. Amazon. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  39. Stanyard, Stewart T. (2007). Dimensions Behind the Twilight Zone ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Toronto: ECW press. p. 67. ISBN   978-1-55022-744-4.
  40. Zack Handlen (November 22, 2014). "The Twilight Zone: "The Encounter"/"Mr. Garrity And The Graves"". The A.V. Club . Retrieved April 9, 2021. Due to complaints from Japanese-Americans about the subject matter of this episode (specifically, Arthur’s confession about what his father really did at Pearl Harbor), "The Encounter" was kept out of American syndication deals.
  41. "Amazon.com: The Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection: Burgess Meredith: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  42. "Amazon.com: Twilight Zone, the (1959) - Complete Series: Rod Serling, Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cliff Robertson, Dennis Weaver, Don Rickles, Jack Klugman, Jay Overholts, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, Robert McCord, William Shatner, John Brahm: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  43. "Amazon.com: Treasures of The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor, James Turley, Arthur Tovey, Jack Klugman, Burgess Meredith, John Anderson, J. Pat O'Malley, Barney Phillips, George Mitchell: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  44. "Amazon.com: More Treasures of the Twilight Zone: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor, James Turley, Arthur Tovey, Jack Klugman, Burgess Meredith, John Anderson, J. Pat O'Malley, Barney Phillips, George Mitchell: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  45. Amazon.com: The Twilight Zone: 40th Anniversary Gift Pack: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor, James Turley, Arthur Tovey, Jack Klugman, Burgess Meredith, John Anderson, J. Pat O'Malley, Barney Phillips, George Mitchell: Movies & TV. ASIN   6305556806.
  46. "Amazon.com: Twilight Zone: Fan Favorites: Art Carney, Robert Redford, Rod Serling, Burgess Meredith, William Shatner, Ron Howard, Jack Klugman, Jonathan Winters, Elizabeth Montgomery, Don Rickles, Buzz Kulik, Douglas Heyes, Richard Donner: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  47. "Amazon.com: The Twilight Zone: More Fan Favorites: Bill Mumy, Buddy Ebsen, Buster Keaton, Cliff Robertson, Cloris Leachman, Dennis Weaver, Fritz Weaver, James Best, Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef, Richard Conte, Richard Kiel, Robert Cummings, Rod Serling, Shelley Berman, William Shatner, Allen H. Miner, John Brahm, Jus Addiss, William Asher: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  48. "Amazon.com: Twilight Zone: Essential Episodes (55th Anniversary Collection): Bill Mumy, Burgess Meredith, Cloris Leachman, Donna Douglas, John Carradine, Rod Serling, Telly Savalas, William Shatner, Alvin Ganzer, Douglas Heyes, Ida Lupino, James Daly, John Brahm, Richard C. Sarafian, Robert Stevens: Movies & TV". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  49. "DVD Review "The Twilight Zone: The Essential Episodes"". July 7, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  50. "Another Universe Releases First Ever Twilight Zone Complete Set". PR Newswire. November 18, 2002. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  51. "The Twilight Zone DVD news: Announcement for The Twilight Zone - Season 1 on Blu-ray - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  52. "The Twilight Zone DVD news: Official Season 1 Press Release - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  53. "The Twilight Zone DVD news: Announcement for The Twilight Zone - Season 2 on Blu-ray - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  54. Sherwin, Adam (February 20, 2016). "The Twilight Zone: Cult sci-fi show to return for BBC Radio 4 Extra series". The Independent . Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  55. "The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas". Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  56. Murray, Noel (February 13, 2013). "10 episodes that take viewers into the depths of The Twilight Zone". The A.V. Club . Univision Communications . Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  57. Staff, EW (September 30, 2016). "Hulu Hot List: Our Favorite TV Time-Travelers". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  58. Fratti, Karen (November 3, 2015). "CBS All Access Is Totally Winning". AdWeek. Crain Communications. Retrieved November 1, 2016.

Sources