Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday Twilight Zone!



Good article here.

"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

On a Friday night in October 1959, Americans began slipping into a dimension of imagination as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. They've really never returned.

"The Twilight Zone," first submitted for the public's approval by a reluctant CBS, has resonated with viewers from generation to generation with memorable stories carrying universal messages about society's ills and the human condition.

Like the time-space warps that anchored so many of the show's plots, Rod Serling's veiled commentary remains as soul-baring today as it did a half-century ago, and the show's popularity endures in multiple facets of American pop culture.

...

The original show — which ran just five seasons, 1959-1964 — led to a feature film by Steven Spielberg and John Landis in 1983, and is reportedly soon to appear again on the silver screen from Leonardo DiCaprio's production company.

It's also resulted in short-lived television series in the 1980s and in 2002, and has been the subject of scores of books, Web sites, blogs, comic books and magazines and a radio series. It's even inspired music from the Grateful Dead, Rush, Golden Earring and Michael Jackson.

Its signature theme song even became part of popular language, allowing people to describe unusual or inexplicable moments with a simple "doo-doo doo-doo," ...

CBS has no plans to observe the show's 50th anniversary, said spokesman Chris Ender. The show has enjoyed nearly uninterrupted popularity through television, syndication and DVD releases and is under license to air in 30 countries, he said.

The Syfy Channel regularly broadcasts The Twilight Zone and plans a 15-show marathon Oct. 2.

...

There were 156 episodes filmed for the original series; Serling wrote 92 of them and other contributors included Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury, two of the deans of science fiction writing.

...

In 1958, CBS bought Serling's teleplay, "The Time Element," which he hoped would be the pilot to his weekly series. The story was about a bartender who keeps waking up in Pearl Harbor knowing the Japanese will be attacking the next day but unable to convince anyone

CBS shelved the series after buying it because the studio didn't think there was much commercial value in science fiction. Bert Granet, producer of the weekly CBS anthology series "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse," stumbled on the script and wanted it. He bought it for $10,000.

The story aired on Nov. 24, 1958, and became the Westinghouse series' biggest hit, garnering more audience reaction than any previous episodes. CBS finally decided to take a chance on Serling's series.

Bert Granet has my undying gratitude for rescuing the Twilight Zone from obscurity.

Syfy has all the episode listings

So - it looks like it is marathon time! .... (probably the only thing cable TV is good for these days if you don't have/own the DVDs)



Related - 50th anniversary website (where they are hawking a book)

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Awesome!! I love the Twilight Zone even though it has been responsible for more than a couple of my nightmares. LOL

constant gina said...

What is so amazing is that 50 years later these shows hold up so well. Oh they are in black and white, which is really kind of cool. And occasionally you'll see the old cars or a dial telephone that gives away the time. Most of the time, they could have been shot yesterday.