Appreciating all that makes America special

TV Show: The Twilight Zone

William Shatner from a classic Twilight Zone episode. Uploaded by

William Shatner in a classic Twilight Zone episode. Uploaded by

Offered for your consideration. A blog post about a classic TV show. An introduction in clipped tones you can still hear after all these years. A post that you might pass by without noticing. But not this time. Not today. Because this blog post has just brought you into…The Twilight Zone.

Think how conventional and conformist America was during the 50s. Then imagine the impact when The Twilight Zone arrived in 1959. In a sense, though, it came along at the perfect time, during an era in which Americans were fascinated with robots, space travel, and UFOs. Rod Serling captured that mindset perfectly in his series, which ran for five seasons.

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Serling contributed most of the scripts – 92 of the show’s 156 episodes, but other famous writers pitched in as well. Earl Hamner, Jr. of The Waltons fame, Harlan Ellison, and Ray Bradbury contributed to the anthology series. And look at some of the actors who appeared on the show, many before they became famous: Lee Marvin, William Shatner, Carol Burnett, Robert Duvall, Robert Redford, Dennis Hopper, and Charles Bronson.

Most of the episodes used a classic short story technique of misdirection. Serling would set you up with a premise, then knock you down with a twist.

The iconic atonal guitar and bongos theme didn’t become part of the series until the second season. And Serling changed the introduction every year till the last, when he must have liked season four’s intro well enough to keep it: 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 the land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; you’ve just crossed over into The Twilight Zone. Today’s video shows that prelude and a classic Serling introduction:


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