You’d be hard pressed to find a horror/sci-fi series as revered and enduring as The Twilight Zone, which ran on CBS between 1959 and 1964. With a 21st Century reboot currently in the works at CBS All Access (with Jordan Peele on board as a producer) it seemed like a great time to look back on the film’s immense legacy with an emphasis on lesser-known facts.
As we often do, we turn to our favorite Australian film critic/comedian Mark Bishop for an insightful and entertaining exploration; specifically, we’re featuring his recent offering: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Twilight Zone! Give it a spin and let us know what you think in the comments section! Which facts did you find most illuminating?
If you can’t stream, the 10 things you probably didn’t know about The Twilight Zone are briefly summarized below the video. Enjoy!
Synopsis: The Twilight Zone was the brainchild of Emmy Award-winner Rod Serling, who served as host and wrote more than 80 episodes of the original show’s 150-plus episode run. It’s a strange mix of horror, science-fiction, drama, comedy, and superstition. Serling introduced each episode, and many of the black and white episodes concluded with a surprise ending. Actors such as Burt Reynolds, Roddy McDowell, and Robert Redford made appearances in some of the more well-known stories.
1. Feature films that may have been influenced by The Twilight Zone include Real Steel, Poltergeist, Child’s Play, Cube, Final Destination, and Liar Liar.
2. While it’s almost impossible to imagine The Twilight Zone without Rod Serling’s intros and outros, CBS originally wanted a famous actor to narrate the series. Their first choice was actor/filmmaker Orson Wells.
3. The iconic theme for The Twilight Zone wasn’t adopted until the 2nd season. The original score was created by Bernard Herrmann how was a frequent composer for Alfred Hitchcock. His version was darker and moodier than the more recognizable theme. Give it a listen at the bottom of this article.
4. There was a board game based on The Twilight Zone in the released in the 1960s by Ideal.
5. Some of the most notable celebrities to have appeared on The Twilight Zone include William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Telly Savalas, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Redford, Roddy McDowall, Dennis Hopper, Robert Duvall, Burt Reynolds, and Charles Bronson.
6. In order to evade censors who wanted him to steer away from hot-button issues like war, politics, and civil rights, Serling disguised social commentary beneath high concept sci-fi and fantasy. The true meanings of most episodes of The Twilight Zone are found in the subtext.
7. Attempted relaunches of The Twilight Zone failed in 1995 and 2002. Let’s hope Jordan Peele fairs better with his current reboot, currently in the works at CBS All Access.
8. The short film An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was aired as an episode of The Twilight Zone, even though it was never intended to be affiliated with the show.
9. The Twilight Zone episode Cavender is Coming included a laugh track.
10. The Twilight Zone was the byproduct of a pilot created for another series called The Time Element, also written by Serling. CBS was so impressed with his work, they created a vehicle to highlight his unique storytelling talents—and the rest is 5th Dimensional history!