The Twilight Zone
You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series)
The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series created by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964.
The series consisted of unrelated episodes depicting paranormal, futuristic, dystopian, or simply disturbing events; each show typically featured a surprising plot twist and was usually brought to closure with some sort of message.
The series was also notable for featuring both established stars (e.g. Cliff Robertson) and younger actors who later became famous (e.g. Robert Redford).
Rod Serling served as executive producer and head writer, penning 92 of the show's 156 episodes. He was also the show's host, delivering on-or-off-screen monologues at the beginning and end of each episode.
During the first season, except for the season's final
episode, Serling's narrations were off-camera voiceovers; he only
appeared on-camera at the end of each show to promote the next episode
(footage that was removed from syndicated versions but restored for DVD
release, although some of these promotions exist today only in audio
The "twilight zone" itself is not presented as being a tangible plane, but rather a metaphor for the strange circumstances befalling the protagonists. Serling's opening and closing narrations usually summarized the episode's events in a cryptic, dramatized manner, thus demonstrating how the episode's main character had "entered the Twilight Zone."
By the late 1950s, Rod Serling was a regular name in television. His successful teleplays included Patterns (for Kraft Television Theater) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (for Playhouse 90), but constant changes and edits made by the networks and sponsors frustrated Serling, who decided that creating his own show was the best way to get around these obstacles.
He thought that behind a television series with robots, aliens and other supernatural occurrences, he could also express his political views in a more subtle fashion.
The Twilight Zone - The Time Element
"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.
The show was a huge success and enabled Serling to finally begin production on his anthology series, The Twilight Zone.
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.
The show attracted a large enough audience to survive a brief hiatus in November, during 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.
The Twilight Zone
A dimension not only of sight
and sound, but of mind
The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series)
The Twilight Zone (1985) is the revival of Rod Serling's acclaimed 1950/60s television series, of the same name. It ran for two seasons on CBS before producing a final season for syndication.
It was Serling's decision to sell his share of the series back to the network that eventually allowed for a Twilight Zone revival. As an in-house production, CBS stood to earn more money producing The Twilight Zone than it could by purchasing a new series produced by an outside company.
Even so, the network was slow to consider a revival, turning down offers from the original production team of Rod Serling and Buck Houghton and later from American filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
Despite lukewarm response to Twilight Zone: The Movie, John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller's theatrical homage to the original series, CBS gave the new Twilight Zone a greenlight in 1984 under the supervision of Carla Singer, then Vice President of Drama Development.
While the show didn't come close to matching the enduring popularity of the original, some episodes — including the love story "Her Pilgrim Soul" and J. Michael Straczynski's "Dream Me A Life" — were critically acclaimed. In a tribute to the original series, the teaser at the beginning of the show has a brief wavy glimpse of Rod Serling.
Memorable quotes for "The Twilight Zone":
[Opening narration (season 1)]
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
[Opening narration - Season 1 alternate]
You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight
and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination.
Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
[Opening narration - season 2]
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!
[Opening narration - season 3]
You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of
sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of
imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
[Opening narration - season 4 & 5]
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.