Posted Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 by Barry

Twilight Zone (1962) 1

You are now entering National Twilight Zone Day.

Rod Serling is the man behind the cult classic. He convinced CBS to take a chance on his creation and the network reaped the critical rewards. Over the five years the anthology series aired, a total of 156 episodes, all were half-hour shows with the exception of season four that stretched screen time to 51 minutes; 60 with commercials.

Serling was responsible for three quarters of the total episodes. The remainder were penned by Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, Earl Hamner Jr., George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, Reginald Rose and Jerry Sohl.

Many of the plots were science fiction veneers thinly veiling social commentary normally considered verboten for the era.

By 1964, the original series was finished on prime time. It would live on through reruns.

Come 1985 and all that was old was made new again as CBS resurrected its former series. Mostly due to Serling selling his share of the show to the network. Owning the property, CBS could make more money rather than buy a new series from outside.

Twilight Zone (1962) 1

The second outing did fair business, but failed to live up to its predecessor.

A third series faired even worse, retiring after one season, 2002-03.

As early as December 2012 word began to circulate regarding a fourth attempt at the Twilight Zone. It wasn’t until April 1, 2019, the pilot aired on CBS All Access.

And, of course, there was the ill-fated 1983 film. The movie recreated three classic episodes of the first series as well as one original story. John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller each directed a tale. Landis’ segment experienced disaster when actor Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed while filming a scene.

The Twilight Zone found its way to the comic book world with Western Publishing’s contract to Dell Comics. Four issues were produced before Western partnered with Gold Key. That marriage enjoyed a surprising longevity with 92 issues published before the two parted ways.

Marvel mainstay Frank Miller had his first professional artwork published in issue 84 of that run.

In 1990 Now Comics published a one-shot before launching an ongoing series the following year that ran 12 issues.

To celebrate, what else, catch some of the old episodes or simply find an old issue or two to sit back and relax with.

While May 11 is officially National Twilight Zone Day, that day actually falls on January 1 for some friends of mine as they sit back with a marathon of the original series and celebrate their wedding anniversary. It’s a little early, but cuddle up anyway, Tom and Sherry.

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