1. Jeff Miller says:

    Thank you for posting. I’m almost finished watching the entire series. Only two episodes left! I also recently posted a memory on Facebook of having visited Rod Serling’s grave and driving by his childhood home and park that inspired some of his episodes. He was an amazing author, and that’s how I think of him–as an author and World War 2 vet. Although he was a great producer and host, what made TZ work was that he was a brilliant writer and he hired brilliant writers.

  2. Travis Perry says:

    I love the Twilight Zone! Not every story comes across as well as others, as you noted, but some are really amazing. Twists at the end are a convention of many short stories (but of course not all), and I’ve greatly enjoyed some of the Twilight Zone’s finales, which frequently do things conventional stories wouldn’t date to do, as you noted.

    The Twilight Zone and science fiction short stories are part of the reason I love the anthology as a means of packaging tales. I think they can easily be better than novels–though by succeeding for different reasons than novels.

    Also worth mentioning is The Outer Limits, likewise an anthology show. Also amazing, though not nearly as reverent towards God as TWZ.

    Thanks for posting on this!

  3. I think “anthologies” were the typical way of doing TV at the time. Daytime TV did the continuing soap operas, but not nighttime TV. But the different cast of characters for each Twilight Zone story was new. That’s why you learned that if someone was to die in Star Trek, it wouldn’t be Captain Kirk or any of the other regulars. Had to be a Red Shirt. I think a cop show, Hill Street Blues, changed all that. They tried to put a real soap opera on nighttime TV—Peyton Place. It had moderate success and led to a few others. But TV with stories resembling novels and even novel series as opposed to short stories had to develop.

    I enjoyed you thoughts on this, Shannon.


    • Travis Perry says:

      Becky, while stories tended to be more “stand alone” in general, as you mentioned, what the Twilight Zone did was unique at the time. While each episode might be thought of a short story in other series, the Twilight Zone wrote with many short story conventions other series didn’t really use, including the infamous twist at the end.

      Actually, the Twilight Zone has been seldom matched, not just then but ever. Basing a series on independent short stories is rarely done.

  4. Hans Erdman says:

    Rod Serling was a friend of my father’s. I had the privilege of meeting and talking with him on several occasions, including one memorable flight in the rear compartment of a crowded Convair 440 flying from NYC to Ithaca. He patiently answered all of my 9-year-old’s questions about the Twilight Zone, and I answered all of his about my New York Mets. (Still a fan.) I still have his autograph, on the program from Shea Stadium, “Any friend of Casey Stengal’s is a friend of mine. Rod Serling”
    He also came and addressed both my high school senior English class (My teacher was his next-door neighbor) and Ithaca College freshman English class. (His daughter was in the class.) He remembered me on both occasions. Talk about someone who was truly a “writer’s writer.” The man was an inspiration.

What do you think?