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50 Years of the Twilight Zone

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the celebrate-if-you-will dept.

Sci-Fi 104

pickens writes "Fifty years ago on October 2, American television viewers first heard the words: 'You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone.' Like the time-space warps that anchored so many of the show's plots, Rod Serling's veiled commentary remains as soul-baring today as it did a half-century ago, and the show's popularity endures in multiple facets of American pop culture, appearing nearly uninterrupted through television, syndication and DVD releases and under license to air in 30 countries. 'The whole idea of "The Twilight Zone" jumped off the television screen and became a catchphrase, a buzzword for something much beyond the TV show itself,' says Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University. 'When you say Twilight Zone, it's its own genre.' The original show ran just five seasons, 1959 to 1964, with 156 episodes filmed; Serling wrote 92 of them, and other contributors included Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. Anniversary observances were held at Ithaca College in New York, where Serling taught from 1967 until his death in 1975, and which keeps Serling's archives; and also at Antioch College in Ohio, where Serling was a student."

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GRRM (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29627763)

I only discovered this recently, but George R. R. Martin, famous for his high fantasy Song of Ice and Fire series amongst other things, also wrote some of the early Twilight Zone scripts. Not to dismiss the larger significance of TZ, but for ASoIaF fans, it seems appropriate to be discussing that early screen work as GRRM's own epic series begins filming soon.

Re:GRRM (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29627975)

Um, considering GRRM's age, I think you mean that he wrote some of the early scripts for the 1980's revamp of The Twilight Zone.

Re:GRRM (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628161)

Oh, you're right :)

Re:GRRM (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629809)

I had to do a search to see if you were right about this. Unfortunately, Google was down at the time, so I had to use other search engines. As it turns out, there was something on the Bing... some... thing.

Re:GRRM (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29629913)

Unfortunately, Google was down

OMG, somebody really does control the vertical !

Re:GRRM (4, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630611)

OMG, somebody really does control the vertical !

Sigh. That was The Outer Limits, not The Twilght Zone. You've just given me this image of Mayor Quimby telling Leonard Nimoy "May the force be with you!"

Great Writer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29627775)

Makes you wonder in 50 more years or 100 years if some future race of humans dig us up and find all these works what they will think.

We had space travel, wars with other worlds, technology that rivaled anything future man will invent.

Keep that mindset and the Sandskrit writings of India, the Greek tales of Atlantis, and pretty much all of the stuff we think may have been real; ancient Egypt all becomes flight of fantasy. Or does it.

Man's imagination is vast and uncharted.

Re:Great Writer (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631861)

Makes you wonder in 50 more years or 100 years if some future race of humans dig us up and find all these works what they will think.

We had space travel, wars with other worlds, technology that rivaled anything future man will invent.

Keep that mindset and the Sandskrit writings of India, the Greek tales of Atlantis, and pretty much all of the stuff we think may have been real; ancient Egypt all becomes flight of fantasy. Or does it.

Man's imagination is vast and uncharted.

Um, no. In 50 or 100 years, assuming we haven't entered a new Dark Age from some catastrophe, we'll still have the records we have today. That near term, we'll also have oral accounts from eye witnesses who are still alive. And if we do have a catastrophe large enough to destroy enough records to make it unclear this is all pretend, it will take centuries before any descendants will be able to put together the pieces enough to read our DVDs and other data again. They'll probably also have to forget what "science fiction" on dust jackets means, too. And your suggestion that all of what we think about previous epochs may be similarly in doubt categorically ignores supporting evidence from archaeology and other sciences.

Re:Great Writer (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632595)

...And your suggestion that all of what we think about previous epochs may be similarly in doubt categorically ignores supporting evidence from archaeology and other sciences. Mormonism exists, (despite lack of evidence to back it up, and evidence to contradict the "Book of Mormon"), doesn't it? No evidence, and contradicting evidence is a mainstay of religious belief.

Earl Holliman forever etched in our minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29627797)

Now, who the hell is Earl Holliman?

Re:Earl Holliman forever etched in our minds (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634539)

Male lead on the old old tv series "Policewoman"

BSD is twilighting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29627807)

Yet another sickening blow has struck what's left of the *BSD community, as a soon-to-be-released report by the independent Commision for Technology Management (CTM) after a year-long study has concluded: *BSD is already dead. Here are some of the commission's findings:

        Fact: the *BSDs have balkanized yet again. There are now no less than twelve separate, competing *BSD projects, each of which has introduced fundamental incompatibilities with the other *BSDs, and frequently with Unix standards. Average number of developers in each project: fewer than five. Average number of users per project: there are no definitive numbers, but reports show that all projects are on the decline.

        Fact: X.org will not include support for *BSD. The newly formed group believes that the *BSDs have strayed too far from Unix standards and have become too difficult to support along with Linux and Solaris x86. "It's too much trouble," said one anonymous developer. "If they want to make their own standards, let them doing the porting for us."

        Fact: DragonflyBSD, yet another offshoot of the beleaguered FreeBSD "project", is already collapsing under the weight of internal power struggles and in-fighting. "They haven't done a single decent release," notes Mark Baron, an industry watcher and columnist. "Their mailing lists read like an online version of a Jerry Springer episode, complete with food fights, swearing, name-calling, and chair-throwing." Netcraft reports that DragonflyBSD is run on exactly 0% of internet servers.

        Fact: There are almost no FreeBSD developers left, and its use, according to Netcraft, is down to a sadly crippled .005% of internet servers. A recent attempt at a face-to-face summit in Boulder, Colorado culminated in an out-and-out fistfight between core developers, reportedly over code commenting formats (tabs vs. spaces). Hotel security guards broke up the melee and banned the participants from the hotel. Two of the developers were hospitalized, and one continues to have his jaw wired shut.

        Fact: NetBSD, which claims to focus on portability (whatever that is supposed to mean), is slow, and cannot take advantage of multiple CPUs. "That about drove the last nail in the coffin for BSD use here," said Michael Curry, CTO of Amazon.com. "We took our NetBSD boxes out to the backyard and shot them in the head. We're much happier running Linux."

        Fact: *BSD has no support from the media. Number of Linux magazines available at bookstores: 5 (Linux Journal, Linux World, Linux Developer, Linux Format, Linux User). Number of available *BSD magazines: 0. Current count of Linux-oriented technical books: 1071. Current count of *BSD books: 6.

        Fact: Many user-level applications will no longer work under *BSD, and no one is working to change this. The GIMP, a Photoshop-like application, has not worked at all under *BSD since version 1.1 (sorry, too much trouble for such a small base, developers have said). OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office clone, has never worked under *BSD and never will. ("Why would we bother?" said developer Steven Andrews, an OpenOffice team lead.)

        Fact: servers running OpenBSD, which claims to focus on security, are frequently compromised. According to Jim Markham, editor of the online security forum SecurityWatch, the few OpenBSD servers that exist on the internet have become a joke among the hacker community. "They make a game out of it," he says. "(OpenBSD leader) Theo [de Raadt] will scramble to make a new patch to fix one problem, and they've already compromised a bunch of boxes with a different exploit."

        With these incontroverible facts staring (what's left of) the *BSD community in the face, they can only draw one conclusion: *BSD is already dead.

Scary Stuff (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29627813)

I still get the hee-bee-jeebies about ventriloquist dummies after I watched The Dummy when I was like four or five years old. It's actually pretty amazing, which cheesy late 1950s early 1960s special effects that a lot of the stories are incredibly powerful. Serling and the writers he got make scripts were some of the best the business ever had.

Re:Scary Stuff (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628211)

Serling and the writers he got make scripts were some of the best the business ever had.

Believe it or not, the majority of Twilight Zone episodes merely adapted episodes of the radio series Dimension-X (and X Minus One, itself both continuing and drawing heavily on Dimension-X material) to TV.

But aside from that detail, yeah, I'll agree, some of the best.

My Favorite (and Only) Rod Serling Story (4, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630371)

It goes like this... a buddy of mine was going to Cornell at the time, which as you may know is a stone's throw from Ithaca College... It was a dark and stormy night... quite literally... my friend is driving back to campus and sees this one lone guy, trenchcoat, hat pulled down, making his way through the pouring rain... small college town, he does what any decent person would do, he pulls over to see if he can give the guy a lift... by now you know that guy is Rod Serling... my buddy pulls the window down, and Serling smiles and says something like, "You've just crossed over!"

Apparently, Rod Serling used to do "the hitchhiker bit" ALL THE TIME around Cornell -- he got a big kick out of the expressions on the good samaritan's faces when they realized who they had just picked up...

Re:Scary Stuff (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630683)

Believe it or not, the majority of Twilight Zone episodes merely adapted episodes of the radio series Dimension-X (and X Minus One, itself both continuing and drawing heavily on Dimension-X material) to TV.

Well, to be more accurate, they all drew from the same short stories. Most of Dimension X and X-1 shows were adapted from the sci-fi short stories of the day.

Which reminds me, since the infamous Capricorn One is mentioned here from time to time, the basic premise of *that* abomination actually comes from the X-1 show The Cave of Darkness (which I believe is also the name of the original short story). The X-1 story, however, is actually quite good especially since it was not also melded with Fake Moon Landing conspiracy theories. Of course, the great Buzz Aldrin has already shown us how to deal with people like that! [youtube.com]

Re:Scary Stuff (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631259)

Believe it or not, the majority of Twilight Zone episodes merely adapted episodes of the radio series Dimension-X (and X Minus One

I don't believe it:

Dimension X [archive.org]

Neither do I believe that broadcasts of stories like The Veldt have entered the public domain, as alleged by archive.org.

Destination X looked to stories like First Contact, Destination Moon, A Pebble in the Sky. You can't fault these choices for a hard core sci-fi series.

But The Twilight Zone mined very different ground.

Re:Scary Stuff (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631583)

Neither do I believe that broadcasts of stories like The Veldt have entered the public domain, as alleged by archive.org.

Actually, the radio broadcast has entered public domain, even though the original short story is still under copyright. I know this makes no sense, but as Mark Twain once quipped, even God can't make sense of the copyright laws.

Science Fiction: Substance vs. Fluff (5, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628585)

The "Twilight Zone" is an example of good writing, acting, and directing. So, this television show remains popular even after 50 years.

In recent years, many directors have forgotten that slick special effects do not compensate for poor storytelling. Consider "Star Trek V" (directed by William Shatner) and "Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace" (directed by George Lucas). Both movies are packed with colorful special effects generated by sophisticated computers.

Yet, I prefer the black-and-white story of the "Twilight Zone".

Re:Scary Stuff (2, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630863)

My mother met Rod Serling at a writer's conference (she wrote Disney comic books and a few of the old Crusader Rabbit scripts. Fast company!)

She said Serling was very short and extremely charismatic.

Come to think of it, my little sister is a bit under-height for our family...

Re:Scary Stuff (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632403)

She said Serling was very short and extremely charismatic.

I met one of his cousins 15 years ago and she was also very short. While she may not have been as charismatic as Rod, she was friendly and an interesting conversationalist.

culture... (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29627861)

... and now it lives on as a ringtone and a diddy we hum whenever something weird happens.

Re:culture... (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630053)

I've always wondered why, when the Ventures appropriated the music from the Twilight Zone, they went and called it "Out Of Limits". Retaliation for not getting permission, maybe.

Oblig. futurama reference (5, Funny)

FireofEvil (1637185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29627873)

You are entering the vicinity of an area adjacent to a location. The kind of place where there might be a monster, or some kind of weird mirror. These are just examples; it could also be something much better. Prepare to enter: The Scary Door.

Re:Oblig. futurama reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29628163)

Eh, saw it coming.

Re:Oblig. futurama reference (2, Funny)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628331)

Scientist: "I have combined the DNA of the world's most evil animals to make the most evil creature of them all."

Evil Creature: "It turns out it's man!"

(The Scary Door [metacafe.com] )

Re:Oblig. futurama reference (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630389)

"Saw it coming." - Bender

Re:Oblig. futurama reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29630617)

"Saw it coming."

That's what she said.

Re:Oblig. futurama reference (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630847)

And now with soundtrack:

Noonee Noona! Noonee Noona! Noonee Noona! Noonee Noona! Pling! Pling! Pling! Pling!

Re:Oblig. futurama reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29638061)

Maybe you drive at night and your eyes fall out.
It rains kittens and your wings begins to blur.
Prepare to enter the scary Door. ~epSos.de

Always funny how geeks combine words.

Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29627919)

I like the Twilight Zone but the show has a tendency to be more super natural than science fiction. The Outer Limits explains anything "super natural" as being caused by aliens and many of their shows incorporate science into their plots. For example, Think Like A Dinosaur [hulu.com] brings in the whole transporting folks issue: "beaming" the information to another place, being left with a "copy" and then having to destroy the copy. That was something I read in Scientific American not too long ago. In that article, a physicist talked about using quantum entanglement to instantaneously send the information of a person somewhere else, create the person there, create a copy and then having to destroy the original. It also discussed the ethics of it. There it is in a plot.

Both shows can be a little preachy, but the Twilight Zone can get a little overboard. But then again, Rod Serling intended that when he created the show. Speaking of Rod Serling, a great show about him and his creations at PBS [pbs.org]

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

spazekaat (991287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628293)

That's the "new" Outer Limits" series you're thinking about. You should really try to watch the original series, produced around the same time as the original TZ....quite different, if not as scary.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29628441)

I find it hard to say that either series wasn't scifi enough. They were both very influential and have a huge overlap in fans and the emotional response that they generated.

The earliest OL episodes were actually over-reliant on monsters or "the bear" as the plot element was know in the production and they attempted to go more "hard science" in future episodes.

TZ did have its share of "super" natural elements. Episodes like "The Masks" were clearly morality plays with no scientific explanation for how the grotesques become the physical faces of the characters. But most times the super natural stuff was shown not to really exist but to have come from within the minds of men.

I think "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" showed much of what Serling felt about the human condition. They episode did have aliens, but they merely existed to exploit our humanity and step out of the way to let us destroy ourselves.

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices. To be found only in the minds of men.

I think a lot of what appeared super natural in TZ was just the completely natural result of the magical thinking of the mad apes that inhabit the Twilight Zone.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (5, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629431)

So what you're saying is you have a hard time with any kind of fiction that's not science fiction?

The Twilight Zone was never pitched as a science fiction show. In his intros during the opening credits, Serling specifically says things like, "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."

The point was not to tell you a cool story with aliens and space ships in it, or to speculate on what the future would be like (though some episodes had these elements). The point was to present teleplays that used elements of the fantastic as shortcuts that allowed the show to present universal moral dilemmas and commentary on the human condition within its half-hour format. If you can't deal with that because it doesn't include aliens, then I suspect you've been missing out on a vast world of literature and ideas.

So often I read Slashdot and I see all these smart people, and then every kind of discussion of any fiction or entertainment is always science fiction. And then there's always one of those "Star Trek vs. Star Wars" nerd who will jump in and scream, "That's not really science fiction, it's fantasy! IT'S FANTASY!!!!" Y'know... who cares? Good stories are good stories.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629887)

So what you're saying is you have a hard time with any kind of fiction that's not science fiction?

Nope.

I merely expressed a preference. That's all and it's nothing more. I respect Serling's immensely. I just prefer The Outer Limits over the Twilight Zone and I expressed why I have that preference. Everything else you projected onto my post - which is easy to do, especially here on Slashdot because of all the Star Wars vs. whatever statements you have pointed out.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630893)

I merely expressed a preference. That's all and it's nothing more.

I think there's a little more to it that than. When you compare, you are making an implicit claim that the two are comparable. What if I had said, "I prefer Snoop Dog's Doggystyle to Twilight Zone." Are the two really comparable? A music album compared to a TV series? Why would the two be comparable? Or how about, "I prefer hand-made Swiss watches to Twilight Zone"...? People would say that that's non-nonsensical, and it is. But your comparison is sensical. Why? Because they have an element in common.

The implicit claim is that they have something in common and they 'compete' with one another in this aspect -- that one is worse or better than the other in this dimension that they have in common.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630853)

So what you're saying is you have a hard time with any kind of fiction that's not science fiction?

Perhaps they're saying that this note doesn't belong on slashdot, but on cinemabuffs.com or something like that.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632349)

The point was not to tell you a cool story with aliens and space ships in it

Uh, guy? Maybe you and Sarah Palin consider this science fiction, but let me tell you, it ain't.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632807)

Uh, guy? Maybe you and Dubya have no reading comprehension, but he just said the Twilight Zone's focus wasn't science fiction.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (0, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632885)

You missed GPs point. See we educated people know very exactly, when something we see is physically unthinkable and impossible. Which is what's the difference between SciFi and Fantasy.
The thing is, that every story, every game, book, movie or whatever, as soon as it loses its believability, it loses the viewer. Like how the current Star Trek movie failed, when you saw nobody running away in terror, when Spock drove that giant mass of red matter (of which previously a tiny drop killed a whole planet) into the space-time rift / huge ship. Or like in Hellboy, when you saw that they obviously "flew" trough air from the explosion on invisible wires/strings, as if it were rails. Etc. (This is basic theory of story telling I'm explaining here!)

So Fantasy can not ever possibly be a good story for anyone who understands physics. We can follow bullshit like that. It disgusts us. And therefore loses us.
Then again, if someone's dumb enough to be unable to detect its failure, he will love it. Simple as that.

And the same reason why "hypnosis" does not "work" on us.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29633013)

Of course I meant "We can't follow bullshit like that". No idea where the "'t" went. ^^

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29639615)

The thing is, that every story, every game, book, movie or whatever, as soon as it loses its believability, it loses the viewer . . . So Fantasy can not ever possibly be a good story for anyone who understands physics. We can follow bullshit like that. It disgusts us. And therefore loses us.
Then again, if someone's dumb enough to be unable to detect its failure, he will love it. Simple as that.

Yeeee-eeaaahhhh, so what you're saying is that you can't deal with any form of fiction that's not science fiction?

Seriously: Consider the Twilight Zone episode where the aliens come down to Maple Street and turn on and off the lights and mess with people's cars and everything turns into chaos. That was clearly impossible. The aliens at the end were just a couple of dudes with some wireless box full of buttons. That disgusts you?

On a related note, there's a chapter in Moby Dick where Melville explains that some people have supposed that whales are mammals, but he has it on good authority that this is bullshit and they are in fact fish. What a garbage book, huh? The guy doesn't even know his marine biology.

And since you brought up physics, faster-than-light travel is impossible. So there goes your Star Trek analogy.

Re:Twilight Zone isn't SciFi enough. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642111)

Well, you prove right there, how lack in imagination, lack in knowledge of physical possibilities, and lack of understanding my question proves that you are the very fantasy-loving idiot I talked about.

I never watched Twilight Zone. So I can't comment on that. Either I was too young, or it was not interesting to me.

Your Moby Dick example is a straw man argument, and I don't know if I should simply laugh at you, or if you are able to grasp the point, that what Melville believes to be true in that world, is not actually what is true in that world. Which is the very point of the book. He's fucked up (much like you), but he is not the story. He's a character in the story. One that is supposed to make no sense. And only trough knowing what is possible in that world (same things that are possible here), can we even see that he makes no sense.
I guess when someone tells you that the floor is made out of water, you instantly start moving like you're sinking, right? Same thing.

You obviously put no thought into that Star Trek example. Because then you would have noticed that they do not actually travel faster than light, but bend the universe around them. Something which theoretically is entirely possible in our current theories of the universe. And: Oh yes! I checked this. Or else I would not have watched the series.

You see: Your simple mind once again trapped you in mediocre reasoning and false paradigms. Does not change a thing about what I said.

article cites Robert Thompson = fluff piece (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29627929)

Any time I see an article citing Robert Thompson I become biased against it. That guy is number one in the lazy journalist's address book. He's quoted in multiple articles every week and yet never seems to say anything. Do a search for him on google news [google.com] on any random day and you will find tons of fluff pieces quoting him. I don't know how the guy finds any time to do any academic work.

WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

spazekaat (991287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628155)

I'm in my mid 50-s and still vaguely remember TTZ and TOL......they scared the crap out of me back then!! ;-( Fortunately, one of my cable providers broadcasts TTW on Saturday nights......it's really good to see those episodes after all these years. Sadly, I haven't found a source for the original Outer Limits......I should really consider looking into DVD sets... :-))

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

spazekaat (991287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628245)

I believe that a couple of episodes starred a young Leonard Nimoy and Jack Klugman (different episodes)......and a few others whose careers were started/enhanced thanks to TTZ.....right???

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628729)

You may have been thinking William Shatner instead of Leonard Nimoy. I remember the scary monster on the airplane wing episode when it first aired and when seeing it again a few years alter was surprised to realize that Shatner had the lead role in that episode.

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (2, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630237)

Shanter showed up in two episodes - the airplane one and one where his character and his newlywed wife discover a fortune telling machine in a small town.

  Nimoy also showed up in an episode dealing with WWII and seeing things through the eyes of both American and Japanese troops.

I finally got a Tivo awhile back and Twilight Zone is one of the first shows I had it start recording. It's amazing the actors that have appeared on that show.

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630267)

Loenard Nimoy had a very early SF role as an alien in the Republic serial "Zombies of the Stratosphere", and multiple appearances on the Outer limits. For original Twilight Zone, he's on record for only one appearance: "A Quality of Mercy" (Season 3, Ep. 15 - 1961). He also played a young hood in Dragnet and several appearances on the Virginian in his earliest career.

      One notable early appearance for Twilight Zone - Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson in "Two", where they are the only actors appearing in the whole episode.

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631591)

Nimoy also ended up in rawhide.

You couldn't tell if he was an Indian, a Vulcan or a Romulan. '-)

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634607)

The other notable thing you forgot to mention. Charles Bronson plays someone who rejects violence in that episode and sticks to it! Montgomery pulls her part of the show as well It's definitely one of the must see episodes of the Zone. Some of the best Zones are the ones with no dialogue such as the one with the lone woman who's menaced by the minature aliens who land on her roof. BTW, as far as the poster above who has a problem with the fact that the Zone isn't SF (whatever the heck that means in these days) You probably don't enjoy Ray Bradbury that much either I imagine, or for that matter Star Trek which really is fantasy magick dressed up in chrome and plastic. Science Fiction is becoming a category in which fewer and fewer people can agree on the defining boundaries. I've actually become more interested in speculative fiction something that's a bit more inclusive and more defining.

Re:WOW! I *am* old!!!! (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630275)

I don't believe he ever "starred" in an episode, but he did have a minor role in A Quality of Mercy [wikipedia.org] .

-Mike

Veiled? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628169)

I don't see what was particularly veiled about the commentary in the show. Half the time, Serling himself would outright state the moral the end, or the beginning.

Favorite Twilight Episodes (2, Interesting)

mrflash818 (226638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628175)

Some of my favorites:
1. The Pitch - to distract Death from taking a little girl.
2. Santa's sack - the bum giving presents to all. ...and many more, but those are the two on my mind.

50yrs! Wow.... I feel old :)

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29628215)

Best one was 'To Serve Man'

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (2, Informative)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628303)

I believe the first one you cite was called "One for the Angels," and the second was "Night of the Meek."

Another good one was "Two," with Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery.

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631511)

Another good one was "Two," with Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery.

And great though it is, it's hard to imagine a stranger pairing than the guy from Death Wish and the chick from Bewitched.

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (1)

j_rhoden (214320) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628349)

"Time Enough At Last" - Burgess Meredith's best Twilight Zone performance. He was also awesome in "Printer's Devil"

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629677)

"The Arrival", a DC-3 lands at an airport with no crews, passengers, or luggage-- and despite being a normally-scheduled flight, no family members of the passengers inquire about the status of the flight. An FAA investigator, assisted by the airline's PR guy and ground crew, tries to figure out what happened.

About 20 minutes in there's a scene that's just amazingly mind-blowing. (The last 10 minutes or so, unfortunately, are kind of wasted. But alas.)

The Shatner one with the airplane and gremlin (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631161)

...would be my #3 favorite.

Especially nice was how a final scene shows the engine cowling with all the claw damage, so the viewer gets to know it wasn't hallucination.

Room for one more, honey . . . (1)

93,000 (150453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632427)

Haven't see the episode since I was probably 8 (c. 27 years ago), but that line still gives me chills.

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632527)

Great show, used to watch it as a kid.

The episodes that stuck with me:

The kid whose parents are worried because he has to go sit a test. He does too well, and is never seen again. That one stuck with me through high school.

The button, where this family is given a button that will give them a million dollars, and kill someone who they don't know. (being made into a movie).

Re:Favorite Twilight Episodes (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642119)

One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes was the Misfits of Zante, with those strange little ant-like creatures that turn out to be exiled prisoners from another planet. I liked 'em all though. Used to watch them by myself late at night in re-runs as a kid and some of them were quite chilling.

Public Domain (where I live). (2, Funny)

gslj (214011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628377)

Fifty years, which means each season is now falling one year at a time into the public domain in Canada. Yay!

-Gareth

Oh did they really? (1)

Hattmannen (658936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628453)

Sorry to be nitpicking here but:

'You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone.'

Is not what the intro to my first episode says... I wasn'a around at the time, and YouTube stated it was down for maintenance when I was going to check the link.
However;
The intro to the first episode (1959) that I watched says:

'You're traveling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wonderous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. At the sign-post up ahead, your next stop - The Twilight Zone'

I guess there may have been alternate intros though...

Re:Oh did they really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29628957)

"'You're traveling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wonderous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. At the sign-post up ahead, your next stop - The Twilight Zone'" That's how I remember the line, as well!
I just turned 50 my-self, and own 4 TZ dvd's from the earliest years, but it isn't chronicological (oops..I mean in chronological order), and my fave is a toss-up 'tween "Time Enough At Last" and "the Shatner sees the Gremlin one.
I have, ever since, kept a spare pair of glasses with me, (just in case) and I feel a little weird getting a window seat on the wing each time I fly, whether I asked for it or not!

whew (4, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628493)

I first saw the word Twilight in the title and was instantly appalled about a Twilight story on /. thankfully initial impressions were wrong.

Re:whew (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628813)

You were probably zoning out while reading.

Re:whew (1)

tx2 (1646817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629345)

What's interesting is that you still clicked on the story anyway. +1 for non-targeted advertising

Re:whew (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632769)

I first saw the word Twilight in the title and was instantly appalled about a Twilight story on /. thankfully initial impressions were wrong.

You're moving into a land of both werewolves and vampires, of proms and screaming teenagers. You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone.

Na na na na, na na na na ....

Re:whew (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634241)

I first saw the word Twilight in the title and was instantly appalled about a Twilight story on /. thankfully initial impressions were wrong.

I made the mistake of watching that utter piece of shit the other day. Why the fuck didn't someone warn me it was just a vampire themed episode of the Gilmore Girls? Weakest vampire film ever. And I'm including kiddy cartoons.

Re:whew (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29636703)

Craig Ferguson (of the Late Late Show) had the best joke about it: Vampires with 6 pack abs! Do they come out at night to go to (in vampire mock-scary voice) Goooold's Gym! Then Craig does an impression of Sesame Street's The Count while miming a bench press: "One! One Repetition! Two! Two repetitions!"

He hates these so called Vampires because they should really be pasty white and frail.

ohman maybe offtopic but all for Craig

Re:whew (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643687)

You've just crossed over...

Wait, Hold-Up... (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628621)

You mean to say that you actually got stuck in the Twilight Zone for 50 years ?

Imitation shows (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628883)

The Twilight Zone spawned a lot of great imitators in the 80's and 90's. My favorite was Friday the 13th [wikipedia.org] . They carried the torch for presenting bizarre concepts that stretched your mind. My favorite was a woman from our modern times that gets drawn back in time to the Puritan era. When she lights up a cigarette with a BIC lighter they say she is a witch - "She make fire without flint nor tinder." Great show.

Re:Imitation shows (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629923)

In the same genre though more fluffy was Amazing Stories TV series in the 80s and Amazing Stories: The Movie. I like the old man who gets on the ghost train that crashes through the house. "Thank you, Mr. Coffee!"

Lots of guest stars on that one.

Re:Imitation shows (1)

Steve001 (955086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630025)

tedgyz wrote:

The Twilight Zone spawned a lot of great imitators in the 80's and 90's. My favorite was Friday the 13th. They carried the torch for presenting bizarre concepts that stretched your mind. My favorite was a woman from our modern times that gets drawn back in time to the Puritan era. When she lights up a cigarette with a BIC lighter they say she is a witch - "She make fire without flint nor tinder." Great show.

One of my favorites of the Twilight-Zone (TZ) type shows is "Freddy's Nightmares," especially the first season shows. Although they tended to fall into the horror genre, they also had a nice touch of humor at times.

One common feature of the later TZ type shows is that they usually had a frame in which the stories would be fit (and would often drive the story forward. With "Friday The 13th The Series" the search for cursed objects provided the frame for the stories. With "Freddy's Nightmares" the first story would often dovetail neatly into the second story (often a character from the first story would be the focus of the second story). Although the stories did often feature a moral, the main character usually wasn't around to learn it.

This wasn't just limited to the TZ. "The Love Boat" was basically "Love, American Style" on a boat, with the crew and boat providing the frame for stories. Also, like the TZ, "Love, American Style" also had a 1980s revival although it was only on for a short time.

As far as my favorite TZ episodes, I think it is "The Obsolete Man. Although it doesn't get the attention of "Time Enough At Last" it too features terrific performance by Burgess Meredith.

Re:Imitation shows (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631343)

The Twilight Zone spawned a lot of great imitators in the 80's and 90's. My favorite was Friday the 13th. They carried the torch for presenting bizarre concepts that stretched your mind. My favorite was a woman from our modern times that gets drawn back in time to the Puritan era. When she lights up a cigarette with a BIC lighter they say she is a witch - "She make fire without flint nor tinder." Great show.

There are those who call her...Tim?

But the real question would have to be, does she weigh the same as a duck?

It's the lighting...and the writing (1)

pokechop (1437139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628955)

Besides the sheer excellence of the dialogue (economy and concision seem to be lost arts), the thing that constantly knocks me out about this (fifty year old!) show is the absolute beauty of the lighting and cinematography. Nothing beats luminous black&white on 16 mm film for expressiveosity. My opinion, you're welcome to it.

Charles Beaumont wowed by big budget (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29628999)

1) Before the show premiered, a science fiction writer named Charles Beaumont, one of whose stories was adapted for an early script, wrote a piece in one of the magazines raving about the show and the big budget and production values. I recall him saying "I couldn't believe it! They actually built a roller-coaster on the set." According to him SF was finally getting taken seriously and getting the respect it deserved.

2) But, personally, I never liked it. My recollection is that none of the stories ever resolved. That always seemed sloppy and lazy to me. The basic Twilight Zone plot always seemed to be: a) Creepy, weird, moderately intriguing things start to happen for no reason. b) Things continue to happen. c) Finally, things stop happening, for no reason. I always felt cheated. Couldn't the writer at least have taken the time to, say, have someone throw a bucket of water on whatever creepy entity was doing the weird things, and have the entity scream "No! No! I can't stand water! I'm melllltttting! I'm melllllttting!" Or end with the main character waking up and finding out that It Was All A Dream? :-) Well, maybe a little bit more clever than that; but it's those little touches of verisimilitude that distinguish SF from fantasy and help suspend disbelief. I always felt that The Twilight Zone was unequivocally fantasy, not science fiction.

Re:Charles Beaumont wowed by big budget (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629865)

Someone else posted this to a similar complaint above, but Twilight Zone was never sold as science fiction. Most episodes do rely on some kind of supernatural element, but that doesn't *necessarily* imply that it's science fiction-- many of the best episodes are about things that occur only in a person's mind, and how reality differs.

Look at, for example, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" which is a faithful adaptation of a short story with absolutely no science fiction elements at all.

Compare that to The Outer Limits, which *was* science fiction by editorial mandate-- not only that, but each episode had to feature a monster.

Re:Charles Beaumont wowed by big budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29632305)

Look at, for example, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" which is a faithful adaptation of a short story with absolutely no science fiction elements at all.

Bad example. The series was over budget, so they bought the TV rights for "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" for $10,000, which allowed them to actually finish the season under budget. This episode was not produced by Rod Serling, who introduced it as follows:

Tonight is a presentation so special and unique that, for the first time we've been presenting The Twilight Zone, we're offering a film shot in France by others. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival of 1962, as well as other international awards, here is a haunting study of the incredible, from the past master of the incredible, Ambrose Bierce, Here is the French production of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge".

Re:Charles Beaumont wowed by big budget (2, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630349)

You probably have to see more episodes. Yeah - some ended along the lines of "wow - what was that - guess we'll never know." But a lot of them had pretty solid endings. A few that come to mind...

A passenger bus stops off at a small roadway diner with a problem - somehow they ended up with one more than the passenger manifest claims should be there. The mystery is solved after the bus leaves and all are presumed drowned when the bus crosses an unstable bridge. All, except for one gentleman who returns to the diner to smugly announce that not only is he the extra passenger, but he's from mars and colonization will begin soon. Only he finds out that the lonely Sodajerk is really from Venus and his people intercepted the Martian ship on their way to colonize earth.

A local policeman visits a high-strung independence-minded City girl trying to get away from it all. Odd things happen and eventually, it appears that a massive alien has landed and threatens them. But it turns out it's all a ruse - the monster alien is a decoy. The tiny aliens flee, realizing their attempts to conquer through terror have failed.

A wife accompanys her husband on a flight home after spending time at a hospital recovering from a nervous breakdown. Things are looking bright until the man sees a ape-like gremlin on the wing. He is alone in witnessing the creature slowly take interest in tearing the wing apart. Unable to get any help, he decides to take matters in his own hands, belts himself in, pops an escape hatch, and fires at the creature as the cabin decompression almost sucks him out of the aircraft. The aircraft makes an emergency landing and the audience is left wondering if this man was really unstable... until the camera pans over to some airport mechanics discovering a portion of the wing torn up in an unexplainable manner.

It's not resolution that you're missing. It's the fact that the Twilight Zone was a mix of scifi, horror, and fantasy when you're expecting nothing but scifi.

Re:Charles Beaumont wowed by big budget (2, Interesting)

gslj (214011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630915)

My recollection is that none of the stories ever resolved. That always seemed sloppy and lazy to me. The basic Twilight Zone plot always seemed to be: a) Creepy, weird, moderately intriguing things start to happen for no reason. b) Things continue to happen. c) Finally, things stop happening, for no reason. I always felt cheated. Couldn't the writer at least have taken the time to, say, have someone throw a bucket of water on whatever creepy entity was doing the weird things, and have the entity scream "No! No! I can't stand water! I'm melllltttting! I'm melllllttting!" Or end with the main character waking up and finding out that It Was All A Dream? :-) Well, maybe a little bit more clever than that; but it's those little touches of verisimilitude that distinguish SF from fantasy and help suspend disbelief. I always felt that The Twilight Zone was unequivocally fantasy, not science fiction.

Actually, I've been showing season one of the Twilight Zone to my students for a while (as an alternative to reading more short stories, and as a treat), and I can't say that I agree with your impression. My favourite one ("Time Enough at Last") has the dramatic unities of time, space, and character and resolves, tragically. My second favourite ("The After Hours") resolves when the main character finds out and accepts who she is. "What You Need" resolves when a conflict between characters ends (I won't say how and spoil it). "The Monsters on Maple Street" ends when the reason for all the activity is revealed. "The Obsolete Man" ends satisfyingly. I could go on.

There's no arguing over taste, and you're welcome to dislike it, but I've turned modern teenagers who hate black-and-white shows into fans who beg for yet another episode. There is an integrity in the writing and acting on The Twilight Zone that still captures.

By the way, does anyone remember Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" with fondness?

-Gareth

Re:Charles Beaumont wowed by big budget (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29634635)

By the way, does anyone remember Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" with fondness? -Gareth

From what I gather Rod Serling did not. He was basically screwed over and the network welched on the promise that it wouldn't become a "Witches and Warlock" type of show.

WHERE ARE YOOOOOOU? (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29636313)

But, personally, I never liked it. My recollection is that none of the stories ever resolved. That always seemed sloppy and lazy to me. The basic Twilight Zone plot always seemed to be: a) Creepy, weird, moderately intriguing things start to happen for no reason. b) Things continue to happen. c) Finally, things stop happening, for no reason. I always felt cheated.

It sounds like Scooby Doo was using the story-telling pattern which you click with best. Mysterious force appears, wrangling with said force, and then, "It was the theme-park operator the whole time! He just wanted the oil drilling rights! (--And he'd have gotten them too, if it weren't for those meddling kids!)

Twilight Zone (which I loved), was weirdness as it often unfolds for real; people are overwhelmed and incapable of pulling together the smarts, strength and social-support/networking required to unravel baffling and upsetting events. My only disappointment with Scooby Doo is that they never actually ran into something which didn't have a mundane explanation. I would have liked to have seen the Scooby Gang deal with the real supernatural while keeping their wits about them. Even super-weird stuff has its roots and reasons and can be worked out and understood.

-FL

Also it spawned... (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29629863)

Arguably one of the best pinball games ever made, amongst pinball aficionados. TZ always represented the best 80s era pinball, and Mars Attacks! the best 1990s era pinball. A friend of mine owns both.

Re:Also it spawned... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630403)

Agreed. Battle The Power is still the best pinball minigame I've ever played. Also got to love how the game had MAGNETS under the table that it could randomly activate to (literally!) throw a curve ball at you!

So much to love about this show! (3, Insightful)

QuatermassX (808146) | more than 4 years ago | (#29630721)

I spent my adolescence staying up all night throughout the summer watching The Twilight Zone on WPIX Channel 11 from New York City (after Star Trek at midnight) and ticking off the episodes in my Twilight Zone Companion.

Although the narrative twists became a wee bit predictable when watched night after night, the humour and humanism of Serling's own scripts and choice of material from others kept the show fresh.

So many poignant moments that showed me what it meant to grow up and grow old, revealed the motivations of others in the adult world. I'm thinking of "A Stop at Willoughby", "Nothing in the Dark" with Robert Redford and Gladys Cooper, and "A Passage for Trumpet" with Jack Klugman - amongst all the other famous episodes.

Bernard Herrmann's music also thrilled me with the evocations of his work with Hitchcock and his own personal projects from the 1930's and 40's. And I was introduced to the work of Richard Matheson through The Twilight Zone and eventually found an old cheap edition of I Am Legend and wondered why it wasn't known more widely.

How I love this show. I need to order the complete series now!

Re:So much to love about this show! (1, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632903)

Was it worth not having any sex at all during adolescence? ^^

Re:So much to love about this show! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29642125)

Hey, let's call this "knife-in-wound troll moderation"! ^^

I clearly hit the bullseye there, didn't it? :D

Twilight zone radio (4, Interesting)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631101)

A good number of the TV shows have been rewritten and re-acted for audio only. I believe it's a syndicated radio show in some areas, but we bought the CDs. My son enjoyed these in his early teens, and we often listened to them with the lights off when he went to bed. As a result I've collected all 13(?) volumes (10 stories/volume). (twilightzoneradio.com if it interests you.)

Re:Twilight zone radio (1)

Steve001 (955086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29638883)

ortholattice wrote:

A good number of the TV shows have been rewritten and re-acted for audio only. I believe it's a syndicated radio show in some areas, but we bought the CDs. My son enjoyed these in his early teens, and we often listened to them with the lights off when he went to bed. As a result I've collected all 13(?) volumes (10 stories/volume). (twilightzoneradio.com if it interests you.)

I agree with you that the Twilight Zone Radio Dramas are excellent. One of the best things about them is that they take the original episodes and enhance them (possible since they are longer than 30 minutes and have no commercial breaks).

One of my favorite stories, The Obsolete Man, features additional scenes where we get to know the lead characters better, learn more about the brutal nature of this future society and how it came to power. Vocally, Jason Alexander does as good a job as Burgess Meredith did in the original episode.

Original Intro... (2, Informative)

bat2k (202393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29631515)

Actually, The original intro played and the one people would have heard 50 years ago was:
"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 Twilight Zone"

I just find it strange in a funny way (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#29632397)

there I am, reading /. and I see the following topics one after the other:

50 Years of the Twilight Zone

Perl 5.11.0 Released

--
Of-course, of-course, Perl is only slightly over 20 years old but I bet Twilight Zone could easily go another 50 years if it used more Perl. Yes, more Perl.

Anne Serling, key writers, and actors interviewed (2, Informative)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635475)

www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2009/10/02

Just listened to this the other night at work--worth finding in U-space. ;-)

The Blue Men (1)

qrichardson (1649781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29637257)

This isn't so much a comment as a request... I've been looking (for years) for an episode that I believe was created during the 80's revival of the series. The episode was about these "blue men" who are constantly building the future, always just a few minutes ahead of us. I've had no luck anywhere finding this ep. It has stood as long running joke with my father and I that if you can't find your keys (wallet, phone, etc) that it was the blue mens fault.
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