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The Twilight Zone Turns Fifty

pickens (49171) writes | more than 4 years ago

Sci-Fi 0

pickens writes "On a Friday night on October 2, 1959, Americans began 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 for the original series; Serling wrote 92 of them and other contributors included Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. Anniversary observances are planned at Ithaca College in New York, where Serling taught from 1967 until his death in 1975, and which keeps Serling's archives; and at Antioch College in Ohio, where Serling was a student, met his wife, Carol and later taught. "I don't think he would have thought in a million years that Twilight Zone would be having an important 50th birthday or that it would still be on," says Carol Serling, widow of the show's creator. "Through parable and suggestion, he could make points that he couldn't make on straight television because there were too many sacred cows and sponsors and people who said you couldn't do that.""

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