May 11th Twilight Zone Day

One of the first scary television shows to ever air was Rod Serling’s, the Twilight Zone. The first show aired on October 1st, 1959 and ran through 1964. It seemed as though it ran forever, being one of the most popular shows ever to be produced. Even today, children far too young to have even seen the first episodes seem to know about the show.

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It ran features where normal looking people were considered ugly and were operated on to be made look normal, like those in the photo above. Somehow Serling was able to make these shows look and feel real. Serling was the creator of the show, writer and the narrator introducing each episode in his spooky, mysterious way.

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Perhaps one of the scariest shows was Nightmare at 20,000 feet… where a young William Shattner saw a gremlin on the wing of the airplane he was flying as a passenger in. No one else could see the gremlin as it began to chew on the wing, ripping away the materials holding it together. Of course those on board felt Shattner was insane and actually restrained him. I can’t remember whether the plane crashed or not but it certainly made me look at the wings of any plane I was on for years afterwards.

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Then came the ill fated Twilight Zone movie which actually seemed to fall into a twilight zone of it’s own. Actors died trying to recreate the magic Serling had originally created and the movie never took off as it should have. Beyond the tragedy, the movie done in color could not recreate the black and white effect either.

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The opening whirling spiral captivated audiences and became the trademark opening for the show. Even today, a spinning, black and white spiral takes those of us back to when the show first came out.

How to celebrate – Find reruns of the Twilight Zone to watch. Look up the list of later famous actors that appeared in the Twilight zone episodes. Watch a copy of the Twilight Zone movie.

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May 11th National Twilight Zone Day

One of the most popular television shows in history, Rod Serling invited the viewer into the mysterious, and often disturbing, world of the writers. Most shows were treated as though they were a nightmare and may have been way ahead of their time.

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Beginning on October 1st, 1959, the show ran for 5 years, 1959-1964, yet even children seem to know about the Twilight Zone today. Of course it is in re-runs, but so are hundreds of other shows that are not as well known today.

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Rod Serling always opened the show with some monologue about what you were about to see followed by the spinning swirl taking you into the “Zone”. Many people had nightmares about the shows they saw and the movie attempted years later, was a nightmare of it’s own when two small children and actor Vic Morrow were killed by a helicopter crash on the set.

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Among the most remembered episodes was “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”. In the episode a young William Shatner was the only passenger who could see a creature riding on the wing of an airplane while in flight. The creature was trying to take the wing apart which would ensure the plane would crash.

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In another episode the people all looked distorted as though they had been in some kind of horrid accident. When a normal looking human falls into their hands they do everything they can to make them look just like they do.

This show was always interesting, a little frightening and very entertaining. Though it is over 50 years old some of  the issues dealt with by the writers are issues we still encountered today.

How to celebrate – Find re-runs of “The Twilight Zone” and watch them. Start a “Twilight Zone” fan club.  Watch “The Twilight Zone” movie.