The Twilight Zone debuted on the CBS television network on October 2nd, 1959. Created, narrated, and mostly written by the iconoclastic and visionary TV writer Rod Serling, the sci-fi/fantasy anthology series ran for five mind-blowing years. During that run, the show’s name, its eerie theme music, and even Serling’s distinctive speech cadences became - and still remain - catch-all badges for weirdness, irony, horror, and the surreal. The show’s cult has endured for over 50 years - reruns are still being shown on SyFy - and it inspired two televised revivals and a feature film (none of which were on a par with the quality of the original series, though the film certainly had moments), with a possible third TV revival in the works via director Bryan Singer, and a new film being pitched by Leonardo DiCaprio. Copious information on the series can be found online, and home video episode compilations are plentifully available.
In the annals of television, The Twilight Zone is as close to immortal as it gets.
The series began with the last-man-on-Earth drama “Where Is Everybody?”
It ended with the broadcast of a STUNNING adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.”
In between, the show featured career highlight performances from the likes of Burgess Meredith, William Shatner, Buster Keaton, Veronica Cartwright, and Dennis Hopper, won two Emmys, and made Serling a household name for championing a style of narrative irony that was half O. Henry and half EC Comics. But he had already made enough of a name for himself before The Twilight Zone to merit this marvelous in-depth televised interview with Mike Wallace in 1959. Serling proves as gifted an extemporaneous speaker as Wallace as he details his struggles to maintain writerly integrity and effectively confront social problems in the face of network and sponsor interference. And holy shit, Wallace chain-smoked his way through the whole damn show - how the hell did he live to age 93?
Hat tip to Metafilter user timsteil for inspiring this post