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"Twilight Zone" Premiere

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

October 2, 1959, "The Twilight Zone", created by science fiction screenwriter, playwright, television producer, Rod Serling, premiered as an anthology television series and ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964. Serling was also the host, in which he has gained iconic cult status. The episodes (shot entirely in black and white), are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, absurdism, dystopian fiction, suspense, horror, supernatural drama, black comedy, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. Many of the issues dealt with isolation and the human condition. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes.

The Twilight Zone aired for five seasons (the first three presented half-hour episodes, the fourth had hour-long episodes, and the fifth returned to the half-hour format). It won many television and drama awards and drew critical acclaim for Serling and his co-workers. Although it had loyal fans, "The Twilight Zone" had only moderate ratings and was twice canceled and revived. After five years and 156 episodes (92 written by Serling), he grew weary of the series. In 1964, he decided not to oppose its third and final cancellation. Here is more interesting background about Rod Serling and the creation of Twilight Zone series:

Mr. Serling incorporated his protest against prejudice in vivid dialogue and sound situations. He made his point that hate for a fellow being leads only to the ultimate destruction of the bigoted.

Serling worried that television was on the verge of suffering the same decline as radio. He encouraged sponsors to see television as a platform for the kind of dramatic entertainment that could address important social matters through subtle meanings, instead of being "an animated billboard. Here is a more personal look at Rod Serling being interviewed by Mike Wallace:

In 2016, the series was ranked No. 7 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest shows of all time. TV Guide ranked the original TV series #5 in their 2013 list of the 60 greatest shows of all time and #4 in their list of the 60 greatest dramas.

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