The Twilight Zone was a groundbreaking show when it aired from October 2, 1959 to June 19, 1964. Although the show never brought in huge ratings, it was nominated for eight Emmy Awards in total and won two, and has gone down in history as being one of the greatest TV shows of all time. The show has even spawned a TV series and a movie with the same name. It’s been over 50 years since the original show went off the air, so here are 8 things you didn’t know about The Twilight Zone:
8. Developing The Twilight Zone
Creator Rod Serling began writing for television in the 1950s, but he found that he was unable to write about more controversial topics because of the networks and sponsors would censor his scripts. To get around this, he decided to create a science fiction show with robots, aliens and other supernatural occurrences, which he felt would give him more freedom to express controversial ideas. In 1957, he pitched a pilot called “The Time Element” (which would become The Twilight Zone), which was about a man who travels back in time to 1941 to warn everyone about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor, but the script was initially rejected. A year later, producer Bert Granet discovered it and produced it as an episode of the television anthology series Desilu Playhouse. The show was a success, so CBS agreed to let Serling go ahead with his pilot for The Twilight Zone.
7. Calling All Writers!
Although Rod Serling wrote many of the show’s first season episodes, he realized that he could not write all of them, so he invited viewers to send in manuscripts. His staff received up to 14,000 in the first five days and only got around to reading 500 of them. Unfortunately, none met the high standards that Serling had established, so he instead invited a group of established West Coast writers to a screening of the pilot, which is where he found writers Richard Matheson and Charlies Beaumont. Together with Serling, they wrote all but one of the first season’s scripts, as well as most of the series.
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