Eleven fun facts about the dimension of imagination, submitted for your approval – like this one, did you know that May 11 marks National Twilight Zone day? Probably not. For the uninitiated, THE TWILIGHT ZONE is an iconic science fiction anthology series created by Rod Serling that ran on American TV in the early 60s.
The series used elements of fantasy, suspense and horror to stretch the viewers’ imagination, lead them towards an unexpected twist, and often reveal a moral or political message. In honor of National Twilight Zone Day, DMG Entertainment has dived into the unknown and uncovered eleven facts about the series. So get ready to visit the middle ground between science and superstition, here comes our top eleven Twilight Zone fun facts.
Rod Serling was a bona fide badass.
Before Rod Serling created THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Serling served in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division (often called, “The Death Squad”). During his deployment, he earned a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Philippine Liberation Medal. When he wasn’t busy fighting on the front line, Serling was a successful flyweight boxer. After being discharged, Serling tested parachutes and ejection seats to afford his college education. Serling always chased after the most dangerous tests, such as a jet ejection seat that had killed all previous testers.
Orson Welles nearly became the face of the show.
Rod Serling was hesitant about being THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s iconic narrator, so the role nearly went to Orson Welles. However, Welles demanded too much money, pushing Serling to take the role himself.
There was a little confusion over the Twilight Zone’s dimension.
In the series’ pilot episode, Serling wrote the Twilight Zone is in the sixth dimension. However, a CBS executive questioned why he skipped the fifth dimension. Serling quickly realized he forgot a dimension and rewrote the opening narration.
No, you can’t write like Rod Serling.
Serling thought it would be a great idea to let the public pitch their own episode ideas for the series. Serling’s idea didn’t turn out so well. After receiving 14,000 script submissions, he could only get through 500. Why did he stop so early? Out of the 500, Serling only discovered two decent scripts. The kicker: those episodes were never aired.
One of Serling’s iconic lines was only said three times.
Rod Serling’s signature line, “submitted for your approval”, was only said in three episodes out of series’ 153. What episodes were submitted for your approval? “In Praise of Pip”, “A Certain Kind of Stopwatch”, and “Cavender is Coming”.
THE TWILIGHT ZONE helped launch the careers of several future STAR TREK actors.
Three of STAR TREK’s main actors appeared in the TWILIGHT ZONE series, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and George Takei. Shatner starred in two episodes, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Nick of Time”. While Nimoy appeared in “A Quality of Mercy” and Takei appeared in “The Encounter”.
Don’t use the lord’s name in… any context.
TWILIGHT ZONE writer Richard Matheson revealed Serling would not allow any writer to use the word, “God” except himself. If a writer forgot this golden rule, Serling would cross out the word from their drafts. Although the writing team found this restriction strange, no one uncovered the reason behind the rule.
THE TWILIGHT ZONE was a series of firsts.
Rod Serling was a man ahead of his time, and he used THE TWILIGHT ZONE as a platform to make potentially controversial statements. THE TWILIGHT ZONE was the first television series to show the devastating effects of a nuclear attack (“Time Enough at Last”), mention fighting in the Vietnam War (“In Praise of Pip”), and feature black actors (“The Big Tall Wish”).
Serling was not a fan of Hollywood
Although Rod Serling briefly lived in Hollywood, the New York native hated it. Serling believed Hollywood was, “so phony” and feared to become another, “pod person”. At the first chance, Serling left Hollywood and spent his time in Interlaken, N.Y.
So, what were Serling’s favorite episodes?
Serling’s favorite TWILIGHT ZONE episodes were “Walking Distance” and “A Stop at Willoughby”. Why were these episodes his favorite? Both stories focused on middle-aged business men who get the chance to go back in time, touching Serling’s innate feelings of nostalgia.
Serling believed THE TWILIGHT ZONE would be entirely forgotten.
Rod Serling never thought highly of the series. He thought his work would not leave any mark on society and believed the public would forget the series. Serling died in 1975, never to witness THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s strong impact on American culture.
Happy National Twilight Zone Day to all!
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