The Twilight Zone featured some of Hollywood's most famous faces… or at least faces that would eventually become famous. Looking back at the original series and seeing such star power, most of whom were just budding actors and actresses at the time, is actually quite interesting. Many of these celebrities may not be familiar to younger readers. However, others should certainly be easily recognizable. One such celeb was William Shatner (a man synonymous with sci-fi) who six years prior to “boldly going where no man had gone before” appeared as a newlywed obsessed with a small diner's spooky fortune-telling machine.
Shatner, as we all know, went on to star in another classic Twilight Zone episode entitled Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, where he played a man slowly driven insane by a creature only he was able to see prancing about on the wing of his plane.
Then of course there was Burgess Meredith, most famously known for his role as Mick, Rocky’s crotchety trainer and the Penguin on the campy 60’s Batman series. Burgess starred in four Twilight Zone episodes: The Obsolete Man, Mr. Dingle, the Strong, Printer’s Devil and Time Enough at Last, which was arguably one of the most famous entries of the original series.
Other notable celebrities included…
Twilight Zone was a unique series in that every episode was a stand-alone piece. Thus, a wide area of flexibility in stories was expertly implemented. Under the umbrella of science fiction the creative possibilities were endless. Episodes ranged from lighthearted and magical to serious works of drama. Elements of horror, fantasy, romance, comedy and suspense all permeated throughout the series. The various blended genres were made to fit Rod’s messages and weekly parables. Indeed, the versatility of premises made each show an ideal platform for Rod to serve as the “Euripides of TV”. Throughout the series he did just that via thought provoking stories and tales of wonder. Most importantly, he avoided network censorship.
A quick sampling of any random episodes of the Twilight Zone reveals the show’s dazzling versatility. One episode would feature a common everyday man (Rod’s favorite personality) plunged into a rather abnormal situation where he was either thrust backward in time or perhaps given a unique power. The following week an episode might involve a larger than life ruthless dictator or a former Nazi getting his comeuppance. Whatever the scenario, one thing is for certain: the Twilight Zone presented viewers with timeless morality tales. Perhaps those closest to Rod described his work best as “wisdom fiction.”
The Twilight Zone was Rod Serling’s baby. Throughout the series he was able to confront his own fears of death, his previously mentioned views on politics and sociological concerns. Overall, Rod delved into the fear of the unknown which he felt was “the most nightmarish of all stimuli”. Granted, many episodes featured supernatural phenomenon and other worldly beings but the series didn’t merely look to the stars, it also took a deep look within at the very heart of humanity.
For those familiar with the series and especially those unfamiliar… we strongly suggest a visit… to The Twilight Zone.
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- - The Angry Young Man: http://fusionfilter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/rod-serling.jpg http://www.b9robotresource.com/images/other/rodserling2b.jpg http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/8554/oboy.jpg http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/375/66381526.jpg http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/1568/ofalltime.jpg
- - The Twists: http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/1949/newms.jpg http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/40/strappedin.jpg http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/1339/gahs.jpg
- - The Celebs: http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/8710/starv.jpg http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/5430/shat.jpg http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/images/2009/1002/1224255669522_1.jpg http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/7910/donb.jpg http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/9414/robred.jpg http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/5075/55316132.jpg http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/9648/68495405.jpg http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/3446/84864645.jpg http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/3658/19048463.jpg
- - The Versatility: http://img541.imageshack.us/img541/6154/dolly.jpg http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/6969/anthonytx.jpg http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/974/aintthat.jpg http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/8775/hitchs.jpg