Trivia Minute October 2, 2015

188: Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” Premieres

by Marcus Michelson

TwilightZone

On this date in 1959, “The Twilight Zone” premiered on CBS television in the United States.

Here are some facts you may not have known about the show and its creator, Rod Serling.

Rod Serling was born in Syracuse, New York in 1924 and grew up in Binghamton, New York. He enlisted in the army immediately after graduating from high school in 1943.

He served in the Pacific, where he saw combat in the Philippines, including the battle of Manila. During his service, Serling was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

After the war, Serling enrolled at Antioch College in Ohio, where he met and married his wife and graduated with a literature degree in 1950.

His first job after graduation was with a radio station in Cincinnati. He also wrote radio scripts on the side. He moved his family to the East Coast in 1953 where he wrote scripts for several television anthology series. Among the notable scripts were “Patterns” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight”

The success of Serling’s 1958 teleplay “The Time Element” convinced CBS to begin production on his own anthology series “The Twilight Zone.”

Serling wrote nearly two-thirds of the episodes, which used science fiction as a means to comment on social issues of the day, including war, communism and mass hysteria.

The premiere episode is titled,”Where is Everybody?” and stars Earl Holliman as a man in an Air Force flight suit wandering through a seemingly abandoned town. It’s revealed later that he’s an astronaut undergoing sensory deprivation and the town is a hallucination.

Serling won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama.

Serling went on to create “Night Gallery” for NBC, a show which dealt more with the occult and horror than “The Twilight Zone” did.

Rod Serling died of a heart attack in 1975. He was 50 years old.

Our question, the premiere episode was filmed on the Courthouse Square set at Universal Studios. What movie was filmed on the same set more than 25 years later?

Today is Independence Day in Guinea and International Day of Non-Violence. IN the United States, it’s unofficially National Custodial Workers Recognition Day. It’s the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Groucho Marx, and actor/musician Sting.

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