I spent New Year’s weekend in The Twilight Zone. Thanks to Sci Fi Channel, the way I now ring out the old and ring in the new involves vegging out in my flannel pjs, drinking endless cups of tea, ordering out take-away food when the hunger pangs strike, and watching episode after episode of the Rod Serling classic. Talk about addictive!
There are so many reasons to love The Twilight Zone, I don't know where to begin. First and foremost is the writing – great story-telling, with a sly way of pulling you along - even though you know that things probably aren’t what they seem, and then – bam! – a twisty, unexpected, yet winkingly wry ending. It does not get any better than that! Tight little tales that stand up, even in today’s oh-so-smart-ooh!-aren’t-we-clever world.
Another reason to watch: the showcase of stars, many of whom were unknowns when they did TTZ. Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Carol Burnett, Lee Marvin, Roddy McDowell, Dennis Weaver, Donald Pleasance, Robert Duvall, Julie Newmar, William Shatner, and Burt Reynolds all appear very fresh-faced. Even old pros like Mickey Rooney, Gladys Cooper, Wilfred Hyde-White, Agnes Moorhead, Ann Blyth, Joan Blondell, and Buster Keaton show up occasionally.
For many of the episodes, I can pinpoint where I was when I first saw them. TTZ ran on Friday nights during my prime slumber party and spend-the-night-at-a-friend's-house days, so I associate certain shows with certain parties or friends. Example? The night I sat around the TV (black and white, of course) with Debbie Goff's family for the famous (and my favorite) "To Serve Man" episode. Were we shocked at the ending! Ha!
It's hilarious to watch all the spaceship/planetary travel and futuristic episodes. The clothes! The technology! The extra-terrestrials! Still, the stories are good and you always get that little twist at the end.
I'm glad The Twilight Zone marathon has ended, or I'd still be in my jammies waiting for Burgess Meredith's glasses to break or Billy Mumy to get a phone call on his toy telephone from his dead grandma. Happy New Year, Rod. In the Twilight Zone.