Monthly Archives: December 2012
Serling’s Santa Story
If you’re a writer, you never know when inspiration will strike. And if you’re Rod Serling, the idea you get might wind up being a holiday classic.
So it was when Serling came up with a legendary part for Art Carney — and the story for what would become the Twilight Zone episode “Night of the Meek.” As he told TV Guide:
I got the idea for this one watching a Santa Claus parade with my two kids a year ago, and noticed that on the Santa Claus float the worthy gentlemen chosen for the role must have been a last-minute and a third-string replacement. He weighed just a few pounds more than Slim Summerville, and his Santa Claus suit must have been dredged out of a canal someplace.
It suddenly came to me that perhaps there’s a story lurking somewhere in the whole concept of these guys who play Santa Claus for a living. And then I started to conceive of a tale of what would happen to an ersatz Kris Kringle if he suddenly found out that he was Santa Claus.
We all know what happened: Serling crafted a touching modern fable about a man who aspired to be the “biggest gift giver of all time.” The story of a third-string Santa was given a first-class treatment. And one of the most beloved Zone episodes was born.
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!
TZ Christmas Gifts
Chances are, you’ve got a Twilight Zone fan in your life. Makes gift-giving easy, right? In addition to DVDs and Blu-rays of the series itself, there are books, posters, t-shirts and lots of other memorabilia to outfit your fifth-dimension fan in style.
But what if that fan already has just about everything? Fellow TZ fanatic @WendyLovesJesus and I have you covered. Throughout December, we compiled a daily “just for fun” list of what we hashtagged #TZChristmasGifts.
Here’s a list of what we came up with, with the referenced episode in parentheses at the end of each gift. I took the odd-numbered dates; Wendy took the even. Enjoy!
DEC. 1: Lunch at the Busy Bee diner (home of the Mystic Seer), a roll of pennies, and unlimited iced coffees. (Nick of Time)
DEC. 2: Gift certificate good for one “Transformation”. Your choice of Number 8 or 12. (Number 12 Looks Just Like You) Read the rest of this entry
In Praise of Jack
The stars in the fifth dimension dimmed a bit tonight with the sad news that Jack Klugman had died.
Klugman was such a gifted and versatile actor, in fact, that his four appearances on The Twilight Zone are not even his most famous roles. He’ll forever be known for two other TV characters: sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple, and as a sleuthing coroner on Quincy, M.E.
But there isn’t a Twilight Zone fan out there who heard the news about Klugman’s passing and didn’t think of “A Passage for Trumpet“, “A Game of Pool“, “Death Ship” and “In Praise of Pip”.
He wasn’t classically handsome and had none of the usual “leading man” characteristics. He didn’t need them. His richly appealing “everyman” persona never failed to draw viewers in. You immediately liked and trusted him. What better qualifications could one need to take a plunge into the far corners of the fifth dimension? Read the rest of this entry
A Supernatural “Night”
It’s Christmas time. You’re the manager of a large department store, and business is in full swing. Will you finish the year in the black, and earn a nice bonus? Or wind up in the red?
It all depends on those holiday sales — and Santa Claus is a key ingredient in making them happen. The man you’ve hired to don that red suit and wear those white whiskers has to make a good impression. That means being punctual and looking presentable. It means making the mothers lining up with their eager, impressionable kids want to open their purses.
So when your man staggers in an hour late, reeking of alcohol, you bawl him out. And when he proceeds to fall off his throne and convince the shocked customers that they should shop elsewhere, you naturally handle this utter debacle by sacking Santa on the spot. And you give him a tongue-lashing for good measure.
But this is no ordinary Santa.
In fact, Mr. Dundee (for that, my friend, is your name), nothing will be ordinary for you today. You may not realize it, but you’re spending this Christmas in a very special place. You’re in the Twilight Zone.
Because the man you hired is Henry Corwin. And because he was crafted by the hands of a master storyteller named Rod Serling, he’s going to open your eyes — and give you a much-needed lesson in perspective.
Read the rest of this entry
The Apocalyptic Zone
If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end today. Perhaps you knew that, but I thought I’d make sure. Some people might be surprised.
But if it had ended, I’d like to think we all went out doing something we really enjoy. And what would your last day on earth be without a chance to “Zone” out? So I tweeted this question:
Let’s say the Mayan prophecy was right. What Twilight Zone would you watch before the world ended?
Guess I wasn’t the only one who thought the apocalypse deserved a little TLZ. The responses poured in. So I thought I’d list the episodes that everybody mentioned. Read the rest of this entry