Monthly Archives: June 2013

Matheson: In the Zone

Out of the 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone‘s original run, Rod Serling wrote a staggering 92 scripts. But even a prolific genius like him couldn’t write them all.

So over the course of the show’s five-year run, he turned to several talented writers whose imaginative stories helped explore some of the most fascinating corners of the fifth dimension.

Men like Charles Beaumont. George Clayton Johnson. Montgomery Pittman. Earl Hamner. And a man who crafted some of the Zone‘s most legendary episodes: Richard Matheson.

Richard Matheson 1926-2013

Richard Matheson
1926-2013

The gremlin on the wing? Matheson. The devil’s-head fortune-teller? Matheson. Agnes Moorehead trying to fend off two tiny home invaders from another planet? Matheson. Two guys trying to patch up a broken-down robot boxer? You guessed it. Read the rest of this entry

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Serling’s Swan Song

When the news broke recently that Rod Serling’s final unproduced screenplay, “Stops Along The Way,” would soon be filmed, I was elated. Big surprise, right?

It’s not just the fact that I’m such a Serling fan. It’s because the project is in the hands of writer/director J.J. Abrams. I’m a long-time fan of his work.

JJ-Abrams-001

Not everybody was so pleased, though. Some of the replies I got on Twitter, and the comments I read on articles about the project, showed a lot of skepticism. For some reason, they don’t trust him with this important undertaking.

But I think Abrams deserves the benefit of the doubt. For one thing, he’s proven himself more than capable of producing compelling TV shows and movies. Even those who don’t care for “Lost” can’t deny that he has an impressive track record. Read the rest of this entry

Stopover in a Quiet Blog

“It’s a crazy thing about writers. You tell them you read their stuff, and all of a sudden their hearts stop.” — Rod Serling’s “The Velvet Alley” (1959)

I know that feeling well. Two years ago today, I decided that my Twitter page, @TheNightGallery, wasn’t enough of an outlet for this fan of all things related to Rod Serling and his legendary TV series, The Twilight Zone.

Anniversary Boss and Gal Friday bw

It was time to try my hand at blogging. The result? “Shadow & Substance”.

I wanted to branch out. To dive a little deeper into the reasons that Serling’s entertaining forays into the limitless land of imagination continue to attract viewers decades after they first aired. I couldn’t do that in 140-character bursts. Read the rest of this entry

Mr. Meredith, The Versatile

Time for a few introductions, Twilight Zone fans. Recognize these four men?

Burgess Meredith

The meek one with the mustache and the Coke-bottle eyeglasses? That’s Henry Bemis. Next to him is a smiling, nervous, bow-tied vacuum-cleaner salesman named Luther Dingle. Over there, books in hand, is the unassuming but dignified Romney Wordsworth. And the man with the crooked cigar, the leering expression and the unsettling grin? Mr. Smith.

Four of the fifth dimension’s most distinct and memorable characters, each brought to life by one man: Burgess Meredith.

The legendary actor was grateful for the opportunity TZ gave him. “Rod used to have a part for me every season,” he said, “and every one of them was extraordinary.” He would go on to star in two episodes of Serling’s follow-up series, Night Gallery, livening up “The Little Black Bag” and “Finnegan’s Flight”.

But which of his TZ roles is the greatest? Let’s get a little spoiler-y and meet the candidates: Read the rest of this entry