To Serve Twilight Zone Fans

I have news for you, ladies and gentlemen. I have discovered that … people are alike all over.

Fortunately, I’m not saying that from behind the bars of an interplanetary zoo. No, the resemblance I’m referring to is much more benign than a penchant for treating other races as if they were a species to be gawked at.

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I’m talking about a love for the works of Rod Serling, and more specifically, his landmark TV series, The Twilight Zone. It’s been exactly three years since I began hosting the Night Gallery Twitter page, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 1,096 days, it’s that you can find Serling fans everywhere.

Men and women, adults and children, from every race, creed and color you can imagine. People from every spot on the political and religious spectrums. Individuals who would never talk to each other in “real life” follow this page, united in a love for the work of one of the 20th century’s most beloved writers.

One For the Angels6

And the beauty of this is that hardly anyone worked harder than Serling did to knock down the barriers that we erect between each other. His body of work speaks for itself. He didn’t write weird, imaginative stories merely to entertain us. He was trying to open our eyes and see what’s possible if we look past our surface differences and tap the strength of our shared humanity.

It’s been a privilege bringing that inspiring vision to the world of social media every day for the last 36 months. I call it the “ultimate marathon”, as a tip of the hat to the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone marathons on the SyFy channel.

Not that a stream of tweets, a page on Facebook, various Pinterest boards, or even this blog, is any substitute for watching The Twilight Zone. But as numerous fans have told me, it’s not a bad way to get your “fix”, at least in micro-doses, in between episodes!

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Many people are surprised to learn that I started the page as a tribute to “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery“, an anthology series that ran from 1970 to 1973. In fact, I tweeted for three months before I posted my first TZ quote. By then I had come to realize that making the page a celebration of all Serling’s work was the best way to go.

There have been many enjoyable moments over the last three years, but a definite highlight for me occurred on July 3, 2012.

On that day, a follower tagged me in a tweet that mentioned “Walking Distance” and how much she enjoyed seeing Ron Howard at such a young age (even before “The Andy Griffith Show”). I replied that yes, that episode was one of the first things that Howard had done on film, and I tagged his Twitter account.

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Shortly after that, I noticed my follower count was really climbing. At first, I thought it was because the Fourth of July marathon was about to start (and surely that was part of it). But this was well above normal. I soon found out why: Howard had retweeted me.

That alone would have been enough for me to put that day in the win column. But then, in true TZ fashion, there was another twist.

About an hour after the retweet, the sad news broke that Andy Griffith had died. Howard’s next tweet was a tribute to Griffith. So whenever anyone went to Howard’s Twitter page, or a news organization showed a shot of his page on TV … there I was, right next to his Griffith tweet.

RH RT

I’ll never forget how it felt when my friend Wendy Brydge excitedly messaged me to say she’d just seen me on the news. No wonder my follower count was up! It was quite a thrill — and it felt particularly appropriate that a man who appeared in one of the earliest and most beloved TZs was responsible for it.

Since then, the number of people seeking a daily shot of Serling has continued to climb, from 3,700+ a year ago today, to more than 6,700. I’ve written 90 blog posts, many with Wendy’s invaluable assistance and input. I’ve tweeted up a storm through every marathon, fanning right along with the rest of you.

LDC

I often call it a labor of love. And it is. It takes work (I have a full-time job, after all, that has nothing to do with Rod Serling!), but it’s a lot of fun. Answering fan questions, swapping top 10 lists, learning more about Serling’s work … what’s not to like for a guy who, in many ways, is just a fan like the rest of you?

You might think that after thousands of quotes, and hundreds of facts, my enthusiasm would be waning. On the contrary. I’m just warming up.

My first #ZoneQuote, fittingly enough, was from Serling’s opening narration to “Where is Everybody?“, the TZ pilot: “The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we’re about to watch could be our journey.”

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How could a journey “as vast as space and as timeless as infinity” ever really end? A toast to Rod Serling, who pointed out the path and sent us on our way. And a toast to all of you.

So, the day after Voyager 1 left our solar system and entered interstellar space, I’m happy to make one other report: There’s always more to explore. Look, there’s a familiar signpost …

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Photos courtesy of Wendy Brydge. For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Hard-working, hard-playing fan of all pop culture, especially the Twilight Zone. Which led to a Twitter page. And then to a blog. And then to ... stay tuned. Yes, that's a picture of Rod Serling, not me. You can find the real me under the "Your Host" tab on my blog, along with biographical details that, while 100 percent accurate, sound kind of boastful and braggy. Sorry.

Posted on 09/13/2013, in Rod Serling, Twilight Zone and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. *brings in the margaritas, hands you a glass, perches on your desk* Happy Anniversary, Boss! :D

    I’m not even going to bother with any “business” talk. Today is about you, my friend. And your awesome Twitter page. So just sit back and let me fangirl along with the rest of them, okay? ;)

    I’m not even the least bit surprised at your success. You run a tight ship here, Boss. No matter what, you get the job done, even when it’s not all that “fun” a time to do it. People may forget that you’re a human being running the show, getting those wonderful quotes out, digging up Zone Facts, and all the other cool things you do. But I know. I see you “behind the scenes” every single day, and I know darn well that you work hard to make your page (and blog!) what it is – a beautiful tribute to the master, Rod Serling.

    I couldn’t be more happy to have the privilege of knowing you and working a little bit with you, of being your Gal Friday and more importantly your best friend.

    And yes, I remember seeing your tweet on the 10:00 National Canadian news that night, and practically jumping up and yelling, “Paul’s on the news! There’s his tweet!” Told you. Fangirl over here. ;)

    SO here’s a toast to you, my friend. Three years of awesomeness is about to become 5 and then 10, and so on and so forth. Like the Twilight Zone, you’re destined to be a classic that everyone will remember and love forever. And rightly they should. You deserve it. You’re the best, Boss! *clinks your glass*

    • *takes margarita glass* Well, I couldn’t succeed without a trusted “Gal Friday” to help me behind the scenes, so I’d like to make this a joint toast. Here’s to the smart, capable GF who helps this blog shine. *raises glass to you* :D

      And you’re right. Even though my Twitter page is a fun “job”, it’s not always easy to keep it going 365 days a year! There are days when I get busy, or I just don’t feel like doing it. But then I think of the people who have been kind enough to tell me how the quotes and facts I post help brighten their day, and that motivates me to stick to it.

      No one, however, is as encouraging and helpful as you.

      More than once, for example, you’ve pitched in and sent me quotes to post when my schedule would otherwise have meant radio silence for my hundreds of followers. They don’t know how valuable you are to how smoothly this operation runs, but I do.

      So I must disagree with MY best friend. This anniversary isn’t all about me. It’s about you too, and how grateful I am for your invaluable assistance, advice and support. Thanks, Gal Friday. YOU’RE the best. :)

  2. Congratulations on this milestone, Paul. You’re definitely the classiest and most informative source of Zone and Serling info I know. (And you even inspired me to take a stab at a recent “let’s have fun with the Twilight Zone” post of my own over at The Sci-Fi Christian, but it didn’t end up comparing with your efforts!)

    Re: Night Gallery vs TZ… Why do you think Night Gallery doesn’t loom as large in the general public’s imagination as the Zone does (or do you grant that premise)? It didn’t run as long, that’s a fact; it seems (from what I’ve watched – not all, admittedly, but I’m planning to remedy that) darker and grittier, that’s my subjective opinion… It’s certainly hard to make lightning strike twice; do you think Serling was in some ways a victim of the Zone’s success?

    At any rate, looking forward to much more of this ultimate marathon to come! (I didn’t notice the countdown to the next SyFy marathon until this visit to your site – great touch!)

    • Thanks, Michael, for such a nice comment, and in particular for that second sentence. I’m a big fan of your Sci-Fi Christian blog, so I’m pleased to think that I inspired some of your fine work over there.

      As for why Night Gallery stands in TZ’s shadow, I think the main reason was simple: Serling was the executive producer of TZ, but he declined to take that job on NG. I don’t blame him — it’s a back-breaking job — but it meant the show was pre-ordained to never be quite as good. There were other facts (which I’ll have to address in a future blog post), but that’s it in a nutshell, frankly.

      I’m glad you plan to stick around for more of our “ultimate marathon”! As for the clock, I have to give Wendy credit for suggesting that. She’s a font of good ideas. No wonder I’m so glad to have her around!

  3. Congratulations on your 3-year anniversary! And you, too, Gal Friday, for your ultra-valuable help! :-]

  4. A bit disappointed that I wasn’t the “Walking Distance” follower who got that ball rolling! I remember mentioning Ron Howard in a tweet to you once, but I’m sure it wasn’t me that time. Alas, I shall step aside. :) Very cool story though.

    Seriously though, happy birthday & congratulations to a thoughtful and fun Twitter page!

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