A Lost Lunar Landscape: Serling’s Missing Moon Story

Space travel, as any Twilight Zone fan can tell you, obviously held keen interest for Rod Serling. Stories about what would happen if we went Up There, or aliens came Down Here, cropped up throughout the entire run of the hit series.


Tantalizingly enough, Serling’s plans for Season 6 pointedly mentioned his interest in featuring more outer-space tales. Alas, it was never to be. And by the time man landed on the moon in 1969, Serling was focused on bringing a trilogy of horror stories to TV. Only one teleplay in the entire run of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” dealt with space travel.

So a nice surprise awaited me several years ago when I bought a used copy of the first “Night Gallery” book (“Night Gallery 2” followed a year later). Then out of print, this paperback boasted prose versions of some of Serling’s screenplays from the first season, so I was naturally eager to see how he transitioned them to the printed page.

Night Gallery book

There was “Make Me Laugh”. “Pamela’s Voice”. “The Sole Survivor” (which became “Lone Survivor” when it was filmed). “Clean Kills and Other Trophies”. The Emmy-nominated “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar“. All cropped up in Night Gallery’s short first season.

And there was a story called “Does the Name Grimsby Mean Anything to You?” Which, appropriately enough, did NOT mean anything to me. No such story ever appeared on NG, and it hasn’t been filmed since.

I felt as if I’d discoved a lost episode.

Part of the reason I’ve been thinking about it now is that we recently marked the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. That’s exactly what the story concerns: the first lunar mission.


Instead of Neil Armstrong, however, Serling gives us Jonathan Evans. A man hailed far and wide for being the first to set foot on the moon. Someone who relives the mission in his dreams every night, only to awaken as he murmurs an unfamiliar name: Grimsby.

Still more mysteriously, the name crops up at the same spot in the dream. He’s on the moon, preparing to lay the mission marker on the lunar surface, when he sees … something. What, he doesn’t know; his memory is blank, despite the vivid details of everything prior to that point. All he has is a name he doesn’t recognize.

I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the story for you. (If it were still out of print, I might clue you in. But it’s only a click away on Amazon, and Serling sets the scene much better than I can.)


But I can tell you this: It was fun having a “lost” Night Gallery unspool in my head. I’ve since purchased an e-copy of the book as well. It’s worth checking out — not only for this story, but to see how Serling fleshed out and tweaked the others. Even if you’ve seen the filmed versions, you’ll make some pleasant discoveries.

It’s intriguing to ponder what Serling would have dreamed up in an age of space stations, twin Earths, and high-def pictures of Pluto. Who better to help us explore, as he said in one of his Night Gallery intros, “some of the question marks that await us in the stars”?


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

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 07/28/2015, in Night Gallery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I encourage everyone to read the Night Gallery anthologies. They are excellent.

  2. What a timely post, Paul. I just happen to have an Amazon gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. :)

    • Glad to hear it, Dan. And at only $8.99 (even less on Kindle or as a used paperback), you’ll have some $$ left over for other things. Like, oh, OTHER Serling volumes. :)

      • I have a couple of Twilight Zone books, but nothing at all from Night Gallery.

      • If you’ve seen the pilot movie, I’d also recommend “The Season to be Wary.” It’s not listed as a NG book, but two of the three stories in it (“Eyes” and “Escape Route”) were dramatized for the NG pilot.

  3. I bought those books in the mid 1970s and still have them. I loved “Grimsby” and have always wondered why it wasn’t filmed. I am convinced that the painting pictured above was prepared for “Grimsby” and not the ridiculous “The Nature of the Enemy.”

  4. Ah Hah! I owned a copy of Night Gallery when I was growing up in the 1970s. It was beloved and much read, Grimsby was my favorite story. I was very puzzled, years later when I got to actually see the series, both in rerun and on DVD, that I could not find that episode. It’s been driving me crazy for years. Had I misremembered what book I read it in? Had I misremembered the story? Had I fantasized the whole thing? I, too, recently rebought the book on kindle. There was the story.
    Now, thanks to you, I know it was never an episode. I wonder why Serling put it in the book? Was it a story idea that never made it into production? Or a story that was just too good not to put in print? I don’t know, but thanks to you, a decades long nagging question has been answered.

  5. Thank-you for this. Been pretty much a lifelong fan myself. The man truly was a visionary.

  6. Maxwell Smart

    OK Paul, Everywhere I go, I read that “Does the Name Grimsby Mean Anything to You” was never filmed/taped. The problem is, I remember seeing it. Yes, I read the book back in the early 70s when it first came out, but this is more than just a memory of the story — I absolutely remember seeing it on TV. It was in B&W (which could be because we didn’t have a color TV when I was growing up!). I’d like to think that if I fabricated teleplay in my head from reading the story it would have been in color.

    Someplace, somewhere… this exists on cellulose — if not under the Serling banner, than under someone else’s.

    • Very intriguing, Maxwell. My guess is that you saw another space-flight/moon-exploration type of story. Since there truly is no filmed version of this story, that’s the only explanation that makes sense.

      • Maxwell Smart

        Possibly. It’s really weird. I would love to know which one. Certainly, I watched practically everything and anything that had to do with space back then, and perhaps there was some kind of adaptation of that story.

        I’m glad to have stumbled onto your site.

  7. Having recently acquired the Night Gallery volume containing “Grimsby,” I was delighted to find this well-crafted tale. It ranks among Serling’s best in terms of substantive storytelling that leads to a memorably surprising conclusion. It has the unique Serling quality of giving the reader a searing sense of the unfulfilled search, the haunting longing for something ever out of reach.

    • It does, yes. I wish this one had been filmed in some form. I’ve heard some speculation that NBC wasn’t wild about staging this one for TV because it would somehow reflect negatively on the triumphant landing that had just occurred in real life, but honestly — it’s just a story. An entertaining story, meant to make you think, sure, but nothing MORE than that. At least I’ve seen it play out in my mind …

  8. “Only one teleplay in the entire run of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” dealt with space travel.”

    Have you forgotten the amazingly terrible “The Nature of the Enemy” in season 1?

  9. If you believe you’ve already “seen” this story, you may be thinking of the 1964 film “First Men in the Moon”.
    (An astronaut finds a Union Jack flag on the moon.)

    This “Grimsby” story should be adapted as a 90-minute feature film today for a streaming service with a modest budget.

    If sensitively handled with sincerity in the “magical realism” style of the original Twilight Zone series, it could be worthwhile.

    Think of the “astronaut” episodes of the Twilight Zone such as The Parallel, Death Ship, Elegy, etc. for the tone of the story.

    It would probably be more intersting than the tripe offered on streaming services today.

    “Make it so.”

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