“This is the Twilight Zone”: Serling Explains

If someone asked you to describe The Twilight Zone, what would you say?


Rod Serling was asked that many times over the years, and he gave many interesting answers. Here’s one from a five-minute sales pitch that he filmed when The Twilight Zone was set to debut in the Netherlands:

To give you a very specific kind of working idea of what we mean by “Twilight Zone”, you might say that a man is on top of a burning building. Now there are certain ways he can get off that building — he can use a fire escape, a ladder, he might even be picked up by a helicopter. But in the Twilight Zone, he flies.

This is the so-called dimension of imagination, a literary device known by the English writer Coleridge as the “willing suspension of disbelief”. The things you see, you know may not happen. But at the time you see them on this program, you’ll believe that they do happen. This is the Twilight Zone.

Few series have used the fantasy element as effectively as The Twilight Zone. It wasn’t done cheaply or gratuitously. It was nearly always to make some larger observation about the human condition.

Here’s the whole clip. Enjoy:


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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 08/31/2016, in Twilight Zone. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great point, Paul. I don’t think any series has consistently made us think “that could happen” as well as TZ. I was recently rewatching “The Last Flight” and, in addition to how well-played the roles are, I kept thinking that the basic idea just might be possible.

    • Yes, and I think that’s because they were wise enough not to make things overly strange. It was a familiar, everyday world, filled with ordinary people … and then something strange would happen. And the magic was always for a good reason, never just for the heck of it. “The Last Flight” is a perfect example of this. Hmm, about time for me to do a LF post …

  2. I found this very nice and helpful, I watched the video, he is very sexy, and I found it quite enjoyable, so thumbs up from me.

  3. Reblogged this on blackwings666 and commented:
    Here is another Reblog from the excellent SHADOW AND SUBSTANCE blog — I am a huge TWILIGHT ZONE fan and this is the best TWILIGHT ZONE site that I have come across -TWILIGHT ZONE fans should definitely check this site out!

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