Preparing for “Serling Fest 2019” as The Twilight Zone Turns 60

Well, let’s enjoy a slice of virtual birthday cake today! Everyone’s favorite passport to the fifth dimension is turning 60.

“The Shelter”

Yes, on October 2, 1959, at 10:00 p.m., CBS aired “Where is Everybody?” It wasn’t an immediate hit, no, but it soon developed a devoted fan base. And once TZ hit syndication a few years later, the answer to that episode’s title was “in front of their television sets, of course”.

It’s hard to believe six decades have elapsed since it premiered. Sure, fashions have changed, cars don’t have fins on them anymore, and special effects have grown by leaps and bounds. But when it comes to the stories themselves, The Twilight Zone feels as fresh today as it did then.

Maybe even more so. Its themes — the pull of nostalgia, the fear of the unknown, the evils of racism, the allure of conformity, among others — seem timeless.

“The Monsters are Due on Maple Street”

If anything, it’s more relevant now than it was then. It’s easy to imagine that Rod Serling and his fellow TZ scribes DID have the time-travel devices they sometimes wove into their stories.

So if you plan to rewatch the first Twilight Zone episode any time soon, allow me to recommend this post about what an effective launch pad “Where is Everybody?” was for TZ.

Another one you may like: this post about where Serling got the idea for the episode. (They’re both short, btw, so you’ll be queuing up the show in no time.)

And very soon now, I’ll be hitting the road to Serling’s hometown of Binghamton, NY, for “Serling Fest 2019”. You may recall my trip there last year. Well, this year’s promises to be even better — partly because it’s the big Six-Oh for TZ, of course, but also because I’ll be taking the stage on two occasions to celebrate Serling’s work.

“The Dummy”

The first time will be on Friday, October 4. At 4 p.m. EST that day, I’ll be joining three of my fellow social-media hounds for a “Talking TZ in the 21st Century” panel:

— the UK’s own Tom Elliot, host of the very popular “Twilight Zone Podcast”;

— Wayne Gladstone, host of “Intangible Quarter,” another great TZ podcast; and

— Shelley Young, who helps keep thousands of TZ fans on Facebook happy.

All of them are knowledgeable and enthusiastic TZ fans. It really should be an enjoyable conversation, one that I plan to try and record live on my Facebook page.

Then on Saturday, October 5, at 7 p.m., I’ll join Scott Skelton, co-author of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour” to introduce a screening of the 1969 “Night Gallery” pilot movie. So we’ve really got two anniversaries to celebrate, with TZ turning 60, and NG hitting the half-century mark. (Here’s the schedule and other useful details.)

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of friends that I met last year, and getting acquainted with a few others. With any luck, some of you can join us. Either way, though, you can expect some updates from me here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s all part of my plan to serve man … er, my fellow Serling fans. :-o

Don’t worry — this is a Kanamit-free zone. At least most of the time … O_o


For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook 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.

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 10/02/2019, in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Wow, I can’t believe it’s turning 60 or been around that long! I’m only slightly older so, I’ve been watching it on and off nearly my whole life! That’s astounding. I started watching sci-fi and B horror movies when I was 9-10 on Saturday mornings after out grew cartoons I guess.

    Have a wonderful time at the festival and I hope you vlog some it and post those too!

  2. Sorry to be late to the party, Paul. It’s been crazy around here, and I am still catching up. I saw one of your tweets, and I knew there had to be a post notification in my inbox. I hope you had a wonderful time. I look forward to reading about it.

    I recently watched that first episode, and I was thinking about the way they handled the reporter’s question at the end. First, an honest answer. Second a bit of a rebuke for asking it. I think we could use that approach more often today.

    • No problem to be late, Dan. I’m often late to the party myself, as you well know. I had a great time — details to come.

      And you’re right, there was a bit of a rebuke there at the end — something that we as viewers can appreciate, having just gone through the experience with Mike.

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