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