Twilight Zone’s Season 1 Opening Credits: A Perfect Passport to Serling’s World

Ask Twilight Zone fans to describe the opening to each episode, and you can be sure that many will mention the swirling vortex that spins into the vacuum of space, followed by the shattering title letters.

Or they may bring up the shattering window, the opening eye, the clock, the diver, the “E=mc2” equation. And quite a few, you can bet, will imitate the iconic “do do do do” music.

But as much as I love those elements, I can’t help thinking they got it right the first time — specifically, the opening theme for Season 1:

Bernard Herrmann’s haunting, dream-like music has a lot to do with it. It truly sounds as if we’re being ushered into that “middle ground between light and shadow.”

Rod Serling’s narration, meanwhile, is ideal — both in what he says and how he says it. His description of that land “between science and superstition” can’t help but intrigue a potential viewer, and the unhurried pace of his words sets the mood perfectly. We feel drawn in. Almost seduced, in a way.

I realize that, once The Twilight Zone was an established series, a longer, more leisurely paced opening wasn’t necessary. Serling could afford to get in and get out, allowing himself and the other writers an extra half-minute or so (which can really help when you’ve got barely 25 minutes to tell a story).

But for my money, the credits that prevailed almost to the end of Season 1 provide a passport par excellence to “the dimension of imagination.”


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. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.

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 06/04/2021, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I think I do like this one better than Season 4’s…it’s creepier….

    But, how can you not like them both? Paradoxes…it’s what the Twilight Zone excels at! :-]

  2. Season 1 beats ’em all, hands down. It’s a matter of simple aesthetics: the soothing, otherworldly, European sounding score; and the relatively brief introduction, with the emphasis on imagination as the “real Twilight Zone” (a concept they moved away from as the years went by); with the closing music, nearly identical to the opening theme seeming to suggest that it was best of all for the viewer to ponder and come to his own conclusions over what he had just seen.

    • That’s a great way of looking at it. I realize that Serling, once the show was established, didn’t have to explain the concept anymore, but I still prefer this longer intro.

  1. Pingback: TZ: The Best of Season 4 « Shadow & Substance

  2. Pingback: A Sixth Dimension? | Shadow & Substance

  3. Pingback: Going the “Distance” | Shadow & Substance

  4. Pingback: “You’re Traveling Through Another Dimension …” | Shadow & Substance

  5. Pingback: 10 More Little-Known Facts about The Twilight Zone | Shadow & Substance

  6. Pingback: The Man Who Created TZ’s Opening Credits Looks Back | Shadow & Substance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: