Improve on Richard Matheson? Yeah — right, pal. Who do you think you are, Rod Serling?
You are? Well. Carry on, then.
Kidding aside, that’s what Serling did when he bought the rights to Matheson’s short story “Disappearing Act” and adapted it into The Twilight Zone episode “And When The Sky Was Opened.”
Perhaps “improve” isn’t exactly the right word. The short story works fine as a short story (duh, it’s Richard Freaking Matheson), but as a TV episode, well … something else was needed. And few writers were ever better equipped to supply that “something else” than Rod Serling.
As you may have seen in my previous “Re-Zoning Efforts” post (on “The Four of Us Are Dying“), Serling wasn’t one to simply take a story “as is” and put it on screen. It wasn’t unusual for him to start with the basic idea and completely recast it. Read the rest of this entry