Say you’re a scriptwriter, and you’re asking yourself: What’s the best way to improve race relations?
However important the question is now, it was even more crucial in 1960, when The Twilight Zone was still new to the airwaves and Jim Crow laws, discrimination and segregation were, shamefully, still the order of the day in much of the U.S.
One obvious answer: Write about the problem. Illustrate the ugly face of racism. Nervous producers didn’t like it one bit, but Rod Serling took this route when he based the pre-Zone teleplay “A Town Has Turned to Dust” on the Emmett Till case. The results, in the right hands, make quite a mark.
But there’s another way to improve race relations, one that Serling also tried when he wrote “The Big Tall Wish” for TZ’s first season.
The story concerns a down-and-out boxer named Bolie Jackson, and a little boy who idolizes him — and who’s willing to conjure up a little magic to help Bolie win his next bout. Read the rest of this entry