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5 Wild And Wonderful Facts About “The Twilight Zone” You Probably Didn’t Know

Two scenes from The Twilight Zone, "The Big Tall Wish" and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”

“The Twilight Zone” was an eerie, suspenseful show that ran when TV programming was in its infancy. With the first episode in 1959, viewers never knew what to expect. The show flipped through different genres, including fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. The episodes always included a bizarre twist and kept viewers glued to their seats from beginning to end.

Rod Serling was a creator of the show and served as the narrator, welcoming the audience to “a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.” Rod Serling was also the co-writer for 92 of the original 156 episodes. The iconic series was a mainstay in many households during its successful run from 1959 until 1964.

1. Disney World’s The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror Honors The Show’s Premise

We did mention Easter eggs, didn’t we? The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror includes an elevator drop ride through a haunted Hollywood Tower Hotel. Wanting to stay authentic to the popular TV show, the ride utilizes the original introduction uttered by Rod Serling for “The Good Life” episode. Disney used a sound-alike voice actor (Mark Silverman) to dub over the original script to explain the ride. In addition to the original film footage, there are several Easter eggs throughout the haunted attraction. You might see a replica of the ominous fortune-telling machine from “Nick of Time,” or end up face-to-face with the ventriloquist dummy from the episode titled, “Caesar and Me.” We can’t be certain, but there is a rumor that there are a total of eight Easter eggs lying in wait for unsuspecting visitors. Take the ride… if you dare…

2. “The Twilight Zone” Was A Launching Pad For Many Unknown Actors

As you watch old episodes of this iconic show, you may recognize a great number of actors. Young actors found a welcome place among the corridors of “The Twilight Zone.” Some of the more notable young stars include Burt Reynolds (“The Bard”), Cloris Leachman (“It’s A Good Life”), and Dennis Hopper (“He’s Alive”). Among the most notable might be the actors that later made “Star Trek” a fan favorite. Stars Leonard Nimoy (Spock), James Doohan (Scotty), George Takei (Sulu), and William Shatner (Capt Kirk), all had roles in the shorts on “The Twilight Zone.” Another little-known fact is that Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek) were great friends. When Serling passed, Roddenberry gave the eulogy at his memorial service.

3. Rod Serling Used His Platform To Fight For Social Justice

The 1960s was a time of racial strife in the United States. It was just a fact of the era. In an effort to combat some of the prejudice, Rod Serling used a predominantly-Black cast for the episode, “The Big Tall Wish.” The story centered around a young boy who made a magical wish. While the casting choice was perhaps controversial at the time, the show made no mention of ethnicity. It was just a story about a boy helping his father. Serling was able to successfully showcase the talents of young Black actors without creating a losing political-social battle.

4. They Wanted Orson Welles To Narrate The Series

The man hired for the pilot episode, “Where Is Everybody?” was Westbrook Van Voorhis. After hearing his rendition of the introduction, they decided that the sound of his voice was too pompous. The second choice was Orson Welles. Unfortunately, the price he quoted was too steep for the new series to consider. At the time, Rod Serling was “just a writer.” He made the suggestion that he should do the narration. While initially met with skepticism, they let him give it a try. They redid the pilot episode using Serling’s now-recognizable voice. Serling did not make his first on-screen appearance until the second season.

5. “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” Sparked A New Design Trend For Airplanes

Robert Wilson (William Shatner) was a wary passenger on an airplane. He looks out the window of the plane and sees a monster taking the plane’s wing apart. The passenger melts down, and the flight crew attempts to calm him while thinking he is simply insane. They assure him there is no monster, but he can still see it. This is perhaps one of the show’s most well-known episodes. Due to this foray into the twilight zone, airplanes now have small triangles on the wall, aligning with the wings. This small marking allows flight crews to quickly determine which windows are best to observe the wing for inspections. The seats beneath the triangles have the appropriate nickname, “William Shatner’s Seat.”

“The Twilight Zone” remains a favorite for many viewers, new and old alike. When we stretch our imaginations and visit the fifth dimension, we may experience wonder or terror. If you feel like a splurge, you can catch all 5 seasons of The Twilight Zone on Freevee. Pluto TV also carries four seasons of the show with their free selections.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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