the twilight zone
Recently I've been watching the original run of The Twilight Zone from 1959 through 1964.
As a kid, I very vaguely remember seeing one episode of the original 1959-era TTZ, and that was the episode The Fever, which is about gambling. The image of a slot machine following a guy around and terrorizing him stuck in my head for whatever reason.
There was a 1980s revival of TTZ, which in my opinion has the creepiest theme ever for a television show. It literally scared me as a kid. Whenever I saw it, I would change the channel. There was also Rod Serling's Lost Classics in 1994 and a second revival of TTZ in the 2002-2003 era, canceled after one season. I've not seen anything from the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s era of TTZ.
But anyway, this is about the late 1950s/early 1960s TTZ.
Summed up: It's awesome. And this is a lot coming from me considering I normally can't stand 1950s television.
The stories are fantastic, and I really dig the fact Rod Serling and crew took a lot of risks with TTZ. A lot of it is dark both in look and theme. People do get shot, and often - and you even see blood (which for the 1950s was a big deal).
The cinematography is beyond fantastic. Shots are clear, concise, precise and amazing. TTZ is as good as it gets for black-and-white television. Just about every single episode is a work of art. While the acting is at time a bit on the campy side, the stories told more than make up for that by leaps and bounds.
I'm a little more than half-way through season 1 and there hasn't been a single bad episode so far. That in itself is amazing; the stories are that good.
Here's the kicker however when watching TTZ: When watching this, I guarantee you're going to say to yourself, "Wait a second.. I've heard this story before.." at least a few times. Why? Because so many movies and other television shows have ripped off TTZ it's ridiculous. Sci-fi movies/tv, drama movies/tv, action movies/tv, you name it - a whole bunch have lifted material directly from this show. Sometimes in little pieces, other times in very obvious lifts, but you'll know it when you see it. I suppose you could call what other program and movie makers lifted from TTZ "recycling", but seriously.. a lift is a lift. 🙂
In many respects, TTZ is "space crazy"; it was filmed at a time when the space program in the US was huge news and everyone was talking about it. A ton of space program influence is in the show, no question. But it's cool.
Another thing is that TTZ was filmed at a time when America was at its most prosperous. The whole country had oodles of money, our dollar was worth quite a bit, everything was cheap and many were living the good life - literally. You could leave the door to your house and car unlocked. You could talk a walk at night and not worry about it. The nuclear family was in full effect in the late 50s. And yeah, people miss that. A lot. We haven't seen nuclear families in America for many years.
Anyway, a huge thumbs up to TTZ. Amazing show.