I spent some time watching The Twilight Zone marathon overnight on SyFy. Twilight Zone premiered in 1959. Pardon me while I gasp! That’s a long time ago.
Why do the episodes still work today?
Rod Serling himself wrote 92 of the 156 episodes. That seems crazily prolific by today’s standards.
Even with that volume, the stories are incredibly tight with smart dialog and unexpected plot twists. C’mon, did you really expect the aliens attacking Agnes Moorehead (in an episode with virtually no dialog) would be American astronauts?
In one episode as ‘the heavy’ walked toward a graveyard I saw the seam connecting two painted flats that provided the distant sky. It made no difference. The heavy was Lee Marvin. His presence trumped production values.
Big stars, or actors who would become big stars, populated every episode.
My childhood memories are vivid enough when I saw Billy Mumy last night in “Long Distance Call,” I instinctively changed the channel. Too weird.
Truly classic television.