A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes. The original series, shot entirely in black and white, ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964.
The TwilightZone followed in the tradition of earlier television shows such as Tales of Tomorrow (1951–53, which also dramatized the short story “What You Need”) and Science Fiction Theater (1955–57); radio programs such as The Weird Circle, Dimension X, and X Minus One; and the radio work of one of Serving's inspirations, Norman Cor win. TV Guide ranked the original TV series #5 in their 2013 list of the 60 greatest shows of all time and #4 in their list of the 60 greatest dramas.
In December 2017, CBS All Access officially ordered the third TwilightZone revival to series, which will be helmed by Jordan Peele. Narrator: The year is 1847, the place is the territory of New Mexico, the people are a tiny handful of men and women with a dream.
Eleven months ago, they started out from Ohio and headed west. Someone told them about a place called California, about a warm sun and a blue sky, about rich land and fresh air, and at this moment, almost a year later, they've seen nothing but cold, heat, exhaustion, hunger, and sickness.
He has a dying eight-year old son and a heartsick wife, and he's the only one remaining who has even a fragment of the dream left. Mr. Chris Horn, who's going over the top of a rim to look for water and sustenance and in a moment will move into the TwilightZone.
Daniel: Good night, Joe. All I know is that every night, of every week, of every month, except Election Day, you come in here and drive everybody out of their skulls walking on your lower lip.
Narrator: A hotel suite that, in this instance, serves as a den of crime, the aftermath of a rather minor event to be noted on a police blotter, an insurance claim, perhaps a three-inch box on page twelve of the evening paper. But this camera, this one's unusual because in just a moment we'll watch it inject itself into the destinies of three people.
Part Williams: This is a communication from Jake Ross. Part Williams: I can give you the sense of it very quickly, Mr. Misread.
Misread: That account represented a gross billing of something in the neighborhood of three million dollars a year! Not only has your pet project backfired, but it's sprouted wings and left the premises.
Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams' protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target, and blown him apart.
Narrator: Small message of reassurance to that horizontal young lady: don't despair, help is en route. Narrator: Submitted for your approval, the case of one Miss Agnes Grep, put on Earth with two left feet, an overabundance of thumbs, and a propensity for falling down manholes.
Nathan 'Nate' Bedsore: Well, you might say, uh, I'm kind of a messenger. Nathan 'Nate' Bedsore: Nah, I, uh, was given instructions to deliver this message privately.
Nathan 'Nate' Bedsore: Afraid I can't say. In a little while, supposedly, the ship will be landed and specimens taken, vegetable, mineral and, if any, animal.
These will be brought back to overpopulated Earth, where technicians will evaluate them and, if everything is satisfactory, stamp their findings with the word 'inhabitable' and open up yet another planet for colonization. Narrator: Picture of the crew of the spaceship E-89: Captain Ross, Lieutenant Mason, Lieutenant Carter.
Three men who, in a matter of minutes, will be plunged into the darkest nightmare reaches of The TwilightZone. Narrator: Mr. Schmidt, recently arrived in a small Bavarian village, which lies eight miles northwest of Munich, a picturesque, delightful little spot one time known for its scenery but more recently related to other events having to do with some less positive pursuits of man: human slaughter, torture, misery, and anguish.
And now former S.S. Captain Lute will revisit his old haunts, satisfied perhaps that all that is awaiting him in the ruins on the hill is an element of nostalgia. What he does not know, of course, is that a place like Dachau cannot exist only in Bavaria.
They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it, they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worse of all, their conscience.
And Fate, a laughing Fate, a practical Forester with a smile that stretched across the stars, saw to it that they got their wish, with just one reservation: the wish came true, but only in the TwilightZone. Witness, Mr. Walter Baedeker, age forty-four, afraid of the following: death, disease, other people, germs, draft, and everything else.
Mr. Joe Ca swell, who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart, a feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Ca swell, in the last, quiet moment of a violent life.
Narrator: Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler, who lives in a very private world of darkness, a universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of a swath of bandages that cover her face. In a moment, we'll go back into this room, and also in a moment, we'll look under those bandages, keeping in mind, of course, that we're not to be surprised by what we see, because this isn't just a hospital, and this patient 307 is not just a woman.
Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness. In a moment, we'll start collecting clues as to the why's, the what's, and the where's.
This phantom from another time, this resurrected ghost of a previous nightmare. Remember it when you hear a name called, a minority attacked, any blind, unreasoning assault on a people or any human being.
George is a creature of humble habits and tame dreams. He's an ordinary man, Mr. Hanley, but at this moment the accidental possessor of a very special gift, the kind of gift that measures men against their dreams, the kind of gift most of us might ask for first and possibly regret to the last, if we, like Mr. George P. Hanley, were about to plunge head-first and unaware into our own personal TwilightZone.
This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there's a little town there called Evansville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Evansville was left all alone.
Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Evansville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. Now, the monster doesn't like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you're looking at now.
And you'll note that the people in Evansville, Ohio, have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror.
He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge.
Mr. Fremont: Well, Anthony, you remember the last time some kids came over to play. Anthony Fremont: I had a real good time.
At this moment, she's one day out of Liverpool, her destination: New York. Duly recorded on this ship's log is the sailing time, course to destination, weather conditions, temperature, longitude and latitude.
But what is never recorded in a log is the fear that washes over a deck like fog and ocean spray. Fear like the throbbing strokes of engine pistons, each like a heartbeat, parceling out every hour into breathless minutes of watching, waiting and dreading.
Lt. Mueller: To reconcile the killing of men and women without any warning. Carl Laser: In the eyes of the British admiralty, we most certainly are.
War spits out its violence overhead, and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force.
On a hot, still morning, she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in the wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.
Talky Tina: My name is Talky Tina, and I think I could even hate you. [Erich looks at the doll and then flings her across the room; Tina lands on her back and Erich looks at the doll from where he stands.
Erich Creator: Exactly what is it you're taking, Annabelle? I know you're having a difficult time adjusting to her, but I can't let you treat her this way.
I'm glad I'm not cold, cruel ogre that mother and daughter think I am; I appreciate all the *faith* you have in me! I'm sorry, Father, if I made you mad.
Annabelle Creator: It hadn't occurred to me, but if that's what you want to think... [she stands and the doorbell immediately rings, and she goes to the door. As Christie is busy with Tina, Annabelle speaks again] It's Linda.
For in a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge which separates light and shadow, and, of course, he must take the only known route, that indistinct highway through the region we call The TwilightZone. Narrator: You're looking at Act One, Scene One, of a nightmare, one not restricted to witching hours of dark, rain swept nights.
Professor Walter Jameson, popular beyond words, who talks of the past as if it were the present, who conjures up the dead as if they were alive. Narrator: In the view of this man, Professor Samuel Cartridge, Walter Jameson has access to knowledge that couldn't come out of a volume of history, but rather from a book on black magic, which is to say that this nightmare begins at noon.
Narrator: Millicent Barnes, age twenty-five, young woman waiting for a bus on a rainy November night. Not a very imaginative type is Miss Barnes, not given to undue anxiety or fears, or, for that matter, even the most temporal flights of fancy.
All of which is mentioned now because, in just a moment, the head on Miss Barnes' shoulders will be put to a test. Circumstances will assault her sense of reality and a chain of nightmares will put her sanity on a block.
His name is James B. W. Nevis, and his tastes lean toward stuffed animals, zither music, professional football, Charles Dickens, moose heads, carnivals, dogs, children, and young ladies. Mr. Nevis is accident-prone, a little vague, a little discombobulated, with a life that possesses all the security of a floating crap game.
Narrator: Should it not be obvious by now, James B. W. Nevis is a fixture in his own private, optimistic, hopeful little world, a world which has long ceased being surprised by him. James B. W. Nevis, on whom Dame Fortune will shortly turn her back, but not before she gives him a paste in the mouth.
Narrator: Uniquely American institution known as the neighborhood bar. Reading left to right are Mr. Anthony O'Toole, proprietor, who waters his drinks like geraniums but who stands foursquare for peace and quiet and for booths for ladies.
This is Mr. Joseph J. Callahan, an unregistered bookie, whose entire life is any sporting event with two sides and a set of odds. His idea of a meeting at the summit is any dialogue between a catcher and a pitcher with more than one man on base.
And this animated citizen is every anonymous bettor who ever dropped rent money on a horse race, a prize fight, or a floating crap game, and who took out his frustrations and his insolvency on any vulnerable fellow barstool companion within arm's and fist's reach. And this is Mr. Luther Dingle, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose volume of business is roughly that of a valet at a hobo convention.
He's a consummate failure in almost everything but is a good listener and has a prominent jaw. They are about to alter the destiny of Luther Dingle by leaving him a legacy, the kind you can hardly find no more.
In just a moment, a sad-faced perennial punching bag, who missed even the caboose of life's gravy train, will take a short constitutional into that most unpredictable region that we refer to as The TwilightZone. Narrator: Exit Mr. Luther Dingle, formerly vacuum cleaner salesman, the strongest man on Earth, and now mental giant.
But to the scoffers amongst you, and you ladies and gentlemen from Missouri, don't laugh this one off entirely, at least until you've seen a sample of Mr. Garrity's wares, and an example of his services. And you and I have just entered a saloon where the bar whiskey is brewed, bottled and delivered from the TwilightZone.
Happily, his conviction will not remain isolated too much longer, for happily, tangible manifestation is very often left as evidence of trespass, even from so intangible a quarter as The TwilightZone. Narrator: Portrait of a frightened man: Mr. Robert Wilson, thirty-seven, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave.
What we need are twenty General Custer's and a hundred thousand men! What we should have done is swept across the prairie, destroying every redskin that stood before us.
After that, we should have planted the American flag deep, high and proud! Abigail Sloan: I think the country is tired of fighting, Mr. Hanford.
Why, the virility of a nation is in direct proportion to its military prowess. Paul Driscoll: No, just some sick idiot who's seen too many boys die because of too many men who fight their battles at dining room tables... and who probably wouldn't last forty-five seconds in a REAL skirmish if they WERE thrust into it.
He is a scientifically advanced monkey who walks upright, with eyes wide open into an abyss of his own making. His bombs, fallout, poison, radioactivity everything he designs as an art for dying is his excuse for living.
My mother's been married 11 times and personally I've liked the stepfathers better. Valerie: Look, I know you've had nine fathers since the first one, everybody marries everybody these days.
I have given it a good deal of thought in the ensuing years, and I shall never cease to regret it. I have found you to be, from the moment you came into my office, a predatory, grasping, conniving, acquisitive animal of a man.
Without heart, without conscience, without compassion, and without even a subtle hint of the common decencies. William Feather smith: ...
It's used to make twelve hundred million smackers, that's what it's used for... I've given you the principle, now all you have to do is build it... Look, I am not a crummy draftsman or a cheap blueprint boy; I am a promoter, a financier.
Feather smith: Well, I suppose the standard payment is, um, well, I guess you'd call it the soul. Miss Devlin: On occasion, Mr. Feather smith that is part of the transaction.
But in your case, we got a hold of your soul some time ago, I believe. And Captain Ben teen is quite right when he tells you it isn't a place of all beauty.
There won't be anybody to tell you when to eat, and when to sleep, and when to meet. There won't be anyone to tell you when to dance or what to sing or how to play.
Don't you want to hear about the rivers and the seas, the blue skies in the night? The plants, the seeds, the roots, the flower petals, the sap from the trees.
One night I spent a whole hour just staring at that silly boat. Every time I looked at that boat, the sails would fill, and it would begin to dip.
Residence: Hollywood, California, or anywhere in the world that cameras happen to be grinding. Bunny Blake is a public figure; what she wears, eats, thinks, says is news.
Or you take this place here, you and Coley and his harmonica, or Phillips and his mother. Henry Ritchie: Because movies are technically accurate.
Paul Carson: Yeah, that's strange, too, when you come to think of it. Narrator: Adam Grant, a nondescript kind of man, found guilty of murder and sentenced to the electric chair.
Like every other criminal caught in the wheels of justice, he's scared, right down to the marrow of his bones. But it isn't prison that scares him, the long, silent nights of waiting, the slow walk to the little room, or even death itself.
Location for the facing of said truth, a small, smoke-filled arena just this side of The TwilightZone. We offer this rather obvious comment because this particular airplane, the one you're looking at, is a freak.
Now, yesterday morning this particular airplane ceased to be just a commercial carrier. As of its arrival, it became an enigma, a seven-ton puzzle made out of aluminum, steel, wire, and a few thousand other component parts, none of which add up to the right thing.
Mr. Julius Monomer, a would-be writer who, if talent came twenty-five cents a pound, would be worth less than car fare. But, in a moment, Mr. Monomer, through the offices of some black magic, is about to embark on a brand-new career.
And although he may never get a writing credit on the TwilightZone, he's to become an integral character in it. Professor A. Daemon: Ointments, salves, powders, sovereign remedies, nectar, lotus blossoms, toxins, tonics, anti-toxins, decoction, concoctions, and potions.
In a moment, you'll see a switch, because Mr. Roger Shackelforth, the young gentleman so much in love, will take a short but very meaningful journey into The TwilightZone. He's been a salesman, a dispatcher, a truck driver, a con man, a bookie, and a part-time bartender.
He can twitch a muscle, move a jaw, concentrate on the cast of his eyes, and he can change his face. Mr. Archie Hammer, jack-of-all-trades, has just checked in at three-eighty a night, with two bags, some newspaper clippings, a most odd talent, and a master plan to destroy some lives.
Verge Ste rig: This is the happiest day of your life, how come you look like somebody just stuck lemon juice in your beer, huh? Verge Ste rig: I held up my end of the bargain and instead of the payoff, all I got was the river.
Captain Allen by: Brought you some paperback books. Makes me feel like an animal in a cage with an old lady out there who wants to throw peanuts at me.
And I doubt if this'll be any consolation to you, but this isn't an easy assignment to handle; stopping here four times a year and having to look at a man's agony. This is not a hospital, not a morgue, not a mausoleum, not an undertaker's parlor of the future.
It is en route to another planetary system an incredible distance from the Earth. It is also the story of the things that might happen to human beings who take a step beyond, unable to anticipate everything that might await them out there.
To put coins on my closed eyes and with your free hands start grabbing things from my shelves. Everything... money, house, property holding, stocks, bonds, everything.
Wilfred Harper: Father, you're breaking our *hearts×. Jason Foster: Well, that's the most touching thing you ever dredged up by way of conversation, Wilfred...
Jason Foster: Why indeed, Emily, because you're cruel and miserable people! Emily responds only to what her petty hungers dictate.
Narrator: The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is 'doomed,' because the people you've just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun.
Once upon a time, it was a baseball stadium that housed a major league ball club known as the Hoboken Zephyrs. Now it houses nothing but memories and a wind that stirs in the high grass of what was once an outfield, a wind that sometimes bears a faint, ghostly resemblance to the roar of a crowd that once sat here.
We're back in time now, when the Hoboken Zephyrs were still a part of the National League, and this mausoleum of memories was an honest-to-Pete stadium. But since this is strictly a story of make believe, it has to start this way: once upon a time, in Hoboken, New Jersey, it was tryout day.
And though he's not yet on the field, you're about to meet a most unusual fella, a left-handed pitcher named Casey. Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a major league baseball team called the Hoboken Zephyrs, who, during the last year of their existence, wound up in last place and shortly thereafter wound up in oblivion.
There's a rumor, unsubstantiated, of course, that a manager named McGorry took them to the West Coast and wound up with several pennants and a couple of world championships. Of course, none of them smiled very much, but it happens to be a fact that they pitched like nothing human.
Now let me fill you in on the situation here, Mr. Goldsmith. Between Buffalo, New York and Atlanta, Georgia, there are probably around five hundred people alive.
Marty Weiss: I feel sorry for you, Bill, I really do, you probably will survive, but you'll have blood on your hands. Dr. Bill Stockton: That was a million years ago...
Mrs. Henderson: Sure, and what right have they got to come over here? Jerry Harlow: HHH, this is *our* shelter, and on the next street that's another country.
For somewhere beyond him, a wheel was turned, and his number came up black thirteen. Narrator: This, as the banner already has proclaimed, is Mr. Harvey Uncut, an expert on commerce and con jobs, a brash, bright, and larceny-loaded wheeler and dealer who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, must have gone for a beer and missed out.
As a matter of fact, in just a few moments, they'll give Harvey Uncut something that he's never experienced before. Through the good offices of a little magic, they will unload on Mr. Uncut the absolute necessity to tell the truth.
Narrator: Seconds, minutes, hours, they crawl by on hands and knees for Mr. Henry Semis, who looks for a spark in the ashes of a dead world. A telephone connected to nothingness, a neighborhood bar, a movie, a baseball diamond, a hardware store, the mailbox that was once his house and now is rubble; they lie at his feet as battered monuments to what was but is no more.
Narrator: Mr. Henry Semis, on an eight-hour tour of a graveyard. I had to come back and get on the merry-go-round, and eat cotton candy, and listen to a band concert.
I had to stop and breathe, and close my eyes and smell, and listen. Maybe when you go back, Martin, you'll find that there are merry-go-rounds and band concerts where you are.
Narrator: Portrait of a nervous man: Oliver Pope by name, office manager by profession. A man beset by life's problems: his job, his salary, the competition to get ahead.
Obviously, Mr. Pope's mind is not on his driving... Oliver Pope, businessman-turned killer, on a rain-soaked street in the early evening of just another day during just another drive home from the office. The victim, a kid on a bicycle, lying injured, near death.
Narrator: You're looking at the house of the late Mrs. Henrietta Walker. And this, except for isolated objects, is the living room of Mrs. Walker's house, as it appeared in that same year.
Only one element is missing now, one remaining item in the estate of the late Mrs. Walker: her son, Alex, thirty-four years of age and, up 'til twenty minutes ago, the so-called 'perennial bachelor.' They're returning from the city hall in order to get Mr. Walker's clothes packed, make final arrangements for the sale of the house, lock it up, and depart on their honeymoon.