The Twilight Zone


Does the man in the picture ( see above) look familiar? Rod Serling was responsible for The Twilight Zone television seriesHe wrote more than half of the series’ 156 episodes.  How many of the 156 have you seen?  From the late 1950s to 1964, the program was on television.  Now, at least where I live, you can watch a Twilight Zone marathon (maybe as long as a few days) during a holiday season.  Every story begins with the above words to set the mood and generate excitement and a feeling of familiarity.  You know you are about to see some old (television) friends again.

Some of the Zone’s most familiar stories could include the following.  The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street shows you a typical street somewhere in America.  Most of the inhabitants are familiar to each other, but not all. When unusual events are added to the atmosphere, some residents wonder if monsters (from outer space?)  are invading their neighborhood.  They are not, as the show’s ending tells the viewer, because “the world is full of Maple Streets.”

Perhaps To Serve Man triggers your memory.  In this episode, aliens actually arrive on Earth.  They promise peace and scientific advances that will benefit mankind.  As humans enter the visitors’ space craft for a visit to their planet, a linguist realizes a book of the visitors is actually a cookbook.  But it’s too late.

Everyone must remember Nightmare at 20,000 Feet starring a young James T., eh, excuse me, a young William Shatner as a man recovering from a nervous breakdown who is boarding a plane.  Once seated and aloft, only  Kirk, eh, excuse me again, Mr. Shatner can see a monster tearing apart the plane’s wing. Our hero suffers a relapse and is taken off the plane on a stretcher while mechanics are puzzled to explain a torn wing and engine damage.

The Invaders is a silent story about a woman who cannot, or does not, speak and her investigation of a continuing noise on her roof. Eventually, she attacks the small space suited beings causing the noise that emerge from their craft as the story ends. Their craft has, on its hull, the letters: U S A.



And if you want to see (again) my favorite story, look for Time Enough at Laststarring Burgess Meredith (see above).  He plays a bank clerk whose thick glasses would rather gaze upon the great books of literature rather than irritating customers and his nagging wife.  During his lunch hour, spent in the bank’s vault for silence in which he can read, a nuclear attack wipes out all other human beings.  Upon emerging, he finds a library’s books which he can read because he finally has, well, you know.  Unfortunately, he drops something (see below)and his future plans are gone.



What was your favorite Twilight Zone story?













About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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