"You're traveling to another dimension...a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind...a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop: The Twilight Zone." Originally telecast on CBS from October 2, 1959, to September 18, 1964 (not counting a brief spate of network reruns in the summer of 1965), The Twilight Zone was one of the foremost filmed dramatic anthologies on TV and one of a precious few that specialized in fantasy and science fiction. Created by Rod Serling, whose previous TV writing credits included such classic live dramas as Patterns and Requiem for a Heavyweight, the series specialized in concise, economical playlets dealing with the offbeat andsupernatural, many of them with surprising and ironic climactic twists. Many of the individual episodes have stood the test of time as indisputable classics, among them "Eye of the Beholder," "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street," "The Invaders," "It's a Good Life," "To Serve Man," "The Invaders," and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Rod Serling served as the series' host and narrator, and also wrote most of the dramas. Other noteworthy contributors included Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, and, on one memorable occasion (the episode "I Sing the Body Electric"), Ray Bradbury.
A veritable constellation of guest stars brought the stories to life; among those making multiple appearances were Burgess Meredith, Jack Klugman, William Shatner, Martin Landau, Anne Francis, Bill Mumy, Ed Wynn, and Lee Marvin, while many more showed up for memorable single performances including Charles Bronson, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, James Coburn, Mickey Rooney, and Dennis Hopper. The series' famous theme music (heard from the second season onward) was composed by Marius Constant with unforgettable incidental music provided by the likes of Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith. Although the series' title has become a household word and many of its episodes are acknowledged masterpieces, Twilight Zone was never a huge ratings attraction during its network run. Indeed, after only three seasons, CBS decided to yank the show. It was saved at the last minute and brought back as a mid-season replacement, expanded from 30 to 60 minutes per week in the process. For its fifth and final season, Twilight Zone returned to its familiar half-hour format, still playing to appreciative but comparatively small audiences. It was not until the series went into off-network reruns that Twilight Zone truly built its fan following, which has increased many times over in the ensuing years. Twilight Zone was revived twice with new, full-color episodes, first as a CBS (and later syndicated) weekly in 1985, then on UPN in 2002. Rod Serling was not involved with these revivals, having passed away in 1975; the 1985 version had no host, though its narrators included Charles Aidman and Robin Ward, but the 2002 version was hosted by Forest Whitaker. In addition, a theatrical feature, Twilight Zone: The Movie, was released in 1983.