The Twilight Zone: Season 02 (1960)

Run Time - 30 min.  |  
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Although The Twilight Zone suffered from anemic ratings and a certain degree of sponsor dissatisfaction during its first season on CBS, the network could not ignore the prestige value of a series created and largely written by Rod Serling -- nor could it ignore the millions of loyal fans who demanded that the series return for a second season...which, of course, it did. Due to budget cutbacks, only 29 episodes were produced for season two; six of these were economically shot on videotape, an experiment that proved esthetically unsatisfying and was not repeated. Even so, the six taped installments yielded at least one imperishable classic: The Christmas Fantasy "Night of the Meek" starring Art Carney as a drunken department-store Santa who experiences quite an epiphany on Christmas Eve. Twilight Zone's second season saw the introduction of the series' now-immortal "dee-dee-dee-doo, dee-dee-dee-doo" theme music composed by Marius Constant. Also, host Rod Serling began making on-camera appearances as he introduced the various playlets. A number of guest stars from season one make return appearances for season two, among them Burgess Meredith (seen twice this season), Inger Stevens, Dick York, Russell Johnson, and Fritz Weaver. Others make their first (but definitely not last!) Zone appearances during this season, including William Shatner, Bill Mumy, Jonathan Harris, and Cliff Robertson. And finally, a handful of celebrated performers show up for their only Twilight Zone gigs, notably Shelley Berman, Richard Haydn, Jack Carson, and Bob Cummings. Of the season's 29 episodes, at least three can be designated as imperishable classics: "The Howling Man," a grim gothic tale of demonic deception; "The Eye of the Beholder," in which a young woman designated as "hideously ugly" by a totalitarian government undergoes a grueling session of plastic surgery; and "The Invaders," starring Agnes Moorehead as a terrified farm woman who single-handedly fends off an army of tiny extraterrestrials.