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April 1 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1965 premiere of 'Smorgasbord'

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Apr 1, 2018

Today, April 1, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia present a doozy of a Season 6 episode.

Having run dry on their original ideas, Rod Serling and Richard Matheson teamed up and created "Smorgasbord," in which the race of Kanamits (first introduced in "To Serve Man"), led by actor Richard Kiel, journey to a primitive planet to capture a giant woman, once again portrayed by Agnes Moorehead. To achieve success, over 1000 Kanamit marines are sent in, with enough rope to circle the Statue of Liberty seven times.

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Actor Richard Kiel traded in his alien caftan for Marine khakis in "Smorgasbord," the frightening sequel to both "The Invaders" and "To Serve Man."

Ben Gazzara made his only TZ appearance as Fred Davis, a tiny U.S. astronaut who is the only survivor of "The Invaders." When the Kanamits, in a scene right out of Gulliver's Travels, finally tie Agnes down and break out their tiny forks and knives, it is Davis' classic line that ends the episode: "It's a smorgasbord!" Many people who watched this episode back in 1965 had to run to their dictionaries to find out what the word meant.

Long before he achieved immortality with the Star Wars series, George Lucas was recruited to direct his only television episode. However, since he was only 20, he used the more polished pseudonym "Herman Melville." You won't find this credit on his IMDb page.

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Before he achieved international stardom in the television series Run For Your Life, actor Ben Gazzara took the tiny role of surviving astronaut Cal Meacham in the startling "Smorgasbord."

So on this memorable day, in which we all play April Fools tricks on each other, I give you this mishmash to make of what you will, because as Rod Serling has taught me over the years: Your imagination is only limited by how wild and crazy you want to get – especially if your feet are planted firmly in The Twilight Zone.