Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone premiered on October 2, 1959, and over the course of its five-year run would churn out 156 episodes and cement itself as a classic of science fiction television. Its influence would be felt in any number of shows and movies that would follow -- from The Walking Dead to Stranger Things -- and beyond, becoming one of the enduring pop culture staples of its era. This Day in Twilight Zone History presents key commemorative facts about the greatest science fiction/fantasy television series of all time, presented by author Steven Jay Rubin, whose latest book is The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia (arriving this October). Whether it’s a key performer’s birth or death, the date an episode debuted, or any other related fact, This Day in Twilight Zone History presents a unique aspect of the rich history of this television series and the extraordinary team that created it.
Today, August 10, we turn to the art department and honor the birthday of Malcolm Brown, who was born on this day in 1903 and worked on 12 episodes, including "The Last Night of a Jockey," which starred Mickey Rooney. George Davis was the usual art director on the show (he worked on 148 of 156 episodes), but occasionally even he took a vacation, which opened opportunities for others. Brown, like many TZ behind-the-scenes artists, was an Academy Award winner (for the Paul Newman boxing film Somebody Up There Likes Me). In the days of black and white television, the true unsung players were the art directors and set decorators who made hay with tiny, atmospheric sets – where everything truly looked lived-in – especially cramped apartments, rooming houses, hotel rooms, and tenements that were a mainstay of The Twilight Zone.
So here's to those unsung art directors who provided their own special brand of atmosphere to one of the most atmospheric shows ever.