Today, November 21st, This Day in Twilight Zone History remembers actor Bill Bixby who passed away on this day in 1993 at age 59.
In the fourth season one-hour episode "The Thirty-Fathom Grave," Bixby was featured as Lt. Smith, the Officer of the Deck on a modern U.S. Navy destroyer that encounters the hulk of an American submarine off Guadalcanal in 1963. Eighteen years after the end of World War II, there's an eerie clanging sound coming from the hull of that sub.
One of the joys of researching the episode-by-episode history of a show like The Twilight Zone is discovering familiar performers who received some of their first exposure on the Zone on their way to sizable TV careers. A San Francisco native, Bixby was later well-known for the lead role in three major television series: My Favorite Martian (as Tim O'Hara, opposite Ray Walston’s alien Uncle Martin); The Courtship of Eddie's Father (as widower Tom Corbett) and The Incredible Hulk (as Dr. David Banner, opposite Lou Ferrigno's Hulk).
The Twilight Zone provided a notable launching pad for young actors coming up in the 1960s, particularly because everyone in the industry paid attention to it. It was a badge of rank to wrangle any part on the show, and many actors were constantly nagging their agents to get them in the Zone.
So here's to remembering a fine TZ actor at the very beginning, Mr. Bill Bixby – forever in our hearts and memories.