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 17th, This Day in Twilight Zone History wishes happy birthday to John Brahm, born today in 1893, and who was the most prolific of all the Twilight Zone directors. He directed twelve terrific episodes, including my personal favorite – “Time Enough at Last. ”
That timeless episode introduced timid Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith), the reading-obsessed bank clerk who likes to eat his lunch every day in the vault – the only place he’s not bothered about his fondness for the printed word. One little apocalypse later, he's momentarily elated to be the last human standing with his beloved books, until pretty much the most famous Twilight Zone twist of all time sends things in a much darker direction.
Having cut his teeth on a couple of terrific Laird Cregar-starring thrillers for 20th Century Fox, The Lodger and Hangover Square, Brahm brought something special to his TZ work – the ability to inject atmosphere and texture, ever present in episodes such as “Mirror Image” (with Vera Miles), “The Four of Us Are Dying,” and “Young Man’s Fancy.” Let’s hear it for the helmers who brought their A-game to the half-hour dramatic anthology world, and in Brahm’s case, hit it out of the park.