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 22, This Day in Twilight Zone History wishes happy birthday to two leading actors of the Zone – Geoffrey Horne (born 1933) and Cecil Kellaway (born 1890). Horne, famous in movie circles as the tentative commando, Lt. Joyce, in David Lean’s mammoth World War II saga The Bridge on the River Kwai, starred in “The Gift,” as a wounded alien visitor, befriended by a little Mexican boy in a small south-of-the-border village.
Kellaway – a consummate character actor -- was memorable in two episodes – “Elegy,” in which he’s the mysterious caretaker of an Earth-like asteroid visited by three spacemen (Jeff Morrow, Kevin Hagen, and Don Dubbins), and “Passage on the Lady Anne,” in which he’s a passenger on an aging liner who’s concerned when a young and squabbling married couple (Lee Philips, Joyce Van Patten) book passage. Genre fans will remember Kellaway as Professor Elson in The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Whether they came from big or small screen, everyone found a booking on The Twilight Zone a boon to their career and legacy.