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 3, we remember the passing of actress Ida Lupino, who died on this day in 1995 at the age of 77. Not only did Ms. Lupino star in the memorable episode “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine,” in which she channels Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard as an aging actress obsessed with her past, but she is also the only woman to direct an episode of The Twilight Zone. The fastidious Ms. Lupino directed the memorably creepy and atmospheric episode “The Masks.” Ida Lupino was also married for many years to another veteran of The Twilight Zone – actor Howard Duff, who starred in “A World of Difference.”
On another note, we also honor writer/producer Mona Houghton, who was born on this day in 1951. Mona had the small but memorable role of the child who is standing with her mother on a snowy street at the end of “Five Characters in Search of an Exit.” Mona was the daughter of producer Buck Houghton, who was a major factor in the success of the first three seasons of the show when he served as chief producer.