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 4, we move behind the scenes and honor an uncredited member of The Twilight Zone crew – assistant director John D. Bloss, who was born on this day in 1919. When The Twilight Zone was canceled at the end of its third season (due to lackluster ratings), CBS put a great deal of hope in a situation comedy called Fair Exchange (starring Eddie Foy Jr.). When that hope fizzled (Fair Exchange was hardly that for The Twilight Zone), network programming chief James Aubrey (a self-professed enemy of anthology series), reluctantly, brought The Twilight Zone back as a one-hour midseason replacement series. Only 18 episodes were produced, and Bloss worked on nine of those as an A.D., starting with “In His Image.” A Minnesota native, he later joined the Walt Disney company as one of their production managers, where he worked on Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Escape to Witch Mountain, Herbie Goes Bananas, and many more. Here’s to Bloss and the previously unsung crew members who made up the TZ crew.