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, October 8th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of actress Josephine Hutchinson (1903-1998) who portrayed the Grandma Robot in “I Sing the Body Electric.” In the only TZ episode written by author Ray Bradbury, the central focus is on three children (Veronica Cartwright, Charles Herbert, Dana Dillaway), who, because their father (David White) works such long hours, need a nanny. This being the future, and more importantly, this being The Twilight Zone, they are assigned to a loving robot nanny who treats them just like a real grandmother would. Of course, there’s one child (Cartwright) who wants nothing to do with this bucket of circuits and bolts, but even she is eventually won over. The Twilight Zone offered wonderfully inventive parts for children, but also gave credible roles to seniors. Since I am a big fan of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, I always remember Hutchinson (an MGM contract player) who had the bit role of the phony Mrs. Lester Townsend, who utters that classic line to Cary Grant – ‘Roger, you didn’t borrow Laura’s Mercedes?” Here’s to Hutchinson, who brought flesh and blood acting skills to the literary circuitry of the masterful Ray Bradbury.