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, September 2, This Day in Twilight Zone History wishes happy birthday to Brazilian composer/guitarist Laurindo Almeida, who was born on this day in 1917. Almeida, who passed away in 1995 at age 77, brought his signature guitar licks to the episode “The Gift,” in which an injured alien visitor (Geoffrey Horne) arrives in a small south-of-the-border town and is befriended by a little boy (Edmund Vargas).
If his Latin-flavored guitar solos sound familiar, they should. You’ve heard them in such films as Rio Bravo, The Alamo, The Commancheros, Stagecoach, and Unforgiven.
Music plays an enormous part in the success of The Twilight Zone. CBS Music Department chief Lud Gluskin always seemed to find the perfect composer for each episode, and Almeida’s fellow composer giants, like Bernard Herrmann and Jerry Goldsmith, produced some of their best early work on the small screen.
So here’s to the maestros who also entered the fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.