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 15, This Day in Twilight Zone History wishes a very happy birthday to actress Eileen Ryan, who is 90 years young today. In the first-season episode “A World of Difference,” Eileen plays Nora, the impatient ex-wife of actor Jerry Raigan (Howard Duff), a man who woke up this morning thinking he was an ordinary businessman named Arthur Curtis, and is now shocked to discover that he's an actor, his office is a movie set, and there's a whole crew of movie technicians staring at him on a soundstage. Jerry is going through a severe identity crisis, while Nora justs wants her damn alimony check.
Richard Matheson wrote this episode – which echoes The Truman Show, in that it’s about an ordinary man who begins to question the nature of reality. Let us hoist a martini to Eileen Ryan – another piece of the puzzle in the giant jigsaw we call The Twilight Zone.