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 24, This Day in Twilight Zone History remembers actor Gary Crosby, who died on this day in 1995 at age 62; and actress June Dayton, who was born on this day in 1923.
Actor/singer Crosby (son of Bing Crosby) starred in "Come Wander With Me," a moody episode that is not often included in the TZ marathons. He plays Floyd Burney, a successful country singer who trolls the backwoods looking for homespun song material but ends up finding a rather sour note instead.
June Dayton co-starred in "A Penny for Your Thoughts" as Helen Turner, a pretty bank employee who has a crush on mild-mannered bank officer Hector B. Poole (Dick York) ... a passion that becomes more transparent when Hector suddenly develops telepathic powers.
Both of these episodes have that patented Twilight Zone atmosphere, aided by wonderful black-and-white photography and the usual attention to detail. In "Come Wander With Me," a simple woods setting becomes both romantic and ominous as Burney chases a soulful singer with a dark secret. In "A Penny for Your Thoughts," the setting is a typical bank, but the addition of Hector Poole's telepath adds a whimsical element to every moment.
The Twilight Zone advertised that it was transporting audiences to another dimension – of sight, sound, and mind – and those elements were perfectly represented in these two episodes.