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 12th, This Day in Twilight Zone History wishes happy birthday to one of the great character actors whose name escapes you – but you definitely remember his face – Edward Binns, born on this day in 1916. Binns played the leader of a crashed space exploration team in “I Shot an Arrow Into the Air,” a first season episode with a stunning twist. Binns returned, albeit briefly, as General Walters – another commanding officer – in “The Long Morrow,” which starred Robert Lansing as another space explorer headed out for a forty-year journey. Binns who died at 74 in 1990, had a big career as a supporting player in films and television.
Fans remember him as one of the jurors in the original 12 Angry Men, and he is also quite memorable as grouchy General Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s deputy, opposite George C. Scott and Karl Malden in Patton. Here’s to Binns, another stellar presence in the small screen star system we call The Twilight Zone.