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 5th, This Day in Twilight Zone History wishes happy birthday to actor Ron Kipling, who was born on this day in 1936. Kipling had one of those 15 minutes of fame careers, with his appearance in “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” being one of his three acting credits. He played George Prince, husband of Connie Prince (Jill Ellis) and a bus traveler who is stranded with his wife and five other passengers in a rural diner while highway patrol officers investigate a possible close encounter. Could one of them be an alien? Or is it the proprietor, or the bus driver, or one of the cops? Serling did a fine job of turning this “bottle” episode into a classic “Who Done it?”
Although he disappeared from the screen after a 1962 appearance in Route 66, thanks to his association with The Twilight Zone, Prince will always be with us in spirit (Sadly, on June 25, 2011, he was killed in a motorcycle accident near his home in Washington State. He was 74 – motorcycle riding was his passion). So, here’s to Ron Kipling - whether an actor starred in a show, or played a bit, they all form part of a timeless fabric in the legacy of the greatest television show of all time.