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, we wish a happy birthday to director Stuart Rosenberg, who was born on this day in 1927, and who helmed three episodes of the Zone – “I Shot an Arrow Into the Air, “He’s Alive,” and “Mute.” “I Shot an Arrow Into the Air” is a true fan favorite and features one of the great twists of the entire series, which proved to be good water-cooler fodder for decades. Television directors generally remain anonymous, and over the years few of their number move into the feature world. However, The Twilight Zone was a veritable breeding ground for big-screen helmers.
Rosenberg himself would go on to win plaudits for his 1967 Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke. He also directed a very gritty Robert Redford prison movie entitled Brubaker (1980). Here’s to the Zone directors, and the reputation they carved on small screen and big.