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.