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 followed, from The Walking Dead to Stranger Things, becoming one of the enduring pop culture staples of its era and beyond.
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. 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 7, This Day in Twilight Zone History honors one of the youngest veterans of the original Twilight Zone: Mary Badham, who was born on this day in 1952. Mary – so memorable as Scout in the iconic 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird – was cast as Sport Sharewood in the very last episode of the show, "The Bewitchin' Pool." Sport and her brother Jeb (Jeffrey Byron) are the children of a bickering couple who make their home life so toxic that they seek escape – which comes through the family swimming pool and a sudden doorway (or shall we say 'waterway') to another world free from strife.
The episode was written by the very talented Earl Hamner Jr., who specialized in Zone stories that take place in the south and went on to create the very memorable television series The Waltons. Children play an important part on The Twilight Zone. All of the writers were inspired by either their children or the children in their neighborhood – creating cool stories like "The Bewitchin' Pool."
Let's toast a large glass of lemonade to the young 'uns of the Zone.