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 28th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of character actor William Windom (1923-2012), who portrayed the determined army major in “Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” and returned to plays the kindly psychiatrist who treats Robert Duvall in “Miniature.”
In “Five Characters,” Windom’s major refuses to accept his fate as a prisoner in what appears to be an escape-proof cylinder. Joining forces with a pretty ballerina, a poetic clown, a bagpipe player and a hobo, he becomes the powerful force that attempts to propel them to freedom. Windom was another TZ veteran with impeccable acting credentials who later starred with TZ veteran Inger Stevens on The Farmer’s Daughter comedy series. He later won an Emmy playing cartoonist John Monroe on the series My World and Welcome to It.
Here’s to Windom, another member of Rod Serling’s “murderers row” of fine character talents who gave his best to the weekly adventure we call The Twilight Zone.