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The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic

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Very few television programs stand the test of time, and Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE is a notable exception. Proven to be an important part of American culture since its debut on CBS in October 1959, many Hollywood producers, screenwriters and directors have been inspired and influenced by this series. Comic books, magazines, numerous television revivals, a major motio Very few television programs stand the test of time, and Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE is a notable exception. Proven to be an important part of American culture since its debut on CBS in October 1959, many Hollywood producers, screenwriters and directors have been inspired and influenced by this series. Comic books, magazines, numerous television revivals, a major motion picture and even modern audio productions demonstrate the continuing popularity of this television classic. The definitive history presents a portrait of the beloved Rod Serling and his television program, recounting the major changes the show underwent in format and story selection, including censorship battles, production details and exclusive memories from cast and crew. The complete episode guide documents all 156 episodes of the series in a level of detail never before accomplished in any publication. Complete cast lists, music cues and scores, story origins, breakdown of production costs, studio lots, stages and location filming revealed, in-jokes, bloopers and more. This book will make you want to look back at the episodes once again, whether you are a casual fan or serious enthusiast of the series.


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Very few television programs stand the test of time, and Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE is a notable exception. Proven to be an important part of American culture since its debut on CBS in October 1959, many Hollywood producers, screenwriters and directors have been inspired and influenced by this series. Comic books, magazines, numerous television revivals, a major motio Very few television programs stand the test of time, and Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE is a notable exception. Proven to be an important part of American culture since its debut on CBS in October 1959, many Hollywood producers, screenwriters and directors have been inspired and influenced by this series. Comic books, magazines, numerous television revivals, a major motion picture and even modern audio productions demonstrate the continuing popularity of this television classic. The definitive history presents a portrait of the beloved Rod Serling and his television program, recounting the major changes the show underwent in format and story selection, including censorship battles, production details and exclusive memories from cast and crew. The complete episode guide documents all 156 episodes of the series in a level of detail never before accomplished in any publication. Complete cast lists, music cues and scores, story origins, breakdown of production costs, studio lots, stages and location filming revealed, in-jokes, bloopers and more. This book will make you want to look back at the episodes once again, whether you are a casual fan or serious enthusiast of the series.

30 review for The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic

  1. 4 out of 5

    GUD Magazine

    "You are travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!" Now let us make no mistakes here: this is a must-have book. If you like The Twilight Zone, that is. No question. It’s a book you will want sitting beside you the next late-night, half-drunk, weekend-welcoming time you are watching two or three episodes of Rod Serling's classic series run back-to-back. You will never lend "You are travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!" Now let us make no mistakes here: this is a must-have book. If you like The Twilight Zone, that is. No question. It’s a book you will want sitting beside you the next late-night, half-drunk, weekend-welcoming time you are watching two or three episodes of Rod Serling's classic series run back-to-back. You will never lend it, because you know that if someone lent it to you, you would never give it back. This all has to be stressed, because if as a result of this review you actually buy the book, on opening your prize you will wonder for a moment whether you have entered an episode of the Twilight Zone itself. An episode where everything is painted grey, where sparkle and wonder have been banished. It looks, at first sight, so very mind-numbingly dull. The opening sentence has all the excitement of low-calorie reduced-fat cardboard. You will flick through page upon page headed "Fourth season production costs". You will, for a moment, wonder how many DVD episodes you could have purchased instead. Ah, gentle reader, persevere! Trust that gorgeous cover, settle down, and dig a little deeper. Rather than reading from page one, let the book fall open, enjoy the gem uncovered, and repeat. Then use the rather clever index to look up that episode, you know, the one with him from that other TV series. You will soon be hooked; the cat will have to find another place to sit; and the charity shop will be deprived of stock. You won't want to give it up. Martin Grams, Jr.'s book covers the original five seasons of the show. The first two-hundred pages are a historical narrative that has obviously been thoroughly researched from original sources. That gives it the benefit of being both fascinating and academically appealing. Some observations, such as that No Blade of Grass was never produced as a film (it was, in 1970, but not with Serling's screenplay) may raise eyebrows but do not detract from an excellent account. Particularly interesting is the description of allegations of plagiarism and of Serling's relationships with contemporary writers. This is Grams at his best, with his obvious admiration for Serling not precluding more critical observations. The overall insight into the trials and tribulations of media production is very satisfying. However, the bulk of the book is devoted to an episode guide, including plot outlines, cast lists, and trivia sections as well as rehearsal dates, music cues, and other minutiae. Perhaps inevitably, episode coverage is uneven, with some titles receiving far more commentary than others, but the accounts are consistently interesting. Serling's opening and closing narrations are set out, as are, perhaps less usefully, the trailers for each episode. Grams' approach is disciplined and organized, which makes for ease of reference. Production costs are included, but are fortunately not as all-consuming as the page headings suggest. This book could not be described as lavishly illustrated. There are no plates, the bulk of images looking like monochrome thumbnails of library photos. However, what is really lacking is not photographs, but opinions. The level-headed follower of the show knows that episodes ranged from the brilliant to the bad. Grams' commitment is such that he's earned the right to share his views. Maybe he was afraid that would reduce his work in some way, but the book needs (ideally) that kind of entertainment factor. Overall, though, an excellent work. It will certainly be worth looking for further titles by this author. Possibly Grams will feel able to turn his attention to the Twilight Zone film and remakes, although what would be really nice would be to see a similar work on the underrated Night Gallery.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rick Toomey

    First time I wrote a review. This book is tremendous. I have two other books about the show and comparing them to this one, I find myself constantly referring to this book. The other two have become, as Rod Serling would refer, "obsolete." I learned more about television production from this book than any other book about classic tv. Funny thing is how many episodes I watched repeatedly over the decades and never caught the bloopers that this book revealed. The dispute between Rod Serling and Ra First time I wrote a review. This book is tremendous. I have two other books about the show and comparing them to this one, I find myself constantly referring to this book. The other two have become, as Rod Serling would refer, "obsolete." I learned more about television production from this book than any other book about classic tv. Funny thing is how many episodes I watched repeatedly over the decades and never caught the bloopers that this book revealed. The dispute between Rod Serling and Ray Bradbury is a hoot. My only complaint is that this book is not in hardcover format. I will probably have to buy another because the copy I have is starting to get worn out.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The landscape of the Twilight Zone Universe is changing, and it's time to choose: Of all the books written about the Zone, which one is the best? A conflict has been brewing from more than a year, with experts citing Marc Scott Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion being loaded with errors while fans claim it's satisfactory. "The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic" by Martin Grams Jr. is superb. Forget all the script reprint books, forget the Serling biographies and forget imit The landscape of the Twilight Zone Universe is changing, and it's time to choose: Of all the books written about the Zone, which one is the best? A conflict has been brewing from more than a year, with experts citing Marc Scott Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion being loaded with errors while fans claim it's satisfactory. "The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic" by Martin Grams Jr. is superb. Forget all the script reprint books, forget the Serling biographies and forget imitations. This is the Bible of Twilight Zone. The detail level rewrites the rules on how television programs should be documented. Want to learn what props were reused thru varied episodes? Want to learn what cast member died forcing them to reshoot the entire episode twice? Want to learn who received on-screen director credit and reality leads to another director? This is that kind of book. My favorite episode is "To Serve Man" so naturally I read up on it and then rewatched the episode to catch the in-jokes, prop reuse, stock footage and difference from one scene to another because of two directors. Recollections from the cast and crew add meat to the book. The price may be a bit steep, but take my word for it. It's worth every dollar. The entirety of the publishing pantheon should take a lesson by examining this book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    All i can say at this time is: WOW! That was some sincere detail. Note: this book only covers the original series and not the theatrical film or the 1980's revival show. (though both are mentioned at times -- they are not ignored; just not the subject here) FANS of the original show will really enjoy this. More details later All i can say at this time is: WOW! That was some sincere detail. Note: this book only covers the original series and not the theatrical film or the 1980's revival show. (though both are mentioned at times -- they are not ignored; just not the subject here) FANS of the original show will really enjoy this. More details later

  5. 4 out of 5

    whit

    Voluminous and thorough. For the hardest of hardcore Twilight Zone fans. More a reference than a read. A better companion to the series than Zicree's more popular "Twilight Zone Companion". Voluminous and thorough. For the hardest of hardcore Twilight Zone fans. More a reference than a read. A better companion to the series than Zicree's more popular "Twilight Zone Companion".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    More detail than you'll ever need...down to Serling's brand of stationary and the color of his file folders. More detail than you'll ever need...down to Serling's brand of stationary and the color of his file folders.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    An exhaustive book on one of the best tv shows ever. Once I buy the DVD box set of the show,I will read the detailed episode summaries. Recommended if you are a TZ fan.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rich Mingoia

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mr Leigh Brookes

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul Minney

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  12. 4 out of 5

    Geeky Spice

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Frazier

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Vlam

  15. 4 out of 5

    Francisco Huerta

  16. 4 out of 5

    Xspazzx

  17. 5 out of 5

    Graham Muir

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric Miner

  20. 5 out of 5

    Clint Maas

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marc Allie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Grigoletti

  24. 5 out of 5

    Benson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jameson Riddle

  26. 4 out of 5

    Milantropio

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather Turcich

  28. 5 out of 5

    jon sprong

  29. 4 out of 5

    Keith Steinbaum

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Foss

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