Twilight Zone first aired October 2, 1959

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Twilight Zones first episode aired October 2, 1959.

The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. Each episode (156 in the original series) is a mixture of self-contained fantasy, science fiction, suspense, or horror, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to serious science fiction and abstract ideas through television and also through a wide variety of Twilight Zone literature. The program followed in the tradition of earlier radio programs such as The Weird Circle and X Minus One and the radio work of Serling’s hero, dramatist Norman Corwin.

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Buy this Title Now!

The success of the original series led to the creation of two revival series: a cult hit series that ran for several seasons on CBS and in syndication in the 1980s, and a short-lived UPN series that ran from 2002 to 2003. It would also lead to a feature film, a radio series, a comic book, a magazine and various other spin-offs that would span five decades.

Aside from Serling himself, who crafted nearly two-thirds of the series’ total episodes, writers for The Twilight Zone included leading genre authorities such as Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Jerry Sohl, George Clayton Johnson, Earl Hamner, Jr., Reginald Rose, Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury. Many episodes also featured adaptations of classic stories by such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Lewis Padgett, Jerome Bixby and Damon Knight.

Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling

Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling

The term “twilight zone” predates the television program, and originally meant simply a “gray area.” (Intelligence analysts in the early Cold War labeled a country a twilight zone if there was no definite U.S. policy on whether to intervene militarily to defend it.) Rod Serling himself chose the title of the series, and said that only after the series aired did he discover that the “twilight zone” was also a term applied by the US Air Force to the terminator, the imaginary border between “night” and “day” on a planetary body.

Complete Collection on DVD!

Complete Collection on DVD!

CBS purchased a teleplay in 1958 that writer Rod Serling hoped to produce as the pilot of a weekly anthology series. The Twilight Zone episode “The Time Element” marked Serling’s first entry in the field of science fiction.

The story is a time travel fantasy of sorts, involving a man named Peter Jenson (William Bendix) visiting a psychoanalyst, Dr. Gillespie (Martin Balsam), with complaints of a recurring dream in which he imagines waking up in Honolulu just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. “I wake up in a hotel room in Honolulu, and it’s 1941, but I mean I really wake up and it’s really 1941,” he explains, concluding that these are not mere dreams; he actually is travelling through time. However, Dr. Gillespie insists that time travel is impossible given the nature of temporal paradoxes. During his

Twilight Zone T-shirt

Twilight Zone T-shirt

dream, taking advantage of the situation, he bets on all the winning horses, all the right teams and, eventually, tries unsuccessfully to warn others — the newspaper, the military, anyone — that the Japanese are planning a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. His warnings are seen as crazed ravings, and are either ignored or met with physical violence, as he is punched out by an engineer who works on the USS Arizona, after insisting that it will be sunk on December 7. Jenson’s dream always ends as the Japanese bombers fly overhead on the morning of December 7, prompting him to yell out “I told you! Why wouldn’t anybody listen to me?”. Jenson finally discloses to Dr. Gillespie that he was actually in Honolulu on December 7, 1941. While on the couch, Jenson falls asleep once again, only this time, Japanese planes flying overhead shoot inside the windows of his room and he is killed. When the camera cuts back to the doctor’s office, the couch Jenson was lying on is now empty, and Dr. Gillespie looks around, confused. Although Jenson had smoked earlier, the ashtray is empty. He looks in his appointment book and finds he had no appointments scheduled for this day. Gillespie goes to a bar and finds Jenson’s picture on the wall. The bartender said that Jenson tended bar there, but was killed in Pearl Harbor.

William Shatner in ''Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.''

William Shatner in ''Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.''

With this script, Serling drafted the fundamental elements that would distinguish the series still to come: a science-fiction/fantasy theme, opening and closing narration, and an ending with a twist. But what would prove popular with audiences and critics in 1959 did not meet network standards in 1957. “The Time Element” was purchased only to be shelved indefinitely, and talks of making The Twilight Zone a television series ended.

This is where things stood when Bert Granet, the new producer for Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, discovered “The Time Element” in CBS’ vaults while searching for an original Serling script to add prestige to his show. “The Time Element” (introduced by Desi Arnaz) debuted on November 24, 1958, to an overwhelmingly delighted audience of television viewers and critics alike. “The humor and sincerity of Mr. Serling’s dialogue made ‘The Time Element’ consistently entertaining,” offered Jack Gould of The New York Times. Over six thousand letters of praise flooded Granet’s offices. Convinced that a series based on such stories could succeed, CBS again began talks with Serling about the possibilities of producing The Twilight Zone. “Where Is Everybody?” was accepted as the pilot episode and the project was officially announced to the public in early 1959. “The Time Element” is rarely aired on television and it was only available in an Italian DVD box set titled “Ai confini della realtà — I tesori perduti” until it was shown as part of an all night sneak preview of the new cable channel TVLand.

Throughout the 1950s, Rod Serling had established himself as one of the hottest names in television, equally famous for his success in writing televised drama as he was for criticizing the medium’s limitations. His most vocal complaints concerned the censorship frequently practiced by sponsors and networks. “I was not permitted to have my Senators discuss any current or pressing problem,” he said of his 1957 production The Arena, intended to be an involving look into contemporary politics. “To talk of tariff was to align oneself with the Republicans; to talk of labor was to suggest control by the Democrats. To say a single thing germane to the current political scene was absolutely prohibited.”

Twilight Zone’s writers frequently used science fiction as a vehicle for social comment; networks and sponsors who had infamously censored all potentially “inflammatory” material from the then predominant live dramas were ignorant of the methods developed by writers such as Ray Bradbury for dealing with important issues through seemingly innocuous fantasy. Frequent themes include nuclear war, mass hysteria, and McCarthyism, subjects that were strictly forbidden on more “serious” prime-time drama. Episodes such as “The Shelter” or “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” offered specific commentary on current events. Other stories, such as “The Masks” or “The Howling Man,” operated around a central allegory, parable, or fable that reflected the characters’ moral or philosophical choices.

Despite his esteem in the writing community, Serling found The Twilight Zone difficult to sell. Few critics felt that science fiction could transcend empty escapism and enter the realm of adult drama. In a September 22, 1959, interview with Serling, Mike Wallace asked a question illustrative of the times: “…[Y]ou’re going to be, obviously, working so hard on The Twilight Zone that, in essence, for the time being and for the foreseeable future, you’ve given up on writing anything important for television, right?” While Serling’s appearances on the show became one of its most distinctive features, with his clipped delivery still widely imitated today, he was reportedly nervous about it and had to be persuaded to appear on camera. Serling often steps into the middle of the action and the characters remain seemingly oblivious to him, but on one notable occasion they are aware he’s there: In the episode “A World of His Own,” a writer with the power to alter his reality objects to Serling’s unflattering narration, and promptly erases Serling from the show.

The original series contained 156 episodes. Seasons 1, 2, 3, 5 were half hour shows. The fourth season (1962-1963) contained one-hour episodes……Source(s) Wikipedia

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from Hollywood Reporter    Source(s) Rueters

Frankenstein 1910
Thursday (March 18) marks the 100th anniversary of the American movie industry’s first attempt to bring “Frankenstein” to the big screen with a long-forgotten film made by Thomas Edison’s studio.

The centennial comes on the heels of recent news about a production based on Dean Koontz’s “Frankenstein” books, as well as the publication of Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr.’s book “Edison’s Frankenstein.”

 
While visiting his in-laws in Minneapolis 20 years ago, Wiebel happened to see a clip from the long-lost film on TV.

 

“I was astounded that any of it existed,” he said. “It had been 30 or 40 years since I’d first heard of the movie.”

Intending to write a magazine article about it, Wiebel began researching the film.

“I just kept getting more and more information until at some point it was too long for an article and too short for a book.”

Ultimately, he found enough material to write a book about filming “Frankenstein” as well as about how movies were made in the early 1900s. He also discovered the film’s one surviving print and arranged for its restoration and release on DVD.

When Edison shot his one-reel version of “Frankenstein” in January 1910, Mary Shelley’s novel was already 92 years’ old. It had been produced on stage for years and was already part of the culture through references like “creating a Frankenstein.”


As today’s movie marketers would say, “Frankenstein” had great brand awareness, so it made sense for Edison to bring it to life on screen.

“It took them three or four days to shoot it,” Wiebel noted, which was a little longer than usual.

“What they would do mostly would be to practice the whole film and try to do it, if they could, in one take. They’d rehearse it until they finally got it down and then they would roll the cameras.”

Wiebel said budgets back then were calculated in price per foot — about 50 cents a foot in 1910. The 13-minute “Frankenstein” ran 976 feet, which works out to about $488. But Wiebel said the film had a lot of special effects so it would have cost more.

“They probably spent more making the dummy,” he added, referring to the scene where Dr. Frankenstein creates his monster.

“They made what looks like a papier-mache dummy with a skeleton inside. They either turned the camera upside-down or were cranking backwards so that what came out on the screen would come forward.”

We see Frankenstein throw some chemicals in a cauldron, whose contents catch fire. From these ashes and flames the creature comes together by reversing the footage of the burning dummy.

“Frankenstein,” directed by James Searle Dawley, featured Edison stock players Charles Ogle as the monster, Augustus Phillips as Frankenstein and Mary Fuller as his bride.

Dawley isn’t remembered today despite having been one of Edison’s top filmmakers.

He’d been working with a theatrical stock company in Brooklyn and one of his jobs was renting films to show between theatrical performances. By doing that he met people working for Edison and wound up being offered a job making movies there.

“He got to meet Edwin Porter, who was Edison’s main director at the time,” Wiebel said.

Porter pioneered what evolved into basic filmmaking techniques like cross-cutting and using close-ups instead of full-length body shots. In his 1903 hit “The Great Train Robbery,” Porter showed a close-up of a gun being fired directly at the audience. The terrified moviegoers had never seen anything like this before.

 

Director D.W. Griffith started out working as an actor for Porter and learned much about moviemaking and film editing from him.

Porter took Dawley on because the theater veteran was good at blocking scenes and directing performances. Porter put him to work doing just that, allowing Porter to do what he enjoyed most — directing action sequences.

Actors were typically paid $5 a day in 1910, which was a pretty good salary then.

“There really weren’t named stars at the time,” Wiebel pointed out. “That developed a few years later. That’s why a lot of theatrical people didn’t want to do movies — because they wouldn’t get any credit for their work.”

Stage actors also looked down on movies because mostly they were shown in a vaudeville setting or thrown in to fill time between plays presented by local theater groups.

Working in Edison’s favor was the fact that its studio in the Bronx was just far enough north of Manhattan so that actors who journeyed uptown to work in movies didn’t risk being seen by their friends.

 

Dick Tracy vs Phantom Empire was also known as Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc.

Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. (1941) is a Republic Movie serial based on the Dick Tracy comic strip. It was directed by the legendary serial team of William Witney and John English with Ralph Byrd reprising his role from the earlier serials. It was the last of the four Dick Tracy serials produced by Republic, although Ralph Byrd went on to portray the character again on television.

Tagline: DICK TRACY’S CHALLENGE! America’s greatest detective hurls defiance into the shadows of the Underworld in his search for murderous criminals who threaten New York’s destruction. The top Tracy Serial of all time.

Plot: Dick Tracy goes up against a villain known as The Ghost, who can turn himself invisible.

Cast  
  Ralph Byrd … Dick Tracy
  Michael Owen … Billy Carr
  Jan Wiley … June ‘Eve’ Chandler
  John Davidson … Lucifer
  Ralph Morgan … J.P. Morton
  Kenneth Harlan … Police Lt. Cosgrove
  John Dilson … Henry Weldon
  Howard C. Hickman … Stephen Chandler
  Robert Frazer … Daniel Brewster
  Robert Fiske … Walter Cabot
  Jack Mulhall … Jim Wilson
  Hooper Atchley … Arthur Trent
  Anthony Warde … John Corey
  Chuck Morrison … Henchman Trask

Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. was budgeted at $174,539.

It was filmed between 17 September and 24 October 1941 under the working titles Dick Tracy Strikes Again and Dick Tracy’s Revenge.

The scenes of giant waves hitting New York were stock footage from the RKO Pictures film Deluge

This serial, like all the sequels to the 1937 original Dick Tracy serial, was permitted by an interpretation of the original contract, which allowed a “series or serial”. Therefore, Chester Gould was not paid again for the right to produce this serial.

Most of the cliffhangers were stock footage from previous Dick Tracy serials. However, the reuse of the highlights of the previous Dick Tracy serials actually added to this serial, making it seem like a “best of” compilation of the previous serials.

Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc.’s official release date is 27 December 1941, during Christmas week 1941, although this is actually the date the seventh chapter was made available to film exchanges.

The serial was re-released on 8 October 1952, under the title Dick Tracy vs. Phantom Empire, between the first runs of Zombies of the Stratosphere and Jungle Drums of Africa

12 Monkeys released December 27, 1995

12 Monkeys is a 1995 science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by the French short film La Jetée (1962), and starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, and Christopher Plummer. The film depicts the world in 2035 as devastated by disease, forcing the human population to live underground. Convict James Cole (Willis) “volunteers” for time travel duty to gather information in exchange for prison release. When he first arrives in the past, Cole is arrested and locked up in a psychiatric hospital, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly (Stowe), a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines (Pitt), the insane son of a world-renowned virologist.

twelve monkeys

After Universal Studios acquired the rights to remake La Jetée as a full-length film, David and Janet Peoples were hired to write the script. Under Terry Gilliam’s direction, Universal granted the filmmakers a $29.5 million budget, and filming lasted from February to May 1995. The film was shot mostly in Philadelphia and Baltimore, where the story was set.

The film was released to critical praise and grossed approximately $168 million worldwide. Brad Pitt was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and won a Golden Globe for his performance. The film also won and was nominated for various categories at the Saturn Awards.

Directed by Terry Gilliam

Writers
Film La Jetée
Chris Marker
Screenplay
David Peoples & Janet Peoples

Cast
Joseph Melito … Young Cole
Bruce Willis … James Cole
Jon Seda … Jose
Michael Chance … Scarface
Vernon Campbell … Tiny
H. Michael Walls … Botanist
Bob Adrian … Geologist
Simon Jones … Zoologist
Carol Florence … Astrophysicist
Bill Raymond … Microbiologist
Ernest Abuba … Engineer
Irma St. Paule … Poet
Madeleine Stowe … Kathryn Railly
Joey Perillo … Detective Franki
Bruce Kirkpatrick … Policeman No. 1
Wilfred Williams … Policeman No. 2
Rozwill Young … Billings
Brad Pitt … Jeffrey Goines

Maniac released December 26, 1980

Maniac is a 1980 American slasher film (though considered more of a splatter film), about a disturbed and traumatized serial killer who scalps his victims. It was directed by William Lustig, and co-written by Joe Spinell (who also developed the story and starred as the lead character) and C.A. Rosenberg.

Trivia:

  • William Lustig and Joe Spinell, say they didn’t always have the necessary permits to film on location in New York City. Certain scenes (including the infamous shotgun through the windshield scene) had to have been filmed quickly and afterwards the crew had to run away before the cops arrived.
  • Daria Nicolodi was originally cast to play Anna D’Antoni, but she was unable to go to New York for filming because she was still filming her scenes for the movie Inferno (1980) in Italy.
  • The opening scene on the beach was inspired by the opening scene from Jaws (1975) from the point-of-view of the stalking shark.
  • The headless corpse in the end is the Betsy Palmer corpse (Jason’s mother) from Friday the 13th (1980). The helicopter shots are recycled footage from Inferno (1980).
  • The scenes in Frank Zito’s tiny apartment were inspired by the Swedish thriller Mannen på taket (1976) (“The Man on the Roof”) with the claustrophobic setting and the quiet tone with a dripping faucet and occasional sound of traffic. The color and crude décor of the apartment and other sets were inspired from the color-theme sets of Italian horror thrillers such as Profondo rosso (1975) (“Deep Red”), Suspiria (1977), Sei donne per l’assassino (1964) and several others.
  • Because they would only have one chance to film the scene where Tom Savini’s character gets shot, Savini decided that he should be the one to pull the trigger. He said it felt a little weird shooting the dummy he had created of himself in the face.
  • A 1979 post-production ad for Variety magazine stated some of the cast as including Daria Nicolodi, Susan Tyrrell and Jason Miller opposite Joe Spinell. Nicolodi was offered the lead role but was unavailable, and no information has yet surfaced to reveal which roles were to be played by Tyrrell and Miller.
  • The film originally had a title song of the same name, but in the end was not used. The lyrics were toned down and the song, “Maniac”, was used in Flashdance (1983).
  • In order to keep costs down, several porn actresses, such as Gail Lawrence, were hired to play the victims and other minor female roles.
  • The dummy used for the exploding head scene had been used extensively by Tom Savini for effects in Dawn of the Dead (1978). After its use in this film, it was so saturated in fake blood and gore that it was decided to retire the dummy (which Tom had named “Boris”). According to Savini, the dummy was locked in the trunk of the car used in the shotgun scene and sunk in the river.
  • Gene Siskel was so disgusted by the infamous “shotgun head explosion” scene that he walked out of the movie, saying on his TV show with Roger Ebert that the film could not redeem itself after the ultra-violence that he had seen.

Maniac 1980

Altered States released December 25, 1980

altered states

Altered States

Altered States is a 1980 science fiction film adaptation of a novel by the same name by playwright and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. It was the only novel that Chayefsky ever wrote, as well as his final film. Both the novel and the film are based on John C. Lilly’s sensory deprivation research conducted in isolation tanks under the influence of psychoactive drugs like ketamine and LSD.

The film was directed by Ken Russell and starred William Hurt in his screen debut. It also starred Blair Brown (as Emily Jessup), Charles Haid and Bob Balaban. It additionally featured the film debut of Drew Barrymore. The film score was composed by classical composer John Corigliano (with Christopher Keene conducting) and was nominated for an Academy Award. The film also received an Oscar nomination for Sound, losing to The Empire Strikes Back.

Trivia:

  • Author Paddy Chayefsky disowned this movie. Even though the dialogue in the screenplay was almost verbatim from his novel he reportedly objected to the over the top shouting of his words by the actors.
  • Arthur Penn was originally slated to direct but resigned.
  • The book was partially based on dolphin researcher John Lilly, who invented the isolation tank, and first started taking drugs while “tanking”.
  • Director Trademark: [Ken Russell] [snake] the dream sequence
  • In his autobiography, director Ken Russell said he tried mushrooms during the making of the film, which resulted in a bad trip.
  • In a 1981 interview with the New York Times, Blair Brown said many of the actors and crew tried out the isolation tank. William Hurt actually hallucinated, while Blair Brown found it very peaceful.
  • Paddy Chayefsky had not seen the film before he took his name off the credits.
  • Film debuts of both William Hurt and Drew Barrymore.
  • At one point, Eddie Jessup mentions the work of “Tart, Ornstein and Deikman.” This is a reference to Charles Tart, Robert Ornstein and Arthur Deikman, all of whom wrote books about altered states of consciousness, and all of whom have been involved in modern esoteric spiritual movements, such as the Gurdjieff Work.
  • Ken Russell has alleged in interviews he was 27th choice for director.
  • Some footage of “hell” in the hallucinations are from the movie Dante’s Inferno (1935) taken from a dream sequence.
  • One of the few films to be released theatrically with the “Megasound” sound system format. Megasound was a movie theater sound system created by Warner Bros in the early 1980s. It was used to enhance the premiere engagements of a handful of Warner features. Theaters equipped for Megasound had additional speakers mounted on the left, right and rear walls of the auditorium. Selected soundtrack events with lots of low-frequency content (thuds, crashes, explosions, etc) were directed to these speakers at very high volume, creating a visceral effect intended to thrill the audience.

Cat People released December 25, 1942

Cat People 1942

Cat People is a 1942 horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur. The writing is credited to DeWitt Bodeen, but Tourneur, composer Roy Webb, Lewton and his secretary all contributed to the script. The cinematographer was Tourneur’s sometime collaborator Nicholas Musuraca. The film stars Simone Simon, Kent Smith and Tom Conway.

Cat People was followed by a sequel, The Curse of the Cat People, in 1944. A remake directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, and John Heard was released in 1982.

In 1993, Cat People was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Trivia:

  • Original trade reviews appeared Friday the 13 November 1942.
  • The film was in theaters for so long that critics who had originally bashed the film were able to see it again and many rewrote their reviews with a more positive spin.
  • When “The Cat Woman” (played, uncredited, by Elizabeth Russell) speaks to Irina in Serbian and calls her “my sister”, Russell’s dialog is dubbed by Simone Simon,
  • Several actors in studio records and casting call lists did not appear in the movie. These were (with their character names) George Ford (Whistling cop), Leda Nicova (Patient), and Bud Geary (Mounted policeman).
  • Supervisor Lou L. Ostrow was so dissatisfied with the style of the movie he wanted to replace director Jacques Tourneur after four days of filming. Producer Val Lewton got studio head Charles Koerner to reinstate Tourneur, and when Ostrow insisted on the panther appearing in the drafting room sequence, Lewton had Tourneur use low lighting putting the panther in the shadows.
  • The film was such a hit at the box office, the releases of the next two Lewton films (I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and The Leopard Man (1943)) were delayed.
  • R.K.O. gave Val Lewton only $150,000 to make the film, resulting in “creative” producing. This forced many of the scenes requiring special effects to be done in shadows which many believe increased the suspense of the film. When studio execs insisted that more footage of the panther be included in the movie, Lewton was able to maintain the budget and the suspense of the film by limiting how many scenes the panther could be visibly seen and told the cinematographer to “keep the panther in the shadows.” Thus the panther was only visible in the office and zoo cage.
  • Because of the incredibly tight budget, sets from Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) were re-used.

Rod Serling Birthday December 25

Rod Serling

Rod Serling

Rodman Edward “Rod” Serling (December 25, 1924–June 28, 1975) was an American screenwriter and television producer, best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone.

Trivia:

Moved to Binghamton, New York at an early age, where he graduated.

Interred at Interlaken Cemetery, Interlaken, New York, USA.

Communications professor at Ithaca College.

Born into a Reform Jewish family, he later became a Unitarian upon his marriage in 1948.

Suffered from combat-related flashbacks and insomnia.

Outspoken supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Military decorations from the Second World War include: World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Arrowhead Device), Good Conduct Medal, Phillippine Liberation Medal (with 1 bronze service star), Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin. Also retroactively authorized the Bronze Star Medal, based on receipt of the Combat Infantryman Badge during the Second World War.

Served in the Army of the United States, under the service number 32 738 306, from January 1943 to January 1946. Discharged in the rank of Technician 5th Grade (the equivalent of a Corporal) having served as an Infantry Combat Demolition Specialist and a Paratrooper

Host of the syndicated radio show “The Zero Hour” (1973-1974).

Brother of writer/novelist Robert J. Serling.

Ranked #1 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends” (1 August 2004 issue), the only real person on the list. All the others are TV show characters.

On June 28, 1975, he was mowing his lawn, when all of a sudden, he began to experience some chest pains, and collapsed. His neighbor found him and called the ambulance. When he arrived in the operating room, the doctors saw that the artery leading to his heart was disintegrating and there was no hope for him. He died later that day in the hospital.

He wanted Richard Egan to do the narration for “The Twilight Zone” (1959) because of his rich, deep voice. However, due to strict studio contracts of the time, Egan was unable to. Serling said “It’s Richard Egan or no one. It’s Richard Egan, or I’ll do the thing myself,” which is exactly what happened.

He owned a 1937 Cord automobile. During the making of “Liar’s Club” (1969) game show, he would go riding with friend and fellow actor and car enthusiast Tommy Bond, who played Butch in the Little Rascals series from the 1940s.

Started writing during World War II while recuperating from his injuries.

Graduated from Binghamton High School in 1943.

Towards the end of his career, he narrated several documentaries about sharks and other underwater life that were shown a lot, at the time, in schools.

He usually dictated his scripts into a tape recorder and had his secretary type them up.

In 1994, 19 years after his death, he returned to “host” the pre-show area of “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” attraction at The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park in Orlando, Florida. Through clever use of carefully edited vintage “The Twilight Zone” (1959) footage, new footage processed in black & white and special additional dialogue recorded by a Serling soundalike (reportedly selected personally by Serling’s widow, Carol), Serling appears in a “Twilight Zone” episode based on the ride’s storyline and introduces theme park visitors to the attraction. This brief introduction, which is shown on a special vintage television in the attraction’s pre-show area, represents the first “new” introduction of “The Twilight Zone” that he appears in since the series’ end in 1964.

Helen Foley, his schoolteacher, encouraged him in his writing and he always believed he owed his success to her. A teacher in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) was named Helen Foley in her honor.

Along with many other famous faces, he was a pie-in-the-face recipient on “Lunch with Soupy Sales” (1959) (aka The Soupy Sales Show). Serling’s turn came in 1962.

Robert Marshall Hosfeldt authored a 1961 MA Thesis at San Jose State College called “Analysis of the techniques and content of characterization in the Academy Award winning plays of Rod Serling.” ‘Academy,’ in this case, referred to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

A news item in TV Guide the week of 7 December 1963 said that Serling would be visiting Hong Kong to film a television pilot called “Jeopardy Run.”.

In 1975, Serling had two severe heart attacks before entering Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for heart bypass surgery. He had a third heart attack during the operation and died the following day, at the age of 50.

Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring “The Twilight Zone” (1959).

Harry Shearer Birthday December 23

harry shearer

Harry Shearer

Harry Julius Shearer (born December 23, 1943) is an American actor, comedian, writer, voice artist, musician, author and radio host. He is known for his long-running role on The Simpsons, his work on Saturday Night Live, the comedy band Spinal Tap and his radio program Le Show. Born in Los Angeles, California, Shearer began his career as a child actor, appearing in The Jack Benny Program, as well as the 1953 films Abbott and Costello Go to Mars and The Robe. In 1957, Shearer played the precursor to the Eddie Haskell character in the pilot episode for the television series Leave It to Beaver, but his parents decided not to let him continue in the role so that he could have a normal childhood.

Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap

From 1969 to 1976, Shearer was a member of The Credibility Gap, a radio comedy group. Following the break up of the group, Shearer co-wrote the film Real Life with Albert Brooks and started writing for Martin Mull’s television series Fernwood 2 Night. In August 1979, Shearer was hired as a writer and cast member on Saturday Night Live. Shearer describes his experience on the show as a “living hell” and he did not get along well with the other writers and cast members. He left the show in 1980. Shearer co-created, co-wrote and co-starred in the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap, a satirical rockumentary about a band called Spinal Tap. Shearer portrayed Derek Smalls, the bassist, and Michael McKean and Christopher Guest played the other two members. The film became a cult hit and the band has since released several albums and played several concerts. While promoting the film, Shearer was offered the chance to return to Saturday Night Live. He accepted, but left the show for good in January 1985. Since 1983, Shearer has been the host of the public radio comedy/music program Le Show on Santa Monica’s NPR-affiliated radio station, KCRW. The program, a hodgepodge of satirical news commentary, music, and sketch comedy, is carried on many public radio stations throughout the United States.

Harry Shearer and the Simpsons

Harry Shearer and the Simpsons

In 1989, Shearer became a part of the cast of The Simpsons. He was initially reluctant because he thought the recording sessions would be too much trouble. He felt voice acting was “not a lot of fun” because traditionally, voice actors record their parts separately. He provides voices for numerous characters, including Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny Leonard, Principal Skinner, Otto Mann and Rainier Wolfcastle. Shearer has been vocal about what he perceives as the show’s declining quality.

Shearer also directed the 2002 film Teddy Bears’ Picnic and appeared in several films, including A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration and Godzilla. Shearer has written three books, Man Bites Town, It’s the Stupidity, Stupid, and Not Enough Indians. He has been married to singer-songwriter Judith Owen since 1993. He has received several Primetime Emmy Award and Grammy Award nominations and in 2008 it was announced that Shearer would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the radio category.

The Mummy released December 22, 1932

the mummy 1932

The Mummy 1932

The Mummy is a 1932 horror film from Universal Studios directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff as a revived ancient Egyptian priest. The movie also features Zita Johann, David Manners and Edward van Sloan. It was shot in Cantil, California, Universal City, and the Mojave Desert.

  • Henry Victor appears in the credits of the film as “Saxon Warrior,” yet he never actually appears in the movie. The Saxon Warrior was part of a long flashback sequence showing all the heroine’s past lives from ancient Egypt to the present. The sequence was cut from the final film.
  • ‘Ardath Bey’ (the name Imhotep assumes after his exhumation) is an anagram of ‘Death by Ra’ (Ra is the Egyptian sun-god).
  • Boris Karloff mummy makeup is based on the appearance of Ramses III; makeup artist ‘Jack P. Pierce’ spent eight hours applying Karloff’s makeup.
  • The ring Boris Karloff uses has been in the possession of Forrest J Ackerman for many decades (he wears it).
  • A lengthy and complicated re-incarnation scene, so important to the plot, never made it into the film because such scenes were banned from the screen by the Hays Office. This upset many people, including the film’s leading actress, Zita Johann, who was a firm believer in re-incarnation.
  • The film’s poster holds the record for the most money paid for a movie poster at auction: more than $453,500.
  • This was the first assignment in the director’s chair for the noted German cinematographer Karl Freund. He was given this opportunity only two years after arriving in the United States.
  • Boris Karloff was virtually unknown when he appeared as the creature in Frankenstein (1931). He created such a sensation that when this was made, only a year later, Universal only had to advertise “KARLOFF….’The Mummy’.”
  • This is the only Universal monster of the time without a fictional antecedent. Large segments of the movie are scene-by-scene parallels of the movie Dracula (1931). An ankh symbol (the ancient Egyptian glyph for “life”) is substituted for the crucifix of the earlier movie.
  • The script for this movie was originally called “Cagliostro”, based on the famous French “prophet”/charlatan who claimed that he had lived for several centuries. It was then rewritten to profit from the love of all things Egyptian since the finding of King Tut’s tomb, re-titled “Im-Ho-Tep”, and only became “The Mummy” just before general release.
  • The flashback scenes in ancient Egypt were designed to resemble a silent film, with no dialog, exaggerated make-up and gestures, and a faster camera speed, to suggest the great antiquity of the events portrayed.
  • The movie’s poster was as #15 of “The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever” by Premiere.
  • Boris Karloff to make-up artist (and designer of the mummy bandage costume) Jack P. Pierce: “Well, you’ve done a wonderful job, but you forgot to give me a fly!”
  • So many layers of cotton were glued to Boris Karloff’s face to create the wrinkled visage of Imhotep as a mummy that Karloff was unable to move his facial muscles enough even to speak.
  • When Ardath Bey steals the scroll from the Egyptian Museum, he was supposed to have left powdered skin in the form of a hand-print, as he did when he escaped from his tomb after awakening when the scroll was read. The scene in which the hand-print was discovered was cut from the film, though.
  • The piece of classical music that opened the Dracula film also plays during the opening credits of The Mummy.
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