On this day, 58 years ago, one of the most influential shows in the history of television, The Twilight Zone, premiered on CBS. Created by Rod Serling, this anthology show not only featured some of the best actors and writers in the business but it also used tales of the unexpected to address some of the most pressing issues of the day. (Many, if not all, of those issues remain relevant today.) The Twilight Zone inspired a countless number of future filmmakers and writers and it remains popular today. The annual New Year’s Eve and 4th of July marathons on SyFy continue to delight viewers both new and old.
When we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens, every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube. Sadly, that’s no longer the case. As I sit here writing this, while several episodes from the show’s later (and largely unsuccessful) revivals have been uploaded, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.
Fortunately, that episode is a classic. In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him. He leaves behind a book. When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind. The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.
Here’s the episode! Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.