Greetings, you've just crossed over into The Trivia Zone, featuring assorted oddities & ends about The Twilight Zone from Twilight Zone Encyclopedia author Steven Jay Rubin.
Rod Serling prohibited any writer other than himself to use the word God in a script for the show. Even celebrated author (I Am Legend), screenwriter (The Incredible Shrinking Man) and Serling favorite writer Richard Matheson was subject to the ban, a puzzling oddity Serling never explained.
Talk about lucky breaks. Cliff Robertson had a ticket to ride on American Airlines Flight 1 on Thursday, March 1, 1962. Robertson had booked passage to travel from New York to LA for his role as a ventriloquist on The Dummy episode of the Zone. However at the last minute, he learned that shooting wouldn't begin until Monday and decided to take a weekend flight. Good thing he did because the plane crashed into a swamp two minutes after takeoff, killing all 87 passengers and 8 crew members aboard.
Here's an odd "1" for you. Rod Taylor's birthday was Jan. 11 and he was the star of And When the Sky Was Opened, the show's season 1 episode 11. Thus, Taylor's birthday was 1-11 and he appeared in episode 1-11.
The Twilight Zone is probably the only theatrical, screen or radio production for which the legendary Orson Welles was cast aside not just once but twice. The first time was when CBS brass discarded the expensive Welles for hosting duties in favor of the far more affordable Rod Serling. Not to be outdone, Serling himself then rebuffed Welles a second time, choosing Inger Stevens to portray the terror-stricken motorist in The Hitch-Hiker instead of the famed auteur, who originated the role in CBS' radio series Mercury Theater on the Air and reprised it in three ensuing radio productions.
Perennial Zone scriptwriter (he penned 16 episodes Richard Matheson was leisurely contemplating a cloud that looked like a skier descending a snowy slope when suddenly the dreamy figure morphed into a menacing gremlin. Thus the story for Nightmare at 20,000 Feet found its nebulous beginnings, in a literal cloud seeding.
One of Rod Serling's favorite movies was Angels in the Outfield. He liked it so much that he spun a variation of the story entitled The Mighty Casey, going so far as to cast the manager in the film, Paul Douglas, as the same in his riff. However, Douglas was so ill during filming that his acting wasn't up to snuff, and he died soon after the production wrapped. Serling didn't want Douglas to go out on a sour note so he had the episode refilmed at his own expense, with Jack Warden taking on Douglas's part and Douglas, it was hoped, overseeing the production as its own angel in the outfield.
If you think the person who logged the most appearances on the series other than Rod Serling was Burgess Meredith or Jack Klugman, you're not going to believe this one. While Meredith and Klugman did star in four episodes each, a bit actor, extra and stuntman by the name of Robert McCord III appeared in one of those capacities or another in at least a whopping 37 shows. Next to Serling he was the show's most ubiquitous presence—sometimes turning up in more than one part in the same episode. Yet other than a few times McCord went uncredited, making him the most widely seen person on the show you've probably never heard of ... until now.
If you enjoyed this random sampling of Twilight Zone oddities & ends, you'll find plenty more in The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia.
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