The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (1959 - 1960)

SEASON:

Season 1
The Twilight Zone

Critics Consensus

You're about to enter a show, a show not only of frights and fears but of mind. A journey into the limitless world of imagination. A show that pushes the boundaries of what a show can be. Next stop, The Twilight Zone.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 23

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 98

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 2, 1959

Mike Ferris (Earl Holliman) doesn't know where he's been or where he's going, but he has a rough idea of where he is -- in a typical small American town. This is all well and good, except for one detail: the town is utterly devoid of people. The explanation is more "logical" than one might expect from a Twilight Zone episode, but that may be because this was the pilot show, and the producers wanted to "sell" the property to sponsors who might otherwise be skeptical about a weekly sci-fi/fantasy anthology. Scripted by series creator Rod Serling and filmed on the familiar Universal backlot, "Where Is Everybody?" was telecast as the Twilight Zone debut episode on October 3, 1959.

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Air date: Oct 9, 1959

Ed Wynn guest stars as Lew Bookman, an aging and not altogether successful sidewalk salesman. When Mr. Death (Murray Hamilton) shows up to "collect" Lew, the latter refuses to go. This leaves Mr. Death no other choice but to claim an alternate soul in Lew's place -- a little girl named Maggie (Dana Dillaway). Adapted from a script he'd written during his days in Cincinnati television, Rod Serling's "One for the Angels" made its Twilight Zone bow on October 9, 1959.

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Air date: Oct 16, 1959

First telcast October 16, 1959, this episode stars Dan Duryea as Al Denton, a once-legendary gunslinger fallen on hard times. Now the town drunk and the object of ridicule, Denton dreams of the day that he will regain his skills with a sixgun. That day comes sooner than expected, thanks to a travelling peddler named Henry J. Fate (Malcolm Atterbury) -- but there's a bizarre price tag attached. Written by Rod Serling, this Twilight Zone episode features an impressive cast of future TV-series stars, including Martin Landau as town bully Hotaling, Doug McClure as punkish fast gun Pete Grant, and Jeanne Cooper as faded saloon girl Liz. Incidentally, this dramatic episode was originally intended as a comic story titled "You Too Can Be a Fast Gun," with a timid schoolteacher unexpectedly gaining renown as a gunfighter.

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Air date: Oct 23, 1959

Ida Lupino stars as Barbara Jean Trenton, a 1930s movie queen who refuses to admit that she's grown too old to play romantic roles. As her loyal agent Danny Weiss (Martin Balsam) looks on with a mixture of pity and disgust, Barbara insists upon sitting in her Hollywood mansion watching her old films. A surprise visit from her now-decrepit leading man Jerry Hearndon (Jerome Cowan) forces Barbara to face reality -- or does it? Bearing traces of Sunset Boulevard, but with a poignant Twilight Zone twist, "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" was written by Rod Serling and directed by Mitchell Leisen (one of the last assignments for this veteran); the episode originally aired October 23, 1959.

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Air date: Oct 30, 1959

One the finest of all Twilight Zone episodes, "Walking Distance" benefits not only from a superb Rod Serling script and a magnificent starring performance by Gig Young, but also from an evocative musical score by Bernard Herrmann (which would be cannibalized many times on subsequent episodes). Young is cast as 35-year-old businessman Martin Sloan, who, while waiting for his car to be repaired, takes a sentimental journey to his home town of Homewood. Gradually, Martin begins to realize that the town has not changed one bit in 25 years: In fact, his parents are still alive, and there's a young boy running around who is the living image of 10-year-old Martin Sloan. Watch for Ron Howard in a three-line bit role. "Walking Distance" was first telecast October 30, 1959.

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Air date: Nov 6, 1959

Hypochondriac Walter Bedecker (David Wayne) would do anything to feel better -- including making a deal with the Devil. When His Satanic Majesty makes an appearance in the form of the jovial Mr. Cadwallader (Thomas Gomez), Walter enters into a contract whereby he will be given perfect health and immortality. Unfortunately, Walter soon discovers that eternal life isn't all it's cracked up to be, while his wife Ethel suffers spectacularly from Walter's efforts to "spice up" his existence. Several 1960s TV icons appear in supporting roles, including commercial "stars" Virginia Christine (aka Mrs. Olsen) and Dick Wilson) (Mr. Whipple), The Beverly Hillbillies' Raymond Bailey, and McHale's Navy's Joe Flynn. First telecast November 6, 1959, "Escape Clause" was written by Rod Serling.

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Air date: Nov 13, 1959

Discounting the pilot "Where Is Everybody?", "The Lonely" was the first Twilight Zone episode to be produced, though not the first to be shown. Jack Warden stars as futuristic convicted murderer James Corry, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment on a lonely asteroid. Out of compassion for Corry, Captain Allenby (John Dehner), leader of the supply ship that makes biannual stopovers at the asteroid, presents the prisoner with a "companion" -- a beautiful female android named Alicia (Jean Marsh). Future Mary Tyler Moore Show regular Ted Knight appears unbilled as a hostile crew member. Blessed with a poignant Bernard Herrmann musical score (which incorporates the first-season Twilight Zone theme music), "The Lonely" originally aired November 13, 1959.

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Air date: Nov 20, 1959

In his first Twilight Zone appearance, Burgess Meredith stars as Henry Bemis, a miopic bank clerk who wants nothing more out of life than to be left alone to read his precious books. He unexpectedly gets his wish when, while hiding in a bank vault with a book in his hands, a hydrogen bomb devastates the city around him. The sole survivor of this nuclear attack, Henry is at first stricken with panic, then becomes delighted at the prospect of reading to his heart's content, without being nagged by his wife (Jacqueline De Wit) or his boss (Vaughn Taylor). The episode's ironic payoff is so well known that it does not bear repeating here; suffice to say that the ending was invoked in the first few moments of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie. First telecast November 20, 1959, "Time Enough at Last" was scripted by Rod Serling from a short story by Lynn Venable.

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Air date: Nov 27, 1959

Originally telecast November 27, 1959, "Perchance to Dream" was writer Charles Beaumont's first contribution to The Twilight Zone. Richard Conte stars as Edward Hall, a man who lives in mortal fear of falling asleep. Visiting a psychiatrst (John Larch), Hall explains that he has a weak heart, and that his recurring dream of a beautiful woman (Suzanne Lloyd) luring him to his doom will surely result in a fatal coronary. Alas, the psychiatrist's nurse is the spitting image of the woman in Hall's nightmares. Superbly directed by Robert Florey and boasting an eerie musical score by Nathan Van Cleave, "Perchance to Dream" is enough to give anyone nightmares.

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Air date: Dec 4, 1959

Nehemiah Persoff stars as Lanser, who inexplicably finds himself aboard a British ship in a fogbound sea in the year 1942. Somehow, some way, Lanser knows that the ship and its passengers are doomed to a watery grave, but no one will believe him. As it turns out, Lanser has "inside information" -- without giving the game away, it can be said that he is his own executioner. Future TV-series stars Patrick Macnee and James Franciscus appear in significant supporting roles. Written by Rod Serling and first telecast December 4, 1959, "Judgment Night" represents one of the few times that Twilight Zone ran into sponsorial interferences -- instead of drinking tea, the ship's very British crew consumes coffee, as prescribed by sponsor General Foods.

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The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

A collection of sci-fi, suspense and goose-bump-inducing tales.

News & Interviews for The Twilight Zone: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Twilight Zone Season 1

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

So far ahead of its time... that the episodes resonate thrillingly 50 years later.

May 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Serling's show never cut artistic corners. It didn't just rely on the twist.

May 3, 2018 | Full Review…

some of the smartest, scariest, and eeriest entertainments ever committed to film.

Jan 29, 2020 | Full Review…

Ultimately, The Twilight Zone is indispensable to both sci-fi and horror.

May 22, 2018 | Full Review…

This episode should be required viewing for anyone who worries about the current state of America.

May 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Unlike a number of science fiction properties, be them books or movies, The Twilight Zone didn't have a grudge against actual science.

May 9, 2018 | Full Review…

This show is at its best when it makes us re-examine the harder subjects of life.

May 9, 2018 | Full Review…

The most iconic, referenced, and imitated shows in science fiction history.

May 9, 2018 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Features one of the most iconic commentaries on human nature the series ever explored.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Twilight Zone's first season is not its finest though its fifth episode... gets my vote as Twilight Zone's greatest episode.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Everything gets real dystopian, real fast.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Not every chapter is a pot boiler, but when it does start to simmer, it's hard to make it stop.

May 4, 2018 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Twilight Zone: Season 1

  • May 11, 2018
    "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man." From Rod Serling comes the iconic sci-fi/fantasy anthology series The Twilight Zone. Dealing with themes of time travel, identity, and the nature of reality, Season 1 includes such classic episodes as "Time Enough at Last," "The Hitch-Hiker," "Third From the Sun," "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street," and "A Stop at Willoughby." Additionally, some impressive guest stars are featured, including Ed Wynn, Martin Landau, Burgess Meredith, and Roddy McDowall. Also, prolific sci-fi writers Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont contribute a number scripts (though the majority of episodes are written or adapted by Serling). There are some duds in the 36 episode first season of The Twilight Zone, but overall it's extraordinarily powerful and captures the imagination.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2020
    Una serie que hay que ver antes de morir. Aborda temas que uno mismo se ha formulado, y que tiene la curiosidad de como será.
  • Jul 26, 2020
    The show normally has about a skit's worth of material and stretches it to a shows length.
  • Jun 24, 2020
    I purely love this entertainment. Rod Serling is a great host.
  • Apr 08, 2020
    Amazing TV Series that all started with this fantastic Season 1. This season has so many classic episodes; Walking Distance, The Lonely, Time Enough at Last, The Hitch-Hiker and The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. This ishow was definitely ahead of its time and most of the episodes still hold up today. Rod Serling did an episode on a guy falling in love with a Robot back in 1959.
  • Mar 02, 2020
    It's a classic show!
  • Feb 27, 2020
    The horrifying anthology series. The best, anthology series. Rod Serling's performance gives a mysterious feeling. With scary twists and amazing writing, The Twilight Zone is one of the best shows ever created.
  • Aug 08, 2018
    Simply incredible considering it was made in 1959... almost 60 years ago. The episodes no longer carry the shock value that they once did, but they still leave you thinking about them long after they have ended.
  • Jun 27, 2017
    Truly classic science fiction/fantasy series that remains one of the best ever produced. On a technical level, the show has aged, from it's visual effects (though a few still look good, since they reused props from movies like "Forbidden Planet") to it's outdated conception of science at the time (in the premier, "Where is Everybody?", it's stated it should take weeks to the moon). However, what hasn't aged is the exquisite mix of writing, acting & directing. The main driver, of course, is the great Rod Sterling, who wrote over 90 of the 156 episodes while providing superb guidance over the rest. He also made a fantastic narrator and is probably the best ever of any TV show. Of the episodes he didn't write, he had a fantastic crew to work with, from Charles Beamont to Richard Mathieson, delivering such classics as "Eye of the Beholder" & "Nightmare at 30000 ft.". It should be noted Sterling always personally credited the writers of each episode, a first at the time. Acting wise, "Twilight Zone" had a brilliant mix of then current & future stars, from Burgess Meredith to Robert Redford, while directors such as Richard Donner & Don Siegel started their careers here as well. Granted, not ever episode is a classic, with the infamous fourth season (in which they switched to hour long episodes before reverting back to half-hour for the fifth & final season) being a prime example. However, when the episodes were good, they were the best ever made, and they also broached difficult subjects ranging from race, war & authoritarian government. Simply put, the best anthology series ever made for TV and one of the best shows ever put together, period.

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