The Twilight Zone

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scotland
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby scotland » January 1st, 2017, 4:04 pm

Anyone else get caught up watching Twilight Zone over the weekend. I had forgotten its a New Years tradition on SciFi/SyFy channel. What's amazing is how much many of those episodes still have impact.

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Atariboy
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby Atariboy » January 1st, 2017, 11:25 pm

scotland wrote:A number of these anthology series are back on television on nostalgia themed channels like MeTV or COZI or others.


Sadly though, only the ones that were science fiction oriented with plots like The Twilight Zone, have had much syndication life. A lot of great anthology programs from the late 1950's and early 1960's when drama was extremely popular before sitcoms began to dominate by the mid 1960's, have just been gathering dust in the vaults.

Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse for instance, which is the series that spawned The Twilight Zone and The Untouchables thanks to two particularly popular episodes (And is the series that I Love Lucy was continued in after the series was drawn down, with 3 or so hour long specials per season that later were rebadged as the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in syndication), has long been unseen except for the 15 episodes I've just mentioned.

That leaves over 30 more episodes that surely are entertaining, not to mention other great anthology series like The Loretta Young Show (At least this one has many episodes available on DVD today), the Alcoa Hour, The United States Steel Hour (Where Rod Serling cemented his reputation for writing sometimes controversial screen plays), Playhouse 90, General Electric Theater (Hosted by future president, Ronald Reagan), Studio One, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, and dozens more.

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scotland
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby scotland » January 2nd, 2017, 10:16 am

Atariboy wrote:
scotland wrote:A number of these anthology series are back on television on nostalgia themed channels like MeTV or COZI or others.


Sadly though, only the ones that were science fiction oriented with plots like The Twilight Zone, have had much syndication life.


A lot of these have roots in radio, such as "My Favorite Husband" on radio evolved into "I Love Lucy" on television. Radio had many genres, from sci fi, police, drama, comedy, westerns, etc. If you have satellite radio, there is a channel (Radio Classics) that plays these old shows.

I"m no tv historian, but I thought one problem with old television is how were they originally recorded. A lot of those drama were probably shot and broadcast live which gave good quality at a very low price. To handle the issue of time zones, a kinescope copy was made for the West Coast in the early 1950s. Those were low quality, and even those may not have been preserved. It wasn't until the late 1950s that video tape was invented for television, which had nearly the same quality as a live broadcast. So things from the early 1950s are very apt to be lost unless they were specially made, like the Lone Ranger series, with higher production values and editing, and caught on film.

In the 1960s, a lot of television stations were desperate for content. If enough old episodes of those earlier tv dramas had survived, they probably would have syndicated them.

matmico399
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby matmico399 » January 2nd, 2017, 1:29 pm

The majority of my favorite tv shows are from the 60's and 70's. I don't even watch current network television unless it's football. History Channel guy here. COZI is okay, but I freaking luv METV.
-The Big Valley
-The Rifleman
-M*A*S*H
-The Twilight Zone
-Emergency!

Just to name a few.....

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Atariboy
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby Atariboy » January 2nd, 2017, 3:51 pm

In the mid 1950's that would've been true. But by the latter 1950's and through the 1960's, most anthology programs were filmed and edited on 35 mm just as The Twilight Zone was.

I think Playhouse 90 was videotaped though after they transitioned away from live broadcasts in the mid 1950's, and was one of the first prime time programs to utilize that technology. Unsure at the survival rate of this one given the tendency to reuse expensive tapes and the fact that early episodes only were retained as kinescopes. And it certainly didn't help its chances in syndication, since videotape has always been regarded as having a cheap look associated with the nightly news and daytime soap operas.

Survival likely plays a hand in this, but I'd like to think that much of what I named exists. But it's certainly plausible that large swathes of 50's/60's anthology programs aren't extant. The Loretta Young Show only exists thanks to Loretta Young's personal 16 mm prints for instance. NBC destroyed the 35 mm masters during contract negotiations with Loretta Young, presumably trying to strong arm her into resigning and then carrying out their threat to destroy her work when she held her ground.

And that's a show that premiered in 1953 and ran through the 1960 season, for a run of well over 150 episodes. Not to mention numerous awards including at least 4 Emmy Awards and many more nominations. So just imagine what a lesser series may have suffered in the years since it aired.

pacman000
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby pacman000 » January 16th, 2017, 5:49 pm

Atariboy wrote:In the mid 1950's that would've been true. But by the latter 1950's and through the 1960's, most anthology programs were filmed and edited on 35 mm just as The Twilight Zone was.

I think Playhouse 90 was videotaped though after they transitioned away from live broadcasts in the mid 1950's, and was one of the first prime time programs to utilize that technology. Unsure at the survival rate of this one given the tendency to reuse expensive tapes and the fact that early episodes only were retained as kinescopes. And it certainly didn't help its chances in syndication, since videotape has always been regarded as having a cheap look associated with the nightly news and daytime soap operas.

Survival likely plays a hand in this, but I'd like to think that much of what I named exists. But it's certainly plausible that large swathes of 50's/60's anthology programs aren't extant. The Loretta Young Show only exists thanks to Loretta Young's personal 16 mm prints for instance. NBC destroyed the 35 mm masters during contract negotiations with Loretta Young, presumably trying to strong arm her into resigning and then carrying out their threat to destroy her work when she held her ground.

And that's a show that premiered in 1953 and ran through the 1960 season, for a run of well over 150 episodes. Not to mention numerous awards including at least 4 Emmy Awards and many more nominations. So just imagine what a lesser series may have suffered in the years since it aired.


The 2nd season of the Twilight Zone had a handful of episodes shot on tape; "Night of the Meek" comes to mind. You can tell the difference; their sound-stage bound, the scene transitions are a bit rough, and the frame rate is slightly higher.

Another good series is "The Veil;" it's like the One Step Beyond, but Boris Karloff has a roll in almost every episode!

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Atariboy
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby Atariboy » January 17th, 2017, 7:27 am

Is that the one with Art Carney?

Yeah, there were 5 or 6 experiments in a cost cutting move that were recorded on two-inch quadruplex videotape and look more like 60's newsreel footage such as when Lee Harvey Oswald was killed than they do a prime time television show.

Several favorites of mine are in that group though like what I believe that you mentioned, Room for One More (Not the real name of it I think, but anyone that has seen it will know what I'm referring to), the one with Jack Carson and the haunted automobile, and the one with the kid's telephone. Only missing one or two as I try to remember each of the taped episodes, a testament to their quality despite the attempt to do them more cheaply.

But thankfully the savings weren't there that CBS had hoped for and Rod Serling was able to quickly get his way and return to 35 millimeter film, future proofing the show in the process. I'm confident had this one been videotaped and maintained that cheap look until the end that it would not have seen the syndication it has to this day, or possibly even lasted five seasons like it did.

And even if was still being made available to this day, by default it could never be in high resolution and that would definitily be creating issues today for some viewers that expect everything to be in HD. So anyone that has ever popped in one of the excellent Blu-Ray releases should thus be thankful for the fact that it was filmed.

pacman000 wrote:Another good series is "The Veil;" it's like the One Step Beyond, but Boris Karloff has a roll in almost every episode!


Actually have never seen this one. I'll have to track down some episodes and check it out.

Have we mentioned The Outer Limits somewhere in this thread? I hope so since that's another great science fiction anthology program from the time period.

pacman000
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby pacman000 » January 17th, 2017, 9:21 am

"The Veil" is interesting; apparently it was never aired. Hal Roach (most famous for producing Laurel & Hardy shorts) turned his studio over to his son, Hal Roach Jr. Hal Roach Jr. tried to move into the television market; he produced a syndicated adaption of the comic strip "Blondie," and a few other shows, but he wasn't able to find success; the studio went bankrupt. About 10 or 11 episodes of "The Veil" were completed, but that wasn't enough for syndication, so they sat in storage til home video came out.

pacman000
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby pacman000 » January 19th, 2017, 3:05 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty_Two_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Wikipedia has a list of the Twilight Zone episodes shot on video!

They are:
"Twenty Two" ("Room for One More", about a woman w/a reoccurring dream of a morgue.)
"The Lateness of the Hour" (A scientist's daughter does not like her father's robot servants; she wants to get out more.)
"Static" (An old man finds an old radio broadcast on his old radio, but can't get it to work for anyone else.)
"The Whole Truth" (A used car salesman buys a mysterious old car.)
"Night of the Meek" (Art Carney plays a department store Santa who finds a bag full of gifts.)
"Long Distance Call" (Billy Mummy plays a grandson who loses his grand mother, but he keeps talking to her on the phone...)

pacman000
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Re: The Twilight Zone

Postby pacman000 » January 19th, 2017, 3:23 pm

Tron wrote:Scotland- I've watched all the Ray Bradbury episodes. If my memory is correct I thougjt 1/3 of them were good & that maybe half of them just dang awful. They were bizarre, but not in an intriguing or creepy way. More like bizarre in the "what the heck was the point of that?" or "what the hay was Bradbury thinking?" Now I will admit that some episodes were great and that they could even rival that of the TZ. For example the episode with William Shatner was awesome. The problem is that you have to sit through the whole or at least most of the episode until you can realize that it failed abysmally. A lot of Bradbury episodes start off well enough and then the story progresses ok and then when it's over you're like, "Oh my goodness that was awful". At least with Fear the Walking Dead I can fast forward all the blah blah blah until a zombie comes on screen. With Bradbury you have to pay attention and most times it wasn't worth it.


Have the whole series on DVD. I've read his stories; they're always a good read, but the adaptions loose something. Sometimes the technology just wasn't there yet; The Veldt is a great short story, but the TV version was shot on video. It looks like a soap opera, and the chroma key VR nursery looks awful. There are other episodes which could've been good, but the adaption doesn't capture the right feel. The dialog is unnaturally poetic; the camerawork & editing are too showy, scenes last too long & start to drag, etc. Then there are other episodes where you realize Bradbury's plotting errors were covered by his beautiful prose; w/o it the story's not that great. Of course different people have different tastes; I would've put William Shatner's (The Playground) episode in that last category.


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