Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone aired for the first time on October 2, 1959. Steve Vertlieb, the Thunder Child, celebrates the show’s 50th anniversary in his essay “An Element of Time”, by telling the fascinating story of how the show succeeded despite the mundane tastes of CBS executives, and became an icon of early television:
There is an obscure Air Force term relating to a moment when a plane is coming down on approach and a pilot cannot see the horizon. It’s called the Twilight Zone. …
Rod Serling had penned several landmark teleplays for The Columbia Broadcasting System, including Patterns, and Requiem For A Heavyweight, but the perils of network censorship were beginning to take a toll on the idealistic author. As his artistic voice and moral integrity became increasingly challenged by network cowardice, Serling found his search for lost horizons alarmingly elusive.
(Vertlieb would like it noted that his essay has been posted simultaneously at Roger Hall’s Film Music Review.)
[Thanks to Steve Vertlieb and John King Tarpinian for the links.]