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The Twilight Zone lies between the pit of mans fears and the summit of his knowledge. The show was intelligent. It examined the mysterious and unknown. Its creator Rod Serling made a show that was more than just thought provoking it probed social psychological and historical aspects layered with the dark recesses of humanity. I remember being captivated by the first few episodes I ever watched as a kid but Ill get to those in a few paragraphs. I felt fear and surprise but the show was a catalyst for me to begin questioning the certainty of our world. In 1951 Rod Serling sat in a diner with his wife to make an important decision. He decided to give up the security of his job working at a television station doing commercial testimonials that he called a particular dreamless occupationRod Serling. Serling was fed up with rampant censorship in television. It is easy for us these days to forget how heavy handed censorship was 60 years ago. Often times writers would want to make a social comment however the censors would change it so much the end product would be watered down. When a writer writes something he believes in he battles with censorshipRod Serling. The Twilight Zone afforded Rod Serling the ability to be a producer and a writer. Plus as narrator his deep and articulate voice added a serious tone to the show. Serling was able to strike a good balance with sponsors and show content. The show was intelligent and layered with dark elements. Its very adult high quality half hour extremely polished films.Rod Serling. He was free to create the type of show he wanted. Writers like any other artists comment on aspects of our society. A writer must understand hisher medium to do the most with it. The Twilight Zone had a profound influence on me. It shaped my style as a writer. I picked the first four episodes I ever saw. Two of them are classic episodes. The other two are not as well known. However I picked these four because they express the versatility of the show. In Eye of the Beholder a womans face is bandaged as she lies in a hospital room. We discover she has a facial deformity. In this reality not looking like others is a crime. We never see the doctors or nurses faces. When we finally do see all the faces she is beautiful and everyone else has ugly pig faces. It is reality where beauty is ugly and ugly is beauty. This is one of the most well known episodes. What is the message Our aesthetic point of views about beauty and ugliness are truly relative. It is true now or a hundred years from now. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In Time Enough at Last a bookish and introverted man played by great Burgess Meredith is constantly ridiculed for reading. He seeks refuge in the vault at the banks where he works. Then nuclear war breaks out. He is left alone and realizes he can spend the rest of his days reading every book he wants. At the last minute he trips and breaks his glasses. I never felt this one had a deep message. It is simply good story telling with a cruel twist at the end. The Twilight Zone became known for that long before any other show. In The Howling Man a man seeks shelter during a storm at a monastery. After entering he encounters a howling man being held captive. He claims the head monk is a crazed religious fanatic. The monk claims it is the devil in the cell. The devil the monk explains came to the peaceful town nearby to corrupt it. He captured him and holds him in the cell with the staff of truth. The one barrier the devil cannot pass. The man skeptical releases him. It turns out it is the devil who promptly escapes. The man realizes he was deceived. What is the message The devils greatest trick was convincing the world he does not exist. The episode ends with Rod Serling reiterating the old adage You can catch the devil but cannot hold him long. In The Monsters Are Due on Maple Drive residents one afternoon see an object fly through the sky. That night all power radio etc. goes out. While everyone struggles to understand what is occurring lights come on in one house then go off. Then come on in another. One car starts stops and then another etc. Soon tiny judgments become accusations which lead to paranoia. Neighbor violently turns on neighbor. I did not go into too much detail about this one. I did not want to ruin it. You owe it to yourself to watch this episode. However the message of this one is clear. Underneath all our civility and technology we are still dangerous animals. Drama by its very definition should make a commentRod Serling. Rod Serling was a unique writer who pioneered intelligent television. The Twilight Zone was insightful and thought provoking. It was truly of shadow and substance. I am sure it will inspire and influence writers for many years to come. I have always believed you should write what you know My passions and fascinations include history philosophy mythology and psychology. I love to people watch. I get many ideas that way. I am an avid science fiction fan. Science fiction is based in our imagination our imagination propels humanity forward in all our endeavors. -Lewis Stockham BY LEWIS STOCKHAM 22 WWW.FLIPMAGAZINE.NETJUNE2015