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The Twilight Zone Quiz

Rod Serling’s innovative anthology show The Twilight Zone had more influence on our society than perhaps any other scripted series.  Its episodes illuminated themes of society and the human condition that television networks were afraid to tackle during that time by wrapping its messages in stories of horror, science fiction, and fantasy.  Known for its iconic theme music and its twist endings,  The Twilight Zone spawned two remake TV shows, an ill-fated feature film (with another rumored to be in the works), and many copycat shows as well as inspiring writers and filmmakers as diverse as Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, John Landis, and M. Night Shyamalan.

How much do you know about The Twilight Zone?  Take our quiz and find out by clicking the following button:

After taking the quiz, scroll down to see more information about the questions (or cheat and skip the quiz altogether):

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Last warning for spoilers!

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1

According to The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree, Rod Serling had written a screenplay entitled The Time Element when he was in college.  When he was developing The Twilight Zone, he re-wrote that script to be an hour long pilot.  However, CBS shelved it, only to later pull it out to use as an episode of Desilu Playhouse for the 1958-59 season.

2

The pilot for The Twilight Zone was “Where Is Everyone?” written by Rod Serling and directed by Robert Stevens.  It was about an Air Force pilot who finds himself in a small town that is completely empty, despite evidence that people had been there recently.  It turns out that this is all in his mind, and in reality he is in an isolation chamber training to become an astronaut.

3

Rod Serling wrote 92 episodes of the 156 produced for the original run of The Twilight Zone.

4

Rod Serling won two Emmys for writing The Twilight Zone in 1960 and 1961 (given for various episodes).

5

During the first season, Rod Serling performed the opening narration off-camera.  In the last episode of the season, he walked into the scene at the end of the story to do his wrap-up and actually interacted with the main character–who made Serling disappear.  From that point on for the remainder of the series, he did his episode introductions on-camera.

6

At the end of the third season, The Twilight Zone was without a sponsor, so CBS removed it from the fall schedule.  The network eventually ordered new episodes as a mid-season replacement, but decided to expand it from a half an hour to an hour expecting to expand its audience as well.  During the time when the fate of the show was in question, Rod Serling had accepted a teaching job at Antioch College in Ohio.  When the show was renewed, Serling wrote his scripts long-distance and filmed his introductions all at once when he flew in to L.A., standing in front of a gray neutral background rather than being in the location of the episode.  Eighteen hour-long episodes were produced, but ratings fell and the show returned to its half-hour format for season 5.

7

Upon changing the format of the show to tell hour-long stories, the word “The” was dropped from the title, making it Twilight Zone.  The title remained this way into season 5.

8

Rod Serling wrote a pilot for a comedy involving an angel who helps out a nerdy outcast, but when CBS did not buy it, Serling turned “Mr. Bevis” into an episode of The Twilight Zone in the first season.  By season three, Serling re-worked the concept but turned the hapless title character into a woman.  Carol Burnett starred in “Cavender is Coming” with Jesse White playing the angel Cavender.  The intent was that this would be a pilot for a series following White’s character interacting with a new person each week with comedic results (as opposed to the Bevis concept, which both Bevis and the angel would star in the series).  “Cavender is Coming” has the distinction of having a laugh track, included at CBS’s insistence despite the producer’s protests.

9

Richard Donner, the director of Superman: the Movie, The Goonies, and all four Lethal Weapon movies directed six Twilight Zone episodes, all in season 5:

  • “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”
  • “From Agnes–with Love”
  • “Sounds and Silences”
  • “The Jeopardy Room” (which has absolutely no horror, science fiction, or fantasy elements in the story)
  • “The Brain Center at Whipple’s”
  • “Come Wander with Me”

10

During the 5th season,Twilight Zone was over-budget.  One way to resolve this problem was to purchase the rights to the short film “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which had won an Oscar and a BAFTA for best short film.  It was the right length and had appropriate subject matter to fit the show’s format, and despite it being a French production, it was set during the American Civil War and did not feature any dialogue.

copyright © 2012 FilmVerse

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4 comments on “The Twilight Zone Quiz

  1. Never been a better television show. The best of the best!

    • It was certainly a groundbreaking show in so many ways.

      • I actually spent untold sums trying to find and piece together the entire collection at my local video stores (who always seemed to have pieces here and there but frustratingly never the whole series on DVD). I finally ended up with the collection 1.5 times over only to have Netflix end up making the series available for streaming… Oh well, one can never have enough Twilight Zone.

        • I know what you mean! When the Sci-Fi Channel aired all the episodes back to back, I spent several days round the clock video taping as many as I could. Now I have every version of “TZ” that’s available on DVD.

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