The Twilight Zone: Season 1 [Blu-ray] [5 Discs]

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Even non-devotees of The Twilight Zone are able to distinguish the series' first-season episodes from the later installments. Instead of the familiar "dee-dee-dee-doo, dee-dee-dee-doo" theme music by Marius Constant, each season-one Twilight Zone was introduced with a more lugubrious, string-dominated theme by the great Bernard Herrmann, who also composed the incidental music for such classic first-season episodes as "The Lonely" and "Walking Distance." Also, series creator and host narrator Rod Serling does not appear on camera to deliver his opening and closing narration -- except for a delightful gag appearance at the end of the season's final episode, "A World of His Own." The series' two most frequent guest stars make their inaugural Twilight Zone appearances in the course of season one. Burgess Meredith is poignantly cast as a myopic bookworm who ends up a sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust in "Time Enough at Last," while Jack Klugman is seen as a luckless musician whose life is turned around by a remarkable near-death experience in "A Passage for Trumpet." Other notable actors appearing in this season's 36 episodes include Martin Landau, Fritz Weaver, Ed Wynn, David Wayne, Vera Miles, Ida Lupino, Anne Francis, and Roddy McDowall. Among the best and most memorable episodes of the first-season Twilight Zone crop are "Third From the Sun," "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street," "People Are Alike All Over," and "A Stop at Willoughby." Lesser episodes, though still worthy of special mention, include the series opener "Where Is Everybody?," one of the few Zones with a "logical" rather than supernatural ending; "The Hitch-Hiker," a haunting adaptation of Lucille Fletcher's classic radio play; "The Mighty Casey," a baseball fantasy which had to be filmed twice so that Jack Warden could replace the original story by Paul Douglas, who fell ill during shooting and died shortly afterward; and "Mr. Bevis," which Rod Serling intended as the pilot for a series about a bumbling guardian angel.

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