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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Entertainment Fact Or Fiction 2/18/15

Twilight Zone (movie/tv series) On July 23, 1982, Vic Morrow, Renee Chen, and My-ca Dinh Le, were killed on set when a helicopter crashed on them during the filming of a Vietnam battle sequence. Attorney James Neal defended John Landis - who, along with George Folsey Jr., Dan Allingham, Paul Stewart and Dorcey Wingo - was charged with involuntary manslaughter. All were found not guilty.

According to John Larroquette, he requested to watch the filming of what would become the tragic helicopter scene, but his car was stolen the night before and he was unable to get to the set.

In the opening title sequence, Rod Serling can be seen in the reflection of the eye.

Another story considered by Steven Spielberg for the film was one concerning a bully who has the tables turned on him during Halloween night, but problems with the story ensued, and it was eventually scrapped.

William Shatner at one point was in consideration to reprise his lead role in the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet segment. He had to turn it down due to prior commitments. Ultimately _John Lithgow (I)_ was cast in the role.

Burgess Meredith, William Schallert, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Mumy, Murray Matheson and Patricia Barry all made guest appearances in Twilight Zone (1959). Furthermore, Schallert would later appear in the first revival series, The Twilight Zone (1985), while Mumy later appeared in the second, The Twilight Zone (2002).

Known for his meticulous preparation, John Lithgow had worked out certain scenes in his airplane seat in conjunction with the manufactured lightning outside the window. However, during filming, the crew member in charge of the lightning flashes would activate it too soon or too late, throwing off Lithgow's timing. Although initially annoyed, he later came to value the experience after viewing the film, seeing that it added to his anxious, fearful character as he looked genuinely startled by the lightning

The name of Kathleen Quinlan's character is Helen Foley. This was not the name of a character in the original "It's a Good Life" episode, but the name of a character from Twilight Zone: Nightmare as a Child (1960). Helen Foley was the name of one of Rod Serling's favorite teachers as a child.

In the diner, when Kathleen Quinlan is asked where she is from and where she is going, she answers with two town names that were used in old "Twilight Zone" episodes: "Homewood," from Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959), and "Willoughby," from Twilight Zone: A Stop at Willoughby
(1960). The cook refers to "Cliffordville," from Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963).

Steven Spielberg briefly considered Rod Serling's Twilight Zone: The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960) about neighborhood paranoia that's set off by a force of invading aliens from the original Twilight Zone series as a potential segment which he canceled because it involved nighttime filming with children and special effects. This was mainly due to the tragedy that occurred on the "Time Out" segment. He finally chose "Kick the Can" from the original series.

John Landis's segments were the first to be filmed, and Steven Spielberg considered canceling the entire project after the deadly helicopter crash. Ultimately the remaining segments were completed in this order: It's a Good Life, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, and Kick the Can (Spielberg's segment).

The film originally started with Rod Serling's classic voiceover, but it was replaced with one by Burgess Meredith, who starred in four episodes of the original Twilight Zone series - Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959), Twilight Zone: Mr. Dingle, the Strong (1961), Twilight Zone: The Obsolete Man (1961), and .Twilight Zone: Printer's Devil (1963).

Jerry Goldsmith's recording sessions for the score took place from February 28 to March 3, 1983, with each recording day devoted to each segment of the film. Steven Spielberg attended most of these sessions. However, it was Joe Dante who mainly supervised the entire session, filling in for George Miller and John Landis, who were not involved in the post-production of the film which included the
music. Dante and Goldsmith would become good friends and begin a fruitful collaboration that would last over the next two decades (1983-2003).

The giant, glaring eye that Helen (Kathleen Quinlan) sees when she opens a door was used as part of the opening sequence for the series The Outer Limits (1995).

Frank Marshall, producer of the latter version, plays one of the ground crew members checking the plane's wing for damage.

The segments "It's a Good Life" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" are both parodied in two Treehouse of Horror specials of The Simpsons (1989) (II & IV), and in both of them, Bart Simpson is the main character. Nancy Cartwright is the voice of Bart, and, she has a small role in this movie.

"Kick the Can," features Steven Spielberg's future mother-in-law, Priscilla Pointer, as Miss Cox.

The music for Segment 2 was originally written as the theme for Norman Bates in Psycho II (1983).

Exterior footage of the airplane on which John Valentine (John Lithgow) believes that he sees someone trying to sabotage the wing is of the Global Airways Boeing 707, from Skyjacked (1972) with added storm effects.

As of 2012, the Steven Spielberg segment of this movie is one of only two Spielberg-directed theatrical films not scored by John Williams; the other is The Color Purple (1985).

Mention is made of Lieutenant Neidermeyer getting "fragged" by his own troops. This was the fate given to Neidermeyer in the ending of Animal House (1978), also directed by John Landis.

When the time-traveling character Bill Connor finds himself targeted by the Ku Klux Klan, his first question is "Where Am I?". Nobody replies to him. A short while later, the license plate of a car provides the answer: Alabama.

Of the principal cast and crew, eight were also involved in the production of episodes of the original television series: writers Richard Matheson and George Clayton Johnson, composer Jerry Goldsmith, and actors Murray Matheson, Kevin McCarthy, Patricia Barry, William Schallert and Bill Mumy. In addition Buck Houghton, who was producer of the original series for its first three seasons, has a
cameo sitting in the diner in Segment 3.

According to John Larroquette, who played one of the lead KKK members, he refused to wear a KKK hood because he wanted his face to be visible.

This is the first collaboration between composer Jerry Goldsmith and co-director Joe Dante which would last for another seven films - one of the longest director/composer relationships on record. These collaborations would also include several productions by Steven Spielberg's companies
Amblin Entertainment and Dreamworks Pictures.

Before this movie became an anthology of four stories, Warner Bros. initially explored a single story film idea with the cooperation of Rod Serling's wife Carol Serling. One of these ideas was Miracle Mile (1988) written by Steve De Jarnatt, who went on to make that film in 1988.

For each of the four segments, each director (Steven Spielberg, John Landis, George Miller and Joe Dante), would use their regular production teams, with Spielberg and Landis acting as producers of the film as an independent production financed by Warner Bros. Richard Matheson was hired to adapt and expand the three stories from the original series.

Joseph Williams, who contributed the song "Anesthesia" for the film, is the son of legendary composer John Williams, who is Steven Spielberg's personal friend and collaborator for the last four decades. Also Jerry Williams, who is John's brother, was the percussionist on the score.

This was Murray Matheson's final film before his death on April 25, 1985 at the age of 72.

This was the final feature for actor Eduard Franz, ending a 35 year film career. He passed away that same year.

During the prologue (or opening scene), the duo begin to mark their favorite Twilight Zones, soon they reach Time Enough at Last starring Burgess Meredith, funny as it is, Meredith starred in that show and supplied the voice of the narrator in the film.

At one point, the following TV shows are referenced: Sea Hunt (1958), Perry Mason (1957), Bonanza (1959), The Real McCoys (1957), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Car 54, Where Are You? (1961), National Geographic Specials (1965), Gilligan's Island (1964) and Hawaii Five-O (1968).

Before working on this film, co-director Steven Spielberg had made his directorial debut on on the pilot of Rod Serling's post-Twilight Zone work, Night Gallery (1969).

John Landis' segment "Time Out" was originally entitled "The Bigot", a story he claimed would retain political and social commentary of the best Twilight Zone episodes from the original series.

Technically, this is the second collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and composer Jerry Goldsmith. Spielberg "allegedly" had a big hand in Poltergeist (1982) and oversaw the post-production on that film and this film. This film would be the only time that Goldsmith would work
with director John Landis, who had worked with the late Elmer Bernstein during that time period and was his composer of choice. He would later work with George Miller on Babe (1995), and his score was ultimately replaced by Australian composer Nigel Westlake when the film's tone changed from its original dark overtones to family fare. Goldsmith and Joe Dante would work together frequently over seven films spanning two decades before Goldsmith's untimely death in 2004. Goldsmith and Spielberg would not work together again except in a producing capacity, as John Williams is his personal composer.

The spotting sessions for Jerry Goldsmith's landmark score began on December 22, 1982 and did not finish until January of 1983, as each segment was completed. Usually each music track has a slate number listed but in this case it was the initials of each director (Spielberg, Landis, Miller and
Dante) for the music in their segment.

Academy Award nominated composer James Newton Howard co-produced the songs "Anesthesia" and "Nights Are Forever" and was also the synthesizer programmer on this film.

The vehicles depicted in the Ku Klux Klan scene provide the dating. With the exception of a Chevrolet, most of them are part of the first generation of the Ford F-Series. This "generation" was in production from 1948 to 1952.

John Larroquette (KKK in segment #1) and Selma Diamond (Mrs.Weinstein in segment #2) would star together again one year later in the NBC sitcom, Night Court.

Cameo: Carol Serling:  as the woman who asks "Is there something wrong?" when the flight attendants knock on the airplane restroom door, holding a copy of the Twilight Zone magazine
in her arms. She was the wife of Twilight Zone (1959) creator Rod Serling.

Director Trademark
John Landis:  [SYNW]  spoken in German when Bill is being shot at on the building.

Andy House:  The Second Assistant Director. Second Assistant directors work primarily on action scenes or getting exterior filler shots, and the tragedy on Segment #1 might have had something to do with this "Smithee" credit.

.Just prior to filming, Dan Aykroyd, who plays The Passenger in the film's prologue, married Donna Dixon, who is featured in the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" segment, which ends with Aykroyd's appearance as an ambulance driver who comforts John Lithgow's character.

The original conception of the film ending was that, after the segments had been completed, each character would intersect with one another. This idea was mainly scrapped, but it briefly appears as an "epilogue", as Dan Aykroyd's character appears at the very end of the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" segment and comforts John Lithgow's character from the segment by playing "The Midnight Special" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which was also used in the prologue of the film.

Anthony's powers have the sound effects of the Tempest (1983) arcade game.

Series creator Rod Serling made up the phrase "Sixth Dimension" to use in season one's opening narration. William Self of CBS-TV asked him what was the fifth dimension (given that dimensions one through three are exemplified by a line, a plane, and a cube, respectively, and the fourth is time). Serling answered, "I don't know. Aren't there five?" He then changed the narration to "There
is a fifth dimension..."

Rod Serling invited any viewers to submit a script. He was flooded with over 14,000 scripts, and he actually got around to reading 500 of them. But only two were any good, and he couldn't use them because they didn't fit the format of the show.

Rod Serling wanted Richard Egan to do the narration because of his rich, deep voice. However, due to strict studio contracts of the time, Egan was unable to. Serling said, "It's Richard Egan or no one. It's Richard Egan, or I'll do the thing myself," which is exactly what happened.

Rod Serling thought he had come up with the term "Twilight Zone" on his own (he liked the sound of it), but after the show aired he found out that it is an actual term used by Air Force pilots when crossing the day / night sides above the world.

Due to budgetary constraints in its second season, the network decided to cut costs by shooting some episodes on videotape rather than film. Because videotape was a relatively primitive medium in the early 1960s, the editing of tape was next to impossible. Thus, each of the 6 episodes was "camera-cut" as in live TV, on a studio sound stage, using a total of four cameras. The requisite multicamera setup of the videotape experiment, pretty much precluded location shooting, severely limiting the
potential scope of the story-lines, and so, the short-lived experiment was ultimately abandoned. The limitations of using videotape (e.g., it could not be edited as cleanly as film and its visual quality was poorer) led them to switch back to film for the rest of the series, despite the greater cost. The 6 videotaped episodes were titled: Twilight Zone: The Lateness of the Hour (1960); Twilight Zone: Static (1961); Twilight Zone: The Whole Truth (1961); Twilight Zone: The Night of the Meek (1960); Twilight Zone: Twenty Two (1961); Twilight Zone: Long Distance Call (1961) and then transferred to film for broadcast, which saved the producers about $5,000 per episode.

CBS wanted Orson Welles as the narrator/host, but the producers felt that he asked for too much money.

Other than series creator, host and narrator Rod Serling, Robert McCord was the only actor to appear in all five seasons. In second place are Jack Klugman, John Anderson, Jon Lormer and Vaughn Taylor, who each appeared in four seasons. Klugman and Taylor both appeared in the first, third, fourth and fifth seasons, Anderson appeared in the first, second, fourth and fifth seasons and Lormer appeared in the each of the first four seasons.

The oft-parodied high-pitched guitar melody riff in the theme music was played by Howard A. Roberts.

Although the phrase "Submitted for your approval" from Rod Serling's opening narration has come to be closely identified with the show (and is often used by Serling impressionists), it is actually heard in only three episodes: Twilight Zone: Cavender Is Coming (1962), Twilight Zone: In Praise of Pip (1963), and Twilight Zone: A Kind of a Stopwatch (1963).

Rod Serling started the series after a teleplay of his became the critically acclaimed Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse: The Time Element (1958).

All episodes in Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 5 were 30 minutes in length. Episodes in Season 4 (airing from January to May 1963) were one hour in length due to CBS' switching the show's available time-slot where only an hour could be taken.

Rod Serling was ranked #1 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (1 August 2004 issue).

A comic book version of this series, "hosted" by the artistic image of Rod Serling, ran until 1982 - long after the real Serling had died.

Of the three "Twilight Zone" TV series over the years, this is the only one which does not include Rod Serling's image during the opening credits. Of course, this is the only one of the series to have the opening voice-over performed by Serling.

Ranked #8 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!" (30 May 2004 issue).

On 11 August 2009 the US Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. On the stamp honoring "The Twilight Zone" is a picture of its creator, host/narrator Rod Serling. Other shows honored in the Early TV Memories issue were: The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), The Dinah Shore Show (1951), Dragnet (1951), The Ed Sullivan Show (1948), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), The Honeymooners (1955), The Howdy Doody Show (1947), I Love Lucy (1951), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), Perry Mason (1957), The Phil
Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), "Texaco Star Theater" (titled Texaco Star Theatre (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)),
and You Bet Your Life (1950).

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