When Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" premiered on television (Oct. 2, 1959), I wasn't yet a teenager. My callowness, plus the relatively milksop nature of most TV shows then on the air, caused my jaw to drop in amazement.
I'd never seen anything like it. And I doubt anyone else had either.
Every day in school, someone would mention something that happened in the latest episode. The sadness we felt about the ending of "Time Enough at Last" or the frightening reality of how neighbors turn on one another in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,"
It's not like we could explain what irony or paranoia were, exactly. But even as children of the 50s, particularly those of us who were aware of the ongoing Cold War and threat of nuclear annihilation, we had an intuitive sense of what Serling was saying.
That feeling lasted throughout the series' initial five-year run. And it has continued over the years as individual episodes have been rebroadcast.
Now the series is being featured again. It will be featured in a special three-hour event that will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Regal Cinemas theater at Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium 14. The event, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the show, will feature digitally remastered episodes, including the two mentioned above.
If you haven't seen any of the shows, or even if you have, prepare to be amazed. Many subsequent shows and movies have tried to copy what Serling pioneered, but few have matched it in either originality or quality.