In the 1950s, the popularity of The Twilight Zone is largely credited to Rod Serling. The series aired on CBS from 1959 to 1964, starring Serling, Burgess Meredith, Serling’s wife, Glynis Johns, Betty McGuire, and Martin Milner. The show’s theme music, after first appearing in the version of the broadcast in which Walter Cronkite and Art Linkletter serve as narrator rather than Serling, became a major selling point. The theme would later be adapted for the 1982 TV series version. When it was announced in December 1960 that Serlingis to write a new television series based on a short story entitled “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” that appeared in The Twilight Zone Magazine, the show was renamed The Twilight Zone. It became a major hit, and in later years Rod Serling became known as the father of television science fiction.
The original writing staff included Martin Balsam as a writer and director; Ian James, Sid Caesar, and Avery Schreiber as producer; and Howard t KLum as head writer and producer. Serling wrote the first eight episodes; Basil Poledouris did the season-four theme. Serling’s original contract stipulated that he would direct 16 episodes but the series won the support of CBS President Brandon Tartikoff, and thus Serling directed only 12 episodes, ten of which were aired as the first season. Episodes devoted to the show's signature theme were often combined with episodes devoted to a particular guest star or guest character from the fantasy genre. The high quality of sound and performance has distinguished The Twilight Zone from most of the other 1950s anthology programs. The special effects were partly simulated and partly for real, with sets designed to look as though they were in the middle of an urban street or rural area. Many episodes were shot on location and the series was noted for its realistic sound effects and special effects. The show featured the first-ever depiction of laser beams and a graphic skyline of New York City that was used in advertisements during its run. Set pieces were designed by the special effects department, and there were a number of tour de force effects, particularly in the Flying Disc tower episode. 7211a4ac4a