Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

CBS Not Celebrating 50 Years In The Twilight Zone

That's kind of what I figured Serling's imagination must look like... 
I just finished watching "The Invaders", a classic episode of "The Twilight Zone". Here in Chicago, we're lucky to have MeTV, a free channel devoted to classic retro television, but even in towns without such good fortune, The Twilight Zone still resonates as one of the all-time classics of television. Is it Rod Serling's perfectly crafted introductions? The intelligent writing? The wry twist "punchline" at each episode's end? Cold War Era themes that are still sober commentary on the human condition? Yes on all counts.

Submitted for your approval.October 2nd marks the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone on the CBS television network. In real life we had not yet hurtled into space, television was barely a decade old, and what passed for science fiction in those days was mostly warmed-over cowboy picture plots wrapped in tin foil suits. TZ brought us sophisticated ideas and political commentary tucked into the allegorical trappings of science fiction. Though one of the strengths of the show was that it wasn't always about spaceships and spooky houses. Themes as varied as growing old, bucolic nostalgia, and lots and lots of tales of comeuppance.

The series has returned several times in the decades since it's monochromatic birth. 1983 saw five original stories and a fresh one brought to the silver screen in a big-budget movie remake. A few years later, CBS brought the series back as a week hour-long anthology series (and I adored it). Flash forward to 2002, and the series returned as a justifiably short-lived series on the equally short lived United Paramount Network. Of course countless other anthology series have borrowed the TZ formula to varying degrees of success.

Robby the Robot makes a cameoSo when a television series is such an icon that a vocal imitation of its theme song (dee, dee, dee, doo) is a universal sign that something strange is going on. A TV series that is still leaving its mark five decades after first broadcast deserves celebrating, right? Wrong. CBS did nothing to mark Twilight Zone's anniversary. Asking Friday night shows to have a TZ theme would be such a gift to television writers, that it almost seems inconceivable that CBS did nothing to commemorate being part of a TV classic (Then again, two weeks ago CBS pulled soap opera The Guiding Light off the air after an astonishing 72 years on TV and radio).

The TV industry in the US is, after all, a business. I guess there's no money in celebrating a unique and enduring television icon unless you're on cable or MeTV. Other countries seem capable of being proud of their television traditions. Shame on you, CBS.

Oh, and while I'm complaining, someone bring back anthology TV, okay?

Twilight Zone dramatized as radio plays

Stream the first episode on CBS.com
The complete series on DVD
My favorite book about the series


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