An oldie but a goodie this week – the opening titles for the original Twilight Zone series.
Rod Serling‘s (right) ground-breaking sci-fi anthology aired for five seasons (156 episodes) beween 1959 and 1964. It also spawned a couple of more recent relaunches, in the late 1980s and 2002, plus a film in 1983.
I didn’t actually see any Twilight Zone episodes until many years after they were made, when BBC2 started a run of repeats in, I think, the mid-1980 (when I was a teenager).
I really enjoyed these little black-and-white, self-contained stories with a twist in the tail – if for no other reason than it revealed to me where some of the writers of 2000AD‘s Future Shocks had nicked their ideas from got their inspiration from.
The show’s first theme tune, used only in season one, was written by legendary film and TV composer Bernard Herrmann.
However, the theme tune that has become synonymous with the series, used from season two on, and has gone down in TV history was written by French avant-garde composer Marius Constant. It regularly pops up, often for comedy effect to emphasize a spooky situation, in movies and TV shows to this day.
Though the music remained the same during the TV show’s run from season two on, the visuals and/or Rod Serling’s opening monologue changed a few times. However, this version of the opening is probably the best known.
Here is a longer version of the theme tune:
And here, as a bonus, are the opening titles from the show’s pilot episode, featuring the Bernard Herrmann theme: