The original version of The Twilight Zone was a 30-minute weekly program that ran for five seasons on CBS, from 1959 through 1964. It was created and developed by Rod Serling, who had previously established himself as one of the best television writers in the business. Serling had come up during "the golden age of live TV," writing insightful, pathbreaking material when quality programming was more respected than mere ad revenues. By the late '50s, however, the dollar had become king, and skittish sponsors balked at anything edgy or topical that might offend potential consumers. Serling, an outspoken champion of the little guy, devised The Twilight Zone as a way of addressing challenging subjects in a less dangerous fashion. As one critic later noted, it was safer to make certain points with martians rather than people, who could, after all, be liberals or Democrats.
See a Schedule of the Episodes Scheduled for this year's Marathon
The PBS American Masters series looked at the life and career of Rod Serling in this 1995 documentary "Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval." It's well worth a look: