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Honoring Binghamton NY’s Rod Serling On National Twilight Zone Day

“You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

May 11th is National Twilight Zone Day, an unofficial annual holiday created to celebrate this thought-provoking television series, where everything was strange and nothing was ever quite as it seemed to be. The holiday is dedicated to fans showing their love for the series and its mix of sci-fi, horror, and drama. It also honors its creator, Rod Serling, who wrote the many bizarre and gripping episodes that commented on humanity, war, censorship and other topics that he deeply was passionate about.

From the ages of two to eighteen, “The Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling called Binghamton, NY home. Though he left the city at a young age, Serling never shied from discussing his ties to city. He made numerous trips back to Binghamton over his life, sometimes for no other reason than to take a sentimental stroll through neighborhoods he knew and loved in childhood. He also maintained a cottage on nearby Cayuga Lake where he would spend summer vacations with this family.

“The Twilight Zone” premiered on CBS in 1959. One of the first episodes in the series was “Walking Distance,” which was set in a town inspired by Binghamton. The episode involves a man named Martin Sloan, a New York City executive who returns to his hometown to find that nothing has changed. A carousel is seen in the episode which was apparently modeled on one that is still in use in Binghamton’s Recreational Park. In 2011, the carousel was restored with panels painted by artist Cortlandt Hull highlighting moments from several Twilight Zone episodes, including “Walking Distance.”

photo by Richard D. Squires

The series ran from 1959 until 1964 and is consistently ranked as one of the most influential television shows of all time. While the show was cancelled twice, it won nine Emmy awards and developed a cult-like fan following that exists to this day. Serling passed away in Rochester, NY at the young age of 50 after a series of heart attacks.

Read more about National Twilight Zone Day:

Barron, James. Rod Serling’s Hometown Likes to Bask in His “Twilight”. New York Times. January 30, 1989. Accessed November 23, 2017.

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