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WVXU Staff Share Their Favorite 'Twilight Zone' Episodes: What's Yours?

the twilight zone
Wikimedia Commons
Inger Stevens and Leonard Strong in a scene from 'The Twilight Zone' episode "The Hitch Hiker," which aired January 22, 1960.

Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons from 1959 to 1964, but the show goes on in perpetuity in syndication -- and in our minds.

Ask anyone over the age of 30 and chances are they'll spout a vivid memory of the first time they saw -- and got spooked -- by the anthology show. Come 2019, a whole new generation will discover a new dimension when Jordan Peele reboots the series with himself as host and narrator.

Serling, who spent his early career in Cincinnati at WLW (and is the subject of the upcoming Dec. 10 episode of Cincinnati Edition) once said of his writing: "I've pretty much spewed out everything I have to say, none of which has been particularly monumental; nothing that will stand the test of time. Good writing like wine has to age well, and my stuff has been momentarily adequate."

We beg to differ, as evidenced by the number of employees who, when asked, shared memories of their favorite Twilight Zone episodes. Read a handful below, then share yours with us in the comments or on Twitter @917wvxu

"The Night Of The Meek"

"My favorite is Art Carney as an alcoholic Santa in 'The Night Of The Meek.' It was broadcast Dec. 23, 1960 -- the 11th show of Season 2. Rod Serling himself wrote the script about a drunken Santa fired by a department store who finds a magical Santa's bag in an alley. It would produce whatever toy or item someone requested of Santa (Carney). Carney has so much fun that he says, 'I wish I could do this every year.' When he passes the alley where he found the bag, there's a big sleigh with an elf sitting in it. Carney hops in, and away he goes. Maybe I first liked this show because there are Lionel trains in the department store? And I liked Serling's twist, this down-and-out drunk who once dreamed of being 'the biggest gift-giver of all time' becomes Santa. I didn't know this -- but Wikipedia says Serling's original 1960 narration ended with 'and a Merry Christmas to each and all,' which was cut from the syndicated, DVD and VHS versions." 

-John Kiesewetter, media reporter

"Five Characters In Search Of An Exit"

"The first time I saw the episode (on one of many SciFi channel New Year's Day Twilight Zone marathon binges) I knew nothing about its twist and was thoroughly on board and riveted the whole time. Many Twilight Zone episodes utilize a style of writing and performance that feels more like transferring a stage play to the screen than what we're used to now. This one in particular stood out in that respect because of its minimalist black box production, story and staging." 

-Josh Elstro, production and recording engineer for Cincinnati Edition

"Eye Of The Beholder"

"So many great stories, but I always enjoyed 'Eye of the Beholder' (and the SNL sketch it inspired). When I was a kid I went through a heavy 'Night Gallery' phase. My dad attended WLW's 50th anniversary party at which Serling was a guest. Late that night, Dad brought home a little cocktail napkin with a note to me written and signed by Rod Serling. I couldn't sleep (for a number of reasons)." 

-Oakley Scot, weekend host

"To Serve Man"

"Because it's a cookbook!" 

-Jodi Franks, assistant traffic associate (and WVXU's resident foodie)

"It's A Good Life"

"It's so relevant to today's society. Most everybody on social media builds their own Peaksville, Ohio, and those with bad thoughts go to the cornfield (aka: get unfriended or blocked)." 

-Mike McAninch, information systems manager 

Tune in to the Dec. 10 episode of Cincinnati Edition to hear John Kiesewetter's conversation with Nicholas Parisi, author of the new book, Rod Serling: His Life, Work and Imagination.

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.