I have learned several things from The Twilight Zone. For one, if you wish everyone dead, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll become the last person on the planet.
Two, the secret to eternal youth is that you won’t find it with Mary Kay products, but by kicking a can around your retirement village.
Three, if you flip a coin, there’s pretty much a fifty-fifty chance it’ll turn up heads, a fifty percent chance it’ll turn up tails, but a one-in-a-million chance that it’ll land balanced on its edge. And if you can manage to accomplish this rare feat, then you will be able to read anyone’s mind until the coin falls over. Also, martians sometimes look like us, but they sometimes have two heads and really, really weird names. Oh, and if you ever find yourself on a cruise full of nothing but old people who constantly urge you to jump ship, then you really should jump ship.
What was the secret to The Twilight’s Zone success? The writing. Rod Serling, a writer himself, placed the emphasis on the writer, not the special effects, not the acting — although all that stuff was really rather well done, too. Elsewhere, today and then, you sell a teleplay or a screenplay and they’ll butcher it so bad you won’t recognize anything you actually wrote. Richard Matheson once said that, on The Twilight Zone, the script the writer wrote was what was usually filmed.