Monday, September 14, 2009

50th Anniversary Musings...

October 2 is less than three weeks away, and I’m getting excited. I’ve already scheduled the day off from work, and I’ll have the house to myself. My plan is to immerse myself in All Things Zone leading up to my viewing of the pilot episode (“Where Is Everybody?”) at exactly 10:00 pm, precisely 50 years after its original broadcast. This viewing will kick off a five-year marathon in which I’ll watch all 156 episodes on their respective 50th anniversaries (see previous entry for details).
So far, my daylong anniversary celebration will include a viewing of the excellent American Masters documentary on Rod Serling (titled, appropriately enough, Submitted for Your Approval), as well as The Time Element, an episode of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse that was originally intended to launch The Twilight Zone but ultimately didn’t (long story; I won’t recount it here). I thought about doing a countdown of my ten favorite episodes, but then I’d be watching ten of the episodes early and out of sequence. I also thought about watching 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie, or maybe some episodes of the 80’s revival series, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that the day should focus exclusively on classic Zone. I dunno, maybe I’ll re-read one of the Serling biographies for part of the day and listen to my extensive collection of TZ music to kill some time.
I really wish (and this is gonna sound pathetic) that I had someone to share this day with. My wife couldn’t care less (and honestly, why would she?). My good friend (and fellow Zone fanatic) Bill Huelbig lives across the country, and my local friends aren’t really fans of the show. There are celebrations happening, but as far as I know, nothing in my neck of the woods. So yeah, I’ll be celebrating this anniversary solo. Damn, I need to find myself some local TZ fans to hang with.
There are several cool items being released in the next few months, all commemorating the anniversary. Already available is a TZ postage stamp, released as part of a sheet of stamps commemorating several vintage TV shows (I Love Lucy, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, etc.; I bought two sheets).
Hallmark is releasing a Christmas ornament in the form of a miniature TV set that lights up and plays the theme music. It comes out in October, and yes, it will be hanging on my tree this year (I’ll likely buy a second one to keep displayed in my office year round).
Three episode-specific bobbleheads are coming in October/November from a company called Bif Bang Pow!, which look amazing.
I saw something online about an interactive DVD game (along the lines of the Scene It? DVD games, several of which we own and quite enjoy), but I haven’t been able to verify a release date.

A few new TZ t-shirts popping up for sale online, from a company called Trevco.
Lastly, some classy clothing items are being made available by The Rod Serling Memorial Foundation (baseball cap, polo shirt, etc).
So… lots of items to be acquired. I might need to sell a kidney on eBay to stay caught up.
What DOESN’T seem to be coming in time for the anniversary, however, is a blu-ray release of the series, which really bugs me. Don’t get me wrong, the existing Definitive Edition DVD sets are absolutely stellar, but the episodes will look even more spectacular in true high definition (for example, the original Star Trek series looks staggeringly pristine on blu-ray). And this is the FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY, for Rod’s sake. I wonder if the sluggish economy is to blame…? Oh well, maybe next year. I can wait. There’s time. Time, time, time enough at last. All the time I need, and all the time I want. *
And while I’m griping, why the hell isn’t there a Rod Serling action figure by now? Sheesh. Maybe a Serling bobblehead will show up, assuming this BifBangPow! company makes it beyond their first three. Fingers and toes are duly crossed.

*Yeah, another TZ pun, but less obscure than the last one.

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