Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Period(ical) Piece

February 1984: I was an 8th grader, getting good grades and living a relatively worry-free life. My ongoing amassing of home-videotaped Twilight Zone episodes was in full swing. I'd already purchased Marc Scott Zicree's The Twilight Zone Companion and I was becoming an emerging authority on the series.

One day, at the Lancaster Mall in Salem with my mom, I was killing time looking through magazines at the bookstore (probably B. Dalton's, which I think is out of business now), and I was greeted by a thrilling sight:

Oh my God, could it be? An entire magazine devoted to my favorite TV show of all time? I snagged it eagerly and, in the car on the drive home, read it cover to cover. It was amazing. Short stories! Articles! Full color glossy photos! It was like porn without the naked women. It also included the first of a multi-part series of articles on another vintage TV series, The Outer Limits, which would later become one of my top five favorite TV shows of all time. The magazine was a bimonthly affair, which meant an excruciating 60-day wait between issues, but I vowed to never miss an issue.

And I didn't. For the next five years, I collected every single issue up until June 1989. After that, I couldn't find it anymore. I searched desperately over the next year or so, assuming that my usual stores had simply stopped carrying it, and eventually I gave up. It was only when I replaced my worn-to-shreds copy of Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion with a new revised-and-expanded second edition did I discover that that fateful June 1989 issue was indeed the magazine's final edition.

In the early 90's (I'm guessing 1993, since my first wife and I were living in Milwaukie --- Oregon, not Wisconsin), I discovered a store in nearby SE Portland called Periodicals Paradise, where back issues of magazines could be acquired on the cheap. And, much to my delight, they had several early issues of The Twilight Zone Magazine, published before my first issue in Februrary 1984 (the magazine's debut issue came out in April 1981), and I snagged as many as I could.

In the late 90's, the rise of eBay allowed me to complete my collection. Finally, all 60 issues, in my possession. They resided in a box, they moved with me when I got divorced, and then they sat neglected in a closet. At some point several years ago (we'll say 2002, but who knows?), I ended up selling the collection on eBay. I don't remember exactly why at this late date, but I imagine it was the usual reason: I was in a cash crunch. I don't remember how much I got for the collection, but I hope it was a lot.

Here's a great site that shows 59 of the 60 covers. Here's the one that's missing:

As the show's 50th anniversary looms closer (16 days now), I find myself missing those magazines. I've maintained a small collection of TZ stuff over the years (books, mostly, along with the DVDs and a few odds 'n ends, like a beautiful Hallmark card from several years back), but it seems woefully incomplete without those magazines.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think I've found my next OCD obsession. I'm gonna have to re-collect all 60 issues. It shouldn't be too hard.... eBay's still around, and Periodicals Paradise is still in business....

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