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March 3, 2020:

THE REAL TWILIGHT ZONE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I have been a fan of The Twilight Zone from its very first episode.  I fell in love with the show and I do not believe I ever missed a first run episode for the first four years of the show, and while I may have missed a couple after that it wasn’t more than a couple.  It was a Friday night at ten ritual, which I wrote extensively about in the Kritzer books.  I would go to a local Eyetalian jernt called Scarantino’s and get spaghetti to go, come back, and sit in my room and watch the show.  I pretty much loved every episode – the stories were great, the acting was great, the direction was great.  It was MY show.  I bought the paperbacks, I did a brilliant impression of Rod Serling – frankly, I was obsessed with it.  When it went to the hour format, save for a couple of interesting episodes, I knew it was done.  But in its glory years, there was nothing like it.  From the title, to the music, everything was unique.

The reboots have all been awful.  They seem not to have a clew as to what made the original tick and they certainly don’t have the writing, acting, and directing talent of the original series.  The latest iteration is horrible.  Produced and hosted by Jordan Peele (I enjoyed his two movies, but between this and Hunters, I’m pretty much done with him), the acting (mostly Canadians) is not a patch on the butt cheeks of the actors who did the original series – those were some of the best young and older actors around.  Every episode I’ve watched (eight so far) has looked exactly the same, which can’t be said of the original series.  Here it’s just cookie-cutter direction.  The music is okay but not Herrmann and Goldsmith and Fred Steiner and the others.  They’ve kept the classic Marius Constant theme but the arrangement and orchestration is awful.

Even when there’s a kernel of an interesting story idea, they can’t sustain it and it all just becomes incoherent and they all just fizzle out.  Mr. Peele as “The Narrator” is no Mr. Serling and Mr. Serling certainly never needed that kind of cocky credit.  And of course, we’re constantly hit over the head with messages from the hot button topics o’ the day.  There’s a little “me, too” episode “no means no” that just doesn’t know what to do with its concept and it may be the most ridiculous one of all. There’s an “immigrant” episode that is just awful.  I have two episodes to go and I suppose I’ll watch them, but this thing is a complete bust.  It’s a CBS All Access show, streaming only.  Clearly, they spent a good deal of money on it but the results, well, are the results.  Naturally it’s been renewed for a second season of ten episodes.  TEN episodes is now a season.  And still they can’t come up with quality scripts, actors, and directors?  These poor babies would have folded up and died if they’d had to produce twenty-four episodes in a season (not to mention the thirty-six of earlier years).  So, from me this series gets a big ol’ blechhh.

Yesterday was an okay day – a bit frustrating in one way, but everything else was okay and I mostly just rested and relaxed.  I was supposed to read the final scenes of act two for the musical I’m guiding, but I didn’t want to – just wanted to relax and clear my head.  I banked, picked up one package, got a double double and animal fries for the meal o’ the day, ate that all up, had a long telephonic conversation.  By five, it had become apparent that the book covers were not going to get done, despite my being told that they would.  The day got way – the usual excuse – and that text came at seven or so.  I was not happy and that was probably pretty obvious from my text responses.  I then sent everything to Doug, who will hopefully put all this together and do a good job of it.  He did that for GEE and it came out well.  I sent him the folder he created for that, so he has all the details of what’s needed, the spine measurement, which I got from the publisher, and I got him the flap copy and blurbs, including the new one from Richard Sherman.  Here’s that one:

Bruce’s lyrics abound with wit, style, originality, and perspicacity.  They shine throughout this gossamer collection.

Richard M. Sherman of the Sherman Brothers

Isn’t that a lovely blurb?  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish and watched the four Twilight Zone episodes, whilst eating some chocolate covered almonds and raisins.

Today, I have to be up by nine-thirty to do a ten o’clock phone interview about David Cassidy – I think it’s for some UK podcast or something.  She wanted to do Facetime or Skype and I put the kibosh on that – not THAT early, if you get my meaning.  Then at two I have a lunch, then I’ll read the remainder of the second act rewrites for the musical, and then I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I can relax, watch the final two Twilight Zone episodes, and then I’m seeing a staged reading of a musical at the Group Rep.

The rest of the week is meetings and meals, I’ll begin casting the next Kritzerland show and choosing material, then we begin the weekend performances for our show.  I may go on Friday night if I know folks, I know I’m going on Sunday for sure, and I’ll just keep Saturday night open.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do a phone interview, I must have a lunch, hopefully pick up packages, relax, watch episodes, and then attend a staged reading.  Today’s topic of discussion: What were your favorite episodes of The Twilight Zones, and what was the very first episode you saw?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have reminisced about the real Twilight Zone.

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