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The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic Paperback – September 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: OTR Publishing (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970331096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970331090
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The word DEFINITIVE is not one that should be bandied about loosely or bestowed too readily on any text. However, Martin Grams Jr.'s newest television history can, without reservation, be called definitive, essential, benchmark, and all other terms that indicate no collection should be without it. --Tony Fonseca, DEAD RECKONINGS, Spring 2009

Readers who feel they've entered this dimension before, namely via Marc Scott Zicree's TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION years ago, are in for a treat. Grams has dug further than any other researcher into this durable anthology's creation and history, a series which included among its fans novelist Ayn Rand and actress Jodie Foster. THE TWILIGHT ZONE: UNLOCKING THE DOOR TO A TELEVISION CLASSIC is a proud testament to the series's enduring appeal. --Issue #120, Filmfax Magazine

I'm blown away by the mass of data... by the attention to the smallest detail. It puts everything else written about TWILIGHT ZONE in the shade. Monumental and fascinating and hugely informative. --William F. Nolan, famous science fiction author

About the Author

Martin Grams Jr. is the author of numerous books about old-time radio and retro television. He is the recipient of the Ray Stanich Award, the Stone-Waterman Award and the Parley E. Baer Award for his contribution to preserving the arts in books. He is a research consultant for Bear Manor Media. He and his wife are active volunteers for the annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, and spend their free time promoting public awareness for saving the Earth's resources and environment.

More About the Author

Martin Grams is the author and co-author of more than 20 books, and contributed numerous appendixes and chapters for other books. His book on THE TWILIGHT ZONE was the winner of the 2008 Rondo Award for "Best Book of the Year." His recent book on THE GREEN HORNET has been well-received by critics. Martin is an active member of SPERDVAC, research consultant for a major film magazine and volunteers his time to help the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention held annually in Maryland every September.

Customer Reviews

Overall, this is a brilliant book.
Terry Salomonson in Michigan (Real Name)
The first part of the book is about the history of the Twilight Zone and Rod Serling.
PT Cruiser
This book has answered questions that I've wondered about forever.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas M. Parisi on April 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Right off the bat in Grams' book, he takes pains to establish that he's written this book to correct the many errors contained in other TZ books, including Marc Scott Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion. In the first page of his introduction he offers an example: "The TZ Companion had producer William Froug recall purchasing . . . An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge for $10,000. The fact is . . . the film was purchased for $20,000 plus an additional expense of $5,000 for editing and sound fees."

If you find this the type of error that could not possibly stand going uncorrected, this is the book for you!

Echoing many others here: This is easily the most exhaustive and "definitive" compilation of Twilight Zone lore ever published - but that isn't necessarily a good thing. Reading this, one gets the impression that Grams did not leave a single WORD on the cutting room floor (so to speak). This book isn't for die hard fans, it's for DIE HARD fans . . . and maybe not even for them. (The usual testimonial: I am a HUGE fan of Serling and TZ and I've read Zicree's TZ Companion so many times that my copy looks like something Burgess Meredith found in the rubble.) In his quest to include literally every piece of information he's uncovered, Grams has almost completely sacrificed readability. Add to this that Grams is nowhere near the writer that Zicree is, and this can sometimes be a very long slog. Paragraphs are sometimes complete non-sequitors from what has come before, the chronological sequence in which certain info is presented is often haphazard, and the general organization of the book itself (photos show up with absolutely no relation to the surrounding text) is a mess.

Having said all that, I am amazed with how much "new" information Grams presents us with.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Terrance Richard TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Martin Grams has written a fascinating and well-researched account on one of the most beloved and critically accalaimed TV series of all-time. "Unlocking The Door..." is filled with 800 pages of facts, info, and juicy tidbits on what made "The Twilight Zone" the cultural hit it became in the sixties when it was first broadcast on CBS from 1959-1964. Grams details creator and writer Rod Serlings' attempts at getting "The Twilight Zone" on the air and his battles with network executives and advertising agents who would sometimes veto his story ideas before the shows even got to air.
The greatest part of the book is the chapter on all 156 "Twilight Zone" episodes. In this each show is discussed in full with air dates, who played who, bloopers that took place, salaries of directors, shooting locales, and what made each of these shows the gems that they ultimately became.
There have been other "Twilight Zone" books that have been released through the years, but all pale in comparison to this jewel. A lot of time and care went into the writing of this work, and it's obvious Grams has a special place in his heart for both Serling and the series itself.
This softcover book was originally published in September, 2008 and it has already gone into out-of-print status which shows the demand that "Twilight Zone" enthusiasts had for this book. If you see a copy anywhere grab it despite the cost. What is great is that while watching the individual episodes you can use this book as a companion piece which will give you a good idea as to how each show was put together.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By m00nman on September 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sometimes I wonder if author Martin Grams isn't from the Twilight Zone, else could he have collected all of this information? Some details in this book are the sorts of things that would have only been crumpled carbon-paper copies, tossed in the office wastebaskets of CBS-TV, not-quite-lost but mostly forgotten - until somehow, somebody, some fifty years later manages to assemble them into a monstrously cohesive reference book. I just don't know he managed it, but he did.

Firstly, the book is definitely a reference book, packed full of information. Well-organized, fully indexed, and so on, it's not such a "sit down and read" type book as some other previous Twilight Zone books may have been (and at around 800 pages, you would be sitting down for quite a while!).

This book lists just about everything you could imagine about the series: how many pages scripted for each episode, script revisions, what got censored and why, precise costs incurred for specific items, which actors were chosen or passed over and why, musical cues, alternate opening and closing monologues, and so on and so forth.

I particularly like the numerous quotes from Serling's own letters, whether they be to the studio, defending why the series needed to be filmed rather than videotaped, or to any number of fans (Tom Brown, in the ninth grade in Towson Maryland, wrote to ask permission for the school Drama Club to perform his own adaptation of "The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine", admitting that if royalties were involved, he could probably not pay them. Mr Serling granted him permission - cool!).

Quick - how many euphoniums were used in the score for the First season show "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street"?
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