My first experience with the The Twilight Zone was in the early 70s in Hong Kong. My mom ran a little seamstress business out of our 14th floor apartment in Tsim Sha Tsui. In one corner of our living room was a curtain suitable for customers to pull to create a make-shift fitting room. At night when that spinning spiral appeared and drifted back into space on our black and white television, I would run to hide behind the curtain yet till peek out to watch even though the screen was partially eclipsed by my mom’s 70s beehive.
My fear and fascination with The Twilight Zone continued until 1974 when we moved to Bangkok. There was Night Gallery, the 80s revival of The Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories and others available to watch in Bangkok but none matched the class act of the original.
In the early 90s, I moved to Los Angeles. My first paycheck went to buy a television set and a VCR. Every holiday, I would pop in a six-hour VHS tape and record at SLP speed to get a 12-hour run of The Twilight Zone marathon.
I met my husband in 2000. One of the first things that we had in common was that he was the only one I knew who was familiar with Night Gallery (the other Rod Serling’s show). Our first date was watching Night Gallery at my house, and we have been together ever since. Later, we bought the entire Twilight Zone collection when it became available on DVDs.
My mother, the other Twilight Zone fan in the family, told me a year or two before she died, that she wished there were some Twilight Zone DVDs with Chinese language subtitle so she could watch them all over again. To my disappointment, I never found them for her.
Just last month, while visiting my dad in Bangkok, I started discussing the classic episode Time Enough at Last as a parallel to my own desire to have enough time to finish a book. That’s just me. I tend to find shows that reflect certain moments of my life. My job of 19 years had just ended three months prior. A huge deal for someone who doesn’t like to go through changes. While grumbling about still not having enough time to read – just like the Burgess Meredith character – my dad softly said that he had not once watched any episodes. I had always taken it for granted that my dad was there watching these episodes with my mom back in the 70s. When I told him that I wanted to grow up to be a writer for Rod Serling, he once said unfortunately Rod Serling had “already travelled to the twilight zone himself.” So he had not seen one episode?! Nope, he was busy working on his films (he was a film director then), my dad said. Needless to say, I quickly YouTubed Time Enough at Last while translating each line into Cantonese for him that afternoon. At 83 years old, he could finally say he has seen it. Not that he would care about that fact as much as I do.
My mom’s yearning in her golden years to sit back and enjoy some Twilight Zone episodes and my dad’s first introduction to one led me to reflect on myself. After years of taping the marathon and buying all the DVDs, they are just sitting on the shelf. I don’t even think I have seen half of the series. Now with time enough at last for me (well at least for a year), I am going back to watch and blog each and every one of the 156 episodes of this great show.
My intention is to document my year of circling back to something that I love that I want to fall in love with all over again and this time more completely than before now that I have time enough at last. Not gonna wait until my glasses are shattered…