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Every nerd worth their salt can describe — in great detail — at least one single episode from the original run of The Twilight Zone. The episodic masterpiece was the originator of some of the best stories, most compelling twists, and incredible performances of the 1950s and 1960s. The star-studded series helmed by Rod Serling (aka, the Man Himself) has earned its right among the upper levels of science fiction history, and TV history in general. But how much do you really know about the show and its origins? Here, for your consideration, are a few things they didn’t want you to know about The Twilight Zone.

1. The Origins of ‘The Twilight Zone’

From his time as a boy into manhood, Rod Serling nursed an equally passionate love for both the pulp fiction of his day as well as contemporary politics. In addition, Serling was an avid critic of censorship in any form. It was the marriage of these ideas that helped inform The Twilight Zone, which used its sci-fi trappings as a means to explore contemporary themes in a way that largely prevented network intervention. Another way to say that is: Rod Serling was freaking brilliant.

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2. The Time Element, part 1

After years spent earning a name for himself in TV thanks to his knack for crafting compelling scripts, Serling’s first foray into science fiction came in 1958 with a teleplay called, “The Time Element,” which he hoped to draft into an episodic series. Unfortunately, cautious of the script’s content — in which a man has nightly recurring dreams that he’s warning people about the attack on Pearl Harbor only to explain his issues to a therapist, fall asleep on the doctor’s couch, and get killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor — was deemed too odd and the pilot was shelved.

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