Binghamton Landmarks Inspire Twilight Zone

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Oct 3, 2009 at 10:28 PM EST

It's the 50th anniversary of Binghamton-Native Rod Serling's ground-breaking television series, The Twilight Zone.

This weekend, people flocked to his hometown to honor the pioneer.

Action News Reporter Natalie Jenereski shows us how Serling's Binghamton-roots influenced one of televisions first shows.

George Clayton Johnson is the only Twilight Zone writer who is still living today.

"By largely, it has become a matter of consensus over the year that this Twilight Zone program is probably an all time great. That out of television history, they single out the Twilight Zone as being one of the more significant programs, and part of the significance lies in the fact that it has lived for over 50 years," said Clayton.

This weekend, Johnson is joining greater Binghamton in paying tribute to one of it's legends, Rod Serling.

This is the TZ at 50 walking/bus tour.

This BC Transit bus was outfitted with Twilight Zone pictures.

Today, it shuttled TZ enthusiasts to and from four locations that were important in Serling's life and career.

"I think the fact that Binghamton is Serling's hometown makes this a natural event, and I grew up in Binghamton, and knowing Rod Serling was here, was always a big deal," said Gordon Webb, Rod Serling Conference Co-Chair.

Serling's life here in the Southern Tier influenced many aspects of his writing.

This very carousel was the inspiration for Serling's script Walking Distance, which is being shown on repeat here at Recreation Park.

"Everytime everybody got off the bus they'd say is this where that episode was filmed? We had to say it wasn't actually filmed here, but this was the inspiration," said Webb.

"To come here and celebrate Rod Serling, who is as much a part of my childhood as carousels were of his, that makes me proud of my community. It makes me feel proud of myself, and it's very uplifting, and it's wonderful in times of uncertainty," said walking tour guide Amanda May Whistle.

The TZ bus stopped at 3 other locations, including Binghamton Central High School, the Metrocenter courtyard, and the Forum Theatre for the Performing arts.

In Binghamton, Natalie Jenereski, WBNG-TV Action News.

The Twilight Zone, first aired on Oct. 2, 1959

The TZ at 50 celebration continues Sunday with a Twilight Zone Marathon at the Forum Theatre.

It runs from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

You can stop in for an episode, or stay the whole day.

All events are free and open to the public.

To get a complete listing of TZ at 50 events, visit www.rodserlingvideofest.com

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