Tag Archives: social commentary

Rod Serling’s “The Time Element”

Perhaps no writer in 20th Century television had a greater influence on the medium than Rod Serling and his Twilight Zone anthology series. Serling, who was a native of Upstate NY ( yay! ) and WWII veteran, wrote 92 of the 156 original Zone episodes. The delivery methods he used in his dramas for social commentary; science-fiction, fantasy and horror, were drawn from his experiences during WWII and contemporary society in that era.

His first teleplay for the Zone was “The Time Element” in 1957 when he tried to sell the concept to CBS.

Of course they rejected it, saying it “didn’t meet network standards”. And it was stashed away in the CBS vaults.

Serling eventually got his way and it was broadcast November 24th, 1958 by the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse .

The show was a hit and in 1959 Serling got the green light for his series.

But “The Time Element” was never broadcast as an official Zone episode. “Where Is Everybody?” starring Earl Holliman, which aired October 2nd, 1959 marked the beginning of the series.

The rest is history so to speak.


The following is the original Twilight Zone pilot “The Time Element” that aired November 24, 1958 on the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse and intro’d by Desi Arnez (Sr.) himself. This espisode is rare and found on DVD only. I was surprised someone YouTubed it.

Then again, I shouldn’t be, should I?


The Time Element 1/6


The Time Element 2/6


The Time Element 3/6


The Time Element 4/6


The Time Element 5/6


The Time Element 6/6