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Why ‘The Twilight Zone’ is Classic TV’s Best Christmas Show

Why ‘The Twilight Zone’ is Classic TV’s Best Christmas Show

The Twilight Zone: An iconic and delightfully eerie TV series that brings both chills and holiday cheer with its Christmas-themed episodes. Holiday-themed episodes, such as “Night of the Meek,” provide a delightful start to any series marathon. They set the festive tone, paving the way for a succession of titles that capture the holiday spirit in their own unique ways. Not only that but series creator and host Rod Serling was himself born on Christmas Day, 1924. Step into a dimension where spookiness meets merriment.

Of course, The Twilight Zone isn’t only aired for hours as Christmas approaches. Rod Serling’s show runs back-to-back episodes on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve. Different television stations throughout the country proudly declare the commencement of the Twilight Zone holiday marathon, each staking their claim on a distinct day of festivity. It seems like no matter the holiday, Serling will be on TV, offering philosophical platitudes.

The Twilight Zone offers a rare treat for generations of viewers. The show remains out of time due to black-and-white photography and classical scoring. It serves up chills without stooping to gore or jump scares. Plus, there’s not a swear word to be heard. Invites all ages to gather round and enjoy, together.

How ‘The Twilight Zone’ Became a Holiday Tradition

TV stations across the country quickly realized that Rod Serling’s series was the ultimate holiday marathon material. This tradition goes way back to the ’80s when Los Angeles’s KTLA aired their first The Twilight Zone marathon on Thanksgiving Day in 1980. Talk about gobbling up some mind-bending entertainment.

In an interview with the LA Times in 1991, Mark Sonnenberg, the program director at KTLA, provided insights into the series’ association with holiday marathons.”The July 4th marathon started in 1983,” he said at the time. “It’s become a Southern California tradition. It’s right up there with your other Fourth of July activities: barbecues, picnics, and fireworks.”

The Perfect ‘The Twilight Zone’ Episodes to Play During Christmas

With that in mind, here are a few of The Twilight Zone episodes that will heighten any Christmas marathon you throw. “The Night of the Meek” is arguably the most Christmas-themed episode of The Twilight Zone. It centers around Henry Corwin, a drunken department store Santa Claus who discovers the real Santa’s magical toy sack.

With a stellar performance by Art Carney, this episode stands out as one of the more uplifting and positive installments of The Twilight Zone, offering a message of wonder and joy amidst the series’ typically somber tone.

Meanwhile, season one’s “A Passage for Trumpet” is another strong Christmas-themed The Twilight Zone episode. This episode shares common themes with It’s a Wonderful Life. This makes sense, as they both draw inspiration from the same short story, “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern.

Similar to George Bailey’s journey in It’s a Wonderful Life, Joey Crown in “A Passage for Trumpet” confronts the darker aspects of the afterlife. It highlights the importance of facing life’s challenges directly. This cautionary tale reminds us to appreciate life’s simple joys. It conveys a powerful message of gratitude, especially during the Christmas season.

In season three’s “The Changing of the Guard,” themes of depression and suicide during Christmas time are explored. The episode follows Professor Ellis Fowler (Halloween‘s Donald Pleasance), an elderly man forced into retirement. He contemplates ending his life due to feeling unaccomplished. However, he is visited by the ghosts of his late students. They reveal how he had a positive impact on their lives. This episode, reminiscent of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, is considered one of the most powerful of the series.