Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone
Illustrated with stills from the original series
By Mark Dawidziak
(Forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press, 2016)

Can you live your life by what The Twilight Zone has to teach you? Yes, and the proof is in this lighthearted collection of life lessons, ground rules, inspirational thoughts, and stirring reminders of what we were taught as children and young adults. Written by veteran TV critic, lifelong Twilight Zone fan, author, stage director, Mark Twain scholar and sometimes-horror writer Mark Dawidziak, this breezy volume is a fun celebration of the show’s timeliness, but also, on another level, a kind of fifth-dimension self-help/inspirational book, with each lesson supported by the morality tales told by Rod Serling and his writers.

The notion that “it’s never too late to reinvent yourself” soars through “The Last Flight,’’ in which a World War I flier who goes forward in time and gets the chance to trade cowardice for heroism. A visit from an angel blares out the wisdom of “follow your passion” in “A Passage for Trumpet.” The meaning of “divided we fall” is driven home with dramatic results when neighbors suspect neighbors of being invading aliens in “The Monsters Are on Maple Street.” The old maxim about never judging a book by its cover is given a tasty twist when an alien tome is translated in “To Serve Man.” The idea that dogs really can be your best friends is underscored in two episodes, “The Hunt” and “Little Girl Lost.” These are just a few of the lessons explored during the five seasons of Serling’s classic anthology series.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zoneis a book that has wide appeal not only to baby-boomers but their children and grandchildren. The Twilight Zoneremains an iconic title universally recognized because it is one of the very few shows from the 1950s and ’60s that continues to jump generation to generation. The book appeals to fans of fantasy, horror, and science-fiction, but the series lured in a broad audience with its universal themes and thoughtful writing. Its enduring attraction spans decades and demographics. It may be of interest to note some of the current interest in The Twilight Zone?  Here’s a few notes from Mark Dawidziak:

Ever since the success of George Clooney's "Good Night and Good Luck," there has been talk about a Rod Serling film bio. This became more than talk in June. See this story: http://www.deadline.com/2011/06/picture-if-you-will-a-movie-about-rod-serling/   

SyFy continues to have two "Twilight Zone" marathons a year: Fourth of July and New Years. When the marathon was skipped in 2010, there were widespread protests.  In Los Angeles KTLA runs a Thanksgiving Day Twilight Zone marathon also starting at 9 a.m. The DVD box sets of "The Twilight Zone" remain among Image's best-selling titles, the last three seasons were just released this year on Blu-Ray. Twilight Zone is always in the top-ten for every TV Guide poll of favorite cult shows and fantasy shows. That's not counting the continuing and constant acknowledgment of the show's influence from Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon and countless other writers, directors and producers. And Anne Serling – Rod’s daughter – in a recent email tells us there is a revival of interest in her father and the series including a Rod Serling museum and archive in cooperation with WSKG, the PBS station in New York. 

A little about Mark Dawidziak:  The television critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer since 1999, Mark Dawidziak is the author of many books, including the 1994 horror novel Grave Secrets and two histories of landmark TV series: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (1989) and The Night Stalker Companion (1997). A recognized Mark Twain scholar, his acclaimed books on the author include Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing (1996) and Horton Foote’s The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain (2003). He is also a playwright, director and actor in Northeast Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Sara, and daughter, Becky.

Agents Note:  Television critic Mark Dawidziak has compiled a most charming book inspired by the venerable and still ever popular television series The Twilight Zone.  I was stunned to experience an aspect of my 25-year-old daughter when I asked her (and her new husband) if they ever watched and/or like The Twilight Zone series.  Much to my total astonishment, they both– fighting for airtime – launched into their favorite episodes of T-Zone.  Who knew?  Amazing.  I further asked around and found that almost everyone in my purview loves the series and could handily cite their favorite episodes.  This book is a unique winner.