16 celebrities you might have forgotten were on 'The Twilight Zone'
Stars of the silent age, Star Trek, comedy and cinema turned up on Rod Serling's timeless series.
One of the many brilliant aspects of The Twilight Zone is its anthology format. Rod Serling kept audiences on their toes, throwing curveball after curveball, twist after twist, jumping genres and moods. The format also meant we got a new cast each week.
In its five years and 156 episodes, The Twilight Zone featured dozens of familiar faces or soon-to-be-familiar faces. With that many installments and stars, it can be hard to recall them all. Here are some big names who popped up on the show between 1959 and 1964.
Which ones do you remember seeing?
1. Ron Howard
Season one, episode five
The child star was a mere five years old when this melancholy tale of nostalgia aired in 1959. A year later, he would be on The Andy Griffith Show.
2. Carol Burnett
"Cavender Is Coming"
Season three, episode 36
The comic legend stars as Agnes Grep, a theater worker who is assigned a guardian angel.
3. Buster Keaton
"Once Upon a Time"
Season three, episode 13
The brilliant silent star who transformed physical comedy into a daredevil act makes a late career turn as a grumpy janitor.
4. Robert Redford
"Nothing in the Dark"
Season three, episode 16
The third year of Twilight Zone came stuffed with stars. The handsome leading man at first appears to be a cop but ends up being Death himself. The Grim Reaper never looked so good.
5. Julie Newmar
"Of Late I Think of Cliffordville"
Season four, episode 14
Everyone's favorite Catwoman trades in her feline ears for devil horns as an employee of Hell.
6. Dennis Hopper
Season four, episode four
Hopper takes a dark turn as "a bush-league Führer," a neo-Nazi in thrall to Hitler's ghost.
7. Burt Reynolds
Season four, episode 18
Rod Serling quietly lashed out at his network with this statement about professional writing, the final one-hour episode of the series. Reynolds plays the amusingly named Rocky Rhodes.
8. William Shatner
"Nick of Time"
Season two, episode seven
Everyone likely remembers Shatner tormented by a beast on an airplane wing in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," arguably the most well-known episode of the series. It overshadows his earlier outing written by Richard Matheson, in which the future Enterprise captain plays a young man captivated by a mystic seer.
9. Leonard Nimoy
"A Quality of Mercy"
Season three, episode 15
We have now entered the Star Trek sector of the list. The soon-to-be-Spock has a supporting role alongside Dean Stockwell, who pulls double duty as both an American soldier and Japanese soldier in World War II.
10. George Takei
Season five, episode 31
These days the Trek vet is pushing Taco Bell, but five decades ago he mesmerized in a controversial episode about race, guilt and hate. The episode was removed from syndication due to its subject matter, making it one of the most overlooked.
11. James Doohan
"Valley of the Shadow"
Season four, episode three
Scotty was beamed up to the Zone, too. He's a resident in a remote small town filled with scientific wonders — with a catch.
12. Robert Duvall
Season four, episode eight
Duvall is Charley Parkes, a man who falls in love with a dollhouse figure who comes to life. These one-hour episodes remain far more rare.
13. Cloris Leachman
"It's a Good Life"
Season three, episode eight
The former Miss America contestant probably scared off a lot of people from parenthood in this well-regarded outing. She plays the mother of a monstrous little mutant (Bill Mumy) who has the adults in his control. It was remade by Joe Dante in the 1983 Twilight Zone feature film and even got a sequel with the original stars in "It's Still a Good Life" on the series reboot in 2003.
14. Elizabeth Montgomery
Season three, episode one
Samantha from Bewitched — all grunged up — plays a soldier opposite Charles Bronson in this two-hander about love and war.
15. Don Rickles
"Mr. Dingle, The Strong"
Season two, episode 19
The insult comic appropriately appears in one of the sillier episodes, which features regular ace Burgess Meredith in the lead.
16. Mickey Rooney
"The Last Night of a Jockey"
Season five, episode five
The 5' 2" legend grows to twice that height. Careful what you wish for.