Shatner on Serling: The star speaks on working with the pioneering presenter
The Shatdaddy shares his love for Twilight Zone's creator.
William Shatner has been so many things. On stage or in the stars, he consistently delivered unique, intense performances that cemented him as one of Hollywood's true great icons. He's been a poet, a singer, a philanthropist, an astronaut, and an author, and that's all just his offscreen life.
Before he boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise, Shatner had the distinction of starring in two Twilight Zone episodes. However, his first contact (pun intended) with series creator/narrator Rod Serling predated that series, as the two had worked together on the anthology drama series Westinghouse Studio One.
"[I worked with Serling] on many occasions," Shatner told the Press and Sun-Bulletin in a 2003 phone interview. The Press and Sun-Bulletin circulated throughout Binghamton, New York, Serlin's hometown. Naturally, the subject of Binghamton's favorite son was discussed. As it turns out, Shatner admired Serling just as much as Binghamton did.
"I've worked in early television with him and then did those Twilight Zones."
Those two episodes are among the show's best-remembered. In "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," Shatner plays a man returning to the world after a nervous breakdown. He's the only one who can see a monster on the airplane's wing. In "Nick of Time," Shatner plays a man who finds an eerily relevant fortune-telling machine.
"Binghamton must be very proud of what [Serling] produced because he was a great artist, a tremendously imaginative being, and a very nice individual. I was a young actor and he befriended me, and I cared for him a great deal."