The Original Pilot for ‘The Twilight Zone’

Back in the late 1950s, Rod Serling sold a script to CBS called The Time Element. He had hoped to craft a weekly anthology series using many of the devices used in this script – a normal person put into an unusual situation, an ironic twist ending, etc.. Interestingly, this teleplay had the distinction of being Serling’s first science fiction type writing.

The script languished in the offices of CBS for a while until it was finally produced as an episode of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, and was broadcast on November 24, 1958.

The Time Element is a time travel story, using many time travel devices that have since become hackneyed. The episode featured William Bendix and Martin Balsam in the central roles, and the cast also includes Joe DeRita, who years later he would join Moe Howard and Larry Fine in the final incarnation of The Three Stooges.

The broadcast was critical and popular success, and over six thousand positive letters flooded CBS’s offices, convincing CBS to green light Serling’s proposed Twilight Zone series. The rest is TV history.

So sit back and enjoy Rod Serling’s The Time Element.

The Time Element
The Time Element – Part One
The Time Element – Part Two
The Time Element – Part Three
The Time Element – Part Four
The Time Element – Part Five
The Time Element – Part Six