Shatner on Serling: The star speaks on working with the pioneering presenter

The Shatdaddy shares his love for Twilight Zone's creator.

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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."


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18 Comments

wanderer2575 4 months ago
Both of William Shatner's Twilight Zone episodes were written by Richard Matheson, not Rod Serling.
SteveMcnary 9 months ago
I think it was last weeks episode of The Fugitive that William Shatner played a psycho cop killer who was himself an ex-cop. Solid performance by Shatner.
WGH 9 months ago
Shutters downfall is that he has a thin skin. I made a joke and he blocked me on twitter. Something about a toupee I believe.

So...I do have the distinction of being blocked by Captain Kirk onX/Twitter.

Hailing frequency closed captain.
WGH WGH 9 months ago
You know I said Shatner. Maybe I called him Shutter on Twitter and that's why he blocked me.
Suzanneishere WGH 7 months ago
Who is Shutters? I thought the discussion concerned William Shatner. BTW hair or no hair Shatner is an outstanding actor. I have no idea who this Shutters person is or why the individual blocked you.
Runeshaper 9 months ago
Great story! Thanks for sharing, MeTV! (-:
DocForbin 9 months ago
He should have screamed "KHAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!" at the gremlin on the plane. That would have spooked him off.
JeffPaul76 DocForbin 9 months ago
You're stupid! Those two TZ episodes happened long before Star Trek was even thought of by Gene Roddenberry. So he couldn't have yelled or screamed KHAAAAANN! at the monster that only his character could see on Terror at 20,000 Feet on the Twilight Zone.
DocForbin JeffPaul76 9 months ago
Hey, it's just a joke. Laugh over it.
DocForbin DocForbin 9 months ago
And on that note, here is a similarly-themed meme I made featuring Shatner as T. J. Hooker:
WGH DocForbin 9 months ago
I think he's the kind of guy that would scream at a gremlin on the wing of the plane.

Lol.
Suzanneishere DocForbin 7 months ago
I loved your joke! Obviously you know the things about Shatner that really stand out.
Pacificsun 9 months ago
I enjoy the intensity he brings to his roles! He adds suspense to what could otherwise be an ordinary script at times.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 9 months ago
I admire he has remained active and involved( by his choice) within the industry. He easily could have retired years ago.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 9 months ago
Nice observation as well! Despite some of the retroactive comments. He's proven himself, by being himself. Which must've been difficult in that industry. What we're enjoying now, for the most part, and all that went in to it. Was done in the moment. Figuratively. Many things (effects) come with a price. However IMO as with CB and DVD, who earn our appreciation, is nice to share what they should know.
Bapa1 9 months ago
The two TZ episodes he was on were really good.
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