Every New Year's Eve, fans of Golden Age television gather in their living rooms for Syfy Network's annual Twilight Zone marathon. Rod Serling's anthology series, now the basis for a new Anne Washburn play at the Almeida Theatre in London, was the go-to show for actors on the rise during its 1959-64 run on CBS, and many attained fame onstage either before or after. Keep your eyes open for these five stars of Broadway's Golden Age.
1. Theodore Bikel
Episode: "Four o'Clock"
When to Watch: 3:30am on January 2
Original Airdate: April 6, 1962
Bikel plays a paranoid fanatic who believes that at 4pm, he will shrink all of the evil people in the world so they're two feet tall. On Broadway, Bikel was already a star, having originated the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music in 1959 and received a Tony nomination for his work. His most famous role came in 1967, when he made his first appearance as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, a character he would play for more than 2,000 performances in various productions through his death in 2015.
2. Carol Burnett
Episode: "Cavender Is Coming"
When to Watch: 7am on January 1
Original Airdate: May 25, 1962
Burnett plays the down-on-her-luck Agnes Grep, a woman who is sent a guardian angel to show her how lucky she truly is. Prior to her appearance on The Twilight Zone, Burnett had made a splash on Broadway, originating the role of Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress in 1959, receiving a Tony nomination. After her appearance, Burnett earned worldwide fame, and a shelf-full of Emmys with her own sketch comedy show, which ran from 1967-78. Her most recent appearance on Broadway came in A.R. Gurney's Love Letters in 2014.
3. Lois Nettleton
Episode: "The Midnight Sun"
When to Watch: 3pm on December 31
Original Airdate: November 17, 1961
The earth changed its orbit and the planet is moving closer and closer to the sun. Nettleton plays Norma, a prolific artist who has not yet fled to warmer climates. On Broadway, Nettleton made her debut in 1949 in The Biggest Thief in Town using the stage name Lydia Scott. A 1976 Tony nominee for They Knew What They Wanted, she made a total of nine appearances on Broadway from 1949-79, and made her final stage appearance in 2004 in the off-Broadway play How to Build a Better Tulip. She died in 2008.
4. Robert Redford
Episode: "Nothing in the Dark"
When to Watch: 5am on December 31
Original Airdate: January 5, 1962
Redford stars as Harold Beldon, an injured police officer requiring the help of a woman who refuses to open her door, out of fear that death is on the other side of it. At the time of airing, Redford had appeared on Broadway in Tall Story, The Highest Tree, Little Moon of Alban, and Sunday In New York. He plays his last and most famous Broadway role, as Paul in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, in 1963. He later went on to gain international fame in films like The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
5. Fritz Weaver
Episode: "The Obsolete Man"
When to Watch: 10am on December 31
Original Airdate: June 2, 1961
In The Obsolete Man, Weaver plays the Chancellor, a state leader who must determine which human beings to keep alive, and which are no longer necessary. Weaver amassed 21 Broadway credits over the course of his career, starting in 1955 with The Chalk Garden. He received a Tony Award in 1970 for Child's Play and made his final stage appearance in the Atlantic Theater Company's 2006 production of The Voysey Inheritance. He died in 2016.
Share via Email
Don't show this again.