Reba Wissner deposited No time like the past: Hearing nostalgia in The Twilight Zone in the group Television Studies on Humanities Commons 1 year, 6 months ago
One of Rod Serling’s favourite topics of exploration in The Twilight Zone (1959–64) is nostalgia, which pervaded many of the episodes of the series. Although Serling himself often looked back upon the past wishing to regain it, he did, however, understand that we often see things looking back that were not there and that the past is often idealized. Like Serling, many ageing characters in The Twilight Zone often look back or travel to the past to reclaim what they had lost. While this is a pervasive theme in the plots, in these episodes the music which accompanies the scores depict the reality of the past, showing that it is not as wonderful as the character imagined. Often, music from these various situations is reused within the same context, allowing for a stock music collection of music of nostalgia from the series. This article discusses the music of nostalgia in The Twilight Zone and the ways in which the music depicts the reality of the harshness of the past. By feeding into their own longing for the reclamation of the past, the writers and composers of these episodes remind us that what we remember is not always what was there.