Some of the most recognizable TV show theme songs date back quite a few years and flood our minds with the fondest memories. Today, we will break down 5 things you don’t know about The Twilight Zone song – one of America’s favorite cult classics.
When you fall in love with a TV show, its theme song becomes a part of your life! Many years later, I find myself reciting the lyrics to many of the shows I grew up watching whenever the situation warrants. Naturally, The Twilight Zone song comes to play whenever something eerie takes place.
Season 1 Twilight Zone Lyrics:
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.
It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.
It is the middle ground between light and shadow,
between science and superstition,
and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.
This is the dimension of imagination.
It is an area which we call . . . the Twilight Zone.
Season 2 Lyrics:
You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone!
Season 3 Lyrics:
You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!
Seasons 4 & 5 Lyrics:
You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension—a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.
That’s why I thought it would be fun to take a deep dive into some fun facts about this popular tune. I know I can’t be the only one who loves to learn behind-the-scenes facts.
Here are five things that you might not know about the Twilight Zone theme song.
Cut, Buried, and Forgotten
You know the name of the person who wrote the famous Twilight Zone theme song. But did you know that there used to be another song played only in the first season of the show?
The composer of the first song was Bernand Herrman. CBS didn’t like what Bernard ended up making and decided to use another song for the second season. But… they removed all tracings of the original song.
You’re probably trying to remember if there were two songs. But, unless you watched the first season in 1959, you won’t be able to recall a different theme song.
Why? Because after deciding to change the song, CBS cut the old one from all episodes and replaced it with the new theme song. How very ex-boyfriend of them!
If you want to take a listen just to hear what the original Twilight Song actually sounded like, you can listen to Bernand’s theme song below.
Creating a theme song takes a village
Getting from point A to point B, as in from the old song to the new one, wasn’t a straight line for CBS. Once they decided to change the theme song, they tasked several composers with creating a new one.
Who did they tap? Names like Jerry Goldsmith and Leith Stevens – to name a few. CBS even asked Bernand Herrman to write another theme song. The nerve!
However, none of the pieces submitted by those talented people were suitable. In the end, it took two additional people to create the song that is synonymous with the Twilight Zone today.
1+1 makes a great theme song
So, you know that Marius Constant is the creator of the Twilight Zone theme song. However, he didn’t write the version we are familiar with. He ended up providing short, separated pieces to CBS. Fragments if you will.
It was Lud Gluskin who eventually created the theme song we all know and love. The pieces used for it were “Étrange No. 3” and “Milieu No. 2”.
The original purpose of those cues was to provide background sounds for the episodes. Étrange No. 3 was a name for a composition of electric guitar sounds, and the other one was a combination of guitar, bongo drums, flutes, and brass. So MUCH WORK AND DRAMA FOR JUST A FEW MOMENTS!!!
No credit, no money, and then a lawsuit?
Picture this. You create something that a TV show uses for decades… and then you receive no credit and no money for any of your work. That’s what happened to Marius Constant. It was almost like he was living in … the Twilight Zone!
I mean, he did get $200 for the music pieces he created for CBS and then a whopping $500 for its inclusion into the CBS cue library. But does that add up to anything all considering this theme song is probably one of the most recognizable pieces in TV theme music history?
One thing led to another and eventually CBS sued him for copyright in 1984. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement between CBS and Constant.
Marius Constant owned the copyright of the song from that time forward, but there was a price. For the ownership, he had to forget about any money CBS owned him for the time they used his music.
Showbusiness can be ruthless, don’t you agree?
It’s a disco Twilight Zone time!
Although every version of Twilight Zone used Constant’s music as the base, some changes were always made. Let’s take a listen.
For Twilight Zone: The Movie, they brought in Jerry Goldsmith to create a slight twist using Marius’ theme song. You can check out Goldsmith’s version below.
The Grateful Dead band and Merl Saunders were responsible for creating a theme song for the 1985 version of The Twilight Zone. Take a listen here:
Jonathan Davis, the KoЯn’ lead singer, created the soundtrack for The Twilight Zone (2002). Listen below and see what you think.
The Twilight Zone of 2019 has a theme song created by Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts. There are so many different versions!
But the remake of Constant’s music that is worth your time is a disco song by The Manhattan Transfer. It’ll confuse your mind, as it starts with that spooky melody but later surprises you with an upbeat attitude.
Now you know the long and dramatic history of your favorite theme song. You have all the necessary knowledge to call yourself an expert!! If there is ever a trivia quiz night, you’ll be the ringer – for sure!!