The Awards

Curious to know what awards were bestowed upon The Twilight Zone? Here's a nice writeup about the awards. For starters, on June 3, 1960, Mrs. Arthur G. Archer, on behalf of the 18th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, invited Serling to attend as their guest. In mid-July, he declined the offer. “Unfortunately, the date of the convention and my availability don’t jibe. I shall be back on the Coast shooting the series and it would be physically impossible for me to make the trip. As a suggestion, why not Charles Beaumont or Richard Matheson, both of whom have written for our series and other television, and are certainly well-respected S-F writers.” Realizing Serling was not going to attend, on July 18, 1960, Mrs. Archer told him that The Twilight Zone had won the Hugo Award for “Best Dramatic Work of 1959” in the science fiction field. “Some English votes may still wander in,” she explained, “correctly postmarked, but Twilight Zone received such an overwhelming majority nothing can possibly change the result of the voting at this date.” 

The Hugo Awards was relatively new in 1960, the first ceremony held a few years previous, so the Hugo did not have the prestige it would gain over the years. Serling felt appreciative of the advance notice and submitted the following acceptance speech for a designated speaker to read in his place: “Ladies and gentlemen, in some fourteen years of writing for television, I have managed to acquire by one means or another, a motley collection of metal doo-dads, jim crackery, plaques and some flamboyant certificates which variously grace the inside of seldom used desk drawers, my kid’s play room, or on a few rarer occasions, a rather pretentious niche on the mantelpiece. It is disturbing commentary on television that the majority of awards are a result of a popularity contest or whatever politics are extant at the time. On too few occasions can they be equated with quality or do their auspices carry with it the innate dignity that any award should have. It’s for this reason that the notification of The Twilight Zone winning this Hugo Award was a source of very special satisfaction for myself and for a legion of unheralded people who produce the show. Admittedly, I’m a Johnny-come-lately in the science fiction-fantasy field and in this case I feel I have been judged not by a jury of peers, but rather by a courthouse full of senior-status professionals who were gracious enough to overlook the fact that I just happened to sneak in through the back door long after my predecessors had made this area of fiction the meaningful important and qualitative adjunct to American literature that it is. It makes this recognition that much more exciting and it makes my gratitude that much more heartfelt. Thank you for a singular honor.”


This would not be the last time Serling would be bestowed the Hugo Award because of The Twilight Zone. He would win the award again in 1961 and 1962. In August of 1962, after learning that he was going to be bestowed the Hugo for the third consecutive year, he apologized again for not attending the September ceremonies. “I think I shall have to establish a new record for recipience in not attending the awards,” he joked. “September will find me en route to Ohio for a teaching-residency at Antioch College with simply no chance for a detour to Chicago.” Serling did, however, consent to a telephone taped interview, but did so with some reluctance. “With no phony humility, I’m hardly in the league with Bradbury or Arthur C. Clarke,” he commented.


For 1963, The Twilight Zone was nominated in the same category, but no Hugo Award was awarded to anyone for “Best Dramatic Presentation” that year. The rules for the Hugo Award require that “no award” always appear on the ballot, and if “no award” won the election by majority, no award was presented in that category.


Hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the annual Emmy Awards recognize the highest achievements in television broadcasting. Emmy Awards were first given in 1949 for the 1948 broadcast year, and the Academy has continued awarding statuettes to this day. The Twilight Zone achieved a number of nominations and awards.


On June 10, 1960, at NBC’s Burbank Studios and the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, the 1960 Emmy Awards was telecast on NBC. For programs broadcast between March 1, 1959 and March 31, 1960, a 35-year-old Rod Serling took home his fourth prize and what would become the first Emmy Award for The Twilight Zone. His acceptance speech was brief. “I don’t know how deserving I am, but I do know how grateful. Thank you so very much.”


On May 16, 1961, at the Moulin Rouge in Hollywood and the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, the 1961 Emmy Awards was telecast on NBC. For programs broadcast between April 1, 1960 and April 15, 1961, The Twilight Zone gained more prizes than the year before. Serling won for a second time in a row for “Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama,” besting pal Reginald Rose for “The Sacco and Vanzetti Story.” According to author Thomas O’Neil, TV observers “wondered aloud if this meant that live television was dead.”The episode submitted to the Academy as best representing The Twilight Zone was “Eye of the Beholder.” George Clemens won an award for “Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Television” because of that same episode. The Twilight Zone was nominated, but lost to the Hallmark Hall of Fame for “Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Drama.”



On May 22, 1962, at the Hollywood Palladium, the Astor Hotel in New York, and the Sheraton-Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., the 1962 Emmy Awards was telecast on NBC. For programs broadcast between April 16, 1961 and April 14, 1962, The Twilight Zone gained three nominations, but no wins. Philip Barber was nominated for “Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Scenic Design.” Serling received a nomination for “Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama” and lost to Reginald Rose, whom he had defeated the year before. George Clemens also received a nomination for “Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Television.” For the 1963 Emmy Awards, Clemens, along with Robert W. Pittack, were the only Twilight Zone persons nominated.


In November of 1960, days after the classic “Eye of the Beholder” episode aired on CBS, Owen Comora told Rod Serling that “I’m keeping my fingers crossed about Sanka giving you some extra coin to publicize the alternate weeks. This would be the best of all possible occurrences.” On Saturday evening, November 26, Serling was honored by Hollywood Lodge of B’nai B’rith for the coveted “Max M. Berick Service Award.”


In 1961, The Twilight Zone received the annual Unity Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Better Race Relations.” Buck Houghton would receive the Producers’ Guild Award for “Best Produced Series” for his work on The Twilight Zone. John Brahm would win a Directors’ Guild Award for his work on “Time Enough at Last.”