May 11, 2020
Day 132 of 366
May 11th is the 132nd day of the year. It is National Technology Day in India.
Historical items of note:
- In 1888, Belarusian-American pianist and composer Irving Berlin was born.
- In 1904, Spanish artist Salvador Dali was born.
- In 1910, an act of the United States Congress established Glacier National Park in Montana.
- In 1918, physicist, engineer, and Nobel Prize laureate Richard Feynman was born.
- In 1920, actor Denver Pyle was born.
- In 1963, actress Natasha Richardson was born.
- In 1969, the British comedy troupe Monty Python was formed. The membership was Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.
- In 1973, citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg’s charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times were dismissed.
- In 1997, chess-playing supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of their rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.
May 11th is known as National Twilight Zone Day. Always observed on this day, National Twilight Zone Day features mysterious twists and turns highlighted with eerie background music and unexplainable occurrences as it honors the popular anthology franchise The Twilight Zone created by Rod Serling.
The episodes are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror, and psychological thriller. They often conclude with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. They are, in effect, modern fairy tales or versions of Aesop’s fables.
The original series was shot entirely in black and white and ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964. It followed in the tradition of earlier television shows such as Tales of Tomorrow (1951–1953) and Science Fiction Theatre (1955–1957), as well as radio programs such as The Weird Circle (1943–1945), Dimension X (1950–1951) and X Minus One (1955–1958). It was also inspired by the radio work of Norman Corwin.
The success of the series led to a feature film (1983), a TV film (1994), a radio series (2002–2012), a comic book, a series of novels, a magazine, and a theme park attraction. It was followed by various spin-offs over the next five decades, including three revival television series.
The first revival (1985–1989) ran on CBS and in syndication during the 1980s. A second revival ran on UPN (2002–2003). In April of 2019, CBS All Access officially premiered the third Twilight Zone revival, this time helmed by Jordan Peele.
As a testament to the original series, which introduced many people to science fiction and fantasy, TV Guide ranked it at #5 in their 2013 list of the 60 greatest shows of all time, and at #4 in their list of the 60 greatest dramas.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.