By Martin Grams. OTR Publishing, LLC., 2008. 816 pages. Softcover. $29.95. Order here.
Are there books as essential to collecting a television series as the episodes themselves? I can tell you there are. Find such a book when it exists.
In my 35 years of reviewing books, I’ve found fewer such books than I can count on one hand. Those books achieve as much as a book can. But there’s something else: such a book has to have everything you want to know. You’re missing so much if you’re collecting or being a fan of a series unless you’re committed to learn all you can about it. The book has to be so exhaustive that it’s likely no other book could be written that will surpass it.
That’s why you don’t see many books attempt such coverage, especially for one that’s as much of a milestone as The Twilight Zone, except for Zicree’s Twilight Zone Companion, the acknowledged classic on the series.
Ah, but it’s beat at last. It’s now the second best Twilight Zone book. Martin Grams’ 800-page tome is one you will enjoy as much as the episodes and tell you more about them than Zicree’s.
You’ll never get done reading it. No matter whether you’ve read it before, you’ll always return to it for more, for no one can retain all the information it has. I can’t believe it’s ever going to be outdone by another book. I can’t rule out that another book may someday be written that will be a valuable addition to your Twilight Zone collection, but it’s unlikely it’ll ever happen. I’m surprised this much TZ information could still be found and compiled.
So what does it contain? It might be less exhausting figuring out what it doesn’t! Its first chapters are a book unto themselves with a detailed overview of Serling’s writing careers in radio and early television and finally the full story of how the show developed. It cites the series’ major changes, censorship and sponsor battles, cast and crew memories, every change in the show’s format and scripts with full explanations why these had to happen, production costs, everything. Seriously, everything.
We acquired this book in May 2010 but it’s just now getting reviewed in 2011. We’ve been struggling here at Fielding’s Review to get enough of a grasp on it to adequately describe it but we can’t. The staff has given up. I began a review dozens of times and put each one aside in frustration. Thirty-five years professionally reviewing books and I can’t get the job done right on this one. It’s just too exhaustive.
The section you’ll most often consult is the coverage for each episode. These entries have full cast and credits, sponsors, music cues used, original story citations, budgets and expenses, locations, bloopers, plot summary, trivia, and much more. I said the book is too exhaustive for me to adequately review. Thankfully, Martin Grams has an episode entry online for you to read as a sample of what I’m talking about and if you wish, you can go ahead and order the book there. See what I’m talking about here.
Click this link to find out more about Martin Grams’ other books.