KTLA’s ‘Twilight’ Tradition ... and Other Southland Marathons



It’s time to enter another dimension. It’s time for KTLA’s popular July 4 “Twilight Zone Marathon.” Beginning Thursday at 9 a.m., fans of Rod Serling’s landmark surreal series will be treated to 13 hours of “Twilight.”

KTLA airs “Twilight Zone” fests every Thanksgiving and Independence Day. “The first one we did was on Thanksgiving in 1980,” said KTLA program director Mark Sonnenberg. “The July 4th marathon started in 1983. It’s become a Southern California tradition. It’s right up there with your other Fourth of July activities: barbecues, picnics and fireworks.”

Sonnenberg and his staff always attempt to schedule different episodes for each marathon. “There are 150 episodes of the series,” Sonnenberg said. “Basically, we have kept track of what has aired before. We try to keep it fresh. We try to pick episodes that are fresh and new that we think fans are going to enjoy.”


Because the series isn’t airing regularly on KTLA, Sonnenberg said, “It gives a specialness to the marathon. People look forward to it.”

This marathon features such episodes as “The Lonely,” starring Jack Warden, Jean Marsh and Ted Knight; “Walking Distance,” with Gig Young and Ronny Howard; Jim Hutton and Rod Taylor in “And When the Sky Was Opened”; Julie Newmar and Albert Salmi in “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville,” and Burt Reynolds and Jack Weston in “The Bard.”

“You get to see stars in featured roles in ‘Twilight Zone’ prior to achieving fame,” Sonnenberg said.

Sonnenberg believes the marathon is such a success because “the format is viewer-friendly. We are on from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. We are not asking people to watch 13 straight hours. But people can turn on their TV sets and do their different activities and check out the marathon.”

KTLA isn’t the only station carrying on the July 4 tradition of marathons:

On Orange County’s KDOC, fans of the original Saturday Night Live can catch 10 hours of Chevy, Jane, Dan, John, Laraine, Gilda and Garrett beginning Thursday at 9 a.m.

KCET is presenting six encore episodes of its documentary history series “The American Experience,” beginning at 2:30 p.m.


TNT offers a salute to the “Great American Musicals” and features the television premiere of the recently restored print of the 1951 MGM film “Show Boat,” starring Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and Ava Gardner (8:35 p.m.)

The tribute also includes “Anchors Aweigh,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Billy Rose’s Jumbo,” “Paint Your Wagon,” “Cover Girl” and “Carefree.”

The USA Network plans a Fourth of July film festival honoring Great American Heroes. John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn star in “Rooster Cogburn” (10 a.m.), Henry Fonda stars in “My Name is Nobody” (noon) and Clint Eastwood is “Joe Kidd” (2 p.m.).