This article provides a list of real events from the 20th century that have some degree of relation to The Twilight Zone, influencing it or being influenced by it.


The twentieth-century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1901 and ended on December 31, 2000, according to the Gregorian calendar. The century saw a remarkable shift in the way that vast numbers of people lived, as a result of technological, medical, social, ideological, and political innovation. Terms like ideology, world war, genocide, and nuclear war entered common usage.

The period witnessed radical changes in many areas of human endeavors. Scientific discoveries, such as the theory of realtivity and quantum physics, drastically changed the world-view of scientists, causing them to realize that the universe was fantastically more complex than previously believed, and dashing the hopes at the end of the 19th Century that the last few details of scientific knowledge were about to be filled in. Accelerating scientific understanding, more efficient communications, and faster transportation transformed the world in those hundred years more rapidly and widely than at any time in the past. It was a century that started with steam-powered ships and ended with the space shuttle. Horses and other pack animals, Western society's basic form of personal transportation for thousands of years, were replaced by automobiles within the span of a few decades. These developments were made possible by the large-scale exploitation of fossil fuel resources (especially petroleum), which offered great amounts of energy in an easily portable and storable form, but also caused widespread concerns about pollution and our long-term impact on the environment]]. Humanity explored outer space for the first time, even taking their first footsteps on the Moon.

Mass media, telecommunications, and information technology (especially the Internet) put the world's knowledge at the disposal of many in the most industrialized societies and some in developing countries as well. Many people's view of the world changed significantly as they became much more aware of the suffering and struggles of others and, as such, became increasingly concerned with human rights. In the latter half of the century especially, mankind became aware of the vast scale on which it had affected the planet, and took steps to minimize its damage of the planet's fragile ecosystems.

Advancements in medical technology also improved the welfare of many people on the planet; life expectancy increased dramatically from the mid-30s to the mid-60s worldwide during the century. The healthiest countries had life expectancies of over 80 years by the turn of the millennium. Rapid technological advancements, however, also allowed warfare to reach an unprecedented high; World War II alone killed over 60 million people, while nuclear weaponry gave humankind the means to destroy itself in a very short period of time. The world also became more culturally homogenized than ever with developments in transportation and communications technology, popular music and other influences of Western culture, international corporations, and what was arguably a true global economy by the end of the century.



  • 1901: French author H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon is published.
  • 1902: Georges Melies' film Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon) is released.
  • 1903: Powered, controlled airplane invented by Wright Brothers.


  • 1910: Halley's Comet is photographed for the first time, in close proximity to Earth.
  • 1910: Great January Comet of 1910 (C/1910 A1) becomes visible to the naked eye.
  • 1913: X-Ray invented.
  • 1914: Liquid fuel rocket invented.
  • 1914-1918: World War I.
  • 1917: Russian Revolution of 1917.
  • 1919: Theremin invented—later used in music by TZ composer Bernard Herrmann


  • 1922: Radar invented.
  • 1923: Electric television invented.
  • 1924: The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling born in Syracuse, New York.
  • 1929-1930's: The Great Depression.
  • 1929: German film director Fritz Lang's The Woman in the Moon (By Rocket to the Moon) is released.


  • 1933: Adolf Hitler comes to power.
  • 1937: Jet engine invented.
  • 1939-1945: World War II.
    • War in Europe
    • War in the Pacific
    • The Holocaust


  • 1941: Z3 - first general-purpose digital computer invented.
  • 1942: First nuclear reactor invented by Enrico Fermi.
  • 1945: First nuclear explosion.
  • 1945: Atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • 1947: Polaroid camera invented by Edwin Land.
  • 1947-1991 Cold War.
  • 1947: Transistor invented.
  • 1948: Holography/holograms invented.
  • 1948: Rod Serling marries Carol Kramer in Ohio.
  • 1949: Atomic clock invented.


  • 1950's-?: Atomic Age (1950's- )
  • 1950-1953: Korean War.
  • 1950: Science fiction film Destination Moon released.
  • 1952: Floppy disk invented.
  • 1952: Optical fiber invented.
  • 1955: Video phone invented.
  • 1956: Digital clock invented.
  • 1956: Videocassette Recorder invented.
  • 1956: Rod Serling begins writing for Playhouse 90.
  • 1957-1989: Space Race begins.
  • 1957: Launch of Sputnik.
  • 1957: Laika becomes first animal in orbit aboard Sputnik 2.
  • 1958: Communications satellite invented.
  • 1958: Rod Serling's "The Time Element" runs on Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse.
  • 1959: The Twilight Zone debuts on CBS.


  • 1961: Yuri Gagarin achieves orbit.
  • 1961-1962: Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • 1967: Space dock invented.
  • 1969: Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon.
  • 1969: Internet (initial) invented.
  • 1969: Rod Serling's Night Gallery premieres.


  • 1971: Microprocessor invented.
  • 1971: Venera 7 lands on Venus.
  • 1971: Mars 3 lands on Mars.
  • 1971: Space station invented.
  • 1973: Personal computer invented.
  • 1975: DNA sequencing invented.
  • 1975: Rod Serling dies in Rochester, New York.
  • 1977: Mobile phone invented.


  • 1980's-?: Information Age.
  • 1980: Compact Disc invented.
  • 1982: Artificial heart invented.
  • 1983: Camcorder invented.
  • 1983: Twilight Zone: The Movie is released in theaters.
  • 1984: Cellular phones invented.
  • 1985: The Twilight Zone (second series) premieres on CBS.
  • 1985: Halley's Comet again neared proximity to Earth.
  • 1989: World Wide Web invented.
  • 1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall.


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