I’m rewatching The Twilight Zone on Netflix, and it’s fascinating to see the episodes in chronological order. Something I picked up on was the recurring presence of a newspaper called The Daily Chronicle, which I think first appears in episode 8, “Time Enough at Last.” On Netflix, you can see it in much greater detail than you could on an old analog TV:
This is the paper Henry Bemis, bookworm, takes with him into the vault of the bank he works at during a lunch break. Unfortunately for Mr. Bemis, human civilization is destroyed while he’s down there.
The paper doesn’t have a date, or a city, but the header says it’s Vol. XIII, No. 49, and is published daily. In the context of the episode, you’re really only supposed to read the big headline, but the rest of the page is filled with real text, not filler nonsense words:
The Daily Chronicle returns again in episode 11, “And When the Sky Was Opened.” In this episode, we see three versions of the same issue. It changes as reality changes, slowly erasing three test pilots who flew an experimental aircraft.
All three versions seem to be the same, outside the top story. The “Feature Index,” at the bottom, still leads with “Gem Thieves Strike in London Fog,” and “Late Sports Results Pictorial” is also unchanged. This is still Vol. XIII, No. 49.
The Daily Chronicle returns again in episode 13, “The Four of Us Are Dying,” where you see it in passing, handled by the main character, Arch Hammer:
We don’t get a close look at the front page like we did previously, but this appears to be the same issue Mr. Bemis had in “Time Enough at Last.” This was probably a production shortcut, but it’s weird to imagine these two episodes sharing a universe, one where civilization extinguishes itself in the background. (Spoiler: Mr. Hammer doesn’t live to see that.)
In a torn-out section of the paper from the same episode, you can also see the “Mercury New X-Ray Source” headline from the “H-Bomb” paper, albeit in a different place:
A modified form of the Chronicle appears in the penultimate episode of the season, “The Mighty Casey.” Here, it’s one of a series of papers that flash up. It’s mostly full of new material, but the box in the upper right-hand corner is the same, as is the issue number:
The Daily Chronicle is only one of many props and sets that got reused across the season – watch it all in order, and certain things jump out at you. A distinctive foyer from “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine” (episode 4) reappears in “The Purple Testament” (#19) and “Elegy“; a staircase from “The Big Tall Wish” (#27) comes up again in “Nightmare as a Child” (#29) and “Mr. Bevis” (#33); an odd single-reel tape recorder from “Time Enough at Last” resurfaces in “Execution” (#26).
Series creator and sardonic host Rod Serling probably wouldn’t have liked to know that we can see all the seams in his show, but they’re fascinating to me. It’s weird seeing the same elements remixed and re-contextualized across the vastness of… The Twilight Zone.