The UCLA Film & Television Archive is in the middle of a Rod Serling retrospective titled “Rod Serling: Other Dimensions.” A web page for the retrospective can be found here while a Los Angeles Times article about the retrospective can be found here. It began in late July and will continue through mid-September. Screenings have thus far included episodes of The Twilight Zone and Playhouse 90 as well as rarities like Serling’s “Let Us Continue,” a 1964 short written by Serling for the United States Information Agency to outline President Johnson’s policies for the country’s allies, following the Kennedy assassination. Presented today will be “A Storm in Summer,” Serling’s 1970 Hallmark Hall of Fame episode about prejudice, and his 1972 unsold pilot for a proposed half-hour series based on “A Storm in Summer,” titled “We Two.”
In two weeks, on Saturday, September 8th, the retrospective will screen “The Shelter,” a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone, “Class of ’99,” a 1971 episode of Night Gallery and a 51-minute version of the pilot episode for The New People. Recall that The New People aired in a 45-minute time slot. I don’t have the full details yet but presumably this means that The New People (and potentially The Music Scene, which aired after it) was originally intended to be an hour-long show. The pilot as broadcast runs just over 38 minutes which means this alternate version includes more than 10 minutes of additional footage.
I had never read or heard anything about there being another version of the pilot. I did know that a script exists for the pilot, written by Serling, that “differs considerably” from the broadcast version. And I have in my collection some reel-to-reel audio tapes used in the production of The New People, including one from the pilot that has on it several takes of a scene or a portion of a scene that is not in the broadcast version. I assumed that like many television episodes, it was just a line cut for time. Now, however, it could very well be a scene from the alternate, hour-long version of the pilot.
The September 8th screening has free admission. It is to my sincerest regret that I live on the wrong coast and cannot attend. If there is anyone out there who does make it to the screening, I would love to hear any thoughts on the hour-long version of The New People pilot and would be more than willing to post them here at Television Obscurities.
I hope to have more information about the alternate pilot episode closer to the day of the screening. If nothing else, the information provided about the screening confirms that CBS Television Studios currently owns the rights to The New People.