Do you know The Shadow Man? I have always, always been a very big fan of Rod Serling’s TV masterpiece we know as the Twilight Zone. I grew up to be a devotee to Rod Serling in general. So I naturally love Night Gallery as well as his other works be they literary or on the Silver Screen.
So, picture if you will, myself at thirteen learning that CBS was bringing back the Zone to TV, it was going to be called the New Twilight Zone. Which made sense because we had New Coke on the shelves, right? To be fair I don’t think CBS ever called it the New Twilight Zone themselves. Media and fans just used it to explain what series they were referring to I reckon.
So my family and I sat down to watch the first episode which featured Bruce Willis (Shatterday, a story by the legendary Harlan Ellison!), Melinda Dillion (A Little Peace and Quiet), and Robert Klein (Wordplay). We all liked it though my Father was hesitant on his praise for the series, his complaints would be the same I would pick up just a couple of episodes later, this new version of the Twilight Zone seemed to be darker…meaner…and sometimes incredibly cruel.
The tenth episode in the first season had a tale called “The Shadow Man” and was written by Rockne S. O’Bannon (Alien Nation, Farscape) and directed by none other than Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins). It starred Jonathan Ward (Who’s The Boss?, Mac and Me), Heathe Haase (Gremlins 2, Growing Pains) and Jeff Calhoun (Aria) as the Shadow Man.
This particular story of a young boy who befriends the Shadow Man that lives under his bed really shook me up, scared me silly. Which should go a long way to point out how well this episode was made considering I watched the entire thing in the electronics section of my local Wal-Mart. While my Father was shopping I just stood in front of their television displays. Maybe having those 30 televisions of various sizes all showing the Shadow Man do his horrible deeds kind of made everything a little more surreal.