Last Wednesday was huge fun, as I wrap up recording the TWILIGHT ZONE commentaries for the blu-ray set (when complete, I’ll have done fifty-two episodes – one-third of the entire series).
That day, I drove to a non-descript location in Los Angeles, showed my ID and was waved through to the office of Matt Weiner, the Emmy-winning creator and showrunner of MAD MEN.
When I’d first compiled my list of who I wanted to do these commentaries with, Matt was in the top rank. I’d never met him, but with his obvious love of the early Sixties and mass media I felt pretty sure he’d be a TWILIGHT ZONE fan.
And I was right.
The week prior, I attended a talk Matt gave at the Writers Guild to meet him and hear him talk. I stepped up to him prior to the event and introduced him (my erstwhile staff had already contacted his office and learned he was interested).
Within days – despite his hugely-busy schedule working with his writing staff on the season four MAD MEN script – we’d scheduled a time to record commentaries on two episodes.
At the WGA evening, Matt had mentioned his interest in the Tarot, strong liberal convictions and fascination with the period of the Hollywood Blacklist. Given this, I selected “Nick of Time” and “The Obsolete Man” as episodes well suited to his tastes.
These are two very different episodes, and I felt their range would give us plenty to talk about.
Arriving on the scene with Cali Rossen and Steve Les, who assist me in scheduling and recording the commentaries, we were informed by Matt’s assistant that he was swamped and might only be able to record one episode – so choose the most important.
I selected “Nick of Time,” but hoped we might snag both, if the fates were kind.
At the appointed time, Matt strode in (I should mention this was his office). He’s a charismatic and brilliant man, attired in a sport coat very reminiscent of his show’s era.
We started rolling, and it was tremendous fun riffing on these episodes. Matt, of course, found it so exciting that he ended up doing both episodes with me, and we covered a wide range of subjects, ranging from the Hollywood Blacklist to the history of superstitions and talismans in humanity’s past.
At the end, I gave Matt a DVD of the Takei TREK episode. He broke out in a big grin and said, “You gave this to the right guy.” Turns out he’s a big TREK fan.