FILM 1379: TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE
TRIVIA: On July 23, 1982, Vic Morrow, Renee Chen, and My-ca Dinh Le, were killed on set when a helicopter crashed on them during the filming of a Vietnam battle sequence. Attorney James Neal defended John Landis - who, along with George Folsey Jr., Dan Allingham, Paul Stewart and Dorcey Wingo - was charged with involuntary manslaughter. All were found not guilty.
According to John Larroquette, he requested to watch the filming of what would become the tragic helicopter scene, but his car was stolen the night before and he was unable to get to the set.
In the opening title sequence, Rod Serling can be seen in the reflection of the eye.
In the diner, when Kathleen Quinlan is asked where she is from and where she is going, she answers with two town names that were used in old "Twilight Zone" episodes: "Homewood," from The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959), and "Willoughby," from The Twilight Zone: A Stop at Willoughby (1960). The cook refers to "Cliffordville," from The Twilight Zone: Of Late I Think of Cliffordville (1963).
Known for his meticulous preparation, John Lithgow had worked out certain scenes in his airplane seat in conjunction with the manufactured lightning outside the window. However, during filming, the crew member in charge of the lightning flashes would activate it too soon or too late, throwing off Lithgow's timing. Although initially annoyed, he later came to value the experience after viewing the film, seeing that it added to his anxious, fearful character as he looked genuinely startled by the lightning.
William Shatner at one point was in consideration to reprise his lead role in the Nightmare at 20,000 Feet segment. He had to turn it down due to prior commitments. Ultimately John Lithgow was cast in the role.
Steven Spielberg briefly considered Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone: The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960) about neighborhood paranoia that's set off by a force of invading aliens from the original Twilight Zone series as a potential segment which he canceled because it involved nighttime filming with children and special effects. This was mainly due to the tragedy that occurred on the "Time Out" segment. He finally chose "Kick the Can" from the original series.
The name of Kathleen Quinlan's character is Helen Foley. This was not the name of a character in the original "It's a Good Life" episode, but the name of a character from The Twilight Zone: Nightmare as a Child (1960). Helen Foley was the name of one of Rod Serling's favorite teachers as a child.
Before working on this film, co-director Steven Spielberg had made his directorial debut on on the pilot of Rod Serling's post-Twilight Zone work, Night Gallery (1969).
The segments "It's a Good Life" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" are both parodied in two Treehouse of Horror specials of The Simpsons (1989) (II & IV), and in both of them, Bart Simpson is the main character. Nancy Cartwright is the voice of Bart, and, she has a small role in this movie.