In “Walking Distance,” one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of The Twilight Zone, an overextended ad executive takes a reprieve from his stressful life in the city to visit his hometown in upstate New York. Upon arrival, he encounters his 11-year-old self, who he finds riding a carousel. He realizes he has traveled back in time. The man spends the episode trying to find closure with his deceased parents and coming to terms with his bygone innocence.
“That was one of the most autobiographical scripts that my father wrote,” says Anne Serling, Rod Serling’s daughter and biographer, in Jonathan Napolitano’s short documentary. The Carousel is a tribute to Serling—who created The Twilight Zone and wrote most of its episodes—by way of the carousel that he painstakingly recreated for “Walking Distance,” based on the one in Serling’s hometown of Binghamton, New York.
Now, nearly 60 years later, artists Cortlandt Hull and Bill Finkenstein are bringing it all full circle. They practice the “forgotten art” of the carousel, and they’re restoring the original Binghamton ride complete with striking paintings based on episodes of The Twilight Zone. They believe that Serling, who, according to his daughter, “felt it was the writer’s job to menace the public conscience,” would be proud.