Prof Incorporates 'Twilight Zone' Episodes into Philosophy Class

Community Invited to Join Class in Viewing and Discussing Four Episodes at Books-N-More

September 16, 2010

Several years ago Ron Rembert developed a course at Wilmington College proving that two seemingly disparate topics — baseball and philosophy — could not only co-exist, but they complement one another.

This year, the professor of religion and philosophy added a sort of otherworldly curveball to his popular class, Baseball and Philosophy. Rembert has incorporated four episodes of Rod Serling’s classic The Twilight Zone.

All have a baseball theme but, as is typical with the iconic television series from the early 1960s, they possess a suspenseful mixture of fantasy, science fiction and unexpected twists.

Those interested in looking at baseball from a different perspective can view and join in the discussion of The Twilight Zone episodes with Rembert and his class on Thursday evenings, Sept. 23, 30, Oct. 14 and 21, from 5:15 to 6 p.m., at Books-N-More, 28 W. Main St., in Wilmington.

“If you have an interest in baseball, seeing it as a theme in The Twilight Zone might be interesting and, if you have an interest in The Twilight Zone, you might be interested in how baseball is portrayed,” Rembert said, noting the class meetings at Books-N-More provide an opportunity for the College to share its resources and unique pursuits.

“This brings the College to the town and gives students a chance to meet persons from the larger community and vice versa," he added.

Discussion following the shows will explore philosophical, religious and baseball themes, Rembert said. 

The order of episodes — one per Thursday session — will be “The Mighty Casey,” “Mr. Dingle, the Strong,” “What You Need” and “On Thursday We Leave for Home.”

Serling’s television anthology series included 156 original episodes between 1959 and 1964. The series was revived from 1985 to 1989 with 65 new episodes, followed by a second revival with 44 episodes in 2002-03.
The Stephen Spielberg-produced feature length film, Twilight Zone: The Movie, in 1983 was notorious for resulting in the death of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors in a helicopter crash during filming.

Rembert designed the Baseball and Philosophy course to identify and explore philosophical issues exemplified by the game of baseball and its history. Also, the course is expected to provide students with an opportunity to develop their skills of philosophical analysis and gain an appreciation for baseball as a scholarly pursuit.

Rembert said the study of baseball is a “recent and growing” area of academic inquiry that achieved an early milestone with author Harold Seymour’s three-volume set first published in 1960: Baseball: The Early Years, Baseball: The Golden Years and Baseball: The People’s Game.

“The history of baseball provides many rich examples igniting philosophical inquiry,” Rembert said. “Philosophers analyze these scenarios from ancient and modern philosophical perspectives.”

Rembert and a faithful cadre of faculty, staff and students began meeting for an hour on Tuesday afternoons two years ago to view and discuss episodes of The Twilight Zone. They’ve made through about a third of the 156 original episodes and have renewed the weekly gathering with the start of school in August. It was via this venture that Rembert saw episodes that could be incorporated into his course.

“I’m interested in how baseball is a theme in The Twilight Zone,” he said, noting that the sport holds a unique place in American culture. “I’m not aware that any other sport that is featured in the series.”