Writer George Clayton Johnson began selling his original teleplays to the series with the second season's "A Penny For Your Thoughts" and "The Prime Mover" (written with Charles Beaumont, credited only to Beaumont) after sustaining himself chiefly as a contributor of story material through the first and second seasons. Johnson would produce his finest scripts for the third season with the classic episodes "Nothing in the Dark," "A Game of Pool," and "Kick the Can." Richard Matheson also began adapting his own short stories into teleplays with "Little Girl Lost," based on his 1953 story first published in the October-November issue of Amazing Stories. Adapting his own previously published material was something Matheson resisted during the first and second seasons, only going so far as to allow Rod Serling to adapt two of his short stories. Matheson would quickly warm to the idea and adapt more of his previously published short fiction in the fourth and fifth seasons, including the classic episodes "Death Ship," "Mute," "Night Call," and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," but would also continue to a steady output of original material, including "Once Upon a Time" and "Young Man's Fancy" from the third season.
On the other hand, Charles Beaumont returned to crafting original teleplays for the third season after spending the second season working with other writers (OCee Ritch, George Clayton Johnson) or adapting his previously published short fiction ("The Howling Man" and "Shadow Play"). These original efforts include the excellent "Person or Persons Unknown" and the disappointing "The Fugitive." Beaumont would continue his excellent adaptations of his influential body of short fiction as well with "The Jungle" from the third season, a story that first saw light in the December 1954 issue of If: Worlds of Science Fiction.
The third season episode "The Hunt" marked the first appearance of writer Earl Hamner, Jr. Hamner would continue as a regular contributor to the series right up until the final broadcast episode, "The Bewitchin' Pool." Hamner also contributed the unusual Serling-esque morality play, "A Piano in the House," to the third season. Also making his debut on the series was director Lamont Johnson, who would direct many of the finest episodes of the third season. It was fortunate for the series that a director like Johnson could step in after the departure of Douglas Heyes, who was one of the most consistent directors of quality episodes in the show's entire production run.
--Brian Durant & Jordan Prejean